Jesus doesn’t have band-aids.
I once made a list of all of the ‘bad’ things that happened to me and could find a Scripture that specially gave a command against what happened. It etched something so deep inside of me that when God says to do or don’t do something, He is doing so to cover and protect us. If we want healthy families, we need to have a value to honor and obey what He is telling us. Following His ways is the only way to bring life and fruit to our homes.
We often know what our ‘wish list’ includes, but have we asked the birthday boy what He wants? This is a great way to make the true meaning of Christmas come alive for a child. Get a mirror at the craft store and glue a ribbon on the back as a ‘hook.’ Wrap it up in your best wrapping and set it on the tree with a tag that reads, “TO: Jesus!” Share that God told you what His Son wants most of all for His birthday and that you would open His favorite present on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Eve, ask Him as a family, “Jesus, what do You want most for your birthday?” and share what you are hearing. Then open the gift and hold it up to each person closely. Share with them that what the birthday boy wants most for His birthday is the person in the mirror! Each year as we bring out our mirror ornament, we are reminded of the price God paid to give us the GIFT of Himself.
The heart behind the theme “Let the Children Fly” is a vision that the Lord gave me, where I saw a beautiful, vibrant red helium balloon soaring effortlessly higher and higher to new heights high above the clouds. The freedom it displayed was breathtaking. The sky was crystal clear and vibrant, rich with warm, welcoming shades of blue. It was safe and inviting. Then I saw a gentle tug, and the scene changed to dark black and stormy. Suddenly it felt unsafe. The balloon was no longer free to soar but was captured by the string holding it back. The balloon wrestled with being free but grew weary in the battle and could not free itself. The vision was so captivating to me that it took months to unpack with the Lord all that it meant. The red balloon represents a child’s heart. The helium represents the natural draw in every child to their Father’s heart. The string represents the hurts, lies, and offenses that hold them down and keeps them from soaring higher and being free. My passion is empowering parents with tools for cutting the strings so their child can FLY!
Later, God gave me a picture of how a spiritually healthy child has two solid legs to stand on. One leg represents the releasing of the Kingdom (identity, destiny, hearing His voice, knowing scriptures, healing the sick, etc.). The other leg represents the tools needed (forgiveness, recognizing and rejecting lies, refusing offense, shifting negative atmospheres, etc.) to effectively deal with the things from the enemy that cut off the other leg! One without the other causes an imbalanced and frustrating ‘walk’ – rather hobble – with Jesus. Why do we heal the sick, call out the treasure in others and prophesy? We do it to take back what the enemy has stolen. But if we only teach our children how to release the Kingdom and never equip them with tools to reject the hurts, lies, and offenses sent their way, one day, they will be the people who need to be healed and restored. Are you following this concept? I am passionate about equipping parents with heaven’s tools to cut the cords that hold us down and how to raise children who stand firmly on two legs. Just take a moment and PRAISE God for all that He has done already to redeem you!
We teach our kids bike safety. We teach them not to answer the door for stranger safety. We teach them “Stop, Drop and Roll” for fire safety. We teach them to wear a life jacket for water safety. But do we teach them sexual safety? Predators are looking for one thing – a child who has no grid for what is happening and has never been taught about sexual safety. When a child encounters things that are sexually unsafe, their spirit knows something is wrong, but they freeze because they do not know how to handle what is happening. They have been taught to obey adults, not to talk back, to never hit, etc.
#1. Children need to know the proper names for body parts – all of them.
#2. Children need to know what to do should they ever feel unsafe.
#3. Children need to know that they are never alone and can ask Jesus for help in ALL circumstances.
This is going to be a HUGE key for many parents! From a very early age, I could feel resistance with one of my daughters. I figured it was a generational thing and have intentionally gone after her heart. I would find myself saying YES to the others with ease, but my heart was hesitant, and I always wanted to say NO to her. It made no sense to me, but I could feel it. She agitated me in a way the others didn’t, yet she wasn’t really doing anything in the natural to warrant it. It was awful to admit because it felt like maybe I even liked her less than the others. I didn’t, but the resistance always made me feel like I was subtly rejecting my own child. God later revealed this to me through someone else, and I rushed home to share it with my daughter. She cried and began to tell me that she felt it, too, and even when we would go on dates, she felt like she couldn’t get close to me. We walked through what this looked like between us and have had such breakthrough.
It looks like this: When there is control-based parenting, the child responds in one of two ways. #1. They feel resistance, anger, and/or have hate or murder in their heart (which doesn’t mean death but can ‘kill’ you with their words). These children then partner with the spirit of REBELLION in their hearts. This can be outward or inward rebellion. #2. The other child feels hurt, isolated, withdrawn, unworthy, like a victim, and helpless when faced with a controlling parent, and they partner with a spirit of REJECTION. The problem is that when the parent feels the spirit of rebellion or rejection coming from the child, it makes them increase their control. A crazy cycle begins in which neither the parent nor the child is really seeing/responding to the other person, but rather the two spirits of control and rebellion/rejection are having a hay day! Connection, love, and unity go right out the window.
