American friends, the Dollar Store has some great costumes of armor, swords, police uniforms, and badges that go great with teaching children about Ephesians 6:10-18, using their authority, and being victorious over lies. They also have a plastic set of chains that are great for teaching them how hurts, lies, and offenses chain our hearts and how God wants us to be FREE!
- Authority, Playing in the Kingdom
Ask any adult who grew up in Minnesota in the ’80s who Jacob Wetterling is, and they will tell you. He was an 11-year-old boy who was abducted while riding his bike home, and his body was not found for 27 years. It left a bone-chilling fear in parents that the same thing could happen to their child. Parents kept their children safe by not letting them go out at night or roam the neighborhood like they once did. Countless parents partnered with FEAR over what happened to Jacob, and it shaped their parenting. The children watched their responses and learned how to handle uncertainty and danger. As a mother now myself, I get it, but what happened is that it taught a generation in that region about fear and feeling unsafe. Those kids, myself included, grew up with an undying fear that something terrible could happen. It was nearly 30 years later that I broke agreement with the fear and learned that I was safe at night.
How you respond to current events NOW has the potential to shape your child and how they respond to future crises. Are you teaching and modeling for them how to walk in fear and panic or confidence and faith? They are watching you and are learning how to respond in times of crisis.
I was teaching parents about healing and seeking God first and got this message the next day. Holy Spirit is the best Teacher, and He often illustrates the lessons with real-life situations.
“Wow… this is so awesome. I had one of my usual horrible headaches, which I normally try to ignore and massage away and then eventually need to take some extra strong pain killer to cope the rest of the day. As I was reading through today’s lesson, I started praying for healing again, which I had not done in a while, and I instantly felt relief and 8 hours later, I still have no need for medicine. I guess more than anyone in the family, it is me who is learning how to play in the Kingdom again – so that it becomes a lifestyle for my children.”
Testimony from a mom – “One morning, our six-year-old was being funny when we asked her to pray about something. Her head was hanging down, and her hair was in her face. She said she doesn’t want to because she is shy (she has said she is shy before but is my bold adventurer!). Warren and I asked her what Father was saying to her. It took a while, but she finally whispered, ‘I’m powerful.’ So we asked if it was true or a lie that she was shy and spoke a few other things God has said to her. She knew it was a lie but was cowering in fear. I knew she could see in the spirit realm, so something was obviously going on. I remembered a story you had shared about Hudson kicking a lie out the door. So I shared it with her, and she thought it was funny. I asked her if she wanted to kick out the lie that she was shy. Still acting timid, we went to the door and together said, ‘I am not shy,’ and kicked it out the door. She shut the door and began to have this tiny smile. Then, she whispers, ‘Mommy, it’s like we kicked all the sneaky, snaky things that aren’t God’s friends out the door.’ Oh, my word. Our daughter has gotten so many words about being bold, powerful, and filled with God’s light. Blessings on our children’s destinies and callings! Thank you for sharing testimonies; they are powerful!”
One morning, Lauren (then 15) led our family devotions. All of the kids woke up super late and assumed that waking late meant we would forgo our new commitment to meet in the living room at 7 EVERY morning to spend time with Jesus as a family. We talked about the sacrifice it sometimes takes to follow Jesus and that if their outfit, hair, makeup, packed lunch, etc., were perfect, it would add little to their day, but giving God room and time to speak to them would fill them in a way the other things can’t. Lauren chose to read to us from her daily devotion about the urgency of the Lord’s return and making every day count. She had each of us think of one person in our world that needed to know they were loved, and then we asked Jesus to show us HOW. Lauren shared that God highlighted a new girl at school who was crying. When she asked Him HOW she could love her, He said to hand her a card with her phone number on it and invite her to come over for dinner and go to youth group with her. The Spirit of God was all over this assignment, and we spent the rest of the time praying for Lauren’s confidence to walk in love and obedience. The ONLY thing Lauren had planned was to read the verse. God showed up and did the rest. We don’t have to be a Bible scholar, school teacher, or executive leader to usher our children to Jesus. We need to be intentional about making space and have faith He will show up.
