As we have ministered to dads over the years, we have discovered a common theme. Dads who have shrunk back from their role in the family. Why? Because there is a strong lack of respect from the children. Fathers are like football coaches, and they need their team to follow in order to be successful. When there is ongoing pushback, it makes it super hard to coach a team.
THE GIFT OF A FATHER
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.
Do you have a child who is a PEACEKEEPER? Those that avoid conflict at all costs and run into the other room when tensions mount? While peacekeepers are made in His image, it is super important to help them learn how to process the conflict other than just dislike it and pretend it is not there. Ignoring is not the tool of Heaven. Many kiddos are having a hard time in this season of so much chaos in the atmosphere. They have felt the conflict and yet don’t fully understand it. I encourage you to praise them for their desire for peace and validate that the presence of God is PEACE, but that sometimes we feel the opposite and can be used as agents of peace. Give them some additional tools: they can talk about their feelings, draw them out, act them out, release peace, dance, write a letter, journal, and go do sports. We want to empower their natural bent for peace without forcing them to bury their heads in the sand and walk in fake peace.
I get messages daily from parents sharing challenging and painful experiences with their children. They are overwhelmed and need help. My heart goes out to them and only fuels my passion for empowering parents. But here’s the truth – something isn’t a quick ‘try this, and it will work.’ There is a family dynamic and lifestyle that needs to come into alignment. The old ones aren’t working. That doesn’t mean God doesn’t have a solution. It means you haven’t discovered it yet. That is exactly how I help parents through the online Kingdom parenting class. It isn’t intellectual teaching, but rather together, we walk through the process of going deeper in your parenting journey to impact the generations.
Ellie had a school fundraiser where she had to run a long course, and along the way, they throw colored powder on the runners. Super fun! The morning of the run, she said she was worried about running. I asked her why since she usually is quite fast and does well. She said, “I am so afraid I will come in last.” Together we asked Jesus to show her what she was so afraid of with coming in last, and she said, “People will think I am not good enough.” We talked about the truth that SOMEONE has to arrive first, and there is always someone at the end. That’s life. But we want to make sure that we aren’t carrying LIES about our worth and value if we come in first OR last. Jesus showed her that when she carries the weight of worry and anxiety, she is slowing herself down and not doing her best. I had her confess to Jesus that she was partnering with worry, and she asked Him to help her run HER best. Jesus is building her life story and had a lesson that she can choose to partner with worry and anxiety or trust Him to help her. A lesson that she will need to choose for the rest of her life.
The thing I value the most about being in ministry is that I am doing it WITH my children, not for them. Years ago, I struggled with balancing full-time ministry, young children, and flying solo. I always felt like something had to give, yet I didn’t want to choose between my passion and my children. Then, I was at church one morning when a gal who did not know my story began to prophesy. She said I was struggling with not being the one to play the instrument, but that God wants me to become the conductor of the orchestra, and I knew immediately that meant don’t do it FOR my children but learn how to do it WITH them. Years later, I am so so so blessed by the way our ministry has operated as a family. It is so fun to see the kids step out more and more and use their voices. I love ministering, traveling, and speaking together.
Testimony from a parent taking our online JOURNEY class: “I see an improvement with my son already since starting this class. We went to a nearby park, and a random kid came to me and said my son slapped him for no reason. When I asked my son what happened, he said that was true, and the reason was that he wanted to be playful. I couldn’t comprehend, and I knew I couldn’t just discipline him or try to make him think differently. So we went on a walk and asked Holy Spirit what was going on in his heart. He felt Holy Spirit was saying the same thing that he intended to be playful and then later said that he thought that was a good way to start playing with kids – by hurting them and apologizing and then they would be talking to each other. This was the key! My old tool was to have him apologize and sit out for a while and promise to be kind. That wouldn’t have worked. When we stepped away to talk to Holy Spirit, we saw that on the fence of the park were pictures drawn by kids of dragons, monsters, and a scary clown. I felt right away that there was a presence invited onto the playground through the art displayed. I asked my son what he thought about those pictures, and then we asked Holy Spirit what presence was here that needed to go. We took authority over the presence my son felt was on the playground and commanded it to go, and we invited Holy Spirit to come and be in charge of us and the kids. I love how God gives me opportunities to practice what I am learning here!”
Learning to love your children well provides YOU with an opportunity to know and reflect a SIDE of Jesus. Example: If your child has a love language of quality time and values playing together, but you do not value childlike play, God is using the way He wired your child to teach YOU about joy and play. Example: If your child has a love language of words of affirmation and you do not value speaking mushy words, God is using the way He wired your child to teach YOU about using your words, building others up, and bringing praise to your lips. Example: If your child has a love language of touch, but you do not value affection, God is using the way He wired your child to teach YOU about receiving healthy and appropriate touch. Example: If your child has a love language of acts of service, but you do not value having to do things for them, God is using the way He wired your child to teach YOU about joy and play. Pressing in and learning how to speak THEIR language allows US to grow in being more like HIM.
My children get along with each other most of the time. Yes/No
Honor and respect are evident in our home. Yes/No
I can hear what God is saying to me. Yes/No
I can discern what is going on with my child when they behave poorly. Yes/No
I am excited about the future and all that it holds for us. Yes/No
I live a life that is full of joy and peace. Yes/No
My family brings me an abundance of joy. Yes/No
I enjoy being a parent. Yes/No
If you answered NO to any of the above, then it is time to join our online adventure of going deeper in your parenting journey.
When the kids were really little, I would have them say, “I am sorry.” Once they understood that correction/discipline meant they did something to cause harm, I would have them ASK for forgiveness, such as, “I am sorry. Will you please forgive me?” And they had to wait for the reply of the other person. When they were around 4-8, I would have them say what they were sorry for, such as, “I am sorry for hitting your arm.” When they got older, I had them ask for forgiveness and state WHY what they did was not okay, such as, “I am sorry I hit your arm. It is not okay because I used my strength instead of my words.” Now that they are in their teen years, it is common for them to clean up their messes by asking forgiveness and releasing compassion and validation for how their choices have affected others. I am confident my grandchildren will reap the fruit of this because a successful marriage is not built upon perfection but on the ability to clean up one’s mess well.
When my sweet Emma was little, she had the hardest time grasping the concept that she could not help herself to whatever she wanted in the stores. She would come home with her pockets filled with unpaid goodies. I kept trying to teach her, but it wasn’t sinking in. When I found a pair of dangling earrings, I knew I had to take things to the next level. I took her to the store and asked for the manager. I had Emma explain that she took the items and came to return them. To my utter surprise, the manager told me to relax and then looked at Emma and said, “That is okay, sweetie!” I was dumbfounded and asked the manager if she would be okay with that response if she were 15 or 55, still stealing from her store. I was sad the manager was working against what I was trying to set up and instill in my daughter. I share that story to say we must know the bigger picture of what is happening. I was a mom trying to teach my daughter the value of not stealing, but the manager spoke against it and encouraged Emma that it was no big deal. There is SO much going on in the world right now, and we must must must hear from God what He is doing and align our prayers, comments, and voice with His. We do not want to be like the manager and speak out against what He is doing. We want to partner with Him.
May I encourage you to gather the children and spend some intentional time as a family asking: “Father, what are You doing right now?” “Holy Spirit, how do You want me to pray today?” “Jesus, will You show me what You see?” He is a good Father and knows what He is doing. Let’s partner WITH Him and align our voices with what He is doing.