REVIVAL TO A CHILD
Picture a jail. Isaiah 61:1 and Luke 4:18 both talk about captives and prisoners, but what is the difference between the two? Both of them are in jail. One is a captive, meaning he was brought there against his will but is free to walk back out. The other one is a prisoner who has committed a crime and must have keys to walk out. The keys are in Matthew 18:23-35. When I first read these verses, I couldn’t believe my eyes. We cannot overlook this Scripture. I want to highlight verse 35. WHO? So shall WHO? It says, “So shall my Father in heaven do to you.” Guys, we have to grasp this. When hurts, lies, and offenses come our way, we have to get out of the jail they create around our lives as soon as possible, or else the unforgiveness we hold onto will hinder God’s best for us. If you are sincerely trying to get out of bondage but can’t seem to find freedom, chances are that you are a prisoner, and the name of the key to open the door is FORGIVENESS!
Here is a rough model to follow but let the Spirit lead you: “Jesus, who do I need to forgive?” Choose to forgive and pray to release them. “Jesus, what lie have I believed because of this hurt/offense done to me?” Choose to break agreement with the lie. “Jesus, what is Your truth?” Choose to receive what He has to say. I want to add that sometimes people have sincerely forgiven yet still are not experiencing full freedom. Sometimes we have to forgive not only the offense but the FRUIT of the offense. Say someone was abused as a child, and they have walked through forgiving their abuser. But there is fruit to the abuse, such as being unable to trust people, being self-protected, feeling isolated, not feeling safe at night, etc. Sometimes we have to walk through forgiving them for how their hurt/offense affected your life.
HeartWork – I encourage you not to be introspective about this but to ASK JESUS to show you. “Jesus, would You please show me if there is anyone I need to forgive?”
I walked through some deep betrayal years ago and wrestled it deeply with God. I had this mental picture of Jesus holding both of us on His lap, and it made me mad. This person brought me so much turmoil and pain, and I didn’t like the fact Jesus loved them so much (this isn’t my true heart, but it was a moment in my processing the pain). I finally called my mentor because it was making my heart feel unsafe with God. How in the world could He love someone who has brought so much pain? Her response was brilliant and literally shifted something so deep within me. She said, “Lisa, you do not fully understand the picture. God loves this person just as much as He does you because He created them, but God is only on the side of righteousness, and this person isn’t choosing righteousness.”
It wasn’t a matter of whose side God was on as much as it was who was on His side. It was like my hands opened, and I dropped whatever offense, pain, or fight I was holding onto and clung to righteousness. It altered decisions and outcomes dramatically. The question is not “Is God on my side?”. The question is, “Are you on God’s side?”.
This was the first time I experienced partnering with God to remove the heart splinters in my children. It was glorious and left me hungry to live this as a family lifestyle.
I finally ordered my son to his room to give us all a break from the constant strife. Moments later, as I walked down to his room, I vividly remember saying, “Holy Spirit, I have no idea if I am going to yell at him, spank him, hug him or play with him when I get there, but You do!” And then I remember adding a little, “… And you better show up quick!” The moment I entered his room, it was like I could ‘see’ pain in him. I got this impression to grab a stack of paper. I sat on the floor with my (then) 5-year-old son and had him wad up a piece of paper and throw it, but while he was throwing it, he had to call out how he felt about his dad leaving. “I am mad he can’t play ball with me” (throws the paper ball and makes a new one), “I am mad I am the only boy in the family” (throws the ball and makes a new one), “I am sad he can’t tuck me in at night.” This hurting child threw nearly 50 paper balls, and by the end, he was weeping. It was one of the most painful moments for me as a mom to watch this pain seep out of him, but it had to get out. In the end, I scooped him in my arms and just held him. I called forth his worth and value and that he was fiercely loved and wanted. From that moment on, the ‘sting’ was gone from being fatherless (not that there wasn’t more to process, but the splinter was gone). There are adult men and women all over the world who are dealing with the trauma of being fatherless, but as parents, we CAN partner with Holy Spirit to give us creative ways to deal with the hurt, lies, and offenses of childhood IN childhood!