Years ago, as I was learning how to play in His Kingdom, I often struggled to balance my hunger for Him and being a full-time solo parent of four small children. I wanted to attend meetings and training, pray for people, give people prophetic words, and be on the ministry team, but I felt like I couldn’t because my children needed me. I felt trapped between my two loves. Then, at church, a gal who barely knew me gave me a prophetic word that I was a conductor of the orchestra. She said God knew my heart longed to play the instrument, but it was time for me to pick up the conductor’s wand and help others play their instruments. I knew at that moment God was saying that I was to empower my children on how to play in the Kingdom and get under them to help them fly. Our world shifted at that moment, and I no longer felt the pull in two directions but poured my hunger into my children. Nearly a decade later, my children travel and minister with me. It has been a dance of giving them opportunities and crossing chicken lines. I watched the fruit of that one prophetic word and felt like I was witnessing my legacy. Tears of utter gratitude came freely that God did not call me to lay down my desires but multiplied them four times.
I lived in Colorado when the Columbine school shooting occurred, and it is a memory that shapes you. As much as we want to shield our children from the evil in the world, there are occasions when the right response is to empower and equip them amid danger and uncertainty.
One summer, our town was hit with deadly wildfires that kept everyone on edge for weeks. A mom came to me for help with her children, who were fighting nonstop and acting out. I asked what she told them about the fire, and she said, “Oh, we are protecting them by not telling them about it.” I lovingly encouraged her to stop lying to her children. The reality is our town WAS in danger, and we were going through REAL fear. To tell a child who feels it in the atmosphere that it is ‘nothing’ robs them of having a sound mind. Their bellies scream one thing while their trusted parent tells them another. This causes them to be confused and feel wildly insecure (hence the acting out). Children do not need to carry the weight of all the gory details, but when tragedy and crisis hit their world, in this case, their schools, parents, you have the privilege and responsibility of walking them through it. There is no doubt when school resumes, there will be talk on the playground. Picture the child who was told it was nothing by their parents and gets an earful from peers yet is expected to carry on in math class with no one to help them interpret what they are hearing. Now picture the child who was told the truth and was allowed to process their concerns and emotions with a loving parent. Which one do you want your child to be?
I encourage you to call a family meeting and talk about what is happening and allow the Spirit to lead you. Age-appropriate details are wise but share the truth, nonetheless. I like to share word pictures that help my children understand big events. In this case, I might ask them if they remember a time where they had a big meltdown and explain that sometimes adults get super upset about things and throw temper tantrums. This is the simplest way to explain the irrational behavior of an adult. Instead of seeing the offender as a big bad scary person, we can expose them for their immaturity and weakness in character. Ask them if they ever remember saying things in anger when they were mad. You can tell them there is a person who threw a big temper tantrum and has made threats with their words. When a child says mean things, they get disciplined for it by a parent, but when an adult makes threats or comments that include being mean to others, it is the policeman’s job to keep people safe.
Now is a GOLDEN time to talk to your children about Jesus being their friend. Role-play how to go to Jesus when they are away from Mom and Dad, feeling scared or afraid. This applies to overnights at a friend’s house, at the mall, or even in their schools. The enemy wants to scream fear at your child through the event, but as parents, we turn to Him and teach our children to declare the name of Jesus. I would highlight the following truths: God is in control. They have police and leaders who take their safety seriously. They are not alone – Jesus is always with them. They can ask Jesus for help. They are not a victim but powerful. I encourage you to walk your child through taking AUTHORITY over THEIR school. Recently, my daughters had to walk through over 20 classmates getting suspended or expelled for vaping. They began to rise up and pray that their school would be a no-vaping campus (out of protection for their friends). They had authority because it was their school. They can declare no weapon is allowed on their campus. Ask God to release angels to protect their school. Pray for the teachers, that they would have a check in their spirit when they need to act on something. Make declarations over their campus regarding kids being safe and protected. Remind them that they are NOT in danger, but the schools were closed to keep them safe. Fill their love tanks often today, which helps them to roll with life’s bumps. Empower them in the face of evil, not to cower in fear, but to smear the power and love of Jesus all over all that belongs to them, which includes their school.
