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!
I am intentional to guard against idle busyness. I have no problems saying NO to something when I am in the midst of a battle. I try to lie down at least once daily, even for five minutes. Some days I have to focus on my breathing and be intentional about breathing in peace, breathing out stress and worry.
Do not feel sorry for your child that they are born and enduring this season. God knew it when He knit them together and put inside of them all that they needed to not just survive but THRIVE and create the change around them. As someone once said to me, which planted the seeds of Let the Children Fly, “Lisa, pull yourself up by your bootstraps and equip your children to deal with their reality.” We must not render our children ineffective in this season of change and challenge by feeling sorry for them but equip them for such a time as this.
Parenting is a verb that unfolds over time. We do not sit our children down when they are two and tell them everything there is to know about life. We grow and roll with them as they develop and mature. The same is true for safety. Children under five are mainly going to be with mom and dad, so their world is different than the child who is at the age of going to school, sleepovers, playing with neighbors alone, etc. Giving them the language and tools to be safe will open wider and wider over the years, eventually having them walk out your door prepared with tools to be successful, healthy, functioning adults. When new situations arise (playing alone outside, going to school, sleepovers), you first have to ask yourself, “What have I, as the parent, done to teach them about this in the time of peace?” When a child is begging to go play with the neighbors, that is not the time to teach. Your YES should be dependent upon: #1. Have you equipped them with how to handle that situation in the time of peace? #2. Do they have the skills and responsibility to be successful? Sending them out the door, to the neighbors, or even at school without first preparing and arming them with tools gambles with their success.
There is only one beginning and one end. And the chapters in between unfold in the Word. Doctors, scientists, pastors, and leaders may carry profound wisdom, but in the end, it must be in alignment with His Word. The world wants to use human wisdom and education to contradict or change God’s Word, but true human wisdom supports the Word.
With much excitement, say to the children, “Guys, Jesus is in New York! Many people are going to see Him. Do you want to go too?!” Test their responses. Many will become excited at the thought of seeing Jesus in person, which is a good thing. But some should feel a check in their spirit. Lead them to the Word to discover what it has to say about seeing Him again. Does it say He is coming to New York? That we will see Him on earth? No, it does not. Therefore, anyone making this claim, no matter how exciting the thought may be, is false.
Explore these verses as a family: 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and Matthew 24. Teach your children that many will say things that may sound true or even make us really excited but that we need to discern what is really His truth and that can be found in His Word. Get in the habit of training your children to be fact-checkers according to the Word. Teach them how to look up a verse, use a concordance and cross-references, and search the Word for His truth.
I want to invite you to encounter Him as a family as we just did. It was powerful and shifted our focus and peace back to Him.
There are so many things screaming at us in this hour, and it is hard not to feel uneasy at times. I called a family meeting and asked them who God is. Yes, there is the God of the Bible and what we learn about Him, but I wanted to hear the testimonies of who He has BEEN for us. The ways we have personally seen, heard, and experienced for ourselves. I started with a testimony of “Remember when…” and someone followed, and then another and another. It took us 45 minutes to get through the stories. GO gather the kids and tell bedtime stories of who your God is. Stir up the memories of what He has already done.
On the first day of our JOURNEY class, we talk about being hungry for MORE. Nearly 100% of the answers reflect a deep desire for more of Him but a fear. Fear is just a lie to get YOU to forgo the goodness God has for you. The enemy can’t stop you, so he whispers lies that produce fear, which causes us to shy away, afraid the lie will actually come true. God is calling you deeper. Be known for your yes to Him, not for partnering with fear. I encourage you to break agreement with the lie and take it right to the throne by asking, “God, is it true that _______? What is Your truth?”
John Bevere wrote a book called The Bait of Satan, and it is just that, a bait. Someone does something that causes us to be offended, and we nurse it until it becomes a wildfire spreading to our mind, spirit, and body. We open the door to the enemy through his bait of offense. I gathered the kids, and we played a round of ‘hot potato’, where you catch the ball and throw it as fast as you can, pretending it is a hot potato so that it doesn’t burn your hands. Laughter broke out, and then I switched gears and explained to them about offense and how we can feel offended, but God wants us to be super quick to let it go and toss it back to Him, just like the ‘hot potato’ game. I have been able to cash in on this teaching over the years and remind them, “Hey, remember the ‘hot potato’ game? If you choose to hold onto this offense, it will cause greater hurt. Do you want to let it go?”
As I have focused on the Cross over the years, I have been continually struck with not just the physical torment Jesus endured but the emotional. He laid down His life of His own accord so that people do not need to endure hell and could have an intimate relationship with His Father, yet they mock, ridicule, slander, taunt, misjudge and reject Him to His face. My God, my God, how is it that You can be so full of self-control? To watch people treat Your gift, Your beloved Son, like that and not rise to anger and smite them all will forever be beyond me. And yet it is the thing that captivates me the most about who You are. So loving, kind, and patient, and all the while fully aware of what is going on. The story of the Cross is who God is today – full of tender mercy and self-control, yet fully aware of all that is going on.
A parent was asking me about the child who slams their door and remains in the room upset. Their question included, “I can’t control them,” and something profound rose within me. No, they are right that control-based parenting is ineffective for the long haul and does little to address the child’s heart. However, I think there is a lot of space between “I can’t control them,” and “there is no way I will lay down my authority that fast when the enemy comes to build a wall with my child.” Let me explain. The purpose of a wall in the natural (bushes, fences, room dividers, retaining wall) is to hold something in and/or keep something out. It creates a physical boundary line that communicates “you can’t get through.” We build walls in our hearts when we are hurt or afraid to keep the bad out and to self-protect ourselves from getting hurt again. This makes logical sense, EXCEPT #1. It keeps the bad out but also keeps the good out. #2. It traps the bad so that it can’t escape and causes us to carry the hurt/offense around. #3. God never intended us to carry the job of self-protection. That is His job. When the enemy is working my child to build a wall to keep pain in (and me out), I agree I can’t control them, but boy, mama bear comes out in the spiritual realm. I bind whatever is in operation, ask Holy Spirit to bring into light whatever is in darkness, release comfort to their hearts, and I go after their love language BIG time. When I see my child struggling and needing the comfort of a wall to feel safe, I BACK OFF from parenting their flesh and wrong behavior and go after their heart. My goal isn’t to have perfect kids. My goal is to keep their heart in the palm of my hand and teach them a lifestyle of going to God even in the complicated and messy places. Control? No. Power and authority? YES!