We are in a never-seen-before season on earth. I passionately believe God is reviving families back into alignment with His original design and purpose for advancing His Kingdom on earth.
Bringing your family to life
Before you can teach your children how to hear their Father, you will need to align your thinking with heaven. First, you have to resolve the following question in your heart – does Father God speak to His children? If He does, you must stand in faith that it will happen. If you don’t believe His voice is for today, then you are walking in doubt, and that alone is an earmuff that blocks your hearing. If you do not believe that He wants to speak to you as a parent, then you will have a tough time acknowledging when He is speaking to your children. Often, we expect God to get our attention by screaming at us, and THEN we will believe He speaks. While He can do anything, typically, it is our faith that allows us to experience the Kingdom. John 11:40.
Let me give you an example: A child learns in Sunday school that Jesus wants to speak to him, and he BELIEVES it. He goes to bed that night and asks Jesus to speak to him in his dreams. He wakes up the following day and runs downstairs to tell his mom that Jesus took him all over the world and showed him that he would go before a king and tell him about Jesus. The mom says, “Ha, that is a wild dream, all right, but you can’t really go around the world like that.” The child declares, “No, Jesus took me. I saw Him, and He told me I would tell kings about Him.” Mom smiles and assures Junior that kids aren’t allowed to see kings for they are too important. No matter how much Junior insists it is real, Mom teaches him about reality. The child walks away, partnering with his all-knowing mother, and pushes the silly dream aside. These are generally the kids who are most hardened to the Christian faith down the road because they tried it and felt burned. Guess who the enemy uses the most to put earmuffs on a child? Yep, the unbelieving Christian parent. What if Mom responded, “WOW, Buddy, that is amazing. I believe Jesus speaks to us and can do it while we sleep because He never sleeps. I believe He created you to be a powerful mouthpiece for Him and that He has plans for your future far above your wildest dreams. How about you draw me a picture of your dream?”
Which parent do you want to be? Go ahead and spend a moment honestly processing your belief. Does God speak to His children today?
A – Absolutely!
B – I believe but haven’t experienced it.
C – I haven’t seen it, so I don’t believe it.
D – I was taught He doesn’t speak.
The term ‘orphan spirit’ is a little misleading in that it is not a demonic spirit that can be resolved by using your authority over it, like a spirit of fear or rejection. The ‘orphan spirit’ has more to do with the POSITION of a believer and which kingdom they are aligning their thoughts with. We are all born spiritual orphans because we all fall short of His measuring stick and have disobeyed. The Good News is that Jesus took our spanking for our mistakes, messes, and disobedience. For those who humble themselves and accept this profoundly kind free gift, He gives to us in exchange our adoption papers and the right to be included in His Father’s house and enjoy everything that is available to Him. It is like one big giant slumber party in the palace where there is plenty of food, joy, and laughter. Except the party does not end the following morning. We get to live like that for the rest of our days on earth. However, the process of discovering our full adoption takes a lifetime of exploration. The Bible calls it sanctification, which is the process of being set apart for His purposes. The moment we believe we are justified or adopted, there is a process that comes with learning to become a true Son or Daughter. Let’s say it this way. You were born into the foster care system and lived in a group home until God walked in, looked you in the eyes, and declared that He wanted you as His own. From that moment, He is your legal guardian, but it takes some time to learn how to walk as a Daughter and Son and leave the orphan life behind. My hope is that you will take a few more steps toward your Father and live out what Jesus has made available to you, His Kingdom!
God created us to be fully alive, deeply accepted, and belong completely. The aftermath of the fall is that man became a spiritual orphan separated from God and wandered around life, feeling profound feelings of abandonment, loneliness, and isolation. The Good News is that Jesus came to restore us back to that place of deep security with the Father. We can accept Christ yet still be wandering like an orphan striving, begging, and doing life on our own. Imagine a child digging through the dump fending for themselves and meeting their needs for food and clothing all on their own day in and day out with no rest in sight. Now picture a palace where the table is always set, and there is a room with your name on it. When we become Christians, we get the honor of living in the palace, yet some enjoy the view and go back to the dump laboring daily to meet their needs. It is impossible to raise a child as a Son/Daughter in God’s Kingdom when you occupy the dump yourself. If you want to raise them in the palace, you have to enter yourself.
