“My son turned five last week. His primary love language is words of affirmation. So, I had an idea to make a little ‘guest’ book for everyone coming to his birthday party. I had everyone write something to him – one thing they love about him. After his party, we sat and read everyone’s words to him – he loved it! No birthday meltdowns. Just told me at the end of the night, ‘My love tank is overflowing!'”
GIFT OF LOVE
I was invited to speak in L.A. and checked THREE times to ensure my flight left AFTER my girls flew to Mexico. In my mind, they left at 1 am, and I left at 4 am. A few days before the trip, Emma told me that I was incorrect and that they were leaving after me. I burst into tears when I realized I had made a big error. I pondered canceling the event, and my heart raced to find a suitable solution. I was mortified that I would not be there to send my girls off. After many tears and good counsel, I had peace about moving forward, but I had to grieve it many times. As I sat in the San Francisco airport, I felt deep regret of my error when I heard the Lord say, “I don’t make mistakes.” I agreed but reminded Him that I did. He then said the most tender words that still make my eyes fill up with tears. He said, “Lisa, you DO go before your children. You are returning to one of the largest cities in the U.S. for the eighth time and starting a fire with the Let the Children Fly message. But your girls are going further, carrying the FRUIT of the Let the Children Fly message.” They are the living fruit of what I preach, and it is time to surrender them on a whole new level. This new season feels scary to me as a mom, yet I trust their Father and know that Let the Children Fly was never all about me but rather about them. Go fly, my dear children, fly high!
A mom shared: “My son said something the other day that really touched my heart. He was fighting with his sister, and I am not sure how it came to be, but he said, ‘Jesus always comes to save me.’ He resolved the fight then and there with that simple sentence.”
I encouraged her not to just let it be a sweet moment but to write it down and encourage her son with that in the days/years ahead. When he is going through something hard or challenging, remind him, “Hey buddy, do you remember when you said that Jesus always comes to save you? Well, He wants to do it again for you.” This is how we help add layers of bricks to our children’s faith and journey with their Father.
When I first began life as a single mom, I would wake in the middle of the night, totally paralyzed by anxiety. The best way to describe how I felt is to recall the scene from the movie Titanic when they were in the bottom cabin, and water began filling the room. They only had a tiny pocket of air left and were gasping for that last bit of air before they were fully submerged. That is how I felt, except I had four kids holding onto me, and none of them could swim. It was horrifying to consider which one I had to let go of because I couldn’t carry them all. Talk about horrible! One day, I couldn’t take the stress of being stressed any longer and faced my fear head-on. I realized that the verse in Jeremiah about His plans for a future and hope was my life verse (Jeremiah 29:11), but it also applied to the kids. At that moment, I realized I got five doses of that promise because my kids were minors and under my watch. I finally surrendered all of the panic, worry, and anxiety. I declared, “Father, if it is Your best will and plan for us to be homeless, then we will be the cutest homeless family standing on the corner with our signs.” I was quite serious at the time, and all I can say is that you would not believe the financial testimonies God has produced through our family. They are nothing short of miracles. Supernatural living was birthed through striving to rest in His goodness.
This is going to be a HUGE key for many parents! From a very early age, I could feel resistance with one of my daughters. I figured it was a generational thing and have intentionally gone after her heart. I would find myself saying YES to the others with ease, but my heart was hesitant, and I always wanted to say NO to her. It made no sense to me, but I could feel it. She agitated me in a way the others didn’t, yet she wasn’t really doing anything in the natural to warrant it. It was awful to admit because it felt like maybe I even liked her less than the others. I didn’t, but the resistance always made me feel like I was subtly rejecting my own child. God later revealed this to me through someone else, and I rushed home to share it with my daughter. She cried and began to tell me that she felt it, too, and even when we would go on dates, she felt like she couldn’t get close to me. We walked through what this looked like between us and have had such breakthrough.
It looks like this: When there is control-based parenting, the child responds in one of two ways. #1. They feel resistance, anger, and/or have hate or murder in their heart (which doesn’t mean death but can ‘kill’ you with their words). These children then partner with the spirit of REBELLION in their hearts. This can be outward or inward rebellion. #2. The other child feels hurt, isolated, withdrawn, unworthy, like a victim, and helpless when faced with a controlling parent, and they partner with a spirit of REJECTION. The problem is that when the parent feels the spirit of rebellion or rejection coming from the child, it makes them increase their control. A crazy cycle begins in which neither the parent nor the child is really seeing/responding to the other person, but rather the two spirits of control and rebellion/rejection are having a hay day! Connection, love, and unity go right out the window.
