THE SOLDER, ATHLETE, AND FARMER

THE SOLDER, ATHLETE, AND FARMER

Gather the family in the family room and have the children read 2 Timothy 2:1-7. The more you allow them to participate in things like reading, the more engaged they will be in the lesson. Then, on a piece of paper or whiteboard, write out the different attributes of the soldier, athlete, and farmer. What types of character or skill sets does each of them require? What makes them unique? Think about how tired the soldier must get at times, how the athlete does what it takes regardless of how they feel, or how the farmer labors hard, not knowing if the sun or rain will appear. Read verse 7 and spend some time responding. Think over these three illustrations, and may the Lord help you to understand how they apply to you.

HONEY VS. HORSERADISH

Do a teaching with your children on our mouth and taste buds. Explain that our tongue tastes things that are bitter and sweet. Next, blindfold the children and lead them into the kitchen for a science experiment. Place a tiny dab of horseradish on their tongues and ask them what they think and then place a drop of honey on their tongues. They will probably beg for more. Share with them Proverbs 16:24 and discuss how our words need to be like sweet honey, not bitter horseradish. Practice role-playing some scenarios: What would words full of honey sound like when someone takes your toy? Is in your space? Has hurt you? How can you use words of honey to encourage others? Show honor to your parents and teachers? The goal is not the absence of negative feelings or reactions but to respond in love despite being upset or hurt. You can also take the opportunity to teach them how to be intentionally ‘sweet’ with their words as opportunities arise to bless others. In the days ahead, when you hear harsh tones and unloving words, call out, “Oh, that sounds like horseradish to my ears!” When you hear them speaking kindly, you can say, “Oh, I love the honey coming out of your mouth!”

This lesson was taken from our Character Counts SOAR parenting magazine. If you are interested in more activities, you can purchase your digital copy here: Character Training SOAR Magazine – Let the Children Fly

SHE IS DIFFERENT

I took my twins on a day trip to go shopping. I had an allotted amount in my mind that I wanted to lavish on them. I envisioned spending the whole time focusing on them and making them feel seen and special. The first two stores were on my list, and I zoomed in and out at record speed, knowing we had a lot of ground to cover. We went to Forever 21, and two hours later, Emma was ready for the dressing room. There was no place to sit, so I camped out on the dirty floor as the girls giggled, tried on their clothes, and came out to show me. An hour later, Emma is still putting on her fashion show, and I am growing agitated. I rebuked my inner attitude and told it to be joyful (it didn’t work, but I tried). I have never been so excited to leave a store. We entered the next one, and the same thing happened. The first 30 minutes were fun exploring the store, but an hour later, Lauren and I sat there with her pile of selected items waiting for Emma to come out with outfit #88. I released my frustration by commenting, “Are you almost done?” with a tone that communicated I wasn’t enjoying this as much as she was. I felt like I was going to lose it and heard the Lord say, “Go ahead, but you will have to clean up your mess.” As I sat there processing the mess I was about to make (and weighing if it was worth it), I suddenly saw clearly that this wasn’t a case of Emma doing something wrong but about us having utterly different shopping styles. God showed me a picture of releasing my frustration in a way that communicated to my daughter that there was something wrong with her and that she needed to conform to make me comfortable. I realized this is how young girls shut down and turn from their true selves. They are raised to keep mama happy and deny their true selves to keep connection and peace. This is never a child’s job description, and we need to be super careful we are managing our hearts so that we don’t unintentionally shut down our true selves. Suddenly, I noticed that Emma came out of the room with her original clothes on but still had a pile to try on. Her entire demeanor was different, and the joy was gone from her eyes. I asked her why and she said, “It’s okay. I realize I took too long,” but her real heart was sad and disappointed. I wrestled with managing my own frustrations and caring for her heart. We sat on the bench outside the store, and I began to tell her what God had shown me. It was uber important for her to see that her style of shopping stretches me to the core, but that didn’t mean her way was wrong. She was NOT in sin or disobedience, nor was anything wrong with her. She would have giggled the entire time if she had been with peers. However, I explained to her that shopping with me meant she might need to tone it down a bit, not because it was wrong, but to honor those around her. I checked in with her a couple of times to ensure she wasn’t partnering with lies or feeling like something was wrong with her just because I am wired differently from her. I gave her examples of times I have stretched others and had to learn when to tone it down to honor them while still being true to how I was created. It is a dance of learning how to manage our hearts and parenting our child’s hearts.

