God has heard.
That is what my daughter’s name means, and it was chosen very intentionally. It has always been a desire of mine to give my children names that carry a strong meaning. I want my children to grow up knowing that their name was given to them not because I thought it sounded nice, or because it was unique, but rather because it was the theme I have constantly prayed over their lives. I never thought those names would provide me with such a deep hope.
Jayden battled a defiant spirit all night. And while, sadly, sin is not a stranger to our home, there was an oppressive heaviness that tore into my heart as I watched my daughter give in to rebellion. As we were eating dinner, Jayden noticed my phone lying on the opposite side from where we were sitting and said, “We ah. I wan it.” (We ah is her favorite song). Since she had already been struggling with being demanding to Jesse earlier in the evening I took a deep breath, hoping that her previous discipline had softened her heart, and answered, “Jayd, if you would like something you need to ask kindly. How do you ask for things?”
I watched as the muscles in her face tightened and a dark determination rose up in her eyes. My heart sank as I saw her lips quivering, fighting to hold back the words that I had asked to hear from her. More than once they began formulating on her tongue as a glimpse of humility would slip through, only to be quickly shut out again. She was resolved not to obey. I took her upstairs to discipline her in private. Even then her hardness was not broken. I began sobbing. A profound hatred for sin welled up inside of me. The reality of my daughter’s separation from God became so grave…so terrifying. I held her close to me and began praying Psalm 119 over her out loud:
“How can Jayden keep her way pure? By guarding it according to Your Word. With her whole heart let her seek you; let her not wander from Your commandments! Let her store up Your Word in her heart, that she might not sin against You….Her soul clings to the dust; give her life according to Your Word.” (verses 9-11, 25)
I prayed that God would release Satan’s stronghold on her life and soften her heart towards Him. As I was praying, I felt the heaviness lift. Jayden’s name (God has heard) whispered through my head and filled me with hope. Just then, her little hands cupped my chin and brought my gaze down to meet hers. Those eyes, that just moments earlier held such contempt, sparkled as she smiled and said, “We ah, pease momma.” The rest of the night, she was joyful and obedient, happily building lego towers with her daddy.
Jayden’s sin struggle really caused me to think. Why is it that my hatred for sin is only strong when my heart is aching? Why do I not carry that same depth of disgust and brokenness over my sin and the sin of others every moment of every day? Conviction. Not my favorite feeling in the world.
How am I living out the gospel in everything that I do and say? I’ll be the first to admit that this isn’t natural for me. God has given me the responsibility to present my children with truth, to develop in them a God-orientation. I am saddened to think how many times I have allowed my sin to get in the way of my children seeing the greatness of God. Oh, that I would put my flesh aside and allow Christ to live through me powerfully! What better witness for my children than seeing Christ in their momma in every moment? I long to see my children come into a redemptive relationship with God. And I long for the day that I am before the throne of God, with my family, praising my Creator, uninhibited by sin!