By Kelly Capriotti Burton
Do you believe in Satan?
If not, you are welcome to keep reading, but you might not totally get where I am coming from. If you want to get where Iâ€™m coming from, let me invite you at the onset to comment or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
I do not, do not, do not believe that Satan is a figure hiding under every stalled car and under every kitchen table around which a family feud erupts. I do not believe he is the reason for my allergies, my randomly large hair, my baby weight that is no longer baby weight, or my absolute inability to walk into a Target and spend less than $75.
But I believe in God and in His ultimate goodness, and I believe in the rules of balance, and so I know God has an enemy, and because I align myself with God, I have an enemy too.
And so, sometimes, when specific sequences of events occur, when roadblocks come seemingly out of nowhere and work together to stall me, to stun me, to steal from me, I open my eyes wider. I look out for my enemy. Iâ€™ve faced him before, and I know his patterns.
Today was not a special day. Weâ€™ve been on the bus, heading toward Nashville. The vocal work will be completed for Rodâ€™s new CD tomorrow, a project in the works for over a year, stalled by a shady partner and the business of life, birthed in both of us for its message of dramatic change and big grace, cared for in every detail of song, arrangement, and style. Itâ€™s a big deal, but most of the work is done. What happens tomorrow is the finishing touches and the coming together of some people who have become important to us.
Then weâ€™re to leave for Alabama for the first concert of Rodâ€™s new ministry, Hinson Revival. This is another embarkation that is also a half-unknown. We donâ€™t know where it will take usâ€¦but we do know itâ€™s a right direction.
Meanwhile, I was planning on using this â€œnon-deadlineâ€ week to catch up on â€œnon-urgentâ€ but still required tasksâ€¦ a website redesign, writing this column before the last possible second, answering messages.
But this morning as we loaded the bus, as I tried to chase the doubts Rod gets every time we load the bus (can I get an â€˜Amenâ€™ from all the ministers out there?), as we finally got on the road around 11am (to do so any earlier would be a miracle), I decided that I was going to be a Better Mom todayâ€¦ not for any particular reason, but because I didnâ€™t have crazy deadlines or extreme pressure, I could use this trip to build patience, look for teachable moments, enjoy my 2 and 3 year old girls in a way I only can away from the chores of home.
It worked, except for one thing: they wouldnâ€™t nap. There has not, in fact, been a solid naptime since Daylight Savings began a few nights ago. I am not sure what to make of this, but I will not allow my mind to go to the horrible place where daily naps no longer exist. For a Work At Home Mom of toddlers, for any mom of toddlers, naptime is a necessary salvation.
Ugh. Letâ€™s move on.
Anyway, one of the reasons I was able to maintain a more patient stature today, in spite of the fact that my Sweet Girls turn into Music Divas when we are on the road, is because I had naptime to look forward to, during which I would return a few calls, answer some emails, update a spreadsheet, write a blog entry, and maybe talk to Rod for a few minutes.
They never fell asleep.
And of course, in my Type-A inability to let go of the non-urgent tasks, in my creative-mind hunger to get some ideas out of my head and into a tangible saved file, my patience game started to become a losing one. There are only so many times you can say â€œStop,â€ â€œNo,â€ â€œDonâ€™t,â€ and â€œMommyâ€™s hair is not a ropeâ€ before it stops sounding loving and long suffering.
We made it through, though. Eventually, in between fetching milk and giving hugs and answering â€œWhy?â€ I even got every non-urgent task completed.
We rolled into town just after 8pm, I made â€œbus burgers!â€ and at 9, our darlings were in their springy-green Princess nighties and tucked in with nary a protest.
And then I went to close the door that is the girlsâ€™ closet door and the door that separates the bedroom from the living area andâ€¦ it was locked.
There is no key.
It happened before, a few trips ago (the trip when Miranda wrote on a pew with green pen, in case any of you lovely loyal readers keep track), and Rod was able to get it open with no problem.
After a few tries with a knife, it appeared to be a problem this time. So I hopped on the bed with the girls for a chat to keep them distracted while Rod worked on it. I let them â€œfixâ€ my hair and then we recalled our favorite things about Disney World. I watched out of the corner of my eye as Rod shimmied and shook that door to no avail.
The door being stuck? Also not urgent. But I could see a pattern emerging, one of obstacles sucking our time and energy.
Rodâ€™s project continued and the girls and I started singing, fun-singing in silly voices of our favorite Disney songs. We sang through the soundtrack of Sleeping Beauty twice and the door was still stuck.
And then they were starting to get restless, and part of me felt like we were going to lose a battle if they got out of bed (Iâ€™ll take another â€œAmenâ€ there from all parents of toddlers). Weâ€™d already prayed for the door twice, so when we came to the next song, I suggested Kaityâ€™s latest hit: â€œJesus Loves Me.â€
â€œThis we know,â€ right? That song is like the A-B-Cs, sung so many times that it loses its meaning. But I felt a purpose for it in my soul, as my mind raced between my overtired kids, my stressed husband, and the enemy I felt lurking near, trying to infringe on our sweet end-of-the-day peace. I felt the call of Mark 3, in which weâ€™re told evil spirits bowed down involuntarily to Jesus. So we sang. I orchestrated that.
What I did not plan was my childrenâ€™s response. They held each otherâ€™s hands, and mine, and we formed a circle on the bed, just feet away from that locked door. And with every repeat of the song, we sang louder, the name of Jesus filling our home on wheels. Pentecostal Me felt a spirit rising in battle and an excitement to involve my daughters in the fight.Â The name, the love, of Jesus is there for us not just as â€œcrutchâ€ which is what the world sees, but as a weapon.
During the third or fourth time we sang, the door opened.
With the name of Jesus fresh on their lips and minds, my children were re-tucked into bed.
It was just a door, I knowâ€¦nothing perilous, nothing beyond inconvenient. But Satan is always, always, always fighting for what is Godâ€™sâ€¦and WE are Godâ€™s. We, like many of you, have given not just our lives but our families, our time, our careers, and our dreams to Him. And the more we give to God, the more our mutual enemy tries to steal from us.
This night, it was our time, our peace, our order.
Next time, it will be something else, Iâ€™m sure.
Every time, I am so happy we have that Name, that even if uttered in a simple childrenâ€™s song, is enough to turn away a thief seeking to destroy what God is raising.
Hailing from Al Capone’s old stomping ground, Chicago Heights, IL, Kelly Capriotti Burton was a stranger to Southern Gospel music until marrying into it! Always a music fan, she discovered a fondness for gospel harmonies, southern hospitality, and road life while traveling with her husband, soloist Rod Burton.
Kelly has previously worked as a corporate project manager and a high school English teacher. She has written and taught in a variety of outlets and now spends her time caring for four children (two toddlers, two teens), assisting with Rod’s ministry, serving as Editor-in-Chief of SGN Scoops Digital Magazine, and to break up the boredom, working as a partner in YMR Music Productions, which presents the Branson Gospel Music Convention.
She considers life to be one unexpected adventure after another; her biggest so far was having two babies in 15 months after being diagnosed with infertility. She considers laughter (with a side of sarcasm) to be the best strategy, Godâ€™s grace to be the greatest gift, and miracles to always be possible.