Not every mom needs to establish rules for swords in her home.
But then, I am not every mom.
I am a mom of boys.
Two of them actually. The rowdy variety. The kind who collect emergency room visits resulting in team-colored casts and chin stitches. The kind who are compelled to check out how the diesel pump works (soaking their brother in diesel fuel … a story for a later date). My boys also happen to have a Mom who did not grow up with brothers. Or even a clan of male cousins. Which, unfortunately for my boys, produced a nurturing, and often over-protective, Mom. Yes, I am that Mom. The Mom who found herself totally unprepared, but head-over-heels smitten with, her boys.
Boys are unique. They require their own brand of mothering. I know this because I am also a Mom to girls. My free-spirited, now adult, daughter never needed sword rules. Returning-Mom’s-Clothes-To-Where-They-Belong rules were required. But swords were never involved. And there is my sweet tempered, pre-teen daughter. Constant reining in of her ever-expanding-collection of stuffed animals, sword rules not required. But my boys. My sweet, rowdy, boisterous, unpredictable boys. For such brings the necessity for Sword Rules into our home.
When my boys were young, and shared a room, a baseball bat frequently took up residence near their bedroom window. I think it initially appeared after Fire Prevention Week at preschool, but I can’t say for sure. Now, don’t misunderstand. They are not anxious kids. They seem well adjusted anyway. But there are times which cause me to rethink my mothering skills.
One night I plopped down on the edge of my youngest son’s bed as we were saying our goodnights and landed on something out of place. Now, I am pretty easy going, so I wasn’t overly concerned even when I reached under the baseball-stitched blanket and pulled out what looked like a sword. But what well-adjusted child keeps a sword in his bed? And I do mean a real sword. Protective sheath, rust, dents and all. (Actually it was a machete, but that point seemed pretty irrelevant at the time.)
So I asked… “Why do you have a sword in your bed?”
“Well, Mom, in case a bad guy comes in. See how quick I can get to it?”
Um, I am well aware of how quickly efficient my kids can be.
“Don’t you think that might be a little dangerous? Sleeping with a sharp metal object in your bed?”
“Oh Mom. I do this all the time.”
And how did I not know this?
“See it’s flat. And I promise I won’t get hurt. I promise Mom! What if a bad guy comes in?”
This discussion went back and forth for a while, leaving me to eventually decide he could keep this weapon as a bedmate. Who am I to argue with safety? But I needed to set a few rules … and going forward he would warn his unsuspecting Mom before she plops down on it again.
As I thought more about swords, I made a quick connection.
I also own a Sword. … the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:17)
But do I keep it right beside me? Especially when it is dark and I am afraid of the bad guys? Do I know how to use it?
Yes, my Sword also has rules
I must always keep my Sword with me. Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You. (Psalm 119:11)
I must use my Sword effectively in times of battle. This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. (Joshua 1:8)
And I must continually practice my Sword-fighting skills. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. (1 Timothy 4:15)
Yes, I am human, and prone to ignore my Sword rules. I incur wounds from the bad guy as I ineffectively wield my Sword. And I live with scars from past wounds. But these scars also serve as beautiful reminders to stay attentive to my Sword, to keep it near, as close as my own heart. So close that I could never forget it. My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body. Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. (Proverbs 4:20-23)
But even when I forget my to use my Sword, it is there. Still hidden in my heart. Just below the surface, ready to be brought to mind. Because my Creator loves me. And He wants to help me stay safe. The Spirit will teach you everything and will remind you of what I said while I was with you.(John 14:26b)
No matter how many times I may fail in battle, my Sword will never fail. He is faithful, even when I am not. And when I am too weak to fight, He will continue to protect me … and perfect me. You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3)