When we neglect to call out who our children are, the world will step up and do it for us. However, their truth is often different from ours. Calling out identity is not about what they do, such as, “You are the best soccer player,” or “You always get A’s,” but more so about who they are; “You are patient,” “You are kind,” “You are worthy,” “You are capable.” Calling this forth sets them up for taking on the world and the challenges set before them. The first increases pride as it focuses on their performance and ultimately hinders connection as they learn they are only as good as their successes. The latter increases their identity as it focuses on Christ in them and what He has done. We want our children to walk out the door overflowing with the confidence of how God made them, not feeling the pressure to earn something or strive to become what they think others want them to be.
1 Peter 4:8 tells us, “Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins.” I also took that to mean that we should love those who are in sin because of the transformation that love can bring. But in parenting, I am seeing another dimension of God’s Word, which has messed me up on more than one occasion. Like many of you, I am walking out my own redemption story, and God is still doing a deep work in me. I don’t always do the things I desire to do with my children. I still have triggers, get upset and make messes. When I go back and make things right with my kids, I am blown away over and over and over again by how they respond. They are filled with so much grace and compassion for me that it makes no sense when you look at some of the messes I have made over the years. I had a season where I became concerned about their “Oh, it’s okay, Mom” responses and worried that maybe they were, to be honest, fearing me with their real heart. God showed me that because I go after love, connection, seeing them, giving them a voice, and communicating their importance regularly when I blow it, the love in their bank account covers it, and it is a bummer of a moment, but not a wound.
Parents, going after connection in times of peace stores up and covers you in those moments when you are walking out your own journey. This is obviously not a message about permission to make messes, but in reality, we all make them. This is a message that what you deposit into their hearts creates a currency that covers when you make a withdrawal.
I cannot encourage you strongly enough to get a copy of our HEART SPLINTERS book so that you can continue to work through your own journey. Order yours here! Heart Splinters BOOK – Let the Children Fly
If everyone was born with a deep need for connection, why then are so many children feeling alone and without a best friend? I believe one of the reasons is that they are so ill-equipped to deal with bumps in relationships. Somewhere along the lines, we believe that if something is hard or even painful, it means it is wrong. But what if God knew what was inside our children and brought them the right people who would reveal what needed to be strengthened, healed, or redeemed? This normally happens through conflict and offense. Like every other parent, my heart longs to shield and protect my child from hurt, but that is not reality. Plus, it lacks faith in a God who knows what my child needs more than I do for deeper growth and character development. I cannot tell you how many times one of my kids came home from school, sharing that they got their heart hurt by a friend. Conflict is not a sign of a bad friend. Often, it is the ones who get deep into our hearts that God uses to reveal what is inside us. This is not always a reflection of how ‘mean’ the friend is, but rather that they are touching something inside of us that God wants to grow. Example: It may be true that a friend was rude or made an unkind comment, but perhaps God wants to grow my child to have thicker skin and not be easily offended. It may be true that a friend chose another friend to invite for a sleepover, but perhaps God wants to grow my child in knowing that their identity is not in how many invites, likes, or messages they receive. It may be true that a friend failed to respond to a message or text, but perhaps God wants to grow my child in believing the best and giving people the benefit of the doubt. It may be true that a friend ignored them, but perhaps God wants to grow them in having the confidence to try again. It may be true that a friend got mad and misunderstood their heart, but perhaps God wants to grow my child in an area of being vulnerable. It may be true that a friend failed to reach out in their time of need, but perhaps God wants to grow my child in forgiveness and not holding grudges. It may be true that a friend gossiped about them, but perhaps God wants to grow my child how to have brave conversations with someone who has not protected their heart. It may be true that a friend _________, but perhaps God wants to grow YOUR child in _________. As the school year unfolds, I encourage you to camp out in this statement. Validate their hurt and pain, show them compassion, and then ask Jesus what area He wants you to help your child grow in. Children can learn to fight well, push through the bumps, and not only become strong friends but become more like Him.
God’s design is that children would receive and experience things like belonging, being seen, heard, and valued, knowing the significance, and embracing physical touch.
