My friend told me about a story with her son, and I think it is GLORIOUS. Her adopted son had a rough year with his dad moving out and his big sister moving away. He recently spent time at his dad’s house while his parents were in town. The young boy returned to his mom’s house and was OUT OF CONTROL! Yelling, kicking, hitting, screaming – unglued. She shared how she normally would have exercised some serious authority over his behavior and would have dealt firmly with him for his outburst. But she could see he was hurting and said, “Buddy, can Mommy hold you for a moment?” He was hesitant but eventually came to her, put his face in her neck, and just wept. He woke up the next morning back to himself again. There is a time and place to discipline a child for negative behavior, and there is a time and place to partner with Holy Spirit and move in the opposite spirit. This boy was simply trying to express the BIG emotions going on inside of his heart. He needed the security of a mother’s love, and whatever was causing his heart so much agitation was released through her affection.
CAN I HOLD YOU?
This story broke my heart when I heard it, and I haven’t been able to shake it. A young man was raised with legalistic parents. He went into the homosexual lifestyle and was cut off from every family member for not renouncing his ungodly lifestyle. He is in the midst of writing a book about his journey, which includes being raped as a small boy but never telling anyone. This I know for sure. After the rape, he acted out the splinters in his heart, as our bodies are not wired to hold onto that type of trauma. He was most likely angry, defiant, aggressive, rude, and/or withdrawn, yet was met with parents who had a high value for outward behavior. Could you imagine for a moment what it is like for a child to endure such brutal agony and then be spanked, isolated, or rejected while trying to process it? My heart screams out for children to be HEARD and for parents to understand what is happening inside their hearts. Our online class is not a product I am selling. It is a lifeline to HELP parents see and help their children. You cannot afford NOT to be empowered and equipped. Your children need to know you have the answers and tools to help them.
My definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over without any fruit. I am motivated by cause and effect. I like to know what I am sowing into it, actually creating or changing something. Is anyone else like me? Parenting is no different. If you want to spend the next 18 years on ‘repeat’ saying the same thing over and over and over and over again, then parent a child’s behavior. If you want lasting fruit that will carry on and spill over into other situations, then parent the principle behind their behavior. Ex. If a child hits their brother, do not just parent the incident, but parent the principles behind it, which could be a lack of self-control, kindness, or impatience. If a child fails to complete a task you have asked of them, the principle behind it could be a lack of self-control, irresponsibility, or disrespect to authority. Parenting based on principles will create a lifestyle vs. rule-based living.
My daughter was in a funk for a few days and finally asked if we could talk. I took her to my room, and she had my full attention. She told me that she had been struggling and began to tell me with tears that she didn’t think I loved her. I asked her when this started, and she said Saturday. HELLO! Saturday was the day I took her out to get three pairs of new shoes and five new outfits; we talked and connected ALL day. In all honesty, my heart was feeling a little bit defensive, and the offense was creeping up. I kept asking her questions, and she would respond by saying, “I know this isn’t true, but…” Finally, I asked her, “If you KNOW it isn’t true, then why are you giving it room to speak to you?” She believed a LIE, and it needed to be exposed, dealt with, and replaced with HIS truth, which we did. But I began to see something. #1. When our kids are partnering with a lie, it is so easy for us, as parents, to come UNDER it too. My heart was hurt and offended she would even entertain the thought I didn’t love her, which made me feel bad about myself. “I am not doing it good enough,” “I am harming my daughter,” “I am not enough.” These thoughts are shame-based from the pit of hell that sidelines us as powerful, loving, intentional parents. #2. When parents feel guilty, they go overboard to ‘prove’ the truth to make everyone feel better about themselves. I wanted to make a grand gesture to prove my love for her, but then I got the revelation that if I did that, I would be teaching her she could only believe the truth if she saw, heard, felt it (obviously, children need our love to be tangible, but that wasn’t the case here). She needed to reject the lie and embrace the truth that she already knew, not have me PROVE the truth so that she could believe it. We don’t respond to lies; we remove them. She was deceived in her thinking and needed help coming back into TRUTH.
Trauma – a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.
Think for a moment about your child’s life back in 2020. Perhaps it wasn’t perfect, but within a short time, your child was thrown into a whirlwind of being home 24/7. Not being able to see friends or go out to the park, learning without peers, sitting in front of a computer, many faced hours alone as their mom and dad still worked. Some went without food, increased sibling conflict, missed birthday parties, felt fear all around them, not being able to go to church or their favorite store, and then the anger and violence that was unleashed in nearly every city. Most adults can’t comprehend all that is going on, much less a child whose brain isn’t fully developed. Folks, this is trauma. Add another layer of what was released in the atmosphere and the paralyzing fear, worry, and anger that slimed people without notice or warning. Kids feel it too.
While I am not trying to create a doomsday post, there is a reality that this past season has been brutal for some children. The events themselves do not bring damage to children. How adults respond to trauma can make a challenging event a lifelong wound. Your role is KEY! #1. Know your child’s love language and fill it DAILY! Five minutes of intentional “I see you” can fill their heart. #2. Connection – Talking, engaging, asking questions, hugging, smiling, listening, etc. Merely hanging out 24/7 is not the same as actually connecting to their hearts. #3. Joy releases a chemical in our brain that increases our will to fight and endure hard things. Dance parties, giggles, wrestling matches, dinner in the living room, tickling, being silly, special treats, dancing on the bed, or splashing in the rain. Your child NEEDS joy!
