BUTTING HEADS

BUTTING HEADS

Have you ever had those days when you feel like you are constantly butting heads with a child, or they seem to be going out of their way to be a bully to their siblings, yet nothing you do seems to work? Try intentionally meeting their love language, and I bet you will see a sudden change. Children with empty tanks, even with siblings, will often fight to get it filled (obviously, in the wrong way), Love languages matter!

FAMILY COMMUNION

I love Communion Sunday. I take the forgiveness of my sins seriously and believe with my whole heart that Jesus is not only the Savior of the world but MY Friend. The price He paid for me to know Him and walk in that friendship is no small thing. While my children took communion on Sunday, I wanted to go deeper with them. I went to the store to buy gluten-free rice crackers and a bottle of grape juice. I already had communion cups (at any party store) and gathered the kids. We spent time going around telling Jesus what we were thankful for (because of Him). We broke the cracker and sat quietly as we each focused on His body being beaten, ripped, and torn for US! We recalled the countless times He has washed us clean from our messes and mistakes and never once turned His back on us. We thanked Him for ‘taking the spanking on our behalf’ and quietly consumed the juice. What struck me so profoundly about our pastor’s message is that communion is so much more than just eating and drinking over a history lesson. Just as being baptized is more than taking a swim, there is something more significant going on when we take communion. We take communion to RECEIVE His forgiveness and healing TODAY. We are committed as a family to taking communion every morning. We recall who needs the blood of Jesus in their life or circumstances, and we take it on their behalf. We focus on what Jesus has done for us TODAY and fill our hearts and minds with His goodness. Gather your kids and partake in one of the greatest gifts ever given to man!

GODHEAD PARENTING

Once you learn the incredible ways earthly relationships can impact or distort a child’s view of the godhead (God, Jesus, Holy Spirit), it changes the way, you parent. I am constantly looking for ways to reveal to them the reality of who God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit really are. There have been times when I have not modeled it well and have responded harshly or with impatience. When I go back to make it right, I will say, “Holy Spirit is never harsh or impatient with you, and I am sorry that I treated you that way.” One of the most helpful things you can say to a child going through a divorce is, “Do you know God will never leave you?” or to the child being bullied, “Jesus would never treat you like that.” Humans fall short, but God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit do not.

WIN THEM OVER

Character matters because it matters to heaven. The Word is loaded with commands on the way we should be conducting ourselves, and children need opportunities to grow in self-control, discipline, and character.

Years ago, we were traveling as a family and arrived at our hotel late but had a super early am flight. Within minutes, our hotel room was trashed; stuff everywhere, covers all over the place, trash on the floor, towels all over, etc. I called the kids in and asked how we would feel if we walked into our hotel room like that. Would we want to stay here? Not really! I told them that the housekeeping staff is paid to make it look nice for the next person. It’s their job. No matter how big of a mess we make, they have to clean it. I then asked them, “But is that what we WANT to do?” Do we want to be known as yet one more dirty, messy room, or do we want to be known for the mysterious family that blessed her socks off when she opened yet one more room to clean? Since that defining moment in our family, at every hotel we have stayed at, the kids have gathered the trash in one spot and piled dirty towels together, they ask Jesus what He wants to say to the maids and place notes with $1 bills around the room for her. It isn’t always about our ‘rights’ but about having the character to lay down our rights in order to be a blessing to others. This was a defining moment in our family, deciding who we wanted to be as a unit. In order to be who we are called to be, we had to reject the norm and march to our own drum. Every family has an identity. Ask yourself: “What matters to me? How do I want people to experience us? What is the greatest way we can impact the world around us as a family? What will we stand for?”

SEXUAL EMPOWERMENT

I recently talked with a mom and her young adult daughter about sex and how she navigated through life, making solid choices in a world that screams otherwise. She credited it to this – she was taught sex isn’t something you *shouldn’t* do, but something you *should* protect and value. It wasn’t a ‘thou shall not,’ but rather an ‘I want to protect.’ It was a game changer for her. Sexual empowerment looks like choices and helping children see the value in making healthy choices to protect what is most sacred vs. dictating and demanding they follow a rule to govern themselves.

