Your child is not being disobedient to resist the things in you that are not Kingdom. What do I mean? So many times, parents come to me out of pure frustration over a child who is rebelling, angry or defiant. But once we explore the situation deeper with Holy Spirit, we discover that the parent is partnering with fear, control, or woundedness, and the child is simply reacting to what is out of alignment and will not follow that path. That is ultimately a good thing, as God parents us through our children. Not all conflict in the home is the child’s fault. Sometimes it is God allowing us to see what is in our hearts that need to be aligned. Your child is not being disobedient to resist the things in you that are not Kingdom – that’s called God’s redemption!
When God says be HUMBLE, He means for us to be humble, always, and that includes in our parenting. Often parents fear that if they are humble with their children, they will somehow lose their parental authority. That is not accurate. You will gain their respect because you are modeling for them the Kingdom and connecting with their hearts. It is okay to learn from your children and hear what may need to be improved upon. I often check in with my kids and ask them, “What is something Mom has done well?” “What is something you wish Mom would improve upon to make your heart feel loved and seen?” The answers always surprise me and motivate me to become more like Jesus in my parenting. The truth is, either way, you are going to hear it – either now or when they are older and dealing with the fruit. I would much rather listen to their hearts while they are still children and deal with it in childhood, where I can grow and make a positive difference in their lives. Don’t be afraid of feedback. Allow God to parent you in your parenting journey.
Do you have a child who is a PEACEKEEPER? Those that avoid conflict at all costs and run into the other room when tensions mount? While peacekeepers are made in His image, it is super important to help them learn how to process the conflict other than just dislike it and pretend it is not there. Ignoring is not the tool of Heaven. Many kiddos are having a hard time in this season of so much chaos in the atmosphere. They have felt the conflict and yet don’t fully understand it. I encourage you to praise them for their desire for peace and validate that the presence of God is PEACE, but that sometimes we feel the opposite and can be used as agents of peace. Give them some additional tools: they can talk about their feelings, draw them out, act them out, release peace, dance, write a letter, journal, and go do sports. We want to empower their natural bent for peace without forcing them to bury their heads in the sand and walk in fake peace.
You can’t take the parent out of parenting. A parent’s journey matters because they will naturally parent out of that place.
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.
It seemed like my phone was constantly going off with messages from people in the battle. Many of my leader friends were posting to encourage those around them in their battle. A LOT is going on in the spiritual realm. Battle means a sustained fight between large organized armed forces and/or a fight or struggle tenaciously to achieve or resist something. There is a time and place to rest and surrender, and there is a time and place to rise up, stand in your place and engage. If you are feeling that battle, I want to lead you to an exercise on how to do just that.
First, take what is causing your heart trouble – conflict, disconnection, being misunderstood, injustice, world affairs or current events, finances, etc. Whatever it is, hold it in your hand. Don’t just feel it; identify it.
Second, you must align your heart with His. The whole purpose of a battle is to defeat something. You are feeling the battle because something has to be defeated. BUT we need to make sure we are on the right side. Sometimes our battle is because something inside of us needs to be defeated, such as partnering with a spirit of fear. I recently went through a massive battle, but there was something inside of me that God wanted to align for my health and increased capacity. So start by asking, “Jesus, what in me do You want to align in this present battle?”
Third, your battle is the touchpoint where you are called and commissioned (an instruction, command, or duty given to a person or group of people) to be an Ambassador of Christ. In Matthew 6:10, Jesus is teaching us how to pray. It says we are to declare, speak out and usher HEAVEN into a situation. I grew up with a version of the Bible that reads, “May Your Kingdom come soon,” so I was raised with the belief that He is good but that His Kingdom is for later, not now. But if you look at other translations, it says we are to pray, “Heaven COME!” We do not command, dictate, or direct God, but we pray as Jesus did and order His Kingdom to be infused in a situation. This matters deeply because this is where we battle. Perhaps so many people are weary and worn out from the battle because there are no ambassadors of Heaven ushering in His Kingdom into the circumstances.
Fourth, put your hand on your heart and pray this prayer, “Jesus, thank You for laying down Your life so that I could have a relationship with Your Father and have access to all that is His. I speak to my spirit and say be aligned with His Holy Spirit. I take my eyes off of my battle and circumstances and will rise up as His ambassador on earth. I speak to my situation and say, ‘Heaven come now. May Your will and Kingdom be rulers in this situation.’ In Jesus’ name.”
Whenever I heard of someone’s battle, I simply said with faith, “Heaven come now into that situation.” Rise up and do your part as His ambassador.
