PHYSICAL TOUCH

PHYSICAL TOUCH

We all need touch, but for those who have the language of touch, it is super easy to fill their tank! 

Here are some creative ways to speak their language: **Put your hand on their shoulder when speaking to them. **Give them a two-minute back rub when putting them to bed. **Start their day with a long embrace. **Hug them every time you leave/return home. **Hold their hand while walking. **Hold them when they are upset. **High-five those successes. **Create a special handshake. **Cuddle with them before bedtime. **Let them snuggle with you while watching a movie. **When driving reach back and hold their hand. **Sit next to them when eating out. **Hold their head when you hug them. **Give them random kisses on the forehead. **Hold them while reading a book. **Tickle their knee. **Play with their hair. 

Just because you have teens does not mean they have outgrown their language. Teens need physical touch, too.

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.

ENCOUNTERING HIS PEACE

Gather the children in the family room and bring their blankets. Read together Mark 4:35-41 and have them pretend they are in a boat that is rocking back and forth (you role-play too). If you really want to give visual effects, use a fan (wind), spray bottle (rain), and flashlight (lighting). The point being there is a STORM all around them. Then have them get under their blanket and lay down quietly for a couple of minutes. Talk to the children about Jesus’ peace in the middle of the storm. There is so much going on around us, but Jesus promises never to leave us to endure the storm alone. We can get in Jesus’ bubble, where He calms and protects us and showers us with His peace. Practice this on the days when you or the children feel out of sorts, anxious, or worried. “Hey sweetie, remember when we learned about the storm and Jesus? Do you want to get in Jesus’ bubble now?”

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.

BREAKING THEIR WILL

I know this post will shock a few of you, but I will say it anyway. Our parenting style should not reflect breaking a child’s spirit, but we should be breaking their will. Breaking one’s spirit uses tools like anger, intimidation, control, fear, dominance, rage, and projecting our wounded places onto our children. This screams at the child that who they are is not okay and teaches them they have to alter their true selves to please them and keep the peace. We have all experienced and used these tools on others. We know it by the bad fruit it produces and how it makes our hearts feel. Breaking one’s will is totally different and uses tools like empowerment, authority, discipline, being firm, encouragement, consequences, and allowing others to feel uncomfortable. This communicates to the child that they are believed in and called to a higher standard of living. It teaches them that you love and care about them enough not to leave them in their current state. It champions them into becoming all God has called them to be and gives them room to increase their capacity. I do not want to shut my child down and break their spirit. But I DO want to break their will. I encourage you not to see the following verses through the lens of disciplining harshly but rather through the eyes of a loving Shepherd that uses His rod to train, correct, and guide his sheep to keep them safe.

“Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them” (Proverbs 13:24).

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:12).

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home, walk along the road, lie down, and get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).

“A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom, but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother” (Proverbs 29:15).

“Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire” (Proverbs 29:17).

“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck” (Proverbs 1:8-9).

LOVE WORKS

Do not just take my word for it. Hear what moms and dads around the globe are saying about their own experience learning how to speak their child’s language. 

“It is so true that when there is conflict, it is usually because a love tank is low. However, we often see it as a discipline issue, and when we punish, we withdraw from it more. I like seeing that visual image of it – it all makes sense now! We determined what love language each of our kids gravitate towards & 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! I’ve been spending 5-10 mins extra in the morning connecting with my 3yo (‘filling’ his love tank), and our transitions to daycare in the morning have been seamless. In the past, he struggled with that transition and would scream, cry, and cling to us as we tried to leave. Now he gives us a hug and a kiss goodbye and is then excited to go play with his friends! Teaching them to know not only their own but also their siblings’ is brilliant! Filling their bucket is so important. I need to be as intentional about that as I am about making sure they eat their fruits and vegetables. Ha! I am really seeing the need to take time out in the day with my busy work at home and make sure each child gets their tank filled. I have seen where I have not been laying myself down in this area and getting worn out. I even feel like if I can make some sacrifices to do this, I will feel more rested because the kids won’t be as demanding. I am so excited to try and teach my kids about the love languages for sibling rivalry. It makes so much sense. Thank you for planting the seed that when siblings are fighting, love tanks are low. I see the importance for all of us to know each other’s love language! A lot of times when our daughter starts acting out, we know that she is really just needing attention and connection. However, what she usually wants to do is spend quality time playing games, reading books, etc. While this is fine for me at times, I tend to be a pretty solitary person, so actively engaging all the time can be quite difficult when all I’m craving is some peaceful, quiet time alone. That said, I need to start doing these things because I don’t want her to be missing out on connecting with me just because it’s uncomfortable for me. We had this emphasized. Our 5yo was spiraling down when I arrived at the friend’s house she’d been staying with while I ran errands. The simple act of me offering a hug and giving the gift of sharing my tea was enough for her to be able to relax and be happy. Hubby has noticed that on the days he makes a conscious effort to play with each girl when he gets home from work, it makes a huge difference. Love this lesson! I asked all of my kids what they thought their love languages were, and they each identified a different one, and we had a great conversation about how we give and receive love. The hardest one for me is ‘gifts,’ and my middle one has that one. This really encourages me to keep finding ways to connect with my kids through THEIR love language and not my own!”

