We had been preparing for this day for months. The newly printed books were delivered, the PowerPoint was loaded, the fancy booth carefully assembled, the long plane layovers accomplished. And suddenly a strange mixture of sleep deprivation, travel disorientation, and adrenalin rush caused me to be overcome with a desire for a nap. I reminded myself of my son Lucas, the college distance runner, who has been known to curl up in the bleachers for a nap just prior to a big race. Nap at a time like this? Lisa, that’s irrational. The precious people you have been praying for are due to settle in their seats in just moments.
In a flash, my mind reviewed the unlikely events of these last months. The successful publication of our family’s story in my book Kalyn’s Secret; the favor of nationally known people endorsing the project; the offer from Acquire the Fire to speak to thousands of Christian parents and teens at their conferences in 23 cities. Now here I was, ready to begin at the first of these meetings in Amherst, Massachusetts.
At the appointed moment, the parents began flowing into the room. Not a trickle as I had feared. But a steady flow. They looked just like I had imagined. Some younger and some older. Some in pairs and some singles. Some laughing and jesting, and some somber and serious.
The introductions were completed. I knew my voice was due next. I stepped forward and opened my mouth. A sense of divine destiny flooded my soul. Instantly, I knew I was in the right place. God, what have you done to my heart? As I looked in their eyes, I felt something I had only rarely known: Genuine compassion. These were my people. This was my “tribe” as Seth Godin calls it. The ones I am called to love. My war-torn sisters and brothers. Longing as I am to bring their youthful offspring to Christ-like maturity in the midst of a hostile culture.
As I relayed our story, the passion of our shared calling filled the room. I could see it on so many faces. The honest concern, the deep sorrow, the terrible feeling of inadequacy as parenting in this world gone mad. And we ask our teens, not yet fully mature, to make sense of pressures and norms more like Sodom than Eden. “It just isn’t fair!” our collective parental heart cries.
As I heard my own words, I was keenly aware of Someone greater than me talking. My Father was calling me, and all of us, higher…and deeper…and closer. I could now grasp what I could only dabble in before. To lead my children, I need Your Grace, God. Such a simple concept, yet so deeply profound. My wisdom, my knowledge, my strength will never work. But His will. That is what Kalyn’s story proves.
Tears filled many of our eyes. To make our fulfillment of Psalm 71:18 sure would take more than we had previously thought—but not more than He previously promised. By His grace, we would not stop until we proclaim His power to the next generation. That is our watch. That is our charge. And to the broken, weary warriors in our midst holding their wounded sons and daughters? We will not abandon you. You are our comrades. You are our friends. We will not retreat. We are Frontline Parents.
I heard His call to the Frontline as never before. Not in my ear but somewhere deeper in my spirit. Are you one of those called? Are you sensing something bigger than yourself? It is, as the scripture says, deep calling unto deep. We will not back down. We will not be intimidated. We will not be ignorant of the enemy’s devices. But we will not lose our kids. No. Not on our watch. Our children will arise from the rubble. They will take their places in His Kingdom. And they will complete their callings and destinies.
Many of the parents present brought urgent prayer needs. One with a daughter who hid the fact she was raped. And now her world is crumbling. Another scared to see the distance growing between the family and her teen. Two sons had been sexually abused and were now acting out in promiscuity. A concerned teacher with a whole classroom of wounded teens begging for healing. Anger. Frustrations……but something else is also present on the horizon. New hope! Surely our God knows. Surely He cares. Surely He has provided a way of escape. We must but stand still and behold the salvation of the Lord.
Spend thousands of dollars on airfare? Countless of hours of sleepless nights? Endure the interruption of our household routine? None of that even seems too big anymore. I have glimpsed the Father’s heart, and I would never want to go back.
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