My daughter was partnering with a spirit of rejection, and I CAN’T STAND the spirit of rejection. My daughter wasn’t agitating me; the spirit was. Once she began to partner with that spirit, no matter what I would say, she would feel hurt and rejected, which drove me up a wall (in all honesty). I did use more control-based parenting until she was around five years old when I discovered Holy Spirit. But I think it has more to do with how opposite we are. She is my dancing, joyful, giddy, silly, talk a mile a minute, always wanting to create things, bake things, make a mess with paints, glitter and glue kid. I am busy, serious, don’t like messes, and have little appreciation for creative arts. Neither of us are wrong, but because I am the adult, she was feeling controlled by my repetitive ‘no’ answers and not giving her more freedom to be herself. The cycle had gone on for so long that it began to feel normal. It is easier to partner with control when they are younger, but once the spirit of rebellion and rejection are in motion, it is the tween and teen years where the ‘fruit’ of that parenting really begins to reveal itself in the child. Since the spirit of rebellion and rejection have a legal right to be there, they influence the child to behave and make choices that only further the parents’ drive for control. Obviously, rebellion and rejection are not what we want to introduce our children to. We are the ones to break the cycle!
Praise God for this incredible revelation and tool so that we can break free from the enemy’s tools of control, rebellion, and rejection, and we can walk in freedom and connection. If this sounds like something that you are experiencing with one of your children, I encourage you to spend time with Holy Spirit talking to Him about it. If you need to repent, do that first. Set a date with your child (mine was out on the driveway while the other kids were inside). Fill their love tank for a few minutes first, as a filled tank always lowers the walls and makes hard conversations easier. Explain to them that God loves them so much and has shown you an area that you need to change (this makes them feel secure that God has their back, too). I drew a figure 8 and showed her how the crazy cycle went around and around and how we both played our roles. I asked her to please forgive me for making her feel controlled. I also helped her walk through asking Jesus for forgiveness for partnering with the lie and spirit of rejection. We hugged and cried and allowed for Holy Spirit to heal without words for a while. We then tasted the new fruit in the days to come. I also called a family meeting and made sure everyone was aware of the cycle. We agreed that when they were feeling controlled, or I was seeing the rebellion/rejection, we could call out a special code to signal we were partnering with it again. I also want to add that children can control their parents, causing parents to partner with rebellion and rejection, too. This can also be a dynamic with siblings where one is controlling another. If you had a controlling parent, ask Holy Spirit if you are still allowing the spirit of rebellion or rejection to influence you today. Spirits don’t leave us just because we move out of the house. This is NOT a reflection of you being a bad parent, but rather a reflection of the enemy and what he does best – kill, steal and destroy – in this case, the connection with our children. Don’t allow him to put the blame back on you. It is okay to get mad that many of us come under this but use the anger to rise up in your authority and break the cycle. Ask Holy Spirit what keys He wants you to use with your child to repair the connection. Thank You, Father, for being a perfect parent and helping us along the way!
Crazy cycle between parent and child: Crazy Cycle Between Parent & Child – YouTube
My son deeply needs to connect with his family. It is beautiful yet developing the skills can be messy at times. I was away on a ministry trip while he stayed at a friend’s house for the weekend. I reminded the girls he would need to reconnect upon returning, and they eagerly created plans to connect. About an hour later, I got a text saying he walked away and didn’t want to play anymore. I called to check in with him and asked if he felt like the girls were connecting with him, and he said, “NO!” Upon inquiring with the girls, they recited that they grabbed his favorite meal, ate together, and played games. In other words, they gave him a gift and quality time. I asked them what his language was, and they both realized immediately that it was words of affirmation. I asked if they affirmed him with their words, and they realized they labored so hard to connect at that moment, but through their language, not his. This is a classic example of people’s hearts in the right place, wanting to intentionally love someone else but missing the boat because they are speaking the wrong language.
When children have the love language of acts of service and are told, “No, you can do it yourself,” it hurts their heart. They know their hands can do it alone, but their heart wants you to do it with them. This can be quite annoying for a parent who has intentionally taught their child to be independent and self-sufficient. Yes, we want our children to take responsibility for their world and manage themselves well. No, we do not want to coddle them, stifle their growth, or baby them forever. But we do want to hear their heart cry to be loved, and these children hear it loudest when you do things that they are capable of doing on their own together. Do you have one of these kids? Has this happened to you?
Children with the love language of gifts are often viewed as materialistic. They are not really wanting the gift itself, but your love spoken through the gift. It is communicating the message, “I was thinking of you.” A Hershey’s kiss, balloon, or note on a gum wrapper has profound meaning to a person with this language. They look at your object as a token or symbol of being loved.