After having the world shut down for so long, many thought once everything is opened, all will be well again. I took the kids for a drive-thru lunch and noticed cars parked in a lot that has been bare for months. I soon learned that the local stores were opening. With three teen girls, we clearly needed to join the party and do some shopping. We exited the car, full of giddy joy and excitement. Our masks were on as we waited our turn in line before entering. We grabbed our cart, and something profound happened. The atmosphere was intense. It was eerie, unpleasant, and super heavy. All of the girls reported this weird feeling of being in trouble (fear). There was little joy in shopping in an atmosphere like that. We left, and as I pondered it deeper, He showed me this. The oppression was never about the economy closing, the inability to be out in public, or the lack of shopping. The oppression was about the SPIRIT BEHIND IT. If that is not dealt with in each of us, it will remain, and we will continue to carry it around with us. Opening the stores will not resolve it because it isn’t a financial issue but a spiritual one. Yes, it manifested IN the natural and HAS affected our economy, liberties, freedoms, etc., but we do not do battle in the natural when it is a spiritual issue. Oppression is a spiritual issue and can’t be fixed with tools in the natural any more than one can put a band-aid on a broken heart or rebuke a broken bone away. We have to have the right tools for the issue. What to do? Keep breaking the tension with fear and in your own heart. As believers, we can be in perfect peace everywhere we go.
I am teaching my children about the Lord’s prayer and what it means to pray, “Heaven come – on earth as it is in heaven.” One morning during family devotions, I told them how I grew up with the belief that God was good and heaven was real, but for later, once you die. It gave us hope for what was to come. But I have learned over the years that Jesus died so we can have life and have it abundantly NOW. We talked about what the Kingdom of heaven looks like; peace, love, joy, power, clear mind, empowerment, connection, belonging, patience, honesty, truth, being seen, known, heard, understood, valued, attached to Him, family, etc. I had them think of something happening in their world and hold it in their hands. I then had them declare and pray, “Heaven, come” over that situation. Lauren felt anxious about the pep rally and having to be present but also take photos for the yearbook, not fully knowing where to be and when. When she declared, “Heaven, come,” she instantly felt peace and confidence that she would be able to figure it out. Emma was burdened by the girls in her class who gossiped behind their friend’s backs and wanted to say something to them. When she declared, “Heaven, come,” she got an increase of conviction that she was to figure out how to lovingly speak truth to them in a way that invites them into something greater (not just calling them out on it). She felt like she was to wait and really go after this with Jesus before saying something. Hudson was really burdened that he did not manage his time well last night and had homework due. When he declared, “Heaven, come,” he felt like God said to use the remaining 15 minutes and get it done. He said there was no way he could do that as it would take at least an hour. I told him to declare, “Heaven, come” over his time. Fifteen minutes later, he put it in his backpack and said, “Well, it might not have been my best job, but I did get it done.” WOW. Ellie was concerned about a test where she had to memorize something. When she declared, “Heaven, come,” she felt like God was highlighting her identity and that she was still loved and wanted even if she failed. Could you imagine a generation of ambassadors for Jesus who declared heaven COME to the world around them as a lifestyle?
If the door to fear over your child’s sexual safety is knocking, rise up and declare, “Not in my house! You are not welcome here,” and then invite the Holy Spirit to come as their Protector and Defender.
One night, Ellie had a really bad nightmare, and we dealt with it, but the following night she was afraid to go to sleep, fearing that the nightmare would come back. I asked if she wanted the nightmare, and she said, “NO!” Then I asked her who had authority over her mind. She does! I helped her walk in it and tell the nightmare it was not welcome in Jesus’ name, and we welcomed the Holy Spirit to come and play with her while she slept, which is exactly what happened! I am all for comforting a scared child, as that is part of our job as parents. But sometimes, we are actually encouraging the fear by comforting them instead of teaching them to use their authority and get rid of the junk.