REST

REST

Rest doesn’t mean sitting idle and doing nothing. It means getting your identity from Him, not in what you do. If rest is something you struggle with, ask, “Jesus, will You please show me what about rest makes my heart so uncomfortable?”

CHRISTMAS STORY

We became a single-family two weeks before Christmas when the kids were tiny. That year Santa, baking cookies, and white elephant gift exchanges felt so empty to me. I burned for my children to understand they had a Father who adored them through the gift of Baby Jesus! I wanted to see how much of the story they already understood, so I told them to go in the backroom and create a skit with Hudson being Joseph, Emma as Gabriel, Lauren as Mary, and little Ellie playing the role of a wise man. It was the most precious thing I had ever witnessed. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I heard their version of the Christmas story.

This became a parenting tool for me. I would have the children role-play, act out or give a 2-minute speech on a subject, and I did it to discern what they knew, did not yet understand, or how they saw things from their point of view. I would use their play/skit or message as a way to add more to the story and help expand their understanding. It made ‘teaching’ fun and full of joy rather than lecturing. Now that they are older, they are less thrilled with acting out a story, but I have them create a 2-minute video or speech and share it with the family. It helps them pull in deep to see what is inside of them. This has been great with topics such as drugs, slander, bullying, kindness, respect, etc. Pick any story in the Bible and ask your children to create a skit acting it out. Then add more to the story as the days roll on to help them grasp the story deeper.

CHILDREN & SALVATION

COMING HOME

Introducing your child to the free gift of salvation is the most – THE MOST – important and precious responsibility we have as parents. It is not to be taken lightly or carelessly. Their eternal choice affects your family’s generational legacy and is forever. I am not going to give you the 1,2,3 steps in how to lead your child because this is so much more than “Here, do this…” I encourage you to pray about this first and really sit with Holy Spirit and get His heart for your child and what He is doing in them right now. Take this seriously and partner with Him. There are no rules in how one can accept Jesus but there are some foundational truths in what Biblical salvation must entail. This is so important for parents to not only understand but to proactively teach it to their children especially in today’s world where there are so many false teachings, faulty understandings of God’s plan, and twisted messages.

Biblical salvation must include the truth that: #1. God loves me (Romans 5:8, John 3:16, Romans 8:38-39) #2. I have sinned (Romans 3:23, Matthew 25:46) #3. God sent Jesus to take my place (1 Peter 2:24) #4. If I believe in Him, I will be adopted (Romans 10:9-10). I encourage you to do this in one sitting or pick one theme a day to build up the story. The goal shouldn’t be to get them saved (unless Holy Spirit is moving), but to arm them with truth and understanding. I bought these wooden pieces at the local craft store to help give visuals. Anytime you can role-play, act out or partner with JOY it makes the principles come to life for the child. I encourage you to pray about this and ask Holy Spirit to show you what He is doing in your child’s life already. Partner with Him.

#1. God loves us – period. This is the entire basis of creation and salvation. God loves us and desires that we would choose Him and have a relationship with Him that would reflect a child perfectly secure in their Father’s love, protection, provision, and affirmation. Talk to the kids about God’s love – what does it look, sound, feel like? Ask them if they have felt loved before from someone and then compare that to God’s love for them. Spend time exploring a love that can never ever be damaged or ruined. WOW.

#2. We are ALL sinners. Even cute, sweet little babies are born sinners. We all fall short of the glory of God. No one, not one, can boast, except Jesus of being pleasing to God on their own. This is a massive lesson in humility and having an accurate assessment of our spiritual state without Jesus. Talk to the kids about sin and that it is anything that displeases God. Sin isn’t a list of rules, but things that make God sad because He knows it will not go well with us or bless us. Talk about ways we sin. Yes, some sin appears to be bigger like murder, but to God it is all the same. Talk about how many things we do a day that fall short of His best for us. Share your own experiences with the ways you have fallen short in the past 24 hours. Model humility.

#3. God sent Jesus to die on the Cross for our sins. Someone has to pay the price, be accountable for the crimes committed and God loves us so much He allowed Jesus to get the ‘spanking’ for us. Hell is a real place and when God says He sent His Son to save us, He isn’t kidding. While hell can be a big topic for small children it is important for them to know it isn’t a choice between earth and heaven. God spared us from a dark place that is for forever. You can use as strong or sensitive of language as appropriate for your child, but the picture of hell is that there is isolation/being alone, no connection, total darkness where there is no help, no peace or joy, and never being able to relate to Jesus. A good word picture small children would understand would be sitting in a dark closet in a time out for the rest of their lives. Jesus came to open the closet door and let us out!!! Jesus is the bridge between darkness and light. Jesus is the One who carries us to the Father in His arms. No one gets to the Father except through Jesus.

