Do you have a child who is a PEACEKEEPER? Those that avoid conflict at all costs and run into the other room when tensions mount? While peacekeepers are made in His image, it is super important to help them learn how to process the conflict other than just dislike it and pretend it is not there. Ignoring is not the tool of Heaven. Many kiddos are having a hard time in this season of so much chaos in the atmosphere. They have felt the conflict and yet don’t fully understand it. I encourage you to praise them for their desire for peace and validate that the presence of God is PEACE, but that sometimes we feel the opposite and can be used as agents of peace. Give them some additional tools: they can talk about their feelings, draw them out, act them out, release peace, dance, write a letter, journal, and go do sports. We want to empower their natural bent for peace without forcing them to bury their heads in the sand and walk in fake peace.
How many of you were parented in a way you do not wish to repeat with your children? If that is you, please hear this!!! When you vow not to parent like your parents, you fix your eyes on them and what they did/didn’t do. We yoke ourselves to whatever our eyes are set upon. Guess what? You will not be able to enter the fullness of what God has for you as a parent because your eyes are on man, not Him. Dad was intimidating – “I will never make my child feel intimidated”, Mom was emotional – “I will never show my child out-of-control emotions”, Dad was absent – “I will never leave my child alone”, Mom was angry – “I will never get angry with my child”, Dad was dominating -“I will never control my child”. While all of these may be true to some extent #1. You are seeing your parents through the eyes of a child. #2. You are replacing their less-than-ideal parenting with another faulty parenting plan. #3. You will rob yourself of parenting skills and tools and may look and feel like your parents, but it isn’t. The heart and motive behind parenting tools make all the difference in the world. You are using your parents’ choices to guide you, which will not lead you where you need to go. We can only parent fully when our eyes and heart are on HIM. We need to break the vow, “I will not parent like my mom/dad did,” and need to release to them their choices so that we are free to make our own.
I encourage you to spend some time today and walk through the following. Forgive your parents for the ways they parented you outside of the way God parents us. Repent of making a vow not to be like them. “Jesus, I confess I have yoked myself to my parent’s choices. I repent of putting my eyes on anyone other than You. Will You please forgive me?” Don’t just ask for forgiveness, but truly receive His reply. Ask Jesus, “Jesus, will You please show me what was going on inside my mom/dad to partner with that parenting style?” Allow Him to reveal to you what He sees in their heart and what is going on for them. The true fruit of forgiveness is the ability to have compassion for one’s ill choices, not because you like or accept them, but because you have a greater understanding. Ask Jesus, “Jesus, will You please show me what lies I have believed regarding my parenting?” Ask, “Father, will You please show me a picture of how I can model my parenting after You and Your heart?” Invite Holy Spirit to be your teacher. “Holy Spirit, I give You permission to show me how to parent after the Father’s heart. Please teach me what it looks like to parent as a Son/Daughter.” Thank Jesus for aligning you so that your children can reap the fruit of healthy parenting that reflects His heart.
I love this one. I often get a fun package of sticky notes (fun shapes, cool colors, cute animals) and then write words of truth to each child and stick them in their underwear drawer, between their folded shirts, in their lunch box, on the mirror, in their shoes – the ideas are endless. If they have a test, I will write, “You can do this!” and place it in their book or “Remember, you are never alone” in their lunch bag. If my kids spend the night elsewhere or go to camp, they are armed with TRUTH notes from Mom!
Finding pockets of joy is a deal-breaker in the midst of the battle because it increases a chemical in our brain that gives us the will to endure hard things. Laughing when you are heavy is hard, but it is one of the greatest muscles you can utilize in the midst of a battle. Make a list of 3-5 things that would bring your heart a smile – DO IT!
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.
We cannot resolve conflict with the spirit of religion. We resolve conflict WITH God, not FOR Him.
What happens inside of you when you hear, “Mommy, will you come play with me?” If you have a strong reaction to that question, may I encourage you to ask Jesus this question? “Jesus, what about play makes my heart so uncomfortable?” So often, children are told that play is loud and messy and are taught to shut it down. As a result, children grow up being adults who do not know how to play and partner with JOY. It is God’s plan to redeem that in you through your child’s natural ability to play. If we do not learn to be re-introduced to joy, we will simply pass on to our children what was taught to us. So break the cycle – GO PLAY!
We were away from home, and the kids were all getting in a funk; lots of small conflicts, attitudes, and agitations. Having to correct them constantly gets old, so I flipped the situation by turning it into a game. I gathered them together in a circle and asked them to keep their mouths closed, but they had to have eye contact with someone else at all times. I wanted them to SEE the people around them. Then I held up a mirror and said, “This is who you have been focused on, but I want you to keep your eyes on someone else.” When we went to breakfast, they tried to outdo each other by showing kindness and love to others. They were opening doors, putting garbage away, smiling, saying “thank you,” letting others go first, etc. The Kingdom is JOY, and sometimes partnering with the Holy Spirit to devise creative ways to get to their heart impacts them more than reaping the spirit of religious rules over their head!
If we focus on being a perfect parent and handling everything just right, we will surely fail because Jesus is the only perfect human. However, our weaknesses, failures, wounds, and mistakes do not disqualify us from equipping our children with the truth that while we may have blown it, Holy Spirit is never impatient or annoyed with us. While Dad might be distracted or absent, Papa God is always eager for our attention and company. Where Mom may lack, He always provides. Where we stumble, He is able. How will children know this unless we actively teach them about the faithfulness of God? So, the next time you blow it, use it as an opportunity to teach your child how awesome and good Father God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit really are and that while we try, we are not always like Him, but praise God, He isn’t like us either!
People think parenting and raising children are the same thing. We raise chickens, not children. Raising chickens looks like letting them follow us around aimlessly, pecking at our ankles, throwing them some food, and cleaning up poop every once in a while. That should not describe our parenting. As parents of powerful children, we teach, train, and equip them through intentional actions. Simply having a child under your foot 24/7 is not parenting.
The first time I introduced soaking to my children, I invited them to bring their pillows and blankets and lay in my room. We invited the Holy Spirit to be with us and sat still while we played Mike Seth’s Soaking CD. Ellie was having a hard time being still, and I kept ordering her to “shhh” until Holy Spirit whispered to me to cuddle up next to her and do it WITH her. She finally settled down and could enter the place of rest with Jesus. Soaking is an incredible thing to do with a family when there is a high level of stress or when a child has gotten hurt over something. I look at soaking as wrapping up in the biggest, warmest blanket from Heaven! At bedtime, my son would say, “Mom, will you put that blanket on?”