Whenever we endure something big such as a stressful season, a death, a move, etc., my main goal is to make sure I am filling their love tanks intentionally. I was really sick years ago with a ripped artery in my neck. I was on blood thinners and was at high risk for a stroke or aneurysm. It was not an easy season being a solo mom of four young, active children. I literally made myself a chart with each child’s name and the days of the week. I forced myself to speak their love language DAILY. I believe it is one of the biggest reasons we got through those rough waters together with our connection intact. Love covers a multitude of bumps and bruises! When in doubt, I fill the tank. Love languages matter!
Protecting our children from online activity is an important part of raising kids today. There is a calculated and intentional mission to seduce and desensitize children. It is crafty in the way it entices a child. It can also happen by pure innocence. A child confesses to their mom that something really bad popped up on their screen. Mom checks it out and deals with the issue with the child. Mom knows it can’t be there unless something else was clicked on, and Mom discovers in the history that said child got really cold at night, so they typed in “how to be hot in bed”, seeking answers and solutions to her temperature issue. Well, let’s just say she got what she asked for in today’s world. It’s funny, but it’s also a sad and true testimony. Stay ALERT! Know what they are doing on their computers, check them often, keep connection strong and check in!
Every child needs to do this exercise! Do it 1:1 with each child, so you can hear their heart and pick up on any resistance. Have them outline a body on a piece of paper. Start with their hair and walk through their mind, eyes, nose, mouth, body shape, stomach, height, etc. Think of their interests and the things that make them come alive (sports, music, dancing). Write it out on the paper as you go through who they are, top to bottom. You are helping them see who they are. While we are constantly being transformed on the inside, there are some things we cannot change, such as our nose shape, eye color, height, gifts, what makes us come alive, etc. This is the package of who they were created to be. Now have them make a circle around the entire body. Explain to them that who they are is to be guarded and protected as if it is inside a bubble. Read Proverbs 4:23 and explain if any person, peer, teacher, sibling, social media post, song, friend, movie, leader, or thought tells them that something is wrong with their body, gifts, talents, etc., they are to reject it. Empower them with how to reject it. Perhaps they will take that thought captive and say to themselves, “That is not something I agree with, and do not give that voice permission to speak to me.”
When I was teaching my children this concept, Hudson (age four at the time) got up, went to the front door, made a kicking motion, and slammed the door. I asked what he was doing, and he said, “I had a bad thought, so I was kicking it out” Yeah, like that, buddy! They can write it on a piece of paper, rip it up, cross it out, or shred it. I had a season that we were going after this and put a set of colorful markers in the bathroom and would have my children write the lie on a piece of toilet paper with the colorful marker and then toss it into the toilet. The color would lift, making a beautiful swirl in the toilet bowl (isn’t that true of what God does with whatever we give Him? It turns it into something beautiful.). 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.
If while doing this with older children, you feel resistance or they say things like “This is stupid,” “Why do we have to do this?” “What’s the point?” Please do not back down. The resistance is telling you that they have already allowed a voice inside their bubble, which needs to be exposed. I would take it as far as you can, and then if it is time to back off (Holy Spirit will lead you), say something like this, “Okay, yeah, we can stop, but I need for you to hear this. Your resistance and wall to even talk about who you are is revealing that you have allowed a thought to enter your bubble. It is there to steal your joy, rob you of your peace, and tell you that something is wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with you, and I am here when you are ready to deal with it.” I would intentionally speak their love language and look for creative ways to bring them joy because it releases a chemical in their brain that gives them the will to fight and endure hard things. Give it a few hours or a day but circle back by saying something like, “Hey, remember when I asked you to draw that picture? What was happening inside of you when we talked about who you are?” Listen to them. Do not fix or correct them but listen to what their heart has to say. For many older children, simply exposing it helps them reject it and realize that they are feeling icky about themselves because of a lie, not because something is wrong with them. Others may need to ask Jesus to show them who they need to forgive for speaking that their body, gifts, and personality are unacceptable.
Moms and dads, please do not ignore this exercise. Children who grow up with the wrong voices inside their bubble carry them around for years, shaping who they become. We can empower our children to reject lies and protect who God designed them to be.
Are you willing to put in the effort and help your child understand their value and worth?
Pray this powerful prayer and allow Holy Spirit to restore connection with your child. “Holy Spirit, I give You permission to be my child’s Defender and Advocate. Would You please reveal to me where I have been wrong, caused a hurt or made a mess so that I can make it right?” If He showed you something, go low and ask for forgiveness.
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!
Have you ever seen a plant that just desperately needs a drink? My daughter looked that way to me, so I told the others to find something to do for 30 minutes while I had an in-home date with her. I told her to meet me in the rec room in 5 minutes. She had no idea what was happening but was waiting for me. I walked in, handed her a drink, and told her I just wanted her all to myself for a few moments. Then, I asked her about her heart, life, friends, and school. When we were done 15 minutes later, her comment was, “I feel so alive.”