I encourage you to get a box of name tags and write on them, “Hello, my name is… kindness, a gentleman, compassion, helpful…” and all day, call them by their identity name. “Hey, Compassionate One, can you come and help me with this?”, “GENTLEMAN, please pick up your shoes.”
I got this message from a mom: “Yesterday we did the name tag activity. My 6-year-old loved it so much that he wore it all day and stuck it on his PJs at bedtime so he could wear it to bed last night.”
Do children need to be believers to play in the Kingdom or do they play in the Kingdom to choose Him? I think it is both. When did God speak the loudest to Saul (Paul)? When He was Jesus’ enemy #1. When did Jesus invite Matthew? When he was full of greed. When did Jesus welcome the man on the cross? When he was destined to hell. God’s most profound act of love was a free gift to those who didn’t know Him. Oh, yes, He cares for those who do not yet know Him. God speaks and interacts with unbelievers. And in doing so, it provides an encounter with the One who is worthy of it all. Encounters become the gateway in which many realize He is the One and make the choice to follow Him. This is a glorious, beautiful event because it becomes their testimony which no man can argue or deny. Our goal as parents should be to seek to provide our children with encounters with Him and the joy of playing in His Kingdom so that they experience Him. Head knowledge is religion where encounters are relationship.
Some ways to usher our children into an encounter could include: showing them a Scripture of how much Jesus cares about them (not just to correct their behavior), asking Jesus questions that pertain to their world, heart and cares, inviting Jesus into their pain, taking them to church, allowing them to stay with you during worship, sharing with them what He showed you during your quiet time, telling your own God stories, letting them dance at home with worship music, soaking (simply sitting/lying quietly generally with music on to feel His peace), asking God to help them with something (and then helping them see how He responded).
When my children were little, I had a sign on the wall that said, “Dear Jesus, thank You for ______. Would You please help me with ______”. Each day they would pray filling in the blanks. I was modeling for them how to be thankful and come to Jesus with what was important to their heart. At the end of the day, we would play the High/Low game where they would share what was the high and low of their day. Their highs would almost always reflect the very thing they asked Jesus for. One day my daughter asked Jesus to help her get a sweet treat. It felt rather insignificant to me, but hours later we were at a store, and a clerk said she made one too many ice cream cones and offered it to my daughter. I immediately reminded her of her prayer that morning. I saw my role as a dot connector. Teaching them to pray, then helping them see the way God was responding and speaking to them. Their faith grew each time leaving them hungry for more. We were building their stories with Him long before any of them made a personal decision to follow Him.
People all around us are waiting for heaven to come to earth. God is waiting for us to bring heaven to earth. We have the privilege and honor of changing the world for the people around us TODAY. What we declare and pray makes a difference! I challenge every family to go for a walk around their neighborhood today and pray over each house they pass. Command fear and anxiety to go and release the peace of Jesus, the love of God, and the joy of heaven to flood each home. The times we have done this, the Lord has given us great compassion and His heart for our neighbors. This is a great way to be part of the solution and not just a victim of circumstances. It is impossible for nothing to happen when we pray. So be the light in your neighborhood by doing a walk-by-prayer-mission.
I love how God sets us up for success as parents. My daughter was really hurt by someone and needed some room to work through the messy emotions. After we were done processing, the verse of the day popped up on my phone and read, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21). Instantly, I heard in my spirit that I was to apply that in this situation and said, “Do not be overcome by an orphan but overcome the orphan by being a Daughter.” Spiritual orphans operate differently than Sons and Daughters, even in pain. There was a profound shift in her when she realized the other person’s choices were not a reflection of who she was. Teaching our children WHO they are is critical to helping them navigate life.
I want to remind you that if you are a born-again believer, you have a Shepherd over you in this hour. He knows how to keep you safe, protect you and lead you to green pastures. He knows when you are wandering off and how to go after you.
Years ago, we were in a store shopping when Hudson asked for a Lego set. Before I could reply, he began to beg me with intense emotion. Watching him plead and beg like a fish flopping around out of water was repulsive to my ears. I stopped him, put my hand on his shoulder, and asked, “Who am I?” He was reminded that he was talking to his mother, who fearlessly loves, provides, and protects him. The one who carried him for nine months and knows him better than anyone else on earth. The one with a track record of being kind, loving, and attentive to his wants and needs. Having his full attention, I said, “Ask me like my son, not a begging orphan,” and he quickly changed the way he approached me. He wanted the Lego set so badly but failed to see that he could trust me with his heart. I wanted him to see that he could trust me, even with the thing that mattered most to his heart at that moment, even if I said not now because I was for him and loved him. It was a trust issue, not a Lego issue.
Repent for partnering with any belief that tells you that God is not a good father or does not care.