Going after the power of God alone leads to fear and intimidation. Going after the love of God is what makes you powerful.
GOING AFTER LOVE
The sense of belonging is something we all crave. It was given by God to Adam and Eve but lost when they exited Eden. God gives us families who know us intimately and provide a safe place where we can grow and learn. When that safety or trust is broken – physically or emotionally – it affects our core need to belong. Sibling relationships are where children get their greatest sense of belonging, so guarding this connection is important. When there is a conflict between two siblings, the enemy whispers, “You do not belong,” and a child who believes they do not belong will act like they do not belong. Explain this and ask if they have ever felt like they didn’t belong. Share a story from when you were a child and felt that way.
In the days ahead, when you hear siblings being rough and unkind to each other lovingly, go to them and ask them, “Are you communicating to your family that they belong?” “How can you speak to them in a way that assures them they matter?” I often say to my children, “You can express yourself in a way that doesn’t make them feel like they don’t belong.”
Ephesians 4:6 clearly tells us to get rid of all anger before a certain time of day, but why? I do not think something magical happens at midnight to all those with anger in their hearts; however, I DO believe that when we sleep, we are without natural defense and unable to put on our armor, as Ephesians 6 talks about. Our spirit and mind are very much alive when we sleep, but our active thinking is not. When a child goes to bed with hurts, lies, anger, or offense in their heart, it can open the door to the enemy to produce nightmares, imbed lies, and increases fear and anxiety. If these issues are present, it is better to lose sleep and address it than end the day with it being unresolved. A fantastic way to help a child be at peace before bedtime is by filling up their love tanks, even just for a few minutes, praying together, or playing worship music which calms their heart. Another great way is to play the High/Low game.
High/Low game – When our family endured trauma, it was so important to me to know what was going on inside my children’s minds and hearts. Each evening when I would tuck them in, we would play the High/Low game. I would ask what the high of their day was and then what the low was. Sometimes they would say the most amazing things; the simplest of events was what touched them the most, yet things I totally missed caused the lowest. It helped me get a pulse on their hearts to see what was important to them, but also if they believed any lies or had unforgiveness that needed to be resolved. I would often get another child out of bed to resolve something between their siblings. As the kids enter school, this is an incredible game to play to see what they are carrying around in their hearts.
My definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over without any fruit. I am motivated by cause and effect. I like to know what I am sowing into it, actually creating or changing something. Is anyone else like me? Parenting is no different. If you want to spend the next 18 years on ‘repeat’ saying the same thing over and over and over and over again, then parent a child’s behavior. If you want lasting fruit that will carry on and spill over into other situations, then parent the principle behind their behavior. Ex. If a child hits their brother, do not just parent the incident, but parent the principles behind it, which could be a lack of self-control, kindness, or impatience. If a child fails to complete a task you have asked of them, the principle behind it could be a lack of self-control, irresponsibility, or disrespect to authority. Parenting based on principles will create a lifestyle vs. rule-based living.
My mom was a school teacher and not only had gorgeous penmanship, but she also had a high value for it. Homework wasn’t just supposed to be accomplished in our house; it was also supposed to be done neatly. My writing was never perfected like hers, but even as an adult, whenever I write something sloppy, I have an internal check that I should either slow down or redo it. When we proactively teach our children who they are, we are helping them partner with God’s truth about them, which anchors them through life experiences. Example: God told me early on that my son would be a gentleman, so I have called it out since he was two years old. I have looked for ways he can practice being a gentleman (opening doors, helping with strong things, giving up his chair for an elderly lady, etc.). When my son does not act like a gentleman, something goes off inside of him that feels funny because he is acting in a way that is contrary to his true nature.
Children will exercise their flesh and act out; it is the nature of a child, but having the truth written in them helps guide them to become the person they are created to be. When children are not told who they are, they are influenced to become the things God never designed them to be.
Picture someone baking a pie for their evening gathering with friends. Could you imagine someone else coming to take the pie out of the oven and running to the corner to consume the whole thing on their own? They would not only develop a stomachache but have robbed themselves of the joy of consuming the pie with friends and family as it was intended. Your child comes with a parenting manual, and His name is Emmanuel – God with us. I say this in love, but some of you need to repent for taking His creation and running away with it. He did not spend nine months knitting them together and ushering them into the world only to have you run away together. He desired all along that you would parent together with Him. God wants you to parent with Him, not for Him.
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).
We often refer to Judas as the man who betrayed Jesus. He did, and it was painful and ugly. But there is more to the story. Call a family meeting and instead of focusing on judgment towards Judas for his actions, focus on Jesus’ friendship with him.
Years ago, I felt this insane craving to be alone with the Lord. I booked a hotel, got the four kids situated, and took off for my 24-hour date with Jesus. I spent my quiet alone time making my grocery list, journaling my thoughts, getting food, responding to emails, and reading a book. When it was over, I was physically refreshed but spiritually dry. I realized I treated my ‘date with Jesus’ as if I were the only one at the table and did all the talking. The second time I booked my 24-hour date with Jesus, I took nothing but my Bible, journal, and a large jug of water. My soul came alive. It was just Him and me, and I left feeling like we had spent a month together on a deserted island. I vowed I would make it a priority to get away at least twice a year.
When I became a single mom, I realized I couldn’t do it anymore because of finances. I heard God say so clearly, “Do not ever let money be a deciding factor between us,” and, in faith, I booked a hotel room on my credit card. Someone graciously took my children for the night, and I had the most glorious time with Him. There was a glitch with the hotel, and they ended up giving me the hotel for FREE. I laughed and vowed once again that I would never let anything stand in the way of my 24-hour dates with Him. Fast forward over a decade, and I am still sneaking away. There is no price tag to put on your intentional time with Him.
We had to catch a morning flight out of Sacramento, and I kept changing the time I thought we should leave. Finally, half joking, I said, “Jesus, what time should I leave?” We left at that time. In the middle of nowhere, my light comes on, saying my back tire is low. We stopped, and the nice attendant turned on the air for free. I filled it up but heard God tell me to check the tire. I kept moving to rotate the tire so I could inspect it. Sure enough, there was a nail! I decided to see if it would hold, but I was losing pressure quickly within minutes. I pulled off, and a tire place was right there. But it was only 7 am, and they didn’t open till 8. If I waited till 8, I would have missed my flight. We called, and the manager answered, saying he would start his day early for me. As I pulled in, he was waiting for me. Expecting to walk out with two new, unexpected tire purchases, he said he could patch it and then had the heart to not even charge me. I tried to tip him but to no avail. From the time I pulled off till I was on the road again was *15 minutes*. Had that happened just two miles later, we would have been stranded on the side of nowhere! I swelled with His goodness and laughed when I heard Him say, “I know about nails.” He knew the nail would be in the road and had me leave earlier, stop when and where we did, and provided each step of the way. Wow!
Face the fear and put it in its proper place. Ask, “Jesus, will You please show me what the fear is about?” Break agreement with the fear. “Fear, I see you, and you are a liar. I no longer partner with you and allow you to speak and influence me. Ask, “Jesus, what is your truth?” Declare His truth (write it down, put it on your mirror, on a sticky note, in your Bible, post it to your fridge, etc. and declare it until it becomes your truth). THEN when you go out in public and feel the heavy oppression around you, STOP and declare, “Fear, I see you. I do not partner with you. I declare (insert the truth Jesus showed up),” and release THAT into the atmosphere everywhere you go. If our hope, peace, and comfort come from anything else other than HIM, it will be sinking sand. He alone is our source, anchor, and rock.