Every month my daughter laments about how bad her cramps are. She asks to stay at home rather than go out with us for dinner or join in any fun. I finally told her, “Sweetie, I know this isn’t fun, but your period is a BLESSING and not a curse. Why don’t you start blessing your body and how it was designed.” She took it to heart and the next day said this was her first month ever where the pain went away. Honestly, I am not surprised. We call it a curse and then wonder why we are racked in pain. Your words are powerful and carry life and death. Be careful what you are speaking out over your own body.
BLESS YOUR BODY
- Authority, Testimonies
I was completely engaged in worship one Sunday morning when I heard the Lord say, “I like hip hop.” It was so out of the blue. I heard it again and was like, “Okay. That’s great.” When I heard it a third time, the revelation came. I was raised in a good ole Lutheran church, and in my home, you wouldn’t be caught dead going to church in anything other than your Sunday best which included black patent leather shoes. I had come a long way, but I still had a deeply ingrained belief about what clothing did and did not look appropriate for church. My daughter had slipped her bright pink sneakers on without me noticing until we got to church, and I had scolded her, saying they weren’t appropriate church shoes. I had to humbly repent of partnering with the religious spirit because apparently Jesus likes hip hop and thinks bright pink shoes are just fine in His house!
If you take it to extremes, do we want our children playing with darkness by dressing up pretending to be devils and witches? On the flip side, do we want them to hide in the basement with the lights off on Halloween in fear of the night? Both are a little extreme. I personally chose to guard my children’s mental chalkboards when they were younger. I explained that some people think pretending to be a witch is fun, while we do not. I explained why. I also told them that GOD made the seasons and the harvest, and that is what we celebrate. We carve pumpkins, eat way too much candy corn, and love to dress up, but our heart is celebrating God’s creation, not partnering with the demonic. My kids have not chosen to go Trick-or-Treating in the past, even when given the chance. I believe they made that choice because they know by experience that God’s Kingdom is life-giving and fun, and the other kingdom doesn’t feel so good. It is so important to walk in balance with our beliefs. If we teach our children to fear the junk we see this time of year, we are falling into the trap of the enemy. The demonic likes to go on joy rides and see who they can taunt. If we teach our children to fear it, then it becomes a fun game for the darkness to watch your child jump. I take the game out of it by simply teaching them and equipping them with TRUTH. I am super sensitive to atmospheres, and there is junk hanging around that stuff in the spiritual realm – that is why it is there! BUT I have power and authority over that. When they were younger, this was the time of year when the nightmares would increase. Instead of coming to me all upset in the middle of the night, they would wake me up and say, “Mommy, will you pray for my chalkboard? I saw something at the store, and it is scaring me.” They knew the fear they were feeling was from something they were exposed to and saw with their eyes. If we were to walk by something and my child began to partner with fear or made comments about it, I would stop and address it. I would make sure they had a proper understanding of it and not allow it to create fear for them. It isn’t the decoration of bloody body parts that is bad – it’s just plastic! A big part of this is simply addressing the principle behind it as ‘not of God’ and asking, “Is that what you want to partner with?” Skeletons can be scary, but I would tell the kids, “It’s just bones, and God made bones. We all have bones, but what makes them not good in this situation is that people interact with and focus on death, and we believe God wants us to focus on that which is alive.” When you decorate your house with demonic junk or let your children dress up as devils and witches, you are inviting spirits in, and it will take whatever small window of opportunity and use it. Have you seen America’s Funniest videos where a parent dresses the child up in a witch or devil outfit and then turns the camera on where they see themselves for the first time in the mirror? They aren’t afraid, they are terrorized. Or the videos of dads dressing up like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the young boy nearly wet his pants. There is fun joking around, and then there is fear-based junk that is not something I want to introduce my child to.
