An offense is when we feel we have been wronged and hold onto it. While an offense can be truth-based (the person really was rude, mean, or violated our rights), when we hold onto it, the poison harms us, not the one who did the offense. I played the ‘hot potato’ game with the children and explained that the hot burning potato was the ‘offense.’ Just because someone throws it at you doesn’t mean you have to catch it, hold onto it and carry it around with you. I encouraged them to get it off their hands (heart) as fast as they can, just like a hot potato! The cool thing about an offended child is that, in most cases, there hasn’t been time for it to develop into bitterness or a bitter root of judgment. When a child is offended by someone else, they will clearly show you, as an offended child will not speak well nor desire to be around that person.
CHILDREN AND OFFENSE
Fun ways for the kids to practice hearing. I STRONGLY encourage you to practice together in fun ways that empower their hearing in times of peace instead of only when they need to seek Jesus over a heart splinter. Also, doing it as a family is super helpful because it gives everyone a chance to learn from each other and takes the pressure off of being the only one. For example, if a child states they don’t hear anything, I simply ask them to listen again, and we come back to them after everyone else has shared. When you send out a birthday card, have the kids ask God what He wants to say to that person and then draw a picture (you can caption it based on what they heard). When you have extra time on your hands, have the kids ask God what you should do with your time. When you can’t find something, have the kids ask Jesus to show them a picture of where it is. When they are upset about something, have the kids ask God to show them what is bothering them. When you come up against something ‘different,’ ask Papa what He wants them to do about it. When you see a homeless man, have the kids ask God what He wants you to know about that person. When they are behaving poorly, have them ask God to show them what they did wrong (instead of YOU telling them). The ideas are endless! You can’t practice strengthening their ears enough.
Do children hear from the enemy? Yes! Who of us didn’t have encounters with paralyzing fear, nightmares, or recurring horrible thoughts as a child? First, the more the children are connected to GOD’S voice, the easier it will be for them to spot the enemy’s voice. I never taught my kids when they were small the words ‘devil’, ‘demon’, ‘evil’, ‘hell’, etc. I said that God has an enemy who works against Him. Enough said! Because the enemy is fear-based, I didn’t want my children to be educated about him. I just focused on the goodness of God, so when the enemy came, there was such a drastic difference that they could spot it. The more they grew, the more I increased the teaching as it related to their world. What does the Word say to do when we are faced with the enemy? Resist him, and he will flee. Children can do this! THE ENEMY IS ALREADY DEFEATED. Children must know that God and the devil are not at war. God has already won, and the enemy is always at the bottom!
CATCH AND RELEASE
Kids who walk in their authority need to have a healthy view of how big God is and how defeated the enemy is, but when we believe lies, we are actually partnering with the wrong kingdom. Teach children by playing a game of catch and calling out truth/lie statements. When they catch the ball, have them discern if that was a truth or a lie. Such as, “You shouldn’t steal that cookie. That is not honest.” Then I would ask, “Which voice was that?” Then I would say things like, “You are stupid. No one likes you,” and ask which voice that was. Later, when they were playing, I would often call out, “Hey, which voice do you think you are partnering with right now?” or “Is that something that would come from God’s Kingdom?” Don’t just focus on the negative stuff. Ask these questions when they are being kind and loving, too. Growing in discernment over lies is vital to their spiritual health. I had a mentor who really made my spiritual ears come to life. I remember going to her with my ‘issues,’ and she would always say, “Can we ask Jesus about that?” It was odd to me that we could ask Him about the ordinary, everyday life stuff. We don’t have to keep Him reserved for just the big spiritual stuff; He wants in on the little things that concern and matters to us, too. Get in the habit of simply asking often, “Jesus, what do YOU think about that?”
May I encourage you to EXPRESS your thankful heart by pulling in each one of your children 1:1 and SPEAKING over them what you are so grateful for in them? I recently said to my teen daughter, “Have I told you lately how much I love you?” and she replied, “Not really.” Meaning she didn’t feel like I had said it lately, but my mind knew I spoke that way often to my children. She was highlighting to me just how much children need to hear words of value, worth, love, and kindness from their parents.
I know this post is going to speak to a lot of you! Do you look at other people’s posts about their birthdays and long to feel that way on your special day? Yet when your day comes around, you still feel empty and sad at the end of the day? I felt that way for years and finally gave up on hope. I noticed I began to ignore it and intentionally not make a big deal out of it anymore. I hid my date on social media and pretended like it was no big deal. It wasn’t that it wasn’t important to me. It was that I didn’t want to set myself up for feeling disappointed again. BUT GOD… He took me on this incredible journey, and I experienced breakthrough on such a foundational level. Soon my birthday was approaching, and I found myself responding differently. I was giddy with excitement, had childlike joy over celebrating the day I was created and wanted to pull close those I love the most to celebrate with me. I want to walk you through what God showed me and ultimately brought one of my biggest breakthroughs in being seen, heard, and valued. Join me as we take a 10-day online adventure! YOU are so worth celebrating!!!
He is such a good Father. Sometimes what feels like rejection is actually protection. If your mind does not understand, declare, “Father, I trust You.”
A while back, the Lord told me to pray for a leader who was enduring much. I went to pray for them and felt this incredible weight over them, like the shoulder pads of a football player, except they were made of steel. I know my prayers are powerful, but the weight felt so heavy it was unmovable. I went back to the Lord and asked for strategy since He is the one who told me to pray. And I heard Him say this, “You are right, Lisa, the weight is too heavy to lift it off of them, so I want you to pray that they come out from under it,” and I saw this person duck down, move to the right and stand up straight again like coming out from under a bridge. I laughed at the ease and simplicity of dealing with the weight. God ALWAYS has a strategy for dealing with a trial – always! Go ahead and give it a try.
Gather the family and talk about what burdens everyone is facing. Maybe it is a test at school, issues at work, conflict in the home, or unique circumstances. Have everyone stand and picture the weight on their shoulders. Now have them duck, turn and stand up straight again. We can move out from under the weight of what consumes us. Every time I do this, I breathe easier and lighter.
How would you answer this question? “When my children fight, argue, and yell, I feel _____.” Siblings are going to have challenges because it is part of their training ground in learning how to respond to others in love. HOWEVER, if you are being triggered every time they have conflict, you will only add to the chaos. They need a loving parent to step in and teach and train them how to resolve their issues, grow and mature in areas and how to increase their love for the ones God has given them to care for.
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.
We were away from home, and the kids were all getting in a funk; lots of small conflicts, attitudes, and agitations. Having to correct them constantly gets old, so I flipped the situation by turning it into a game. I gathered them together in a circle and asked them to keep their mouths closed, but they had to have eye contact with someone else at all times. I wanted them to SEE the people around them. Then I held up a mirror and said, “This is who you have been focused on, but I want you to keep your eyes on someone else.” When we went to breakfast, they tried to outdo each other by showing kindness and love to others. They were opening doors, putting garbage away, smiling, saying “thank you,” letting others go first, etc. The Kingdom is JOY, and sometimes partnering with the Holy Spirit to devise creative ways to get to their heart impacts them more than reaping the spirit of religious rules over their head!