Identity Stability

Knowing who we are and teaching our children who they are

LOVE KEY

I am not seeking to offend anyone with this, nor am I turning this into a debate, but I believe that the following story is KEY to understanding the NECESSITY of communicating LOVE to our children. 

Years ago, I led a small group with a friend I had known for years. I adored him and felt like he was my brother. One day he announced to me that he struggled with same-sex thoughts. I was dumbfounded; how could a man who loved and obeyed Jesus struggle with something so profoundly and I did not know of it before as his friend? Something in my heart demanded a breakthrough to understand his journey. I remember him telling me that his mom and dad were the best parents ever and that they loved their four kids passionately. The dad, however, never spoke his love language. The other kids shared the language of quality time, and the dad was excellent at that, but my friend’s language was touch, and his dad was not a touchy-feely kind of guy. He explained that as a child, he longed to be held, touched, kissed, patted on the back – just touched by his dad – and he never got it. He explained how he was almost obsessed with being touched by a man as a child. When he entered his hormonal teen years, he would find himself fantasizing, not about sex with another male, but about a man’s strong arms or big chest and what it would feel like to embrace them. The enemy will use anything, and soon, as his hormones were raging, confusion began to wage war, and he found himself moving inch-by-inch into sexual thoughts about another man. At that point, he had never acted on it, but it was a daily battle to control his longing to be held and touched by a man. 

Do you want to know what the saddest thing about this story is? Think about those struggling with these desires, and what happens to a person when they finally share their deepest secret with the parent from whom they long for love? They get rejected and stamped as unacceptable. And guess what that fuels? Their need and longing for love. Love matters!

RIGHT VOICES

Children who grow up with the wrong voices inside their mental bubble carry them around for years, shaping who they become. We can empower our children to reject lies and protect who God designed them to be. Proverbs 4:23.

FAILURE TO SEE

This story broke my heart when I heard it, and I haven’t been able to shake it. A young man was raised with legalistic parents. He went into the homosexual lifestyle and was cut off from every family member for not renouncing his ungodly lifestyle. He is in the midst of writing a book about his journey, which includes being raped as a small boy but never telling anyone. This I know for sure. After the rape, he acted out the splinters in his heart, as our bodies are not wired to hold onto that type of trauma. He was most likely angry, defiant, aggressive, rude, and/or withdrawn, yet was met with parents who had a high value for outward behavior. Could you imagine for a moment what it is like for a child to endure such brutal agony and then be spanked, isolated, or rejected while trying to process it? My heart screams out for children to be HEARD and for parents to understand what is happening inside their hearts. Our online class is not a product I am selling. It is a lifeline to HELP parents see and help their children. You cannot afford NOT to be empowered and equipped. Your children need to know you have the answers and tools to help them.

LOVE WINS

Mom of three shares: “I loved how this teaching exposed the strategy of the enemy and the current cultural and spiritual battle going on around the issue of gender and identity. I have been feeling these things for a long time in our culture and in many of my relationships but haven’t had the clarity to really understand the underlying forces at play until this course. So many great tools for helping my children and any lies or struggles they may face as well as walking in grace and truth with my co-workers and friends who still need the invitation to freedom and encounter with Jesus. And beyond the amazing tools, I also feel a new passionate fire within me to bring this revealed strategy of Heaven into my home, workplace, and church!” 

HEALTHY SEXUALITY

Are you concerned about all of the gender confusion and what it means for your child? Does talking about it make you feel intimidated? Are you unsure of how to respond to those around you? Not only do we need to start conversations, but we also need to become empowered so that we can enter the discussion with our children to empower them to walk in gender stability. 

