How many of you have memories of your childhood? Is it super powerful and amazing to think that TODAY you have the power to create a memory that will stay with your children for the rest of their lives? The best memories rarely have to do with how much money was spent, how Pinteresty it looked, or how big it was. Instead, they generally circle around how deep they feel seen, heard, and valued.
I have taught the kids that just because someone does something we judge as ‘wrong’ doesn’t mean we know the whole story! For example, a lady had a bout of road rage, and I was making some comments about it. Emma pipes up and says, “Mom, let’s play the critical game.” The critical game is when someone does something we think is ‘wrong,’ but we have to come up with ten reasons why they did what they did to believe the BEST about them. Such as; she is late for a meeting with the President, her kids need her, she is rushing to the hospital, she has to make a flight, her new puppy has to pee, she spilled coffee on her shirt, someone is in trouble and needs her, she can’t find the brake pedal. While none of these excuse her behavior, it helps us to walk in compassion and believe the best about someone vs. judging them. We generally end up roaring with laughter! Teach your children how to play the game!
Learning to love your children well provides YOU with an opportunity to know and reflect a SIDE of Jesus. Example: If your child has a love language of quality time and values playing together, but you do not value childlike play, God is using the way He wired your child to teach YOU about joy and play. Example: If your child has a love language of words of affirmation and you do not value speaking mushy words, God is using the way He wired your child to teach YOU about using your words, building others up, and bringing praise to your lips. Example: If your child has a love language of touch, but you do not value affection, God is using the way He wired your child to teach YOU about receiving healthy and appropriate touch. Example: If your child has a love language of acts of service, but you do not value having to do things for them, God is using the way He wired your child to teach YOU about joy and play. Pressing in and learning how to speak THEIR language allows US to grow in being more like HIM.
For those of you who do Easter eggs with the kids, hide one that is EMPTY. Make a big deal about it being the best one. When they open it, they will be confused. Explain to them that the BEST NEWS is that the tomb is EMPTY, and that is why we celebrate Easter. The Cross is part of the journey, but the EMPTY tomb is what we celebrate.
Do you ever have those situations where everything lines up perfectly, and you are convinced your child is guilty? I did the other week, and my son was adamant he was innocent. I took him at his word, but it still felt fishy to me. He carried this pressure and tension with him everywhere for a week. He was snippy, and I often felt like I just needed to not be in the same room with him for long. Sometimes you just need to let teenagers be teens, but I didn’t like it. He came into my room to drop off laundry, and his eyes were red. I asked if he was okay, and he said NO. Questioning who he had a conflict with, he says, “YOU,” and begins to tell me what it has been like all week, being falsely accused of something he didn’t do and then brought up numerous things I had said during the week that communicated to him that he is untrustworthy. The truth is nothing I said meant what he thought it did. He had the lens of being falsely accused, and anything after that felt like a judgment. Poor kid was really beaten up over the belief that I charged him with a crime he didn’t commit. I assured him that I knew he was innocent because nobody shows that much emotion and care when they are guilty. I apologized for not believing the best AND for failing to see his heart all week. He walked out of my room feeling better, and I was doing some major high-fives with the Lord. I am THRILLED he cares not only about his integrity but our connection that much. Sometimes moms blow it too! And that’s okay because our children are learning, even through our mistakes, how to use their voice and process their heart.
I feel the need to share that when we started practicing hearing God’s voice ourselves, some kids got it really fast, while others took longer. At times, I started to feel pressured or would believe the lie that they weren’t getting it, but, like reading, once it clicked, they took off. Is it really a tool we want to risk backing off just because it might take them a little longer than we think it should? Also, for Hudson, I kept saying, “What did you HEAR?” and he would say nothing. Finally, I realized that something was going on and asked God to show me what it was. I realized that he wasn’t ‘hearing’ anything but ‘seeing’ pictures. Once I changed my verbiage to, “What did you get?”, he instantly started ‘hearing’. I urge you not to worry or get too caught up in the process, but I do encourage you to keep sowing into it. When a parent laments that their two-year-old isn’t getting it, I smile and encourage them to keep practicing because when they are three, they are going to be further along than most thirty-year-olds.
Children hear without filters and the fear of man, and they are void of a religious spirit or awareness of social etiquette. Their ears are pure, and we need to protect them. They have the ability to hear quickly. We need to trust what they are hearing. The Spirit taught me that if I was going to teach my children to hear Father God, I had to guard against positioning myself as the middleman. This can be a hard place for a mama to rest in, but I do not want to create a dependency upon me whenever my kids hear Holy Spirit whispering to them. If what they hear seems a little fishy or self-motivated, do NOT call that out, as it could squelch their listening ears. Instead, treat it like practicing their ABCs. A lack of perfection doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try it again, nor do you make them feel bad for missing the letter M. It means that they must keep practicing. If it wasn’t the Lord, I promise He will organize the circumstances to reveal that in a teachable moment. The only time I get to test if the word they say is from God is if it truly is out of line with the Scriptures. Tread with grace as they are exercising their spiritual muscles and seek not to shut them down.
