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
A young girl had trouble staying in bed at night because of recurring nightmares. During a coaching session with the mom, God revealed a spirit of rejection that was affecting her due to some earlier life experiences. We used our authority over the spirit of rejection, and the mom messaged me to report that her daughter went to bed without fighting. WHY? Because the issue had nothing to do with her bedroom, sleep, or being alone and had everything to do with what she was encountering in her room. You cannot manage spirits. You have to use your God-given authority over them!! Period. It is for FREEDOM that Christ gave His life!
Testimony from our JOURNEY class: “This class is so valuable. This key lesson on heart splinters alone is worth it all! This was where I got lost as a child and was walking in darkness as a teenager. I needed someone to see the inflamed and infected splinter in my heart and help me pull it out. I am working on not partnering with shame or condemnation for my own parenting mistakes, as well as seeing my parents as humans who were also scared and hurting when they parented me.”
The Kingdom is righteousness, peace, and joy, yet one of the biggest reasons why Sunday school leaders have a hard time finding volunteers is because adults are uncomfortable with JOY. Teach parents how to be restored to joy, and they will be drawn to those who carry child-like joy!
Let’s talk about JUDGEMENTS. Judgments are when we jump in the judge’s seat and determine the verdict about someone. When we say, “They are controlling,” we are judging them. While being discerning and aware of how people’s choices affect us is good, we are never called to act as judges. Maybe that person is ‘controlling’ because they were orphaned as a child and have never learned to depend upon someone else. Perhaps they are controlling because they are rooted in fear and need to be delivered. God judges us based on our heart and story, not our outward appearance. Here is the issue with judgments. When we judge someone, we condemn them with our words (think of how prophecy unlocks and frees a person – judgments bind and lock a person up). The Bible says when we walk around as judges, we are binding OURSELVES to the very thing we are judging. That is why children who judge their father for being an alcoholic grow up to marry one. Or the girl who judges her grandma for being overweight and struggles with her issues.
HeartWork – Get a piece of paper and write down your JUDGEMENTS against your dad, mom, siblings, and even your children and friends. Go deep and allow Jesus to show you where you are holding onto judgments against someone. Ask Jesus to forgive you for holding them in judgment. Break agreement with the judgment over that person. Rip up the paper and declare God’s truth over their lives. Children can do this with their parents and siblings, too.
Hebrews 12:15 – “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”
Has your child ever come home from school, youth group, or a friend’s house and declared that their peers do not like them? It is hard to hear, isn’t it? Let me empower you on how to help your child walk through it. It is brutal to feel like you don’t belong because God created us with wiring TO belong. Belonging was one of the things stolen in the Garden. When a child experiences belonging, they start becoming who they are called to be. When a child experiences a lack of acceptance, they shrink back and partner with timidity and smallness, which robs those around them of who they were created to be. There are reasons why children experience a lack of belonging with their peers. Sometimes they do not fit in because there is something within them that needs to be matured or revealed. Humility and intentional parenting are required to help them overcome. Let me give you an example.
Years ago, I was a nanny for one of the wealthiest families in Minnesota. The six-year-old girl loved opening soda cans and pouring out all of the sweet sugar. The bees loved it too. The family’s full-time caretaker asked her many times to please stop. She looked at him and said, “My name is Anna ___. I can do whatever I want.” Her parents almost lost two employees that day. My first thought was, “How sad that where your parents failed to teach you, your peers will.” That attitude won’t fly with peers; they could care less about how much money your daddy has or how spoiled you have been at home. You can’t do whatever you want just because you feel like it and have been falsely empowered to do so at home. In this case, the response from peers, while it wouldn’t feel good, is a gift to help you see where you may need to come into greater maturity. One of my goals in parenting has been to accurately discern my child’s weaknesses and help empower them with tools for success and growth so that they don’t have to learn it the hard way through the rejection of peers. But there are times when nothing about the child warrants pushback from peers, but it happens anyway. I want to open your view of what is happening. Satan hates unity. There is strength in numbers, and his goal is to separate and devour. When there is love and unity among us, God’s Kingdom advances. There is an assignment against your child in this area specifically, and none of them are exempt from having to walk through this. Something happens, say three girls are hanging out and one girl feels left out of the conversation, which feels uncomfortable, but then the enemy comes and whispers, “You are all alone. No one likes you,” and it may FEEL true at that moment. A child partners with it, and now the lie is a part of their belief system.