IDENTITY

Have you figured out yet there is a war raged against the next generation? The name of the war is IDENTITY. Matthew 4 outlines how Satan attempted to steal, kill and destroy Jesus’ focus, calling, and identity. I love Jesus’ response each time as He simply declared, “It is written…” The Word was the weapon that anchored Him in victory. Jesus didn’t have to ‘fight’ this battle. He simply declared, “Nope, Daddy said so,” and that was enough. We already know the enemy is defeated but we must do our part as parents to respond as Jesus did to protect the attack on our children’s identity. We learn from Matthew 4 HOW the enemy works to steal, kill and destroy identity. There are countless examples all around us of people who are losing or have lost the battle over their identity. But take heart, dear friends, because God, as always, provides us with strategy in the midst of the battle. He is looking for those willing to pick up the sword of the Word and claim victory in their family. The enemy came to Jesus when He was ISOLATED. God puts us in a family for a reason. The church is called to be a place where the parts of the Body come together as One with Him at the center. This is the epitome of being seen, covered and known. When we are connected in family and community it is like a pack of lions surrounding the young. When the enemy shows his head, the lionesses arise. However, when families do not offer children a “You matter” and “I see you” type of community, the child feels isolated, even in their own home. Parenting styles that operate out of legalism, control and continued anger isolate the child leaving them open to the temptation of the enemy. The enemy tempted Jesus with a WARPED VERSION of the very thing that He was hungry for. Jesus was hungry for His Father and denied Himself physical food so that He could spiritually feast on the intimate connection with His Father. The enemy attempted to feed Him with food that could not nourish His soul. There is a longing in the soul of man for his Creator, yet the enemy fills him with the tastes of the world that satisfy the flesh and leave the soul empty. The more one feasts on porn, addiction, drugs, phone addiction, alcohol, video games, anger, control, etc. the deeper the hunger for it grows. All of these things DO meet a need for connection and power, but it is a warped version of the real thing God has intended for us. People who are isolated (physically, mentally, or emotionally) have deep hunger pangs to be in community which is why they make easy targets for warped versions of the real thing. Have you heard of people in desperate situations where they are isolated and get so hungry, they drink their own urine? While it sounds extreme to us, it is survival to the one in isolation and lack. The enemy offers ‘urine’ and they are so thirsty they do not fully realize what they are consuming. God did not design our bodies to be nourished by urine. The enemy then whispers seeds of DOUBT by attempting to give ‘evidence’ that God can’t really be who He says He is. Doubt comes wrapped in lies that may even look, sound or feel true, but are still false. The nature of deception is to cause someone to believe something that is not true, typically in order to gain some personal advantage. The enemy gains advantage when the lie is embraced because it gives him an invitation to influence that person. It is like going to the front door and welcoming him in our minds. This is also why it is pointless to shout at someone, “You can’t believe that” or “That is not true.” To them, it IS true. Children who have a big Daddy are less likely to get bullied. The bigger our faith, the less we are subjected to the temptation or ‘evidence’ to doubt.

Parents, it is vital to teach children that not every thought that crosses their mind is to be considered their thoughts or truth. We grab a hold of those thoughts that create arguments against God and toss them out. Oh, I long for you to see this. The war for our children looks like this: Isolate them in their own homes, feed them with the world that feds the flesh but empties the soul, cause doubt through lies that may sound true but are still lies, become their own god rejecting all others. God’s plan for our child’s identity looks like this: Put them in families where they are seen, heard, and valued, feed them with the Word of God, anchor them in His Truth and hold them accountable for living in a way that is pleasing to God, speak truth over them OFTEN, teach them to submit to God’s authority. This is an active, intentional strategy that requires parents to be engaged, plugged in and alert. 

HeartWork – Which area is being highlighted that needs to be increased in your family? Increasing connection? Speaking truth over them? Teaching them about His Word? Learning how to submit to God? Take some time and process this with God.

GOING AFTER IDENTITY

I am going to give you some great exercises to do with your children to go after IDENTITY.

Truth Notes – I often get a fun package of sticky notes (fun shapes, cool colors, cute animals) and then write words of truth to each child and stick them in their underwear drawer, between their folded shirts, in their lunch box, on the mirror, in their shoes – the ideas are endless. If they have a test, I will write, “You can do this!” and place it in their book or “Remember, you are never alone,” in their lunch bag. If my kids spend the night elsewhere or when they go to camp, they are armed with TRUTH notes from mom!

