I have been homeschooling my kids for almost two decades now, and we have an art/music/library/spare room that also functions as a schoolroom. Taped around the room, near the ceiling, there is a timeline of world history. If you can look past the part where our parrot gnawed holes from 1600 to 1890 and see beyond the coffee stains near the life of Florence Nightingale, you might still appreciate our simple, tattered attempt at understanding all the extraordinary events we’ll never be able to witness ourselves. It’s no Sistine Chapel ceiling, but it tells a story just the same.
My husband, Jay, and I have always explained to our children that history is something worth digging into, because history is more than just a series of dates on a timeline. History is really HIStory—God’s story—the unfolding of the Master’s plan. We only get to witness about .001 percent of it, but we can appreciate the rest through the rearview mirror.
There are a lot of important dates and people on our timeline: the birth of Christ, the reign of Napoleon, world wars, the Holocaust, and the great revivals. Look closer and you’ll see images of Beethoven, missionary Gladys Alyward, and President Ronald Reagan. There’s even a little sticker that celebrates the birth of the United States.
And in 1967, nestled between the appointment of the first African American Supreme Court Justice and the assassination of President Robert Kennedy, God did something amazing in the life of the St. John family. In 1967, God decided it was time for Jay St. John to become part of HIStory. And so, on a cool October day, Jay was born into the care of his mom and dad, Lou and Jerry St. John. Not too much later, in 1970, God determined that it was time for me to become part of HIStory. In 1989, our two lives became one, and HIStory continued to unfold as we became parents ourselves.
We learn a lot together in our little schoolroom, but one of the most important things I want our children to know is the role they play in God’s story. God’s purposes are eternal, and each child He gives us, like Esther, has been born “for such a time as this.”
I want each of my seven children to know that God put them on this earth with a unique purpose. Their births were no less significant in God’s economy than the birth of George Washington or Elisabeth Elliot. Their lives are precious, and I want them to know why. I want our children to learn about men and women who followed God (and those who rejected him) throughout history, because I want them to see that they are just as much a part of God’s story as anyone else whose picture graces our worn-out timeline.
So why tell you about my tattered and yellowed timeline? Because in order for us to train our children for their own journeys of faith, we need to see ourselves on the continuum of HIStory. God is always at work: and He has placed you right here, right now, for such a time as this—to help prepare your children for the war that lies ahead!
Make no mistake: in the midst of homework assignments, chores, and the seemingly mundane conversations you have every day with your children, you are preparing warriors—warriors who will be asked to answer the tough questions culture is asking, asked to give an answer for the hope that lies within them (see 1 Peter 3:15). You are preparing warriors who at some point will be asked to choose between following God’s law and following the culture. And in order to prepare warriors, you have to become a warrior yourself.
If you’ve never thought of yourself as a warrior, it’s okay. Most moms don’t come into motherhood thinking they’re enlisting for battle. Mothers are life givers. We’re nurturers. We plan meals and put on Band-Aids and give hugs . . . unless you mess with our babies. Am I right? Mess with a mama’s babies, and you’ll see a warrior born right before your eyes! But make no mistake: we are at war. We’re at war with a culture that blurs the lines between right and wrong, a culture that devalues the sanctity of human life, a culture that marginalizes the family values God put in place. In short, we’re at war with the enemy of our souls. We’re at war with the one the Bible teaches has one purpose: “to kill and steal and destroy” (John 10:10). It’s serious business, this job of training up the next generation.
A MomStrong mom understands that she is a warrior, not just for her kids but for the generations that follow. Even more important, because she sees herself as a warrior, a MomStrong mom is willing to fight for what God says is worth fighting for. She uses the sword of truth to cut a swath through the lies of the enemy. The apostle Peter tells us exactly who this enemy is: “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
If we’re going to raise a generation of strong children and strong families, we must learn to engage our enemy rather than run from him. The good news is that although Satan is a powerful adversary, God is mightier still. If we remain alert and walk in a right relationship with God, we will always have the upper hand over our enemy.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Zephaniah 3:17. In it, the heart of our Father is seen so clearly:
The Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
This verse has been such a comfort to me as I have come to know my Savior. In my own journey to becoming MomStrong, I’ve realized that I can trust God even in the midst of a fierce battle. He is aware of the struggles we face. His heart is for us.
MomStrong moms know that they are engaged in a battle, but they don’t let the fear of the battle distract them from the truth. They know that their children need to see that their mom trusts God no matter what happens in this life.
Precious mom, God understands the magnitude of the struggle you are facing, and He wants you to trust Him even as you raise your children in a frightening world. So take courage! God has already let us know exactly what we can expect from Him as we face trials and struggles. There is nothing we will face that God won’t give us sustaining grace for. He will never leave us or forsake us. He never has, and He never will.
Adapted from Becoming MomStrong: How to Fight with All That’s in You for Your Family and Your Faith by Heidi St. John.