Orphan Parenting is when we parent our children from the place of isolation, abandonment, self-protection, striving, loneliness, self-sufficiency, and lack. We are modeling to our children how to live like an orphan, not from Kingdom reality.
Kingdom Parenting stems from a confidence that you are more than enough and God is doing a good work in YOU; therefore, there is no need to compare yourself to others. You are fully aware of the journey and process the Father has you on because you are intimately walking it out with Him, and you trust Him that He knows best.
The following list is NOT a pass/fail. It is the JOURNEY of becoming more and more like Him. Everyone starts out as an orphan, and we will spend the rest of our days on earth discovering, realizing, and embracing the love of our Father.
Orphan Parenting – Orphans feel insecure about themselves, their performance, and their worth. They are competitive with others internally and are jealous of others’ success because it reminds them of their lack.
Kingdom Parenting – Sons/Daughters know they are loved and, out of that place, feel deeply secure to take risks, adventure out, and explore new things. When they see someone else gain what they desire, it gives them hope for what is available.
Orphan Parenting – Orphans cannot rest because they have to constantly be doing ‘good’ in order to feel worthy of His love. They are agitated when children are joyful and carefree because they do not feel they have the right to relax.
Kingdom Parenting – Sons/Daughters are able to experience the Father’s pleasure over them even when they are resting and are able to be at peace knowing He is well pleased with who they are, not just what they do. They welcome the joy children release.
Orphan Parenting – Orphans feel a gaping hole in their heart that is painful. They strive to fill it with outside sources (shopping, alcohol, porn, social media, etc.), but it only leaves the hole bigger. They often get annoyed with the confidence of a child who operates without the gaping hole.
Kingdom Parenting – Sons/Daughters are strengthened by intimacy as they have allowed Jesus access to the aches and pains in their hearts, which position them on solid and secure ground.
Orphan Parenting – Orphans have a deep drive for success, but with the goal of feeling worthy or good enough. It puts them in the driver’s seat of their lives at all costs.
Kingdom Parenting – Son/Daughters are confident in the plans God has for them and are led by the Holy Spirit to lead them on a life adventure that is full of favor, open doors, and eternal fruit. Their definition of success is measured by obedience, not popularity, ‘likes,’ or bank accounts.
Orphan Parenting – Orphans use people for their gain and advancement. They see people as stepping stones to their own agenda. They see people as an opportunity to network.
Kingdom Parenting – Son/Daughters serve those around them to build them up, following Christ’s example to serve and have a high value on connection.
Orphan Parenting – Orphans are annoyed by children and see them as a hindrance to their agenda who drain them of their time, energy, and resources. They respond with dominance, fear, and shame to control the child’s behavior to meet their agenda.
Kingdom Parenting – Son/Daughters understand the foolishness and immaturity of a child and respond with love and healthy authority.
Orphan Parenting – Orphans are often angry and full of rage out of ongoing fear that they cannot control the world around them. They have high levels of anxiety and worry.
Kingdom Parenting – Son/Daughters are confident that their Father is in control of all things and has the ability to work all things out for their good. Because their circumstance does not define them, they are able to respond in peace and not react.
Orphan Parenting – An orphan only feels as good about themselves as their outward appearance, clothing, number of ‘likes,’ material possessions, etc., allow. Orphans are always the first to get the latest trend and are constantly looking for praise and applause from others.
Kingdom Parenting – Son/Daughters are deeply affirmed by the Creator of the universe that He has created them to be unique and have immeasurable value to Him. They are secure and confident because of their relationship and intimacy with Him.
The ONLY way to cease acting like an orphan is to embrace the love of the Father and accept the invitation to act like a Son and Daughter. It’s already been paid for. All you have to do is receive.
Do you love your child? I realize that is a silly question to ask a mom, but if you were to ask children many would report they don’t feel like they are loved. Love is what we feel for them, but we have to be empowered in how to get that love OUT of our hearts and into THEIRS.
