HE IS ALIVE

HE IS ALIVE

We were on the road, and I woke early like I usually do, so I snuck out to get some coffee. It was still dark out, and I enjoyed the quiet moment to myself. This profound wave of deep joy and gratefulness came over me (like you feel on Christmas morning), and I began to ponder what TODAY has meant in my life. Yesterday was BRUTAL. It was the day my Savior was beaten and whipped for my sins. As I tell the kids, He took their spanking. It is hard to picture my Jesus nailed to a cross with spikes piercing His hands and feet. Tomorrow is full of JOY. Death is defeated. He IS alive! But TODAY is the day Jesus was in hell. From death to resurrection, He spent His time in hell. Doing what? Gathering ALL of the keys that the enemy stole. He has a key for your relationships, finances, decisions, parenting, attitudes, transitions, desires, conflicts, dreams, problems, heartbreak, and destiny. There isn’t a single thing you are walking through that Christ doesn’t hold the key to. He died naked but rose with the keys – ALL of them. Teach your children they are never without a solution to their problems. No matter how big or small, Jesus has a KEY for it! When your child is struggling with something together, ask, “Jesus, what is the name of the KEY You want me to use in this situation?” You might be surprised how easy yet powerful the keys unlock your situation. Matthew 16:19.

ORIGINAL DESIGN

As parents, we get to blow on our child’s areas of strength and empower them in their areas of weakness. We have the privilege of helping them unpack what is inside of them by God’s intentional design to impact those around them. The more this is discovered in childhood, the easier adulthood will be because they already have a grid for who they are. You can’t operate successfully unless you know your original design and purpose.

USHERING CHILDREN INTO ENCOUNTERS

Do children need to be believers to play in the Kingdom or do they play in the Kingdom to choose Him? I think it is both. When did God speak the loudest to Saul (Paul)?  When He was Jesus’ enemy #1. When did Jesus invite Matthew?  When he was full of greed. When did Jesus welcome the man on the cross?  When he was destined to hell. God’s most profound act of love was a free gift to those who didn’t know Him. Oh, yes, He cares for those who do not yet know Him. God speaks and interacts with unbelievers. And in doing so, it provides an encounter with the One who is worthy of it all. Encounters become the gateway in which many realize He is the One and make the choice to follow Him. This is a glorious, beautiful event because it becomes their testimony which no man can argue or deny. Our goal as parents should be to seek to provide our children with encounters with Him and the joy of playing in His Kingdom so that they experience Him. Head knowledge is religion where encounters are relationship.

Some ways to usher our children into an encounter could include: showing them a Scripture of how much Jesus cares about them (not just to correct their behavior), asking Jesus questions that pertain to their world, heart and cares, inviting Jesus into their pain, taking them to church, allowing them to stay with you during worship, sharing with them what He showed you during your quiet time, telling your own God stories, letting them dance at home with worship music, soaking (simply sitting/lying quietly generally with music on to feel His peace), asking God to help them with something (and then helping them see how He responded).

When my children were little, I had a sign on the wall that said, “Dear Jesus, thank You for ______. Would You please help me with ______”. Each day they would pray filling in the blanks. I was modeling for them how to be thankful and come to Jesus with what was important to their heart. At the end of the day, we would play the High/Low game where they would share what was the high and low of their day. Their highs would almost always reflect the very thing they asked Jesus for. One day my daughter asked Jesus to help her get a sweet treat. It felt rather insignificant to me, but hours later we were at a store, and a clerk said she made one too many ice cream cones and offered it to my daughter. I immediately reminded her of her prayer that morning. I saw my role as a dot connector. Teaching them to pray, then helping them see the way God was responding and speaking to them. Their faith grew each time leaving them hungry for more. We were building their stories with Him long before any of them made a personal decision to follow Him.

NO CONDEMNATION

Does anyone ever have a moment when God shows you something in your parenting, and you feel profound guilt and shame? Instead of viewing the revelation through the eyes that you have harmed or hindered your child, view it through the eyes of God using your child to restore what was lost in you. The sudden attack of condemnation is the enemy’s attempt to remind you of your lack so that you do not partner with God’s goodness and redemption. You have permission to step over the condemnation and fully embrace God’s goodness and kindness towards you.

