DISEMPOWERED

DISEMPOWERED

The definition of empowerment is to give (someone) the authority or power to do something. This means you can’t empower yourself. It is something that is given or denied by someone else. This is why God puts us in families and churches with mothers and fathers who have authority over us, see the value in us, and champion what God has placed inside of us. I am not talking about when people are using their God-given authority in a healthy way. There is an appropriate time for a parent, leader, teacher, or pastor to protect those in their care by not allowing them to do something. This is healthy and a protective covering. Nor am I talking about entitlement and that people should just be able to do whatever they want when they want it and that no one can tell them “No.” I am talking about when people in authority use the tool of disempowerment to protect something in them that needs to come into alignment. I hope to bring perspective to the dynamics of what happens when parents/leaders use disempowerment as a tool to control those under them.

Orphan – Disempowerment removes parents/leaders from being true mothers and fathers the way God intended homes and churches to operate and therefore opens them up to the demonic simply by creating a culture that isn’t in alignment with His Kingdom. Being disempowered pulls them back into an orphan mentality.

Double-Mindedness – Disempowerment can throw a person into double-mindedness. They want to honor it, but it doesn’t feel right. They talk their mind out of their emotions and their emotions out of their mind. It creates a cycle that is so inner focus that it consumes them. “I love them,” “I can’t understand why they don’t believe in me,” “I see how powerful they are,” “What’s wrong with me?” They have a very hard time reconciling their mind and heart because they are both screaming two different things. The Bible says a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. It is hard for someone to be confident and full of courage when your mind and heart are not in alignment with each other.

Covering – Disempowering someone puts the wrong kingdom covering over that child/person. The nature of empowerment is authority. When someone (falsely) takes it from you, it leaves you vulnerable to the enemy because it is by Christ’s work on the Cross that we are all empowered with authority to walk who He has called us to be.

Stunts Growth – Being disempowerment removes the protective covering that allows for mistakes and messes while maturing. There is no learning curve and without it, children/people are crippled in making choices because they know they can’t do it perfectly so they shy away from trying.

Shame – Disempowerment isn’t God’s tool so it will never make sense to the human mind and heart, but they attempt to reconcile the question “what is wrong with me?” (when in fact, there is nothing wrong with them). Some can spend a lifetime attempting to answer this question.

Introspection – Disempowerment hands the person a mirror and forces them to be critical of themselves, not knowing where they went wrong or how to make it better. An awkward awareness of self follows you around unsure if you will make the same mistake again with others, yet you aren’t fully aware of what mistake you made in the first place.

Rejection – The greatest form of rejection is when someone dismisses the gifts inside of you because it is the very reason why you were created.

Idol – Disempowerment puts the focus on the one in authority in an idol state and is always unhealthy for all parties. It makes their stamp of approval the goal rather than what God is doing and saying in that person’s life. The more it is withheld, the more the person craves it, and the idol grows. It is a vicious cycle and trap of the enemy to get one’s eyes off Jesus. Idol worship is empty and lacks the ability to produce fruit.

Judgement – I found this part very interesting. When there is idol worship there will be a lack of peace. The enemy often hands a person the tool of judgment to fight it off with. I have seen this countless times as people have battled disempowerment and then become seduced with judgment. Their minds try hard to slap it back into honor and love, but eventually, they give away and push back the disempowerment with judgment. The very person they so deeply wanted to know who believed in them suddenly becomes the worst person on earth, and judgments are made about who they are, their intentions, and credibility. This is so sad because they move from being disempowered to judgmental, which continues to hinder them.

You can’t steward the position of disempowerment well enough because it is not your identity or God-given place. There is only ONE way out of disempowerment. Forgiveness. Forgive the parent/leader who told you they didn’t believe in you, who didn’t value your gifts, and who didn’t find you worth investing in. For many, there is great grief and sadness as the person in authority is generally someone you care a great deal about (parent/leader). Give your heart a voice in walking this out and allowing God to restore your authority!

ANTI-BULLYING

I wholeheartedly agree that school shootings are not a gun issue but a heart issue. Unresolved hurts turn into offenses, and offenses turn into bitterness. Bitterness is a gateway for the enemy to carry out his plan on earth to kill, steal and destroy through us. What is sad about these shootings is that the shooter is riddled with hurts that never got addressed or validated. Are you passionate about keeping our children safe? Then do YOUR part and talk to YOUR child about bullying. What is it? How does it happen? Why does it happen? Ask if they have witnessed it. Talk about how they can overcome the spirit of fear and intimidation. Talk about taking a public stand against someone who appears powerful. Show them how Jesus stood up to the powerful people of His day. Empower them. Equip them. Train them.

