One of the biggest lies about Christian parenting is that you have to master things yourself first (knowing the Word, hearing God’s voice, praying for others, soaking in His presence, etc.). Maybe, perhaps, it was God’s plan all along that you grow together as a family going after the things of the Kingdom. There is NO way I would be where I am now if it weren’t for my formal Kingdom training that was married with my children’s child-like faith. The KEY is in sharing what you are learning WITH your children and TOGETHER playing in the Kingdom.
DO IT WITH THEM
- Activities/Teachings, Playing in the Kingdom
Since the enemy is fear-based, I never wanted to teach my children in a way that educated them so much they were afraid of being afraid. I simply explained that God has an enemy who is jealous of Him and wants to be like Him (enough said). It is wrong to think that God is on one side and the enemy on the other, battling it out. The enemy is ALWAYS on the bottom because he is already defeated. Children need to have an accurate view of the ‘battle.’ The battle isn’t of random wins and loses like a football game, but that we are always victorious over the enemy and his ways always! While it feels true at times that the enemy is winning, the truth is that God is unmoved from His throne as ruler over A-L-L things. Read together 1 John 4:4.
Teach the children – Take out a sheet of paper and fold it down the center bringing the left side of the paper to the right side. Write God on one side and enemy on the next. Under God write out the things associated in their life with Him right now (provision, peace, safety, joy, covering). Under ‘enemy’ write out the things associated with him (fear, worry, doubt). Rip up the paper and tell them that this is not the truth about what is going on. Grab another sheet of paper and fold it in the middle (fold the top part of the paper down) and write God on top teaching them that God has no equal. Read Isaiah 40:12-31 together. Then take a pen and draw a line an inch from the bottom edge and show them the truth is the enemy is Jesus’ footstool. Romans 16:20.
Go beneath the yelling. What is happening inside of you at the time? Anger is a BIG emotion to cover up a softer emotion like being sad, scared, or lonely. If you can ask Holy Spirit to identify the softer emotion, it will help you with being able to address the true heart need. Anger is just a mask that protects your heart and afterward leaves you feeling worse. The sad part is that your real heart and need never get heard because of the mess anger creates. Your heart matters! Give it a voice (not a scream).
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.
Protecting our children from online activity is an important part of raising kids today. There is a calculated and intentional mission to seduce and desensitize children. It is crafty in the way it entices a child. It can also happen by pure innocence. A child confesses to their mom that something really bad popped up on their screen. Mom checks it out and deals with the issue with the child. Mom knows it can’t be there unless something else was clicked on, and Mom discovers in the history that said child got really cold at night, so they typed in “how to be hot in bed”, seeking answers and solutions to her temperature issue. Well, let’s just say she got what she asked for in today’s world. It’s funny, but it’s also a sad and true testimony. Stay ALERT! Know what they are doing on their computers, check them often, keep connection strong and check in!
One year I showed my children the movie I’m Not Ashamed. I wanted them to see an example of a young teen walking out her love for Jesus in the midst of challenges. Her life became a legacy all too early, but I had no idea how the movie would plant seeds so deep in one of my daughters. She talks about the movie often and how her heart longs to love Jesus with no shame, regret, or fear of man.
I recommend watching this movie together and having a conversation. I’m Not Ashamed – Trailer – YouTube.
I’M NOT ASHAMED is the inspiring and powerful true story of Rachel Joy Scott – the first student killed in the Columbine high school shooting in 1999. Devout teen Rachel Joy Scott (Masey McLain) shows compassion and love for her fellow students until armed classmates enter Columbine High School on a fateful day that changed America forever.
John Bevere wrote a book called The Bait of Satan, and it is just that, a bait. Someone does something that causes us to be offended, and we nurse it until it becomes a wildfire spreading to our mind, spirit, and body. We open the door to the enemy through his bait of offense. I gathered the kids, and we played a round of ‘Hot Potato’, where you catch the ball and throw it as fast as you can, pretending it is a hot potato so that it doesn’t burn your hands. Laughter broke out, and then I switched gears and explained to them about offense and how we can feel offended, but God wants us to be super quick to let it go and toss it back to Him, just like the ‘Hot Potato’ game. I have been able to cash in on this teaching over the years and remind them, “Hey, remember the ‘Hot Potato’ game? If you choose to hold onto this offense, it will cause greater hurt. Do you want to let it go?”
You can write two stories from your experiences. You can write the story based on facts (they rejected me, I am not understood, they do not see me, I am alone). OR you can write the story based on His Truth (I am loved, I am wanted, I have more than enough, He is for me, I am on a journey, I am teachable and usable, I am covered). Facts are not always true, but you can choose which one will become your story. You are not weak. You are not a wet noodle. You are not without hope. You are not done. You are not forgotten. You are not defeated. You are not what your circumstances tell you. You are, my friend, a Daughter/Son of THE God MOST High, and He is for you and has given His life so that you can walk in all victory, power, and strength. This is a CHAPTER, not the whole story. Rise up!
Gather the family in the family room and share this story with them.
The only bird that dares to peck at an eagle is the crow. He sits on his back and bites his neck. However, the eagle does not respond or fight with the crow; it doesn’t waste time or energy on it! It simply opens its wings and begins to rise higher in the heavens. The higher the flight, the harder it is for the crow to breathe, and then the crow falls due to lack of oxygen. Stop wasting your time with the crows. Just take them to your heights, and they’ll fade. The enemy will sit behind your back and bite your neck… “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
Discuss ways they have encountered a pestering crow. It may be through siblings, friends, a hurtful situation, or a lie they believe. Ask, “Why is going higher so important?” Talk through specific ways they can rise above and hold their head up high like an eagle.
In the days ahead, when they are dealing with pesky crows, remind them of this teaching and together ask Jesus how they can SOAR higher in that situation. In a world full of crows… be an eagle.
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.
When you can’t receive God’s truth about you and partner with the lie, “I am not enough,” you will think that you aren’t enough and then act like you aren’t enough. When you act less than enough, your children get the fruit of a parent who isn’t enough – two generations in one with a single lie. Rise, dear one, and reject whatever feels, sounds, and looks true and walk in what IS true. You ARE enough, not on your own, but because He lives inside you, and you are His. Ask, “Jesus, will You please show me who taught me that I am not enough?” Forgive that person for teaching you a lie about your worth. Write out the words, “I am not enough,” and then rip it up, shred it, burn it, flush it, stomp on it, crumble it, toss it. Whatever you need to do to prophetically tell that lie, NO MORE! Then ask, “Jesus, will You please teach me about my worth and value that was inherited when I decided to follow You?”