My goodness, there is a lot going on in the spiritual realm. Can anyone else feel it? Trust me, if you feel it, so do your children. Here are some practical ways to increase the joy & peace in your homes TODAY! First, fill those love tanks (you have to know their language before speaking it, so make sure they have taken the online quiz).
GIFT OF LOVE
Going up to someone and saying, “Will you mentor me?” is a little like telling the guy on the first date you are going to marry him. Mentoring someone requires connection and the freedom to speak honestly into someone’s life. Often, this means hard conversations and truth shared in love. They are mentoring you to empower and help you grow, which means growing pains. Not everyone is in a place where they can receive this type of conversation without being offended, wounded, or defensive. The best mentors, I have found, are those that happen organically by the move of God vs. someone searching for one. If you long for this type of relationship, tell God and have faith in His ability to orchestrate it on your behalf. When God gives you this connection with someone, don’t view it as a relationship to take, but as one to serve and give out of the gratefulness in which you have received from their wisdom, time, and investment in you. One of my mentors is a single lady, so we would always be on the lookout for ways we could stand in the gap and help her with things like changing the oil in her car, bringing her meals, or sending her flowers on Mother’s Day. We both are blessed by the connection for different reasons. I positioned my heart to look for opportunities to bless and serve her. Oftentimes people don’t really want a ‘mentor’ but a person who will give them the gifts that a mother or father give, such as a sense of belonging, to be seen, community, wisdom, etc. Identifying what needs you are specifically seeking to meet helps to go after that person who carries that gift. Our greatest connections with those who are older (and wiser) than ourselves have simply evolved from intentionally getting to church at least 30 minutes earlier and extending a warm greeting to those around us, whether it be sitting in church, standing in line for childcare check-in, or greeting those we haven’t met before. This isn’t scary, but it requires a heart that is open to seeing and loving people. We have a strong connection to every regular attender who sits in the same section as us every Sunday morning simply because we have made it a point to see and welcome them. We have gotten together for Sunday brunch, dinners, playing games, going to each other’s homes, and texting often. It was organic simply by being open and friendly to those God has put in front of us. My kids have profited profoundly from having multiple adopted grandmas and grandpas. Who will you sit by today? Reach out, introduce yourself, be excited to see them again next week, and see what God does with it!
Teaching about the birds and bees is different from sexual safety. I believe sex education should start in the home so that children have a solid understanding and do not learn it for the first time on the playground with mixed and twisted information. Over time, this is an evolving process that happens in layers as they age and mature. However, sexual safety is something that every parent must be intentional with and proactively equip their children to be safe. We teach our children how to keep their heads safe using bike helmets, their bodies safe by not answering the door, their hands safe while holding yours, and their mouths healthy using a toothbrush, but we also need to teach them about sexual safety. What age is this for? ALL!!! I cannot stress this enough. Unless your child is with you 24/7, and I mean 24/7, then perhaps they don’t need to be equipped, but if they go to school, have playdates, overnights, babysitters, friends, neighbors, and attend church, they need to be equipped.
“Jesus, will You show me a picture of how wet/dry my heart sponge is right now? What do You want me to do to fill it up today?”
Gather as a family in the living room, in the car, at the dinner table, or at bedtime, and ask Jesus together. This is empowering for children because they witness how God communicates with you, which increases their faith, and together you get to encounter Him. Spiritual hearing is a muscle that is strengthened by worshiping and praying. The more you do it, the stronger you become at it.
He is such a good Father. Sometimes what feels like rejection is actually protection. If your mind does not understand, declare, “Father, I trust You.”
Declare this over your child, even when they are struggling and making messes. “I speak over YOU today there is still room for you at the table. Your messes are part of the growth process. There is still room for you. God has not weakened His gaze or affection over you. You have permission to be on your journey and learn as you grow! We live in a performance-based culture that values your A+ and rejects you for getting a C. God values your process and journey of becoming the full expression of who you were created to be. Break agreement with any voice telling you otherwise!”
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.
The Kingdom of GOD is righteousness, peace, and joy. I can still remember when the eyes of my heart first understood this verse, which was mind-blowing.
Righteousness – the quality of being morally right or justifiable. Peace – freedom from disturbance; tranquility. Joy – a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.
Here are the OPPOSITE meanings of the words.
Righteousness – wickedness/lawlessness. Peace – noise/irritation/conflict. Joy – misery/tribulation/despair.
Which kingdom are you ushering in? If others partner with lawlessness, noise, conflict, misery, and wickedness, the only way to bring the Kingdom of God is to partner with and release RIGHTEOUSNESS, PEACE, AND JOY!
Righteousness – doing what is right even when no one else is looking, walking in the fruit of the Spirit, and not repaying evil.
Peace – being in His presence through worship, prayer, and soaking in His Word so that we release what is saturated inside of us – declaring peace to hostile situations.
Joy – Coming out from under the orphan spirit and aligning our thoughts with the FAVOR He gives us. Having dance parties, singing in the rain, and choosing to be joyful.
Deuteronomy 30:19 – “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” Which kingdom are you ushering in?
Of all the things I have endured in life, the hardest part has been the healing process of receiving the good. More often than not, things like joy, play, silliness, trust, lavishing, loyalty, and laughter have been taught to me through my children. They are made in His image, not mine, and God knit them with gifts, talents, and personalities to redeem and restore what was lost in my childhood. God continues to parent us through our children. It’s like He first gives us one set of parents to raise and train us. Then He addresses the neglected or shut down areas by using our children to parent us (our kids don’t parent us, but He parents us through them). This is why family is so important to Him. He is building something in us, and the generations are interconnected.
How many of you would love to have someone there to encourage you, guide you, give you specific wisdom in your situation and help coach you through life? We all do, right? The WORD is your parent, mentor, and guide. We can proactively read the Word – read for the sake of spending time with Him without an agenda AND/OR We can read the Word based on what we are going through. Pinpoint the issue; conflict, anger, strife, fear, provision, etc., and then spend time researching what the Word has to say about it. I can’t tell you how powerful, validating, and encouraging this has been for me over the years. The counsel of man is fantastic in its rightful place, but some issues and situations are reserved for God’s opinion, counsel, and guidance. God has given us an outline of how to respond to a situation and conduct our lives SO THAT it goes well with us. Let Him lead and teach you through His Word.
I am intentional to guard against idle busyness. I have no problems saying NO to something when I am in the midst of a battle. I try to lie down at least once daily, even for five minutes. Some days I have to focus on my breathing and be intentional about breathing in peace, breathing out stress and worry.