REJECTION

It is one thing to reject a person because of their looks, style, personality, or character flaws. While it hurts, there is a deeper form of rejection when someone ignores, dismisses, or devalues your destiny because your destiny is the core in which you were knit together. It is not rejecting a part of you, like your personality, character flaws, or weaknesses. It is rejecting the very core of your existence. This is why learning our identity is so critical. We have to know who we are so that when others, who don’t know who they are, speak demonically-influenced words over us, we can stand on His truth about our worth, value, and calling and not cower. The world needs what you carry. You are the answer to someone’s prayer. God knit you together to be a part of His plan for the world around you. It is time to break up with and flush the words and actions done in an attempt to shut you down, silence you, and render you useless. 

May I encourage you to make a list of the actions or words that have crippled your ability to move forward? Write down the offense, but also write down the fruit of the offense. Ex: Someone spoke over you that your gifts aren’t good enough (offense), and the fruit of it has been that you have partnered with fear and intimidation, which has caused you to shrink back from other opportunities. Ex. Someone spoke over you that they don’t believe in you (offense), and the fruit of it has been that you have wandered around from place to place looking for someone to see value in you because you were too afraid to see it in yourself again. 

FORGIVE the person for being used by the enemy to put a hook in your heart. HAND OVER the pain, hurt, and regret to Jesus. ASK Jesus to show you what lie you were believing about yourself because of this event. ASK Father God what His truth is about you. INVITE Holy Spirit to teach you how to activate and use your gifts again. BLESS your spirit and tell yourself that you believe in yourself and have permission to carry on. The attack on your calling gives evidence that it is something that causes the enemy fear. It is time to stop partnering with it and get back in the game. The world is waiting for YOU!

TRUTH ADJUSTMENT

Declare this over your child, even when they are struggling and making messes. “I speak over YOU today there is still room for you at the table. Your messes are part of the growth process. There is still room for you. God has not weakened His gaze or affection over you. You have permission to be on your journey and learn as you grow! We live in a performance-based culture that values your A+ and rejects you for getting a C. God values your process and journey of becoming the full expression of who you were created to be. Break agreement with any voice telling you otherwise!”

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.

USHERING CHILDREN INTO ENCOUNTERS

Do children need to be believers to play in the Kingdom or do they play in the Kingdom to choose Him? I think it is both. When did God speak the loudest to Saul (Paul)?  When He was Jesus’ enemy #1. When did Jesus invite Matthew?  When he was full of greed. When did Jesus welcome the man on the cross?  When he was destined to hell. God’s most profound act of love was a free gift to those who didn’t know Him. Oh, yes, He cares for those who do not yet know Him. God speaks and interacts with unbelievers. And in doing so, it provides an encounter with the One who is worthy of it all. Encounters become the gateway in which many realize He is the One and make the choice to follow Him. This is a glorious, beautiful event because it becomes their testimony which no man can argue or deny. Our goal as parents should be to seek to provide our children with encounters with Him and the joy of playing in His Kingdom so that they experience Him. Head knowledge is religion where encounters are relationship.

Some ways to usher our children into an encounter could include: showing them a Scripture of how much Jesus cares about them (not just to correct their behavior), asking Jesus questions that pertain to their world, heart and cares, inviting Jesus into their pain, taking them to church, allowing them to stay with you during worship, sharing with them what He showed you during your quiet time, telling your own God stories, letting them dance at home with worship music, soaking (simply sitting/lying quietly generally with music on to feel His peace), asking God to help them with something (and then helping them see how He responded).

When my children were little, I had a sign on the wall that said, “Dear Jesus, thank You for ______. Would You please help me with ______”. Each day they would pray filling in the blanks. I was modeling for them how to be thankful and come to Jesus with what was important to their heart. At the end of the day, we would play the High/Low game where they would share what was the high and low of their day. Their highs would almost always reflect the very thing they asked Jesus for. One day my daughter asked Jesus to help her get a sweet treat. It felt rather insignificant to me, but hours later we were at a store, and a clerk said she made one too many ice cream cones and offered it to my daughter. I immediately reminded her of her prayer that morning. I saw my role as a dot connector. Teaching them to pray, then helping them see the way God was responding and speaking to them. Their faith grew each time leaving them hungry for more. We were building their stories with Him long before any of them made a personal decision to follow Him.