Remind your children how big God is by telling them stories of His incredible power in other challenging stories in the Bible. He always comes through and always knows what He is doing (always). Make it a family date to have a bedtime story each day for a week using the stories of the Bible. You can read them out loud or simply share them in your own words.
My heart is heavy for the parents facing hard things with their children. I want to encourage you with the following: #1. ANGER – Be mad, let it out, and process those emotions. Scream in a pillow, journal, beat the sandbag, go for a hike, vent to a friend – whatever you have to do to GET THOSE EMOTIONS OUT! You cannot afford to carry the weight of those emotions with you. Get them out so you can let them go. #2. GRIEF – Many of you are grieving. Grieving for your family, your child’s heart, the plans for the year, and your ability to juggle it all. This is real and must be acknowledged. Grab your journal and begin, “God, I am so sad that…” #3. HOPE – It is hard to be anchored in hope if you carry around a lump in your throat, are ready to explode, or feel like a victim. Processing your emotions and heart will help you move into HOPE. Hope is anchored in THE truth, not the facts our circumstances scream at us. Declare the TRUTH! God has not left you. You have what it takes to not only survive but thrive. You will know what to do (because He lives inside of you).
God has keys and strategies for your situation. He works all things out for good, He sees your world, and He cares. He has a solution – ask Him! It is going to be okay. Your child is going to be okay. YOU are going to be okay!
As a parent, how does this story make you feel? Johnny walks up to his younger sister, minding her own business, punches her, and then tells her she doesn’t belong in the family. OUCH! What if mom walked in and got all the other siblings against Johnny, making him feel like the outsider, as if his bad attitude meant he no longer belonged? This is the recipe for some serious family dysfunction and pain. Johnny’s behavior clearly needs to be addressed because it is not in alignment with God’s heart, but he is operating out of being an orphan and needs the love of a Father, not rejection. This would not be okay in our family and should not be okay in God’s family. Can’t you see? It is not a gay/straight, John/Beth, He said/She said, Kanye/Church, Pastor/Flock issue. This is a dividing issue from the enemy bent on destroying God’s family. DO NOT PLAY THE GAME. Do not pick sides. Do not pick a winner because if there is a winner, there must be a loser, and we do not treat family that way.
There are only two camps of people – those who are Sons/Daughters and those who are still operating as orphans (even Christians can be orphans). If Johnny does not have eyes to see his sister’s worth, then he needs a revelation from God. The Bible says people cannot see because they have scales on their eyes. Isaiah 44:18 reads, “They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand.” Your prayers that the scales from a brother’s eyes be removed will be more effective than your social media posts against him. If you are taking sides and have not prayed for the scales to be removed from his eyes, then you could very well be just as guilty of participating in dividing God’s family. We are ONE family. ONE Body. If a brother and sister argue, they need love, not sides. I ache over the words spoken against family members, but I want to be an agent of restoration (through prayer), not further division. Which side are you on? Neither! We are on the same side, serving the same God as ONE Body.
The world is screaming LOUD right now but take courage; we have the Word of God to stand on as an anchor for our soul.
1 Corinthians 13:13 – “These three remain faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Talk about it today at the breakfast table. “Guys, do you know three things that will never die or fade away?” Have them go on a treasure hunt to find the answer in Corinthians 13:13.
Are you feeding your child’s spirit daily? What does that mean? Like daily food, our spirits need to be fed to stay healthy and alert. How do we feed their spirit? By worshiping, teaching them about a verse, telling them your God stories, sharing with them a story from the Bible, soaking, talking about God, taking Communion, actively forgiving, hearing God, declaring His goodness, loving each other intentionally, being grateful…
A spiritual orphan will hear that and feel condemned for not doing enough or partner with fear over their child. A Son/Daughter will hear that message, and it will increase their hunger for more of Him in their homes. They will partner with Holy Spirit to creatively feed their child’s spirit TODAY!