The Real You – When your child is feeling bad, believing a lie about themselves or just need some love, ask them, “What does Jesus say about you?” We cannot teach our children enough about the truth of their identity and what God says about them. The rest of their lives, they will get messages from others – their boss, friends, magazines, movies, and even unintentionally from us as parents – that communicate that they aren’t good enough or worthy. Taking the time in moments of peace to speak the truth will profit your child’s ability to become spiritually strong and fit for the long haul.

Who Am I? – Take an index card and write words that fit your child: “smart”, “loving”, “kind”, “secure”, “special”, etc. Wrap up that card inside tissue paper and place it deep within a gift bag (or brown paper bag). Do this before you bring it to the children. Now have a stack of Kleenex or tissue paper, and one by one as you wad it up call out lies: “stupid”, “mean”, “ugly”, “useless”, etc. As you call out each lie, place the wad in the bag. Do 8-10 lies/wads of paper. It’s okay to get crazy and have fun with this (they don’t know what’s coming, and the more they participate, the better the ah-ha moment will be). One mom taped a chocolate kiss to the index card to give them a visual of how sweet the treasure is inside of us. Explain to the child that the gift bag represents the heart that is in each person on earth. Remind them of the mean lies that were deposited into that heart. If a person hears that they are ugly, mean, unwanted, gross, etc., ask them how they think that person will act. Keep going until they take out each lie one-by-one until they get to the truth card. Ask them to open it up and read the card. Explain that each person on earth has something of value written on their heart FROM GOD, who made them. We are to go around FINDING that nugget of gold in each person. When they walk by someone at Wal-Mart and say, “You have beautiful eyes,” they are calling out the TRUTH about that person. When they speak life over someone, they are calling out the good!

Celebrate – I look for ways I celebrate their identity. My son was going through the highs and lows of being a teenager and frankly some days he baffles my mind. Since I am aware the changes are actually about him becoming a man, I will often go to him and put my hand on his heart and just say, “I bless your journey into manhood.” I am always calling out WHO my children are. We can’t put the entire focus on WHAT they do, or we will be teaching them that approval is attached to performance, but we can call out WHO they are despite what they do.

Tiny Baby – Go to a craft store and in the baby shower section, you will find a package of really tiny babies (to be used for games and on cupcakes). Place the baby in the palm of your hand and just focus on it for a moment. This is a great visual for children (and you!) of how big the Father’s hands are. No matter what we are going through, Papa is always bigger. He’s got us and we are safe and secure.

White Heart – Take a piece of paper and draw a huge heart. Spend some time being quiet before the Lord and then ask Him to show you what HE has written on the heart of your child (do this separately for each child). What are the passions, dreams, desires, and strengths HE has put deep inside of them? Write down whatever you hear and then deliberately partner with God to call that out in them.

Hello, My Name Is… – Go to the store and get a label/sticker and write things like “loving”, “kind”, “helpful”, “worthy”, etc. on it. Throughout the day, call out your child’s identity and remind them who they are. Ask Holy Spirit to make your ears sensitive to hear when your children call out a lie about themselves. Things like, “I am not good at this”, “I can’t”, “I am not smart”, “I am stupid”, “No one cares”, and show them their name tag and ask, “Is that who you are?” Show them it is a LIE from the enemy, and they can easily toss that lie out. It is so important that children get practice in hearing GOD’S words about them and learn how to toss out the lies. They will use this tool for the rest of their lives!

Treasure Box – Get a small box or wooden treasure box and place a mirror on the inside. Really build it up and tell them that inside this box is what God treasures the most, what He sent His son to die for, what makes Him smile the biggest, and what He is most passionate about – then have them slowly open the box and see for themselves. For Christmas one year, I did this and wrapped the kids a mirror with a ribbon super glued for the hook. We hang them on the tree every year as a reminder that we are the gifts God enjoys the most.

