CULTIVATING GRATITUDE

CULTIVATING GRATITUDE

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.

C-19

Take authority over your home and USE THIS to empower your children of all ages. Let me walk you through HOW. The truth is there is sickness going around – always has been – always will be – as we live in a fallen world. Only heaven is sickness free. How you respond to this issue will shape your children when facing future crises. Are you modeling fear and worry or teaching them how to walk in authority full of faith? Either you are partnering with life or death.

Gather the children and talk about C-19. Trust me, if they go to school or own a computer, they have heard about it. We want to explain to them that what makes this virus (use the word ‘cold’ as they understand that better than ‘virus’) different is that it is new to doctors and scientists. Give them an explanation for the fear that is attached to the virus. Cancer, tooth pain, backaches, and tuberculosis all caused the same worry years ago because people were battling things in their bodies, and the doctors did not know how to help them. But over time, God gave the doctors and scientists wisdom in how to help the body through medicine.

Spend time praying as a family for God to give doctors and scientists strategies and solutions to help people! Make a list of how medicine, doctors, dentists, chiropractors, and vitamins have already helped your family. Spend time thanking God for each one of them. Flip your worry to praise.

Declare over your home that the virus is not allowed! Declare that the virus is not welcome in your city! Declare that the virus is not welcome in your country! Pray for a wall of protection against you and any person who is sick! Declare, “Fear, you are a liar, and do not lead me. God does!”

Be wise in taking care of the body given to you by drinking an increased amount of water, consuming less sugar, and getting more rest. This helps your body to become stronger and fight off viruses. Take a family field trip down to the bathroom and practice what it means to wash your hands well (I am being serious). Talk about why it is important to keep hands away from their nose and mouth (and wash often). Talk about facts vs. truth.

FACTS: a virus is unknown to doctors, and they aren’t sure what to do, the virus is making people sick, and the virus feels scary.

TRUTH: God is not surprised by the virus, God is still in control, God can keep me safe, God has a plan, and God comforts me in my unrest.

We want to acknowledge facts but camp out in the TRUTH. Be sensitive to when fear is knocking – both for you and your child. When it comes, do not be chased by fear, but STOP, TURN and FACE the fear. First, identify what the fear is about. Afraid God isn’t in control? Can’t God keep your family safe? Something terrible is going to happen? You will suffer? You won’t be able to protect your children? Identify it and then ASK JESUS for His truth. Release what He told you like a bold statement of truth and hope to those around you. This is how we rise up and become the light in the midst of darkness. Open your mouth in the declaration and speak HIS TRUTH over the situation.

ETCHED ON THEIR HEARTS

My mom was a school teacher and not only had gorgeous penmanship, but she also had a high value for it. Homework wasn’t just supposed to be accomplished in our house; it was also supposed to be done neatly. My writing was never perfected like hers, but even as an adult, whenever I write something sloppy, I have an internal check that I should either slow down or redo it. When we proactively teach our children who they are, we are helping them partner with God’s truth about them, which anchors them through life experiences. Example: God told me early on that my son would be a gentleman, so I have called it out since he was two years old. I have looked for ways he can practice being a gentleman (opening doors, helping with strong things, giving up his chair for an elderly lady, etc.). When my son does not act like a gentleman, something goes off inside of him that feels funny because he is acting in a way that is contrary to his true nature.

Children will exercise their flesh and act out; it is the nature of a child, but having the truth written in them helps guide them to become the person they are created to be. When children are not told who they are, they are influenced to become the things God never designed them to be.

SYSTEM UPGRADES

As a mom of four, I had my grocery trips down to a science. I had my toddler in the front, my baby in the carrier of the cart, and my four-year-old twins holding onto each side of the cart. There was peace and joy when we went to the store. Until the day they all outgrew their places, and they were running around playing tag while I attempted to shop. I rationalized that they were fine because they were being joyful, but the joy broke out into the next aisle, where they zoomed up and down the rows of food. Finally, they rounded the corner and nearly plowed over an elderly lady with a walker! I realized my previous system was no longer effective. I had to go home and call another family meeting where I taught them what going to the store looked like in this new stage. This is the process of building them with age-appropriate character throughout their childhood years.

YELLING

Yes, there is a better way to parent our children than yelling but you do not need more of God so that you stop yelling. You need more of God so that He can comfort and heal those places in your heart so that you do not need to yell anymore. 

GET UP AND FIGHT – REST

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.

DREAM ABOUT FEAR

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. 

JOIN ME IN PRAYER

I am encouraging every parent to STAND IN THE GAP for the voiceless children in our nation who are being used and abused and read out loud Psalms 10. God is not sleeping. His eyes do not close. It is time to take the mask off our mouths and declare that the scales will be tipped. I am on my face weeping on their behalf. Cry out on behalf of the children. Be their voice. Stand in the gap on their behalf. This is God’s battle. We will do our part on our knees. Children, we are battling for you. Heaven, send the angels. God is the God who judges all things.

TRUTH-BASED PARENTING

Ask, “Jesus, what lies am I believing about my parenting?”. I am fairly certain I know your response. No, I am not a mind reader, but I do know that the enemy throws out these seeds to all parents, hoping to get us to partner with them because it may feel or sound true. The lie you believe about your parenting most likely sounds something like the following: I am ruining my children. I am not enough. My child will grow up to hate me. I do not have what it takes.

Friends, the enemy is a liar, and you ARE enough. Not because of you, but because GOD gave you your child, and He trusts Himself to work all things out (even your shortcomings, wounds, and messes). When a parent partners with this lie, he is taking out two generations in one because a parent who believes they aren’t enough will act like they aren’t enough. If you struggle with the lie that you aren’t enough, are ruining your child, or don’t have what it takes, write the lie out and destroy it (burn it, trash it, shred it, stomp on it, flush it or rip it). THEN ask, “Jesus, what is Your truth about my parenting?” The next time the enemy throws that lie at you, counter it with what Jesus said.

REMEMBER WHEN…

I want to invite you to encounter Him as a family as we just did. It was powerful and shifted our focus and peace back to Him.

There are so many things screaming at us in this hour, and it is hard not to feel uneasy at times. I called a family meeting and asked them who God is. Yes, there is the God of the Bible and what we learn about Him, but I wanted to hear the testimonies of who He has BEEN for us. The ways we have personally seen, heard, and experienced for ourselves. I started with a testimony of “Remember when…” and someone followed, and then another and another. It took us 45 minutes to get through the stories. GO gather the kids and tell bedtime stories of who your God is. Stir up the memories of what He has already done.

SEXUAL SAFETY

I once told the kids I took a picture of their poop and posted it on Facebook. They were mortified. I asked them why and they said, “Because that is PRIVATE, Mom.” I put them out of their misery and told them I agreed and would never do that to them. I then explained that their God-given body parts are private too – just like boogers and poop – there is nothing shameful in going to the bathroom, but we keep it to ourselves. Children must be proactively taught by their PARENTS that #1. No one can LOOK at their private parts. #2. No one can TOUCH their private parts. #3. No one can take a PHOTO of their private parts.