#4. We have to do our part in accepting this free gift and say with our mouth that we acknowledge we have sinned and believe that Jesus died on the Cross for our sins. When we do that God adopts us into His family forever. Heaven is a huge concept for kids to grasp but zoom in on the fact it is unbreakable and forever. Talk about what it means to be a Son or Daughter in God’s Kingdom. Luke 15:10 – “There is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.”

I encourage you to use the verbiage, “Someday maybe you will decide you want Jesus in your heart,” instead of asking them if they want to pray. Why? Because children love to please you, and this is something that needs to be Holy Spirit-led. Your job is to teach them; His job is to save them. I cannot wait for your children to be adopted, move into the palace and join the party – FOREVER!

GOOD ENOUGH

Sometimes when parents set the bar high for standards and kids don’t measure up, they partner with the lie that they aren’t good enough. This is not about parents doing it wrong for setting high standards, but about the wrong message sinking into their heart. Children need to be called to a high standard AND experience grace for missing it. This is called childhood, which is the training ground to becoming whole, healthy, fruitful adults. Children are a work in progress and grace must be a part of that process. When a child fails to meet expectations, it becomes a great opportunity to discuss ways they can grow in their capacity to achieve different results next time and become better.

TIPPING POINT

Your family’s prayers can change the world – literally! Revelations shares how the story ends. Pay attention to Revelations 8 – “The smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God . . . Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth” (Rev. 8:4-5). This is not to be taken lightly or flippant. When you pray, you are filling the prayer bowls of heaven. Gather your family and place a bowl with a little water in the center of the table. Give each person a glass filled with water and a spoon. Play a game to see how many spoonfuls of water they can get into the larger bowl to make it spill over (literally). It will simply take ONE more spoon full of water to tip the water over the edge. Have fun, and let joy break out. Then share the verse above and tell them that their prayers can change the world. I encourage you to use Philippians 4:6-7 as your prayer guide as a family. Talk about the verse, act it out, and then pray in response to each line. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. 

**Don’t worry about anything – make a list of the things you are worried about. 

**Take that list and pray over each item. 

**Tell God what you want and need. 

**Thank Him for what He has done in the past. 

**Thank Him for what He is going to do now.

MORE LIKE JESUS

 If I were to ask moms if they wanted to be more like Jesus, most would eagerly raise their hand with a resounding, “Yes!” Yet few of us understand or enjoy the process of becoming more like Him. Let me explain how God gives us an opportunity to be more like Jesus the moment we become parents.

Every home we have lived in had an open floor plan and my four children (very close in age) would begin in one end of the house and zoom in and out of the kitchen, dining room, living room and then repeat over and over at record speed. I am a very fun mom and can handle noises and messes, but it was like they would hit a certain octave and my blood pressure would shoot up. I would cash in on my parental authority and command that everyone switch gears to something more peaceful. I couldn’t shut it down fast enough. This would go on for years and I could never really figure out why I was fine one minute and not the next. One day when I was barking orders for peace, I heard God say, “What are they doing wrong?” I replied, “I don’t know, but I don’t like it.” I began to see that maybe this was my issue and not theirs. For the next month, whenever the kids raced around the house, I would go in the back room and process my heart. I felt anxious, scared and uptight, yet my ears were hearing joy, laughter, and connection. Why was this so upsetting to me? God began to show me that when I was little and my siblings and I would get crazy, all hell would break loose and someone would get punished severely. You didn’t want to be on the receiving end, but worse yet was having to endure listening to your siblings get the wrath. He showed me that joy scared me because it meant someone was going to get hurt. He gave me four bundles of JOY to restore what was lost in my own journey. I began to cry at the reality of just how anxious joy made me feel.

Of all the things I have endured in life, the hardest to walk through has been the healing process of receiving the GOOD. And more times than not, it was something modeled through my children (joy, play, silliness, trust, lavish, loyalty, laughter). They are made in His image, not mine, and God knits them with gifts, talents, and a personality to redeem and restore what was lost in mine. God continues to parent us through our children. It’s like He gives us one set of parents to raise and train us and whatever area was neglected or shut down He continues the job when we become parents and uses 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.

HeartWork – Get out your journal and recall the last time you had an above average reaction to something your child did. Ask Jesus some questions and allow Him to minister to your heart (do not be introspective, but rather ask and listen to what He has to share). “Jesus, was this their issue or mine?” If it was your issue, ask, “Jesus, what was my heart feeling at the time?” “What made my heart so uncomfortable at that moment?” “When was the first time I felt that emotion?” “What did my heart need?” If your reaction to something is on a scale of 1-5, chances are you are just feeling a response to the event, but if your reaction is a 6-10, there is a good chance you are being triggered from previous situations that brought pain. God wants to heal that place so that you can respond in love and walk in peace.

