A CHILD’S HEART

A CHILD’S HEART

A child’s heart is smaller, so they leak quickly. But the good news is that they fill fast! An encouraging word, positive declaration, 60-second back rub, eye contact with a huge smile, notes in their lunch box, message on the mirror, helping them with homework or chores. It can also look like a balloon at the breakfast table, sitting together, helping them with their hair or outfit, eating together, etc., are all simple, quick ways that communicate love.

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?

I DECLARE

My friend Jamie says it best… “I love being a mom, and I LOVE that I get to speak life and destiny over my sweet ones every day.”

Children absorb every word spoken over them like a sponge, and it takes hold in their beautiful little hearts! Asking the Father what He sees over them and then getting that opportunity to call out what God is already calling them to be is such a blessing. Children are so precious and whether you have children or not, take time to encourage and speak life over them at every chance you get. Encourage them in boldness, love, and joy to run after Him and His beautiful plan for their lives.

LET’S CHOOSE LIFE

Proverbs 18:21 (MSG) says, “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.” Parents, let’s CHOOSE LIFE over our children every morning. You can do it verbally, on the bathroom mirror, in a frame (and change it weekly/monthly), or in their lunch box. Each day speak a fresh organic declaration over them or sit down and write them out for your whole family. We each wrote our own and had them posted on our bathroom mirror. I like to do it every morning on the way to school. When I pass a specific building, that is my mental reminder to make sure I am intentionally calling out who they are. I want them to walk into school wrapped in the statement, “I love you. You are important to me. You matter. I am proud of you. You can do this. You are my favorite. You are smart. You have got this. I believe in you.” This is easy on good days but vital when peace seems to go out the window in the mornings.

Here are a few – · I love being your mom! · If I could choose out of all the kids in the world, I would choose YOU. · You have got this. · I loved that you _____ this morning. · Your best is enough. · Best day EVER! · Go shine your light BRIGHT. · You are God’s answer to those around you. · I am so glad God put you in our family. · Being your mom is my favorite job. · I love you, and Jesus loves you. · You made a mess this am, but I love you anyway. · I am so proud of you. · You are such a hard worker. · I believe in you. · You are a joy to be around. · Your siblings are so blessed to have you. · You matter. · I love you to the moon and back. · That was really kind of you to do that. · You make me smile. · There is no one like you. · I love to see how you are growing up. · You are so special. · You are awesome! · I love seeing you smile. · I appreciate you so much.

ETCHED ON THEIR HEARTS

My mom was a school teacher and not only had gorgeous penmanship, but she also had a high value for it. Homework wasn’t just supposed to be accomplished in our house; it was also supposed to be done neatly. My writing was never perfected like hers, but even as an adult, whenever I write something sloppy, I have an internal check that I should either slow down or redo it. When we proactively teach our children who they are, we are helping them partner with God’s truth about them, which anchors them through life experiences. Example: God told me early on that my son would be a gentleman, so I have called it out since he was two years old. I have looked for ways he can practice being a gentleman (opening doors, helping with strong things, giving up his chair for an elderly lady, etc.). When my son does not act like a gentleman, something goes off inside of him that feels funny because he is acting in a way that is contrary to his true nature.

Children will exercise their flesh and act out; it is the nature of a child, but having the truth written in them helps guide them to become the person they are created to be. When children are not told who they are, they are influenced to become the things God never designed them to be.

ACTS OF SERVICE

A mom mentioned: When I read about children with the language of acts of service wanting you to help them, I thought of my daughter. An example would be me fixing her hair. Sometimes I don’t have time to help her and ask her to do it herself, and she does get upset actually.”

My response: I know you love her and show it through providing breakfast, clean clothes, and getting her to school, but can you increase doing it in a way that she values and understands? What if sending her to school with her hair done by you filled her tank in a way that empowered and helped her throughout the day to feel safe and secure? Would you want to do it then? She is giving you the keys to her heart. The amazing thing about children is that their hearts are small and fill so fast. A five-minute hair session can literally change her day! How can you create the time to communicate love to her? Can you wake up five minutes earlier? Can you braid it the night before? When you honestly cannot do it, how then can you communicate that you still love her without being able to do her hair?