My daughter was partnering with a spirit of rejection, and I CAN’T STAND the spirit of rejection. My daughter wasn’t agitating me; the spirit was. Once she began to partner with that spirit, no matter what I would say, she would feel hurt and rejected, which drove me up a wall (in all honesty). I did use more control-based parenting until she was around five years old when I discovered Holy Spirit. But I think it has more to do with how opposite we are. She is my dancing, joyful, giddy, silly, talk a mile a minute, always wanting to create things, bake things, make a mess with paints, glitter and glue kid. I am busy, serious, don’t like messes, and have little appreciation for creative arts. Neither of us are wrong, but because I am the adult, she was feeling controlled by my repetitive ‘no’ answers and not giving her more freedom to be herself. The cycle had gone on for so long that it began to feel normal. It is easier to partner with control when they are younger, but once the spirit of rebellion and rejection are in motion, it is the tween and teen years where the ‘fruit’ of that parenting really begins to reveal itself in the child. Since the spirit of rebellion and rejection have a legal right to be there, they influence the child to behave and make choices that only further the parents’ drive for control. Obviously, rebellion and rejection are not what we want to introduce our children to. We are the ones to break the cycle!
Praise God for this incredible revelation and tool so that we can break free from the enemy’s tools of control, rebellion, and rejection, and we can walk in freedom and connection. If this sounds like something that you are experiencing with one of your children, I encourage you to spend time with Holy Spirit talking to Him about it. If you need to repent, do that first. Set a date with your child (mine was out on the driveway while the other kids were inside). Fill their love tank for a few minutes first, as a filled tank always lowers the walls and makes hard conversations easier. Explain to them that God loves them so much and has shown you an area that you need to change (this makes them feel secure that God has their back, too). I drew a figure 8 and showed her how the crazy cycle went around and around and how we both played our roles. I asked her to please forgive me for making her feel controlled. I also helped her walk through asking Jesus for forgiveness for partnering with the lie and spirit of rejection. We hugged and cried and allowed for Holy Spirit to heal without words for a while. We then tasted the new fruit in the days to come. I also called a family meeting and made sure everyone was aware of the cycle. We agreed that when they were feeling controlled, or I was seeing the rebellion/rejection, we could call out a special code to signal we were partnering with it again. I also want to add that children can control their parents, causing parents to partner with rebellion and rejection, too. This can also be a dynamic with siblings where one is controlling another. If you had a controlling parent, ask Holy Spirit if you are still allowing the spirit of rebellion or rejection to influence you today. Spirits don’t leave us just because we move out of the house. This is NOT a reflection of you being a bad parent, but rather a reflection of the enemy and what he does best – kill, steal and destroy – in this case, the connection with our children. Don’t allow him to put the blame back on you. It is okay to get mad that many of us come under this but use the anger to rise up in your authority and break the cycle. Ask Holy Spirit what keys He wants you to use with your child to repair the connection. Thank You, Father, for being a perfect parent and helping us along the way!
Crazy cycle between parent and child: Crazy Cycle Between Parent & Child – YouTube
There are scores and scores of testimonies building up of how GOD is using this season to strengthen the family. If you could peel back the rooftops and have a birds-eye view into many homes, you would see this. Dads are connecting with their children. Mothers are letting out the pain instead of carrying it around. Fathers are on the floor, laughing with their kids. Moms are teaching respect. Marriages are being healed and restored. The kids’ love tanks are overflowing. Connections are being restored with siblings. Children are being taught who they are. Parents are teaching their children about His goodness. There is laughter. Families are talking again. Offenses are being forgiven. Siblings are playing and releasing joy. Children feel like they belong. Moms are being seen and heard. Dads are relaxing. Pain is being addressed and resolved. Dads are laying down the idol of money. Pillars of peace are being contended for. Families are readjusting their focus. Families are seeking Him together.
Keep going! You are doing an incredible job allowing Him to use this season for GOOD. I know you are tired, and there are still so many unknowns, but you are doing it one choice at a time. When the FAMILY is strengthened, there is an advancement of His Kingdom. Revival happens when the family is REVIVED! May Your Kingdom come into the FAMILY ROOM!
Every child needs to do this exercise! Do it 1:1 with each child, so you can hear their heart and pick up on any resistance. Have them outline a body on a piece of paper. Start with their hair and walk through their mind, eyes, nose, mouth, body shape, stomach, height, etc. Think of their interests and the things that make them come alive (sports, music, dancing). Write it out on the paper as you go through who they are, top to bottom. You are helping them see who they are. While we are constantly being transformed on the inside, there are some things we cannot change, such as our nose shape, eye color, height, gifts, what makes us come alive, etc. This is the package of who they were created to be. Now have them make a circle around the entire body. Explain to them that who they are is to be guarded and protected as if it is inside a bubble. Read Proverbs 4:23 and explain if any person, peer, teacher, sibling, social media post, song, friend, movie, leader, or thought tells them that something is wrong with their body, gifts, talents, etc., they are to reject it. Empower them with how to reject it. Perhaps they will take that thought captive and say to themselves, “That is not something I agree with, and do not give that voice permission to speak to me.”
