We can teach our children that Jesus is a 1st Responder who we can go to with our highs, lows, and everything in between.
I am so undone by the goodness of Jesus. I was processing some deep things as my daughter was walking through one of her biggest breakthroughs. It was breathtaking to watch her walk this out on her own. While spending time with Jesus, I kept hearing the story about the woman caught in adultery. There are many thoughts about what Jesus was writing in the sand, so I asked Him to show me. He answered my question by showing me the position of His eyes. While the men of the day, who deemed themselves mighty important and superior to the rest, dragged a naked woman before the courts (the shame and humiliation must have been brutal), Jesus looked away. Could it be He knew His presence alone was convicting, and He didn’t want to stare at her nakedness? Then I heard Him say, “I didn’t defend her sin, but I did defend the JUDGMENTS against her.” I wept! Jesus isn’t about shaming you publicly for your weaknesses, sins, or messy places. He is there to defend the part of your heart that is in need of a Savior. Read John 8!
Nothing causes more hurt in families and the church than believers operating as spiritual orphans.
#1. The orphan spirit operates out of insecurity and jealousy. The spirit of sonship functions out of love and acceptance.
#2. The orphan spirit is jealous of the success of his brothers. The mature son is committed to the success of his brothers.
#3. The orphan spirit serves God to earn the Father’s love. The mature son serves God out of a sense of divine acceptance and favor.
#4. The orphan spirit tries to medicate its deep, internal alienation through physical stimulation. The mature son walks in the joy and presence of the Lord for comfort.
#5. The orphan spirit is driven by the need for success. The Spirit leads the mature son into his calling and mission.
#6. The orphan spirit uses people as objects to fulfill goals. Mature sons serve people to bless the Kingdom.
#7. The orphan spirit repels children. The spirit of sonship attracts children.
#8. The orphan spirit has anger and fits of rage. The spirit of sonship rests in the Father’s ability to control and guide the future.
#9. The orphan spirit is always in competition with others. The spirit of sonship is always blessing others.
#10. The orphan spirit lacks self-esteem. The spirit of sonship walks in the love and acceptance of Father God.
#11. The orphan spirit receives its primary identity through material possessions, physical appearance, and activities. The spirit of sonship is grounded in sonship and the Father’s affirmation.
For the areas you see the orphan spirit still at work, ask Father God to encounter you with His love and truth! For the areas you have experienced someone else’s orphanness, pray for them to receive God’s love.
I had to take a moment to process my heart in the midst of so much movement. I began to feel good about all that I have been able to accomplish in a short amount of time between packing, cleaning, selling items, arranging details, canceling utilities, securing housing, saying goodbyes, homeschooling, and on and on. I stopped myself from saying aloud, “I am a ROCKSTAR!”. I saw a mental picture of how weary and exhausted I was earlier in the week, and I heard God say, “No, I AM,” and I began to cry. Oh yes, yes, yes. It is YOU who gave me the grace and strength to accomplish all that I am able to accomplish. It is YOU who showed up in my weakness and made me strong. It is YOU who sustained me with Your power to end well. It is YOU who never left me. It is YOU who walked me through this part of my journey just like You have every other one. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 – “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Character matters because it matters to God. Children without character can’t sustain the gifts and assignments God wants to give them. It is much easier, by God’s design, to learn character IN childhood from parents who love and care for them. In this eBooklet, I will walk you through defining godly character (not legalism) and how to cultivate a lifestyle of character. Additionally, I will provide you with fun, creative activities to teach your children.
We don’t want to use our parental authority to control our children to keep our childhood wounds comfortable. We want to use the way our children trigger us to get healed so that we can respond to them as a loving parent.
We became a single-family two weeks before Christmas when the kids were tiny. That year Santa, baking cookies, and white elephant gift exchanges felt so empty to me. I burned for my children to understand they had a Father who adored them through the gift of Baby Jesus! I wanted to see how much of the story they already understood, so I told them to go in the backroom and create a skit with Hudson being Joseph, Emma as Gabriel, Lauren as Mary, and little Ellie playing the role of a wise man. It was the most precious thing I had ever witnessed. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I heard their version of the Christmas story.
