I love feisty heroines who stand their ground, put their foot down, or dish it back out to the hero. I’ve never considered myself a gutsy person. Sure, I like rollercoasters, but I’ll climb the curtains if I see a spider. If someone says something negative, I have great comebacks—only a few hours later, usually alone in the shower. These great zingers tend to go unspoken. In the past few years, however, it’s as if I’ve been taking pointers from my heroines. My inner sass has blossomed, especially when it comes to fighting for my children.

My youngest getting ready to wrestle

My youngest son, my baby, who’s now taller than me, wrestles. It was his second year wrestling, and he was up against a kid who’d been in an elite wrestling club. The boy picked my son up and then did a pile driver (an illegal move) that slammed my son headfirst into the mat. My heart jumped into my throat as I stood on the ring’s edge, ready to rush in and call 9-1-1. My son got up dazed. His coach beckoned him over and asked if he was okay. My youngest took a moment, shook it off, and continued to wrestle. I could tell he was still a little rattled, and the other kid maneuvered him into an almost-pin. My son fought hard and held off the pin for what seemed like an endless moment. The other wrestler’s coach jumped up and stood over them, screaming, “Finish him! Finish him!”

I saw red.

I don’t know if I was filled with righteous anger or became possessed by a demon because little 5’3” me jumped in front of this bulky, vein-bulging-in-his-neck wrestling coach and screamed back, “Finish him? What do you mean finish him? That’s my son you’re talking about.” I was ready to throw down. I didn’t care who or how big this man was. He wasn’t going to hurt the child I bore, nursed, and spent sleepless nights caring for.

The Yiddish word for what I did is called chutzpah. It means bravery that borders on rudeness (or insanity—my definition). Jesus encountered a Canaanite woman with a lot of chutzpah whose daughter was demon-possessed. She followed Jesus, crying out, “Lord, son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering greatly (Matthew 15:22).” Jesus didn’t say anything, but eventually, the disciples became annoyed and asked Jesus to send her away because she kept shouting after them. Jesus told his disciples that he was here to save the Jews. It wasn’t his time yet to start helping the gentiles. The woman, however, knelt before Jesus and begged him to help her.

Jesus said, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

 “Yes it is, Lord,” she replied in her relentless mother-bear-mode chutzpah. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

Part of me thought, whoa now. Did she know she was talking to God’s son, who was there at the creation of the earth? The man who commands the angels and controls the wind and the waves? The other part of me cheered for her bravery. Her daughter was suffering, and this mama would pursue the man who had the power to heal her child. She would beg for his mercy and go to any length, even if it meant convincing him to change his plans. She knew Jesus was the only hope.

Jesus saw her faith, granted her request, and the Bible says, “Her daughter was healed at that moment (Matthew 15:21-28).”

Our children and grandchildren are watching. They are waiting to see if we have the chutzpah to stand up against the bullies that try to influence them. They are learning from us how to face down demons. Are we doing it with faith and God’s authority?

The length of our love and the depths of our devotion will be what makes a difference for their future. They are worth fighting for, so let’s muster our chutzpah.

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