Having three teenagers so close in age has created some competition for crossing milestones, such as who will get their driver’s license first. One child came to me in tears, saying they wanted to get theirs first to “prove them wrong.” I asked what she meant, and she shared that the others were poking fun at her, saying she would be a terrible driver and would probably be the first to crash. That did not sit well with me, so I called a family meeting to talk about it. I asked if anyone had made jokes along those lines, and 3 of them raised their hand. I told them that for their ‘joke’ to come true, my car would be damaged, and if my car went out of commission, not only would they lose a chance to drive it, but their world would change significantly without a family car. I began to list all of the ways my car blessed them. I told them that they were prophesying that their sister would not only hurt my car, but chances are another car or, worse, another human being would also be affected. I shared with them the amount of the loan on my car and that I am required to pay for it whether the vehicle is operable or not, and it would be a significant financial hardship to me if that happened. I asked, “Why in the world would you want to ‘prophesy’ hardship, financial ruin, heartbreak, and loss over your family?” They started to catch on. It isn’t funny to make fun of someone else failing so that you can be the first. That is not being a success; that is being a bully. A truly successful person celebrates those around them and champions them to greatness, which goes for siblings.
A mom messaged me, saying that her daughter was believing lies and had shut down. She wanted my help with how to handle it. This is a great example of being led by the all-knowing Holy Spirit and not just checking off a religious formula. I first asked her WHAT the lie was. She replied that the daughter believes the parents are abusive and do not love her. While that is obviously a lie, it is the daughter’s truth. I then asked the mom to ask Jesus what He thought of the daughter’s words. The mom humbly came back to me and reported that Jesus showed her that she was using a tone and responding in a way that was hurting her daughter.
What does a child with a splinter in their heart look like? They act out, scream, yell, disobey, withdraw, pinch, hit, kick, isolate, slam doors, demand, cause trouble with siblings, have nightmares, cry, are rude, mean, don’t care, are disrespectful, etc.! This is why it is so vital to empower parents. You are the one who knows what is normal for your child. You are the one who knows when they are acting out from being hungry, tired, or something is out of line. You have known their cry since they were first ushered into your arms. You are the one God entrusted to listen to and care for them. When something seems out of character, ask Holy Spirit to show you what is going on inside of them. It may have little to do with their outward behavior. A child who is afraid may be acting very bossy. A child who believes the lie they are unlovable may be acting like a bully. A child who is offended may act like they don’t care. Ask Holy Spirit to show you!
Mamas, are you cursing your body? It is hard to raise daughters with healthy self-esteem when you model cursing your own body. My mom had four kids close in age and didn’t like the way it affected her body. I was secure and confident growing up with my body; however, the moment I had kids (also four close in age, including twins), I immediately turned against my body and felt like it was ‘ruined.’ I was intentional about building up my daughters and their self-image. God began to show me that what my mom taught me, by cursing her own body, is that motherhood ‘ruins’ your body. I was simply modeling that belief onto my children. I entered a season of greater self-love and acceptance for my body, which has miraculously produced life. I want my daughters to feel beautiful now AND after they become a mom. It isn’t about praising them but modeling acceptance for myself.
**This isn’t just for daughters. When moms curse their own bodies in front of their sons, they are teaching them that there is something wrong with a woman’s body, which we surely don’t want him to transfer to his wife someday.
I encourage you to watch this short four-minute video first and then call a family meeting and show the children. Stop the video at different times and ask them questions about what they see. Help them to crawl into empathy for the boy by saying something like, “Could you imagine how hard that would be?” or “How would that make your heart feel to sit in front of your friends after the teacher did that?” Just create space for conversation and then watch the video until the end. Ask them how they would want others to respond to them or how Jesus would want us to respond to others around us. The moral of the story is that we truly do not know what is going on in someone else’s world.