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.


God not only wants us to obey, but He wants us to obey right away (and with a joyful heart). He wants our obedience to not be out of fear but out of trusting that He is for us, and He is good. 

Buy a package of small, sweet treats and place them around the house. Call a family meeting and tell them you are going to play a game. Ask for a volunteer, blindfold them, and then give them short, easy instructions on how to find the first hidden treat. Allow them to enjoy the treat and ask for another volunteer. Do this until all of the treats are found. 

Gather the children and explain to them that God is a good Father and knows how to lead us to His blessings, but we have to listen AND follow His instructions. Highlight that if you said to go left and they went right they would not have found the treat. Obedience is what leads us to His best. 

Ask for a volunteer to read Exodus 20:12 – “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

To honor means to respect and hold in high regard (like a prized toy, not a cheap broken one). 

Remind them that your role as the head of your home is to lead your children to safety and help them become all that God created them to be, and that hearing your voice and obeying not only immediately, but joyfully, is KEY to a blessed life. 

In the days to come, when you give instructions and your child is not responding with honor and respect, lovingly come alongside them and say, “Hey buddy, do you remember when you found the sweet treats because you followed my voice? I need for you to honor what I am instructing you to do now.”


Grab a jar/bowl, sand (or small pebbles), and larger rocks. 

Call a FAMILY MEETING and talk to the children about Matthew 6:33 – “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” What does this mean exactly? 

Take the jar/bowl and explain how their capacity of time is given in each 24-hour period. Part of their time is spent sleeping, eating, doing homework, etc. Make a list of each thing that demands their time every day and then pour a little sand into the jar representing each thing. Brushing teeth… add a little sprinkle of sand into the jar. Taking out the trash… add a little sprinkle of sand into the jar, etc. 

Now take some larger rocks and explain how that represents seeking God such as reading the Word, praying, declaring His truth, etc. The larger rock no longer fits because they have filled up their jar with the smaller things.

Dump the jar out and put the larger rocks in FIRST and then add the sprinkles of sand which will make its way around the rock, that way everything fits in the jar in the proper order, and no one can say at the end of the day they ran out of room (time) because they put the important thing in first.


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. 


As my children enter their teen years, I have been sensitive to the fact that things are changing, including my parenting and responses to them. What worked when they were five or ten doesn’t work with pre-adults, which is a good thing.

My son was in a funk for a month or so. I would describe it as he has shut down a little, has a wall, refuses counsel, and seems to be making 101 choices in the opposite direction. It was never anything significant, but many little things that added up. He was on a roll one morning, agitating everyone within reach. I was frustrated with the lack of getting through to his heart. On the way to school, I heard the Lord say to drop Ellie off and have Hudson jump in the front seat. I drove to the other side of the parking lot and had every expectation and intention of giving him a firm chat about his choices and attitude. I heard the Lord say, “Remind him of who he is,” and began to declare, “Hudson, you are my son. You are fiercely loved and profoundly cherished. You are a gentleman, kind and caring. You see others and value them. You are a powerful builder…” and on and on I went reminding him who he was.

When I ended, he said, “Is that all?” and left the car. As I drove away, I said out loud, “Well, that didn’t work, Lord.” I pulled into the parking lot of my conference when the phone rang. It was my son, and he was so distraught he couldn’t form words. I asked if he needed me to return, and he said, “YES.” I reversed it and picked him up. We sat in the parking lot (the same place we had been a moment before), and he sobbed. No words, just tears. He began to say he was sorry for all of the things he was doing that he knew deep down were wrong. We grabbed Communion at the Prayer House and took it to the Cross. It was time for him to go to school and me to my conference, but his tears would not stop. He has a compassionate heart but is not overly emotional, so I knew something deeper was going on and wanted to partner with whatever God was doing in his heart and brought him home. I went to have lunch with him, and the tears were still coming with ease. He had no words, just tears. He finally said, “Mom, I know I have been making a lot of bad choices, and I just needed to know that you believed in me again.” Gulp!

When was the last time you reminded your child of how you felt about them? They may need to hear it again TODAY.


Encounter as a family with fear: Resolving Fear – YouTube

God has been speaking to me a lot lately about Him being our help in our time of need. Psalm 46:1 – “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.”

He reminded me of a situation that happened when we first moved to Redding. I fell asleep the moment my head hit the pillow only to be woken suddenly a few minutes later by the sound of talking outside my window. I was annoyed that people would carry on a conversation so loud at midnight. I rose to look out and found what appeared to be a girl in an intoxicated state trying to refuse the advances of a male inside a car. My spirit was now wide awake as I watched. I didn’t know if I should call the police, run out there and bang on the window or what. Suddenly I realized I was to pray. I began to pray for her like she was my own child in danger. She went with him into this condo across the street. I could tell she was trying to resist but was too drunk to be firm. My prayers only increased, and this fire came over me to defend and cover her in the spirit. About five minutes later she ran out of the house and safely got into her car.

I have thought about this countless times over the years. That girl never knew I was praying for her, but God woke me to stand with her in the spirit realm and be her covering. I wonder just how many times God has awoken others to pray and cover me over the years. We will never know this side of heaven just how much God is at work in our lives through others.