REJECT SELF-REJECTION

Self-rejection is lie-based thinking and often starts in childhood when life circumstances ‘prove’ the lie to be true. Children can partner with lies about themselves, such as, “I am fat.” “I am a loser.” “No one likes me.” “I am a mistake.” My face is ugly.” “I am too small to ever be good at sports.” “I am not acceptable.” “_____ disqualifies me from ever fully belonging.” “I will never measure up to my big brother.” “If I were a boy, my dad would accept me.” These are lies that feel true because the circumstances around them serve as evidence. They then partner with the lie as if it were the truth, giving the lie a legal right to influence them. Lies are just thoughts, but what makes them so damaging is that our thoughts and beliefs dictate our behavior. Proverbs 23:7. All of the above statements are LIES. When a child believes a lie about themselves, it is like a splinter in their heart, and they begin to act it out because it is NOT supposed to be there. If all we see is their outward behavior and aren’t digging a little deeper into the WHY of the behavior, we can serve to push the heart splinter in further. We want the lie out, not for it to be masked with perfect behavior. The less-than-pleasant acting out is pointing to the splinter that needs attention. This is not a parenting formula or 1,2,3 step program; it is about PARTNERING WITH THEIR CREATOR, who knows exactly how to search their heart and reveal what is going on. Say Johnny comes home, slams down his backpack, and declares, “I hate math!”. Parents often rush to correct little Johnny that we don’t use the word ‘hate.’ Instead, perhaps we could pull on the rope a bit more and discover what is going on underneath his newfound passion for hating math. “Buddy, why do you hate math?” and he says, “Ms. Jones is mean.” Keep pulling on the rope with validation and questions, “Oh no, how is Ms. Jones mean?” “She called on me today and I got the answer wrong and the whole class laughed at me. I am so stupid.” BAM! There is the lie. Hating math wasn’t agitating his heart; the lie of “I am stupid” was. Again, this is where parents want to rush in and remind Johnny of his intelligence, but the lie is not in his mind; it is in his heart. This is where he needs an ENCOUNTER with His Father to remove the lie. While *I* know the truth that God didn’t make him stupid, that is *his* truth. So, I ask if we can ask Jesus for his truth (after, of course, we have walked through forgiving the teacher for putting him in a position that made him feel vulnerable and unsafe and his peers for laughing at him). Jesus always shows up with His PEACE and TRUTH, which is what sets us free!! This is where parenting becomes a partnership with their Creator and where God takes what the enemy meant to harm and uses it for GOOD! The world has yet to see a generation who grabs hold of the hurts, lies, and offenses in childhood and destroys them IN childhood. His heart SHOULD be agitated if the enemy is whispering lies about his identity. His behavior and less-than-ideal vocabulary about ‘hating’ math were simply signs pointing to the heart splinter that was speaking a lie about his identity. A child who has never been intentionally taught the TRUTH of who they are will have an easier time biting the bait of lies about their worth and value. As parents, we have the incredible honor of teaching our children who they are and building them up in His truth. Identity focuses on who God says they are – worthy, valuable, important, lovable, belong, etc. – and not just what they do, such as good grades, sports, or excellent outward behavior. 

So let’s review: A child who is partnering with turning on themselves is believing a LIE. A child who believes a LIE will act it out with less-than-ideal behaviors because the heart splinter is agitating their heart. You can pull on the rope with validations and questions to be on the lookout for a HURT, LIE, or OFFENSE. Once you identify the hurt, lie, or offense, you help your child walk through forgiveness and then ask Jesus for His truth. We can help children resolve childhood issues IN childhood so that childhood owies don’t become adult-sized woundedness, childhood lies don’t become adult-sized strongholds, and childhood offenses don’t become adult-sized bitterness. Look for ways to intentionally speak the truth over your children about who they are. “Do you know that God loves you even when you mess up?” “You are so important to God; He even knows the number of hairs on your head.” “God created you to look like Him.” “God wants you on His team.” “This family wouldn’t be the same without you.” “You are perfect just the way you are.” “Know what I love most about you? EVERYTHING!” I declare the lies revealed and TRUTH to reign in your homes!

KINGDOM AUTHORITY

My sweet friends empowered their children to take a stand against sickness and release peace over their bodies and homes. Kingdom authority is yours – use it. This builds your child’s personal faith as they get to not only witness but experience God move.

PARENT HEART WORK

Get out your journal and recall the last time you had an above-average reaction to something your child did. Ask Jesus some questions and allow Him to minister to your heart. Do not be introspective; instead, ask and listen to what He has to share. 

Ask, “Jesus, was this their issue or mine?”. If it was your issue, ask, “Jesus, what was my heart feeling at the time? What made my heart so uncomfortable at that moment? When was the first time I felt that emotion? What did my heart need?” 

