NAME TAGS

NAME TAGS

Name tags identify who we are. God has written over our lives who we are with permanent markers, and we will spend a lifetime exploring the depths of our identity. When we use labels on someone, we are smearing their name tag with shame (“something is wrong with you”). A person can no longer see and explore what God says about them because you just put a blanket of shame over them. They may lie, but they aren’t liars. They may be immature, but they aren’t brats. They may be weak, but they aren’t useless. They may be ignorant, but they aren’t dumb. They may be wrong, but they aren’t hopeless. Watch the dynamics of what happens in the spiritual realm when we do this. Someone has not yet fully understood the revelation of who they are and acts accordingly. People who do not know who they are act like starving, desperate, striving orphans. Someone else is uncomfortable with their behavior and slaps a label on them, which covers up their real identity (if they could have seen it in the first place, they wouldn’t have behaved the way they did), and now instead of growing and discovering the reality of who they really are, they are doing battle with the enemy himself and what he says about them. This is a lose/lose situation. When we see people behave in a way that is less than God called them to be, do not partner with the enemy to feel powerful in your discomfort. Call out who they are despite their weakness to point them in the direction and give them a life raft of hope to cling to.

TRUTH-BASED PARENTING

Ask, “Jesus, what lies am I believing about my parenting?”. I am fairly certain I know your response. No, I am not a mind reader, but I do know that the enemy throws out these seeds to all parents, hoping to get us to partner with them because it may feel or sound true. The lie you believe about your parenting most likely sounds something like the following: I am ruining my children. I am not enough. My child will grow up to hate me. I do not have what it takes.

Friends, the enemy is a liar, and you ARE enough. Not because of you, but because GOD gave you your child, and He trusts Himself to work all things out (even your shortcomings, wounds, and messes). When a parent partners with this lie, he is taking out two generations in one because a parent who believes they aren’t enough will act like they aren’t enough. If you struggle with the lie that you aren’t enough, are ruining your child, or don’t have what it takes, write the lie out and destroy it (burn it, trash it, shred it, stomp on it, flush it or rip it). THEN ask, “Jesus, what is Your truth about my parenting?” The next time the enemy throws that lie at you, counter it with what Jesus said.

CULTIVATING GRATITUDE

Take a moment and introduce your child to Psalms 100:4-5. Children of this generation understand the language of needing a ‘password’ to enter. I love how we get to write His word on their hearts!

Psalm 100:4-5 (NIV) – “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good, and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

RECEIVING THE GOOD

Of all the things I have endured in life, the hardest part has been the healing process of receiving the good. More often than not, things like joy, play, silliness, trust, lavishing, loyalty, and laughter have been taught to me through my children. They are made in His image, not mine, and God knit them with gifts, talents, and personalities to redeem and restore what was lost in my childhood. God continues to parent us through our children. It’s like He first gives us one set of parents to raise and train us. Then He addresses the neglected or shut down areas by using our children to parent us (our kids don’t parent us, but He parents us through them). This is why family is so important to Him. He is building something in us, and the generations are interconnected.

JUST A LITTLE

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.

MAY I BE EXCUSED?

I vividly recall the day I put great effort and energy into making a special dinner for my family. I eagerly called them to the table to reveal my effort. I got less-than-sweet comments from each of the children, and they just got up and went off to play. I sat there with a huge mess to clean up and felt somewhat offended. I wanted to go on a cooking strike, vowing never to feed them again, but I realized that wasn’t a good option. I pictured them doing that in someone else’s home, and I didn’t like the thought. I knew I had to figure out a way to TEACH them what honor and gratefulness looked like in that situation. The following morning, they came to the table and I had them draw me a picture. Before they finished, I picked up and said, “Ick. I don’t like purple.” To another one, I said, “Gross. This is nasty”, and another I said, “I hate this.” They were mortified and in complete shock. I asked them how it made them feel. Awful! I explained that when someone makes a meal, it is like their artwork made with love for them. I never forced my kids to eat anything, but I set the bar for them to be grateful, gracious, and kind. After every meal, they are required to thank the person who made the meal and ask to be excused. I am not their maid, slave, or chef; I am their mother worthy of honor and respect.

BIRTH ORDER

This is in response to the many questions I get about toddlers who are regressing or acting out when the new baby comes home. I had 14-month-old twins when their brother was born, so I went after making sure they felt secure. It is a big deal for a child to have their birth order changed. Think about it – they are the only ones who get Mom’s attention; she leaves for a few days and comes back with a new baby she is with all the time. Often, Mom is recovering physically, and others intentionally keep the older child away from Mom so she can rest. This is confusing to a child, and they can surely build up resentment toward their new sibling. One thing that was super helpful was the ‘5-minute dates’ with the twins when I knew Hudson would need me for feedings and such. I would bring them to the floor with me, and we would spend quality time together. If Hudson started to cry, I would say out loud, “Oh no, not now, Hudson. Lauren and Emma are very special to me, and I am spending time with them now. You will have to wait.” Of course, you don’t make a newborn wait long, but they have no concept of time. I was communicating to them that the baby has not replaced them, and they are still so valued and important to me. But then I would tell them it was Hudson’s turn and that they needed to play by my feet, watch a movie, read a book, etc. If they wanted juice or help when I was feeding Hudson, I reminded them it was his turn, and they had to wait. I intentionally filled them up like this for many days after we brought him home, and the transition was smooth for all.

SCALES ON THEIR EYES

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.”

BUTTING HEADS

Have you ever had those days when you feel like you are constantly butting heads with a child, or they seem to be going out of their way to be a bully to their siblings, yet nothing you do seems to work? Try intentionally meeting their love language, and I bet you will see a sudden change. Children with empty tanks, even with siblings, will often fight to get it filled (obviously, in the wrong way), Love languages matter!

MAKE JOY A PRIORITY

Joy is more than an emotion. It releases a chemical in our brain that increases hope. Studies show children with higher levels of this chemical are more resilient when faced with difficulty. Make JOY a priority today!

Break out the dance music

Declare a nerf gun war

Play indoor beach ball volleyball

Tickle attacks

Wrestling matches. 

Do something out of the norm to usher in JOY.

ATMOSPHERES

Kids feel what is going on in the atmosphere even when they don’t have words for it. I actually think they feel it more because they have not yet built coping mechanisms and walls to shut it out like many adults. God doesn’t want us to manage it, nor does He want us to ignore it. He wants us to overcome it with the authority given to us through Jesus. If you feel an increase of unrest in your home, overcome it by pulling your family in closer. Home should be the safest place on earth. Have a family meeting and forgive hurts and offenses. Intentionally have a family night to connect and laugh together. Increase worship or soaking music. Pray about what is going on as a family. Remind your children how big God is by telling them stories of His incredible power in other challenging stories in the Bible. He always comes through and always knows what He is doing (always). Hug them and then hug them some more (yes, even teenagers who act like they don’t care). Remind them of who they are (not performance). Ask Jesus to show you what your children need today.

Your children need to know they are covered, safe and secure, and our job as parents is to be that verb!