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!
LET’S BREAK IT DOWN – Take a sheet of paper and write “Dad” on the left side. Under that write “Mom” and under that write “Siblings/Friends.” In the column next to each of these, write out three to five strong beliefs you have about them. We aren’t looking for obituary tributes; we are looking for YOUR truth. I am not asking what you know to be true as in, “Well, they did the best they could.” Use words that feel true to your little girl/boy heart. Maybe it will be things like, “They loved me, but were too busy,” or “kind”, “would yell a lot,” “unpredictable.”
THREE IN ONE – God provides all that we need. God is our Father. We have His Son Jesus and His Spirit. They are ONE – we serve ONE God, but they are all different. For example, my son is one person, but he is a son, brother, and friend all rolled into one person. There are different sides of him, but all parts of one whole. We need to have a relationship with each of the godhead to walk in the fullness of who God intended us to be. If we love Jesus but have no relationship with Father God, we are out of balance. If we are cool with Father God but have no room for Holy Spirit, we are missing out!
He provided us an earthy family that mimics the godhead. Now, write “God” in the third column on the first row, then “Holy Spirit”, then “Jesus”. The dad represents God the Father who provides and protects us. The mom represents Holy Spirit who comforts, educates, and nurtures us. And our siblings or friends represent Jesus, who is our friend and companion. At least that was God’s design.
If there is trouble, who would a child want to handle it? Probably Dad. But if the child hurts themselves, most often they would want Mom. As a child gets older, who do they want to tell all their secrets to and giggle with? Their friends, right? We learn about the godhead through the relationships that God gives us on earth.
It would be a safe guess that whatever you wrote down in the “Dad”, “Mom”, “Siblings/Friends” column is also how you view the godhead (unless you have already had significant healing). The goal is NOT to focus on how bad your parents were but to realign yourself with the truth of God the Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. See the difference?
All parents have a natural desire to shield their children from harm. I remember when the bubble was broken for my children. I was crushed that their innocence and know-no-pain world had come to a crashing halt. For some reason I couldn’t get over it, and it was paralyzing to me. Then a wise woman in my church told me about a family who had done everything right – they raised amazing godly children who were loving, honoring, respectful and happy – until the day a bully showed up on the playground and made their life a living hell. I asked her, “You mean that even if I did everything right, the bubble would have probably popped some other way?” She replied sadly but honestly, “Yep!” I realized then the meaning of a fallen world. While we do not expect the bad, we come to realize that our enemy is real, and he is good at his job. That is why we need to be better at ours!
For any area that you have a weak spot with the godhead due to your experience with your earthly relationships, walk through the following steps:
- Forgive your earthly parent/sibling/friend for whatever you wrote down.
- Renounce that God/Jesus/Holy Spirit are that way.
- Ask Him for His truth.
- Receive His truth!
THIS is why we need to stop and take a little inventory of our lives so that we can see how our childhood has shaped us and perhaps altered our view of the godhead. Often what happens is we are so determined to do things differently from our parents that we end up in extremes and still out of balance. At times my mom was so against sugar and treats that I coveted them any time I was around them. I didn’t want to be like that with my kids, but I realized I said yes to sugar too much. Another good example is abuse. A child is abused and swears they will never do such a thing to their child but goes so far to the other side that their child has never known a day of consequences or learned self-control. There has to be a balance – the balance is Jesus. And the only way to come into proper alignment is to have our eyes fixed on Him.
GODHEAD PARENTING – Once you learn the incredible ways earthly relationships can impact or distort a child’s view of the godhead, it changes the way you parent. I am constantly looking for ways to reveal to them the fullness of the godhead. For example, being part of a single parent family can make it easy for my children to feel like orphans, but I am constantly calling out the way their dad still provides for them financially. When I bless them with something and they say thanks, I am quick to say, “Bless your dad for providing the funds.” It is hard for them to feel like an orphan when they are thanking God for how their earthly father is providing for them. This is not an attempt to ignore reality, but I take seriously not letting earthly relationships define their view of God, Jesus or Holy Spirit. There have been times when I have responded to them harshly or with anger and when I go back to make it right, I will say, “Holy Spirit is never harsh or mean with you and I am sorry that I treated you that way.”
DIVORCE – Can you see a bit more clearly how a child becomes a spiritual orphan? When parents are bitter towards each other and slander one another in front of the kids, it destroys not only their worth and value but also their view of the godhead. One of the most powerful things you can say to a child going through a divorce is simply, “God would never leave you!” What is happening in the natural is unpleasant, but how a child transfers these lies to their beliefs about the godhead is how lasting wounds are created.
We spent a summer speaking on the road and continually came under new atmospheres and had to work through them. Honestly, it was exhausting. If it wasn’t me, one of the kids would be out of sorts. By the time the trip was over, I was not sure I would ever do that again. But here we are again, coming off of a five-week journey, and there is such a profound increase in not only discerning atmospheres but overcoming them. The first time it felt like we were being tossed around by powerful waves, yet this time it felt like we were body jumping, learning how to stay standing. Hotels carry some of the heaviest atmospheres because not all that happens inside of them is edifying. We can be fine in the car, walk into a hotel room and feel the anger, isolation, sexual spirits, strife, etc. God doesn’t allow us to encounter the atmosphere to harm or hinder us. Instead, He enables us to see and feel it so that we can bring the light and release the opposite. Learning to discern what is truly coming from within you vs. what is happening around you is a key to releasing heaven on earth and changing the world around you.
