“My three-year-old daughter and I have been butting heads. She has been disobedient and extremely whiny. I tried various methods to learn what was going on with my daughter. Today, I finally sat her down with paper and colored pencils (an idea I learned from you). I asked her to draw Mommy a picture of how her heart was feeling. I left her quietly to herself. I returned shortly after, and all she had on the picture were black scribble lines. I asked her to describe to me what her picture meant. She said, “It means (pause) that things just aren’t working out for me.” WHAT?! That is a lie from the pit! I immediately asked her to ask Jesus if this was the truth. After asking Him, she said, “No, it’s not true.” I encouraged her that we can laugh at lies instead of partnering with them. Together we laughed at the lie. Finally, we declared the truth, and she was immediately all smiles again.”
LAUGHING AT LIES
If everyone was born with a deep need for connection, why then are so many children feeling alone and without a best friend? I believe one of the reasons is that they are so ill-equipped to deal with bumps in relationships. Somewhere along the lines, we believe that if something is hard or even painful, it means it is wrong. But what if God knew what was inside our children and brought them the right people who would reveal what needed to be strengthened, healed, or redeemed? This normally happens through conflict and offense. Like every other parent, my heart longs to shield and protect my child from hurt, but that is not reality. Plus, it lacks faith in a God who knows what my child needs more than I do for deeper growth and character development. I cannot tell you how many times one of my kids came home from school, sharing that they got their heart hurt by a friend. Conflict is not a sign of a bad friend. Often, it is the ones who get deep into our hearts that God uses to reveal what is inside us. This is not always a reflection of how ‘mean’ the friend is, but rather that they are touching something inside of us that God wants to grow. Example: It may be true that a friend was rude or made an unkind comment, but perhaps God wants to grow my child to have thicker skin and not be easily offended. It may be true that a friend chose another friend to invite for a sleepover, but perhaps God wants to grow my child in knowing that their identity is not in how many invites, likes, or messages they receive. It may be true that a friend failed to respond to a message or text, but perhaps God wants to grow my child in believing the best and giving people the benefit of the doubt. It may be true that a friend ignored them, but perhaps God wants to grow them in having the confidence to try again. It may be true that a friend got mad and misunderstood their heart, but perhaps God wants to grow my child in an area of being vulnerable. It may be true that a friend failed to reach out in their time of need, but perhaps God wants to grow my child in forgiveness and not holding grudges. It may be true that a friend gossiped about them, but perhaps God wants to grow my child how to have brave conversations with someone who has not protected their heart. It may be true that a friend _________, but perhaps God wants to grow YOUR child in _________. As the school year unfolds, I encourage you to camp out in this statement. Validate their hurt and pain, show them compassion, and then ask Jesus what area He wants you to help your child grow in. Children can learn to fight well, push through the bumps, and not only become strong friends but become more like Him.
We had a situation when the twins were four years old down at the park – they both wanted to go up the ladder first and stood there arguing about it. Finally, I explained that someone had to give in and let the other person go. Every time they went down the slide, they would come back and repeat their argument. Finally, I declared “park over,” and we came home. I sat them down and had an intentional teaching time. Jesus says those who are last are first in the Kingdom. We practiced someone being first and someone being last. We instilled a phrase in them: “Ah, no, YOU go first!” It works because they see the heart of being last, which means you are blessed, and there is no lack. Years later, we are still using that phrase as a reminder.
**My twins are now adults, and they often talk about this day. It has reaped so much good fruit in them. If you need to teach your children about character, check out our Character Counts digital resource: Character Training SOAR Magazine – Let the Children Fly
FORGIVE – fərˈɡiv/, verb. To stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake. It is okay to have to forgive your children in your heart. In fact, keeping our hearts offense free is key to healthy lifelong connections.
Do you like the girl in the mirror? I want to encourage you with something. Maybe the battle isn’t so much in despising what you see in the mirror but what you were taught about the girl in the mirror. Our parents and grandparents were raised in a generation where women needed to have a stamp of excellence on them, which included looking immaculate at all times. It was not proper to go out without your hair done, makeup on, or dressed spiffy, even just going to the grocery store. Heck, they even wore heels to the park. Things HAVE changed in our culture, where it is socially acceptable to go to the store in your messy bun, workout clothes, and sweat. But maybe what hasn’t changed is what that taught you about the girl in the mirror. Moms lamented about their bodies and cursed their imperfections with little girls watching, which taught them motherhood = lack, being disqualified, unattractive, undesirable, fat, and not good enough. When little girls grow up and become moms themselves, they have it ingrained in them that now they are disqualified too. If this is how you feel about the girl in your mirror, I encourage you to grab hold of that LIE and push it back where it belongs. Tell that girl she is amazing, has birthed life, that there is grace in the imperfection (whatever that even means), that she has earned her stretch marks and wrinkles. Be compassionate to her and let the girl behind you see a mom who is empowered and kind to her body. You will teach a whole new generation that motherhood = beauty, character, love, compassion, grace, and true beauty. Fill in the blank below.
