Her Screams Were Silenced

As we settled down together on the carpet in my children’s bedroom, my bedtime reading was suddenly interrupted by the horror that lives below us.  It’s not unusual to hear screaming and crying from the tenants below.  I’ve heard the father yell and I’ve heard the momma cry and I’ve heard children scream, but it’s always been after my own children were asleep. This family does not know Jesus and they do not know the joy of tasting peace that passes understanding.

Yes, I’ve heard them before, but not like this.

Tonight was different and there was no hiding it from my precious ones…

My husband was gone, sharing with the national friends that he hangs out with on a regular basis, and I was in charge of our usual bedtime routine at home. As the loud crying of a child began below us, I just started to read a little bit louder as a way to protect my children from what was happening. After moments of crying, I heard the mother and was so startled that I froze and my children sat uncharacteristically still.  I heard banging and I heard crying and I heard her yelling with a voice of rage that I have never in my life heard from a woman.  In that moment of shock, I didn’t know what to do.  My young children seemed to grow more quiet than normal and I realized that I had to make a choice right then and there as to how I was going to handle this situation. I attempted to continue reading like nothing was happening, but I found myself completely distracted and panicked over the strife that now echoed through our bedroom.

“I could read really loud and maybe they won’t hear the chaos,” I thought to myself

“Maybe I should blast music and I have one more dance party today. Yeah, that will drown the fighting out,”  I thought

After a couple minutes of wrestling, I decided that there was no ignoring the rage that my innocent ones were listening to. I slowly put down the Berenstain Bears book that I was reading and followed the Lord’s leading in a moment of profound discipleship with my children. I decided to brush over what I know we all heard would be choosing to live in the denial that comes from feeling helpless. I am not helpless – Jesus is with me.

“Do you guys hear that child crying?” I asked my kids

“Yes,” said my son.  “And I hear that mom. She is so mad”

“Yes she is.  She doesn’t know Jesus and the Holy Spirit does not live in her so that’s why she is yelling like that,” I explained

“Let’s pray for them, ok?” I suggested

Together, my children and I bowed our heads and went to war.  I begged God to comfort the child and help him to stop crying.  I asked that the mother would calm down and that she would have patience.  I prayed against spiritual warfare and I asked for their home to be filled with peace.  I asked for them to have dreams and to decide to follow Jesus and I asked the Lord to fight for them in the battle that is being waged for their very souls.  I’m not sure which was louder – the call to prayer blasting from the mosque near our home or the screaming and banging below, but I knew that my prayer through Jesus is powerful and can shake a kingdom and pull down strongholds. And so I focused and I took ownership of my role as daughter of the King, and I interceded for this family that lives enslaved to death.

As I said “amen,” I picked our book back up to continue reading.  I hadn’t even spoken 5 more words of the story before the deafening screams went silent.  Just like that – silence; startling silence that was the fruit of my prayers. As joy and wonder welled up inside, I heard the most beautiful Truth flow from my son’s mouth..

“Wow! God IS with us,” He exclaimed “He is so awesome, mom!”

I’m not sure why I was surprised, but truly, my prayer was answered almost immediately, leaving no question as to whether or not the Lord saw us and heard us.  Sometimes I feel so insignificant in this country. I do my best to share the love of Christ and His Good News when I can, but much of my time is spent in our apartment with our children.  Many of our neighbors are gone all hours of the day at school or work and I’ve found the lack of friendship in my neighborhood discouraging.  However, tonight the Father gave me a glimpse at the power of my prayers and the significance of discipleship with my children.  They are young, but yet they are called.  They too have been brought by His mighty and sovereign hand to this country that is nothing like I envisioned for their childhood.  But the moments like tonight where my children literally see God’s wonders shine against the darkness of our surroundings, every single struggle of this life on the field is completely worth it. Overwhelmingly worth it.

Please pray for this family that lives below us! Pray for opportunities for us to get to know them and share with them! Pray that God will give them dreams and pray that they will choose Jesus! There is so much power in your prayer – may we never neglect the sacred gift of talking to the Father on behalf of lost souls.

“You cannot know what prayer is for, until you know that life is war.” ~John Piper