May I encourage you to EXPRESS your thankful heart by pulling in each one of your children 1:1 and SPEAKING over them what you are so grateful for in them? I recently said to my teen daughter, “Have I told you lately how much I love you?” and she replied, “Not really.” Meaning she didn’t feel like I had said it lately, but my mind knew I spoke that way often to my children. She was highlighting to me just how much children need to hear words of value, worth, love, and kindness from their parents.
This is what the religious spirit looks like. A mom messaged me about a dream she kept having.
“Here is the dream: I am awaiting my turn to enter the Kingdom, and before I get there, I hear, ‘Do I know you? Do you know me?’ And I always awake abruptly. I have this worry when I wake, and I almost feel paralyzed in how to fix the problem. Like I have to jump through hoops to be back where I need to be. Or I have to perform to be good enough.”
I asked her if she was secure in her salvation. She was. I asked her how she felt when she woke up. She said she was anxious/worried. This is not how God speaks to us in our dreams, even if He is highlighting something. I told her to come out from under it, take authority over it and pray for Holy Spirit to guide her dreams. The spirit of religion was trying to groom her into thinking her relationship with God was not secure.
Do you have kids who like to interrupt you? I taught the kids in the time of peace what I expected, and then we role-played, practiced, and got good at the technique before we were in ‘need’ of it. I explained that they are SOOO important, but so am I. When I am in the middle of something with someone ELSE, I need the respect of not having someone demanding my attention elsewhere. We had FUN role-playing what a demanding child looks like when Mama is talking to someone else or on the phone. We talked about WHY interrupting wasn’t okay and how it made others feel. The bottom line it is a self-control issue. I instructed them to put their hand on my arm, which signaled, “Mom, I need you.” It is important then for the adult to put their hand over their hand, which means, “I see you.” Then, when the timing was appropriate, I would say, “Excuse me, Mrs. Smith, could you hold for a moment?” and would direct my attention to them. If they came barging into the room or demanding my attention, I would simply say, “Excuse me, Mrs. Smith, could you hold on for a moment?” And then I would say out loud to my child, “You are so important, but so is Mrs. Smith. I need you to wait until I am done,” and then when I got off the phone, we would role-play and practice again. My kids use this tool to this day, and it is golden to have respectful kids who know how to wait their turn.
Guilt says what you did was wrong, and the enemy counterfeits by using the tool of shame that says who you are is wrong. We do want to feel the weight of conviction for our mistakes and choices so that it leads us to godly repentance, but we never want to partner with the enemy’s lies of shame over who we are. Shame is paralyzing and incredibly toxic to our systems. It is like drinking acid. God never designed our bodies to hold onto shame.
I was in a season where I was aware that the words coming out of my mouth were critical and sharp. I am not typically one to hold a grudge or offense for very long, but it was like I was constantly calling out the bad. Little things like the man who cut me off, the person who didn’t use their blinker, or the lady who didn’t return her shopping cart. Once I said it, I let it go, but it bothered me that I even had the eyes to see it. They were things that should not require my energy or time. I became so aware of it that I told the kids I would pay them $1 every time they caught me being critical. But it only seemed to increase. I finally met with my friend, a professional counselor, and asked her what the problem was that I could not control my critical words. She said something to me that not only changed my life and set me free but became a KEY that I have used with others for their freedom. She said, “Shame HAS to blame,” and began to introduce me to shame’s profound effects on our mind, body, and soul. Shame is so toxic to our existence that it kills, shuts down, and robs us of our God-given abilities. Shame is like acid. By blaming others (my critical words), it was releasing some of the toxicity. It was survival to manage the shame. I HAD to blame. The goal, therefore, was not to manage the release of the shame but to resolve the shame once and for all. Thus began a several month-long journey of discovering the root of the shame and how to release it GOD’S WAY.
When we create cultures of silence, it creates shame in people, and eventually, it will come up as BLAME. I think one of the most unhelpful things a leader can say when someone is processing pain is that they are slandering and gossiping when they are just trying to process their pain. Not everyone comes from healthy backgrounds where they know how to work through their heart splinters, but when someone is trying to heal, let’s not shoot them down with the law of religion.
I created a ten-day online experience for others to join me on the journey of loving yourself deeper, wider, and more passionately than you have been loved before. You will watch a video teaching, and I will provide activities and exercises based on the teachings for the rest of the days. The second week focuses on how to raise children to be proactive, so they never have to find themselves again down the road.
You can register here: Moms & Dads – ONLINE CLASS – Let the Children Fly
Proverbs 18:21 (MSG) says, “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.” Parents, let’s CHOOSE LIFE over our children every morning. You can do it verbally, on the bathroom mirror, in a frame (and change it weekly/monthly), or in their lunch box. Each day speak a fresh organic declaration over them or sit down and write them out for your whole family. We each wrote our own and had them posted on our bathroom mirror. I like to do it every morning on the way to school. When I pass a specific building, that is my mental reminder to make sure I am intentionally calling out who they are. I want them to walk into school wrapped in the statement, “I love you. You are important to me. You matter. I am proud of you. You can do this. You are my favorite. You are smart. You have got this. I believe in you.” This is easy on good days but vital when peace seems to go out the window in the mornings.
