I am so undone by the goodness of Jesus. I was processing some deep things as my daughter was walking through one of her biggest breakthroughs. It was breathtaking to watch her walk this out on her own. While spending time with Jesus, I kept hearing the story about the woman caught in adultery. There are many thoughts about what Jesus was writing in the sand, so I asked Him to show me. He answered my question by showing me the position of His eyes. While the men of the day, who deemed themselves mighty important and superior to the rest, dragged a naked woman before the courts (the shame and humiliation must have been brutal), Jesus looked away. Could it be He knew His presence alone was convicting, and He didn’t want to stare at her nakedness? Then I heard Him say, “I didn’t defend her sin, but I did defend the JUDGMENTS against her.” I wept! Jesus isn’t about shaming you publicly for your weaknesses, sins, or messy places. He is there to defend the part of your heart that is in need of a Savior. Read John 8!
JESUS IS MY DEFENDER
In four different parent coaching sessions, the theme was moms partnering with profound pressure to do things correctly and yet being in situations where they could not possibly achieve perfection. Jesus showed up in a similar way with each of them. When children are raised with the bar so high, they learn directly or indirectly that messes and mistakes are not acceptable. They develop a mindset that says, “God is only pleased with me when I do it right,” and while it profits them in life to be overachievers, they are missing out on HIS truth. Messes, weaknesses, and failures do not separate you from God. His truth is that when we come to Him, our weakness and lack bring intimacy and closeness. A loving parent knows that a 2-year-old will make messes, and they see it as an opportunity to offer comfort, reassurance, and help them grow in their capacity to do better next time. They do not see the child failing but rather as maturing and are honored to be a part of the process. If we only have closeness with Jesus when we are getting A’s and doing things perfectly, there will be a level of fear preventing deeper closeness because, deep down, you believe it is only because of your ‘good’ performance. There is a satisfying closeness with someone that only comes when they love you despite your failures and weakness, which is real vulnerability and closeness. If you experience this in your parenting, I encourage you to spend time with Him.
**Ask, “Jesus, will You please show me who I need to forgive for introducing me to the need to be perfect?”
**Forgive that person for directly or indirectly teaching you about perfectionism and pressure.
**Ask, “Jesus, what lies have I believed because of the pressure to be perfect?”
**Renounce/break up with the lie. “I renounce the lie that _____.”
**Ask, “Jesus, what is Your truth?” Declare His truth over yourself daily!
Children might be world changers in training, but they still have childlike immaturity that needs to be cultivated so that they can endure the assignments God wants to give them to change the world around them for a lifetime. Character is a stone in their foundation that must be laid in childhood.
Character Counts is a downloadable digital resource that we created to give parents the How-To in equipping their children with godly character. We provide you with fun and engaging activities to do with your child to empower good character.
I feel a strong stirring in my spirit that we all need to do our part to ‘clear the air’ in the spiritual realm. Who do you need to forgive? Make things right with? Let go of offense? Believe the best? Ask for forgiveness? Repent of judgments? Confess slander? Call a family meeting and walk this out together.
In doing this, we begin to clear the spiritual air and allow ourselves to get the fresh air our spirit needs to be healthy.
We were away from home, and the kids were all getting in a funk; lots of small conflicts, attitudes, and agitations. Having to correct them constantly gets old, so I flipped the situation by turning it into a game. I gathered them together in a circle and asked them to keep their mouths closed, but they had to have eye contact with someone else at all times. I wanted them to SEE the people around them. Then I held up a mirror and said, “This is who you have been focused on, but I want you to keep your eyes on someone else.” When we went to breakfast, they tried to outdo each other by showing kindness and love to others. They were opening doors, putting garbage away, smiling, saying “thank you,” letting others go first, etc. The Kingdom is JOY, and sometimes partnering with the Holy Spirit to devise creative ways to get to their heart impacts them more than reaping the spirit of religious rules over their head!
As a mom of four, I had my grocery trips down to a science. I had my toddler in the front, my baby in the carrier of the cart, and my four-year-old twins holding onto each side of the cart. There was peace and joy when we went to the store. Until the day they all outgrew their places, and they were running around playing tag while I attempted to shop. I rationalized that they were fine because they were being joyful, but the joy broke out into the next aisle, where they zoomed up and down the rows of food. Finally, they rounded the corner and nearly plowed over an elderly lady with a walker! I realized my previous system was no longer effective. I had to go home and call another family meeting where I taught them what going to the store looked like in this new stage. This is the process of building them with age-appropriate character throughout their childhood years.
Yes, there is a better way to parent our children than yelling but you do not need more of God so that you stop yelling. You need more of God so that He can comfort and heal those places in your heart so that you do not need to yell anymore.
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.
Would you consider your child to be ‘strong-willed’? Then you need to be a stronger-willed parent in your resolve to equip them. Yes, these are the children who are born leaders and champions, but if they do not learn how to lead in love and submit to others, they will hurt people with their strength.
Do you think the ouija board is just innocent child’s play? It is NOT! I delivered a young mom from a demonic spirit from playing the game. She is about to graduate from an 18-month rehab program and had great fears about a previous boyfriend threatening her once she is out. We talked about how we invite what we fear and the need to close that door. I was about to help her with that when I had this strong spirit of witchcraft come over me. I sensed God had me ask her when was the first time she felt unprotected. When she was 4 years old, she was at a friend’s house who introduced her to the ouija board and from that moment on, she felt a presence, almost like a protective presence. It was a spirit that was invited in to ‘parent’ her. Her dad was a workaholic and always busy, which created a deep longing in her. The sad thing is that SHE invited the spirit in through the game. All these years, this spirit has manipulated and influenced her all the way to an abusive relationship with a very unsafe man that she never felt like she could get free from. I am happy to report that not only did she get SET FREE from that ‘fake parent,’ but she got activated in her gift of discernment. Jesus, You are so so so good! Set the captives free!
I came to my spiritual mentor crying over the choices of someone else. I was enduring suffering at the hands of their brokenness. I will never forget his response to me. He said, “Lisa, turn all that emotion into prayers that God would encounter them because one encounter with Jesus can heal their heart, align their mind and restore what is broken inside them.” At first, I couldn’t do it. I was too hurt to love them ‘that much.’ I then began to see that deep down, they weren’t trying to hurt me, but their brokenness was hurting not only me but them as well. It positioned me to intercede for them in a whole new way. Sometimes we get hurt because there is stuff in our hearts that God wants to heal and restore. Other times we get hurt because those around us need freedom.