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?”
A great tool for teaching children their authority is to take a spray bottle and catch them off guard by spraying them. Teach them that, like a sneeze, we are always releasing something into the atmosphere. When we throw a tantrum at the store, we aren’t just doing that to Mom but to everyone around us. When we hit our siblings, we are releasing that into the atmosphere. When you are kind, that gets released, too. As you teach, keep surprising them with sudden sprays that fall onto their skin. We release those things into the atmosphere when we release God’s love, respect, honor, kindness, joy, etc. Which one do they want to release? Since my kids have a grid for this now, all I have to say is, “Hey guys, what do you think just got released into the atmosphere?” We can teach children to take the spiritual temperature of a room and then release the opposite. There is power in the name of Jesus that shifts things in the atmosphere everywhere we go!!
Would you consider your child to be ‘strong-willed’? Then you need to be a stronger-willed parent in your resolve to equip them. Yes, these are the children who are born leaders and champions, but if they do not learn how to lead in love and submit to others, they will hurt people with their strength.
This story broke my heart when I heard it, and I haven’t been able to shake it. A young man was raised with legalistic parents. He went into the homosexual lifestyle and was cut off from every family member for not renouncing his ungodly lifestyle. He is in the midst of writing a book about his journey, which includes being raped as a small boy but never telling anyone. This I know for sure. After the rape, he acted out the splinters in his heart, as our bodies are not wired to hold onto that type of trauma. He was most likely angry, defiant, aggressive, rude, and/or withdrawn, yet was met with parents who had a high value for outward behavior. Could you imagine for a moment what it is like for a child to endure such brutal agony and then be spanked, isolated, or rejected while trying to process it? My heart screams out for children to be HEARD and for parents to understand what is happening inside their hearts. Our online class is not a product I am selling. It is a lifeline to HELP parents see and help their children. You cannot afford NOT to be empowered and equipped. Your children need to know you have the answers and tools to help them.
I feel the need to share that when we started practicing hearing God’s voice ourselves, some kids got it really fast, while others took longer. At times, I started to feel pressured or would believe the lie that they weren’t getting it, but, like reading, once it clicked, they took off. Is it really a tool we want to risk backing off just because it might take them a little longer than we think it should? Also, for Hudson, I kept saying, “What did you HEAR?” and he would say nothing. Finally, I realized that something was going on and asked God to show me what it was. I realized that he wasn’t ‘hearing’ anything but ‘seeing’ pictures. Once I changed my verbiage to, “What did you get?”, he instantly started ‘hearing’. I urge you not to worry or get too caught up in the process, but I do encourage you to keep sowing into it. When a parent laments that their two-year-old isn’t getting it, I smile and encourage them to keep practicing because when they are three, they are going to be further along than most thirty-year-olds.
Children hear without filters and the fear of man, and they are void of a religious spirit or awareness of social etiquette. Their ears are pure, and we need to protect them. They have the ability to hear quickly. We need to trust what they are hearing. The Spirit taught me that if I was going to teach my children to hear Father God, I had to guard against positioning myself as the middleman. This can be a hard place for a mama to rest in, but I do not want to create a dependency upon me whenever my kids hear Holy Spirit whispering to them. If what they hear seems a little fishy or self-motivated, do NOT call that out, as it could squelch their listening ears. Instead, treat it like practicing their ABCs. A lack of perfection doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try it again, nor do you make them feel bad for missing the letter M. It means that they must keep practicing. If it wasn’t the Lord, I promise He will organize the circumstances to reveal that in a teachable moment. The only time I get to test if the word they say is from God is if it truly is out of line with the Scriptures. Tread with grace as they are exercising their spiritual muscles and seek not to shut them down.
If your child is not interested in practicing, I question two things: #1. Have you spent enough time teaching it to them? Kids who feel like Mom/Dad expect something from them (hearing Jesus) but do not understand what you mean will shut down out of fear of disappointing you. #2. Are you making it FUN? The Kingdom is righteousness, peace, and JOY and if it isn’t FUN, then you are most likely partnering with a religious spirit of expectation or performance.
This is perhaps one of the most fascinating things about God and mankind. He knows what parents/leaders need and lack, so He sends children/people who carry it better than they do. Yet often times parents/leaders use their authority to protect that part of them that needs to come into alignment instead of allowing God to yield their heart through that person. They build walls, shut doors and disempower the very person God sent to BLESS them. The nature of conflict does not disqualify a person. Often times the conflict is just revealing something isn’t in alignment, and God wants to parent the area the conflict is revealing. It is what you do with the conflict that is God’s desire and plan for your life. Your areas of greatest conflict with a child/person could very well be the area God sent that person to touch in you so that it can come into alignment. Disempowerment and control kill the process for all parties.
A dad was struggling to get his teen daughters to understand why their choice of music wasn’t edifying. The girls argued that it was ‘just a little’ bit of bad language and that it wouldn’t hurt anything. The dad prayed for a creative solution to get into his daughters’ hearts on the subject. The next morning, he announced he was making a very special dessert with “a very special ingredient.” He made a big deal of the upcoming dessert all day, and after their dinner plates were cleaned, they were begging for the much-awaited sweet treat. They scarfed down the yummiest batch of brownies, and while smacking their lips, they inquired about the ‘special ingredient.’ The dad sat back and calmly announced, “Dog poop, but don’t worry, it was just a little bit.” They seemed to understand in that moment that ‘just a little bit’ can indeed be harmful. This glorious creative teachable moment can be used with music, swearing, drugs, disobedience, alcohol, lying, slander, etc. Sometimes kids need a visual to understand your point.
