CLEARING THE AIR

CLEARING THE AIR

I feel a strong stirring in my spirit that we all need to do our part to ‘clear the air’ in the spiritual realm. Who do you need to forgive? Make things right with? Let go of offense? Believe the best? Ask for forgiveness? Repent of judgments? Confess slander? Call a family meeting and walk this out together.

In doing this, we begin to clear the spiritual air and allow ourselves to get the fresh air our spirit needs to be healthy.

LAUGHING AT LIES

“My three-year-old daughter and I have been butting heads. She has been disobedient and extremely whiny. I tried various methods to learn what was going on with my daughter. Today, I finally sat her down with paper and colored pencils (an idea I learned from you). I asked her to draw Mommy a picture of how her heart was feeling. I left her quietly to herself. I returned shortly after, and all she had on the picture were black scribble lines. I asked her to describe to me what her picture meant. She said, “It means (pause) that things just aren’t working out for me.” WHAT?! That is a lie from the pit! I immediately asked her to ask Jesus if this was the truth. After asking Him, she said, “No, it’s not true.” I encouraged her that we can laugh at lies instead of partnering with them. Together we laughed at the lie. Finally, we declared the truth, and she was immediately all smiles again.”

INSTRUCTING VS. TEACHING

Proverbs 22:6 – “Teach a child to choose the right path, and when he is older, he will remain upon it.”

Teach – verb 1. show or explain to (someone) how to do something. There is a difference between dictating laws and teaching them. Instructions can turn into rules/laws, which is legalism. Teaching is the verb of Jesus! Ex. A child steals something from the store. We can instruct our children that we don’t steal, or we can teach them WHY a loving Father doesn’t desire for His children to steal from others. Ex. A child hits his sister. We can discipline and reprimand the child for his behavior, or we can teach them HOW hitting affects others. Ex. A child doesn’t listen to you. We can pull out parenting tools of control and fear, or we can teach them WHAT obedience looks like. Are you instructing or teaching your children?

FAILURE TO SEE

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.

WHAT LIES AM I BELIEVING ABOUT RAISING MY CHILDREN?

When parents find themselves parenting harshly, it generally stems from a belief that love must be earned. While this is not true about their heart for their child, it was the belief that they were raised in. Performance and pressure are the ingredients to be loved. This operating system is not Kingdom and will not produce the fruit of love, connection, and trust that we desire with our families.

Do you find yourself being overly harsh, firm, and rigid in your parenting? Ask, “Jesus, will You please show me what LIE I believe about raising my children?” Verbally break agreement with the lie. Ask Jesus for HIS truth.

“NO ONE LIKES ME”

Has your child ever come home from school, youth group, or a friend’s house and declared that their peers do not like them? It is hard to hear, isn’t it? Let me empower you on how to help your child walk through it. It is brutal to feel like you don’t belong because God created us with wiring TO belong. Belonging was one of the things stolen in the Garden. When a child experiences belonging, they start becoming who they are called to be. When a child experiences a lack of acceptance, they shrink back and partner with timidity and smallness, which robs those around them of who they were created to be. There are reasons why children experience a lack of belonging with their peers. Sometimes they do not fit in because there is something within them that needs to be matured or revealed. Humility and intentional parenting are required to help them overcome. Let me give you an example.

Years ago, I was a nanny for one of the wealthiest families in Minnesota. The six-year-old girl loved opening soda cans and pouring out all of the sweet sugar. The bees loved it too. The family’s full-time caretaker asked her many times to please stop. She looked at him and said, “My name is Anna ___. I can do whatever I want.” Her parents almost lost two employees that day. My first thought was, “How sad that where your parents failed to teach you, your peers will.” That attitude won’t fly with peers; they could care less about how much money your daddy has or how spoiled you have been at home. You can’t do whatever you want just because you feel like it and have been falsely empowered to do so at home. In this case, the response from peers, while it wouldn’t feel good, is a gift to help you see where you may need to come into greater maturity. One of my goals in parenting has been to accurately discern my child’s weaknesses and help empower them with tools for success and growth so that they don’t have to learn it the hard way through the rejection of peers. But there are times when nothing about the child warrants pushback from peers, but it happens anyway. I want to open your view of what is happening. Satan hates unity. There is strength in numbers, and his goal is to separate and devour. When there is love and unity among us, God’s Kingdom advances. There is an assignment against your child in this area specifically, and none of them are exempt from having to walk through this. Something happens, say three girls are hanging out and one girl feels left out of the conversation, which feels uncomfortable, but then the enemy comes and whispers, “You are all alone. No one likes you,” and it may FEEL true at that moment. A child partners with it, and now the lie is a part of their belief system.

Another example is that a child makes a foolish comment that lacks maturity (which happens all the time and should be expected of a child who has not yet become a full adult), and the receiver owns the comment as truth. They must be taught that not all comments, even from the popular kids, are true and accurate. Another example might be when the teacher calls on a student, and they don’t know the answer. This is common and normal in a classroom setting where everyone is learning and growing. The child feels embarrassed, and the enemy whispers shame and smears their intelligence with lies. They then shrink back in shame with their peers. When a child is partnering with shame and rejection as their identity, other children can feel it, even if their minds don’t understand it. It is like they have a sign on their back that says, “I am rejected.” Sometimes when a child reports over and over how others are treating them, it is wise to ask Jesus to reveal what lies they are believing about themselves (and therefore projecting). The next time your child declares no one likes them, ask Jesus to show you if this is a lack of character on their part that requires additional parenting help or if it is an attack of the enemy on their identity.

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.

DO YOU EVER THINK OF GOD LOOKING AT THE CROSS?

