Sunday, September 27, 2009

Binding and Casting

It is said that in the last days Satan will be bound and cast into a pit. As with so many things, I don't feel that this'll be a sudden occurence, and I think we'll have a lot more to do with it than it seems. I believe that if Satan is going to be bound, it will be up to us as individuals to bind him in our own lives. This is one of the main reasons we have the Holy Ghost in our lives.

I'm learning to listen to my heart--a continual journey in my life, and for the past few days, it's been aching. I now know what I'm feeling, and I'm choosing to share it here in hopes that if there's anyone else out there who struggles with what I'm struggling with, they will feel encouraged. Forgive me if this is too personal and a taboo subject to broach, but I'm not of any good to anyone if I'm not a real person with weaknesses. Sometimes I wonder if we try to be too perfect in front of others. Sometimes I think we hide the real stuff about ourselves and our lives. Well, I embraced my imperfections years ago, and the last thing I want is for anyone to think I'm perfect--that's just too much pressure to put on a person. I want to be someone who's as real as can be.

Isn't it great that we are taught line upon line? I feel like I'm reaching a new layer in my learning. This is a good thing because it means I have learned the last layer and now can be trusted with the next.

There is an element in our home where Satan thrives. We have been sensitive to all that the media can bring in, so we limit that. In that area, we've bound him, but there's a more difficult arena where we just open the door and invite him to come right in and take a seat. It's easy to only buy DVDs that are family friendly. It's easy to only listen to good music. It's when Satan comes from within us that it becomes more difficult. I can't physically throw out a thing that possesses my attitudes and reactions.

There is a woman in our ward who is a great example to me. She is the cheering section for her children. They never, for even a second, doubt that she loves them. Now, to others, this woman is very hard to approach, but she really has it together as far as her family goes. We have a man in our ward who seems like Mr. Rogers. He's gentle and caring to everyone but especially to his family.

In looking at these two examples, I know what I lack. When I was a child, I found a bottle of baby oil in the bathroom. I thought it was water. It was in a really cool little bottle with a pink lid (my favorite color) that had a little tiny hole in the top, so it was fun to squirt. I couldn't resist. I squirted the entire bottle into the sink. As I was attempting to refill it with water from the tap, my mom caught me. Now, please understand that I, even to this day, think my mother was the most perfect mother ever, and this is the only time I remember this happening, but she came unglued. She chastised me heartily for pouring out that bottle of baby oil.

Sometimes, don't we think that our children are out to get us and undo or destroy anything we feel has value or importance?

As this happened, I couldn't help but think that maybe that baby oil was more important to her than I was. I knew in my heart that it wasn't true, but what was she telling me? I quickly learned that I had done a very bad thing, but I think she could have told me in a different way. I now wonder if I had received this message over and over again, what kind of relationship would I have had with her, and what kind of person would I be today?

It has become much more common in our home to react to baby oil.

In the last days, the "love of many shall wax cold" (Matt. 24:12). "Wax" is such an interesting term. I remember making candles at a church activity when I was a child. It was a long process. The wax had to stay hot and liquid. You dipped the wick into the wax, let the first layer dry and then dipped it again. Layer by layer, it was added on. You had to redip and redip again.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm not creating a hard layer on my heart by redipping and redipping again in negativity. Not giving my children the benefit of the doubt; thinking they're out to do dumb things on purpose. In certain ways, I've somewhere forgotten how to walk in their shoes.

I feel, as I hope all who read this feel, that my husband and my children are the best there are. I'm not saying that to brag, but I know that for me, they are the best there could possibly be. I feel that God, Himself, gave them to me out of His love for me. My problem is that I don't tell them nearly often enough. I think I've gotten too hung up in making sure my children are learning from their mistakes. I have to make sure they know where they went wrong and what they did and make sure they know to never let it happen again. How have I let myself be deceived in this way?

I know that when we come to earth, we are each blessed with the light of Christ that helps us know right from wrong. It is our conscience. Do I not trust that this will guide my children as well? I don't need to take that role. My job is to love them unconditionally, to be their cheering section, to have a soft heart toward them, to teach them that they are the best there is, to let them know that we all make mistakes but that I know that they're doing the best they can.

