This is a great way to teach and train young children. When you need to instruct/correct them, instead of staying where you are and calling out to them, STOP what you are doing, go to them, and get down on their level. Place your hands out and tell them to put their hands on yours. You are not forcing them, grabbing their hands, or controlling them. You are giving them the command (as many times as it takes) to put their hands on yours. Then you instruct them to look into your eyes. If they remove their hands or lose eye contact, in a gentle but firm voice, instruct them to put their hands/eyes back on you. When they have achieved that, you give them your short command of what you want. “Mommy wants you to come to the table,” “Mommy wants you to put your clothes away,” “Mommy wants you to pick up your toy.” It is important that they follow up with a “Yes/Okay, Mom.” The purpose for that is when kids come into agreement by verbally saying “Yes/Okay,” something happens in their brain where they accept ownership. The key to using this tool is to speak to them in a gentle but firm way. It does not work well when the parent is angry or controlling, nor does it work well when the parent caves if the child does not respond right away. Few people enjoy being disrespected, and it can feel very frustrating when children ignore us. If, as the parent, you feel frustrated at their lack of listening, I encourage you all the more to go after this. Good character does not come with age; it comes with intentional parenting. Stay in the game and help your child overcome their weakness. Give them tools to grow in their capacity. This requires extra effort from you upfront, but you will reap the JOY of a child who responds to your voice.
Picture a jail. Isaiah 61:1 and Luke 4:18 both talk about captives and prisoners, but what is the difference between the two? Both of them are in jail. One is a captive, meaning he was brought there against his will but is free to walk back out. The other one is a prisoner who has committed a crime and must have keys to walk out. The keys are in Matthew 18:23-35. When I first read these verses, I couldn’t believe my eyes. We cannot overlook this Scripture. I want to highlight verse 35. WHO? So shall WHO? It says, “So shall my Father in heaven do to you.” Guys, we have to grasp this. When hurts, lies, and offenses come our way, we have to get out of the jail they create around our lives as soon as possible, or else the unforgiveness we hold onto will hinder God’s best for us. If you are sincerely trying to get out of bondage but can’t seem to find freedom, chances are that you are a prisoner, and the name of the key to open the door is FORGIVENESS!
Here is a rough model to follow but let the Spirit lead you: “Jesus, who do I need to forgive?” Choose to forgive and pray to release them. “Jesus, what lie have I believed because of this hurt/offense done to me?” Choose to break agreement with the lie. “Jesus, what is Your truth?” Choose to receive what He has to say. I want to add that sometimes people have sincerely forgiven yet still are not experiencing full freedom. Sometimes we have to forgive not only the offense but the FRUIT of the offense. Say someone was abused as a child, and they have walked through forgiving their abuser. But there is fruit to the abuse, such as being unable to trust people, being self-protected, feeling isolated, not feeling safe at night, etc. Sometimes we have to walk through forgiving them for how their hurt/offense affected your life.
HeartWork – I encourage you not to be introspective about this but to ASK JESUS to show you. “Jesus, would You please show me if there is anyone I need to forgive?”
Fear knocked, and I felt seduced by it for an hour. I finally called a friend to pray with me and heard God say, “Your hedge is not high enough.” I knew He meant that I needed to increase prayers and declarations. I needed to put a verb in my prayers, so I asked Holy Spirit for a creative idea, and this is what He gave me. I had the kids all write out their worries, fears, and statements about the coronavirus. We shared our vulnerability as a family and then shredded them. We then wrote out TRUTH statements and hung them on our Cross. We feasted on these throughout the day. We wanted to do a prophetic act about the virus passing over our home, and instantly I remembered these balls I got at the dollar store years ago (they actually look like the virus). We put a bucket of warm soapy water outside our front door, made bold declarations that the virus would pass us over, and threw them into the soapy water. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you are building a hedge of prayer around your family in this hour.
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.
We became a single-family two weeks before Christmas when the kids were tiny. That year Santa, baking cookies, and white elephant gift exchanges felt so empty to me. I burned for my children to understand they had a Father who adored them through the gift of Baby Jesus! I wanted to see how much of the story they already understood, so I told them to go in the backroom and create a skit with Hudson being Joseph, Emma as Gabriel, Lauren as Mary, and little Ellie playing the role of a wise man. It was the most precious thing I had ever witnessed. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I heard their version of the Christmas story.
This became a parenting tool for me. I would have the children role-play, act out or give a 2-minute speech on a subject, and I did it to discern what they knew, did not yet understand, or how they saw things from their point of view. I would use their play/skit or message as a way to add more to the story and help expand their understanding. It made ‘teaching’ fun and full of joy rather than lecturing. Now that they are older, they are less thrilled with acting out a story, but I have them create a 2-minute video or speech and share it with the family. It helps them pull in deep to see what is inside of them. This has been great with topics such as drugs, slander, bullying, kindness, respect, etc. Pick any story in the Bible and ask your children to create a skit acting it out. Then add more to the story as the days roll on to help them grasp the story deeper.
Gather the family in the family room and have the children read 2 Timothy 2:1-7. The more you allow them to participate in things like reading, the more engaged they will be in the lesson. Then, on a piece of paper or whiteboard, write out the different attributes of the soldier, athlete, and farmer. What types of character or skill sets does each of them require? What makes them unique? Think about how tired the soldier must get at times, how the athlete does what it takes regardless of how they feel, or how the farmer labors hard, not knowing if the sun or rain will appear. Read verse 7 and spend some time responding. Think over these three illustrations, and may the Lord help you to understand how they apply to you.
If current events are causing your heart grief, please know there is an action that is demanded in response. Your mama’s heart was not designed to carry this weight, but He is allowing your heart to feel His heart SO THAT you rise up and release the burden back to the One who can move. I encourage you to intentionally spend some time carrying your mama’s heart into the Throne Room and interceding on behalf of those involved in the situation. Your voice is powerful!
How many of you have memories of your childhood? Is it super powerful and amazing to think that TODAY you have the power to create a memory that will stay with your children for the rest of their lives? The best memories rarely have to do with how much money was spent, how Pinteresty it looked, or how big it was. Instead, they generally circle around how deep they feel seen, heard, and valued.
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.
If you do not teach and train your child what it looks like to control themselves when they are younger, they will have a much harder time when they are older. There is something God built into toddlers that makes the training process of learning self-control EASIER (and perhaps a little less painful) than when they are older. Parents, it is an act of LOVE to teach your child how to learn to control themselves. Want to learn HOW? We have created this downloadable parenting magazine with oodles of ways to implement character training with your little ones.
When I would tell the four kids to do something, they would obey right away, but only partially. So, I would call them back, and they would obey right away again, but still not finish. I was asking them FOUR times to complete the dishwasher, FIVE times to clean the bathroom all the way, THREE times for the floor, and I was about to go mad! I realized it was an issue of taking responsibility, so I asked Holy Spirit for a creative teaching tool. Ha! Do you know one of the names of Holy Spirit? TEACHER! He rocks at teaching the kids and loves to do it in a fun way. I called all the kids back and gave them a piece of paper to wad up. I then told them they had to put the paper in the bathroom (the furthest room from the living room). They were all like, “Okay, easy peasy.” Then I said, “But… you can only drop it, stoop down to get it, stand up, drop it again, stoop down to get it, stand up, drop it…” It was super funny about four times, but after that, they wanted to cry. They were clueless about why they were doing this; it was NOT fun. I called them all back into the living room and explained that that is how I feel when I ask them to do something and then have to call them back again and again to finish it. When they are instructed to do something, they must stick with it until it is done fully and completely.