Pray this powerful prayer today and allow Holy Spirit to restore connection with your child. “Holy Spirit, I give You permission to be my child’s Defender and Advocate. Would You please reveal to me where I have been wrong, caused hurt, or made a mess so I can make it right?” If He showed you something, go low and ask for forgiveness. Built-up offenses can harm your connection.
CHILDREN ARE HUMANS TOO!
A lady in her 40’s was so paralyzed by groups that she would not attend classes, go to Bible studies, church, restaurants, or anywhere else where large groups gathered. Finally, she could not take the isolation anymore and began seeking help. When they asked Jesus to show her the first time she felt paralyzed by a large group, she recalled the story of when she was just three years old and remembered feeling loved and secure with her large family. They were at her house, and there was a lot of excitement and love, but on a particular day, when she walked into the room, they all hushed really quickly, and she could tell that something was wrong. They all just stared at her, and the silence was paralyzing and awkward for her. For years the question, “What is wrong with me?” haunted her. Jesus showed her that the family was in town for her surprise birthday party and that they were all discussing how they would surprise her. When she walked in, they all got silent, not wanting to ruin the surprise.
Doesn’t that story break your heart? ONE lie for FORTY years! But this is what I want you to see – when the heart splinter (in this case, a lie of “what is wrong with me?”) entered, it was the PARENTS who surely saw a change in their daughter. You cannot believe a lie like that and not have it change how you think, feel and act. Had the parents been empowered to help her, the splinter could have been pulled in childhood.
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.
If everyone was born with a deep need for connection, why then are so many children feeling alone and without a best friend? I believe one of the reasons is that they are so ill-equipped to deal with bumps in relationships. Somewhere along the lines, we believe that if something is hard or even painful, it means it is wrong. But what if God knew what was inside our children and brought them the right people who would reveal what needed to be strengthened, healed, or redeemed? This normally happens through conflict and offense. Like every other parent, my heart longs to shield and protect my child from hurt, but that is not reality. Plus, it lacks faith in a God who knows what my child needs more than I do for deeper growth and character development. I cannot tell you how many times one of my kids came home from school, sharing that they got their heart hurt by a friend. Conflict is not a sign of a bad friend. Often, it is the ones who get deep into our hearts that God uses to reveal what is inside us. This is not always a reflection of how ‘mean’ the friend is, but rather that they are touching something inside of us that God wants to grow. Example: It may be true that a friend was rude or made an unkind comment, but perhaps God wants to grow my child to have thicker skin and not be easily offended. It may be true that a friend chose another friend to invite for a sleepover, but perhaps God wants to grow my child in knowing that their identity is not in how many invites, likes, or messages they receive. It may be true that a friend failed to respond to a message or text, but perhaps God wants to grow my child in believing the best and giving people the benefit of the doubt. It may be true that a friend ignored them, but perhaps God wants to grow them in having the confidence to try again. It may be true that a friend got mad and misunderstood their heart, but perhaps God wants to grow my child in an area of being vulnerable. It may be true that a friend failed to reach out in their time of need, but perhaps God wants to grow my child in forgiveness and not holding grudges. It may be true that a friend gossiped about them, but perhaps God wants to grow my child how to have brave conversations with someone who has not protected their heart. It may be true that a friend _________, but perhaps God wants to grow YOUR child in _________. As the school year unfolds, I encourage you to camp out in this statement. Validate their hurt and pain, show them compassion, and then ask Jesus what area He wants you to help your child grow in. Children can learn to fight well, push through the bumps, and not only become strong friends but become more like Him.
John Bevere wrote a book called The Bait of Satan, and it is just that, a bait. Someone does something that causes us to be offended, and we nurse it until it becomes a wildfire spreading to our mind, spirit, and body. We open the door to the enemy through his bait of offense. I gathered the kids, and we played a round of ‘hot potato’, where you catch the ball and throw it as fast as you can, pretending it is a hot potato so that it doesn’t burn your hands. Laughter broke out, and then I switched gears and explained to them about offense and how we can feel offended, but God wants us to be super quick to let it go and toss it back to Him, just like the ‘hot potato’ game. I have been able to cash in on this teaching over the years and remind them, “Hey, remember the ‘hot potato’ game? If you choose to hold onto this offense, it will cause greater hurt. Do you want to let it go?”
Empowering children to obey fully and completely the first time (Deuteronomy 28:1). Expose your child to horses, whether that be taking a field trip to a horse farm, simply pulling off the side of the road near one, getting a video from the library, or finding them on the Internet. They are so beautiful and powerful. Talk about how a horse is powerful on their own, but when the bridle is in its mouth, they are trained to obey the rider right away. All the rider needs to do is gently move the reigns to the left or right, and the horse automatically goes in that direction. They are not stubborn or demanding of their own way; they simply follow the rider’s commands. Explain to your child that God wants us to respond this way to His instructions. He doesn’t just want us to obey in the end but wants us to do so fully and completely right away.
In the days ahead, when you need your child to follow your instructions, remind them of the character of a horse. Often when my children were younger and not following the instructions I had given them, I would simply say, “Mama needs you to be a horse right now,” and they all knew that meant they were behaving in a way that was the opposite of what I had instructed. It was an excellent tool for when we were in public as it spared them the embarrassment of being called out in front of others.
The opposite of judgment is not acceptance; it is affirmation. Affirm – af·firm – Verb. 1. state as a fact; assert strongly and publicly. 2. offer (someone) emotional support or encouragement. “There are five common ways parents fail to affirm their children.”
When was the last time you intentionally affirmed those around you in their identity, value, or destiny? It is Kingdom to do so.
A young girl had trouble staying in bed at night because of recurring nightmares. During a coaching session with the mom, God revealed a spirit of rejection that was affecting her due to some earlier life experiences. We used our authority over the spirit of rejection, and the mom messaged me to report that her daughter went to bed without fighting. WHY? Because the issue had nothing to do with her bedroom, sleep, or being alone and had everything to do with what she was encountering in her room. You cannot manage spirits. You have to use your God-given authority over them!! Period. It is for FREEDOM that Christ gave His life!
This sums up Kingdom parenting. We can’t usher them into the palace while we are living in the dump. God wants US to experience His goodness so that we can parent from that place for our children.
“To be completely transparent, this lesson made me realize that I honestly do not know my own identity in God. I’m not sure how I could ever hope or expect to teach my daughter or for her to understand her identity in God if I don’t even know it for myself.”
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.
Sometimes we bring our children to Jesus, and other times we bring Jesus to our children.