LET IT HURT

Sometimes life just HURTS. I always tell my spiritual daughters, “If you are going to walk as a Daughter, you are going to have to learn how to feel hard emotions.” Orphans run to things that numb their hearts like a shot of novocaine (porn, shopping, anger, social media, gossip, busyness, checking out, denial, eating, rage, etc.)  As Daughters, we need to learn that pain is okay. It reflects our hearts and how we experience life. We need to practice feeling the pain and, in the midst of it, running into HIS arms, crying out to Him. We can tell Him: “It hurts,” “I am sad,” “I feel lonely,” “I am disappointed,” “I am scared,” “I feel anxious,” “I need help,” and then WAIT and rest in His ability to not only care for your heart and wipe your tears but to move on your behalf. 

Psalm 56:8 (MSG) – “You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights. Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book.”

C-19

Take authority over your home and USE THIS to empower your children of all ages. Let me walk you through HOW. The truth is there is sickness going around – always has been – always will be – as we live in a fallen world. Only heaven is sickness free. How you respond to this issue will shape your children when facing future crises. Are you modeling fear and worry or teaching them how to walk in authority full of faith? Either you are partnering with life or death.

Gather the children and talk about C-19. Trust me, if they go to school or own a computer, they have heard about it. We want to explain to them that what makes this virus (use the word ‘cold’ as they understand that better than ‘virus’) different is that it is new to doctors and scientists. Give them an explanation for the fear that is attached to the virus. Cancer, tooth pain, backaches, and tuberculosis all caused the same worry years ago because people were battling things in their bodies, and the doctors did not know how to help them. But over time, God gave the doctors and scientists wisdom in how to help the body through medicine.

Spend time praying as a family for God to give doctors and scientists strategies and solutions to help people! Make a list of how medicine, doctors, dentists, chiropractors, and vitamins have already helped your family. Spend time thanking God for each one of them. Flip your worry to praise.

Declare over your home that the virus is not allowed! Declare that the virus is not welcome in your city! Declare that the virus is not welcome in your country! Pray for a wall of protection against you and any person who is sick! Declare, “Fear, you are a liar, and do not lead me. God does!”

Be wise in taking care of the body given to you by drinking an increased amount of water, consuming less sugar, and getting more rest. This helps your body to become stronger and fight off viruses. Take a family field trip down to the bathroom and practice what it means to wash your hands well (I am being serious). Talk about why it is important to keep hands away from their nose and mouth (and wash often). Talk about facts vs. truth.

FACTS: a virus is unknown to doctors, and they aren’t sure what to do, the virus is making people sick, and the virus feels scary.

TRUTH: God is not surprised by the virus, God is still in control, God can keep me safe, God has a plan, and God comforts me in my unrest.

We want to acknowledge facts but camp out in the TRUTH. Be sensitive to when fear is knocking – both for you and your child. When it comes, do not be chased by fear, but STOP, TURN and FACE the fear. First, identify what the fear is about. Afraid God isn’t in control? Can’t God keep your family safe? Something terrible is going to happen? You will suffer? You won’t be able to protect your children? Identify it and then ASK JESUS for His truth. Release what He told you like a bold statement of truth and hope to those around you. This is how we rise up and become the light in the midst of darkness. Open your mouth in the declaration and speak HIS TRUTH over the situation.