I do not want to give the enemy a foothold anywhere in my home. As for me and my home, we serve the Lord – His power, His Spirit, His love, His Kingdom! I wonder what people would think of me if I allowed my children to see all of the photos going around Facebook or the news. Don’t child psychologists warn against children being exposed to that? And yet a trip down the aisle of Michael’s is loaded with beheading, body parts, grandma holding up two decapitated heads with a smile on her face and half mangled bodies. Oh yeah, it’s ‘just’ Halloween! Don’t get me wrong, I am not a party pooper, but that is a little extreme, even for my adult eyes. I will also note that we baffle with our mouths wide open at how people can do such horrible acts and then go home and eat dinner. They are capable of doing it because it isn’t their first experience. They are desensitized to it. They have been inundated with images as part of their training so that it isn’t a shock or big deal when the real thing happens. That is the seduction and grooming process of the enemy. Be led by the Spirit and then walk in freedom!
I am all about empowering children, as my ministry is based on equipping parents on how to empower their children. However, I do not believe in empowering them BEFORE the child has first learned to submit. If you are empowering your young child by offering them a choice with everything you are teaching them, they are the master of their own world, which ultimately is not entirely true. Yes, they alone control themselves, but that doesn’t mean they are not accountable to an authority greater than themselves. Some things need to be submitted to, such as our relationship with God, our desires, Holy Spirit’s leading, stop signs, not playing in the street, harming another human, moral compass, relationships, righteousness, and so forth. We may be free to do as we choose, but that does not mean we want to raise children who are only motivated to respond when they are in control. I see parents of little ones so eager to empower their children. Yet, they are missing out on the required seasons of laying the foundation of character training and intentionally teaching children to submit to their authority. This is raising children who are defiant and full of entitlement.
Let me share an example: My daughter, who is a naturally born confident leader, went to babysit for a family. She returned and declared she would never do that again because the kids never listened to her. I encouraged another attempt. She again came through the door and stated the same thing. Not so eager to let her miss this golden opportunity to grow in her capacity to lead, I made her do it one more time. But this time, she came through the door and was most upset. I honestly could not figure out what was happening because this was a wonderful family. Shortly after, the mom asked me for a playdate, and we met at the park. Her toddler made a mess, and she asked, “Do you want a spanking now or a time out when we get home?” Instantly, I knew the problem my daughter was facing. When we got home, I asked her if she gave the kids a choice of when to go to bed. I asked if she gave them a choice of PJs. If she empowered them to decide if they wanted to brush their teeth or read their book first. My daughter was frustrated and said, “No, I just did what the mom told me to do with them, and they wouldn’t listen to a single thing I said.”
The problem was that she didn’t offer them choices, and the only way the child knew how to respond to authority was if they were in complete control of the option. This only works if, everywhere they go, people offer them choices to feel powerful, but that is not how the world is set up. Ultimately this is not true empowerment; this is entitlement. It is overwhelming to a small child who doesn’t even have the total brain capacity to always be in the driver’s seat. They are not orphans, but children set in families with parents who make healthy choices on their behalf.
A child must endure some training at home that establishes authority and how to surrender their will by trusting those God has given to care for them. The toddler years are when this is established and skipping this season and jumping right to empowerment will reap the fruit that will give parents a run for their money down the road. The definition of empowering means to give (someone) the authority or power to do something. If you give children something they do not know how to use properly, it is like giving a baby food before they know how to chew or a car before they know how to drive. We set our children up for messy accidents when we empower them before they are ready.
Do I believe in giving children space to make choices? YES! Do I believe in doing it before they have been first taught to trust your leadership? Not at all. Perhaps we can move away from the ‘do as I say’ control-based parenting and yet not swing so far to the other side where we skip some of the crucial character development that comes with being able to carry the weight of being truly empowered.
