I have strived hard through the Let the Children Fly message to get parents to see beyond the behavior. Yes, train children to manage themselves better, but if we only focus on managing behavior, we will enter legalism and move away from the Father’s heart. We must be willing to endure discomfort with their behavior to explore with Holy Spirit WHY. If we can partner with Him, we will discover what is going on inside their hearts, and we can parent them in that place. This is where real transformation and growth occur. When we experience someone acting immature, wounded, and reckless, we have two choices: #1 Increase our power by using intimidation and fear to control them so that we feel comfortable or #2 come alongside their pain and usher them to Jesus. If all we are doing is managing triggers and outward behavior, we are actually separating ourselves from their heart. If we want to draw closer, we must become students of what is going on in their world.
LOOK BEYOND BEHAVIOR
Parents can’t help but parent out of their own journey, which often includes their own hurts, lies, and offenses. Parents who don’t know who they are can’t empower their children with who God called them to be, and this creates things that are out of alignment with His Kingdom. We don’t want to shut down in our children what needs to be awakened in us. Often, God allows our children to carry something that rubs us the wrong way. It isn’t that they are doing something wrong. It is that something needs to be healed, aligned, or brought to life in us, and God is parenting us through them. God often takes that adult child on a journey of healing, not just for their own heart, but for the family KEYS that their parents needed. It is never too late to bring healing to your family line, and sometimes it flows up the generations. Let the healing in your heart not only impact your children but your parents and grandparents too.
Many parents ask me what the best resources for raising children in the faith are. While there are a lot of things we can do to nurture their relationship with God, I firmly believe one of the most significant ways to impact them is merely sharing your own journey with them. I often tell the kids what God is doing in my heart, revealing the things He has spoken to me, or how verses have come alive for me. I am taking what is inside of me and getting it out for them to see, hear, and feel. It is one thing to talk about it; it is another to witness and experience it. This is one of the glorious things about family and living with such a deep connection to those around us. If we get hit with something hard, I make sure the children aren’t just seeing the struggle but also the journey of God showing up in the process. Have you shared your childhood stories about life with/without Jesus and how it has impacted you? Have you told them when and how you first met Jesus? Do they know about your recent revelations and encounters? Your journey with Jesus is powerful – share it!
When I hear a child speak a lie about themselves (I am not smart enough, I am slow, I can never figure this out, etc.), I simply tell them that they are partnering with something from God’s enemy. Do they want to continue to partner with that (they do have free will), or do they want to throw that one out? Then, I told them they could kick out or throw out whatever thoughts came to their mind that wasn’t of God. Hudson, who was only four then, literally went to the front door and motioned like he was kicking something out before slamming the door. Yeah, like that! Kids need to be taught that not every thought that crosses their mind is theirs, and they can be empowered to say NO!
Ephesians 4:6 clearly tells us to get rid of all anger before a certain time of day, but why? I do not think something magical happens at midnight to all those with anger in their hearts; however, I DO believe that when we sleep, we are without natural defense and unable to put on our armor, as Ephesians 6 talks about. Our spirit and mind are very much alive when we sleep, but our active thinking is not. When a child goes to bed with hurts, lies, anger, or offense in their heart, it can open the door to the enemy to produce nightmares, imbed lies, and increases fear and anxiety. If these issues are present, it is better to lose sleep and address it than end the day with it being unresolved. A fantastic way to help a child be at peace before bedtime is by filling up their love tanks, even just for a few minutes, praying together, or playing worship music which calms their heart. Another great way is to play the High/Low game.
High/Low game – When our family endured trauma, it was so important to me to know what was going on inside my children’s minds and hearts. Each evening when I would tuck them in, we would play the High/Low game. I would ask what the high of their day was and then what the low was. Sometimes they would say the most amazing things; the simplest of events was what touched them the most, yet things I totally missed caused the lowest. It helped me get a pulse on their hearts to see what was important to them, but also if they believed any lies or had unforgiveness that needed to be resolved. I would often get another child out of bed to resolve something between their siblings. As the kids enter school, this is an incredible game to play to see what they are carrying around in their hearts.
God woke me early and revealed something deep within my heart. By the time I was done, I was in complete awe over the revelations and His love that redeems every part of my story. Hours later, a couple came to me for parent coaching. When I asked what they hoped to get out of our time together, the dad began to explain the EXACT same situation with his daughter that God had spoken to me about hours earlier.
I want you to see this – God is sufficient to redeem all things. It is who He is, but how GLORIOUS is it that we get to partner with Him in our parenting so that we can help our children deal with owies IN childhood, so that hurts don’t become adult-sized woundedness, lies don’t become adult-sized strongholds, and offenses don’t become adult-sized bitterness. KUDOS to this dad for doing the hard things so that his daughter doesn’t need to reap the fruit of it for years.