“Identity” is a very big word rich in meaning. This is just a tiny sampling of what we can teach our children about identity, but the most important thing is that they realize that there are two opposing views – what God says about us and the lies the enemy whispers. We need to choose which one we will believe and which one we will kick out the door. Don’t feel pressured to do these exercises all at once. Instead, be committed to being intentional about teaching your kids what God says about them throughout your journey. 

HeartWork Did you have a mom/dad who saw the treasure in you? How would your childhood have been different if you would have had a parent who consistently called out the truth about who you are? What kind of parent do you want your children to have?

IDENTITY STABILITY

 Let’s talk for a moment about the process of isolation and lies as it pertains to sexual instability. When a child faces sexual abuse or emotional trauma it affects their mind, body, AND spirit. After the event is over the door remains open in the spirit realm, which is why many never fully recover despite therapy or counseling. It is common for childhood sexual abuse and emotional trauma to be confusing to their underdeveloped brain. Sometimes the child deeply admires the one doing harm, and it confuses their heart. They love the person but dislike what’s being done to them. Other times a child is confused by the way the abuse made them feel. I am not saying a child liked being abused as their spirit is aware it is not okay, but sometimes the child values the attention being given and it confuses their mind. They associate affection and attention, a God-given need, with something that is twisted and unpleasant. The confusion and lack of clarity bring isolation and shame (something is wrong with me). If someone of the same sex violated the child, a spirit begins to influence the child giving them ‘evidence’ (lies) that they were created differently. It is essential when helping children process molestation, abuse and emotional trauma that we close doors in the spirit realm, as well so that the enemy no longer has a legal right to influence, harass and mentally torment. Often people who struggle with their sexual identity will say they knew since they were at a very young age of their preference, yet a human body is not sexually activated until puberty. I, however, fully believe people who give this account of their journey because the enemy isolates and then whispers lies to children ALL THE TIME and their sexuality is not exempt. I believe it is a primary target of the enemy simply because of the profound isolation and shame it brings to the core of one’s existence. Never before have we seen such an epidemic of people struggling with the way they were born. I have ministered to men who grew up in homes where their mom was so abused by the men in her life, she had a bitter judgment against the entire male race. Her son’s sexual identity threatened her, and she would attack anything masculine. The isolation is paralyzing for a young boy who doesn’t understand why being a boy is wrong and unacceptable to his own mother. The enemy isolates and then whispers the lie, “You should be a girl,” “If you were a girl your mom would love you.” There is a girl who grew up in extreme emotional trauma (isolation) and would have paralyzing nightmares. She would go to her mom in the middle of the night shaking. Her mom would allow her to come in her bed, but she had to rub her back to stay. The girl began to believe that being comforted meant touching/affection with someone of the same sex. A friend was raped by a teen girl when he was just four years old (isolation). It opened the door in the spiritual realm to be harassed and tormented. He grew up with an unhealthy interest in private parts which was the evidence (lie) that he was born gay. He grew up in a home where his dad was physically and emotionally abusive (isolation), and when he was in the 3rd grade, a teacher called out in front of the whole class, “You will grow up to be a gay,” and then proceeded to instruct the entire class on what that meant (shame). From that day on, peers changed his name to a girl’s name.

If children aren’t taught by parents who they are created to be, the world around them will. Countless times I hear the story of a child who is born with gifts and talents that are different than the expectation of the parent such as a boy with a music talent or a girl who doesn’t like dresses and they are taught something is wrong with them (isolation) for their likes and interests. In isolation, the enemy whispers lie about their true identity. Their ‘evidence’ (lies) is that they must be born that way because they can’t deny their love and passion for their gifts and talents. This is inferior parenting, not something wrong with the child.

