I follow Tahni Cullen on Facebook. Tahni is a longtime ministry leader in Minnesota who is also mother to an exceptional young man who happens to have autism. Through Facebook, Tahni frequently shares insights of life through her son’s eyes, and more specifically through what Josiah communicates on his iPad. Personally, Josiah has been a significant source of inspiration to me. Many days, Josiah is my reminder that children who do not communicate in traditional means (verbally) are often absorbing and processing far more than we can imagine. Kids like Josiah aren’t just capable of spiritual growth, they are often chosen to be powerful spiritual influencers on the rest of us. Believing this to be true, Tahni invests significant time and energy into her son’s spiritual development.
Today’s post is a guest post from Tahni about how she prepares Josiah to put on God’s armor each day.
Little Kids Big Armor
When I was a kid, I was quite the dare devil out on the concrete-padded playground or freewheeling on my afternoon bike jaunts—where both adult supervision and helmets were certainly not required. Something happened when I became a mama, though. Suddenly, the neighborhood park looked like a series of death traps. Without my watchful eye, I felt my son could be broken, cracked open, bit by a tick or a flu bug, and bullied by a little punk. It’s a jungle out there—and that’s just at the fun places!
If we could peel away the veil of our tangible realities, we would see another ominous battle that rages all around us. We don’t like to think about it, but it’s there. It’s a spiritual battle on an unseen obstacle course, and not only are we in it, but our kids are in it. In case you haven’t noticed, our enemy has no justice system that keeps him away from scheming against and preying on little kids. That makes this mama bear want to show her teeth. And also whimper that I won’t always be right there to protect him.
I have a seven-year-old boy who happens to have autism and currently doesn’t communicate through speaking, so my mommy radar is probably higher than most. But, I have to choose to refuse fear of what “could happen.” Instead, about three months ago I started a practice of suiting up my son for the day. C’mon mom or dad, it just takes a little imagination mixed with charades to outfit the family with fashionable and functional divine battle gear.
This is what I say out loud to help my son put on his armor and weapons in under 30 seconds (based on Ephesians 6:10-16):
- I put on your helmet of salvation to protect your thoughts and to remember Who you belong to.
- I put on your breastplate of righteousness to guard your heart and emotions as you live rightly.
- I put on your belt of truth to defend you from any low blows of lies and to tightly secure God’s promises.
- I put on your shoes of peace that will bring good news onto any ground that you walk on.
- I put in your hand the sword of the Spirit, which is the living word of God that defends and fights for you.
- I put on your arm the shield of faith that will extinguish every burning arrow hurled at you from your unseen enemies.
- And remember, you can move forward because Jesus got your back; he is your rear guard (Is. 52:12).
- Finally, don’t forget underneath it all you are wearing your all-purpose garment: love. (Col. 3:14).
As he goes out of my sight, I know that by my faith and by the authority I have over him as my son, he been outfitted with divine protection. The enemy may be ruthless, but I know that there’s no such thing as a junior-sized Holy Spirit. The big, powerful, wise comforting One lives in him, and an army of intimidating angels can be his entourage. And all this goes for us big kids too. So suit up, and if you mamas so wish—add some bling. ~ Tahni Cullen
Tahni Cullen was formally a full-time staff member at Eagle Brook Church for 13 years before recently leaving to invest in helping her son expand his communication. She is also looking to share her family’s autism journey through writing and speaking. You can like their page “Josiah’s Fire” on Facebook.