This became a parenting tool for me. I would have the children role-play, act out or give a 2-minute speech on a subject, and I did it to discern what they knew, did not yet understand, or how they saw things from their point of view. I would use their play/skit or message as a way to add more to the story and help expand their understanding. It made ‘teaching’ fun and full of joy rather than lecturing. Now that they are older, they are less thrilled with acting out a story, but I have them create a 2-minute video or speech and share it with the family. It helps them pull in deep to see what is inside of them. This has been great with topics such as drugs, slander, bullying, kindness, respect, etc. Pick any story in the Bible and ask your children to create a skit acting it out. Then add more to the story as the days roll on to help them grasp the story deeper.
Want to give your children a gift today? Read through Psalms 139: 1-18 with them at the breakfast table. This is a powerful revelation of the goodness of God and rebukes the lie that we are alone. Anchor them today in His Word.
Is anyone noticing an increase of bickering, cranky kids, and sharp tones in their family? I know I have, and let’s call it out – it is ANNOYING! There is nothing more grinding to my ears than listening to my children use unkind tones with each other over trivial things. As I was exploring what was going on in my family, I remembered ALL of the sugar they had been consuming. Normally I let them enjoy their Halloween candy for a day or so and then collect it all, but I had forgotten to do that. I told them to get their candy, and I was mortified when I saw the massive pile of SUGAR sitting on my counter, waiting to be consumed. Yeah, NO. This will not go well to allow them to have a steady drip of this much sugar. We are mind, body, and spirit, and we cannot feed our bodies poison and expect to produce sweet results any more than feasting our eyes on violence and expecting peace. Or allowing our ears to consume gossip and slander and expect connection. In one day of removing the sugar, I noticed a massive shift in kindness, care, and gentle words!
Picture a funnel. Do you give your child so much freedom at an early age and then, as the year’s progress, begin to take away their freedom? Or do you start with smaller freedoms and gradually increase it as they display self-control to be able to use freedom wisely? Oftentimes, parents have this mentality that if they put restrictions on their small child, they are breaking their spirit, harnessing them, and controlling them. I beg to differ. When we allow our children to do whatever they want whenever they want, we are teaching them that the world is open and free. While that may be a perfect world, it is not the reality in which they live. The truth is if they steal, they will go to jail. If they speed, they will pay a fine. If they do not pay taxes, the IRS will knock on their door. The world is full of consequences and models God’s principle of reaping and sowing. There will be a time when you will have to say NO to your child, yet the more you teach them they can have whatever they want whenever they want it, the harder the battle will be for them when reality hits. Let’s flip the funnel upside down and limit their freedom as they have the self-control to manage themselves. We do not allow a one-year-old to climb the stairs because their little legs are not strong enough to carry them. We do not allow a ten-year-old to drive a car because it will create greater harm. The same applies to our parenting. You are not stifling them; you are building them up for success for the long haul.
P.S. Teenagers do not like their freedoms taken away! You will have fewer battles down the road if you start out small and build upon them. Entitlement is a tricky thing to break.
This is in response to the many questions I get about toddlers who are regressing or acting out when the new baby comes home. I had 14-month-old twins when their brother was born, so I went after making sure they felt secure. It is a big deal for a child to have their birth order changed. Think about it – they are the only ones who get Mom’s attention; she leaves for a few days and comes back with a new baby she is with all the time. Often, Mom is recovering physically, and others intentionally keep the older child away from Mom so she can rest. This is confusing to a child, and they can surely build up resentment toward their new sibling. One thing that was super helpful was the ‘5-minute dates’ with the twins when I knew Hudson would need me for feedings and such. I would bring them to the floor with me, and we would spend quality time together. If Hudson started to cry, I would say out loud, “Oh no, not now, Hudson. Lauren and Emma are very special to me, and I am spending time with them now. You will have to wait.” Of course, you don’t make a newborn wait long, but they have no concept of time. I was communicating to them that the baby has not replaced them, and they are still so valued and important to me. But then I would tell them it was Hudson’s turn and that they needed to play by my feet, watch a movie, read a book, etc. If they wanted juice or help when I was feeding Hudson, I reminded them it was his turn, and they had to wait. I intentionally filled them up like this for many days after we brought him home, and the transition was smooth for all.