During church this week, Sullivan passed his Bible to me and said, “Read Psalms 56: 1-4, Mom.” I shushed him and told him to listen to the homily.
When we got home, he was a live wire, as is often the case, and he decided to try to light a candle with a candle. Tell me you didn’t try this trick when you were 12. Unfortunately, he proceeded to spill flaming hot, red candle wax all over my white brick fireplace.
It is very hard to stay angry at Sullivan, because, um, look at his smile. He is such a happy kid. He could torture me and then break out that grin and I’d just turn to butter. This is a kid who tells me he wants to experience all seven sacraments. He says he’s going to go to Catholic seminary, become an ordained priest, consecrate and distribute the Eucharist just one time, and then quit the priesthood and get married.
At 12, he wants to be so many things: An astronaut. An FBI agent. A priest. A major league baseball player. A father. For sure, life is full of tough callings and hard choices.
You know what’s not tough? Being his mom.
As I chased Sullivan around the house, trying to scold him for trying to light a candle with a candle, he ran away laughing and repeating, “Psalms 56: 1-4! Psalms 56: 1-4!” It was the same verse he’d repeated to me in church. Disarmed by his joy, I finally turned to the passage in my brand new She Reads Truth Bible, which I have really been enjoying, lately. (You can learn more about it here.)
Here is what it says:
1 Be gracious to me, God, for man tramples me; he fights and oppresses me all day long.
2 My adversaries trample me all day, for many arrogantly fight against me.
3 When I am afraid, I will trust in You.
4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
In this life, I have known great heartache and great joy. I’m positive you have, too. Sullivan is one of my greatest blessings. To have a 12-year-old son point me to My Deliverer is as good as it gets. I don’t think I can hope for more in this life than that.
And, I never take it for granted. The teenage years are still ahead, and it is a heartless world in which we live. It can surely eat our kids alive. So, I pray and fast, and I sacrifice what I can. I strive to teach my son to put on the full armor of God, especially the breastplate of righteousness, which will protect his heart and soul from evil and deception.
Yesterday, I was sitting in the rocking chair on the porch. I was thinking of autumn and all the beautiful leaves, and my mom who has suffered another mild heart attack. Sullivan joined me outside, and although I said nothing, he put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Everything is going to be OK, Mom.”
I put my hand on his heart and told him he had a calling on his life. And, I told him when he put his hand on my shoulder, the hurt in my heart went clean away.
Jesus at 12
Here is a beautiful passage about Jesus at the age of 12. If you have never seen The Young Messiah, you might want to check it out over the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s such a beautiful film.
41Every year His parents traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival.
42 When He was 12 years old, they went up according to the custom of the festival.
43 After those days were over, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but His parents did not know it.
44 Assuming He was in the traveling party, they went a day’s journey. Then they began looking for Him among their relatives and friends.
45 When they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for Him.
46 After three days, they found Him in the temple complex sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.
47 And all those who heard Him were astounded at His understanding and His answers.
48 When His parents saw Him, they were astonished, and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for You.”
49 “Why were you searching for Me?” He asked them. “Didn’t you know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”
50 But they did not understand what He said to them.
51 Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them. His mother kept all these things in her heart.
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people.