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.”
Many stores have cute Valentine’s Day mailboxes in their dollar section. Pick one up for each child, and instead of using them for V-day, use them to fill their tanks all year long. I would often encourage the kids to write notes of praise, thanks, or encouragement and have them secretly put them in their sibling’s mailboxes. It taught them how to be proactive in speaking love to someone and how good it feels to receive.
I would keep them and pull them back out again in the summer or fall when they need some help going after filling each other’s tanks. A great thing to bring on vacation or do during school breaks.
I woke to the sound of my daughter throwing up. I had to manage my nose carefully, or the mere smell would cause me to join her. I couldn’t bear the thought of her enduring getting sick alone, so I covered my nose and put my hand on her back, assuring her she would be okay. As I prayed over her, I began to think how incredibly nasty throw-up is. Yet I was praying that whatever was inside of her would come out. I began to think of poop and how utterly gross that is, yet without that daily function, we would die. God designed our bodies to get rid of whatever is making us sick. I thought of how our minds sometimes get filled with toxic things and need a good throw-up! I am more concerned with the lies my child may pick up after enduring an unpleasant situation than I am about the actual situation. It isn’t the event that causes lasting trauma; it is the lie and trapped pain that wreaks havoc on their systems. I often ask, “Are you willing to ask Jesus to show you if you are believing any lies because of (whatever the event).” It isn’t a matter of IF your children will ever believe lies; it is a matter of WHEN. We can arm them with creative ways to break agreement with the lie. I used to keep colored markers by the toilet. When Jesus revealed a lie they believed, we would write/draw it on a piece of toilet paper, and then they would toss it in the toilet and watch the colors swirl as we flushed the lie. We have burned them in the backyard fire pit. We have put them in the shredder. We have written them on the bathroom mirror and then used a spray bottle to wash away the lie. We have wadded them up in a paper ball and thrown them out. We have put them on the ground and stomped on them. Either way, help your child vomit the lies they believe.
Do you realize that you have a mighty, mighty generational line? Each generation came from the womb, where they were knit together by Father God. Each and every one of your ancestors has left you something – something good and something not so good. The rich spiritual inheritance from ALL THE WAY BACK is yours. You can receive it. But you can also throw out the deficit that each generation has left in the spiritual realm, too. It isn’t so much that things like anger, abuse, etc. are in your ‘blood’; as much as when the door to the enemy is opened (foothold), and you are raised in an environment of trauma and fear. It is easy to adopt the same behavior because it is familiar. You have heard of the girl hating her alcoholic father and then marrying one, the child who cursed her overweight mother and then became overweight herself. Your bloodline isn’t the issue – it is the modeled and learned behavior. Christ came to realign us with our heavenly family so that we wouldn’t be held captive to the mistakes of our earthly one.
Have you ever noticed that December is often the busiest time of year? Does it seem ironic that in our attempt to celebrate our Savior, our children get a little lost in the shuffle? If the Kingdom is righteousness, peace, and joy, then it would make sense that the best gift we could offer back to Him is keeping peace and joy in our homes all month long. The best way to do that is to STAY CONNECTED!! Call a family meeting and come up with 25 creative, yet simple ways to CONNECT. Each day your child wakes up and discovers a new opportunity to connect for that day. Trust me; your child would be happy with it written on a sticky note in crayon. You can simply print this list out, cut it into sections and create a paper chain to be opened daily. If doing something more creative is your thing, go for it, but I urge you to select a creative measure that brings you JOY and where you can remain in the place of PEACE. Each day should be created, planned, and completed as a family. You will be connecting with them as you include, empower and solicit their help. You can manipulate which card they get on which day based on our schedule, but your #1 goal is to CONNECT AS A FAMILY!
There is only one beginning and one end. And the chapters in between unfold in the Word. Doctors, scientists, pastors, and leaders may carry profound wisdom, but in the end, it must be in alignment with His Word. The world wants to use human wisdom and education to contradict or change God’s Word, but true human wisdom supports the Word.
With much excitement, say to the children, “Guys, Jesus is in New York! Many people are going to see Him. Do you want to go too?!” Test their responses. Many will become excited at the thought of seeing Jesus in person, which is a good thing. But some should feel a check in their spirit. Lead them to the Word to discover what it has to say about seeing Him again. Does it say He is coming to New York? That we will see Him on earth? No, it does not. Therefore, anyone making this claim, no matter how exciting the thought may be, is false.
Explore these verses as a family: 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and Matthew 24. Teach your children that many will say things that may sound true or even make us really excited but that we need to discern what is really His truth and that can be found in His Word. Get in the habit of training your children to be fact-checkers according to the Word. Teach them how to look up a verse, use a concordance and cross-references, and search the Word for His truth.
Parents – you have homework! Love is a VERB. Grab some paper and begin to write notes to your child. So tuck them in their underwear drawer, by their toothbrush, in their favorite book. Let them find your nuggets of love!!!! You can do it for your children or have them do it for each other.
CHARACTER TRAIT: Handle the word “No”.
WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE IF NOT TAUGHT: “All about me” entitlement attitude, not a joy to be around, create a fear-based environment.
WAYS TO INSTILL THIS INTO A CHILD’S HEART: No means no! Stick to your guns, discipline for arguing, talk to them about why it’s important to obey, and explain that you need to obey authority, too (God/work/police). Read, role-play, and memorize Proverbs 13:1, Luke 11:28, and Colossians 3:20.