If your child is not interested in practicing, I question two things: #1. Have you spent enough time teaching it to them? Kids who feel like Mom/Dad expect something from them (hearing Jesus) but do not understand what you mean will shut down out of fear of disappointing you. #2. Are you making it FUN? The Kingdom is righteousness, peace, and JOY and if it isn’t FUN, then you are most likely partnering with a religious spirit of expectation or performance.
Celebrating those ‘look how far I have come’ moments is a sacred place between a loving Father and a trusting child. Why not carve out some intentional time today to just praise and thank Him for being such an incredible Author of YOUR story. Stop and celebrate how far He has taken you.
My spiritual daughter shared how God is leading her family in this season.
“A new thing our family has started doing is asking, ‘Do you need a 20-second hug?’ And teaching them how to ask for one. A 20-second hug can… increase levels of oxytocin (the love hormone), reduce blood pressure and cortisol (the stress hormone), increase happiness, lower stress, improve relationships, and connection.”
Discernment is knowing, sensing, the ability to determine right and wrong, and having eyes to see what isn’t in the natural. It is a spiritual gift that we can ask for more of. We had picked up one of the two moving trucks, and after loading it, I noticed one of the tires was low. We filled it, and it appeared okay after the 30-minute drive home. Others kept telling me it was okay, but I had the discernment that something wasn’t right and that it should really be checked out before we hit the road. The service crew came out and changed THREE different tires. He said the tire was splitting and would have blown once we got on the road. Thank You, Jesus, for discernment and the ability to determine that something isn’t right even when our eyes can’t see it in the natural.
Pray – “Jesus, thank You for giving your life so that we can access the Kingdom of heaven. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for the gift of discernment that leads and alerts us. Father, I ask for an increased measure of discernment. Strengthen my ability to see and hear what others cannot so that I may respond to Your voice in all areas of my life. Show me how to trust and listen to the gift of discernment as I partner with You. Teach my children how to walk in discernment. In Jesus’ name.”
God is looking for families who will take Him at His word. He says in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
Who are the people willing to march forth with this command?! If God commands us to do something, all of heaven backs us up. I challenge you today to equip your children and together take back ground in your home, community, city, and nation over the spirit of fear. We say NO to the fear that binds, robs, steals, kills, destroys, and the lie that says God is not in control or able. How do we do that? First, ask, “Jesus, will You please highlight any area where I have allowed fear to speak, rule, or influence me?” Deal with it by breaking up with it and declaring His truth. Second, release His power and love everywhere you go. Have you ever experienced walking by someone who just exhaled their cigarette, and the smoke goes into the atmosphere? That is what fear is in the spiritual realm. Someone partnered with it and released it. When others walk by, they are affected by the spirit. That is why so many people report feeling uneasy at the store, watching the news, or on social media. Way too many people are exhaling fear. I am not a victim to fear or someone else’s choices. I am a child of God with a calling on my life to release His Kingdom everywhere I go (and if you are a born-again believer, this is your calling too). When I pass someone who I sense is bound up emotionally or spiritually, I utter a prayer under my breath for them to encounter the love of the Father. When I sense fear, I say, “Fear, I see you, and you are exposed. I release you to go and invite peace to come in Jesus’ name.” When I walk into an atmosphere of anxiety, I say, “Peace come now.” When the kids get swirly out of nowhere, I ask them, “What are you feeling in your tummy right now?” They can call it out quickly when I ask that question. Oftentimes it is a feeling of not being safe. So we then release protection in Jesus’ name. When we witness someone having an angry outburst, we pray under our breath that they feel seen, secure, and loved.
Jesus says GO! Go forth in confidence that He has called you to be the change to the world around you. Say NO to fear and YES to exhaling His power and love everywhere you go. Who are the people willing to take God at His word?
A dad was struggling to get his teen daughters to understand why their choice of music wasn’t edifying. The girls argued that it was ‘just a little’ bit of bad language and that it wouldn’t hurt anything. The dad prayed for a creative solution to get into his daughters’ hearts on the subject. The next morning, he announced he was making a very special dessert with “a very special ingredient.” He made a big deal of the upcoming dessert all day, and after their dinner plates were cleaned, they were begging for the much-awaited sweet treat. They scarfed down the yummiest batch of brownies, and while smacking their lips, they inquired about the ‘special ingredient.’ The dad sat back and calmly announced, “Dog poop, but don’t worry, it was just a little bit.” They seemed to understand in that moment that ‘just a little bit’ can indeed be harmful. This glorious creative teachable moment can be used with music, swearing, drugs, disobedience, alcohol, lying, slander, etc. Sometimes kids need a visual to understand your point.