IDENTITY CHANGES EVERYTHING!

IDENTITY CHANGES EVERYTHING!

Three of my four kids were having a blast, but one was left out. I felt something was going on and found her sitting in the other room feeling bad and partnering with feelings of loneliness, isolation, and unworthiness. What bothered me about this wasn’t that the others weren’t sharing (though I dealt with that, too), but that my child was not walking in the confidence of who she was. I talked to her about being assertive, bold, and confident that she had every right to be included (especially in her own family). I also asked if she was ready to come in and ‘confront the situation,’ not in anger, but in the confident boldness of her true identity. She meekly walked in, and I told her to go back and do it confidentially. Of course, it began as a game with lots of laughter, but she did it nearly ten times before she could walk into the room and confidently ask to be included. 

In a world that constantly teaches our children who they are not, we must look for ways to intentionally teach and train them in the truth of who they are! Identity changes everything!

IDENTITY GAME

Grab a plastic set of ABC’s or a box of ABC crackers. Place them in the center in a pile and have everyone sit in a circle. Each player picks up a letter from the pile and has to give a word that starts with that letter about the person next to them. “A” – Ellie is always smiling. “B” – Hudson is brilliant at playing games. “C” – Lauren is caring with her dog. This helps children to get their eyes off of themselves, learn how to release words of encouragement over others and see those around them. Not to mention that after the game, everyone’s love tanks are filled to overflowing.

TRUTH STATEMENTS

When we neglect to call out who our children are, the world will step up and do it for us. However, the world’s truth is often different from ours. Calling out a child’s identity isn’t 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. The latter increases their identity as it focuses on Christ in them. Don’t we want our children to walk out the door overflowing with the confidence of who God made them to be? It isn’t about systems or hard labor but about keeping His presence through peace. Running a household is hard work, yet many hands make the work light. The smallest of hands can feel good about themselves for successfully managing things.

CHILDREN ARE HUMANS TOO!

Pray this powerful prayer today 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 hurt, or made a mess so I can make it right?” If He showed you something, go low and ask for forgiveness. Built-up offenses can harm your connection.

ASK ME LIKE MY SON

I want to remind you that if you are a born-again believer, you have a Shepherd over you in this hour. He knows how to keep you safe, protect you and lead you to green pastures. He knows when you are wandering off and how to go after you.

Years ago, we were in a store shopping when Hudson asked for a Lego set. Before I could reply, he began to beg me with intense emotion. Watching him plead and beg like a fish flopping around out of water was repulsive to my ears. I stopped him, put my hand on his shoulder, and asked, “Who am I?” He was reminded that he was talking to his mother, who fearlessly loves, provides, and protects him. The one who carried him for nine months and knows him better than anyone else on earth. The one with a track record of being kind, loving, and attentive to his wants and needs. Having his full attention, I said, “Ask me like my son, not a begging orphan,” and he quickly changed the way he approached me. He wanted the Lego set so badly but failed to see that he could trust me with his heart. I wanted him to see that he could trust me, even with the thing that mattered most to his heart at that moment, even if I said not now because I was for him and loved him. It was a trust issue, not a Lego issue.

Repent for partnering with any belief that tells you that God is not a good father or does not care.

