I was doing laundry and packing for our upcoming trip to put my father’s ashes in the ground. Spring Break wasn’t exactly a cheery occasion for us to prepare for, but we were looking forward to finally laying my father to rest with a few of our own personal touches.
As I tried to pack in spurts, we were slammed with nonstop high school jazz band events and a nightmarish two weeks of seventh grade. The latter involved multiple projects, a massive genetics and cell cycle test, and endless homework, none of which was spaced out or staggered. My poor daughter was up until 11 PM most nights making sure she checked off her own assignment lists.
She went out the door one morning a complete zombie. She could barely eat, put her contacts in, etc. She was so rundown and discouraged. Her only sentence this particular morning was:
“I have to go back to school and get more homework to come home to.”
I finally put my foot down and respectfully told the guidance counselor: “Enough! She has worked conscientiously and nonstop for weeks. On my instruction she isn’t doing homework tonight. I’m just letting you know.”
[My husband and I are both products of public schooling and strongly believe in it, but we shouldn’t have to give our daughter an espresso drink to wake her up enough in the morning to head out to school. This is middle school, not college.]
My son, on the other hand, had a band event in which students were driving themselves and taking several other students along. Major highways. An hour away. Rush hour traffic. Seven teens in a van with a teen driver. I adore our school music program, but um, no! Because our car was in the shop, we could not drive. I gently asked our fantastic band director to please place my son with an adult driver, and if not, my husband and I were not comfortable sending him to the event. I hated confronting this, but this was my limit.
Sometimes, when we are beyond defending ourselves and fall weary in a heap onto the floor, we need an advocate. I made my daughter protein-laden snacks and said:
“You have my permission to stop all homework for the last two days of school before break. Consequences come what may. We know what you’re capable of. You don’t need to do busy work to prove your knowledge to us.”
To my son:
“I know how fun this would be to go with friends and how it maybe isolates you a bit to have your parents insist on a parent driver, but we want you back at the end of the evening, and the idea of seven or eight teens in a van for that distance doesn’t feel safe to us. You can skip this event if you need to.”
Did you know God said this on our behalf? Yep, to the enemy of our souls. He took a punishment He did not deserve, carried his cross (with some help), and willingly laid himself across two wood planks to be nailed to them.
Yes, I know Easter has come and gone, but the history-altering effects of the resurrection have not. They are still with us.
That addiction you are struggling against?
That relationship you sabotaged?
That gossip that led to maligning someone’s character?
The income you didn’t declare?
That little flirtation outside your marriage that led to exchanging texts and then meeting up, oh, just for dinner?
That crime you committed in your early 20s?
That website you can’t stop looking at, but just for a few minutes?
That dirty joking you do, seemingly so harmless, in front of your children?
That hate you harbor in your heart for the person who abandoned you?
Those moments you emotionally disappear, not caring properly for those in your custody?
That time you stole from the company to be on the internet or cut out of work early most Fridays, because, after all, they don’t pay you what you really deserve?
You know what? Jesus hung on a cross for you, and He said:
“Enough!” = “It is finished!”
John 19:30, ESV, Apostle John narrating
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
He wasn’t messing around, Folks! His Father, now also ours, had enough of evil toying with us. With our rebellion. With our willingness to be easy puppets for the enemy of our souls.
He took a stand, set a boundary, and essentially paved a way for us to conquer temptation and the lure of sin. He died (and rose again) so that we might live.
If you have invited Him to be your Lord and Savior, He is yours, and you are “more than a conqueror” in your past, present, and future!
Romans 8:37, ESV, Apostle Paul speaking
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
And backing up a few verses:
Romans 8:1, ESV, Apostle Paul speaking
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
From those dark things you have fully thrown yourself into or are only starting to dabble in, let Christ set you free. Make amends. Come clean. Get accountability. But mostly, grab onto the hope of Christ in you.
Colossians 1:27, ESV, Apostle Paul speaking
To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
From those dark things you have fully thrown yourself into or are only starting to dabble in, let Christ set you free.
— Bonnie Lyn Smith (@BonnieLynSmith) September 20, 2016
He gives us the power to stand up to what is wrong and live according to His standard, His Word.
He came to set the captives free.
Isaiah 61:1, ESV, Jesus speaking through Isaiah the Prophet
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
He came to defeat the enemy, declaring: “Enough! You cannot tread any further on My children.”
He conquered death and evil, and You can draw on that same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead to say “Enough!” to the darkness that wants to distract and ensnare you.
Romans 8:11, ESV, Apostle Paul speaking
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
The stakes are higher than a fast ride up the highway with a bunch of teenagers. So much higher than a few zeroes in a homework record.
They are life and death. They have long-term consequences for those around you.
It’s never too late to take His hand and say: “In the name of Jesus, enough!”
Your life will radically change. And you’ll show the darkness Who really is Boss.
In a word:
Did you know God said “Enough!” on our behalf? He took a punishment He did not deserve and willingly laid himself across two wooden planks.
— Bonnie Lyn Smith (@BonnieLynSmith) September 20, 2016
*This blog was first a featured column at Your Tewksbury Today.
**It has also been shared at any link highlighted here: Mom 2 Mom Monday Link-Up, Make a Difference Mondays, Pick Your Pin Tuesday, Worshipful Wednesdays, Women With Intention Wednesdays, Grace & Truth, A Little R & R, RaRa Link-Up, Me, Coffee & Jesus, Dance With Jesus, Blessing Counters, Coffee & Conversation, Saturday Soiree, Tell His Story, Find Stability, So Much at Home, Faith-Filled Fridays, Reflect His Love and Glory Link-Up, Bonbon ‘n Coffee Linkup, and Christian Mommy Blogger.
Anecdotal stories about an everyday relationship with God can be found in Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day (includes Book Club Discussion Questions).