Many of you know my story where my mom asked me my entire childhood if my dad ever did XYZ in the name of sexual abuse. She never told me he did but asked me, putting the burden of discovery on my shoulders. The isolation of those thoughts tormented me every day of my life for nearly twenty years. It gripped me so deep, death was my only relief (lie). As I have walked out this journey, God revealed nothing happened with my dad. It was a lie. I began to process with God how in the world could a mother do that to her own child. What He showed me is PROFOUND. I pray that you have eyes to see what God revealed to me. My mom had unforgiveness in her heart towards my dad through their failed marriage which is always an open door for the enemy to influence, but my mom saw a sexual spirit ON me, and the enemy put 2 and 2 together, but his math was wrong. My mom honestly believed my dad did something, but what she was really seeing/feeling was that I was exposed to porn from a neighbor and a sexual spirit was attempting to influence me through the shame of what I had witnessed. I was a girl who needed to be protected from that spirit, but because of the unforgiveness in her heart, the enemy influenced her with a lie that nearly cost me my life – literally.

The above story about the young boy who was raped by a teen girl is another example. The teacher SAW the sexual spirit on him, and because of his own heart, the enemy helped him to put 2 and 2 together that he must be gay, but the truth was HE NEEDED HELP! That precious boy was being abused and was in profound emotional pain, shame and isolation. He needed to be protected in private, not exposed publicly. He needed love, not shame, community, not isolation. When Christians demand behavior modification when someone is struggling it only brings more shame and isolation. At the same time, I think the greater pain is when Christians move into apathy claiming, “We just need to love like Jesus.” It is NOT loving to hear the stories above and leave someone in their confusion, isolation or pain. It is not loving to accept the band-aids of those who have endured mental torment at the hands of the enemy because of what others have done to them. It is not loving to reject, nor it is loving to tolerate. Love looks like embracing those in our community who have walked through isolation so profound that the enemy has lied to them about the core of their existence. The reason why this is such a heated issue between Christians and the gay community is that it IS a spiritual issue. We have failed to equip the Body with tools to help CHILDREN who are being sexually abused and in emotional trauma (isolation) and have only pushed in the wounds deeper by ignoring their experience and demanding they change their behavior. This breeds children who grow up to judge and rebel against those who failed to help in their time of need. 

HeartWork – I want you to crawl back into the story of the young boy who was raped by a teen girl and how the teacher responded. Ask Jesus to show you a picture of His heart for that child. Let Him align your heart to His.

IDENTITY STABILITY

I·den·ti·ty – Noun – the fact of being who or what a person or thing is.

Sta·bil·i·ty – Noun – the state of being stable. synonyms: firmness, solidity, steadiness, secureness, strength, fastness, stoutness, sturdiness, security, safety.

According to the dictionary the word IDENTITY is a noun and is based on FACTS. A fact is something that is known and proven true. Some will say that our identity can be anything one wants it to be, but that defies the definition of identity. A cow can’t just decide they want to be a monkey and swing from the trees. Attempting to ‘be’ a monkey would reap a lifetime of defeat, not to mention bumps and bruises. An ant can’t decide they want to carry their young in a pouch like a kangaroo because they don’t have a pouch! Wish as you might, but a clock can’t just start operating like a car because they are wired completely different.

In order to fully be alive, we need to answer two questions – WHY was I created and then HOW was I created? My parenting is anchored in these truths about my children.

Psalm 139:13-16 (MSG) – “Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.”

Jeremiah 1:5 (MSG) – “Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations— that’s what I had in mind for you.”