LET IT HURT

Sometimes life just HURTS. I always tell my spiritual daughters, “If you are going to walk as a Daughter, you are going to have to learn how to feel hard emotions.” Orphans run to things that numb their hearts like a shot of novocaine (porn, shopping, anger, social media, gossip, busyness, checking out, denial, eating, rage, etc.)  As Daughters, we need to learn that pain is okay. It reflects our hearts and how we experience life. We need to practice feeling the pain and, in the midst of it, running into HIS arms, crying out to Him. We can tell Him: “It hurts,” “I am sad,” “I feel lonely,” “I am disappointed,” “I am scared,” “I feel anxious,” “I need help,” and then WAIT and rest in His ability to not only care for your heart and wipe your tears but to move on your behalf. 

Psalm 56:8 (MSG) – “You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights. Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book.”

TEACHING CHILDREN TO HEAR

Some of us come from very religious backgrounds and fear that if we constantly say, “Let’s ask Jesus,” it will push the child away from God, not towards Him. This is where the difference between a religious spirit and a relationship comes into play. When kids are thumped over the head with religion and Scriptures are being used as weapons of control, they resist. When kids talk to their earthly father, they are blessed because the interaction is alive and real and deposits goodies in their hearts. The same is true with Jesus: when they ask and HEAR Him replying, it builds a relationship. That is a good thing and is long-lasting. 

Pray (out loud) – “Jesus, I thank You that (your child’s name) ’s spiritual ears are open and that he/she has the ability to hear their Father clearly today. Teach me, God, to be a good teacher of Your voice to the children You have entrusted me with. Give me creative ways to teach, model, practice, and usher my children into hearing Your voice. Thank You that You have good things to say to my children and that their lives change when they hear Your voice. Thank You that I am not an ill-equipped parent but that I get to partner with You in parenting. You knit them together and know more about them than I ever could. Thank You that I am not alone in this journey but can come to You anytime for answers and truth. Let my home be a home that stands on Your written and spoken Word, and let Your voice be the only voice that is acceptable. Help me lead my children to Your presence through living and tangible encounters with You. Thank You that You are in all things, and in all things, we can involve You.”

CARRYING JESUS

Many children are learning the story of Mary during this Christmas season. Continue the teaching by telling them that God chose Mary to carry Jesus in her tummy. She changed the world by carrying Him, even though it wasn’t always easy. Jesus wants US to carry Him in our hands and mouths so that we can deliver His love to others. He wants us to do things with our hands that help and love others. He wants us to use our mouths to tell others how much He loves them, believes in and is for them. When my kids were little, I would park the van and turn around before unbuckling them and remind them, “Okay, guys, we get to see people today. How does Jesus want us to love the people inside this store?” We would create an intentional plan, such as getting the empty cart from someone putting groceries in their car, or holding open a door, or smiling at everyone we saw. It was so much fun. How will you carry Jesus today?

YES, LORD

Parents often share that, deep down, they are afraid if they say YES to more of God, He will require something of them that they may not want to do (like sell everything and live overseas). I want to challenge this fear-based belief and say that it is more of a reflection of one’s belief about what kind of Father He is. The reality is saying YES to the deeper things of God means you are going to have to enter a training ground of learning how to receive His goodness, kindness, and blessings as a Son/Daughter. And that, for many, is the harder work!!!!

COME ON IN

God seems to be highlighting a particular area, and I want to camp out and create some conversation on the topic of parents’ concern over keeping their children sexually safe. I have ministered to a handful of parents as God is setting them free from fear and moving them to rise up in their God-given authority. We welcome what we FEAR. It is like opening the front door and saying, “Oh, I see you. Come on in.” While that is not our heart, it is the nature of what fear does in the spiritual realm. Fear is not a tool of heaven and will not produce the Kingdom fruit you desire. YES! There are real dangers in today’s world, and there is a full-on demonic assault against our children’s identity and sexual purity. BUT God has answers and solutions to help us equip and protect them. You are on the front lines, and now is not the time to shrink back, surrender or admit defeat. It is time to rise up, get your armor on, and declare that your house will be passed over with the schemes of the enemy.