PUT YOUR STAKE IN THE GROUND

PUT YOUR STAKE IN THE GROUND

Put your stakes in the ground. I kept hearing this phrase over and over. I finally sat down to explore what God was telling me about it. After doing some research on it, I discovered that authority is exercised when we put our stakes in the territory God has given us.

One example I found explained that when Native Americans learned they were going to lose their land, they would put a stake in the ground and tie a rope to someone’s foot making them defend their territory to their death. Their belief was that it was better to die defending your territory than be chased away. I camped out with God for a while on this concept of putting your stake in the ground and felt like our family needed to grab ahold of it more.

We went on a family outing and picked out our stakes from the local home improvement store and then came home and wrote down the things that we will not be moved in. The areas, principles, or convictions that we will not settle for less in. God has given us land to occupy, and we will not shrink back, be moved, or be bullied in this space. We wrote them on our stakes and drove them into the ground (if you can’t find stakes, popsicle sticks or wooden sticks from the craft store work well, too). We put them in the front yard so that each time we leave the house, we are reminded of our territory and not to shrink back from it. 

GENERATIONAL LIFE CYCLE OF A PARENT

We all have life cycles and I wanted to take a moment to make some general comments about the life cycles of our family circle. Each season builds upon the next.

MARRIED BEFORE CHILDREN – Two becoming one. This is where husbands and wives take their generational line and merge them together as one. It is a time of deciding what things you want to pass onto your children and what things you can leave behind.

CONCEPTION – A season of great joy, often with conviction that shapes the kind of parent you will become. The “I will never _____ with my child” or “I am always going to make sure _____” are statements of adult children becoming the parents in their family line. It is a changing of the guards, so to speak. While grandparents surely still have a powerful role in the family, there is a new reigning body that makes decisions that will affect future generations one way or another.

INFANCY – This is the season of great joy. Eye contact is vital, releasing a brain chemical that continues their brain development. Oohing and ahhing over a newborn is not just ‘cute’ but impacts their future relationship with their parents. They are learning to trust and be comforted by Mom and Dad. Parents are becoming empowered as they steward what has been entrusted to them.

TODDLER – The primary role of the parent in the toddler season is to intentionally teach them #1. Obedience to your voice and #2. Self-control. A toddler left to themselves will destroy a place in a matter of moments, not because their heart is ill, but because they have little self-control, and they want what they want when they want it. Parents who have learned to train a child’s will (not break their spirit) will reap the fruit for decades. Toddlers who learn they are covered by healthy parents learn to respect other adults, including when they enter the classroom. This is not a one-time teaching but a long season on which you will be building upon.

SCHOOL AGE – The primary role of a parent during the school-age years is to teach right from wrong. We must first teach in a proactive measure in the time of peace so that we are setting our children up for success.

Example: If we have never taught our children that stealing is wrong and they pocket a cool toy from the local store, disciplining them is nothing short of punishment. We have to make note our child has an area of needed growth, and we take that as our cue that they need to be empowered and grow. We teach them what we DO want, role-play what it looks like and then enforce it. If, after doing your part, a child willfully chooses not to comply, then you can issue a consequence but not on their first offense without you doing any training first.

PRETEEN – This is where parents begin to move from keeping them safe to allowing them to explore parts of the world on their own even if it means they tumble and stumble a bit. This can be a very scary time for parents, but if you have done your part to lay the foundation of right/wrong, we have to give them room to try it on and see how both camps feel. A child who makes a mess when they are ten and learns from it is going to be grateful compared to the 24-year-old who was always told what to do and didn’t know how to make their own choices. When they chose poorly, it becomes a discussion of right/wrong and issued consequences that keep the discomfort on them (not you). A parent’s primary role is to be a judge. To gather all of the information, decide what is right (righteous) and wrong (sin), and issue consequences that help empower them to do better next time. Children are learning their consequences are becoming bigger as their choices impact more than just stealing a cookie from the cookie jar.