Use these questions the next time you are triggered with a higher than usual response to your child and allow those uncomfortable moments to be the times you are molded to be more like Jesus. We don’t want our wounds or lack parenting our children. We want to parent from a place of wholeness and freedom. Understanding this is so important because oftentimes we react to our children who aren’t doing anything wrong, yet our reaction (out of a wounded or hurt place) teaches them that it is not okay to be who God made them to be, such as joyful (in my case). Allow Him to parent you through your child!

P.S. I am proud of you for doing the hard things so that your child doesn’t need to reap the fruit.

BOOK CLUB

Moms from all over have hosted BOOK CLUBS using our JOURNEY book. Simply gather moms in your house, at the park or coffee shop and order a book for each person. Walk through the material and together grow in building your family.  Journey is a 128-page magazine-style book that empowers parents on how to align their family with His. We will walk through how to hear God’s voice, connect with your children, play in the Kingdom and resolve childhood issues in childhood. 

Order yours now! Journey Book – Let the Children Fly

DISOBEDIENCE

Your child is not being disobedient to resist the things in you that are not Kingdom. What do I mean? So many times, parents come to me out of pure frustration over a child who is rebelling, angry or defiant. But once we explore the situation deeper with Holy Spirit, we discover that the parent is partnering with fear, control, or woundedness, and the child is simply reacting to what is out of alignment and will not follow that path. That is ultimately a good thing, as God parents us through our children. Not all conflict in the home is the child’s fault. Sometimes it is God allowing us to see what is in our hearts that need to be aligned. Your child is not being disobedient to resist the things in you that are not Kingdom – that’s called God’s redemption!

CULTIVATING GRATITUDE

Gather the kids and talk about the things most dear to your heart. Ask them what is one thing they couldn’t live without. Spend time thanking Jesus for giving it to you.

MAY YOU BECOME MORE LIKE HIM

My goal is to take your hand and place it in Jesus’ hand so that you walk this together out with Him. He is the One who sees, knows, and holds the keys to your freedom. He is the One who purchased your forgiveness, healing, and wholeness. He is the One able to heal, redeem and restore. He is the One who loves you far beyond what your mind can grasp. He is the One who understands. Jesus is your friend, Holy Spirit is your guide, and Father God is your anchor.

Before you begin, start off by inviting Him. “Holy Spirit, I welcome You to come and reveal whatever it is You want to show me. I ask for an increase of Your peace and presence. Open my eyes to see what You see. Open my ears to hear what You have to say. Open my heart so that I can receive all that You have for me. In Jesus’ name.” 

I have a few keys for you:

Journal – I encourage you to get a journal and be intentional about spending time writing and processing whatever He is revealing to you. Sometimes we can process things better on paper, and it serves as a great reflection to go back and see how the Lord is leading us step by step. 

Worship – Increase your worship. I know you are all busy, but this is like charging your batteries, so you aren’t running on empty. Worship fills you with His presence and envelopes you in His love. Worship aligns, alters, and shifts things inside of us without our minds and bodies being aware. Worship puts the focus back on Him and increases our faith. You can have an intentional time of worship, play your favorite set while making dinner, find worship channels on YouTube, or listen while you are driving, taking a shower, or while the kids are playing. Listen to it while falling asleep or be intentional to take a five-minute break on the floor and saturate yourself in His presence. The goal is not to see how little you can do, but the truth is, a little bit of His presence changes everything. 

Community – While your struggle might have a different name, the truth is we all have our areas of weakness, triggers, and make messes. Invite a friend to a park date and have the kids play while you talk about the posts and what God is revealing to you. Ask them over for coffee or plan an informal mom’s night out to bring it up in discussion. You will be surprised just how much others long to be seen in their parenting. Be the one who breaks the ice and creates space for them to be seen and grow. 

2 Corinthians 3:16-18, (MSG) says, “Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.” 

May He be revealed to you deeply, and may you become more like Him!

ETCHED ON THEIR HEARTS

My mom was a school teacher and not only had gorgeous penmanship, but she also had a high value for it. Homework wasn’t just supposed to be accomplished in our house; it was also supposed to be done neatly. My writing was never perfected like hers, but even as an adult, whenever I write something sloppy, I have an internal check that I should either slow down or redo it. When we proactively teach our children who they are, we are helping them partner with God’s truth about them, which anchors them through life experiences. Example: God told me early on that my son would be a gentleman, so I have called it out since he was two years old. I have looked for ways he can practice being a gentleman (opening doors, helping with strong things, giving up his chair for an elderly lady, etc.). When my son does not act like a gentleman, something goes off inside of him that feels funny because he is acting in a way that is contrary to his true nature.

Children will exercise their flesh and act out; it is the nature of a child, but having the truth written in them helps guide them to become the person they are created to be. When children are not told who they are, they are influenced to become the things God never designed them to be.