What would this generation look like if they were taught (by you) to stand on Psalms 46:1 with great faith? Read the verse, talk about it, unpack it, act it out, role-play, talk about real life situations, remind them as they walk out the door… just make sure you DO IT so that they can grab a hold of it.


This is where parenting becomes FUN! A prophetic act is simply acting out a Biblical principle, Scripture, or character of God to help people grasp His truth. You could all fold your hands, close your eyes, bow your heads, pray, or do a prophetic act to align your heart with His.

Play a game and have everyone act like a dog. Joy breaks out when Mom begins to bark, and Dad sticks out his tongue, wagging his tail. Ask everyone to act out being excited when the owners come home. Act out the dog being hungry and getting his food. How about playing with other dogs?

Then have them act out a dog being scared and nervous. The joy and confidence in the room moves to quiet and timidness. Sometimes when dogs are scared or stressed, they bite. 

Gather the kids and explain that dogs are designed to be playful and joyful, but when put in situations that make them overwhelmed, they can become very intimidated or aggressive. What does the dog need at that moment? An owner who loves them enough to protect them.

Explain that we can be like the dog at times and how we ‘bite’ those we love when we feel overwhelmed and stressed. But we have a God who is like the owner who loves, protects, and leads us. 

In the days ahead, when your child is acting like a stressed dog, remind them of this teaching and help usher them to God’s truth that they are okay and this will work out, He cares about their heart, and it will be okay. Remind them that their job is to be full of joy and love while God handles the details.


When my kids were all toddlers, I handed them a treat while we were out on a walk. They eagerly opened it, dropped their package in the middle of the sidewalk, and carried on. I stopped, got down on their level, and pointed to the whole walking path. I wanted them to see how big the path was. I said, “What would this park look like if everyone dropped their trash on the ground? No one would want to come here anymore because it would look like a garbage dump. Where do you think you could put your wrapper?” And I made them think about it. They could put it in the trash, in their pocket, or in the stroller basket. I focused on teaching principles of honor, respect, and kindness and not just the laws and rules. Let’s say they dropped their wrapper on the walk, and I simply instructed them to pick it up. Yet an hour later, they drop their empty water bottle on the ground, and I have to tell them again to pick it up. Only to find two hours later, their backpack finds its way to the floor. This approach teaches them the ‘rules.’ Do not drop a granola wrapper on the trail. Do not drop a water bottle at the park. Do not… Do not… Do not… 18 years is simply not enough time to teach your child about every single possible scenario in which they should not drop or leave behind something. It is an exhausting way to parent and produce children who struggle when they leave home because they find themselves in new situations and don’t know the rules. Instead, try parenting from a place of teaching the why or principles behind it. “Sweetie, when you drop your wrapper on the ground, who did you expect to pick it up?” OR “When you drop things like that, someone else has to clean up your mess. Mommy wants you to take responsibility for it.” That principle carries through when talking about shoes at the door, backpacks being dropped anywhere, dishes being cleared from the table, the garage being taken out, etc. When they are older, they will be able to manage themselves based on character and principles instead of rules.


My mom used to drive around in an old Chevy Monte Carlo with a bumper sticker that read, “Have you hugged your kid today?” I used to think it was awesome that she had a reminder each time she got in the car. I longed for her embrace as it made me feel wanted, safe and seen. Sadly, hugs were few and far between, but they still held a tremendous value. I want to ask YOU, “Have you hugged your kid today?”

Homework – Make it a goal to reach out and offer a hug to your child at least THREE times today. Set a reminder in your phone, do it before/after each meal, or when they ask for something. Be intentional and hug those kids today!


Gather the family and write down all of the things that are ‘BIG’ in their world including school, making friends, etc. After the list is complete, draw a line under it (it is okay that the list takes up most of the paper). Under the line, write out John 3:16. And then flip the paper upside down. Explain how the things that are BIG in their world can feel heavy and can sometimes make us feel like God’s truth is small or even shrinking, but the truth is (flipping the paper upside down) that God’s character, promises, and faithfulness are unchanging despite circumstances, and we can filter every single thing written on the list through the lens of His perfect love.


Here are some creative ways to communicate covering to your child:

  • Put a big blanket around your back and outstretch your arms like wings. Come to them and pull them close under your wing and tell them that, just like the blanket offers shelter, you are there to cover and protect them.
  • Read Matthew 18:10 with them and show them that they have a personal angel assigned to them.
  • Put your hand over their heart and pray over them.
  • Tell them that you are so glad God allowed you to be their _____ (mom, dad, grandparent, etc.) and that you take your job to keep them safe seriously.
  • Validate that a lot is going on in the world right now but that they are safe and secure in your house.
  • Ask them if they are worried or concerned about anything and process it together. Just asking alone makes them feel safe and secure.
  • Gather the family and read Psalms 91 out loud. Act out parts of the verse to help them gain deeper understanding.
  •  Intentionally speak their love language. If you do not know what it is, take the online quiz as a family to discover each person’s language of love. This can be found at The Love Language™ Quiz (