When children grow up without these foundational ingredients, it creates lack, conflict, and heartbreak. HOWEVER, God has not left us orphaned. He is STILL parenting us. Yes, it is easier to receive in childhood when we learn about the world for the first time, but it is never too late to be a Son or Daughter and let the Father teach you. A great question to ask throughout your day is, “Father, how would a Son/Daughter respond to this?” Let Him parent you, teach you, and allow you to experience His goodness.
Years ago, God showed me that I was still operating in a position of shame, like a black sheep (even though I know I am not one). I saw myself with black fur on me and was processing with the Lord how to get the black fur off of me. I figured He would show me how to come out from under it since it was a false garment. Instead, I had a vision where Jesus came to me like a rugged Australian sheep farmer and began to shave all of the wrong-colored wool off of me. When He was done, I was naked and automatically ran into the midst of all of the older sheep who had thick white wool. There was a sense of being protected and safe amongst them. I asked the Lord why He shaved me. He said, “You need time to grow your wool.” It is okay to be naked and vulnerable to shed our old position, operating systems, mindsets, and behaviors. It is already finished, but I was walking out my revelation of it. We need to be protected amongst healthy leaders and safe environments in our down-to-the-bone nakedness.
Sometimes parenting with Holy Spirit is funny. I just praised my daughter for NOT sharing with her sibling (and meant it). Emma is my second twin, and her whole life, we have had to go after her using her voice, saying NO, and setting boundaries. She is my child who will freely give you the shirt off her back and socks, too! She is also the child who will have tears in her eyes and a smile on her face. Once, her twin sister asked if she could have one of her birthday presents that was still wrapped, and Emma said, “Sure!” It has been a long road of teaching her how to listen to her heart and respond accordingly. YES, I want my children to share, but not at the expense of becoming a doormat. YES, I want my children to obey, but not from a place of being double-minded. YES, I want my children to put others first, but not at the expense of losing her true self. So, one morning, when her sibling asked to borrow her phone for the day, she said, “No,” I pulled her aside and praised her. Where her twin has had to learn how to be more kind, thoughtful, and caring towards others, Emma has had to learn to be kinder to herself.
Responding to life as an orphan is normal. It is what we were born into. But once we become a believer, we are instantly adopted into a new Kingdom. While the adoption papers are complete, some of us need the REVELATION of what that really means so that we can forgo our previous operating system. We will spend the rest of your lives learning what our adoption really means.
Ask, “Jesus, what lies am I believing about my parenting?” I am fairly certain I know your response. No, I am not a mind reader, but I do know that the enemy throws out these seeds to all parents, hoping to get us to partner with them because it may feel or sound true. The lie you believe about your parenting most likely sounds something like the following: I am ruining my children. I am not enough. My child will grow up to hate me. I do not have what it takes.
Friends, the enemy is a liar, and you ARE enough. Not because of you, but because GOD gave you your child, and He trusts Himself to work all things out (even your shortcomings, wounds, and messes). When a parent partners with this lie, he is taking out two generations in one because a parent who believes they aren’t enough will act like they aren’t enough. If you struggle with the lie that you aren’t enough, are ruining your child, or don’t have what it takes, write the lie out and destroy it (burn it, trash it, shred it, stomp on it, flush it or rip it). THEN ask, “Jesus, what is Your truth about my parenting?” The next time the enemy throws that lie at you, counter it with what Jesus said.
When my kids were little, we would play a game of ‘hot potato’ where we would stand in a circle, and I would toss a beach ball to one of them. As I threw the ball, I would make a statement, “You are kind,” and they had to grab the ball, discern if it was a truth or lie, and then throw it back to me, declaring which one it was.
“You are wanted” – TRUTH
“You are ugly” – LIE
“You belong” – TRUTH
“You are stupid at math” – LIE (math might not be their strong suit, but they are not stupid).
I was teaching them that not every thought they have, or words spoken over them are the truth. In fact, some of them are downright LIES and can be thrown out. Little did I know back then just how profoundly it would shape them as they got older. They are so quick to grab the thought, discern it (generally because it feels awful), and then toss it back out. Jesus tells us to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5)! Grab a ball today and teach your children to discern what is a LIE and what is TRUTH.
