The “Roar” Within

For the most part, I am known to be a civil, mild-mannered, warm and friendly, kind of person.

However, on more than a few occasions,

in order to defend those I love,

the protective instincts WITHIN me have taken over

in the form of

a fierce and passionate “ROAR”.

I grew up with a father who habitually performed nightly safety checks. Every night was the same. Doors and windows were locked and secured. My favorite part of his nightly ritual was when his one-of-a-kind footsteps made their way upstairs where my sibs and I slept (I always pretended to be asleep if/when I heard him coming).

He first checked the pilot light of the electric furnace and then made sure were “warm enough” (a phrase/question he always used) by adjusting our blankets if necessary. If he knew I was still awake, I would welcome his kind hug and goodnight kiss on the cheek. Needless to say, his evening routine provided a great sense of security for me my five siblings and my mother. And in a perfect world, I would want every girl and child for that matter, to feel as safe and secure as I did. And my heart aches for those who have never felt the blessing of a father and mother who go to great lengths to make sure their young are well protected and provided for.

Protection was an innate quality of my father – and mother. Perhaps a gene I too inherited.

So I admit to being “just-a-tad” protective when it comes to the hearts and minds of my pride of eight (now all adults).

When they were young, I used my parental rights to guard what they watched on TV, what kind of music they listened to, what they read, and where they went. Perhaps growing up as a city girl influenced my parenting habits to some degree. After all, I did, grow up as a child of the 60’s and 70’s in the culture of sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll, and learned early on to become a bit ‘street-wise.’

It’s not that I lived in constant fear as a parent (although I did later begin to equate specific parenting mistakes I made with some underlying fears and insecurities that carried over in my parenting) however, I do believe I was ultra-sensitive to the looming dangers of the culture and certain types of people, places, and things that could potentially bring harm to my young pride.

No different from the culture today that continues to vie for the attention and affection of our offspring.

So Yes!

I took my role as ‘MaMa’ very seriously.

And yet, I can say with certainty…

that I did not fully understand the nature of the ‘Mama-Beast’ that lied WITHIN me,

when it came to the protection of my precious cubs.

The first time I remember exercising my “ROARING LUNGS” was when…

I caught a neighbor taking pictures of my two very young girls who were innocently at play in a small swimming pool in our backyard. When I saw his camera aimed their way, all I can tell you – is that I saw a side of myself come out of me that I didn’t know existed previously.

With hair held high, the mama lion WITHIN me pounced with fury – and without hesitation…making it a very “memorable” moment for the uninvited intruder.

I’ll leave the details to your imagination.

All I can tell you is that it involved elements of doors, ‘interesting’ words, and imagery of men in uniform.

(pause if you must to imagine - then please continue)

My care-free, fun-loving approach to life, was also being tempered by a growing awareness of the forces of darkness that were ferociously opposed to the kingdom of light – to which I and my family belonged.

For example:

There was also a time in one of my children’s life

when night terrors became a regular occurrence at our home for one of our children in particular.

Instead of peaceful nights of rest, fear-gripped thoughts were found tormenting.

And even though I did my best to help my youngsters memorize specific Psalms and other passages to fill their mind with truth, teaching them that we can not think two thoughts simultaneously and that they needed to choose to think on that which was good, and lovely, and pure (you get the point)…

Well …let’s just say….that I had had ENOUGH!!!

I knew enough about God to know that fear – at least that kind of fear – did not come from Him. And I knew that it was time for waging war against the enemy of this precious one’s young heart and mind!

And out came Mama Lion…again!

Who is this beast WITHIN me?

She is CRAZY when it comes the babes she bore!

I spoke aloud something along these lines that night:

“In the name of Jesus Christ – the Son of God – I take authority over you Satan!

This child belongs to the Lord and you have no place here. Leave now!”

In that moment of exercising confident faith in my Savior, the Spirit gave me the authority to trample upon the threats of the enemy who was vehemently trying to inject his poison into the heart of my beloved child.