FEAR OF JOY

I want to share with you one of the most significant revelations I have had in my parenting. It was a game-changer and altered everything within my family structure. Every home we lived in happened to have an open floor plan where the dining room, kitchen, and living room were a large space. The kids were young and closer in age and would begin running from one end of the house and zoom around each room, chasing each other. I am a fun mom. I can handle flying Nerf gun bullets, stepping on the pile of Legos, forts in the living room, and messes made from hardcore playing. But when the kids would zoom in and out all around me, it was like I was fine one moment, and a millisecond later, I was not. I would immediately shut it down and redirect them to something quiet and still, like a movie. There was a season that I honestly wondered if Holy Spirit was whispering in their ear, “Start running,” because it seemed like that was all they did from sunup to sundown, and it was driving me crazy. I was just about to step in when I heard the Lord say, “What are they doing wrong?” I vividly remember responding out loud with, “I do not know, but I do not like it.” That little exchange was like a tap on the shoulder, and I realized that maybe, just maybe, this was not their issue but mine. As they continued, I would sneak into my room and process my heart. I was hearing giggles, joy, and sibling connection, yet my heart was filled with anxiety. I began to see that my response was not matching my reality. I was becoming more and more aware that something deep inside of me was not at peace, which affected my parenting that was shutting them down and redirecting them, and I hated it. I hated feeling so much unrest. I hated not feeling in control. I hated that I had to redirect them so that I could feel at peace. Every time they would start zooming around, I would remove myself and process my heart, which took nearly six weeks – six weeks of laying down my tools of control to keep myself comfortable and six weeks of being radically uncomfortable. Finally, I got the revelation as to what was happening in my heart. God asked what I was feeling, and I said, “Anxious.” Anxious? Why on earth would I be anxious when my children were laughing and connecting? And suddenly, I got a mental picture of my childhood. My three siblings and I were close in age too, and whenever our joy or play began to get ‘out of control,’ one of us would be beaten or shut down. I am not sure which was worse, being beaten yourself or the powerlessness of having to watch your siblings. I began to cry. I could still hear their giggles in the other room as my deep anxiety was being released through the wave of emotions. I heard God say, “When your children are full of joy, you get anxious that one of them will get hurt, so you shut it down to protect them,” but the sad thing is that they are not in danger. It is ME who needed to know we were safe, not them. I got set free that day from the fear of joy.

Had I continued to use my authority to control my children to keep my heart feeling safe, I would, in essence, be teaching them that joy is not acceptable, not through beating them but by shutting it down each time. THIS is how our unresolved issues affect our parenting, and we swing so far to the other side of the pendulum. Jesus is our center and wants us anchored in freedom and wholeness. The deep, life-altering revelation that God gave me is that while I am older, wiser, and more capable than my children, God knit them together, not in MY image to be molded and shaped into a little me, but in HIS image and He uses them to reveal, heal and restore what was lost in ME so I can become more like HIM. I am the adult, but God is my Parent, and He uses my little ones to parent me ALL THE TIME. Now when I want my children to cease zooming all over the place, I am able to use my parental authority as God has directed in peace, not from a place of control and needing them to change their behavior so that I could feel comfortable. There is a world of difference. 

Your turn – What is the biggest and most consistent trigger you experience in your parenting? Go ahead; it’s okay, take a risk and know that you are not alone in your parenting journey of becoming more like Him.

MY YES

I knew God wanted me to write the book HEART SPLINTERS – Resolving Childhood Issues in Childhood. But I was walking through a season of deep discouragement and feeling disempowered. It is super hard to feel confident in your calling and put your voice out there when feeling disempowered. The manuscript was always a work in progress on my desk, but I was dragging my feet. I saw a Facebook post about a well-loved husband who had committed suicide leaving behind a precious family. While I had not met them, we had many mutual friends, and it rocked our community deeply. His wife shared her raw experience on social media, and it came across my news feed countless times.

One day, I saw it pop up again, but I kept scrolling since I had already read it. I so clearly heard God tell me to go back and reread it. I did, unsure of what He wanted me to see. I heard Him tell me to print the picture of this family. It was so strong that even though my printer was out of ink, I went to the local drug store to obey. I felt a little odd holding a picture of a family I had never met and who was going through so much tragedy, but I held the picture in my hand and asked, “God, what do You want to tell me about this family?” and He said, “This is your YES – this is why I want you to write HEART SPLINTERS. People are perishing without this information.” The tears were instant as I fell out of my chair on my face, and wept for hours. “Oh, Jesus, forgive me for partnering with being disempowered. Forgive me for walking small. Forgive me for not opening my mouth. Forgive me for laying down what You have called me to pick up. JESUS! Use me to tell Your sheep there is hope. Let what You did in my life, and the lives of my four children serve as a testimony of what You can do. Light and life always trump death and darkness.”

And with that encounter, the manuscript was finished.

PERFECT FATHER

There was a time when I wasn’t fully engaged with my daughter, grossly misunderstood something, and reacted strongly. Later, when it all came out, I realized how hurt she was that she didn’t feel validated or heard. When I asked her for forgiveness, I sensed the Holy Spirit saying to add, “Father God is never too busy; He always hears your heart and knows everything about you.”

Oftentimes for children, it isn’t the event that causes lasting wounds but the lies about the godhead attached to their experiences. It is okay that my children know I am human. Still, they need to know Father God is rock solid, never loses His cool, is always available, always alert, never sleeps, and never makes a mistake. He isn’t overwhelmed, unsure of what to do, isn’t mad/upset, and is never too busy. As a parent, I can take my weakest moments with my children and use them as opportunities to teach them about their Perfect Father!

