CATCH AND RELEASE

CATCH AND RELEASE

Lauren greeted me one Sunday morning in her brand new (adorable) outfit, along with a scowling face. When I asked her what was wrong, she said, “I feel UGLY!” It was intense, and she was really feeling it. I simply hugged her and said, “Catch and release, sweetheart.” I have taught them they can catch those sneaky little lies that wreak havoc on our emotions and release them. I didn’t have to tell her it was a lie as her agitated heart was proof enough that it wasn’t of God. I have empowered her to RELEASE those pesky lies and not massage, embrace or feast on them. By the time we walked out the door, she was at peace again. I asked her later how she was doing, and she said, “Man, that lie hit me hard out of nowhere.”

Let’s face it – as adults, we don’t always catch and release this fast, but this is what the next generation looks like when they are intentionally taught from an early age that they can catch the lie and release it. Teach your child how to catch and release!

DEPRESSION VS. OPPRESSION

Do you feel depressed? Years ago, I plopped down on the chair and began to tell my mentor that I was depressed. I felt heavy. My mind was like a thick fog, and my heart felt like it was carrying around a bag of rocks. Little brought me joy and being motivated to do basic daily chores was hard. We began to ask Jesus about what was going on in my heart, and within a few minutes, I said, “Oh, the depression is gone.” She replied, “That is because you weren’t depressed.” Confused by her reply, I asked for understanding. She began to tell me that depression is rooted in our body and has to do with a chemical imbalance. Depression is real and affects many. But she went on to say that OPPRESSION is the pressure the enemy puts on us that feels, looks, and sounds like depression but is rooted in the spiritual realm. Oppression feels like a python snake squeezing you. True chemical imbalance depression is cured by medication to regulate the hormones in the brain. But oppression is cured by taking authority in the spiritual realm, aligning our thoughts with His, and declaring truth. When we do those things, the oppression flees. If you are feeling a heavy weight of ‘depression,’ try moving into a place of intentional worship, declaring out loud, commanding it to leave in Jesus’ name, and worshiping! If you feel a shift, it was oppression. This goes for adults and children!

CULTIVATING GRATITUDE

Cultivate means to: cul·ti·vate verb 1. prepare for crops or gardening. 2. to acquire or develop (a quality, sentiment, or skill). Gratefulness is a SKILL that is taught, learned, and strengthened. Kids are not born with it. It is something that needs to be tilled, plowed, dug, worked, fertilized, mulched, and weeded SO THAT it reaps a harvest of fruit in their lives. Nothing increases the favor and fruit in our lives more than a grateful heart.

FORGIVE FORGIVE FORGIVE

Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.

Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.

Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.

Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.

Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.

Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.

Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive…

…and then forgive AGAIN! 

“I make the choice of my will to forgive _______ for _______ so that satan has no hooks in me that he can use to influence my mind, emotions, confidence, identity, calling, or blessings! I release the offense and turn it over to God to judge and deal with accordingly.”

GENERATIONAL BLESSINGS

Do you realize that you have a mighty, mighty generational line? Each generation came from the womb, where they were knit together by Father God. Each and every one of your ancestors has left you something – something good and something not so good. The rich spiritual inheritance from ALL THE WAY BACK is yours. You can receive it. But you can also throw out the deficit that each generation has left in the spiritual realm, too. It isn’t so much that things like anger, abuse, etc. are in your ‘blood’; as much as when the door to the enemy is opened (foothold), and you are raised in an environment of trauma and fear. It is easy to adopt the same behavior because it is familiar. You have heard of the girl hating her alcoholic father and then marrying one, the child who cursed her overweight mother and then became overweight herself. Your bloodline isn’t the issue – it is the modeled and learned behavior. Christ came to realign us with our heavenly family so that we wouldn’t be held captive to the mistakes of our earthly one.

HE IS FAITHFUL

This is an excellent statement from a mom in class: “He is faithful to answer your parenting questions AND help you work out your childhood hurts at the same time.”

If we allow our own childhood experiences to go unresolved, it will cause us to parent from the wrong place.