Do you have faith in what God says about your child’s existence? Oh friends, this is the GOOD news! We aren’t here by chance or accident. He didn’t mess up the design, switch parts or make an error. We are purposely created with the utmost of care and intention. We are not manufactured at record speed; we are knit together by our Creator with a plan and purpose (the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists). We are ANCHORED when we understand that we were created by design for an incredible purpose. The world will tell you otherwise because they are without the hope, promise, and mindset of Christ. To know your identity is to also know that others haven’t yet discovered theirs. Discovering how we were created is not about reading a manual, but a glorious process of discovery with our Creator. This is one of the reasons why God put young vulnerable children in families and not as orphans. As parents, we get to blow on their areas of strength and empower them in their areas of weaknesses. We have the privilege of helping them unpack what is inside of them by God’s intentional design to impact those around them. The more this is discovered in childhood the easier adulthood will be because they already have a grid for who they are. You can’t operate successfully unless you know your original design and purpose. Establishing identity is a building block that is essential to building a strong foundation. If you don’t know who you are then it is going to be very hard to walk in the fullness of all that is inside of you with confidence and boldness. If you want your child to grow up bearing good fruit in their life, they must be first taught who they are. Our identity is who we ARE, and our destiny is what we are called to DO with our time on earth. Identity always comes before destiny because you have to know who you are before you can discover what you were created to do (and it is a loving Father not to move you into your calling before you have established your identity as His Son and Daughter). When a person doesn’t know who they are they become double-minded. Their mind tells them one thing and their heart tells them another. Each one cancels the other out rendering the person motionless. “I should”, “I shouldn’t”, “I am”, “I am not”, “I do”, “I don’t”… The cycle rages on in all areas of their life reducing their capacity to a cycle of unanswered mental questions. James 1:8 says, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” God calls us to walk in confidence and assurance, not double mindedness.

Here’s the deal – if we, as parents, do not partner with our child’s Creator and help them discover who they were knit together to be, the world will. The two worlds are vastly different in views, purpose, and identity. More than ever the world is reaching children with a non-Biblical worldview which does not line up with God’s intention, plan, and purpose for your child. It is crucial that we shift from the parenting mindset of ‘shaping’ and ‘molding’ our children into something and learn how to partner, call forth and pull out what God has ALREADY created them to be. Paul was never meant to be a football player. Moses was never meant to be a worship leader. David wasn’t meant to be the president of a company. They changed the world because they discovered and then walked in who they were designed to be.

HeartWork – I want you to take out a sheet of paper and draw an outline of a body. Spend some time with your child’s Creator and ask Him to show you who He knit your child to be. How do they see the world? How does their brain work? What makes them come alive? What are their gifts, skills, and talents (even at a young age)? Allow Him to introduce you to the child He knit together.

GIFT BAG

Take an index card and write words that fit your child: ‘smart,’ ‘loving,’ ‘kind,’ ‘secure,’ ‘special,’ etc. Wrap up that card inside tissue paper and place it deep within a gift bag (or brown paper bag). Do this before you bring it to the children. Now have a stack of Kleenex or tissue paper, and one by one, as you wad it up, call out lies: ‘stupid,’ ‘mean,’ ‘ugly,’ ‘useless,’ etc. As you call out each lie, place the Kleenex ball in the bag. Do 8-10 lies/balls of paper. It’s okay to get crazy and have fun with this (they don’t know what’s coming, and the more they participate, the better the ah-ha moment will be). Now, explain to the child that the gift bag represents the heart that is in each person on earth. Remind them of the mean lies that were deposited into that heart. If a person hears that they are ugly, mean, unwanted, gross, etc., ask how they think that person will act. Keep going until they take out each lie one by one until they get to the truth card. Ask them to open it up and read the card. Explain that each person on earth has something of value written on their heart FROM GOD, their Creator. We are to go around FINDING that nugget of gold in each person. When they walk by someone at the store and say, “You have beautiful eyes,” they are calling out the TRUTH about that person. When they speak life over someone, they are calling out the good!

“Identity” is a very big word with a loaded meaning. This is just a tiny sampling of what we can teach our children about identity, but the most important thing is that they realize that there are two opposing views – what God says about us and the lies the enemy says. We need to choose which one we will believe and which one we will kick out the door – about ourselves and others.

Talk about ways we can call out the truth/good, as well as ways we deposit the lie/bad into someone’s heart. Which one do we want to be?