A teen boy pitched a first-class attitude, walked out of a prayer meeting, and went to sit in the car. He was scolded and rebuked by the leaders. He didn’t care and refused to budge from his position. The leader confronted his parents on his attitude, which got them to explore things further. It was revealed weeks later that the male who was leading the prayer meeting was actually grooming his sister! Yes, son, you have every right to respond, react and refuse to follow when someone is threatening your sister. Sometimes kids are reacting to something that is WRONG. They do it in an immature way because they are children, but sometimes they react to something because they are discerning it doesn’t feel right. LISTEN TO THEM!
LISTEN TO THEM!
A mom mentioned: “When I read about children with the language of acts of service wanting you to help them, I thought of my daughter. An example would be me fixing her hair. Sometimes I don’t have time to help her and ask her to do it herself, and she does get upset actually.”
My response: I know you love her and show it through providing breakfast, clean clothes, and getting her to school, but can you increase doing it in a way that she values and understands? What if sending her to school with her hair done by you filled her tank in a way that empowered and helped her throughout the day to feel safe and secure? Would you want to do it then? She is giving you the keys to her heart. The amazing thing about children is that their hearts are small and fill so fast. A five-minute hair session can literally change her day! How can you create the time to communicate love to her? Can you wake up five minutes earlier? Can you braid it the night before? When you honestly cannot do it, how then can you communicate that you still love her without being able to do her hair?
Let’s slow this down for a moment. A child is asking for help because that is how their tank gets filled, and the parent to whom they are offering their heart begins to get upset and frustrated with them for not doing it themselves. They now walk away with a tank even lower than when they first asked. I KNOW this is not the goal of many parents, but this is what happens when we fail to understand *their* language. We have miscommunication and a breakdown of deposits in their heart. Hear the difference: “No, I already taught you how to tie your shoes. You be a big boy and do it by yourself. Stop fussing and get it done now. No, I will not help you. You are going to make me late. Hurry up,” VS. “Oh, buddy. I love that you want me to help you, and my heart really wants to, but I cannot right now. I need you to tie your shoes. I am so proud of you for the way you have mastered tying your shoes.” Can you hear the difference? One sees the heart and affirms them, while the other only sees the task. It isn’t a yes/no, you do it/I do it response. It is seeing their heart and making sure you are communicating and affirming your love for them.
This is how I taught my four toddlers how to grow in self-control during story time at the library. I figured it was an excellent place to train them because no one would notice either way. I sat them down at home and talked about the librarian. I asked Lauren to stand up and share the story of her birthday party. As she was talking, I began to interrupt, wave my hands, hang on her, and be super silly. Then I asked Emma to stand up and share what she had for lunch, and I did the same thing. Yes, we were all laughing hard, but we talked about how awkward it is to be trying to share and have people be disrespectful and rude. I role-played being the librarian reading a book. I taught them how to fold their hands and zip their lips. We talked about how we can be crazy loud monkeys at the park, but a library is a place where we use self-control and show respect. I was armed with training and ready to test it out. Before getting out of the van, I reminded them of the rules and what I expected. I praised them ahead of time, letting them know I believed in them. We entered, and chaos broke out as expected. A couple of times, they began to get up, and I would fold my own hands to model for them what I expected. If they were talking, I would motion to zip my lips, point to my ears, and then intently listen to the librarian. If they attempted to get up, I would give a firm no-no motion with my head. If one ran away, I would go after her and pick her up and set her back down. I would whisper that we are listening to the story. It took us three weeks before my children fully understood but let me tell you, the JOY they brought to the room was priceless. I noticed other moms trying to get their children to start listening, too. They got to enjoy the story because they were taught how to pay attention and show respect. I also had them go up to the librarian at the end of each story time and thank her for reading to them. The first time she had a tear in her eye and said, “I dread story time each week. It is the worst part of my job. Thank you for noticing my effort.” I don’t know about you, but as a mom, that isn’t okay with me. By the time school started, they were way ahead of the game because we had already gone after knowing when to be still and quiet and how to listen when adults are teaching/reading. It is training like this at an early age that sets them up for success down the road.
I met with a young 20-year-old girl who got delivered of two tormenting spirits. I was overwhelmed with compassion for her. She was sincerely trying so hard but was harassed by these spirits. We cannot manage demonic spirits – we deal with them using our authority. It was time for them to go and for her to be FREE! Oh, that we would understand as believers the power and authority that He has so graciously handed to us. Many moons ago, I was sitting in my kitchen and reading Isaiah 61 for the first time. I wrote the date next to it in my Bible and had this awareness that this verse was for me, yet I was in the middle of walking out my own brokenness. I love how God can call us long before we are ready. Over the years, that fire in my belly has only increased. I am passionate about setting the captives free, bringing comfort to the hurting, and declaring freedom. Simply put, my mission statement is to defeat the works of the enemy in the family room!!! “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.” (Isaiah 61:1).
Years ago, I attended a church with a gal. She loved Jesus, but boy, was she messy. She had a lot of emotional issues that made it nearly impossible to have a connection with her. Years later, her name popped up on Facebook, and I immediately judged her as ‘that messy girl.’ The Lord stepped in and said, “Lisa, if you still hold her to that view, it is a judgment against Me and your lack of belief that I am capable of moving in someone’s life.” WHOA. Sure enough, I friended her, and God has done a brilliant work in her. She is a fabulous mother in a healthy marriage. I learned a lot that day about trusting God’s redemptive work in the messy places of others. Since then, when I encounter a messy person, I begin to pray for those God encounters and revelations knowing God is big enough to carry them into wholeness. I want to position myself on the life-giving side of the Cross in their life!