As I have focused on the Cross over the years, I have been continually struck with not just the physical torment Jesus endured but the emotional. He laid down His life of His own accord so that people do not need to endure hell and could have an intimate relationship with His Father, yet they mock, ridicule, slander, taunt, misjudge and reject Him to His face. My God, my God, how is it that You can be so full of self-control? To watch people treat Your gift, Your beloved Son, like that and not rise to anger and smite them all will forever be beyond me. And yet it is the thing that captivates me the most about who You are. So loving, kind, and patient, and all the while fully aware of what is going on. The story of the Cross is who God is today – full of tender mercy and self-control, yet fully aware of all that is going on.

DON’T LISTEN TO HER

Years ago, when I was getting ready to put the house on the market, there was a ton of work to do. Three times I asked my son (then 7) if he had picked up his room, and three times he said it was perfectly clean. I was already tired and exhausted and felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. I walked down into his room and stopped dead in my tracks. Legos – everywhere! Upon further investigation, I discovered a week’s worth of perfectly clean clothes stuffed in the most bizarre places. I came unglued. I unleashed my mounting frustration on him and ‘cursed’ him – not with swear words, but by calling out things that were not a part of his identity. I was saying things like, “You are making my life so hard,” “You don’t care how hard I am working,” “You always do this,” “You never clean your room…” Lies full of anger.

In the midst of my emotional release, Holy Spirit told me to STOP and go upstairs. It was so strong that I simply zipped my mouth mid-sentence and walked out. I got upstairs and lamented to God in my pity party about being a single mom having to do it ALL by myself, plus homeschooling, plus selling the house, plus, plus, plus, plus. Finally, the anger gave way to tears, and I needed to realign myself with the truth that I was NOT alone, that God was still providing and caring for me, that I had permission to rest and know that my Father radically loves me! I know enough about inner healing to know I just sliced my son’s heart pretty good and needed to make it right with him ASAP. I went down to his room, where he was faithfully cleaning his Legos, and told him with tears how sorry I was. His response was, “Oh, that’s okay, Mom.” I made him stand up and put my hands on his shoulders, and told him that it wasn’t okay that I, or anyone else, spoke to him like that and that I was wrong. His response? “Don’t worry about it, Mom. I still love you.” His response confused me as it didn’t match the scene a few moments ago. He said these powerful, life-changing words with tears in his eyes. He said, “Oh, Mom, you don’t get it. What you said hurt my heart so bad, but when you were walking up the stairs, I asked Jesus what He wanted me to know, and He said, ‘Don’t listen to her,’ so I just threw out your words.”

I had trained and then practiced and practiced with my children going to Jesus, and now, when it was ME causing the hurt, he knew how to take it to Jesus and get the healing he needed without me! Equipping our children to hear His voice and work through hurts, lies, and offenses is, in my opinion, the greatest tool for success you can ever give your child in today’s world. I encourage you – MASTER this over time! Please just sit for a moment and let the Holy Spirit use that testimony to release something in your own heart.

CRITICAL GAME

I have taught the kids that just because someone does something we judge as ‘wrong’ doesn’t mean we know the whole story! For example, a lady had a bout of road rage, and I was making some comments about it. Emma pipes up and says, “Mom, let’s play the critical game.” The critical game is when someone does something we think is ‘wrong,’ but we have to come up with ten reasons why they did what they did to believe the BEST about them. Such as; she is late for a meeting with the President, her kids need her, she is rushing to the hospital, she has to make a flight, her new puppy has to pee, she spilled coffee on her shirt, someone is in trouble and needs her, she can’t find the brake pedal. While none of these excuse her behavior, it helps us to walk in compassion and believe the best about someone vs. judging them. We generally end up roaring with laughter! Teach your children how to play the game!

HE DOESN’T HEAR

I feel the need to share that when we started practicing hearing God’s voice ourselves, some kids got it really fast, while others took longer. At times, I started to feel pressured or would believe the lie that they weren’t getting it, but, like reading, once it clicked, they took off. Is it really a tool we want to risk backing off just because it might take them a little longer than we think it should? Also, for Hudson, I kept saying, “What did you HEAR?” and he would say nothing. Finally, I realized that something was going on and asked God to show me what it was. I realized that he wasn’t ‘hearing’ anything but ‘seeing’ pictures. Once I changed my verbiage to, “What did you get?”, he instantly started ‘hearing’. I urge you not to worry or get too caught up in the process, but I do encourage you to keep sowing into it. When a parent laments that their two-year-old isn’t getting it, I smile and encourage them to keep practicing because when they are three, they are going to be further along than most thirty-year-olds. 

Children hear without filters and the fear of man, and they are void of a religious spirit or awareness of social etiquette. Their ears are pure, and we need to protect them. They have the ability to hear quickly. We need to trust what they are hearing. The Spirit taught me that if I was going to teach my children to hear Father God, I had to guard against positioning myself as the middleman. This can be a hard place for a mama to rest in, but I do not want to create a dependency upon me whenever my kids hear Holy Spirit whispering to them. If what they hear seems a little fishy or self-motivated, do NOT call that out, as it could squelch their listening ears. Instead, treat it like practicing their ABCs. A lack of perfection doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try it again, nor do you make them feel bad for missing the letter M. It means that they must keep practicing. If it wasn’t the Lord, I promise He will organize the circumstances to reveal that in a teachable moment. The only time I get to test if the word they say is from God is if it truly is out of line with the Scriptures. Tread with grace as they are exercising their spiritual muscles and seek not to shut them down.

If your child is not interested in practicing, I question two things: #1. Have you spent enough time teaching it to them? Kids who feel like Mom/Dad expect something from them (hearing Jesus) but do not understand what you mean will shut down out of fear of disappointing you. #2. Are you making it FUN? The Kingdom is righteousness, peace, and JOY and if it isn’t FUN, then you are most likely partnering with a religious spirit of expectation or performance.