MENTORS

MENTORS

Going up to someone and saying, “Will you mentor me?” is a little like telling the guy on the first date you are going to marry him. Mentoring someone requires connection and the freedom to speak honestly into someone’s life. Often, this means hard conversations and truth shared in love. They are mentoring you to empower and help you grow, which means growing pains. Not everyone is in a place where they can receive this type of conversation without being offended, wounded, or defensive. The best mentors, I have found, are those that happen organically by the move of God vs. someone searching for one. If you long for this type of relationship, tell God and have faith in His ability to orchestrate it on your behalf. When God gives you this connection with someone, don’t view it as a relationship to take, but as one to serve and give out of the gratefulness in which you have received from their wisdom, time, and investment in you. One of my mentors is a single lady, so we would always be on the lookout for ways we could stand in the gap and help her with things like changing the oil in her car, bringing her meals, or sending her flowers on Mother’s Day. We both are blessed by the connection for different reasons. I positioned my heart to look for opportunities to bless and serve her. Oftentimes people don’t really want a ‘mentor’ but a person who will give them the gifts that a mother or father give, such as a sense of belonging, to be seen, community, wisdom, etc. Identifying what needs you are specifically seeking to meet helps to go after that person who carries that gift. Our greatest connections with those who are older (and wiser) than ourselves have simply evolved from intentionally getting to church at least 30 minutes earlier and extending a warm greeting to those around us, whether it be sitting in church, standing in line for childcare check-in, or greeting those we haven’t met before. This isn’t scary, but it requires a heart that is open to seeing and loving people. We have a strong connection to every regular attender who sits in the same section as us every Sunday morning simply because we have made it a point to see and welcome them. We have gotten together for Sunday brunch, dinners, playing games, going to each other’s homes, and texting often. It was organic simply by being open and friendly to those God has put in front of us. My kids have profited profoundly from having multiple adopted grandmas and grandpas. Who will you sit by today? Reach out, introduce yourself, be excited to see them again next week, and see what God does with it!

ISOLATION

As someone who endured profound emotional and mental isolation in childhood, being alone long term is not healthy for me. I know my capacity and take active steps to make sure I am in community. When I feel the most weary, I realize it is because I have come under LIES of isolation. I have to actually reset my mind and heart back to His TRUTH. Let me share them with you in hopes they will align you with His heart and break off discouragement. 

**I break agreement with the lie I am alone. 

**I break agreement with the lie that I can’t be in community right now. 

**I break agreement with the lie that isolation is my duty. 

**I break agreement with the lie that says interaction is wrong. 

**I break agreement with the lie that people are a danger. 

**I break agreement with the lie that I have to fear others. 

**I break agreement with the lie that others are a threat. 

**I DECLARE that God designed me to interact with others. 

**I DECLARE that I am called to impact others. 

**I DECLARE that my need to be heard and seen is a part of my wiring. 

**I DECLARE that longing for people is healthy. 

**I DECLARE that I have the mind of Christ in the midst of the storm. 

**I DECLARE that my Father leads me in all situations. 

**I DECLARE that my emotional needs are valued and valid. 

**I DECLARE that I am not in an emotional or relational time-out. 

Ask Jesus, “Jesus, will You please show me the strategy to connect with people today?”

1ST, 2ND, 3RD CHAIR

This concept has been so helpful to me as I have helped my children navigate friendships over the years. Line up four chairs and have your child sit on an end. You sit in the chair furthest from them and explain how anyone they meet is a 3rd chair friend. You might say “hi” or ask how they are doing, but they remain far away from your heart. Move to the next chair and explain this is a 2nd chair friend. You might say “hi” and sit with them at lunch, laugh with them in class, or even hang out at the mall together. You have fun with them and enjoy being around them. But your 1st chair is the one closest to you. These people know you at your worst and best and everything in between. They make you laugh hard and have the power to influence you. No one starts in the 1st chair. They have to be invited in, and it is cultivated over time. Over the years, we have seen this played out as friends change chairs. When they come home excited about someone they have met, we celebrate the connection, but I am aware that there is a process of connection developing and asking questions along the way.

