CULTIVATING GRATITUDE

CULTIVATING GRATITUDE

Gather the kids and talk about the things most dear to your heart. Ask them what is one thing they couldn’t live without. Spend time thanking Jesus for giving it to you.

SEXUAL SAFETY

We teach our kids bike safety. We teach them not to answer the door for stranger safety. We teach them “Stop, Drop and Roll” for fire safety. We teach them to wear a life jacket for water safety. But do we teach them sexual safety? Predators are looking for one thing – a child who has no grid for what is happening and has never been taught about sexual safety. When a child encounters things that are sexually unsafe, their spirit knows something is wrong, but they freeze because they do not know how to handle what is happening. They have been taught to obey adults, not to talk back, to never hit, etc.

#1. Children need to know the proper names for body parts – all of them. 

#2. Children need to know what to do should they ever feel unsafe. 

#3. Children need to know that they are never alone and can ask Jesus for help in ALL circumstances.

IDENTITY

The biggest war the next generation will face in their lifetime is the battle over their identity! Parents, teaching your child who they are – who God says they are – the parts that cannot be changed – the areas that aren’t moved or reduced based on circumstances – is a LIFELINE in today’s culture.

TRUTH ADJUSTMENT

Declare this over your child, even when they are struggling and making messes. “I speak over YOU today there is still room for you at the table. Your messes are part of the growth process. There is still room for you. God has not weakened His gaze or affection over you. You have permission to be on your journey and learn as you grow! We live in a performance-based culture that values your A+ and rejects you for getting a C. God values your process and journey of becoming the full expression of who you were created to be. Break agreement with any voice telling you otherwise!”

TIPPING POINT

Your family’s prayers can change the world – literally! Revelations shares how the story ends. Pay attention to Revelations 8 – “The smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God . . . Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth” (Rev. 8:4-5).

This is not to be taken lightly or flippant. When you pray, you are filling the prayer bowls of heaven. Gather your family and place a bowl with a little water in the center of the table. Give each person a glass filled with water and a spoon. Play a game to see how many spoonfuls of water they can get into the larger bowl to make it spill over (literally). It will simply take ONE more spoon full of water to tip the water over the edge. Have fun, and let joy break out. Then share the verse above and tell them that their prayers can change the world. I encourage you to use Philippians 4:6-7 as your prayer guide as a family. Talk about the verse, act it out, and then pray in response to each line. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. 

**Don’t worry about anything – make a list of the things you are worried about. 

**Take that list and pray over each item. 

**Tell God what you want and need. 

**Thank Him for what He has done in the past. 

**Thank Him for what He is going to do now.

JESUS’ FRIENDS

We often refer to Judas as the man who betrayed Jesus. He did, and it was painful and ugly. But there is more to the story. Call a family meeting and instead of focusing on judgment towards Judas for his actions, focus on Jesus’ friendship with him.

DON’T SHRINK BACK

On the first day of our JOURNEY class, we talk about being hungry for MORE. Nearly 100% of the answers reflect a deep desire for more of Him but a fear. Fear is just a lie to get YOU to forgo the goodness God has for you. The enemy can’t stop you, so he whispers lies that produce fear, which causes us to shy away, afraid the lie will actually come true. God is calling you deeper. Be known for your yes to Him, not for partnering with fear. I encourage you to break agreement with the lie and take it right to the throne by asking, “God, is it true that _______? What is Your truth?”

NOTHING WITHOUT LOVE

The Word says if you have EVERYTHING (money, fame, status, awards, a big house, a perfect-looking family, IG followers, Pinterest-worthy snacks, A+ students, fancy cars, leadership titles, etc.), but have no love, you have NOTHING! Love matters because God designed our heart, mind, and soul to need it. I have seen the messiest of situations, exasperated parents, and the most challenging children MELT with the ointment of love.

EXPOSING FEAR 2/3

Shock and Awe

Shock and awe (technically known as rapid dominance) is explained as a tactic based on the use of overwhelming power and spectacular displays of force to paralyze the enemy’s perception of the battlefield and destroy their will to fight. This is true in the natural times of war and how the enemy works. The enemy takes situations (opening a bill in the mail, news of a death, low grade, car accident, trauma, etc.) and uses this shock and awe tactic on people, including children. Their entire being is on alert, much like a hand where all the fingers are flexed simultaneously. The brain, mind, emotions, and nervous system are overwhelmed, and in that split-second moment before logic and coping skills kick in, the enemy whispers his lie (“You are all alone,” “No one cares,” “Your God is not powerful,” etc.). When the body, mind, and emotions begin to calm down (like fingers that go back to a relaxed state), the lie remains because, at that moment, the lie FEELS true based on the evidence. The enemy then gets to influence us because we partnered with the lie.

Here is an excellent example of how this plays out. Many in the world are beginning to calm down from the shock and awe over recent events and are overcoming this tactic of the enemy. “No, no, no, I will not be influenced by fear. I do not partner with the idea of doom or lack. I will not bow down, lie down, or shrink back. I am a child of God with a Father who has defeated the spirit behind this attack. I will cling to Him, His Kingdom, His power, His voice, and His resources in this hour.” I WILL arise!

HONORING YOU

It is very difficult for a child to release the Kingdom at the store if they are on the floor pitching a fit because you did not buy them a toy. They will have a harder time hearing God’s voice if they haven’t been taught to listen to yours first. You will have a greater challenge getting them to be ‘others’ focused if they have been taught that they are the only ones that matter. Character matters!

CURSING MOMS

Mamas, are you cursing your body? It is hard to raise daughters with healthy self-esteem when you model cursing your own body. My mom had four kids close in age and didn’t like the way it affected her body. I was secure and confident growing up with my body; however, the moment I had kids (also four close in age, including twins), I immediately turned against my body and felt like it was ‘ruined.’ I was intentional about building up my daughters and their self-image. God began to show me that what my mom taught me, by cursing her own body, is that motherhood ‘ruins’ your body. I was simply modeling that belief onto my children. I entered a season of greater self-love and acceptance for my body, which has miraculously produced life. I want my daughters to feel beautiful now AND after they become a mom. It isn’t about praising them but modeling acceptance for myself.

**This isn’t just for daughters. When moms curse their own bodies in front of their sons, they are teaching them that there is something wrong with a woman’s body, which we surely don’t want him to transfer to his wife someday.