When I hear a child speak a lie about themselves (I am not smart enough, I am slow, I can never figure this out, etc.), I simply tell them that they are partnering with something from God’s enemy. Do they want to continue to partner with that (they do have free will), or do they want to throw that one out? Then, I told them they could kick out or throw out whatever thoughts came to their mind that wasn’t of God. Hudson, who was only four then, literally went to the front door and motioned like he was kicking something out before slamming the door. Yeah, like that! Kids need to be taught that not every thought that crosses their mind is theirs, and they can be empowered to say NO!
THAT’S A LIE
- Authority, Heart Splinters
Many believe we should shield our children and not talk to them about the big stuff. I disagree wholeheartedly! Children have some understanding, especially if it is something like a divorce or death, as they experience it, too. Not talking to them about it is not protecting them; it leaves them wide open for the enemy to whisper falsehoods to them. Do I need to tell my children all the details? No way. But it is so important that we communicate with our children. One of the reasons why kids are easy targets for lies is that their brains aren’t fully developed yet, and they do not have the same thinking capability as an adult. They aren’t mini-you’s; they are underdeveloped and therefore need a parent to guard, guide, and protect them. There is a reason that nearly all types of adult therapies, both secular and religious, take you back to your childhood. That is where lies are first embedded. Do not share all the details, but please DO talk to your children about their reality.
Please remember: Fear is a liar and not everything you feel is coming from within you. You have power and authority in the name of Jesus to come out from under that fear.
In January 1936, the King of England died. Following royal protocol, his eldest son assumed the throne, becoming King Edward the Eighth. But in December of that same year, only months into his reign, King Edward stunned the nation when he formally abdicated the country’s throne and the many benefits of royalty. What is especially alarming is the phrasing of the official decree, which ended in these haunting words: “I, Edward the Eighth … renounce the Throne for Myself and for My descendants.” Imagine. With one stroke of the pen, this man sealed his fate and the fate of his children and grandchildren for generations into the future.
As parents, we, too, occupy a throne in the sense that God has given us a position of authority in our kids’ lives. We mustn’t renounce that influence. Children don’t need us to be their friends – someone telling them what they want to hear. They need a parent – an authority figure willing to speak the truth into their lives. Of course, we should listen to our children and consider their views carefully, but our kids should not be allowed to run the home. That’s our God-given responsibility. So, take the lesson of King Edward to heart. Abdicating your authority could risk your kids’ future for generations to come.
One area parents must learn to rise up and walk in their God-given authority is in the area of not allowing the enemy to speak to them. Condemnation and accusation are not allowed to speak to me. Why? Because their ONLY purpose is to get me to think small. I can’t afford to parent my children from the position of feeling small, believing God is small or that the calling on their life is small. So, break agreement with the voice of condemnation and accusation: 1. REPENT for your sin by confessing to Jesus what you did/said and asking Him to forgive you. 2. ASK God to show you a picture of how He feels about you. 3. DECLARE that truth out loud. Whenever the voice of accusation and condemnation comes, you fight it by picking up your warfare weapon of His word and truth and open your mouth.
My childhood was brutal. It was full of torment, lies, abuse, deep hurt, and confusion. I was in a coma from a drug overdose when my mom died at another hospital of breast cancer. It took me years to unravel the pain and forgive her. It was not until my 30’s that the reoccurring nightmares ceased over the emotional torment with my mom. God did not just have to heal things in me; He had to rewrite ‘normal.’ I no longer have hatred in my heart toward her. I no longer judge her as a person or a mom. I no longer speak ill of her. I no longer blame her for my heartbreak and pain.
Furthermore, I have not passed on the cycle to my children. Why? #1. God is good! He pulled me out, saved me, and restored the deep places in my heart back to Him. My parents were powerful influences in my life, but God is bigger. They have done many things wrong, but God is a Master of rewriting stories, redemption, and making broken places whole again. He is the ultimate perfect Parent. #2. My mom was not an evil person. If she was a member of Let the Children Fly, I think she would weep at the revelation of her own doing. She did what she did because she was a spiritual orphan trying to parent! Orphans can NOT produce a life of peace and joy. Let the Children Fly is simply the tools my mom needed but did not have to parent me well. God’s ministry through me is my love gift back to my own mother. While I may have lost my mom, I have gained thousands of parents around the globe who get to hear the message that they can partner with God in their parenting and can do things differently with their children. I am passionate about what I do because I have lived the fruit of a life without it.
Get the tools you need to parent your children well! Heart Splinters BOOK – Let the Children Fly
Don’t refuse the message just because you don’t like the delivery of the messenger. So often, children botch the delivery of what they are trying to tell you. They do it with anger, attitudes, imperfection, and less-than-mature ways, but it doesn’t mean that WHAT they are trying to say is to be ignored. This is one of the reasons why we wrote our HEART SPLINTERS book. To give parents additional help in seeing and hearing what their children are trying to tell them.
Three of my four kids were having a blast, but one was left out. I felt something was going on and found her sitting in the other room feeling bad and partnering with feelings of loneliness, isolation, and unworthiness. What bothered me about this wasn’t that the others weren’t sharing (though I dealt with that, too), but that my child was not walking in the confidence of who she was. I talked to her about being assertive, bold, and confident that she had every right to be included (especially in her own family). I also asked if she was ready to come in and ‘confront the situation,’ not in anger, but in the confident boldness of her true identity. She meekly walked in, and I told her to go back and do it confidentially. Of course, it began as a game with lots of laughter, but she did it nearly ten times before she could walk into the room and confidently ask to be included.