Emma came home excited one day about a new ‘best friend.’ They had fun together and giggled hard. But over time, the friend began to invite Emma to do things that went against what we stood for as a family. She had to learn she could surely still giggle and be friends with this gal but pulling her into her 1st chair would not go well with her down the road. Lauren had a friend who would love her one minute and be so cruel the next. It was a love/hate response; she never knew which one she was getting. The ‘love’ felt so fulfilling and fun that she had difficulty seeing the flip as bad. Because she was learning how to build healthy relationships, I had to help her see that this is not how 1st chair friends treat each other. It was so painful for her to back off the relationship, but years later, she still comments on how glad she was that she could create room for other friends who were indeed 1st chair worthy. I often say, “Either you influence them, or they influence you, so you better make sure you are heading in the same direction.” I have no problems with my children being friends with unbelievers (how else are we going to impact those around us?) or with children from different beliefs and backgrounds. I DO have a problem if those children become 1st chairs. How do you switch chairs? By how much or little you feed it. Help your child pull in new friends closer by inviting them over to join your family for dinner, creating a fun outing, helping them with their homework, asking them how their day went, tell them something they like or appreciate about them. Support the things they like to do, attend their sports games, text to compliment them, and invite them over just for fun. It is impossible to have a 1st chair and only do this once. Building closer friendships take intentionality, consistency, and frequency. If a child has pulled someone in too far too fast before discerning that the connection is not healthy, simply stop feeding the relationship, and it will not grow. I encourage them to sit by the person at their lunch table, say “hi,” and always communicate with the message that they are valuable. But do not invite them to connect deeper or 1:1. If they are invited somewhere, they say they are busy, or their mom says NO. I do not want to empower my children how to reject, hurt, or create a wound in someone so how they navigate their chairs matters. Pull out the chairs and teach your children today about their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd chair friendships.

TEACHING CHILDREN ABOUT FEAR

Since the enemy is fear-based, I never wanted to teach my children in a way that educated them so much they were afraid of being afraid. I simply explained that God has an enemy who is jealous of Him and wants to be like Him (enough said). It is wrong to think that God is on one side and the enemy on the other, battling it out. The enemy is ALWAYS on the bottom because he is already defeated. Children need to have an accurate view of the ‘battle.’ The battle isn’t of random wins and loses like a football game, but that we are always victorious over the enemy and his ways always! While it feels true at times that the enemy is winning, the truth is that God is unmoved from His throne as ruler over A-L-L things. Read together 1 John 4:4.

Teach the children – Take out a sheet of paper and fold it down the center bringing the left side of the paper to the right side. Write God on one side and enemy on the next. Under God write out the things associated in their life with Him right now (provision, peace, safety, joy, covering). Under ‘enemy’ write out the things associated with him (fear, worry, doubt). Rip up the paper and tell them that this is not the truth about what is going on. Grab another sheet of paper and fold it in the middle (fold the top part of the paper down) and write God on top teaching them that God has no equal. Read Isaiah 40:12-31 together. Then take a pen and draw a line an inch from the bottom edge and show them the truth is the enemy is Jesus’ footstool. Romans 16:20.

SHIFTING OUR GAZE

It is hard to know who you are when you spend the majority of the time staring at a lens with your own reflection. We only truly discover who we are when we gaze into the One who created us in His image. Selfies only reflect what you want to see. God’s image reflects who we were made to become.

POWER, LOVE & SOUND MIND

The thing about fear is that we can strongly dislike something so much that we actually open the door to a spirit of fear. Think about that for a moment – we don’t want something to happen, but in the process, we are welcoming it in. When we allow the spirit of fear in, it will wreak havoc on our thoughts and emotions, making us partner with it more. A silly cycle that ends up producing the very thing we didn’t want. 2 Timothy 1:7 is our weapon. “For GOD did NOT give me a spirit of fear (plug in what you fear), but of POWER, LOVE, and SOUND MIND (meaning your heart and mind are both in unity and at peace).” If God didn’t give you that fear/worry, then who did? Is that who you want to partner with?