Use these questions the next time your child triggers you and allow those uncomfortable moments to be the times you are molded to be more like Jesus. We don’t want our wounds or lack to parent our children. We want to parent from a place of wholeness and freedom. Understanding this is important because we often react to our children who aren’t doing anything wrong. Yet our reaction, out of a wounded or hurt place, teaches them that it is not okay to be who God made them to be. Allow Him to parent you through your child! I am proud of you for doing the hard things so that your child doesn’t reap the fruit of our wounds.

FOREBODING SPIRIT

Oh my goodness. I went to Walmart with my daughter, and we laughed and smiled as we walked inside. I had a mental note of how much joy I was feeling at that moment. We grabbed a cart and took off for our items. I began to feel something, and it was starting to affect me physically, like a deep pit in my stomach. I noticed the empty shelves where cleaning supplies and wipes were supposed to be stocked. It was an eerie feeling. I walked away and felt gripped with a strong feeling. I finally stopped and asked my daughter to check her gut and tell me what she was sensing, and she said, “Oh, Mom. It feels scary, like we aren’t going to be okay.” I asked her if she believed that, and she said NO but was feeling it strongly. We realized it was not us but the atmosphere. We left and renounced the feeling of dread and fear and released peace. 

Parents, please be sensitive to your child. It may not be a character issue if they have random outbursts, but simply feeling the atmosphere of fear around them. Ask Holy Spirit if it is time for correction or to pull them in close and assure them Jesus is in control.

GOD-GIVEN AUTHORITY

Giving up control-based parenting does not mean giving up your God-given authority. It does not mean the child is in control, nor does it mean they get to make the decisions. I am not sure which is worse – a parent who partners with the spirit of control or a parent who allows the child to be in control.

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.

TAKE BACK GROUND IN OUR FAMILIES

Is sibling conflict breaking out in your home? It did in our house, and I AM SO GLAD! I am keeping our days moving by having a balance of rest, school, and movement. I got two of them settled on a project and took another for a brisk walk with the dog. While coming back inside the house, I could FEEL strife and knew there was conflict. My daughter came to me sobbing, telling me how she was mean to her sister and pushed her. Her tears were massive, and she was fully repentant, confessing her wrongdoings. I told her she was indeed wrong and that a consequence was appropriate, but that life was pretty hard these days, and I wanted her to spend an hour in her room alone processing and giving her heart a voice to herself. She is my easy-going, always smiling, glass-is-half-full child, and her heart needed to get real – life IS challenging right now. I moved to the other child involved, who flashed this massive smile across her face as I approached her. She did not know that I knew about the conflict. I asked how she was doing, and she said, “Great.” I said, “Really? How can you be doing great if your sister just pushed you?” and she burst into tears. I instructed her too to go into her room and spend an hour giving her heart a voice. She not only lied to me but herself. I went to her after a bit, and she began to unpack how her sister doesn’t like her and has been rude and disrespectful to her for days and that her heart was hurting. I went back to the offending child and asked what was going on, and she, too, broke down, telling of pains and hurts that have been piling up between them. 

APRIL SHOWERS

I heard the Lord say to me, “April showers bring May flowers,” and was reminded of the scene in The Shack where Sarayu (Holy Spirit) was collecting the tears of Mack, who was deeply grieving the devastating loss of his daughter. Later in the movie, Sarayu used those same tears to water the seeds that would become a massive tree. God is doing something profoundly deep within you in this season. Spiritual Daughters, I am so proud of you! I am proud of the one who stepped away and caught her breath. I am proud of the one who went outside to let the tears flow. I am proud of the one who chose faith over fear. I am proud of the one who showed her gorgeous vulnerability. I am proud of the one who sobbed in her closet. I am proud of the one who called a friend and shared her heart. I am so proud of the one who owned her heart and what she was feeling. I am so proud of the one who kept her eyes on Jesus. I am proud of the one who dropped to her knees, asking God for help. I am so proud of you for choosing to let God have His way with you and not medicating your heart with the novocain of the world. The only way to lessen the pain is to feel it. Let Jesus continue to have His way with you, and He will allow those tears to blossom into something so beautiful.

FALLEN WORLD

My daughter has woken up extremely crabby the last few mornings. Finally, after church, she asked if we could connect. Tears poured out of her eyes as she told me of her dreams at night. They were sexual and not something she desired. She said she would take authority over it every morning, but they would come back again the next night. I was so proud of her for telling me, and we asked Jesus to show us if any doors had been opened in that area, allowing the enemy the right to speak to her in her dreams. We took authority over it together. No child is exempt from this aspect of our fallen world. While we should guard what they are exposed to with all diligence, it is impossible for parents to guard their eyes in today’s world. It caused me to call a family meeting where we covered sexual safety again. I also ensured them that it was OK to talk to me about whatever they saw or heard that made their heart feel funny. I see the need more and more to be proactive in this area and make sure our lines of communication stay open. This is not a one-time teaching, but something we need to cover often to serve as reminders and empowerment.