Another example is that a child makes a foolish comment that lacks maturity (which happens all the time and should be expected of a child who has not yet become a full adult), and the receiver owns the comment as truth. They must be taught that not all comments, even from the popular kids, are true and accurate. Another example might be when the teacher calls on a student, and they don’t know the answer. This is common and normal in a classroom setting where everyone is learning and growing. The child feels embarrassed, and the enemy whispers shame and smears their intelligence with lies. They then shrink back in shame with their peers. When a child is partnering with shame and rejection as their identity, other children can feel it, even if their minds don’t understand it. It is like they have a sign on their back that says, “I am rejected.” Sometimes when a child reports over and over how others are treating them, it is wise to ask Jesus to reveal what lies they are believing about themselves (and therefore projecting). The next time your child declares no one likes them, ask Jesus to show you if this is a lack of character on their part that requires additional parenting help or if it is an attack of the enemy on their identity.
We treat children like they are in blatant sin and punish them when what they really need is HELP. My passion is to empower parents HOW to see beyond the behavior and into what is going on in their hearts. There is hope in parenting our children in peace and authority that reaps a generation of kids who are whole, confident, and secure.
I know this post is going to speak to a lot of you! Do you look at other people’s posts about their birthdays and long to feel that way on your special day? Yet when your day comes around, you still feel empty and sad at the end of the day? I felt that way for years and finally gave up on hope. I noticed I began to ignore it and intentionally not make a big deal out of it anymore. I hid my date on social media and pretended like it was no big deal. It wasn’t that it wasn’t important to me. It was that I didn’t want to set myself up for feeling disappointed again. BUT GOD… He took me on this incredible journey, and I experienced breakthrough on such a foundational level. Soon my birthday was approaching, and I found myself responding differently. I was giddy with excitement, had childlike joy over celebrating the day I was created and wanted to pull close those I love the most to celebrate with me. I want to walk you through what God showed me and ultimately brought one of my biggest breakthroughs in being seen, heard, and valued. Join me as we take a 10-day online adventure! YOU are so worth celebrating!!!
Empowering children to obey fully and completely the first time (Deuteronomy 28:1). Expose your child to horses, whether that be taking a field trip to a horse farm, simply pulling off the side of the road near one, getting a video from the library, or finding them on the Internet. They are so beautiful and powerful. Talk about how a horse is powerful on their own, but when the bridle is in its mouth, they are trained to obey the rider right away. All the rider needs to do is gently move the reigns to the left or right, and the horse automatically goes in that direction. They are not stubborn or demanding of their own way; they simply follow the rider’s commands. Explain to your child that God wants us to respond this way to His instructions. He doesn’t just want us to obey in the end but wants us to do so fully and completely right away.
In the days ahead, when you need your child to follow your instructions, remind them of the character of a horse. Often when my children were younger and not following the instructions I had given them, I would simply say, “Mama needs you to be a horse right now,” and they all knew that meant they were behaving in a way that was the opposite of what I had instructed. It was an excellent tool for when we were in public as it spared them the embarrassment of being called out in front of others.
I am getting better and better at letting my kids feel the aftermath of their choices instead of taking it on myself. The other day, I asked one of the kids to take out the trash, and as we pulled out of the driveway to go to school, I noticed two fully loaded trash bags sitting against the fence. I immediately pulled back into the driveway and put the trash in the bin myself in a bit of a huff. In the process, I stepped in the mud with my new shoes on, and it was not a fun ride to school. I sensed Holy Spirit saying to me, “Why did you do that?” and I began to think of what would happen if I hadn’t put the trash in the bin myself. Oh my – it would have been a disaster. Surely the neighbor dogs would have found the chicken bones, and there would have been trash all over the yard. And gee, the neighbors would probably think less of me if my yard was littered with trash. Then I heard it again, “Why did YOU do that?” and I began to picture my son coming home from school to find trash – the trash HE left out – all over the place and how uncomfortable HE would have been in cleaning it all up. While it would have cost me embarrassment with my neighbors, it would have been a price to pay for my child to learn ownership of completing tasks fully. God has set before us a Kingdom principle of reaping and sowing. Our children need to learn how to reap what they are sowing and not always have a parent who steps in to reap what they have sown.