IDENTITY

Have you figured out yet there is a war raged against the next generation? The name of the war is IDENTITY. Matthew 4 outlines how Satan attempted to steal, kill and destroy Jesus’ focus, calling, and identity. I love Jesus’ response each time as He simply declared, “It is written…” The Word was the weapon that anchored Him in victory. Jesus didn’t have to ‘fight’ this battle. He simply declared, “Nope, Daddy said so,” and that was enough. We already know the enemy is defeated but we must do our part as parents to respond as Jesus did to protect the attack on our children’s identity. We learn from Matthew 4 HOW the enemy works to steal, kill and destroy identity. There are countless examples all around us of people who are losing or have lost the battle over their identity. But take heart, dear friends, because God, as always, provides us with strategy in the midst of the battle. He is looking for those willing to pick up the sword of the Word and claim victory in their family. The enemy came to Jesus when He was ISOLATED. God puts us in a family for a reason. The church is called to be a place where the parts of the Body come together as One with Him at the center. This is the epitome of being seen, covered and known. When we are connected in family and community it is like a pack of lions surrounding the young. When the enemy shows his head, the lionesses arise. However, when families do not offer children a “You matter” and “I see you” type of community, the child feels isolated, even in their own home. Parenting styles that operate out of legalism, control and continued anger isolate the child leaving them open to the temptation of the enemy. The enemy tempted Jesus with a WARPED VERSION of the very thing that He was hungry for. Jesus was hungry for His Father and denied Himself physical food so that He could spiritually feast on the intimate connection with His Father. The enemy attempted to feed Him with food that could not nourish His soul. There is a longing in the soul of man for his Creator, yet the enemy fills him with the tastes of the world that satisfy the flesh and leave the soul empty. The more one feasts on porn, addiction, drugs, phone addiction, alcohol, video games, anger, control, etc. the deeper the hunger for it grows. All of these things DO meet a need for connection and power, but it is a warped version of the real thing God has intended for us. People who are isolated (physically, mentally, or emotionally) have deep hunger pangs to be in community which is why they make easy targets for warped versions of the real thing. Have you heard of people in desperate situations where they are isolated and get so hungry, they drink their own urine? While it sounds extreme to us, it is survival to the one in isolation and lack. The enemy offers ‘urine’ and they are so thirsty they do not fully realize what they are consuming. God did not design our bodies to be nourished by urine. The enemy then whispers seeds of DOUBT by attempting to give ‘evidence’ that God can’t really be who He says He is. Doubt comes wrapped in lies that may even look, sound or feel true, but are still false. The nature of deception is to cause someone to believe something that is not true, typically in order to gain some personal advantage. The enemy gains advantage when the lie is embraced because it gives him an invitation to influence that person. It is like going to the front door and welcoming him in our minds. This is also why it is pointless to shout at someone, “You can’t believe that” or “That is not true.” To them, it IS true. Children who have a big Daddy are less likely to get bullied. The bigger our faith, the less we are subjected to the temptation or ‘evidence’ to doubt.

Parents, it is vital to teach children that not every thought that crosses their mind is to be considered their thoughts or truth. We grab a hold of those thoughts that create arguments against God and toss them out. Oh, I long for you to see this. The war for our children looks like this: Isolate them in their own homes, feed them with the world that feds the flesh but empties the soul, cause doubt through lies that may sound true but are still lies, become their own god rejecting all others. God’s plan for our child’s identity looks like this: Put them in families where they are seen, heard, and valued, feed them with the Word of God, anchor them in His Truth and hold them accountable for living in a way that is pleasing to God, speak truth over them OFTEN, teach them to submit to God’s authority. This is an active, intentional strategy that requires parents to be engaged, plugged in and alert. 

HeartWork – Which area is being highlighted that needs to be increased in your family? Increasing connection? Speaking truth over them? Teaching them about His Word? Learning how to submit to God? Take some time and process this with God.

SEXUAL SAFETY

We teach our kids bike safety. We teach them not to answer the door for stranger safety. We teach them “Stop, Drop and Roll” for fire safety. We teach them to wear a life jacket for water safety. But do we teach them sexual safety? Predators are looking for one thing – a child who has no grid for what is happening and has never been taught about sexual safety. When a child encounters things that are sexually unsafe, their spirit knows something is wrong, but they freeze because they do not know how to handle what is happening. They have been taught to obey adults, not to talk back, to never hit, etc.

#1. Children need to know the proper names for body parts – all of them. 

#2. Children need to know what to do should they ever feel unsafe. 

#3. Children need to know that they are never alone and can ask Jesus for help in ALL circumstances.