Go to The Love Language™ Quiz (5lovelanguages.com) with your child and have them complete the online Love Language quiz for children over the age of five (under five needs all of the languages spoken). Print out their results and spend time connecting by coming up with a list of 15 ways you can speak love in their language. This is important because if you don’t know what love looks like, you can spend years pouring your heart out, but to them, it sounds like a foreign language, and they don’t understand it. Speaking it the way they *need* it spoken is like getting a bullseye right into their heart. Do not get overwhelmed by this as a ‘one more thing I have to do.’ Chances are you are already doing many things to show your love for them. Wouldn’t you rather invest your energy where it was actually being deposited rather than unaccounted for? Also, many of you are dealing with issues with your children that are draining you greatly (attitudes, walls, anger, disrespect, poor grades, lack of attention, etc.) and nothing shifts circumstances more than going after their heart (above circumstances and behavior) and filling them with love. The Word says if you have everything, but have no love, you have nothing (1 Corinthians 13:2). This tells us love has to be a foundation above everything else.
The challenging thing about a child’s heart is that they are small and EMPTY quick, but the good things about a child’s heart are that they are small and FILL fast. Children often come home from school with lowered love tanks and not only need a snack to nourish their bellies but love to fill their heart tank. This will improve the way they interact with their siblings, respond to you, as well as, how they perform in school. Like watering a wilted plant, they come to life no matter what they have been through when watered with love in a language they can understand. The difference between a wound and a hurt is how much love they received in the midst of their circumstances. Your love as their mom is the greatest balm you smear on anything that happens to them, but you have to know what that balm looks like to them. Set a reminder in your phone to go off daily as a reminder to fill their heart’s love tank. This is one investment you can’t afford to neglect in your child’s life. Love is essential to thriving!
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.
It is so important that we understand this reality: Every person speaks a language, but that does not mean that he or she is communicating. We often assume that children should know we love them because we express it in a variety of ways. The reality is, however, that children are living in homes where parents are fluent in a language they know nothing about. Just because you work hard, provide a big home, clean, cook, do laundry, wipe snotty noses, change diapers, travel to Disney, and then repeat, does not mean that you are speaking their language. It means that you are an incredible parent who loves your children so much that you are willing to sacrifice your time and finances for them but have perhaps missed how to make sure all your hard work is actually being received.
Have you ever had those days when you feel like you are constantly butting heads with a child or when they seem to be going out of their way to be a bully to their siblings, yet nothing you do seems to work? Children with empty tanks, even with siblings, will often fight to get it filled. Disconnected kids act out like kids starving for attention! We are sending our children out into the world where they will encounter a wide variety of situations. They are growing and learning spiritually, mentally, emotionally, relationally, and physically at a rapid rate. Sending them out with a heart tank full of love helps them process, weather, endure, overcome and succeed far greater than the child who is on empty. The more they experience love at home, the more they will be able to handle what comes their way. Isn’t that true for you?
Picture an airport full of people wanting to board a particular flight going overseas that is only made once a month. It is a crucial connection for many people. There isn’t an option of getting there by another airline. People need THIS flight. An announcement is made that the plane has moved to a different gate, but it is in Arabic. How many people would miss their flight simply because THEIR language was not spoken? All the components to make the connection are there: the plane, pilot, purchased ticket, and even the announcement, but the communication was not received. How many kids miss that their parents love them simply because THEIR language isn’t spoken? These parents have given them everything, worked hard, and have a heart full of love, yet their kids wander through life not experiencing it. I find it interesting that CONNECTION is one of the words used to describe communication and that the opposite of communication is defined as WITHHOLDING. This is where understanding our individual love languages is such a vital key. I look at effectively speaking someone’s love language like an umbilical cord connecting two people. When you accurately speak another person’s language, what you release actually enters into their heart and soul. Knowing their language is like hitting the bull’s eye!
Homework – Go to The Love Language™ Quiz (5lovelanguages.com) and have YOUR CHILD take the quiz. Print them out and talk about them as a family (even Mom and Dad’s language). At the end of the quiz, there is an option to sign up for the weekly email, which is a short and sweet list of creative ways to speak love each week. Make sure you sign up for the newsletter, and they will send you short, quick, easy weekly reminders and creative suggestions for how to speak each language. A child’s heart is smaller, so they leak quickly. But the good news is that they fill fast! We owe it to our children to do our part in giving them what they need each day to succeed. Be intentional. Fill the tank. Reap the results!!