Here are a few – · I love being your mom! · If I could choose out of all the kids in the world, I would choose YOU. · You have got this. · I loved that you _____ this morning. · Your best is enough. · Best day EVER! · Go shine your light BRIGHT. · You are God’s answer to those around you. · I am so glad God put you in our family. · Being your mom is my favorite job. · I love you, and Jesus loves you. · You made a mess this am, but I love you anyway. · I am so proud of you. · You are such a hard worker. · I believe in you. · You are a joy to be around. · Your siblings are so blessed to have you. · You matter. · I love you to the moon and back. · That was really kind of you to do that. · You make me smile. · There is no one like you. · I love to see how you are growing up. · You are so special. · You are awesome! · I love seeing you smile. · I appreciate you so much.
Discernment is knowing, sensing, the ability to determine right and wrong, and having eyes to see what isn’t in the natural. It is a spiritual gift that we can ask for more of. We had picked up one of the two moving trucks, and after loading it, I noticed one of the tires was low. We filled it, and it appeared okay after the 30-minute drive home. Others kept telling me it was okay, but I had the discernment that something wasn’t right and that it should really be checked out before we hit the road. The service crew came out and changed THREE different tires. He said the tire was splitting and would have blown once we got on the road. Thank You, Jesus, for discernment and the ability to determine that something isn’t right even when our eyes can’t see it in the natural.
Pray – “Jesus, thank You for giving your life so that we can access the Kingdom of heaven. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for the gift of discernment that leads and alerts us. Father, I ask for an increased measure of discernment. Strengthen my ability to see and hear what others cannot so that I may respond to Your voice in all areas of my life. Show me how to trust and listen to the gift of discernment as I partner with You. Teach my children how to walk in discernment. In Jesus’ name.”
So many of you precious people are feeling worn out, discouraged, and in battle. May I encourage you? The enemy’s assignment is to wear you out (Daniel 7:25). But God has given us the tools of warfare. Now more than ever, we must know and apply our armor daily. Ephesians 6:10-17 outlines God’s protective covering over your mind, body, and spirit. But it is conditional – you must pick it up. Spend some time going over your armor, and then GET IT ON! This is not the season to do life on your own strength. In fact, Ephesians 6:10 says our power must come from His strength, not our own. You will overcome, but you have to do it His way!
I can assure you that when your child’s love tank is low, you are going to smell the fumes somewhere! Adults have learned (not-so-healthy) coping mechanisms to pretend that a low tank is still running just fine, but a child will not. Kids don’t need oceans full twice a year; they need continuous drops. I encourage you to sit down and write out at least ten easy, simple ways you can speak your children’s specific love language. This will help you to stay proactive in filling their tanks, even when your plate is full. I cannot tell you how many times a “Hey bud, go set up a game of cards, and I will play a round with you,” can change their heart, attitude, and the atmosphere of our home.
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!
Someone asked me if I thought we were in end times. My response continues to be that we are closer today than we were yesterday. The final chapter will be played out, and God has allowed us to know the events that will take place. One of the biggest signs of end times will be deception. The antichrist is all about looking, acting, and being like Jesus; however, HE IS NOT JESUS!! Many will fall away from being caught up in deception because it looks, acts, and sounds like the truth, but it isn’t. One thing I see sneaking into the church today is a FALSE TEACHING that hell is not real and that no loving Father would be so harsh as to send His child to hell. THIS IS WRONG!! It is a false teaching because we are all destined for hell. ALL fall short of the glory of God – ALL! We are created by God, and He gave us instructions to follow. Satan tricked Adam, and sin entered. Because of that, every one of us is destined for hell. That is our future. But God’s LOVE saved us from that path by allowing Jesus to take the discipline for us.
The Word tells us in John 3:16 (paraphrased), “For God so loved the world that He gave His Son (to take our spanking for disobeying) and whoever believes in Him shall not go to hell (our destined place) but will live with Him forever.”
We are not destined for heaven, and God sends people to hell. We are all destined to hell because of Adam’s partnership with the enemy and opening the door. It is a loving God to give us a plan back to Him despite our fallen nature. Salvation and heaven are gifts to be intentionally received, not birthrights. Do not fall for this false teaching that twists the love of the Father and denies the entire purpose of sending His Son to hang on a cross. I exposed this teaching to my children and let them know there is a belief in the church that hell is not real. We had a good conversation about it as I want them to be on guard against the deception and be convicted of the truth. If you want to guard against deception in general, you have to be lovers of truth at all costs. The truth is found in the Word, not man’s opinion, science, or popularity.
Mamas, are you cursing your body? It is hard to raise daughters with healthy self-esteem when you model cursing your own body. My mom had four kids close in age and didn’t like the way it affected her body. I was secure and confident growing up with my body; however, the moment I had kids (also four close in age, including twins), I immediately turned against my body and felt like it was ‘ruined.’ I was intentional about building up my daughters and their self-image. God began to show me that what my mom taught me, by cursing her own body, is that motherhood ‘ruins’ your body. I was simply modeling that belief onto my children. I entered a season of greater self-love and acceptance for my body, which has miraculously produced life. I want my daughters to feel beautiful now AND after they become a mom. It isn’t about praising them but modeling acceptance for myself.
**This isn’t just for daughters. When moms curse their own bodies in front of their sons, they are teaching them that there is something wrong with a woman’s body, which we surely don’t want him to transfer to his wife someday.