Here are some creative ways to speak their language: **Make birthdays and holidays a huge deal. **Bring home small tokens from shopping trips (“I bought your favorite fruit”). **Celebrate milestones such as losing a tooth, getting good grades, overcoming a challenge. **Tuck notes in their lunch bag, under their pillow, or in their laundry. **Give them a dollar or two to spend at the store – just because. **Cook their favorite meal. **Pick out a rock or flower on your walk and return home with it. **Buy a package of Hershey kisses and intentionally play a game of spontaneously putting them where they can discover them. It took me a month to empty the bag, but she felt so loved and seen. **Keep a small stash of inexpensive gifts. When you see your child struggling, working through hurts, or just having a hard day pull something out.
I must note that the worst thing you can do for this person is to be flippant about it. Thoughtless gift-giving is like a harsh tone for a word of affirmation person. If your heart is not in it, you might want to hold off on giving it. Oftentimes they are givers of gifts too and like to leave notes, save souvenirs from trips, parties, and outings (like the napkin from the party or an empty container from the Tic Tacs that you bought them). When they give gifts of any kind to others, help them to make the connection between their action and speaking love, such as, “I love that you want to tell your sister you love her by leaving her that note.” “Thank you for loving me by giving me that flower.” Again, the focus is not on the item/gift; it is on the heart need and communication of love. Learn to value lavishing on others as it models a side of our Father, the Creator of the universe who owns the storehouse and lavishes richly on His children. Often when people were raised with a poverty spirit or parents who had fear over finances, this language can be challenging to speak. However, God uses this language in our children to re-align our thoughts and heart back to Him. I get this every time we talk about gifts – “So that means I just have to buy them whatever they want?” Of course not! But it does mean you would be wise to see what they are really asking for. They are saying, “Will you show me you love me by buying this for me?” In those moments, the key to their heart is discovering how you can tell them “No” in a way that still fills their heart.
I have a great teaching tool with magnets for parents to teach children about the pull of connection in our hearts. I was so excited when I received this testimony from a mom taking our class. Kids understand this language!
“For the last two days, my son has shown me how magnets attract one another… I had not done this demonstration of attraction with him yet. Thank You, Father, for opening a door for sharing that beautiful lesson. A little later in the day, my son told me I was pushing him away like a magnet. Boom! Yes, son, I was. I’m sorry. Here is what you were needing. The way you were asking for it pushed me away. Let’s flip our magnets and connect again.”
Honestly, I am shocked at the conviction of some people to make things right with me when they could get away with it. A mom messaged me to say she took two books at a conference and realized nearly a year later that the payment did not go through. She reached out to make that right. WOW! It reminds me of this post, and I wanted to share it again.
Our pastor shared a story about buying a pack of gum for cheap. He went in the next day, and they had raised the price because the clerk had made an error the day before. Our pastor digs in his pocket for the change to make up the difference. The clerk says it was his error and that he owed nothing. His response has never left me. He said, “If I am faithful to give you what is yours, God will be faithful to give me what is mine.” A few days later, I let my son play the video game at the table of our restaurant. When we got in the car, he showed me $7 that he ‘found’ under the video game. I heard our pastor’s words in my mind and immediately turned the car around to have my son explain to the waiter what had happened. My son didn’t do anything wrong, as he clearly thought it was lost money, but not making it right would have made it wrong. The following day I got tangled in L.A. traffic and ended up in a lane that required me to pay $20 for parking. I told the attendant I would just drive through and exit. While doing so, I made a comment that the guy would never even know if we just slipped into a parking spot, but my daughter instantly said, “But Mom, that would be dishonest.” Once again, I heard, “If I am faithful to give you what is yours, God will be faithful to give me what is mine,” and we drove off. Teaching children about character and modeling it ourselves is so valuable to the Father.
So touched by this. Years ago, we had a ministry student do some work for us, and she made a choice that caused my daughter intense pain and heartbreak. God used it for good in my daughter’s life, and she is completely fine today from the event. She reflects back on the story through the lens, not of pain and grief but of how the Father was so real to her. I recently received a text message from a number I didn’t recognize, and it took me a moment to put the story together. It was from this young gal who lamented sincere repentance. I am not sure about the events that unfolded in her journey, but God was clearly convicting her, and despite the time passed, she was eager to make it right. She offered to send me money to buy something for my daughter and owned her choices. My goodness, there is something so beautiful about holy conviction of wrongdoing AND humbling yourself to make it right. My daughter was able to respond directly, assuring her that she was fine and that nothing was owed. I just wanted to share to encourage you that there is no time limit on clearing the air and making things right with others, especially in God’s family.