TEEN – This season can be super fun but also very challenging. Teen brain is a real thing. We move from setting them up for success to giving them room to manage their choices. Do they still need you? More than you will ever know. But they do not want or need a parent to treat them like a ten-year-old. They want freedom and independence. Think of Genesis 2, which states: “A man will leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” We want to help point them in the direction one step at a time of being ready to walk out the front door and have the ingredients needed to one day lead their own family with success and bear good fruit. What they need from you is kindness, encouragement, support, and for you to continue to be their cheerleader. When they are faced with choices, be their INFLUENCER by asking questions and letting their brain exercise the ability to process and create position results. I tell my son often that the goal is to get him to stand on his own without doing it alone.

ADULT – The primary role of this season is to be their friend and treat them as your equal. While you will always be their parent, your authority over their choices is diminished (not in the spiritual realm). Cover them, keep the door open, let them walk out their own testimony, and trust that God has them.

What if you didn’t focus on eye contact as an infant, or laid down the framework of right living in the toddler years or have not been an intentional parent to teach them right from wrong? You start where you are and go from there. But we don’t use it as an excuse not to do it.

BLESS THOSE WHO CURSE YOU

Do you ever feel like you understand a Biblical concept only to be challenged by it greatly and discover there is so much more to learn? That is what it has been like for me in the area of responding to evil, wrongdoings, and injustices. There were a series of events that happened not to me, but to my children. Some were even considered criminal, and it has caused me to press in deeper than ever before. 

As I was processing, I thought of the verse to bless those who curse you. My mind argued that the verse doesn’t really say, “BLESS”, right? I was sure it said, “Pray for those who persecute you…” I had to look it up. NOPE! It says to BLESS them. I had an internal battle of how unfair it was to BLESS someone for injustice. And furthermore, doesn’t that disrupt the Biblical principle of reaping and sowing? I was deeply uncomfortable as I sat with the Lord allowing Him to make all things right and straight in my mind and heart over this issue. 

Yes, I am to BLESS those who do wrong.

Why? Because wrongdoings are rooted in evil. There is no gray area – it’s either His Kingdom or the enemy – PERIOD. If someone does something because they are being influenced by the enemy, whose goal is always to kill, steal and destroy, my RESPONSE is what makes the difference between their evil doing having a victory or not in my life.

My mind was getting it but there was something in my heart that was still struggling. If you get blessed for wrongdoing, then what’s the point in doing good? Suddenly God showed me a picture of a Velcro vest. The kind you use in fun nerf gun wars where the bullets are meant to stick on you. BINGO! I got it. The eyes of my heart were opened. 

When I BLESS someone for evil doing, their bullets do not stick to me.

When I refuse to bless the intent of the wrongdoing sticks.

As I shared this with my team, one of the girls said she felt like she was going to throw up as a serious criminal act was done against her and the thought of blessing him made her sick to her stomach. Does she really need to bless him? YES, as the Scripture applies to my situation, her situation, those who have lost loved ones over murder, whose child has been harmed, those who have endured things like Holocaust, yes, the verse is the same for all Sons and Daughters. 

But the KEY is in the interpretation of ‘BLESS.’ To bless doesn’t always mean prayers of ‘blessings’, open doors, and favor. To bless means to throw back heaven at them. In my friend’s situation, things like repentance and conviction are Kingdom and ultimately one of the richest blessings in a person’s life as it causes them to be made right with Him. 

When wrongdoings happen, our response should be to take a hold of the ball as fast as possible and throw back the things of heaven in a measure of blessing them with GOOD for their evil. 

Romans 12:14 – “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”

I encourage you to plant the seeds deep in your child’s heart in this regard. Do you have Velcro vests? Nerf guns? Bring them out and play a round of friendly fire. Don’t have any? No problem. Think of something you can use that would STICK on someone. 

A ball made of tape with the sticky side out

A glob of peanut butter (that would get their attention)

A dusting of flour or powdered sugar

Call a family meeting and toss the item on them making it stick. Explain that it represents evil wrongdoings, offenses, rudeness, injustices, etc. Talk about what that looks like. 