All I did was simply turn to and rely on the power of God’s Spirit and his Word to do the rest!

I give all praise to God in telling you that immediately after that encounter – peace came and the night terrors ceased. (Only one other episode occurred about 10 years later and I “not-so-politely” reminded the enemy of his defeat!)

“When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down,

your sleep will be sweet.” Psalm 3:24

Years later – Mama Lion saw the need to again reveal her protective “ROAR” when

a teacher at my daughter’s high school made a derogatory comment about the initials that were on the seat of her team warmup pants. The entire administrative team heard my growl that day in a closed-door session when he was confronted by the principal, my husband (daddy lion) and myself. Turns out he had an extensive file of others who also had exposed their “teeth” of admonition against the tenured teacher. (Oh! The downside of tenure! But that’s another story for another blogger).

There were also the events of 1991 when my seven-year-old got hit by a car and I thought him dead.

After racing to his side a few streets away in response to the blood-curdling scream of my eldest son, I found him unconscious and miraculously being cared for by a doctor who just “happened” to live right where the accident took place, while we waited for the ambulance to arrive.

My son ended up surviving that tragic accident but spent four weeks in the hospital, in traction, while he recovered.

And yet again, fear struck our home again in 1996 when my oldest daughter almost lost her leg in a lawn mowing accident which severed two layers of her main artery – requiring emergency surgery to save her leg followed by a complete knee reconstruction. An injury that brought her world of high school athletics to a permanent halt, along with other permanent limitations.

As a parent – you never know what battles you will be asked to fight.

What I do know, is that God is good and he is faithful.

He is ALWAYS WITH US…

WITHIN us in fact

to offer his grace

and help in times of great need.

But parenting isn’t the only place I’ve had to enter battleground.

Throughout my life as a Christian there have been times when I had to growl long and loud to fight off the enemy of not only children – but also for my husband and our marriage.

That same summer (1991) following child #5’s accident, we moved.

Soon after the move, the pressures of my life as a full-time mom of eight and ministry wife began to take its toll on my heart, mind, and body. I started to shut down emotionally, and I was also shutting down physically. I can remember driving my kids home from school one day and my vision going almost completely dark. I felt the presence of darkness at every turn. The enemy of my soul had come to steal, rob, and destroy all that God my Creator had done in my life – and this time, I lacked the strength to fight off his schemes on my own.

A bout of depression followed as did a period of marital counseling. It was during this season of my life that I learned what it means to hide in the shadow of God’s protective wing of grace.

I am confident that this time…the Lord himself was fighting for me – for us.

“I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil 1:6)

As time went on – God began to heal some areas of our lives that needed his healing touch. And I began to learn more of what it meant to lean further into grace – into mercy – into forgiveness – and into faithful obedience to the truth of God’s Word. I had to trust God to do for me what I couldn’t do in my own strength.

And when the Lord challenged me to take steps of faith – I learned to put my hand in his and take that step of faith.

That’s when his Spirit always takes over!

Faith must precede the miracle!

And I began to grow in new areas of my life – in grace – in wisdom – in love – in perseverance.

Yes, I also called upon the help of close friends for prayer and support, but it was ultimately

Jesus Himself

who came to my rescue and unloosed the grip that the enemy seemed to have on me and my loved ones. I am eternally grateful for having such an advocate and friend who fights FOR me – when I lack the strength to fight for myself and those I love.

But – that was not the end of our battles.

In 1995 when my husband entered his “dark night of the soul” and we felt the strong presence of darkness come against us – again. This time, the one God gave me – to protect me – was weak – and wounded.

It was might turn to fight for him!

And out came that familiar ROAR again!

This time it went something like this:

“You can’t have him Satan! I want to remind you that Frank (which means free man) has been set free by the blood of the Lamb! He belongs to Jesus! Leave us now!”

And once again – by God’s power and grace – the enemy fled.

Peace came and surrounded our home – and our heart. And freedom followed once again. Freedom from the presence of darkness – from lies – from oppression – from feeling paralyzed and helpless and hopeless.