Each morning, set up a date with your child. Five minutes feels like a long time for a child. They can pick whatever they want to do with your time, and they normally pick something they need from you – talk, spend time cuddling, or play a game. It is a great way to get those tanks filled and get you focused on hearing what they have to say! (Don’t tell them it is only five minutes, though). I like to make a big deal about it by saying something like, “Meet me in the living room at 2 pm today,” or “Let’s have a date, just you and me.” Love languages matter!
When a child (of any age) is having an emotional meltdown, they need either compassion or comfort. We have to find their rhythm of receiving compassion and comfort as some like to be touched, others like to be verbally comforted, and others feel comforted by being alone. AFTER they have calmed down and we have connected with their hearts, THEN we can teach, train, and equip them how to increase their capacity and do it differently next time. When the child is upset, teaching and training is like teaching a dog where to poop when he is in the middle of it. He won’t be able to hear you. Teach and train in the time of PEACE so that you can cash in on it in your time of need. Parents end up breaking connection because they want to be teachers when their child needs a comforter.
Have you ever seen a plant that just desperately needs a drink? My daughter looked that way to me, so I told the others to find something to do for 30 minutes while I had an in-home date with her. I told her to meet me in the rec room in 5 minutes. She had no idea what was happening but was waiting for me. I walked in, handed her a drink, and told her I just wanted her all to myself for a few moments. Then, I asked her about her heart, life, friends, and school. When we were done 15 minutes later, her comment was, “I feel so alive.”
Just because we are with our kids ALL the time doesn’t mean we have their hearts. Ask Holy Spirit how you can creatively water their heart today in a unique and meaningful way.
“When someone slanders another to us, we must remember that we are not mainly fighting flesh and blood, but spiritual forces of evil” (Ephesians 6:12). Satan knows that slander deadens and splits churches, poisons friendships, and fractures families. He knows slander quenches the Holy Spirit, kills love, short-circuits spiritual renewal, undermines trust, and sucks the courage out of the saints. So our goal, particularly in the context of the church, is to help each other shed demonic weights and avoid satanic stumbling blocks.
So how do we do this? The best way is to become people who are not safe to slander around. We must ask each other questions like: “Have you shared your concern with this person directly? I’d be willing to go with you to talk to him. Just to be clear, is this information I should know? Do you want me to help you pursue reconciliation? Are you doing everything you possibly can to put away ‘all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander’ (Ephesians 4:31)? How can I help you guard this person’s reputation like a treasure (Proverbs 22:1)?” In other words, friends don’t let friends slander. Friends don’t let friends act like God-haters (Romans 1:30).
“The more we love people, the more we hate slander, because a slanderer hates his victims” (Proverbs 26:28). Let us remember that we are stewards of the treasure of each other’s good names. Let us resolve to avoid sharing information that is unnecessarily damaging to another person’s reputation and to repent to everyone affected if we do. Let us seek to silence the sin nature slanderer within and graciously give and receive others’ help when one of us slips, perhaps unaware, into slander. Let us do damage to Satan’s forces by speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Let us lay aside the destructive sin-weight of slander. In an age of social media, that lacks the functional information-spreading restraints of past eras, let us be all the more slow to post (‘slow to speak’ – James 1:19) analysis, speculation, and commentary on information about another person or group, even if it has become public in our slander-saturated culture, that might eventually prove slanderous.
“All the serious biblical warnings about slander still apply, which should make us all, especially those of us with ‘platforms,’ tremble.” – Jon Bloom.
Children who are full of fear, anxiety, and emotional hurt, who believe a lie or feel afraid, can act that out in mean, rude, and inappropriate ways. Just because a child does certain things doesn’t mean the solution is always discipline. Sometimes the solution is a hug, alone time with you, a special date, a positive word, or to be seen. God’s GOODNESS leads us to repentance because He looks beyond our messes and sees what our heart really needs. Perfect behavior should never be the goal in parenting – their heart should be!