We are going to talk about the walls we learn to build to protect those heart splinters from being touched. The good news is that the walls are somewhat effective in keeping the bad out, but the sad news is that they also keep the good from entering. God never called us to a life of managing pain. Jesus died so we could be free, and free indeed, of it. Take out a sheet of paper and write down 3-5 adjectives to describe your mom, then do it for your dad. We are not looking for sugar-coated words but your truth. For example, for my mom, I would say emotional, special touches, distant, and polished. For my dad, I would say he is the life of the party, shallow, generous, and available. You are writing down how you received and experienced them. The family is very important to God because it is modeled after God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit, who all have unique roles in the godhead.
God/Father – is where we get our provision, protection, and identity.
Jesus/Siblings – is where we get our companionship/friendship/sense of belonging.
Holy Spirit/Mother – is where we get our comfort, nurturing, and teaching.
The ultimate purpose of the enemy in John 10:10 is to steal, kill, and destroy our connection with God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. One of the ways he does that is through undealt with hurts, lies, and offenses in childhood because the child will naturally project those hurts to the godhead. It is one thing to be hurt by your absent father; it is another to believe the Creator of the universe is ignoring you. It is one thing to be hurt by an emotionally out-of-control mother; it is another thing to believe the Holy Spirit is unsafe. It is one thing to be rejected by your siblings; it is another thing to think that Jesus doesn’t care about your world. At the end of life, it comes down to one simple thing – our relationship with our Heavenly Father. This matters!!! While we might feel peace and closeness with Jesus, if we have distance with Holy Spirit, something will be missing, just like a family where there are not two parents. If you feel close to Jesus, but are afraid of Father God, then you are not walking in the fullness of your salvation. We want to be connected fully and freely to God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. Take a look at the words you used to describe your mom and dad. Take an honest estimate of your reality. Is that how you would describe your experience with God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit? If not, then praise God for the healing that has been done in your heart. If yes, then this simply reveals where the heart splinter has caused you to build a wall to protect the pain. How do we remove the wall? The Cross is the answer for everything, and forgiveness breaks the yoke that the enemy has been able to influence us. “I make the choice to forgive _____ for _______. I cancel any debt they owe me and turn them over to Jesus Christ to be judged accordingly.” Renounce the lie the God/Jesus/Holy Spirit is _____ (whatever you put on your list). Hand the hurt/sadness to Jesus (just watch and listen to what He does). Ask, “God/Jesus/Holy Spirit, how did it make You feel that I believed that lie about You?” Ask what He wants to give you instead. Declare the truth about God/Jesus/Holy Spirit. Spend some adequate time walking this out. Can you see how vital family connections are and how they affect a child’s view of God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit?
HEALING THE SICK
God made our mind, body, and spirit in perfect harmony, working together. When parts of our body are out of alignment, it will affect other areas. If the foot is broken, the opposite leg has to work harder. God designed them to work together. When we are not processing our emotions fully for whatever reason, it can affect our physical bodies. Disease is a breakdown of our physical bodies, but long before there is a disease, there is a lack of EASE (harmony). The medical community states that 80-85% of all medical issues (tooth issues, back pain, heart failure, cancers, asthma, etc.) are rooted in something emotional or spiritual. Meaning you can ‘cure’ the symptoms, but if the ROOT is not addressed, it will just come out again somewhere else.
Unprocessed emotions can generally stem from three areas: #1. Their experience was not validated or was downplayed as no big deal when it was a big deal, and their heart needed a voice. #2. They do not feel like they have permission to STOP and process because the demands on them keep going. #3. There is a pre-existing condition of the heart not being at ease and new experiences are touching on unprocessed or trapped emotions. All of these scenarios can make the body out of harmony and not at ease. Many are reporting brand new physical symptoms since the virus broke out, and I want to provide you with an opportunity to process some of your emotions that may be a contributing factor. Not everyone will fit into this category, but I believe this will be a lifeline for many. What a blessing you are being given an opportunity to experience greater breakthrough and freedom in this hour. While it may be uncomfortable to process the emotional aspect of this storm, it is necessary for our bodies to be in harmony and at ease.