These are just a few examples of real-life battles that we face

day in and day out as Christians who live in a world of

sin

and brokenness

and good-things-gone-awry.

I also feel compelled to tell you that I am not one of those Christians who go around blaming the devil for everything. I would rather focus my attention on God – who is the One worthy of my time and attention!

But God was teaching me that the threats of darkness are very real – and that this presence of evil – was the same source of the one who nailed Jesus to a cross. And if they were real in an effort to destroy or Savior then they are real for us as well.

The good news is that Jesus has given us authority in his name to call the enemy out on his lies and threats and destructive schemes.

What I really want to emphasize in this writing has more to do with the role God has given us as his beloved children to fight for and guard –

with all that is WITHIN us –

the truth of WHO OUR GOD really is –

and the truth of WHO WE ARE in Christ.

“From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence,

and the violent take it by force.” (Matt. 11:12)

This simple truth that…

Greater is he who lives WITHIN us, than he who is in the world!

Now that is a hope worth clinging to and guarding and fighting for!

God has given us his Word and his Spirit! He is with us! We belong to Jesus!

And it is his presence with us that enables us to:

1) fight for all that is good, and right, and holy, and pure!

2) discern good from evil

3) demonstrate his character to a lost world

4) give his love and truth away to others

5) OFFER all that we have and are to him – for his purposes and glory

Christians far and wide – need not be afraid to show our teeth when the enemy tries to defeat us!

May we have the courage of a lion when it comes to protecting God’s truth in our own heart first – and do all we can in prayer, study, and living in such a way that the enemy would shutter and flee.

And may we make his truth known to those who do not understand the incredible heart of our Creator who loves us with an everlasting life – who fought for us and defeated the enemy of our soul who once held us captive to sin and death.

“Thanks be to God who gives US the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (1 Cor. 15:57)

“My God’s not dead
He’s surely alive
He’s living on the inside
Roaring like a lion!”

Until next time…

May the Lion of Judah prove himself faithful to you-you are his beloved!

It would be an honor to pray for you regarding the battle you may find your self in.

And one more thing….

“Roar” if you must, friend!

bs

5 thoughts on “The “Roar” Within

  1. Randy says:

    Who wins in a fight Lion or a tiger? Tiger is stronger, quicker, and bigger. The Tiger however always hunts and lives alone. The Lion lives in a pride. If you fight one lion you typically fight the entire family. As a result the lion wins. There is good stuff for our families and as followers of Jesus there.

    Like

    • betsystretar says:

      Appreciate your comments Randy. More than blessed to be a member of God’s pride!
      You make me think. As believers, perhaps we need to do a better job of ‘watching each others backs” instead of devouring our own.
      Bless you friend as you prowl around Scotland defeating the work of the enemy there.

      Like

  2. Edward Colozzi says:

    A powerful post about LOVE and the Art of Parenting Betsy! Your “mama Lion” is strong and sets a wonderful example for others. You have been Blessed with important formative early childhood experiences that have shaped your views of life including your own parenting role. No doubt there IS a special gene or two that was inherited that also facilitates your innate sense of excellent parenting, and your love of Jesus and the guidance of Him in your life is evident. Blessings, EdC

    Like

  3. betsystretar says:

    Thank you for your kind words of encouragement Ed. 🙂

    The ‘Art of Parenting’ – as you have graciously summarized, is all the gift of God’s grace at work within me. I’m not sure I was that great of an “artist.”

    I know my parenting to be nothing short of His love and mercy…as I have learned to allow the Holy Spirit the freedom to paint his love and truth on the canvas of my life – as I paint his love and truth onto the canvas of their lives.

    (I think its so amazing how God uses our kids to forge his character in us – while we are also “training” them to ….be all things…kind, honest, patient, hardworking, compassionate, forgiving, and loving, etc).

    My kids have taught me more about myself – and about God, and others, than I could ever write on this blog or book.

    God bless you friend. Thank you again. 🙂

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