I walked through some deep betrayal years ago and wrestled it deeply with God. I had this mental picture of Jesus holding both of us on His lap, and it made me mad. This person brought me so much turmoil and pain, and I didn’t like the fact Jesus loved them so much (this isn’t my true heart, but it was a moment in my processing the pain). I finally called my mentor because it was making my heart feel unsafe with God. How in the world could He love someone who has brought so much pain? Her response was brilliant and literally shifted something so deep within me. She said, “Lisa, you do not fully understand the picture. God loves this person just as much as He does you because He created them, but God is only on the side of righteousness, and this person isn’t choosing righteousness.” It wasn’t a matter of whose side God was on as much as it was who was on His side. It was like my hands opened, and I dropped whatever offense, pain, or fight I was holding onto and clung to righteousness. It altered decisions and outcomes dramatically.
Emma had a bit of a rough day, and I knew her heart felt tenderized. The following morning, I made an effort to really see her and gave her a long good morning hug. I began to call out the truth about who she was. When I said the words, “There is nothing wrong with you,” she let out a big sigh and relaxed in my arms. I realized what she needed the most was to be affirmed that SHAME (something is wrong with me) is a liar, and she had permission to ignore it despite the evidence making it feel very true.
God is looking for families who will take Him at His word. He says in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Who are the people willing to march forth with this command?! If God commands us to do something, all of heaven backs us up. I challenge you today to equip your children and together take back ground in your home, community, city, and nation over the spirit of fear. We say NO to the fear that binds, robs, steals, kills, destroys, and the lie that says God is not in control or able. How do we do that? First, ask, “Jesus, will You please highlight any area where I have allowed fear to speak, rule, or influence me?” Deal with it by breaking up with it and declaring His truth. Second, release His power and love everywhere you go. Have you ever experienced walking by someone who just exhaled their cigarette, and the smoke goes into the atmosphere? That is what fear is in the spiritual realm. Someone partnered with it and released it. When others walk by, they are affected by the spirit. That is why so many people report feeling uneasy at the store, watching the news, or on social media. Way too many people are exhaling fear. I am not a victim to fear or someone else’s choices. I am a child of God with a calling on my life to release His Kingdom everywhere I go (and if you are a born-again believer, this is your calling too). When I pass someone who I sense is bound up emotionally or spiritually, I utter a prayer under my breath for them to encounter the love of the Father. When I sense fear, I say, “Fear, I see you, and you are exposed. I release you to go and invite peace to come in Jesus’ name.” When I walk into an atmosphere of anxiety, I say, “Peace come now.” When the kids get swirly out of nowhere, I ask them, “What are you feeling in your tummy right now?” They can call it out quickly when I ask that question. Oftentimes it is a feeling of not being safe. So we then release protection in Jesus’ name. When we witness someone having an angry outburst, we pray under our breath that they feel seen, secure, and loved.
Jesus says GO! Go forth in confidence that He has called you to be the change to the world around you. Say NO to fear and YES to exhaling His power and love everywhere you go. Who are the people willing to take God at His word?
How many of you were parented in a way you do not wish to repeat with your children? If that is you, please hear this!!! When you vow not to parent like your parents, you fix your eyes on them and what they did/didn’t do. We yoke ourselves to whatever our eyes are set upon. Guess what? You will not be able to enter the fullness of what God has for you as a parent because your eyes are on man, not Him. Dad was intimidating – “I will never make my child feel intimidated”, Mom was emotional – “I will never show my child out-of-control emotions”, Dad was absent – “I will never leave my child alone”, Mom was angry – “I will never get angry with my child”, Dad was dominating -“I will never control my child”. While all of these may be true to some extent #1. You are seeing your parents through the eyes of a child. #2. You are replacing their less-than-ideal parenting with another faulty parenting plan. #3. You will rob yourself of parenting skills and tools and may look and feel like your parents, but it isn’t. The heart and motive behind parenting tools make all the difference in the world. You are using your parents’ choices to guide you, which will not lead you where you need to go. We can only parent fully when our eyes and heart are on HIM. We need to break the vow, “I will not parent like my mom/dad did,” and need to release to them their choices so that we are free to make our own.
I encourage you to spend some time today and walk through the following. Forgive your parents for the ways they parented you outside of the way God parents us. Repent of making a vow not to be like them. “Jesus, I confess I have yoked myself to my parent’s choices. I repent of putting my eyes on anyone other than You. Will You please forgive me?” Don’t just ask for forgiveness, but truly receive His reply. Ask Jesus, “Jesus, will You please show me what was going on inside my mom/dad to partner with that parenting style?” Allow Him to reveal to you what He sees in their heart and what is going on for them. The true fruit of forgiveness is the ability to have compassion for one’s ill choices, not because you like or accept them, but because you have a greater understanding. Ask Jesus, “Jesus, will You please show me what lies I have believed regarding my parenting?” Ask, “Father, will You please show me a picture of how I can model my parenting after You and Your heart?” Invite Holy Spirit to be your teacher. “Holy Spirit, I give You permission to show me how to parent after the Father’s heart. Please teach me what it looks like to parent as a Son/Daughter.” Thank Jesus for aligning you so that your children can reap the fruit of healthy parenting that reflects His heart.