In a world that constantly teaches our children who they are not, we must look for ways to intentionally teach and train them in the truth of who they are! Identity changes everything!
A mom came to me desperate over her son being bossy to his siblings. She was tired of co-parenting with him and, after a year, had tried everything; spankings, timeouts, yelling, discipline, and reprimands, yet nothing seemed to break through his behavior. I asked her what happened a year ago, and she began to tell me the story of the night the police came and handcuffed the dad and took him away for doing something ‘bad.’ I can only imagine the atmosphere in the home that night with confusion over losing their dad and all the mother’s emotions. Even if the mom hid her visible feelings from her children, they still felt the atmosphere. I asked her if her son was being bossy, as in a negative character trait, or if he was trying to save his siblings from doing something terrible that gets them taken away too. He felt the weight of responsibility and feared that bad behavior equals being removed from the home. Sometimes our child’s ongoing negative, annoying, frustrating behavior is rooted in something else. In this case, the child was believing a lie that it was his job to keep his siblings in line so that they don’t get removed from the family, too. I think he is a hero and a brave brother. As parents, we need to discern how to parent what is really going on with their hearts and not just the outward behavior.
Self-rejection is lie-based thinking and often starts in childhood when life circumstances ‘prove’ the lie to be true. Children can partner with lies about themselves, such as, “I am fat.” “I am a loser.” “No one likes me.” “I am a mistake.” My face is ugly.” “I am too small to ever be good at sports.” “I am not acceptable.” “_____ disqualifies me from ever fully belonging.” “I will never measure up to my big brother.” “If I were a boy, my dad would accept me.”
These are lies that feel true because the circumstances around them serve as evidence. They then partner with the lie as if it were the truth, giving the lie a legal right to influence them. Lies are just thoughts, but what makes them so damaging is that our thoughts and beliefs dictate our behavior. Proverbs 23:7. All of the above statements are LIES. When a child believes a lie about themselves, it is like a splinter in their heart, and they begin to act it out because it is NOT supposed to be there. If all we see is their outward behavior and aren’t digging a little deeper into the WHY of the behavior, we can serve to push the heart splinter in further. We want the lie out, not for it to be masked with perfect behavior. The less-than-pleasant acting out is pointing to the splinter that needs attention. This is not a parenting formula or 1,2,3 step program; it is about PARTNERING WITH THEIR CREATOR, who knows exactly how to search their heart and reveal what is going on. Say Johnny comes home, slams down his backpack, and declares, “I hate math!”. Parents often rush to correct little Johnny that we don’t use the word ‘hate.’ Instead, perhaps we could pull on the rope a bit more and discover what is going on underneath his newfound passion for hating math. “Buddy, why do you hate math?” and he says, “Ms. Jones is mean.” Keep pulling on the rope with validation and questions, “Oh no, how is Ms. Jones mean?” “She called on me today and I got the answer wrong and the whole class laughed at me. I am so stupid.” BAM! There is the lie. Hating math wasn’t agitating his heart; the lie of “I am stupid” was. Again, this is where parents want to rush in and remind Johnny of his intelligence, but the lie is not in his mind; it is in his heart. This is where he needs an ENCOUNTER with His Father to remove the lie. While *I* know the truth that God didn’t make him stupid, that is *his* truth. So, I ask if we can ask Jesus for his truth (after, of course, we have walked through forgiving the teacher for putting him in a position that made him feel vulnerable and unsafe and his peers for laughing at him). Jesus always shows up with His PEACE and TRUTH, which is what sets us free!! This is where parenting becomes a partnership with their Creator and where God takes what the enemy meant to harm and uses it for GOOD! The world has yet to see a generation who grabs hold of the hurts, lies, and offenses in childhood and destroys them IN childhood. His heart SHOULD be agitated if the enemy is whispering lies about his identity. His behavior and less-than-ideal vocabulary about ‘hating’ math were simply signs pointing to the heart splinter that was speaking a lie about his identity. A child who has never been intentionally taught the TRUTH of who they are will have an easier time biting the bait of lies about their worth and value. As parents, we have the incredible honor of teaching our children who they are and building them up in His truth. Identity focuses on who God says they are – worthy, valuable, important, lovable, belong, etc. – and not just what they do, such as good grades, sports, or excellent outward behavior.
So let’s review: A child who is partnering with turning on themselves is believing a LIE. A child who believes a LIE will act it out with less-than-ideal behaviors because the heart splinter is agitating their heart. You can pull on the rope with validations and questions to be on the lookout for a HURT, LIE, or OFFENSE. Once you identify the hurt, lie, or offense, you help your child walk through forgiveness and then ask Jesus for His truth. We can help children resolve childhood issues IN childhood so that childhood owies don’t become adult-sized woundedness, childhood lies don’t become adult-sized strongholds, and childhood offenses don’t become adult-sized bitterness. Look for ways to intentionally speak the truth over your children about who they are. “Do you know that God loves you even when you mess up?” “You are so important to God; He even knows the number of hairs on your head.” “God created you to look like Him.” “God wants you on His team.” “This family wouldn’t be the same without you.” “You are perfect just the way you are.” “Know what I love most about you? EVERYTHING!” I declare the lies revealed and TRUTH to reign in your homes!