Other things that help in the process are: Searching the Word to see what it has to say about that subject, praying, playing worship music, crying, talking to God, journaling, going for a walk, putting your hand on your heart and speaking kindly to yourself, calling a friend, searching online for resources, declaring truth statements, laughing and finding pockets of joy, intentional deep breathing, repenting. Let the Children Fly has many tools to help you resolve the inner conflict. Be at peace. Be healed. Be whole. Be free.
IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING LOWER BACK PAIN:
Is there anger that has not been dealt with? Either from the current situation or a previous situation where you are holding onto anger that needs to be validated and released? Please note that anger is a secondary emotion that serves to self-protect when we are generally feeling scared, lonely, or sad about something. The goal is not to treat the back pain but to deal with the underlying emotions that you have had to carry.
IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING STOMACH ISSUES:
Is there fear that has not been dealt with? Either from the current events or a previous event that left you battling fear? If the door to fear was already opened, any new fearful encounter would only magnify the existing fear. The goal is not just to treat the stomach issues but to close the door to fear using authority. 2 Timothy 1:7.
IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING HEART/CHEST PAIN:
Is there emotional pain that has not been fully addressed that has hurt your heart? God wants you to experience healing in this area to free you from the ongoing hurt.
IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING HEADACHES:
Is there a sense of losing control? God never designed us to be out of control. He designed us to be anchored to Him and His ability to provide, protect and cover us in the midst of a storm. If you feel powerless and out of control in this hour, press into the Scriptures on what He has to say about His ability to provide, protect and shelter His children. Release the need to control and hand the job back to Him.
IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING NECK/SHOULDER PAIN:
Similar to a headache, are you feeling intense feelings of being burdened and having more responsibility than you can bear and carry? While God designed us to be highly functioning and fruitful, there are some things He has not called us to take responsibility for. Spend some time asking Him if you have taken on the responsibility that needs to be put back on Him. The aftermath of this shaking season is not on you to fix or carry.
IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING FATIGUE:
If there are feelings of resentment, either from current events or something prior, it will suck the life out of you. Resentment acts like a heavy blanket on our souls, making us feel worn out and exhausted, even by doing nothing. Resentment is the deep-seated feeling that you have been treated poorly. While that may be the case, holding onto it will not create the justice you desire. Only God can use what the enemy meant for evil and turn it into something good. Release the events to Him and ask Him to vindicate and repay what was stolen from you.
IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING BREATHING ISSUES (that are not life threatening):
Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome (Google). All of us feel anxious at some point but what we do with it is the difference between staying in anxiety or moving to faith and peace. Philippians 4:7.
IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING THROAT ISSUES:
Oppression and depression can look and feel the same. Depression is rooted in a chemical imbalance and is resolved with medication, while oppression is rooted in the spirit and goes away with authority. You use your authority by speaking and commanding the heaviness to go in Jesus’ name. I encourage you to spend time inviting the presence of God, His peace, power, and love to invade your mind, body, spirit, family, home, and connections. Use your voice.
IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING NUMBNESS:
If any of the above emotions have been carried around undealt with for some time, and then you add the trauma of the current events, it can cause our bodies to go on overload, which can cause numbness because our system simply can NOT carry it anymore. You may be surprised at your inability to cope, and perhaps it is not just from the current events but from the current situations being the tipping point to what you have already been carrying. Holding out your arm carrying four quarters is easy, but if you do that day in, day out, for years, your arm will get fatigued and eventually become numb. It isn’t often the size of the weight, but that you have been carrying it for the length of time.
While this may be uncomfortable to process the emotional aspect of this storm, it is necessary so that our bodies can be in harmony and at ease. Other things that help in the process are: Search the Word to see what it has to say about that subject, praying, playing worship music, crying, talking to God, journaling, going for a walk, putting your hand on your heart and speaking kindly to yourself, calling a friend, searching online for resources, declaring truth statements, laughing and finding pockets of joy, intentional deep breathing, repenting. Let the Children Fly has many tools to help you resolve the inner conflict.
Be at peace. Be healed. Be whole. Be free.