Then share how our job is to pick up the bullet/peanut butter/powdered sugar, etc. as fast as possible and throw it back at them but with a BLESSING. 

Talk about the different ways to bless someone. 

FEAR OF SICKNESS

We have got to realign our children so that they do not grow up being germaphobic, afraid of affection, and managing fear. There is a difference between truth-based concern that should move us into wisdom and creating a demonic stronghold.

SPANKING

I was a part of an amazing single group in my 20s. One of the guys talked about spanking his (future) children and how his parents modeled it in such an honoring way. I argued that it was wrong, and we had an hour-long debate. He opened me up to a world where parents can actually spank in love without losing their temper. It wasn’t to harm the child; it was to help guide them. I want to take a moment and talk to those who were like me and argued that it was wrong. When someone brings up spanking, what is happening in your heart? Are you anxious? Nervous? Scared? I want to circle that place and zoom in on it. My goal isn’t to get you to spank. My goal is for you to see the unrest in your heart because it will affect your ability to walk in the authority you are given. For me, it wasn’t about the actual act of spanking as much as it was the fear of hurting my child and fear that my child would resent me like I did my parents for their harsh parenting. Unless and until that is resolved, I will be unbalanced in my ability to parent my children well. I would be parenting them out of fear rather than authority. When children learn they are the ones with the power, it leaves them feeling insecure, which only increases their need to be strong. It does not matter how strong they appear; they are not orphans. The safest place for their mind, body, and spirit is under your authority and covering. Yes, many of you have strong-willed children. It is your responsibility as a parent to help them submit their will to your authority, but if you have an ongoing fear about using authority, you will only lead your family to the other side of the pendulum. Let’s find Jesus in the middle and walk in alignment with Him.

HeartWork – Go back to the place of anxiety and unrest and ask, “Jesus, will You please show me what I am afraid of in disciplining my child?” Sit with Him for a moment and allow Him to minister to that part of your heart.

AUTHORITY

Ever have those days where you feel hit from all sides and yet do not know why? Ever feel like a python squeezes you to the point you can’t breathe? Or feel like you are in a war without a name? There is the natural realm with our flesh – all things on earth. There is the heavenly realm which is all things in heaven. But there is the spiritual realm that operates between the two. Satan is the ruler of the spiritual realm. (Adam was, but he gave the keys to Satan in the garden). There is more to what we see and hear. There is an atmosphere of things unseen all around us. Have you ever felt so much love in a room or house? Someone is releasing that into the atmosphere, and you are coming into that presence. Have you ever gone somewhere and fear met you at the door? Again, it is an atmosphere that has been released. Jesus has authority over everything (Matt 28:18), and we can change the atmosphere in His name. How do we do this? By discerning what is being released (and not assuming it is just you) and releasing the opposite spirit. Let me say it this way: tell hell to go in Jesus’ name. Invite heaven to come. In today’s age, much fear and doom are being released by people’s words, the news, social media, etc. I have been on active alert to loosen the spirit of fear that is behind it and command it to go. I have been aware that my declarations of hope, life, and peace are crucial in this hour for my own spiritual health and those around me. 

Years ago, I felt attacked relentlessly, and it was intense. All I could do was lie on my bed feeling all alone, completely consumed, and like I was sinking deeper and deeper into a pit. Ever been there? I eventually reached a dangerously low place in the pit and realized if I did not fight my way out, I might not get out. I knew from experience that this was never a good place to be. I texted a handful of prayer warriors who I knew would bombard the heavenlies on my behalf. I called a friend with whom I could be real and messy. I talked to my mentor and bared all with her. Then, the revelation breakthrough came: I HAVE AUTHORITY OVER THIS! A few days later, I was watching the news and heard of a major story that confirmed what I was feeling/sensing that day. I realized at that moment that I was feeling it for a reason. I became hungry not only to discern what I was sensing in the atmosphere but to be an active participant in releasing heaven in those situations. What you speak, declare, and pray is powerful and has the power to change situations, circumstances, and outcomes. Proverbs 18:21, James 5:16, Matthew 28:18. 