As we drove through multiple states, one can pick up on the atmosphere a town carries. We passed a section where extra large billboards promoting adult stores littered the highway. It was impossible not to see them, and it wasn’t just one, but one every mile or so. My eyes became so heavy I pulled off and sent the kids and friends into the store to browse, giving me a quick five-minute shut-eye. When I closed my eyes, I got this nasty image in my mind that was so X-rated it was vile to me. I ignored it, but as I attempted to get some rest, it returned again and again. I realized the thought was not coming from within me but rather on me and sat up to take authority over it. I asked God to show me what He saw and saw this taller-than-a-building, demon-looking creature on the side of the road with long claw-like fingernails. Asking Jesus to reveal what He wanted me to know, I heard, “He is stationed along the highway and taps their minds with sexual images luring them into the store (that was promoted on the billboard).” I asked the Lord why it was so big and tall and heard, “He has been fed well” (meaning every time someone bites the bait, he is fed and grows stronger). I sat up and realized I was not going to get my rest but was rather on assignment and said, “Well, then I am going to starve him,” and began releasing the opposite in the atmosphere. At the next stop, the encounter was so strong upon my heart that I shared it with each of my children individually and said, “I just wanted you to be aware if you begin having unusual thoughts, it isn’t you but something coming upon you,” and two of them admitted they had been battling nasty thoughts and having a hard time taking authority over it. We prayed, released it to go, and ushered in peace and purity over them. Not every thought is coming from within yourself but sometimes trying to come ON you to get you to partner with it as if it were your own. Discerning the difference is key.
I told God, lying on my hospital bed, that I wanted to be a poster child of His power. A week later, I was supernaturally healed of both my kidney and liver failure. Twenty-seven years later, He continues to display His power throughout my life. When I am going through something, I seem to REALLY go through things. I feel, embrace, endure, process, and ponder. I just have this knowing that what God is doing IN me, He will eventually want to do THROUGH me. I sometimes laugh at the depth in which God takes me when He seems to take others faster. Part of it is through my process; He is allowing me to give language for it, along with powerful tools of heaven, knowing that I will share it with others. My life is not my own, but His for His use for His purposes.
God woke me early and revealed something deep within my heart. By the time I was done, I was in complete awe over the revelations and His love that redeems every part of my story. Hours later, a couple came to me for parent coaching. When I asked what they hoped to get out of our time together, the dad began to explain the EXACT same situation with his daughter that God had spoken to me about hours earlier.
I want you to see this – God is sufficient to redeem all things. It is who He is, but how GLORIOUS is it that we get to partner with Him in our parenting so that we can help our children deal with owies IN childhood, so that hurts don’t become adult-sized woundedness, lies don’t become adult-sized strongholds, and offenses don’t become adult-sized bitterness. KUDOS to this dad for doing the hard things so that his daughter doesn’t need to reap the fruit of it for years.
I received this from a mom who took our online class: “DON’T GIVE UP HOPE!!! If you’d have told me two days ago, that my teen daughter would talk to me till 1 am in the morning, I’d have said it was impossible. If you’d told me that my defiant, self-harming, oppositional girl would also hold me tight and hug me for almost a full minute, I’d have cried, longing for you to be right. If you’d told me that this self-proclaimed atheist girl would tell me that she is ‘giving God another shot,’ I’d have wept, thinking that day would never come. YES… all those things happened last night. I was the hopeless person on this FB page all the time. Some of you have supported me so much through this hard journey and remember my girl. I just HAD to take time to write here that THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED!!! She is still proceeding with caution, and I am parenting her with SOOO much grace and mercy, and love. DON’T GIVE UP HOPE!!!”
When my kids were little, I would drive 45 minutes south to attend a church in Denver that believed children could play in the Kingdom. I was so undone by the power they carried. They needed some coaching in the ‘how,’ but when it mixed with their childlike faith, INCREDIBLE things began to happen. I never wanted my children to feel like God was a religious burden or that walking out our faith meant putting them in uncomfortable situations. I wanted to teach them that it was a JOY to love those around us and that the Kingdom truly is FUN. I called it ‘Playing in the Kingdom,’ and they came to life. They are older now, and we all still look for ways to play in the Kingdom and love those around us in everyday situations.
Call a family meeting and ask your children what would happen if you walked into the middle of a busy street and held up your hand. Nothing would probably happen. Next, ask what would happen if a police officer walked in the middle of a busy street and put up his hand. Because of his badge, he has authority. Not only that, but all of the courts back him up. We get to be police officers in the spiritual realm because of the badge of Jesus, and all of heaven backs us up. We get to tie up the bad and then unleash all the good stuff!
I share more about the police badge teaching and authority in this video. Watch it with your children. Teaching Children Their Authority – YouTube