I was meeting with my client this week when she paused with a concerned look on her face to ask me how I was doing. Sometimes I hate that I’m not good at hiding things. The truth is that I was struggling with the challenges of parenting and in understanding how to maintain holy action when I felt so weary and drained.

New Phases, New Challenges

My three boys are beyond the age where they want to hold my hand anymore. And none of them are thrilled about me waiting for them at the bus stop after school. Their independence has blossomed, but not always in the ways my husband and I have hoped for. The constant irony in parenting is that the highs are always higher than you can imagine and the lows more difficult to experience, even when you think you’re prepared.

After I shared some of my struggles, the client became the coach and asked me what I was believing. It was as though she could see the small but subtle seed of depression that had grown in me because I was feeling worn and ineffective. And it wasn’t until I verbalized the lie that had infiltrated my heart that I could relate it to the hurt that it caused. And as I did so, the tears fell from my eyes. I told her I believed I was awful for feeling like I needed a break from the chaos of our busy lives and I that I should just be happy because, unlike other kids and other people, we all had our health, and our problems didn’t compare to others. I believed I was being self-centered and ungrateful for not finding joy in our circumstance when so many others were suffering so much.

Discerning the Lies

By the grace of God, He opened my ears and my heart to hear the correct rebuke that followed from my very loving client. I realized that the enemy had planted a small and subtle seed that looked like it was based in holy self-denial and sacrifice. Instead, it was actually blooming into an attack on my own personal worth. I saw the subtle twist of words used to make me think my joy should be found in my circumstance instead of in the unchanging victory of Jesus. I saw the seed of condemnation that quickly took root in me as it landed on the soft, fertile soil of my unguarded heart. As my client spoke life and truth back into me, I recognized the voice of a loving Father who speaks softly and gently to me, and never, ever in condemnation. And if anyone understands my weariness, He does.

Guarding Even Against the Small & Subtle

It’s been made clear to me that I need to guard against listening to small, subtle voices that aren’t the Lord’s. The way to win battles isn’t by hardening the heart but by relying on a covering of armor around a soft heart that can still hear the voice of the Savior.

Sometimes the attacks of self-condemnation are harder to spot than we realize because the fiery arrows of accusation are almost invisible, yet they burst into flame as soon as they hit their target. So guard your heart today, friend, as Proverbs 4:23 instructs, and keep close those folks who speak truth and love over you.