I sometimes think we go to extremes in this, and this is where I feel that I have gone wrong and let the wax start building up. As the wife of an educator, I have heard the frustrations of teachers who have dealt with parents who will defend their children to their dying day--even when the kid is obviously wrong. Case in point, at a local high school, a student was caught plagiarizing. The text they stole the words from was placed right before the mother of this student and the mother chose to defend her son. Isn't it amazing that his words, were the exact same as what was written on the page? "But my son would never do that!" I'm sorry, but FOOLISH! What is she thinking? Having heard multiple stories like this, I refuse to cover my children's sins. When they are wrong, they are wrong.

But this attitude must be tempered with love. I need to draw on all the good that is in them. I need them to know that they are loveable and capable of making good choices. The times when they are wrong are so few adn far between as compared with all the good that they do and are. Isn't my job as their mother to remind them of all of the good that is in them? To remind them that they are children of diety? Shouldn't this be my focus?

One of my problems is that I no longer think like a two-year-old. I have a hard time relating to my little guy. Just like my mom had a hard time relating to me and the baby oil. She wasn't thinking as I was. When my little guy flushes strange things and breaks the toilet, and it costs me a bundle to replace it, I have a hard time thinking as he does. Is that toilet or the expense of it more important than he is? Definitely not, but I don't want him to do it again, so I need to let him know that it was wrong. It's how I do this that adds the wax to my heart or not and builds him or tears him down. I have that choice. This is where I need to reset my perspective. He's not out to get me; he's curious, and I was foolish enough to leave him alone in the bathroom and not guide his curiosity into a better, more easily learned lesson for all of us.

I know that I perform much better around people that I know think a lot of me. I knew that, other than that one incident, my mom thought I was the best there was. I love her for that and want to be all that I can for her. Am I that kind of mother to my children? I want to be.

So, from here on out, I'm going to bind Satan for my family. I am going to draw on all that is good in them and vocalize it. I think about all of their goodness continually, but I'm doing them no service by keeping it to myself. When they make mistakes, I need to remember that I screw up too. I need to be more compassionate toward them and feel sorry for them when they do something wrong. In a loving way, I can sit down with them, put my arm around them, and talk calmly about what needs to be improved as I hope others would do for me when I go wrong.

In the most recent class I took, I read about the subject of family interaction. It shared the idea that each conversation with another person is a new start. This gave me hope. I want my children to feel hope in themselves that even though they make mistakes, they are still good and capable of doing better next time. If I'm driving the lesson home that they aren't any good at any given thing, where is the hope for them in their performance at that thing? My job, as their mother, is to feed them hope through my words and actions toward them. I do not want Satan to have any access to them especially through me. It is my job to bind him. I can start today.


Unknown said...

I love this post- I will be thining about it and then I want to discuss with you. I love you Julie.

vaxhacker said...

So touching, so important and timely, and so, so, so true. C and I were brought to tears here just reading this during lunch. "Wow..." is about all I can say at the moment, but I could sure have an intense conversation over this for a few hours someday.

If I manage to think of enough of my own words to express my feelings, though, I doubt a comment here will do it justice. Do you mind if I quote from this or link to it from my blog, in that event?

Thanks for posting this, these are excellent insights.

vaxhacker said...

Although I must say, when I saw the subject of "binding" and the picture of a bottle of mineral oil, I was mentally bracing myself for a "personal, taboo subject" of an entirely different sort. Thank you for taking this in a more appropriate direction.

:) :)

Tonya said...

Wow Julie, I love to hear your insights. I had never thought about it being our personal responsibility to bind Satan, but it makes so much sense. How does that brain of yours think so deeply? I want to be someone who is the real deal too. No fronts. Thanks for posting this. Awesome.

Anonymous said...

You are so wonderful and a great example to me of someone I want to pattern my parenting after. I admire you and Z for your love, dedication, and patience with your family. Thank you so much for this post. I truly needed a reminder of what is important, and what my responsibility is as a parent. I love you.

CB said...

This is a great post and very well put.
I think we can always learn as mothers to be better.
I know that I was much more impatient with my older children than with the ones who came later. It is a learning process - we grow and get better. Thank goodness children are so pure and forgiving - Love goes a long way.
You have good goals here.
I can tell you are a wonderful mother!

Unknown said...

THanks for sharing your wonderful insights, Julie. I needed to hear this today.

Anonymous said...

Amen :) Love you lil' girl....miss you - I heard L was blessed last Sunday! Amazing....your dad is sooo proud of you!

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