I know it is hard to give when you are enduring the same battle, but your response in this hour matters. Help children overcome by filling them up with love, connection, and joy, which are heaven’s tools to overcome.
Get out your journal and recall the last time you had an above-average reaction to something your child did. Ask Jesus some questions and allow Him to minister to your heart. Do not be introspective; instead, ask and listen to what He has to share.
Ask, “Jesus, was this their issue or mine?”. If it was your issue, ask, “Jesus, what was my heart feeling at the time? What made my heart so uncomfortable at that moment? When was the first time I felt that emotion? What did my heart need?”
Use these questions the next time your child triggers you and allow those uncomfortable moments to be the times you are molded to be more like Jesus. We don’t want our wounds or lack to parent our children. We want to parent from a place of wholeness and freedom. Understanding this is important because we often react to our children who aren’t doing anything wrong. Yet our reaction, out of a wounded or hurt place, teaches them that it is not okay to be who God made them to be. Allow Him to parent you through your child! I am proud of you for doing the hard things so that your child doesn’t reap the fruit of our wounds.
God did not knit your child together, hand them to you, and say, “Good luck.” His intention all along was to partner with you in parenting. He has given you tools, keys, and strategies to be a successful parent, cultivate a peaceful home, and raise children who are a joy.
Join our online JOURNEY class to give you the tools you need to be the parent you always dreamed you would be. You can learn more and register here: Journey – ONLINE CLASS – Let the Children Fly
The other night my daughter was ANGRY and lashing out at everyone for the smallest things. Clearly, this was not her, as she is normally sweet as chocolate. The following morning, I asked her to do the dishes, which should have been a four-minute gig, and 1.5 hours later, she was still there. It was time to go, and she still hadn’t finished. I came to her and put my hand on her heart and said, “Babe, I do not know what is going on, but you were not wired to hold onto sin, and something is clearly coming out crooked. When you are ready to talk, I am here.” I didn’t know there was sin, but those were the words that came out of my mouth. She asked to talk hours later and, with tears, began to tell me that she was invited by her friends to vape at school. She declined the offer, but the realization that she had to stand alone was overwhelming to her. I wanted to assure her that it wouldn’t happen again, but the truth is she will have to stand alone and make choices against the pressure of the crowd for the rest of her life. It was a beautiful and tender conversation about what it really means to be a follower of Jesus in today’s world. We talked about the ‘high’ of popularity and the joy of obedience. The next morning at Church, worship began, and I leaned over to her and said, “Sweetheart, focus on this song with your situation in mind. Is He worthy of following, even if it means not vaping with your friends?” I HATE that she was asked by her friends to vape, but I am SO glad it agitated her soul to the point of being exposed and that God used it to be yet another building block in her story with Him. He IS worthy of it all!
One day, I was super-duper stressed and couldn’t get the kids in their rooms fast enough so that I could have a date with Jesus. I saw the kids as a hindrance to my very serious issues that needed to be resolved. The first thing I heard God say to me was this, “Lisa, what you need now is JOY, and I have given you four bundles of it. You push them away when you are stressed, but what you really need is MORE of what they carry.” Gulp! Out of pure obedience, I called them all up and announced that we would be playing a family game. My heart was so heavy, and finally, my daughter said that she could tell I didn’t really want to be there. I apologized and just told her that I needed “Heaven’s joy to come down on me.” My son (then 6) stood up on his chair, motioned his arms outstretched towards heaven, and said, “Joy, come NOW,” and then threw his hands towards me. He did this in a child-like chanting manner over and over. I was about to scold him for standing on that chair, which is against our house rules! Right before my mouth opened, my daughter, Ellie (then 4), got up on her chair and joined him. Argh! This was not how I wanted to deal with my heavy burden. Then my other daughter got up. I was about to come unglued. My religious spirit was highly offended, and this was way too much child-like foolishness for my serious state; PLUS, they were breaking the rules by standing on the furniture!!! When my last daughter arose to join them, I heard the Spirit say, “Join them!” Oh, come on! There was no way this heavy-hearted mama was going to get up and partner with such foolishness. A millisecond later, I was on my chair with my hands outstretched for heaven, and before I could pull it down, such JOY splashed all over me like a tsunami. I was overcome with peaceful joy and laughter. It went on for nearly fifteen minutes. I was so tuckered out after that, and my belly ached from laughter. Oh, sweet Jesus, thank You for teaching me that worry and fret do not add an ounce of victory to what YOU have already done for me. Thank You for teaching me that Your Kingdom is righteous, full of PEACE and JOY, and if I truly want Your will to be done, I get to go play and rest while You take care of all the details.
Are you feeling discouraged? Alone? Give this a try. Set a reminder on your phone to go off once a day, and in that moment, ask Jesus how He feels about you. Nothing realigns your mind, body, and spirit more than hearing what HE has to say about you.