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!
As someone who endured profound emotional and mental isolation in childhood, being alone long term is not healthy for me. I know my capacity and take active steps to make sure I am in community. When I feel the most weary, I realize it is because I have come under LIES of isolation. I have to actually reset my mind and heart back to His TRUTH. Let me share them with you in hopes they will align you with His heart and break off discouragement.
**I break agreement with the lie I am alone.
**I break agreement with the lie that I can’t be in community right now.
**I break agreement with the lie that isolation is my duty.
**I break agreement with the lie that says interaction is wrong.
**I break agreement with the lie that people are a danger.
**I break agreement with the lie that I have to fear others.
**I break agreement with the lie that others are a threat.
**I DECLARE that God designed me to interact with others.
**I DECLARE that I am called to impact others.
**I DECLARE that my need to be heard and seen is a part of my wiring.
**I DECLARE that longing for people is healthy.
**I DECLARE that I have the mind of Christ in the midst of the storm.
**I DECLARE that my Father leads me in all situations.
**I DECLARE that my emotional needs are valued and valid.
**I DECLARE that I am not in an emotional or relational time-out.
Ask Jesus, “Jesus, will You please show me the strategy to connect with people today?”
Call a family meeting and ask your children what would happen if you walked into the middle of a busy street and held up your hand. Nothing would probably happen. Next, ask what would happen if a police officer walked in the middle of a busy street and put up his hand. Because of his badge, he has authority. Not only that, but all of the courts back him up. We get to be police officers in the spiritual realm because of the badge of Jesus, and all of heaven backs us up. We get to tie up the bad and then unleash all the good stuff!
I share more about the police badge teaching and authority in this video. Watch it with your children. Teaching Children Their Authority – YouTube
Psalms 5 reflects how the righteous man prays for deliverance not only for freedom from suffering but to allow himself to serve God without distraction. This is an excellent passage in the midst of all the turmoil in our government. Read this chapter as a family and talk about the reality of how one person’s choices affect those around them. But God has keys and a strategy for overcoming and thriving in the midst.
Prayer for Help – Psalms 5:1-12 – “Hear my words, O Lord. Think about my crying. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God. For I pray to you. In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice. In the morning I will lay my prayers before You and will look up. You are not a God Who is pleased with what is bad. The sinful cannot be with You. The proud cannot stand before You. You hate all who do wrong. You destroy those who tell lies. The Lord hates liars and men who kill other people. But as for me, by Your great loving-kindness, I will come into Your house. At Your holy house I will put my face to the ground before You in love and fear. O Lord, lead me in what is right and good, because of the ones who hate me. Make Your way straight in front of me. For in their talk there is no truth. Their hearts destroy. Their mouths are like an open grave. With their tongues, they say sweet-sounding words that are not true. Hold them guilty, O God! Let them fall by their own plans. Throw them out because of their many sins. For they have fought against You. But let all who put their trust in You be glad. Let them sing with joy forever. You make a covering for them, that all who love Your name may be glad in You. For You will make those happy who do what is right, O Lord. You will cover them all around with Your favor.”
There is a big difference between moving and transitioning. I see scores of people called by God to move into new locations in this season, and I believe He is RE-positioning many in the Body of Christ for His purposes. Over the years, I have watched people leave their community and struggle through the turbulence of entry into their new homes. I have often coached people to ask a small group of friends to commit to walking them through the transition for weeks or even months to come, like stakes in a tree until the tree can stand on its own. Now that we have walked through our own journey of transitioning, I wanted to add a few more gems that have helped us leave behind precious communities. Make a list of what you will need to leave behind and what is yours. You will have to leave things behind and the more you can identify what that is, grieve it and let it go, the easier it will be. Make a list of what is yours. You get to take many things with you, and it is important to realize that certain things are yours to carry everywhere you go.
