INDESTRUCTIBLE & UNDENIABLE

INDESTRUCTIBLE & UNDENIABLE

The world is screaming LOUD right now but take courage; we have the Word of God to stand on as an anchor for our soul.

1 Corinthians 13:13 – “These three remain faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Talk about it today at the breakfast table. “Guys, do you know three things that will never die or fade away?” Have them go on a treasure hunt to find the answer in Corinthians 13:13.

TEACHING FORGIVENESS

I bought the little Etch A Sketch, kept it in my junk drawer, and used it as my object lesson for forgiveness when my children goofed up. I remember one time in particular when I was traveling, my son forged his field trip permission slip with my signature since he’d forgotten to ask me to sign it before I left. The teacher caught him. He confessed what he did, and I asked him to get the Etch A Sketch. I explained what forgery was, and we talked about why it was a wrong choice. Then, I turned it over, shook it, and said, “I forgive you for forging the field trip form.” We hugged, and I asked him how he would handle it next time. It was a great teachable moment!

THE CROSS

The Cross is the solution for E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G! Spend a few minutes and ask Jesus if there is any unforgiveness between you and your child. I encourage you not to be introspective and mentally feast on every mistake, but rather ASK JESUS to show you if there is a hook of unforgiveness in their heart. If God shows you something, make it right TODAY! Perhaps you will want to spend some 1:1 time with them after school, take them out for a treat, or write a note and put it on their bed.

Parents do not lose respect by admitting their mistakes, they gain it. When you go low with your children, it makes them feel seen and heard. It validates their pain and this is the ministry of Jesus! When parents go to their children and say, “Jesus, showed me I was wrong when I _____. Will you please forgive me?” it is teaching your child that Jesus has their back, cares about their pain and sees their heart. Actually seeing the Cross applied is one of the most powerful experiences for a child in a Christian home. Moms, it could be YOU are the one who needs to forgive your child. Perhaps you are holding onto offense for being stretched too thin, getting your heart hurt or that life doesn’t look the way you thought it would. It is okay to need to forgive our children – we are all human beings in a fallen world. I would release the offense privately and not share this with your child. “Jesus, I confess my heart feels _____ because _____. I chose to let go of this offense towards (child’s name). I hand over my offense/pain/disappointment to you (In your mind picture handing it over to Jesus). What do You have in exchange for me?” (Wait until you see/hear what He has in exchange for you). Clean the spiritual pipes between you by applying the Cross today!

CULTIVATING GRATITUDE

Gather the kids and walk through these verses. Make them come alive by explaining them and adding real-life stories and examples. Let His word be written on their hearts.

Psalm 7:17 – “I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.”

Psalm 100:4-5 – “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”

Psalm 118:29 – “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures forever.”

Psalm 9:1 – “I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.”

Colossians 2:7 – “Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”

Colossians 3:15 – “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.”

Colossians 4:2 – “O Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” Ps. 95:1-3 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”

James 1:17 – “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

Philippians 4:6 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Psalm 103:1-5 – “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18 – “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Psalm 107:1 – “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”

Ephesians 5:20 – “Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,”

Psalm 28:7 – “The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.”

Psalm 69:30 – “I will praise the name of God with song, and shall magnify Him with thanksgiving.”

Psalm 136:1-5 – “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever;”

Hebrews 12:28-29 – “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

2 Corinthians 9:15 – “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!”

Revelations 11:17 – “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.”

Revelation 7:12 – “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”

DON’T/DO

This is a great way to teach and train young children. When you need to instruct/correct them, instead of staying where you are and calling out to them, STOP what you are doing, go to them, and get down on their level. Place your hands out and tell them to put their hands on yours. You are not forcing them, grabbing their hands, or controlling them. You are giving them the command (as many times as it takes) to put their hands on yours. Then you instruct them to look into your eyes. If they remove their hands or lose eye contact, in a gentle but firm voice, instruct them to put their hands/eyes back on you. When they have achieved that, you give them your short command of what you want. “Mommy wants you to come to the table,” “Mommy wants you to put your clothes away,” “Mommy wants you to pick up your toy.” It is important that they follow up with a “Yes/Okay, Mom.” The purpose for that is when kids come into agreement by verbally saying “Yes/Okay,” something happens in their brain where they accept ownership. The key to using this tool is to speak to them in a gentle but firm way. It does not work well when the parent is angry or controlling, nor does it work well when the parent caves if the child does not respond right away. Few people enjoy being disrespected, and it can feel very frustrating when children ignore us. If, as the parent, you feel frustrated at their lack of listening, I encourage you all the more to go after this. Good character does not come with age; it comes with intentional parenting. Stay in the game and help your child overcome their weakness. Give them tools to grow in their capacity. This requires extra effort from you upfront, but you will reap the JOY of a child who responds to your voice.

