At the height of Covid, when almost everyone was frantic with fear and everything was shut down "for our safety," our family discovered a church just a few miles down the road from us that continued to meet throughout the pandemic and made masking totally optional. No pressure either way, and no judgment. That restoration of freedom and sensible action was such a breath of fresh air for me in particular, and the teaching that we heard week after week from then on confirmed that God led our family to this place and to these people at just the right time.
My husband immediately loved this church, too, but for another reason. The congregation had a good number of families led by physically strong, mentally intense, and spiritually confident and committed men - - military and law enforcement-type guys with personalities, professional backgrounds, training, life experiences, and lingo very similar to my husband. His kind of people. I won't speak for all women, but these are the kind of capable men who make me feel safe. I know I'm in good hands if things suddenly go south.
So imagine the dramatic silence and collective held breath during service just a few Sundays ago, when the pastor said, in this highly trained company, "I know there are a lot of men here who think that the ultimate display of protecting your family means having a loaded pistol in your closet. But that's not it, guys. Protecting your family means you keep evil out of your home."
It was a powerful moment, and I still can't get those words out of my head. I haven't really even talked to my own husband about it yet, but I know he felt the magnitude of the statement.
In a world where so many are "standing in their truth," but not standing in The Truth, and blind toleration has been deemed a glorious virtue, it's so very easy for us to become apathetic and complacent towards the subtle ways in which evil infiltrates our lives and our homes. It's not violently crashing through windows or picking locks to enter undetected through the basement. Evil is being freely welcomed right in through the open front door, and we don't even recognize it.
As I've only begun to sort through the deeper implications, I've had the thought that men are called to protect their families in 3 ways: MIND, BODY, and SPIRIT. But what does that mean, and how does that look in real life?
I realize we all have different faiths, values, and experiences, so I will keep this somewhat vague so you can determine the specifics that might apply in your home. But here are a few things that come to mind when I think about the influence a man can and should have within his family:
What role does money play in the home? How is it allocated?
What kind of content is there on the television, laptop, and cell phones in the home?
Who are the most influential people/personalities in the life of his children? Whom do they admire and seek to emulate?
What is the nature of the lyrics of the music played in the car and in the home?
What kind of evening and weekend activities are esteemed, and which ones are disparaged?
How are big events and milestones celebrated?
What kind of language is modeled, tolerated, and encouraged - specifically when directed at difficult-to-like people, and when emotions are running high?
What kind of food is routinely purchased and consumed in and outside the home? (You knew this was coming, right? Oh, guys - you are in a position to do so much good here, and your wives need your support!)
What kind of stress management tools are modeled?
What books are read? Which books are avoided?
How do family members pass the time when alone and/or bored?
What kind of value is placed on cultivating a healthy body and sound mind?
How do family members talk to and about one another, and themselves? On whom or what do they base their identities? Where do they find their worth?
What are the top 3-5 priorities in the home? How can you tell?
What jokes are told? What does the family find funny?
How peaceful is the home? How content are the wife and kids? Are they prayed for?
Who or what serves as the family's fulcrum of truth?
I recognize that this list of questions is not nearly so sexy as arming yourself with a modern weapon. But make no mistake - a man who desires to protect his family has no easy task before him, because there are evil influences at every turn. With that in mind, what a blessing to his wife and children when a man purposefully steps into this role as protector and defender and embraces it wholeheartedly, desiring to be the best he can be!
Women, pray for your husbands as he shoulders this load, and do all you can to support his efforts to keep you, your children, and your home safe from evil influences.
The Lord watches over you -
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm -
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.