HONORING YOU

HONORING YOU

It is very difficult for a child to release the Kingdom at the store if they are on the floor pitching a fit because you did not buy them a toy. They will have a harder time hearing God’s voice if they haven’t been taught to listen to yours first. You will have a greater challenge getting them to be ‘others’ focused if they have been taught that they are the only ones that matter. Character matters!

FILL THOSE LOVE TANKS!

Many stores have cute Valentine’s Day mailboxes in their dollar section. Pick one up for each child, and instead of using them for V-day, use them to fill their tanks all year long. I would often encourage the kids to write notes of praise, thanks, or encouragement and have them secretly put them in their sibling’s mailboxes. It taught them how to be proactive in speaking love to someone and how good it feels to receive. 

I would keep them and pull them back out again in the summer or fall when they need some help going after filling each other’s tanks. A great thing to bring on vacation or do during school breaks.

SEXUAL SAFETY

I once told the kids I took a picture of their poop and posted it on Facebook. They were mortified. I asked them why and they said, “Because that is PRIVATE, Mom.” I put them out of their misery and told them I agreed and would never do that to them. I then explained that their God-given body parts are private too – just like boogers and poop – there is nothing shameful in going to the bathroom, but we keep it to ourselves. Children must be proactively taught by their PARENTS that #1. No one can LOOK at their private parts. #2. No one can TOUCH their private parts. #3. No one can take a PHOTO of their private parts.

GIFTS

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.

LET’S ASK JESUS

“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.

LANGUAGE OF LOVE

Once you know a child’s love language, you learn how to fill their hearts easily. I could spend my last dollar on a child, but if their love language is quality time, it won’t hit their heart as much as the child with the love language of gifts. I could spend every waking moment with a child, but if their love language is words of affirmation, they will still feel empty/low after spending all that time together. I could smear my child with endless praises, kisses, and words, but if their love language is acts of service, they will wonder why I don’t love them enough to help them. If you want to hit a bullseye into their heart, LEARN your child’s love language and go after it daily.

REJECTION

It is one thing to reject a person because of their looks, style, personality, or character flaws. While it hurts, there is a deeper form of rejection when someone ignores, dismisses, or devalues your destiny because your destiny is the core in which you were knit together. It is not rejecting a part of you, like your personality, character flaws, or weaknesses. It is rejecting the very core of your existence. This is why learning our identity is so critical. We have to know who we are so that when others, who don’t know who they are, speak demonically-influenced words over us, we can stand on His truth about our worth, value, and calling and not cower. The world needs what you carry. You are the answer to someone’s prayer. God knit you together to be a part of His plan for the world around you. It is time to break up with and flush the words and actions done in an attempt to shut you down, silence you, and render you useless. 

May I encourage you to make a list of the actions or words that have crippled your ability to move forward? Write down the offense, but also write down the fruit of the offense. Ex: Someone spoke over you that your gifts aren’t good enough (offense), and the fruit of it has been that you have partnered with fear and intimidation, which has caused you to shrink back from other opportunities. Ex. Someone spoke over you that they don’t believe in you (offense), and the fruit of it has been that you have wandered around from place to place looking for someone to see value in you because you were too afraid to see it in yourself again. 

FORGIVE the person for being used by the enemy to put a hook in your heart. HAND OVER the pain, hurt, and regret to Jesus. ASK Jesus to show you what lie you were believing about yourself because of this event. ASK Father God what His truth is about you. INVITE Holy Spirit to teach you how to activate and use your gifts again. BLESS your spirit and tell yourself that you believe in yourself and have permission to carry on. The attack on your calling gives evidence that it is something that causes the enemy fear. It is time to stop partnering with it and get back in the game. The world is waiting for YOU!

TECHNOLOGY

I realize we are all first-generation parents stewarding the world of technology with our children. We will hit some home runs, and we will make some mistakes along the way. One day my son asked if he could take his phone with him on our family outing. I usually have them leave them at home because it is our time to connect, but I allowed it. He was playing a Spanish app and engrossed in it and barely said a word. I had to run to Walmart, and he asked if he could keep playing on it while I was shopping. I agreed to make an exception. The trip was chaotic. He was always a few feet behind us and not paying attention as he bumped into others due to looking down on his phone. I was in a bit of a hurry and was trying to find something for Ellie. I asked him to stay by the cart while I ran down the other aisle, and he absent-mindedly walked away, leaving my cart and purse unattended. I asked him to go back to the cart. A few moments later, Ellie came to me upset because Hudson was snapping at her. He was attempting to push the cart but ran into something because his eyes were on his phone. A few minutes later, I asked him to help me with something, and he had an attitude with me for ‘interrupting’ him. It was so chaotic and stressful. I went to him and held out my hand, asking for his phone. We finished and when we got into the car, I reminded him that I had raised him to be a helper, to see others, to be kind, to jump in where needed, to be a gentleman, to serve, be aware of his surroundings and to be a blessing. I did not raise a son whose eyes were locked looking down on a screen, walking around aimlessly without seeing a single person or contributing to the task. Every parent needs to make their own choice about technology, but for me, when they were younger, going to the store was our training ground for character, and I was not going to let a phone undo all that work. I care more about his development than his entertainment. I care more about the man he is becoming than his comfort. I care more about him seeing others than what he is watching for himself. The phone is not your friend if it is breaking connection with those around you.

TIPPING POINT

Your family’s prayers can change the world – literally! Revelations shares how the story ends. Pay attention to Revelations 8 – “The smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God . . . Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth” (Rev. 8:4-5).

This is not to be taken lightly or flippant. When you pray, you are filling the prayer bowls of heaven. Gather your family and place a bowl with a little water in the center of the table. Give each person a glass filled with water and a spoon. Play a game to see how many spoonfuls of water they can get into the larger bowl to make it spill over (literally). It will simply take ONE more spoon full of water to tip the water over the edge. Have fun, and let joy break out. Then share the verse above and tell them that their prayers can change the world. I encourage you to use Philippians 4:6-7 as your prayer guide as a family. Talk about the verse, act it out, and then pray in response to each line. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. 

**Don’t worry about anything – make a list of the things you are worried about. 

**Take that list and pray over each item. 

**Tell God what you want and need. 

**Thank Him for what He has done in the past. 

**Thank Him for what He is going to do now.

CULTIVATING GRATITUDE

Gather the kids and talk about how incredible our bodies are. We have legs to run, ears to hear, eyes to see, and lungs to breathe. Each part is a gift. Ask them what part of their body they are the most thankful for. Take time to thank God for the way He created our bodies to move and our minds to work. He is so smart!

MOMS WITH UNPREDICTABLE EMOTIONS

One of the biggest reasons why people don’t care for the things of Holy Spirit (Charismatic movement) isn’t that they don’t want the Spirit of God, but they had mothers who didn’t manage their emotions well and were afraid Holy Spirit would make them feel out of control and unsafe as they did with their moms growing up. Moms, it is okay to be on a journey of becoming who you are as a Daughter. One of the greatest things you can say to your child when you make an emotional mess is, “I am sorry that Mom reacted/yelled/got impatient/didn’t listen to your heart. Do you know Holy Spirit would never ______?” Restore them to the TRUTH about who Holy Spirit is, despite your weakness, so they don’t transfer their earthly experiences onto the godhead. The goal is not to become perfect parents but to bridge our children to the One who always will be perfect.