Let’s slow this down for a moment. A child is asking for help because that is how their tank gets filled, and the parent to whom they are offering their heart begins to get upset and frustrated with them for not doing it themselves. They now walk away with a tank even lower than when they first asked. I KNOW this is not the goal of many parents, but this is what happens when we fail to understand *their* language. We have miscommunication and a breakdown of deposits in their heart. Hear the difference: “No, I already taught you how to tie your shoes. You be a big boy and do it by yourself. Stop fussing and get it done now. No, I will not help you. You are going to make me late. Hurry up,” VS. “Oh, buddy. I love that you want me to help you, and my heart really wants to, but I cannot right now. I need you to tie your shoes. I am so proud of you for the way you have mastered tying your shoes.” Can you hear the difference? One sees the heart and affirms them, while the other only sees the task. It isn’t a yes/no, you do it/I do it response. It is seeing their heart and making sure you are communicating and affirming your love for them.

THE JOURNEY HOME

I was struck by this question, “When did you stop being a daughter?” When I was 16, my mom wrote me a letter saying, “The umbilical cord is broken between us. I no longer care if you chose drugs or no drugs, straight A’s or F’s, success or failure, life or death.” I knew at that moment I was on my own and no longer had her heart or covering. It felt scary. I was unofficially adopted into another family and was invited to address the father as ‘Dad’. We were all sitting around the dining table at the cabin, and I said, “Dad, can you please pass the corn?” and he responded with, “I am not your dad.” I felt something shift deep within my body and excused myself. I went to sit on the dock alone and realized my hope and dream of ever being attached to a family had just shattered. It has taken me decades to find my way back home to my Father’s heart, and I am still discovering more areas in which I am invited to let go of fear, shame, and control and just let Him embrace me as His daughter. Each new morsel of His love feels like I have found HOME all over again. He is such a good Father. What about you? When did you stop being a son/daughter?

LANGUAGE OF LOVE

Once you know a child’s love language, you learn how to fill their hearts easily. I could spend my last dollar on a child, but if their love language is quality time, it won’t hit their heart as much as the child with the love language of gifts. I could spend every waking moment with a child, but if their love language is words of affirmation, they will still feel empty/low after spending all that time together. I could smear my child with endless praises, kisses, and words, but if their love language is acts of service, they will wonder why I don’t love them enough to help them. If you want to hit a bullseye into their heart, LEARN your child’s love language and go after it daily.

SHIFTING OUR GAZE

It is hard to know who you are when you spend the majority of the time staring at a lens with your own reflection. We only truly discover who we are when we gaze into the One who created us in His image. Selfies only reflect what you want to see. God’s image reflects who we were made to become.

BECOMING A DAUGHTER

I recently hosted a series of parenting classes at the local rescue mission for moms in crisis with drugs and alcohol. In all honesty, I said yes fully expecting it not to work. I told the manager I would do it once and then we could regroup. I was actually expecting to fail thinking there was no way these keys would work for them in their situation, but I was excited to get in there and pull on heaven for the keys and strategy for them.  To my surprise, not only did the parenting classes work (ha!), but it began to transform not only the women but the whole house. God highlighted five women to pull in further and mentor them. We met every week and the most glorious thing happened in our last meeting. I began to prophesy over each person and this powerful presence came into the room. Every single person (even staff) began to weep as we all realized *I* was not the one who He was going to give the keys to, but them!!! These women are learning how to be a Daughter, change the atmosphere around them and pull on heaven for the keys for others in their shoes. I am not sure I have ever witnessed the tangible move of the Holy Spirit like that before. These women are the heroes of their family line, they are the ones chosen, called and anointed to change the direction and lead the way for others to follow! 

BECOMING MORE LIKE JESUS

I will be honest with you and say that two of my children’s love languages are easy for me; I speak their language with ease and fluency. Yet two of them have unnatural languages, even a little annoying to me at times. I started learning more about love languages when I became a single mom, and I assure you the LAST, the very last thing this mama wanted to do was to be childlike and play a game to get that quality time in. Ugh! It was almost painful for me to speak their language of quality time, especially since I was already with them 24/7, non-stop. But my children mattered to me, and God has entrusted me to steward them well. I was learning to lay ME down to fill THEM up. I am a good representative of A SIDE of Jesus, but Jesus has many sides, and my children allow me to become more like Him and walk in greater love as I let their NEEDS grow me into being more like Jesus. John 15:13-14 (TPT) – “For the greatest love of all is a love that sacrifices all. And this great love is demonstrated when a person sacrifices his life for his friends.”