TOUCHPOINTS

A mom recently asked me what to do when her child has to face hard things that are outside of her control to change. We talked for a moment about how to keep our children safe, but then I introduced her to what I have called ‘touchpoints.’ Touchpoints are those places where two places touch each other. The one end is our child’s need, lack, or hard circumstances; the other end is heaven’s tools and strategy. When the two of them touch, it no longer becomes just the hard or challenging circumstances but where our child gets strengthened, equipped, armed, and empowered to overcome, grow, conquer and become victorious. While I may not be able to prevent every negative thing that comes their way, I surely can give them the tools of heaven to win the battle. Where is your child enduring hardship, lack of pain? How can you, as their parent, equip them in that area with the tools of heaven?

TEACHING CHILDREN TO HEAR

Some of us come from very religious backgrounds and fear that if we constantly say, “Let’s ask Jesus,” it will push the child away from God, not towards Him. This is where the difference between a religious spirit and a relationship comes into play. When kids are thumped over the head with religion and Scriptures are being used as weapons of control, they resist. When kids talk to their earthly father, they are blessed because the interaction is alive and real and deposits goodies in their hearts. The same is true with Jesus: when they ask and HEAR Him replying, it builds a relationship. That is a good thing and is long-lasting. 

Pray (out loud) – “Jesus, I thank You that (your child’s name) ’s spiritual ears are open and that he/she has the ability to hear their Father clearly today. Teach me, God, to be a good teacher of Your voice to the children You have entrusted me with. Give me creative ways to teach, model, practice, and usher my children into hearing Your voice. Thank You that You have good things to say to my children and that their lives change when they hear Your voice. Thank You that I am not an ill-equipped parent but that I get to partner with You in parenting. You knit them together and know more about them than I ever could. Thank You that I am not alone in this journey but can come to You anytime for answers and truth. Let my home be a home that stands on Your written and spoken Word, and let Your voice be the only voice that is acceptable. Help me lead my children to Your presence through living and tangible encounters with You. Thank You that You are in all things, and in all things, we can involve You.”

HOW DO WE BREAK AGREEMENT WITH FEAR?

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. 

WAVES

Many of you are feeling waves, and I want to validate that it is okay to be processing this season in waves. Many of us have to wade through the wave of fear, anxiety, and worry. I am used to feeling something, processing it, and having a breakthrough. It is odd to have the wave come, walk in peace, and then have it come again when I least expect it. I reached out to my team and asked how they were doing. One mom said, “If you were to ask me last night, I would have said AWESOME, but this morning I am a mess.” How many can relate? One minute you feel like Mother of the Year, and the next wave, you feel like a massive failure. One minute you have the faith of a haystack, and the next, you can’t seem to find the mustard seed. One minute you feel energized and confident, and the next, you feel so defeated. This is OKAY, but what you do with it is significant. You either use those waves to make you stronger or let them pulverize you. 

Each time the wave comes, may I encourage you to pause and process your heart by asking yourself: #1. Is this wave in my mind, body, or spirit? **Our MINDS are dealing with many facts which aren’t always true. **Our BODY has had to switch gears significantly from busyness to rest (which can be extremely challenging physically). Others are worn out from having the busyness of children 24/7. **Our SPIRITS are experiencing so much right now, and not all of it is the right Kingdom. #2. What does my mind/body/spirit need right now? Each time you STOP and process your heart and meet the need, your CAPACITY to handle the situation increases. The next time the wave comes, you will be STRONGER. Enjoy the peace, process the weight, and allow this to increase your capacity to become stronger in the midst of hardship.

THEIR CREATOR

I have some GOOD NEWS for you. This is NOT another parenting group. I am not going to tell you how to parent or if you should: breastfeed or bottle feed, vaccinate or hibernate, circumcise or exercise. I am not going to tell you what you could, would or should do. Not going to tell you what a Christian home does or doesn’t look like, sound like, or smell like, if your home should have iPhones or no phones, or if you should spank, time out, or ground for a year. If you should homeschool, do public school. I am not going to tell you if your children should be gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, or dirt free!!! But I AM going to remind you often that there is ONLY ONE PERSON who knows what is best for you and your family… So, let’s ask Him!

DEFENDER

Pray this powerful prayer and allow Holy Spirit to restore connection with your child. “Holy Spirit, I give You permission to be my child’s Defender and Advocate. Would You please reveal to me where I have been wrong, caused a hurt or made a mess so that I can make it right?” If He showed you something, go low and ask for forgiveness.