21. The Mantle Of Authority

“I searched —
 but there definitely was not
 a packet of instructions
 attached to my children
 when they arrived.
 and none has since
 landed in my mailbox.
 Lord, show me how
 to be a good parent.
 Teach me to
 correct without crushing,  
 help without hanging on,
 listen without laughing
 surround without smothering
 and love without limit,
 the way You love me.”
— Susan Lenzkes
    (The Handwriting On the Wall Is In Brown Crayon)


As my six-year-old granddaughter, Jessa, passed me in the kitchen on her way to the bathroom, she suddenly whirled around and said, “I’m watching a fairy tale about Humpty Dumpty on TV. It’s one of my favorites. He climbed up a very tall wall, and he should’ve asked his mom. But he didn’t.”

Jessa apparently has gotten the message that at this stage of her life, the ultimate authority on everything from family to fairy tales is Mom. Lisa homeschools Selah and Jessa in partnership with a public magnate school, an awesome parent support network, and an unlimited number of amazing resources that she finds on the Internet.

Given the declining emphasis on education in our state and the ongoing implementation of the ACLU’s agenda across the country, I’m very thankful that the Holy Spirit guided Lisa past an early, serious relationship. So she was able to experience invaluable life lessons in Latin American mission fields and secure an elementary education teaching degree before marriage.

I’m dedicating this chapter to my children – Lisa and Jon, the ones I gave birth to via cesarean section, three years apart – the parents of my grandchildren. And to the kids (from toddlers to teens) whom I’ve been blessed to know, who belonged to other parents. The men and women who did not have the unique opportunities I did to be alongside their children during teachable moments. Whether I liked it or not, I was the parent in authority who had to make judgment calls as the first responder in dozens of situations.

And I want to give credit to the teachers and the mentors, to divine guidance and unexplainable interventions, and to the supernatural “happenstances” that have made these stories worth retelling.


“These then are the things you should teach.
Encourage and rebuke with all authority.
Do not let anyone despise you.”

(Titus 2:15, NIV)




Think about the people in your life whom you influence in large, small, and indirect ways. If you are a parent, make time to take inventory of how you are using your God-given talents to nurture your children. If you are an employee, take mental notes at work when you notice opportunities to be a servant, as Jesus demonstrated to His disciples when He washed their feet (John 13). Perhaps you are single and pondering whether it is worth the emotional struggle to remain pure before marriage; or maybe you are outfitted with an “unfortunate” face or body shape that is unappealing to the opposite sex. No matter who you are or how your spirit appears in the flesh, God has a rewarding journey planned out for you. But He will not insist that you sign on for it. You will need to say to Him, “Here I am, Lord. Use me.”