Raising children is a unique blessing that comes with many struggles.
Christian parents have the privilege of raising their children to follow Christ and be messengers for His kingdom.
As Psalm 127:4 says, “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.”
But it can be incredibly difficult to raise Christ-like children in today’s culture, as Charlie and Alice Morris discover in the film, Like Arrows.
This couple’s struggles and joys in parenting echo the experiences of many Christian parents and provide food for thought.
The story begins as Alice tells Charlie she is pregnant. The news is a shock to both of them, and Alice doubts her ability to be a mother, remembering how her own mother told her, “You make a mess of everything you touch.”
Will she make a mess of motherhood, too?
Alice and Charlie are unsure of their way at first, especially since they’re not married, but their excitement at having a child soon propels them into commitment. A quick ceremony performed by the local Justice of the Peace transitions the couple into married life.
“I hope you know what you’re getting into,” Alice warns Charlie, even as they joyfully embark on their new life together.
Parenthood proves to be a rocky road from the start. Even before the baby is born, Alice worries about her fitness as a mother. Will she make mistakes? Will she be what her child needs? And does she truly understand what she’s getting into as a mother?
A kind nurse tries to set her mind at rest. “Honey, you don’t have to be afraid of a child,” the nurse tells her. “You’re going to be a great mom. All you have to do is love them and put the fear of God in them as they grow.”
As Alice worries about diapers and house renovations, the nurse reminds her, “I say you need Jesus more than [anything else].”
Alice is taken aback, but she’s also interested in the idea of going to church. When Charlie tells her, “If we got questions, we’ll find somebody who has the answers,” she decides that church might offer some of those answers.
Charlie is reluctant to step into a church, but he agrees to go for the sake of their child, a boy whom they call Ronnie. Church becomes a fixture in the Morris’ lives, but the messages they hear don’t sink in.
Fast forward fifteen years, and Charlie and Alice now have three more children: Kate, Josh, and Faith. They’re struggling to control their growing family, and Alice feels alone in her endeavors of motherhood.
Charlie is withdrawn and uninvested in his children’s lives, and Alice feels growing impatience with her young ones and her husband. Their family life feels dysfunctional and disjointed.
“When it comes to raising kids, the days are long, but the years are short,” advises a friend, when Alice and Charlie admit their exhaustion. “Children are the living messages that we will send forth to a time that we will not see.”
The couple is increasingly discouraged by the living messages they’re sending forth: Ronnie is swiftly becoming an atheist, Kate is secretly dating an abusive boyfriend, and Josh and Faith doubt their parents’ love.
“I can fix this,” argues Charlie, but they both know it isn’t true. They need help beyond the basics. They need to know how to guide their growing children spiritually, and they need to be guided spiritually themselves.
When their church offers a parenting series, Alice and Charlie hope to gain insights into the possibilities for their parenting. Along the way, they realize that their faith needs to be revitalized and restored.
“Our faith and believing in God needs to be more than just going to church on Sundays or praying before we go to sleep,” Charlie confesses to his children. “God doesn’t just need to be a part of our life…He needs to be the center of it.”
It’s a life-changing, and family-changing, moment.
How will God transform their family after all the struggles and pain? The remainder of the film is filled with emotional moments ranging from heartache to absolute joy as Charlie and Alice and their children grow closer together and closer to God.
Eventually, they find that “God has restored beyond repair” their years of parenting.
Like Arrows is a poignant, inspirational movie for all families and especially young couples who are just embarking on the journey of parenting. There are a few passing mentions of troubling issues, such as violent video games or drugs, but these are fleeting moments.