The Word says if you have EVERYTHING (money, fame, status, awards, a big house, a perfect-looking family, IG followers, Pinterest-worthy snacks, A+ students, fancy cars, leadership titles, etc.), but have no love, you have NOTHING! Love matters because God designed our heart, mind, and soul to need it. I have seen the messiest of situations, exasperated parents, and the most challenging children MELT with the ointment of love.
NOTHING WITHOUT LOVE
Shock and Awe
Shock and awe (technically known as rapid dominance) is explained as a tactic based on the use of overwhelming power and spectacular displays of force to paralyze the enemy’s perception of the battlefield and destroy their will to fight. This is true in the natural times of war and how the enemy works. The enemy takes situations (opening a bill in the mail, news of a death, low grade, car accident, trauma, etc.) and uses this shock and awe tactic on people, including children. Their entire being is on alert, much like a hand where all the fingers are flexed simultaneously. The brain, mind, emotions, and nervous system are overwhelmed, and in that split-second moment before logic and coping skills kick in, the enemy whispers his lie (“You are all alone,” “No one cares,” “Your God is not powerful,” etc.). When the body, mind, and emotions begin to calm down (like fingers that go back to a relaxed state), the lie remains because, at that moment, the lie FEELS true based on the evidence. The enemy then gets to influence us because we partnered with the lie.
Here is an excellent example of how this plays out. Many in the world are beginning to calm down from the shock and awe over recent events and are overcoming this tactic of the enemy. “No, no, no, I will not be influenced by fear. I do not partner with the idea of doom or lack. I will not bow down, lie down, or shrink back. I am a child of God with a Father who has defeated the spirit behind this attack. I will cling to Him, His Kingdom, His power, His voice, and His resources in this hour.” I WILL arise!
Fear knocked, and I felt seduced by it for an hour. I finally called a friend to pray with me and heard God say, “Your hedge is not high enough.” I knew He meant that I needed to increase prayers and declarations. I needed to put a verb in my prayers, so I asked Holy Spirit for a creative idea, and this is what He gave me. I had the kids all write out their worries, fears, and statements about the coronavirus. We shared our vulnerability as a family and then shredded them. We then wrote out TRUTH statements and hung them on our Cross. We feasted on these throughout the day. We wanted to do a prophetic act about the virus passing over our home, and instantly I remembered these balls I got at the dollar store years ago (they actually look like the virus). We put a bucket of warm soapy water outside our front door, made bold declarations that the virus would pass us over, and threw them into the soapy water. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you are building a hedge of prayer around your family in this hour.
Parenting these kiddos can be a mixed bag. They care deeply not so much about what is being said but HOW it is said. They can get their hearts hurt easily by tones and harshness. Yet they come alive and are rejuvenated by words alone. I am convinced God gave us children with this wiring so that the rest of the family can learn how to walk in love, even when they are upset and frustrated. As a parent, I have had to grow and anchor myself to Proverbs 31:26 – “When she speaks, her words are wise, and kindness is the rule for everything she says.” This has also been a great training ground for the other children in learning how to tone their speech. I have learned to be sensitive to how my son is responding. If I sense a wall is being built and he is isolating himself, it is generally because he got his heart hurt. It generally just takes a “Who do you need to forgive?” and the offense is revealed. This is also my child who beams ear to ear with a kind word, verbally noticing his effort, calling out the good, and telling others about him in front of him.
The church is not closed – never has been – never will be, according to Ephesians 3:21. If you are not able to go to the church building of your choice tomorrow, CREATE YOUR OWN. Doing church at home is a great way to come together as a family. Have someone pick out a verse to share and discuss it as a family. YouTube is loaded with worship songs that have the words on the bottom. Pass juice and bread/crackers and take Communion together, talking about the meaning. Go around in a circle and share one thing you are thankful for (keep the game going until you run out of things to think of). Put on worship music (with or without words) and just lay quietly as a family, enjoying the peace of His presence. Ask Jesus what He wants to say to each person and spend time asking, listening, and sharing. Spiritual intimacy is great for family connections. Gather the kids and ask them for ideas – they always come up with great ideas.
Remember that the Kingdom is JOY – partnering with JOY as a family for your home church brings the Father great delight. Play a game, laugh, be silly and enjoy the JOY. Invite another family over to join you!
If we are mind, body, and spirit, our parenting responses should reflect this. Not all outbursts are rooted in the same defiance. Sometimes it is because of body needs such as hunger, sickness, or tiredness. Other times it is rooted in emotional hurts (heart splinters). While other times it is a lack of character where the child needs additional training on healthier responses. How do you know which one it is? You don’t, but their Creator does. Ask Him! “Jesus, will You please show me what is going on with my child right now?” “Jesus, what do they need?” I have scores of testimonies of parents who were at their wit’s end with their child’s behavior, and ‘nothing was working’ until they asked Him and what He revealed was the KEY to their heart.
Testimony from a father. This is what it is all about! The best parenting in the world means little if it does not love big.
“My wife and I discovered today which love language each of our children gravitates toward & made an intentional effort to fill them. The results were immediate & noticeable! It was as if their cup was running over & they had extra to share. Really neat!”
Is anyone noticing an increase of bickering, cranky kids, and sharp tones in their family? I know I have, and let’s call it out – it is ANNOYING! There is nothing more grinding to my ears than listening to my children use unkind tones with each other over trivial things. As I was exploring what was going on in my family, I remembered ALL of the sugar they had been consuming. Normally I let them enjoy their Halloween candy for a day or so and then collect it all, but I had forgotten to do that. I told them to get their candy, and I was mortified when I saw the massive pile of SUGAR sitting on my counter, waiting to be consumed. Yeah, NO. This will not go well to allow them to have a steady drip of this much sugar. We are mind, body, and spirit, and we cannot feed our bodies poison and expect to produce sweet results any more than feasting our eyes on violence and expecting peace. Or allowing our ears to consume gossip and slander and expect connection. In one day of removing the sugar, I noticed a massive shift in kindness, care, and gentle words!
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.
Sibling connection is important, yet without tools, language, or empowerment to create a peaceful environment, sibling conflict can be a great source of chaos in many homes.