I believe this is what His original design for family was supposed to look and operate like.
From my sweet friend: “I taught my eldest son (14) how to soak and listen for the voice of God about four years ago, and in doing so, he has learned how to pray in the Spirit. He went to bed and got up an hour later and asked if we could talk. He proceeded to tell me he had been soaking and needed to share with me what he heard. All of a sudden he starts prophesying over me going after my heart splinters, my longing for a mother that was never fulfilled and how much that hurt and how I still long for it, and why I struggle with my stepmom is because I wanted that from her, too. It was never fulfilled… then he went on to speak about the hurt in her, and why she could not fulfill it. He started praying something along the lines of ‘You didn’t have anyone to mother you, but God was there, and He mothered you, which is why you can be the mother you are today.’ I have been processing ALL the things he spoke over me over the last few weeks as the Holy Spirit has shown me I have offense in my heart with my stepmom. God used my son to show me. God. Is. So. Faithful! Thank you for teaching us how to partner with the Holy Spirit in our parenting.”
This is a testimony I got from a young single mom.
“Lisa, I wanted to thank you for your obedience to your calling; the Kingdom parenting online course has tremendously helped my daughters hear the voice of God. We were in our prayer closet tonight, and my daughter (who used to have the hardest time hearing) said Holy Spirit told her that her older sister had something stuck in her heart. She invited her in and asked if she had something stuck in her heart, and she broke out in tears and openly received healing! We thank God for you, and I wanted you to know we love your family!”
When I first began life as a single mom, I would wake in the middle of the night, totally paralyzed by anxiety. The best way to describe how I felt is to recall the scene from the movie Titanic when they were in the bottom cabin, and water began filling the room. They only had a tiny pocket of air left and were gasping for that last bit of air before they were fully submerged. That is how I felt, except I had four kids holding onto me, and none of them could swim. It was horrifying to consider which one I had to let go of because I couldn’t carry them all. Talk about horrible! One day, I couldn’t take the stress of being stressed any longer and faced my fear head-on. I realized that the verse in Jeremiah about His plans for a future and hope was my life verse (Jeremiah 29:11), but it also applied to the kids. At that moment, I realized I got five doses of that promise because my kids were minors and under my watch. I finally surrendered all of the panic, worry, and anxiety. I declared, “Father, if it is Your best will and plan for us to be homeless, then we will be the cutest homeless family standing on the corner with our signs.” I was quite serious at the time, and all I can say is that you would not believe the financial testimonies God has produced through our family. They are nothing short of miracles. Supernatural living was birthed through striving to rest in His goodness.
I have put together a resource to come alongside those walking out of this very challenging season. I promise you despite the turmoil and heartbreak, God CAN use it for good. Check it out: Dandelion – Solo Parenting ONLINE CLASS – Let the Children Fly
We can’t always shield our children from reality, but we can show them how God shows up in the midst of it. These are just a few God stories amid such ache, chaos, and loss. Share them with your children and let the events shape who they are and want to be! Don’t let this just be a memory of fear and loss. It was also a day of great character, love, and courage.
Do a google search on 9/11 God stories, and you will see scores of amazing testimonies. The Unsung Heroes: 12 Powerful Stories From September 11th (inspiyr.com)
When Hudson was six years old, he came to me after we were all in bed and said there was fear in his room. I asked what he wanted to do, and he said, “Mom, we need to go up and tell it to leave.” YES! He gets it. Fear doesn’t chase him out of his room. That is HIS room, and fear is the one that has to leave. When we KNOW fear, we need to say NO to fear. If they do not have a junior Holy Spirit, they don’t have junior authority. When my children saw ‘bad’ stuff, I asked if they wanted it to be there because respecting free will is how the Kingdom of God is established. I would then help them to pray using this outline.
The Bible instructs us to command whatever is NOT in heaven to go in Jesus’ name and to invite in whatever IS in heaven in the name of Jesus. COMMAND THE BAD TO GO: “Fear/anger/strife/chaos/, I see you, and you need to leave in Jesus’ name.” INVITE THE GOOD TO COME: “Peace/love/joy/comfort/, I invite and welcome you in Jesus’ name.” There is no rule on how to do it, but this outline helps to teach them. I love the expression, “I see you,” when speaking to the fear/anger because it helps us to FACE the issue head-on rather than ignore it or feel paralyzed by it. The greater point is that children need to be intentionally TAUGHT tools to use when fear comes. They do not need to be harassed day and night endlessly with fear. Jesus trumps fear… Always!
I was in one of my go-go-go modes and feeling frazzled by all that needed to get done. My daughter came to me so sweetly and said, “Mom, is there anything I can do for you because you really NEED to rest?” She was so gentle and kind but serious about it. She is only SEVEN but understands the concept of staying in a place of peace, rest, and trusting well. It would be easy to partner with feeling like a hypocrite in trying to teach my children about the Kingdom when I still struggle with things, but my kids will never have the years of trauma and emotional baggage I did as a child. While I am unlearning things, they are learning them for the first time at a young age. It is OKAY that I am teaching them about their Father when I am still learning. It is also OKAY that they are surpassing me in many (many) areas already. I think that is awesome, and I welcome the voice of a seven-year-old to remind me that it is okay to rest. She is a world changer and often changes mine!