SHIFTING OUR GAZE

It is hard to know who you are when you spend the majority of the time staring at a lens with your own reflection. We only truly discover who we are when we gaze into the One who created us in His image. Selfies only reflect what you want to see. God’s image reflects who we were made to become.

ABORTION

Do you remember Pilot Sullenberger (Sully), who landed his plane in the Hudson River, saving the lives of all his 155 passengers? His aircraft lost both engines after flying through a flock of geese. Despite being a hero, the NTSB brought charges against him because he didn’t save the plane. During the trial, they had flight simulators that ‘proved’ he should have turned the plane around after the engines shut down and that he could have successfully landed in LaGuardia. Wisdom from experts created evidence against his choice.

Finally, his voice was heard. He agreed that there may have been a ‘perfect’ outcome, but he gives voice to the fact the simulators could not factor in having the weight of human life in your hands and making a split-second decision that will affect you the rest of your life. After that, all charges were dropped. It is easy to have perfect wisdom when you are clear-minded, but other factors control and impact the outcome when you are in a real-life situation.

I have a hard time taking an ‘in your face’ public stance against abortion, not because I am not pro-life, I AM, but because I SEE the mom, not just the child. I cringe when I see people standing up for the child and, in the meantime pushing the hurt further in the mom. I want to paint a picture to help you understand how a young mother could choose to end her child’s life. The enemy preys on situations that shock our system. The bill that arrived in the mail, a loss of a job, experiencing someone’s rage, the death of a loved one, etc. In these moments, our minds and nervous system are overwhelmed. This is when the enemy comes in and whispers lies that feel true. We partner with lies at that moment because we have ‘evidence’ that the lie is true (even though it is not). When a young girl finds herself pregnant, the shock alone is paralyzing. Many of them are still walking out puberty, where their emotions and thinking aren’t fully developed. The news is like putting a heavy blanket on a young puppy. It is too heavy for them to process and carry. “You aren’t old enough,” “You will ruin your child,” “Your mom will kill you if she finds out,” “People will think you are a whore”, “You will never have a life again,” “You can’t do this,” “The father will never walk this out with you,” “You are all alone,” “You don’t even have a car,” “You will never get a job now that you have a child,” and on and on it goes. Shame kicks in, which causes many to isolate themselves from family and community. They attempt to carry the weight alone and are left with their limited fear-based thinking to create a solution. They are now in extreme emotional isolation. Emotions trigger thoughts, and thoughts trigger emotions. It spirals out of control, and the ‘what if’ game brings torment. Fear races through their minds at the realization they can’t even fully care for themselves yet, much less the burden and responsibility of another child. Remember the scene in Titanic when the water was entering the cabin, and they were sucking the last bit of air out of the corner before the water completely engulfed them? Now picture that person gasping for air with a child attached to them. The inadequacy is paralyzing, and a spirit of fear is in operation.

We have girls in shame, fear, and isolation – all tools of the enemy that gain the legal right to influence. The abortion movement is ‘wisdom’ inspired by the enemy to steal, kill and destroy the next generation. They go under the disguise of ‘helping,’ but it is like burning down the house to kill a spider. It may have removed the ‘problem’ but leaves scars deep inside. When a young mom partners with shame and fear, it is like putting a magnet on herself. The abortion industry is there to ‘save’ them from this situation and also has a magnet attached to it. Both sides attract each other in the spiritual realm. It isn’t the young mom in a rational, clear-minded place walking into the abortion clinic; it is a young mom who is being influenced by the spirit of fear, profound shame, and deep emotional isolation that leads her there. After the abortion, the mental torment ceases, and the dust clears, leaving her to realize what she has just done. She must choose one of two roads – deal with the pain of her reality or push it down so deep it blinds her conscience. Rationalizing in their mind but knowing in their spirit otherwise.

We can demand a ‘perfect’ choice, but unless we understand what is in operation and HOW a young mom can be seduced to end the life inside of her, we will not help them choose otherwise. The battle is not won on the picket line but in the spiritual realm. The enemy’s plan is to use fear, shame, and isolation to lure the young mom into the abortion clinic, where she volunteers to end her child’s life. God’s plan is to use community, love, and acceptance to help the young mom navigate a very challenging situation. This is where true mothers and fathers are needed the most because life is literally dependent upon it.