When we left Redding, we determined that things like seeking His presence, worshiping, praying for the sick, certain relationships, hunger for God, adventures with Him, etc., were ours and things we get to take with us. The more you are aware of it ahead of time, the easier it will be to hold onto them. Conflict or friction sharpens us to become more like Him and is bound to happen in community. Make sure you ask the Lord if there is anyone you need to forgive and work that out in your heart before you depart, so you don’t carry that with you. Furthermore, ask Jesus if you need to make things right with anyone before you depart, so they don’t have to carry that with them. It is healthy to end well. Someone told me once we begin our journey to go to the city limits, get out, and literally shake the dust off. This is not a negative act but one that says, “I leave behind what is behind and press on towards what is before me.” We did this at 4 in the morning with our U-Haul; it was a powerful prophetic act. I could feel a shift in my spirit. The whole physical journey (drive) home was deep and rich. I allowed my mind to flow with memories, thoughts, and testimonies. I cried, felt uncomfortable and messy, yet by the time I arrived, I felt like I had drained so much of my process I was able to embrace the new. The other thing that surprised me was that I felt this strange oppression with former things when we arrived. I kept resisting but felt like I was managing it and not walking in freedom. Finally, someone who also transitioned years before shared that there are OLD GARMENTS of who you were before when you lived there. The minute she said that, I was able to shake it off and walk in who I am today, not who I was before. Very powerful.
Do not let old garments and identities attempt to lure you back. Community is built by intentionality. Do not wait for people to embrace you. Even though you are the new kid in town, be the leader in creating connections, community, and building relationships. These points have been anchors for me as we continue to process our journey into new territory.
I am intentional to guard against idle busyness. I have no problems saying NO to something when I am in the midst of a battle. I try to lie down at least once daily, even for five minutes. Some days I have to focus on my breathing and be intentional about breathing in peace, breathing out stress and worry.
I had this dream years ago and have never forgotten it. It was the kind where you wake up and fear is still in your room. I will spare you the details, but I was in a normal room with a stage in the middle. On the stage were different scenes of really awful things happening to people. My dream was graphic and vivid. When I woke, I asked the Lord what He wanted me to know about this awful dream, and He said, “You are not to be entertained by fear. It is a room you have the freedom to wander into, but I am telling you not to. The longer you stay in the room, the greater the chance of you being center stage – get out as quickly as you can.”
Whoa! I think that word is for more than just me! This is why it is so important to guard our children and what they are being entertained by. Fear is not entertainment. It is the enemy’s tool to steal, kill and destroy peace, relationships, freedom, joy, sleep, rest, connection, destiny, identity, etc.
“Jesus, will You show me a picture of how wet/dry my heart sponge is right now? What do You want me to do to fill it up today?”
Gather as a family in the living room, in the car, at the dinner table, or at bedtime, and ask Jesus together. This is empowering for children because they witness how God communicates with you, which increases their faith, and together you get to encounter Him. Spiritual hearing is a muscle that is strengthened by worshiping and praying. The more you do it, the stronger you become at it.
Of all the things I have endured in life, the hardest part has been the healing process of receiving the good. More often than not, things like joy, play, silliness, trust, lavishing, loyalty, and laughter have been taught to me through my children. They are made in His image, not mine, and God knit them with gifts, talents, and personalities to redeem and restore what was lost in my childhood. God continues to parent us through our children. It’s like He first gives us one set of parents to raise and train us. Then He addresses the neglected or shut down areas by using our children to parent us (our kids don’t parent us, but He parents us through them). This is why family is so important to Him. He is building something in us, and the generations are interconnected.
I vividly recall the day I put great effort and energy into making a special dinner for my family. I eagerly called them to the table to reveal my effort. I got less-than-sweet comments from each of the children, and they just got up and went off to play. I sat there with a huge mess to clean up and felt somewhat offended. I wanted to go on a cooking strike, vowing never to feed them again, but I realized that wasn’t a good option. I pictured them doing that in someone else’s home, and I didn’t like the thought. I knew I had to figure out a way to TEACH them what honor and gratefulness looked like in that situation. The following morning, they came to the table and I had them draw me a picture. Before they finished, I picked up and said, “Ick. I don’t like purple.” To another one, I said, “Gross. This is nasty”, and another I said, “I hate this.” They were mortified and in complete shock. I asked them how it made them feel. Awful! I explained that when someone makes a meal, it is like their artwork made with love for them. I never forced my kids to eat anything, but I set the bar for them to be grateful, gracious, and kind. After every meal, they are required to thank the person who made the meal and ask to be excused. I am not their maid, slave, or chef; I am their mother worthy of honor and respect.
Want to give your children a gift today? Read through Psalms 139: 1-18 with them at the breakfast table. This is a powerful revelation of the goodness of God and rebukes the lie that we are alone. Anchor them today in His Word.