Get Inspired Into Healing

Laying My Kid on the Altar

For days, I’ve been wrestling with the fact that I may need to leave my two year old to go on a work trip. God has been telling me for months that my time to leave is coming, that I must prepare my heart.

Three days ago, God told me he wouldn’t make me go; that I would only be sent if I prepared my heart to leave her cheerfully. “Cheerful” is not how I would describe my disposition towards leaving my baby. “Terrified” is more like it.

Then, I had a vision.

A Vision from God

One night, while I was praying over my baby as she was sleeping in her bed, I saw in my mind’s eye a vision of Abraham walking up a mountain with his young son, Isaac. “Daddy, if we are going up the mountain to offer a sacrifice to God, where is the animal?” asked Isaac. “God will provide it, my son,” replied Abraham. (See Genesis 22:1-19.)

Then, I saw myself standing at the altar of stone and sticks Abraham had built. But instead of Isaac lying on the sticks, it was my child! I felt that God wanted me to do what Abraham was willing to do—slaughter his son with a knife as a sacrificial offering to God—but I couldn’t bring myself to hurt her. I asked God to send down fire from Heaven to take her instead.

God sent down a fire directly upon her and I cried out with fear as the flames roared across the sticks. But the flame, which had engulfed her, did not consume her or the sticks! Instead, it floated around her like fireflies, and it reminded me of the burning bush that was not consumed, which Moses saw in Exodus 3:1-3. My daughter laughed as the fire danced around her fingers. She was delighted and not at all frightened.

Then, I saw her grow into a young woman, who was now seated upon the altar. My daughter leaned towards me, put her face up to mine nose-to-nose, and said, “My strength is forged in the fire. Teach me to be strong like you.” I replied in between huge sobs of tears, “I promise I won’t steal your opportunities to get strong!” That’s when the flames faded away as she shrunk back to her two-year old self, stood up on the altar, and hugged me.

“YOU MAY KEEP HER FOR A LITTLE WHILE LONGER, BUT YOU WILL EVENTUALLY HAVE TO GIVE HER TO ME,” said God in a loud but loving thought that echoed in my mind.

Interpretation of the Vision

All of a sudden, I got an instant-knowing in my heart of what God meant through the vision. God had asked Abraham to put his son-of-the-promise onto an altar not because he was threatening to take away this gift if Abraham idolized his son (a commonly taught interpretation), and not even because Abraham needed to learn that he must obey God no matter what (also a commonly taught interpretation) but rather because Abraham was at risk of inadvertently stripping his son of the inheritance God had prepared for him. God was teaching Abraham how to let go of the reigns and let God shape his son’s life.

I instantly knew that as parents, we can inadvertently lead our kids away from God’s plans by our desires to keep them safe or make them successful by our standards. We can protect them from the very experiences they need to become strong, wild, free, and joyous—the way God intends them to be. In the name of love, we can cripple our children’s hearts and futures because God’s good gifts can only be received by going through God’s difficult process and journey.

In the name of love, we can cripple our children’s hearts and futures because God’s good gifts can only be received by going through God’s difficult process and journey.

– Tenay Benes

My Application

In that moment, I realized that not being willing to leave my child would take her off of God’s path for her life! (Wow. Not only is this surprising in general to a new mom like me, but I cannot begin to tell you how counter-cultural this is to what a lot of Christian parenting books and blogs teach.)

No, I love my kid too much to guard her from her future in God. So, instead, I decided to get her a bear that wears the same uniform as her mommy. Perhaps it will make her feel connected with me whenever I have to go.

Me in my Army uniform with my toddler wearing my hat—hugging her new Army bear together.

That’s right: my job as a parent is not to protect my kid from all difficulties; it’s to prepare her for them so that she can work through them and get stronger!

What are some ways you prepare your kids’ hearts to handle difficulties in a way that makes that stronger?

One response to “Laying My Kid on the Altar”

  1. […] in childhood that good mommies stay home with their kids. You may also know that God has been encouraging me to travel anyways. It’s been a hard sell but I’ve been obeying with greater faith. That is, until last […]

Related Posts

Discover more from Tenay Benes

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading