So many are in this odd, unfamiliar place, questioning if they are backslidden or have lost their faith. It feels awkward, confusing, and a tad scary. They feel like they are wandering around and unsure of which direction to go. As a watchman for families, I wanted to take 5 minutes to explain what I see happening. You will be able to partner with God so much easier when you flip your mindset from “What is wrong?” to “What is God wanting to make right?” Count it pure joy, my friend, that you are being called to transition.
I left my four-month-old twins at home and put my newly pregnant self together for my first moms night out in nearly a year. I was excited to join my mom’s group for a night of carefree laughs. Everything was going great until halfway through our meal when one mom mentioned co-sleeping. Nearly every single mom believed in co-sleeping, and the comments were becoming the law vs. an option. Things were being said like, “If you don’t co-sleep, you are harming their emotional well-being,” and “I feel sorry for the kids whose parents are too selfish to share their bed.” I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. I felt shame, judged, and inadequate as a new mother. It did not take long for MY reality to sink back in. I had two four-month-old babies, a husband who woke up at 4:00 AM for work, I was pregnant again with a growing belly, and we had a queen-sized bed. NO! Co-sleeping was not for us. I had to intentionally draw a line in the sand, push back their ‘wisdom,’ and be at peace with what was best for our family. I wished that painful experience with my peers was a rare moment, but I have found in parenting that this is a normal occurrence.
Picture a dad injecting his son with a shot every morning. When asked WHY he was doing it, he replied, “Oh, I was at the hospital the other day. I noticed other parents doing it, so I wanted to be a good dad and give it to my son too.” How absurd, right? What keeps one child alive would actually harm another. We have got to get a hold of this in our parenting in order to parent with their Creator and what He is doing in their lives. No two families are a cookie-cutter of God’s design. We are all unique expressions of what He is doing on earth. The mom raising a missionary does not have the same job as the mom raising the next President of the United States of America. We are all bringing children up in the way they should go according to His plan and the assignment He has for them. We need to break the agreement that our families should fit in, look like everyone else, and the pressure to mold them according to someone else’s expectations. You stand before Him alone and give an account of how well you stewarded what He has given you (not what others expected of you).
I encourage you to pray this out loud, “Jesus, I confess that I have attempted to shape my child into someone else’s image. I ask for Your forgiveness for having my eyes on the fear and pressure of man instead of You. Do You forgive me?” Make sure you are not just asking for forgiveness but receiving it too. Make these declarations out loud over yourself:
I DECLARE I am more than enough for my family.
I DECLARE I do not need to parent like anyone else.
I DECLARE my child does not need to conform to anyone else’s box.
I DECLARE God knows what He is doing with my child.
I DECLARE I will always know what to do because Christ lives inside of me.
I DECLARE partnering with God in my parenting is the best way to raise my child.
I went away with the sole purpose of hearing His heartbeat for families. Here is a portion of what I heard Him say:
OPPOSITE DIRECTION – There has been a force leading parents in the opposite direction, and many have found themselves going the wrong way but haven’t known how to pull themselves out of it. Parents have felt overwhelmed and powerless in the battle. I see buckets of slime thrown over the heads of parents, preventing them from seeing and hearing clearly. It has caused them to feel dazed. Fear has crept in over the next generation, and because of this, the battle line has moved inch by inch in the wrong direction. But God….
INTO THE CURRENT – Do you remember in the movie Finding Nemo, when Marlin awakens on the back of the sea turtle Crush and learns they’re riding the East Australian Current? All they had to do was roll into the current, and it swept them up in the direction they were supposed to go. They rested and played while the current moved them at record speed. That is the picture God gave me for families this year and what I will be anchoring my ministry and family around in 2018.
FINDING THE SON – Just like Nemo’s dad, Marlin, who was on a pursuit to see his son, scores of families in the church will leave the comforts of what is familiar to join the adventure of finding the Son. I am not talking about salvation, as they are already believers, but rather those who lack the power of the Cross in their lives. Families in the church are going to taste and see the power of the Cross and the transforming power of the name of Jesus in ways they have only read about before. Once they experience it for themselves, they will gain strength and resolve to make sure their children don’t become unbelieving believers but walk in the power of John 14:12.