HeartWork: Let’s walk this out. Sit quietly for a moment and take a few breaths. What are you feeling/sensing? Fear? Peace? Joy? Strife? Confusion? Comfort? Love? Discern whether what you are feeling is in heaven. Will we experience that in heaven? If not, then you have authority over it. Searching for a Scripture that backs up His truth can be helpful. Say you were feeling anxious and are led to Philippians 4:6. You can declare, “Anxiety, I loosen you to go now in Jesus’ name. You may not speak to my emotions. I invite Holy Spirit to fill me with His power and love.”

BABY FEAR

I once saw a young single mom asking for help on Facebook. She told this story: Suddenly, her baby daughter didn’t like her car seat and was having difficulty getting her strapped in. There were THIRTY-FOUR responses: give her a treat when you put her in, give her a new toy, etc. One response even said to give her Tylenol every time they had to go somewhere. The key word in her story was “suddenly.” I asked her what happened leading up to it. And she explained that the baby had been really sick for a week with a high fever. They all were itching to get out after a week at home and thought the baby was well enough to go to Wal-Mart. The minute they pulled onto the highway, the baby started violently throwing up. And since then, she wouldn’t sit in her car seat. Can you picture being so small and having your body violently throwing up for the first time? You are strapped tightly into a car seat and can’t fully heave forward (talk about restraint!). You have vomit all over you and aren’t old enough to communicate with your mom. That is a scary situation for anyone, much less a helpless baby. I told her that I believed she was dealing with a spirit of fear. The enemy doesn’t care how little or cute she is. She opened the door by being afraid, and he jumped! It’s his job, and he does it well. A week later, I ran into the grandma and asked how it was going, and she told me that now the baby would scratch herself to the point of bleeding, and it took two adults to get her strapped in. I will be honest in saying that my blood boils when the enemy is all over our children, and parents are clueless! This is where we have been so duped by the church and need to wake up!

I asked Grandma if she knew how to take authority over the spirit of fear, and she said she didn’t. I walked her through her authority and the prayer that said something like, “Fear, I see you, and you have to go. In the name of Jesus, you have no authority in my vehicle or over my granddaughter. I release peace now over my granddaughter and her car seat.” Done! She messaged me later to say they did it on the way out of church, and the granddaughter immediately went right into the car seat as if nothing had happened. It wasn’t the car seat she was reacting to. It was a demonic spirit that was sitting there waiting to torment her because it had a legal right to be there. Fear is not an emotion; it is a spirit that must be dealt with using our authority in Jesus.

MY DOMAIN

If we want change in our world, we must first use our authority and defeat the enemy in our hearts and home.

I SPY

In the days ahead, be spies for God by calling out every time you see God showing His love, protection, care and tenderness for your children. When you see God’s faithfulness, love, and protection over them, call it out. 

“Sweetie, that was God. He loves you so much”, “Buddy, that was God watching out for you”, “WOW, I love how God takes care of you by _____.”

SPRAY BOTTLE

A great tool for teaching children their authority is to take a spray bottle and catch them off guard by spraying them. Teach them that, like a sneeze, we are always releasing something into the atmosphere. When we throw a tantrum at the store, we aren’t just doing that to Mom but to everyone around us. When we hit our siblings, we are releasing that into the atmosphere. When you are kind, that gets released, too. As you teach, keep surprising them with sudden sprays that fall onto their skin. We release those things into the atmosphere when we release God’s love, respect, honor, kindness, joy, etc. Which one do they want to release? Since my kids have a grid for this now, all I have to say is, “Hey guys, what do you think just got released into the atmosphere?” We can teach children to take the spiritual temperature of a room and then release the opposite. There is power in the name of Jesus that shifts things in the atmosphere everywhere we go!!