Just because we are with our kids ALL the time doesn’t mean we have their hearts. Ask Holy Spirit how you can creatively water their heart today in a unique and meaningful way.
When you can’t receive God’s truth about you and partner with the lie, “I am not enough,” you will think that you aren’t enough and then act like you aren’t enough. When you act less than enough, your children get the fruit of a parent who isn’t enough – two generations in one with a single lie. Rise, dear one, and reject whatever feels, sounds, and looks true and walk in what IS true. You ARE enough, not on your own, but because He lives inside you, and you are His. Ask, “Jesus, will You please show me who taught me that I am not enough?” Forgive that person for teaching you a lie about your worth. Write out the words, “I am not enough,” and then rip it up, shred it, burn it, flush it, stomp on it, crumble it, toss it. Whatever you need to do to prophetically tell that lie, NO MORE! Then ask, “Jesus, will You please teach me about my worth and value that was inherited when I decided to follow You?”
A while back, we went out to eat, and this man was cursing up a storm and yelling loudly. When we sat down, the kids wanted to call out the bad and do the whole, “Did you see that man…?” I stopped them and said, “Ask Jesus what He wants you to know about that man.” They started saying things like, “He was hurt as a boy,” “He doesn’t know who he is,” “He doesn’t know Jesus.” Hurt people do hurtful things. People act out what other people have spoken over them. When we ask Jesus to show us what’s going on inside of others, our perspective changes. One of the most powerful ways we can release the Kingdom as a family is to see stuff like that in our normal everyday life and ask Jesus to show us what He sees. We will shift how we view, judge, and see that person when we see through His eyes.
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.”
I homeschooled the kid’s elementary years, so I was used to being their ‘school teacher’ in the classroom setting, but it was years into homeschooling when I realized that one of my primary roles as a mother was to be a teacher. As they were getting older, the tones and attitudes in their speech started to really wear on me. It was not what they were saying but how they were saying it. As I was praying about it, Proverbs 16:24 came to mind, “Kind words are like honey-sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” I suddenly got this idea to cash in on the science lesson I had just taught on senses. I told them to meet me in the kitchen and blindfolded them. I asked them to stick out their tongue and I put a small dab of horseradish on it. They yelped and moaned. We tried it again, but this time I put honey on their tongue. Yum. That was much better. I shared the verse with them and talked about how sometimes their words sounded like horseradish, but that God wants us to use words and tones that are like honey. We role-played what that sounded like when someone took their toy, when they wanted something, or were asked to do something. I pretended to be them and modeled what kind and sweet tones looked like, and then I molded what horseradish sounded like. They thought it was funny, and we all laughed.
Here is what I want you to see. I was good at teaching science and math, but when it came to teaching principles of the heart to train and equip them, I felt shy and ill-equipped. I was so tired of their tones and needed to do something, but honestly, after the teaching, I remember feeling like it was flat, not deep enough, and I doubted they would retain any of it. I felt awkward and so unsure of myself that it was making a difference. My delivery felt skinny and weak. As the days went on, I would come to them, get down on their level and say, “Remember when I put that stuff on your tongue? How do you think you just sounded?” They had to stop and think and redirect their choice of speech. I began to get the revelation that they were not mini adults and did not need the 12-week course or 2-hour lecture on a subject. They understood me fully, and I had their hearts because I was teaching them through connection and releasing joy through the science experiment. They got it, and I grew in understanding that if I just show up and teach them, they will respond. To this day, with tweens and teenagers, all I have to say is, “That doesn’t sound like honey to me,” and they know immediately their tone was off.
Like it or not, if you are a parent, you ARE a teacher. It might not be of other children or in the classroom, but you are, by God’s design, a teacher of your own children. The more you embrace this part of parenting, the easier life will be for both you and your child. I encourage you to say this out loud a couple of times until it really sinks deep. “I AM a teacher. I proactively teach my child in times of peace how to succeed in life.” “I AM a teacher. I proactively teach my child in times of peace how to succeed in life.” “I AM a teacher. I proactively teach my child in times of peace how to succeed in life.” Have you received the revelation that to be a parent means to be a TEACHER?
Have you ever said, “PEOPLE ARE SO BLIND”? Raise your hand. How many people have read something on social media and thought, “They are crazy. How can they be so blind?” How many of you have seen the war of words with people attempting to change someone by proving they are wrong? STOP this! It only furthers the insanity. Here’s why! The Bible says if someone cannot see the truth, pray that the scales of their eyes would be removed. They aren’t trying NOT to see in many cases. They simply have scales on their eyes, making them blind. Speaking to their intellect and getting into a debate is not how God tells us to respond. We are to pray for them to have eyes to see. Give it a try. Instead of being the social media police telling people why they are wrong, try praying for God to remove the scales from their eyes. Trust me, GOD bringing revelation to someone is where real transformation occurs. Psalm 119:18 – “If you have eyes to see, pray for their eyesight to be as clear as yours. Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions.”
We should be praying this over ourselves often too. “Jesus, open my eyes so that I may see as You see.”