CONNECTION

CONNECTION

Without connection, we can use spiritual tools to drive a wedge between our children and their Father. The Pharisees were all about obeying the law perfectly, and Jesus was about the person. We can parent to keep our children in line with perfect expectations, or we can parent the child as an important, valuable, and unique human being who is in training to become a successful adult. One focuses on what they DO, while the other focuses on who they ARE. 

I used to parent based on my child’s behavior, modeling the popular WWJD – “What would Jesus do?”. Jesus never hit, backtalked, pinched his sister, slammed doors, disobeyed, etc., so whenever those ‘ungodly’ traits would appear, I would discipline for it. I was a strong believer in raising kids who modeled the outward behavior of Jesus. I probably would have even admitted that it didn’t matter much what was going on inside their hearts because if I could train them to do it ‘right’ on the outside, eventually, it would sink into their heart. Anytime they were out of line, I felt anxious, and in my view, I thought I looked bad to others. If my child had a meltdown at the mall or displayed a lack of self-control at a restaurant, it meant I was a bad mom. It was a fear-based cycle of needing to control their outward behavior so that I felt good about myself as a parent. Their immature choices were more about my feelings than their training and development. I’m not sure parenting ever works that way, but what it produces is legalism and a religious spirit that tells the child that we don’t really care about what is happening inside them; we want them to perform to make us feel good. Kids are taught their behavior matters and they do not. They are taught God is a ruler maker who disciplines imperfection. They are trained to hide their true selves. They are introduced to isolation and loneliness. They feel like something is wrong with them. Can you relate? Is Holy Spirit showing you that there is room to grow in your focus from controlling their outward behavior to parenting the heart? If yes, we have to respond to Him. There won’t be any transformation unless we are willing to let Him move us. 

HeartWork – Grab your journal and spend some intentional time today asking for forgiveness for caring more about your child’s behavior than their heart. Cry out to God, ask Him to teach you how to parent the way He parents us. He cares about your heart.

WHAT DOES LOVE LOOK LIKE?

“We all already were familiar with the love languages, so we focused on what each language actually LOOKED like to us. I realized that there were things that I thought were filling but weren’t, as well as things I had done that DID fulfill someone, but they never told me, so I didn’t even know! My husband and I decided that we needed to go deeper and really try to understand each other! I bought four glass jars with lids at the Dollar Tree, and each of us got one jar and chose a color to represent him or her. I cut pieces of construction paper in the chosen colors and then color-coded the lids and wrote our names. So how this works: If I do something to contribute to my husband’s love tank, he will put my color paper in his jar and let me know what it was that I did. This way, we are aware of what means something to someone else and what doesn’t. We wanted to do something visual that would make us more aware and help us learn each other better. So far, this is bringing so much awareness to each other and making us dig a little deeper to find out what works for someone. I thought my older ones would think it was childish, but they didn’t. I even got my grown 33-year-old son (who just moved back to Alabama and is temporarily staying with us) involved with it. I was expecting some eye-rolling, but they all are on board!”

PEACE IS MY GUIDE

I have a rule in my house – if I cannot participate in something and remain in peace, then I will not do it. As a result, I have had to say no, or decline many good things. I have made the choice not to allow even some good things to rob me of my peace or connection with my children.

LET HIM SHOW YOU

A mom messaged me, saying that her daughter was believing lies and had shut down. She wanted my help with how to handle it. This is a great example of being led by the all-knowing Holy Spirit and not just checking off a religious formula. I first asked her WHAT the lie was. She replied that the daughter believes the parents are abusive and do not love her. While that is obviously a lie, it is the daughter’s truth. I then asked the mom to ask Jesus what He thought of the daughter’s words. The mom humbly came back to me and reported that Jesus showed her that she was using a tone and responding in a way that was hurting her daughter.

AFFIRMATION

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.

5-MINUTE DATES

 Each morning, set up a date with your child. Five minutes feels like a long time for a child. They can pick whatever they want to do with your time, and they normally pick something they need from you – talk, spend time cuddling, or play a game. It is a great way to get those tanks filled and get you focused on hearing what they have to say! (Don’t tell them it is only five minutes, though). I like to make a big deal about it by saying something like, “Meet me in the living room at 2 pm today,” or “Let’s have a date, just you and me.” Love languages matter! 

MAKING MEMORIES

How many of you have memories of your childhood? Is it super powerful and amazing to think that TODAY you have the power to create a memory that will stay with your children for the rest of their lives?  The best memories rarely have to do with how much money was spent, how Pinteresty it looked, or how big it was. Instead, they generally circle around how deep they feel seen, heard, and valued.

MATURING MOTHERS

Such a sweet testimony from my friend taking our Moms & Dads class on being seen, heard, and valued. 

“While spending my time in prayer doing my homework assignment, He showed me that my daughter was doing something behind my back IN THAT MOMENT. This has never happened before. So, I rushed to her, and instead of coming down hard on her or shaming her (ways I have parented before), I asked Jesus to help me, and we walked through getting to her heart. It wasn’t anything huge, but it was dishonest. At the end of the conversation, I told her I wanted her to be honest so she could feel heard. I was given a great opportunity to try and use these gifts, and I feel like it went well! Thank you so much!!” 

What I LOVE about this testimony is that she did not see her daughter as a liar but as robbing herself of using her voice to be heard. EMPOWERMENT!!!!

BEDTIME STORIES

Remind your children how big God is by telling them stories of His incredible power in other challenging stories in the Bible. He always comes through and always knows what He is doing (always). Make it a family date to have a bedtime story each day for a week using the stories of the Bible. You can read them out loud or simply share them in your own words.

HUG IT OUT

My spiritual daughter shared how God is leading her family in this season: “A new thing our family has started doing is asking, ‘Do you need a 20-second hug?’ And teaching them how to ask for one. A 20-second hug can… increase levels of oxytocin (the love hormone), reduce blood pressure and cortisol (the stress hormone), increase happiness, lower stress, improve relationships, and connection.”

KINGDOM OF GOD

If your busyness does not include peace, joy, laughter, and connection, you may be idling on busyness.