“The girl in the mirror is ____”.
Ellie had a school fundraiser where she had to run a long course, and along the way, they throw colored powder on the runners. Super fun! The morning of the run, she said she was worried about running. I asked her why since she usually is quite fast and does well. She said, “I am so afraid I will come in last.” Together we asked Jesus to show her what she was so afraid of with coming in last, and she said, “People will think I am not good enough.” We talked about the truth that SOMEONE has to arrive first, and there is always someone at the end. That’s life. But we want to make sure that we aren’t carrying LIES about our worth and value if we come in first OR last. Jesus showed her that when she carries the weight of worry and anxiety, she is slowing herself down and not doing her best. I had her confess to Jesus that she was partnering with worry, and she asked Him to help her run HER best. Jesus is building her life story and had a lesson that she can choose to partner with worry and anxiety or trust Him to help her. A lesson that she will need to choose for the rest of her life.
I am pretty good at processing my heart. Messy emotions don’t make me uncomfortable, and I know how to press into them for growth and freedom. But divorce kicked my bum in this area. I felt stuck and unable to know how even to process my emotions, much less do something about them. I have always had older female mentors speaking into my life, and I leaned on them heavily this season, but I had this insane desire to find a non-Christian male counselor. I wanted to get feedback outside of my usual circle. I only went once because I got what I needed in my first meeting. I was lamenting about all of the issues between my ex-husband and how I just wanted to put a pretty bow on it and THEN divorce. I hated the unresolved conflict because I didn’t want to leave things so messy. He said to me, “Lisa, the meaning of divorce is unfinished business. If it were resolved, you wouldn’t be getting a divorce. You need to learn to be okay with not having it cleaned up.” Whoa… It freed me from the broom in my hand that so desperately wanted to clean up every area of the mess and make it neat again. My heart couldn’t partner with throwing the broom on the floor and walking away. Instead, I decided to give my broom to Jesus to deal with the mess as He chose best. It was one of the most challenging aspects of my divorce, yet one of the most freeing.
“Jesus, I hand You the broom to clean up my mess and to turn my mistakes, immaturity, and weakness into something beautiful. I hand over all the files and ask that You deal with them according to Your power and grace. I no longer hold myself captive to a mess that is too big for me to clean up.”
Romans 8:28 – “And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Perhaps you are not going through a painful divorce, but maybe you have an ending relationship, were let go from a job you loved, or are strained with your adult children. If there are issues that are undealt with, and it is causing you added pain, hear this: Your job is to LOVE Him. His job is to pick up the broom.
How many of you have anxiety about sending the kids to school? Ask Him, “Jesus, is this anxiety about their journey or mine?” We do not want to pass on our fears, anxiety, and worry to our children based on our own undealt with experiences. Your journey matters because you will automatically parent out of that place.
SELF-PROMOTION: Self-pro·mo·tion (noun) – the action of promoting or publicizing oneself or one’s activities, especially in a forceful way.
JESUS PROMOTION: Jesus-pro·mo·tion (noun) – the action of promoting or publicizing what Jesus has done in one’s life, especially in a bold and confident way.
You have permission to own, brag and share all that Jesus has done in your life!
The kids and I were praying for a friend walking through some deep hurts from their church. It was painful to see them hurting over what feels so unjust. We were reminded of some of our own experiences with imperfect leaders. Interactions with those in authority shape our spiritual development. One of the kids said, “Mom, really, what’s the point of church? People can just go to Jesus on their own.” It was a real and honest statement from a child who has seen the ‘ugly’ side of the church. I was moved to tears and said, “No, no, no, child. The church is Jesus, and we come to worship Him, not man. Just because man has been imperfect in leading like Jesus doesn’t mean we turn on the church. We love, honor, and respect the church, AND we walk through hurts, disappointments, and being misunderstood.” I realized in that moment how many children grow up resenting the church, not just from their own experience but from witnessing the church bring pain to their parents.
If being hurt by the church is something you have experienced, it is imperative that you walk through it with your children so that they do not gain a warped view of the church. I explained that the church is Jesus’ Body, just like we have a liver, spleen, nose, eyes, hair, arms, etc. The church is made up of all sorts of different people. Just because the liver is weak doesn’t mean we give up on the whole body. We pray for the liver to be healed and whole, but we don’t give up on it. The church is family, and we do not discard family just because they are imperfect.
We owe it to the next generation to invite, bridge, and restore them to the church!