MENTORS

Going up to someone and saying, “Will you mentor me?” is a little like telling the guy on the first date you are going to marry him. Mentoring someone requires connection and the freedom to speak honestly into someone’s life. Often, this means hard conversations and truth shared in love. They are mentoring you to empower and help you grow, which means growing pains. Not everyone is in a place where they can receive this type of conversation without being offended, wounded, or defensive. The best mentors, I have found, are those that happen organically by the move of God vs. someone searching for one. If you long for this type of relationship, tell God and have faith in His ability to orchestrate it on your behalf. When God gives you this connection with someone, don’t view it as a relationship to take, but as one to serve and give out of the gratefulness in which you have received from their wisdom, time, and investment in you. One of my mentors is a single lady, so we would always be on the lookout for ways we could stand in the gap and help her with things like changing the oil in her car, bringing her meals, or sending her flowers on Mother’s Day. We both are blessed by the connection for different reasons. I positioned my heart to look for opportunities to bless and serve her. Oftentimes people don’t really want a ‘mentor’ but a person who will give them the gifts that a mother or father give, such as a sense of belonging, to be seen, community, wisdom, etc. Identifying what needs you are specifically seeking to meet helps to go after that person who carries that gift. Our greatest connections with those who are older (and wiser) than ourselves have simply evolved from intentionally getting to church at least 30 minutes earlier and extending a warm greeting to those around us, whether it be sitting in church, standing in line for childcare check-in, or greeting those we haven’t met before. This isn’t scary, but it requires a heart that is open to seeing and loving people. We have a strong connection to every regular attender who sits in the same section as us every Sunday morning simply because we have made it a point to see and welcome them. We have gotten together for Sunday brunch, dinners, playing games, going to each other’s homes, and texting often. It was organic simply by being open and friendly to those God has put in front of us. My kids have profited profoundly from having multiple adopted grandmas and grandpas. Who will you sit by today? Reach out, introduce yourself, be excited to see them again next week, and see what God does with it!

THE DEVIL IS NOT INNOCENT

Do you think the ouija board is just innocent child’s play? It is NOT! I delivered a young mom from a demonic spirit from playing the game. She is about to graduate from an 18-month rehab program and had great fears about a previous boyfriend threatening her once she is out. We talked about how we invite what we fear and the need to close that door. I was about to help her with that when I had this strong spirit of witchcraft come over me. I sensed God had me ask her when was the first time she felt unprotected. When she was 4 years old, she was at a friend’s house who introduced her to the ouija board and from that moment on, she felt a presence, almost like a protective presence. It was a spirit that was invited in to ‘parent’ her. Her dad was a workaholic and always busy, which created a deep longing in her. The sad thing is that SHE invited the spirit in through the game. All these years, this spirit has manipulated and influenced her all the way to an abusive relationship with a very unsafe man that she never felt like she could get free from. I am happy to report that not only did she get SET FREE from that ‘fake parent,’ but she got activated in her gift of discernment. Jesus, You are so so so good! Set the captives free!

PUTTING THE DISCOMFORT BACK ON THEM

Once past the elementary years, a great parenting tool has been to simply partner with Holy Spirit to see how the discomfort can be placed on the child, not me. A child will step up to the plate when they feel the pressure and discomfort of their choices. When my kids transitioned from homeschool to formal school, I showered them with grace as they were learning so many new things involving lockers, tests, new classroom rules, eating lunch in a certain time frame, and so on. Months into it, I still found myself asking in the morning, “Did you brush your teeth? Did you make your bed? Did you…?” My mind was going to explode as I tried not only to get myself ready and out the door but to remember who did and didn’t do what! I sat on the kitchen counter lamenting to Holy Spirit that I felt like I was going to lose it. The kids came down only to confirm they had not done what was expected, and back up they went. I stayed on the counter, trying to keep my cool. This continued for nearly 20 minutes. We finally got in the car, when I calmly said, “Thanks for choosing to get all of your stuff done this morning. Great job. I just want you to know that the bell rang 20 minutes ago.” They begged me with tears not to make them go to school late, but I had to be tough to let them feel the discomfort of their choices. Upon entering the school office, I was asked the purpose of the tardy. I simply said, “My kids were learning to take responsibility this morning.” The office clerk winked at me and told the kids it would be unexcused and handed them their slips to enter their classrooms… late. Guess how many times they failed to do their morning routine after that?

**Toddlers need the training established so that you can use tools like this down the road. I would not attempt to do this with a toddler who is still learning right/wrong.