When my kiddos were younger, I was learning about God’s grace. That sweet, love-filled gift of grace. I was so moved by His grace towards me that I decided I would give my children grace when they acted out… and all hell broke loose. I was perplexed that my kindness and goodness were being met with utter chaos. God showed me that grace without authority is nothing but entitlement. My children did not know how to handle the grace given because they had not yet fully been established under my authority. Let me say it this way – if you give grace to your children as a parenting tool BEFORE you have established your authority, you are not giving grace but empowering their flesh. Grace can only be received in the backdrop of understanding what they are given grace for. This is why character training is so important. It establishes for the child right living and positions them under your authority and covering. Do not mistake ignoring, avoidance, or checking out as giving them grace. That is laying down your God-given role to teach your children about His Kingdom structure. Justice is getting what you deserve. Mercy is not getting what you deserve. Grace is getting what you absolutely don’t deserve.
Teaching our children how to communicate with their Father is a lifeline in today’s world, especially for children going through trauma and heartbreak. WHY? Because the enemy loves to whisper lies to them.
“Daddy left because you didn’t clean your room.” “Mommy is mad because you are too much.” “No one loves you.” “Daddy doesn’t love you.” “Something is wrong with you.”
Children who believe these LIES will act them out in behaviors that will be perplexing to you. It is pain coming out sideways, which usually frustrates a parent who only pushes the pain in further by their reaction. There are some owies that only Jesus can reveal.
We want our children to know His truth.
You are loved all the time. You are worthy. You are enough. You are important. You are wanted.
When we usher our children to their Father’s voice and His truth, we are throwing them a life raft.
I have a resource called Conversations with Our Creator that I want to gift to you. Click here to order and use coupon code: Hear4you. In this eBooklet I will equip you how to hear your Father and how to teach your children how to hear Him, too.
This is not a one-time teaching but a lifetime of going after strengthening your child’s spiritual hearing!
A mom taking our online JOURNEY class shared this:
“I put some worship music on. My daughter and I laid down with our eyes closed and just soaked in God’s word. After about 5 minutes, she got fidgety. I got her settled in again for about a few more minutes and asked her, ‘So did God tell you anything?’ My mistake; she got upset.”
This is where most parents back off and conclude it doesn’t work or their child isn’t responding. But I encourage parents to continue to be the spiritual leader of their home and KEEP GOING. Five minutes to a child is like 45 minutes to an adult. When she was done – she was done – that’s okay. Build upon it next time. Praise her for doing it this time. Kids get fidgety, and it doesn’t always mean they aren’t paying attention. It can mean they have some pent-up wiggles that need a release. A parent’s response to fidgeting can pull them out of experiencing God and into feeling pressure to perform or do something. Be sensitive with how to respond to a child when they are learning how to encounter the Father. Praise her for doing it at all! Tell her how the Father feels about her spending time with Him (if you don’t know – ask Him). A while later, come to her and lovingly ask, “Do you remember when we were listening to the worship music? Why did that upset you when I asked you what Jesus said?” Listen to what she is saying, as she will give you clues as to what she was experiencing. I would keep going and do it again. If she isn’t interested, then YOU do it and allow her to feel the atmosphere of when you are encountering Jesus. Invite her again… and again. But please do not allow her experience to shut you down as the spiritual leader of your home.
We often talk about when others have spoken words of judgment over us. But what about the scores of words we have spoken over others, either directly or indirectly? God showed me a tangled-up ball of yarn. We often do not know someone’s journey or story and why they did what they did or said, and we shoot arrows of judgment from our heart and mouth. We directly or indirectly slander them to others (often in the form of ‘prayer requests’), and we hinder their growth with our idle words. We will be responsible for these words and have to give an account.
Matthew 12:36 – “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.”
May I encourage you, along with myself, to take a moment and pray this prayer?
“Jesus, I repent for any and all words spoken about or against Your creation. Forgive me for being careless in my speech and prideful in my assessment of their behavior. You alone hold the judgment seat. Do You forgive me? (Wait for His answer). I call forth every word spoken intentionally or unintentionally that has bound up another human being, judged them, or cursed them, and declare my words null and void. Holy Spirit, I ask that You fill that person up with Your power, love, and a clear mind. Jesus, give them Your mind so that they can interact with Your Father as You do. Embrace them, Father, so that they may know and experience Your truth and heart for them.”
Do any of these issues apply in your home (either for you or your children)?
- Walking through a divorce
- Sexual abuse
- Low self-esteem
- Suicidal comments
- Continual sibling conflict
- Spirit of rejection
- Disrespect/back talk
- Walls/shut down
- Outbursts for no reason
- Irrational fears
- Lack of honor/listening
If you said YES, then we wrote this book for YOU to give you tools, strategy, and the language to walk in greater freedom. Regardless of what the enemy does to steal, kill or destroy, Jesus already has the key for your freedom. Order your copy TODAY and get the tools you need for increased peace and joy. Heart Splinters BOOK – Let the Children Fly