ISOLATION

ISOLATION

Emotional and mental isolation is worse than physical isolation, as it is a breeding ground for the enemy’s lies. A real war is happening for your child, but you are not a prisoner, and there IS a way out. So rise up, Mama Bear! We need you, protective Father! We must help our children process their grief and help them stay connected to the family, others, and even themselves in this hour. JOY releases a chemical in their brains that gives them the will to fight and endure hard things. One of the most profound ways you can help them is to find pockets of joy throughout the day.

What is a pocket of joy? It is finding those little moments to crack a smile, giggle, or roar with laughter. It is dance parties in the middle of math, eating chocolate chip cookie dough, running in the rain, jumping on the bed, and being silly and childlike. Whatever your day looks like, let it include pockets of JOY! It is NOT entitlement and buying them whatever they want. It is joy through connection and face-to-face smiles, not just things.

I WASN’T LISTENING

I love, love, love when moms write to me with their excitement over partnering with Holy Spirit in their parenting. 

A mom shares: “I want to thank you for all of your posts about letting the Holy Spirit guide you in parenting. My son was having a serious meltdown this morning because of a change in plans for the weekend. As he was screaming at me, I thought I needed to pray and listen to what he was really trying to say. I asked him again what he was really upset about, and he told me, ‘Their dogs.’ He was afraid to stay at his cousin’s house because of their dogs. But I wasn’t listening. I was just trying to make plans and move on. I have yet to take any of your classes, but the Lord is using you through your posts to work on my heart and how I parent. Thank you.”

HAVE YOU HUGGED YOUR CHILD TODAY?

My mom used to drive around in an old Chevy Monte Carlo with a bumper sticker that read, “Have you hugged your kid today?” I used to think it was awesome that she had a reminder each time she got in the car. I longed for her embrace as it made me feel wanted, safe and seen. Sadly, hugs were few and far between, but they still held a tremendous value. I want to ask YOU, “Have you hugged your kid today?”

Homework – Make it a goal to reach out and offer a hug to your child at least THREE times today. Set a reminder in your phone, do it before/after each meal, or when they ask for something. Be intentional and hug those kids today!

HELPING EACH OTHER FIGHT – SLANDER

“When someone slanders another to us, we must remember that we are not mainly fighting flesh and blood, but spiritual forces of evil” (Ephesians 6:12). Satan knows that slander deadens and splits churches, poisons friendships, and fractures families. He knows slander quenches the Holy Spirit, kills love, short-circuits spiritual renewal, undermines trust, and sucks the courage out of the saints. So our goal, particularly in the context of the church, is to help each other shed demonic weights and avoid satanic stumbling blocks. 

So how do we do this? The best way is to become people who are not safe to slander around. We must ask each other questions like: “Have you shared your concern with this person directly? I’d be willing to go with you to talk to him. Just to be clear, is this information I should know? Do you want me to help you pursue reconciliation? Are you doing everything you possibly can to put away ‘all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander’ (Ephesians 4:31)? How can I help you guard this person’s reputation like a treasure (Proverbs 22:1)?” In other words, friends don’t let friends slander. Friends don’t let friends act like God-haters (Romans 1:30). 

“The more we love people, the more we hate slander, because a slanderer hates his victims” (Proverbs 26:28). Let us remember that we are stewards of the treasure of each other’s good names. Let us resolve to avoid sharing information that is unnecessarily damaging to another person’s reputation and to repent to everyone affected if we do. Let us seek to silence the sin nature slanderer within and graciously give and receive others’ help when one of us slips, perhaps unaware, into slander. Let us do damage to Satan’s forces by speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Let us lay aside the destructive sin-weight of slander. In an age of social media, that lacks the functional information-spreading restraints of past eras, let us be all the more slow to post (‘slow to speak’ – James 1:19) analysis, speculation, and commentary on information about another person or group, even if it has become public in our slander-saturated culture, that might eventually prove slanderous. 

“All the serious biblical warnings about slander still apply, which should make us all, especially those of us with ‘platforms,’ tremble.” – Jon Bloom. 

CELEBRATION TIME

Why not grab a balloon, pack a picnic lunch, or pick up some cupcakes and tell the kids it is time to CELEBRATE just how much they have not only endured but overcame this season.

EYE SMILE

A friend sent this to me. Boy, is it relevant for today!

“Early on in parenting, I noticed how powerful it was to communicate my love toward my children with a glance. It happened one day when I was looking at my sweet toddler with such delight in my heart and eyes, and I could somehow literally see the impact move down his whole body. It was as if he swallowed my delight through his eyes like a delicious piece of chocolate cake that would fill his belly for days. Later I learned that there is brain science that explains the power of forming bonds and connections through eye contact. Our eyes and expressions do not lie like words can. Expressing sincere love and delight in someone through a glance carries incredible power. Specifically, when we make left-eye-to-left eye contact with someone, we are able to connect in a more powerful way because the left side of our bodies is connected to the right hemisphere of our brains, and the right brain is the relational side of our brain. Knowing this continued to fuel my intentionality to communicate my heart toward my children through my eyes, facial expressions, and voice tone. It has been a beautiful thing to watch the power an expression of love can have on a person – it can uplift, fill, satisfy, calm, and settle all in one moment. Just this year, I was driving my boys to school, and as I dropped them off, my youngest gave me the most amazing, long goodbye glance, expressing such joy in seeing my face before he took off. It filled my whole body with peace, satisfaction, and joy. The next day, I longed for that connection with each of my kiddos before they were off for the day. I made a point to look them each in the eyes as they got out of the car and told them, not only with my words but with my glance, how much I loved and enjoyed them. It was beautiful. I could tell that even my oldest son, who was slightly hesitant to look me in the eyes, was blessed by it. Ever since that day, I have made a point to connect in this way with my children before they leave for the day. It is such a small thing, yet it sets them up to start their day in a relational and secure place – knowing that they are seen and deeply valued – as they go out into the world.”

DISCIPLINE

A mom and dad were asking me about how to discipline their daughter who would put up a fight at bath time. She would try to get out of going upstairs for the bath but then enjoy it once she was in. When the dad would say that it was time to get out, she would stand up right away and then fight him. He was concerned for her safety. Something wasn’t sitting right in my heart that this was a character or discipline issue. We asked Jesus together. Jesus revealed that when she heard “bath time,” she knew it meant the bedtime routine, and she didn’t want the day to end. When Dad told her to get out of the bath, she obeyed right away but then realized getting out meant saying goodbye to her dad. She was struggling with missing him during the day. She wasn’t being defiant; her heart was saying, “Daddy, I love you so much and do not want to have to let you go again. I want to spend more time with you.” GAH. Jesus is the best at helping us see what is going on inside of our children. I have to add seeing the dad’s reaction to what Jesus showed him is probably going to be etched in my mind forever. So so so precious.

REMEMBER

The other day Ellie came to me and said, “I know I am loved, but I am just not feeling it today.” The following day I felt led to lavish on her through her language of love. She thanked me, and I told her, “I did not do that to love you. I did it to REMIND you that you are already loved.” As a busy parent, it is easy to feel pressure with the love languages as if it means our children are not loved or are lacking something essential if we don’t fill their tanks daily. The truth is they are ALREADY loved, and speaking their language stirs up what is already there. Take the pressure off yourself of ‘having to’ give your child what they need and view the love languages as a privilege to stir up, call forth and remind them of what was theirs all along.

BIG DEAL TO A SMALL CHILD

Do you have preschoolers or toddlers at home who are extra whiny and demanding? Consider that older siblings are now home from school and your time and attention are not fully on them anymore. This is a big deal to small children, and their hearts matter, too.