Pray: “Fear, I see you and no longer partner with you. I declare that my GOD has equipped me with power, love, and a sound mind, and I will no longer bite the bait to open the door. In Jesus’ name.”

EYES OF YOUR HEART

Years ago, I was in Kiev, Ukraine on a mission trip and the leader had us declare John 11:40 over and over. He said, “When the eyes of your heart see, stand up,” and one by one the revelation moved from our minds to our hearts. Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” I encourage you to read that over and over and over until your heart can see.

WORTHY IS THE LAMB

Worthy is the lamb is more than a good worship song – it is the position of our hearts. The elders and angels bow down and worship WORTHY IS THE LAMB over and over and over for all eternity. The Lord owes us nothing. Not comfort, morning coffee, electricity, toys, expensive vehicles, nice homes, or a paycheck. He gives these things because He is a good Father, but He owes us NOTHING and deserves it all. In this hour, it is so important to teach our children that He is worthy – all the time – of it all! 

Wor·thy – adjective – having or showing the qualities or abilities that merit recognition in a specified way. Noun – a person notable or important in a particular sphere. 

Have the kids glue cotton balls around a drawn or printed lamb and talk about the countless things He is worthy of.

DO IT WITH THEM

One of the biggest lies about Christian parenting is that you have to master things yourself first (knowing the Word, hearing God’s voice, praying for others, soaking in His Presence, etc.). Maybe, perhaps, it was God’s plan all along that you grow together as a family going after the things of the Kingdom. There is NO way I would be where I am now if it weren’t for my formal Kingdom training that was married with my children’s child-like faith. The KEY is in sharing what you are learning WITH your children and TOGETHER playing in the Kingdom.

LET IT HURT

Sometimes life just HURTS. I always tell my spiritual daughters, “If you are going to walk as a Daughter, you are going to have to learn how to feel hard emotions.” Orphans run to things that numb their hearts like a shot of novocaine (porn, shopping, anger, social media, gossip, busyness, checking out, denial, eating, rage, etc.)  As Daughters, we need to learn that pain is okay. It reflects our hearts and how we experience life. We need to practice feeling the pain and, in the midst of it, running into HIS arms, crying out to Him. We can tell Him: “It hurts,” “I am sad,” “I feel lonely,” “I am disappointed,” “I am scared,” “I feel anxious,” “I need help,” and then WAIT and rest in His ability to not only care for your heart and wipe your tears but to move on your behalf. 

Psalm 56:8 (MSG) – “You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights. Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book.”

FULLY AND COMPLETELY

When I would tell the four kids to do something, they would obey right away, but only partially. So, I would call them back, and they would obey right away again, but still not finish. I was asking them FOUR times to complete the dishwasher, FIVE times to clean the bathroom all the way, THREE times for the floor, and I was about to go mad! I realized it was an issue of taking responsibility, so I asked Holy Spirit for a creative teaching tool. Ha! Do you know one of the names of Holy Spirit? TEACHER! He rocks at teaching the kids and loves to do it in a fun way. I called all the kids back and gave them a piece of paper to wad up. I then told them they had to put the paper in the bathroom (the furthest room from the living room). They were all like, “Okay, easy peasy.” Then I said, “But… you can only drop it, stoop down to get it, stand up, drop it again, stoop down to get it, stand up, drop it…” It was super funny about four times, but after that, they wanted to cry. They were clueless about why they were doing this; it was NOT fun. I called them all back into the living room and explained that that is how I feel when I ask them to do something and then have to call them back again and again to finish it. When they are instructed to do something, they must stick with it until it is done fully and completely.