QUIET REVOLT – There is going to be a quiet revolt as many make a personal choice to rebel in opposition to armed resistance to the established way of life. It will not be by force or control but by determination and conviction fueled by a deep hunger for the righteousness of God. Households will be reclaimed for the Lord’s purpose, and PARENTS WILL roll into the massive undercurrent of the Lord’s power that will sweep them under His wing and set the next generation back on course.
AN AUDIENCE OF ONE – The term ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ is the pursuit of striving to keep up with what everyone else is doing. The Joneses will move out, and JESUS will move in! 1 John 4:4.
TITANIC GENERATION – Many generations have been like the Titanic, doomed to sink because of the lack of vision and clarity. On the outside, life looks like a big party, but they failed to navigate the things below the surface and sunk. This is the year many will partner with the Great Captain to TURN THE SHIP AROUND in the right direction. This generation has a unique calling in their bloodline. Those who have gone before you didn’t know who they were or how to do it. The next generation will never know the days of defeat, isolation, rejection, or fear that you had to walk through. But before the beginning of time, God had YOU in mind for your bloodline and called you to partner with Him to turn the ship of your family line around. It is a unique calling and one that the previous generations nor future generations fully understand. Do not mistake the uniqueness of this assignment for isolation, as there are many being called in this generation to turn their ship around.
CURRENT CHANGES – God is going to change the current in many families where parents have parented out of fear of man, doubt, and unbelief. The childlike faith of their children will begin to flow UP the generations and transform parents as they become students of their child’s pure faith and joy.
WHOLE PARENT – I see parents standing tall on two solid legs with their arms stretched out with open hands. The Spirit of the Lord has healed their brokenness, set them free, and repaid what was stolen. I see their hand extending down, feeding their children from a place of wholeness and security, producing fruit way beyond themselves at that age.
WHOLE GRANDPARENTS – On the other side, I see their hands stretched upwards to their parents. Because of the good work He has done, God will use this generation to extend healing to their parents (grandparents). This is the year THREE generations will come together in wholeness, unity, and honor. The glue is the Cross of forgiveness, healing, and redemption. There will be mighty encounters with the love of the Father as adult children become the instruments of healing and give to their parents what they never received from them. God is going to change the current in many families where pain, lack, and heartbreak were passed down; healing will begin to flow UP the generations.
PLAYING IN THE KINGDOM – The moment your child was born, God sent you an invitation to play in the Kingdom WITH your children. I see the invitation on many kitchen counters tossed aside like junk mail. This year many, many, many families will discover, open, and accept the invitation. There will be great joy, laughter, and more fruit than you could ever imagine as you learn to play in His Kingdom TOGETHER everywhere you go. A parent/child team is a force to be reckoned with.
Parents will awaken to the drum of His voice. Parents will know who they are so they can teach their children who they are. Parents will unthaw from the things that have kept them frozen. Parents will awaken from the seductive lure of social media and become fierce warriors to protect their children. Parents will heal from their childhood wounds so that they can help their children deal with their owies in childhood. Parents will get so radically set free of their strongholds that they parent in word *and* example. Parents will deal with their bitterness so that their children can learn how to be free of their offenses. Parents will say no to the popular vote and begin to parent the uniqueness of their children by God’s design. This is the year of His family, YOUR FAMILY!
Wrap your heart around this statement, “When this whole thing is over (whatever that means), I want to come out of it so hungry I don’t even recognize myself.”
Has anyone told you lately how proud they are of you? Seriously, many of you are first-generation Christians trying to raise godly children while building a solid foundation for yourself. You are not able to pull on your childhood experiences and what was modeled for you and are pioneering your way. You ARE doing it, and you are doing a good job. Keep going. He is so very proud of you.
Friends, as bloody, bruised, and betrayed as you may feel, you have got to walk your path to Calvary. Only in that place can you truly rise again. We must must must teach our children to be quick to let go of hurts and offenses, like the hot potato game. It’s okay that you caught it but feel the heat and toss it off of you quickly.
Has anyone told you how proud they are of you for how you have walked through this intense season while caring for little ones? You are doing it one step at a time, and I am so proud of you! Be kind to your heart.
I dare to say your child has a greater capacity to release the Kingdom more than most adults because it takes FAITH and childlike faith is a gift from the Father to partner with Him. I keep sensing God highlighting children ages 4-8 and how they will be the ones releasing the Kingdom in great measure, children who haven’t yet been taught about fearing man, legalism, or church politics. These are the children who simply hear their Father and marry it with childlike faith and reap a harvest of fruit.