“Look, mom!  There’s a hawk sitting on our back fence!”

I stopped what I was doing in the kitchen to join my eldest daughter, Abby, who was peering out the back door window.

“Isn’t he pretty?” she said in awe.

Sure enough, in the dusk of the day, there sat the enormous bird. It was so still I wondered for a second if it was real.

“Ooh! And look!” My daughter’s excitement grew. “There’s a little bunny right there on the ground next to him!  Isn’t it so cute? Just look at them!”

The sweetest little rabbit was nestled in a the grass nibbling away like Thumper in a patch of clover.

‘This could get interesting,’ I thought to myself.

“Just look at them! They are becoming friends! Look, they are talking to each other!”

My daughter. The perpetual Disney Princess with the voice to match. It was as though she expected them to start singing and sewing her a dress to wear to the ball.

My youngest daughter, Lucy, strolled in from the laundry room. She had been doing her laundry and had a fist full of dollar bills. No doubt her sister had once again left her change in her jeans pocket from the day before. The show going on in our backyard distracted Lucy from the inevitable squabble she was about to start over who gets to keep the money. Stroking her newfound fortune, she too began to peer out the window.

“What are you looking at?” she inquired, dramatically displaying the wad of cash as if it could pull us away from our own personal episode of “Wild Kingdom” unfolding in front of us.

My eldest, still wearing her rose colored glasses responded, “A hawk. And a bunny. They are talking to each other!”

“Uh, honey I don’t think they’re ‘talking’ so much as they are negotiating dinner plans,” I said.

“What?! No!” She was appalled that I would suggest any sort of malice. “They are becoming friends!  Just look how cute they are!”

“I don’t think so, babe. Pretty sure that little bunny is in trouble.”

As soon as I said that, the hawk jumped from its perch on our fence, opened its talons and swooped down to snatch up the poor defenseless rabbit. Lucy was horrified. She panicked and screamed throwing dollar bills in all directions. She ran to her room, slammed the door and hid under her covers. Abby just stood there in the window feeling betrayed and speechless. Her mouth wide open, dumbfounded.

I’m a horrible person. I couldn’t stop laughing at the whole spectacle. I saw it coming. I tried to tell them both. And, as usual, my children didn’t listen.

As I began to pick up the dollar bills that had been abandoned on the floor by my horrified child, I got a little nudge from the Holy Spirit.

Our enemy is a lot like that hawk. He disguises himself as sheer beauty sometimes. Magnificent even. He can seem silent and nonthreatening to those who are not aware of his danger.

We are a lot like the rabbit (or my children). Clueless to the predator watching our every move just waiting for the perfect moment to snatch us up and devour us.

As much as I admire my children’s naivety and want them to maintain their innocence for as long  as possible, it’s my job to warn them of the dangers of the enemy. If you keep up with the news at all I don’t have to paint any pictures for you of the terror out there.  But, that’s not what I’m most worried about.

I worry the most about a predator disguised as a sweet teenage boy willing to manipulate and swoon my daughter’s into doing things they don’t want to do and scarring them for life.

I worry about the enemy using friends they think they can trust with their most precious dreams and secrets only to have them plastered all over the school. Betrayal.

I worry about the fun of social media turning into a horrible viral nightmare.

The temptations to cheat. Temptations to steal. One bad decision that can lead to a lifetime of regret.

I could have my children watch the news and warn them about terrorists, military actions and criminals. But I think it’s easier to shield them from the world than it is from the predators in their own backyard.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil  prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

1 Peter 5:8

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Bethany Donham

Bethany E. Donham is married to her high school sweetheart and the mother of two beautiful teenage girls. She is a full time Minister to Preschoolers and Families, but has a passion for guiding others to see the world with a Biblical perspective through her writing.

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