FAMILY COMMUNION

I love Communion Sunday. I take the forgiveness of my sins seriously and believe with my whole heart that Jesus is not only the Savior of the world but MY Friend. The price He paid for me to know Him and walk in that friendship is no small thing. While my children took communion on Sunday, I wanted to go deeper with them. I went to the store to buy gluten-free rice crackers and a bottle of grape juice. I already had communion cups (at any party store) and gathered the kids. We spent time going around telling Jesus what we were thankful for (because of Him). We broke the cracker and sat quietly as we each focused on His body being beaten, ripped, and torn for US! We recalled the countless times He has washed us clean from our messes and mistakes and never once turned His back on us. We thanked Him for ‘taking the spanking on our behalf’ and quietly consumed the juice. What struck me so profoundly about our pastor’s message is that communion is so much more than just eating and drinking over a history lesson. Just as being baptized is more than taking a swim, there is something more significant going on when we take communion. We take communion to RECEIVE His forgiveness and healing TODAY. We are committed as a family to taking communion every morning. We recall who needs the blood of Jesus in their life or circumstances, and we take it on their behalf. We focus on what Jesus has done for us TODAY and fill our hearts and minds with His goodness. Gather your kids and partake in one of the greatest gifts ever given to man!

EQUIPPING THEM WITH SKILLS

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. 

TOUCHPOINTS

A mom recently asked me what to do when her child has to face hard things that are outside of her control to change. We talked for a moment about how to keep our children safe, but then I introduced her to what I have called ‘touchpoints.’ Touchpoints are those places where two places touch each other. The one end is our child’s need, lack, or hard circumstances; the other end is heaven’s tools and strategy. When the two of them touch, it no longer becomes just the hard or challenging circumstances but where our child gets strengthened, equipped, armed, and empowered to overcome, grow, conquer and become victorious. While I may not be able to prevent every negative thing that comes their way, I surely can give them the tools of heaven to win the battle. Where is your child enduring hardship, lack of pain? How can you, as their parent, equip them in that area with the tools of heaven?

ATMOSPHERES

Kids feel what is going on in the atmosphere even when they don’t have words for it. I actually think they feel it more because they have not yet built coping mechanisms and walls to shut it out like many adults. God doesn’t want us to manage it, nor does He want us to ignore it. He wants us to overcome it with the authority given to us through Jesus. If you feel an increase of unrest in your home, overcome it by pulling your family in closer. Home should be the safest place on earth. Have a family meeting and forgive hurts and offenses. Intentionally have a family night to connect and laugh together. Increase worship or soaking music. Pray about what is going on as a family. Remind your children how big God is by telling them stories of His incredible power in other challenging stories in the Bible. He always comes through and always knows what He is doing (always). Hug them and then hug them some more (yes, even teenagers who act like they don’t care). Remind them of who they are (not performance). Ask Jesus to show you what your children need today.

Your children need to know they are covered, safe and secure, and our job as parents is to be that verb!

DEPRESSION VS. OPPRESSION

Do you feel depressed? Years ago, I plopped down on the chair and began to tell my mentor that I was depressed. I felt heavy. My mind was like a thick fog, and my heart felt like it was carrying around a bag of rocks. Little brought me joy and being motivated to do basic daily chores was hard. We began to ask Jesus about what was going on in my heart, and within a few minutes, I said, “Oh, the depression is gone.” She replied, “That is because you weren’t depressed.” Confused by her reply, I asked for understanding. She began to tell me that depression is rooted in our body and has to do with a chemical imbalance. Depression is real and affects many. But she went on to say that OPPRESSION is the pressure the enemy puts on us that feels, looks, and sounds like depression but is rooted in the spiritual realm. Oppression feels like a python snake squeezing you. True chemical imbalance depression is cured by medication to regulate the hormones in the brain. But oppression is cured by taking authority in the spiritual realm, aligning our thoughts with His, and declaring truth. When we do those things, the oppression flees. If you are feeling a heavy weight of ‘depression,’ try moving into a place of intentional worship, declaring out loud, commanding it to leave in Jesus’ name, and worshiping! If you feel a shift, it was oppression. This goes for adults and children!

NOT SO SWEET

Is anyone noticing an increase of bickering, cranky kids, and sharp tones in their family? I know I have, and let’s call it out – it is ANNOYING! There is nothing more grinding to my ears than listening to my children use unkind tones with each other over trivial things. As I was exploring what was going on in my family, I remembered ALL of the sugar they had been consuming. Normally I let them enjoy their Halloween candy for a day or so and then collect it all, but I had forgotten to do that. I told them to get their candy, and I was mortified when I saw the massive pile of SUGAR sitting on my counter, waiting to be consumed. Yeah, NO. This will not go well to allow them to have a steady drip of this much sugar. We are mind, body, and spirit, and we cannot feed our bodies poison and expect to produce sweet results any more than feasting our eyes on violence and expecting peace. Or allowing our ears to consume gossip and slander and expect connection. In one day of removing the sugar, I noticed a massive shift in kindness, care, and gentle words!