When I was teaching my children this concept, Hudson (age four at the time) got up, went to the front door, made a kicking motion, and slammed the door. I asked what he was doing, and he said, “I had a bad thought, so I was kicking it out” Yeah, like that, buddy! They can write it on a piece of paper, rip it up, cross it out, or shred it. I had a season that we were going after this and put a set of colorful markers in the bathroom and would have my children write the lie on a piece of toilet paper with the colorful marker and then toss it into the toilet. The color would lift, making a beautiful swirl in the toilet bowl (isn’t that true of what God does with whatever we give Him? It turns it into something beautiful.). Teach them that there is a difference between being humble and allowing people to speak into their lives and give healthy feedback and constructive criticism vs. someone or something being used as a spokesperson of the enemy to tear down what God has built and designed. Give specific examples such as a friend saying, “Shut up. You are so annoying when you talk,” and a teacher saying, “I need for you to manage your mouth when I am teaching the class.” Both are addressing the issue of their mouth, but one is to be rejected and the other is to be received. How do they know the difference? It is generally tested by peace.
If while doing this with older children, you feel resistance or they say things like “This is stupid,” “Why do we have to do this?” “What’s the point?” Please do not back down. The resistance is telling you that they have already allowed a voice inside their bubble, which needs to be exposed. I would take it as far as you can, and then if it is time to back off (Holy Spirit will lead you), say something like this, “Okay, yeah, we can stop, but I need for you to hear this. Your resistance and wall to even talk about who you are is revealing that you have allowed a thought to enter your bubble. It is there to steal your joy, rob you of your peace, and tell you that something is wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with you, and I am here when you are ready to deal with it.” I would intentionally speak their love language and look for creative ways to bring them joy because it releases a chemical in their brain that gives them the will to fight and endure hard things. Give it a few hours or a day but circle back by saying something like, “Hey, remember when I asked you to draw that picture? What was happening inside of you when we talked about who you are?” Listen to them. Do not fix or correct them, but listen to what their heart has to say. For many older children, simply exposing it helps them reject it and realize that they are feeling icky about themselves because of a lie, not because something is wrong with them. Others may need to ask Jesus to show them who they need to forgive for speaking that their body, gifts, and personality are unacceptable.
Moms and dads, please do not ignore this exercise. Children who grow up with the wrong voices inside their bubble carry them around for years, shaping who they become. We can empower our children to reject lies and protect who God designed them to be.
Are you willing to put in the effort and help your child understand their value and worth?
Mom guilt is the feeling of guilt, doubt, anxiousness, or uncertainty experienced by mothers when they worry they are failing or falling short of expectations in some way. Mom guilt is the tool of the enemy to render you hopeless. Faith is God’s tool to render you HOPEFUL because of His power! How would you fill in the blank? “I am guilty of feeling guilt about _____?”
Declare out loud: “I choose to break agreement with the guilt and hand it over to God because I trust in who He says He is.”
Many believe we should shield our children and not talk to them about the big stuff. I disagree wholeheartedly! Children have some understanding, especially if it is something like a divorce or death, as they experience it, too. Not talking to them about it is not protecting them; it leaves them wide open for the enemy to whisper falsehoods to them. Do I need to tell my children all the details? No way. But it is so important that we communicate with our children. One of the reasons why kids are easy targets for lies is that their brains aren’t fully developed yet, and they do not have the same thinking capability as an adult. They aren’t mini-you’s; they are underdeveloped and therefore need a parent to guard, guide, and protect them. There is a reason that nearly all types of adult therapies, both secular and religious, take you back to your childhood. That is where lies are first embedded. Do not share all the details, but please DO talk to your children about their reality.
When the kids were really little, I would have them say, “I am sorry.” Once they understood that correction/discipline meant they did something to cause harm, I would have them ASK for forgiveness, such as, “I am sorry. Will you please forgive me?” And they had to wait for the reply of the other person. When they were around 4-8, I would have them say what they were sorry for, such as, “I am sorry for hitting your arm.” When they got older, I had them ask for forgiveness and state WHY what they did was not okay, such as, “I am sorry I hit your arm. It is not okay because I used my strength instead of my words.” Now that they are in their teen years, it is common for them to clean up their messes by asking forgiveness and releasing compassion and validation for how their choices have affected others. I am confident my grandchildren will reap the fruit of this because a successful marriage is not built upon perfection but on the ability to clean up one’s mess well.