WHINING

I have an above-average sensitivity to whining. It grates on me deeply. I taught my children from the toddler years that if they whine, they lose. I even typed it up and framed it on the wall in our kitchen on their level (along with other house rules). I first taught them in the time of peace what I did want from them, and we role-played what whiny and peaceful words looked like. Then the first time they whined to get their way, I got on their level and said, “When you are ready to use your big girl words, let me know,” and I would walk away. It took a matter of seconds before they came chasing me and changed their tone. Whining is a lack of self-control and orphan. I want my children to speak to me with confidence and self-control. I laid the foundation, and this was something that brought a lot of peace in our homes.

ISOLATION

As someone who endured profound emotional and mental isolation in childhood, being alone long term is not healthy for me. I know my capacity and take active steps to make sure I am in community. When I feel the most weary, I realize it is because I have come under LIES of isolation. I have to actually reset my mind and heart back to His TRUTH. Let me share them with you in hopes they will align you with His heart and break off discouragement. 

**I break agreement with the lie I am alone. 

**I break agreement with the lie that I can’t be in community right now. 

**I break agreement with the lie that isolation is my duty. 

**I break agreement with the lie that says interaction is wrong. 

**I break agreement with the lie that people are a danger. 

**I break agreement with the lie that I have to fear others. 

**I break agreement with the lie that others are a threat. 

**I DECLARE that God designed me to interact with others. 

**I DECLARE that I am called to impact others. 

**I DECLARE that my need to be heard and seen is a part of my wiring. 

**I DECLARE that longing for people is healthy. 

**I DECLARE that I have the mind of Christ in the midst of the storm. 

**I DECLARE that my Father leads me in all situations. 

**I DECLARE that my emotional needs are valued and valid. 

**I DECLARE that I am not in an emotional or relational time-out. 

Ask Jesus, “Jesus, will You please show me the strategy to connect with people today?”

FAMILY DEVOTIONS

People often ask me what I do for family devotions. I have done a variety of things over the years. My goal is to water their spirits every day just like I do their minds and tummies. I haven’t focused on the HOW as much as I have the WHAT. I felt led to buy each of them a personal devotion and a new journal for Christmas. I coached them on how to read, process, and journal. I felt like God was highlighting that my children are very comfortable with getting prophetic words for people, which I love, but sometimes we need to speak truth and life over people. It will only transform those around us if our words are anchored in HIS truth (the Word). I am having them read and process the following questions each day. 

What did this reveal to me about who God is? 

How can I relate to the story/Scripture? 

What can I be thankful for because of it? 

Who needs to hear this truth today? 

And then they are crossing their chicken lines and growing in their capacity to ask God to highlight one person who needs to hear the truth they now carry, and they are speaking it over them through text, phone call, or email. I feel like parents need to hear this. Were my kids jumping up and down at the thought of a new journal and devotions? No. Did they fully understand the heart behind the concept of journaling? No. Did they do it on their own? No. Did they thank me profusely for caring about their spiritual growth? No. Did I do it anyway? YES!!!!! Because in this house, we serve the Lord, and this is what He has led me to do with them.

IMMATURE WORLD CHANGERS

Children might be world changers in training, but they still have childlike immaturity that needs to be cultivated so that they can endure the assignments God wants to give them to change the world around them for a lifetime. Character is a stone in their foundation that must be laid in childhood.

Character Counts is a downloadable digital resource that we created to give parents the How-To in equipping their children with godly character. We provide you with fun and engaging activities to do with your child to empower good character.

Character Training SOAR Magazine – Let the Children Fly

PSALM 5

Psalms 5 reflects how the righteous man prays for deliverance not only for freedom from suffering but to allow himself to serve God without distraction. This is an excellent passage in the midst of all the turmoil in our government. Read this chapter as a family and talk about the reality of how one person’s choices affect those around them. But God has keys and a strategy for overcoming and thriving in the midst. 

Prayer for Help – Psalms 5:1-12 – “Hear my words, O Lord. Think about my crying. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God. For I pray to you. In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice. In the morning I will lay my prayers before You and will look up. You are not a God Who is pleased with what is bad. The sinful cannot be with You. The proud cannot stand before You. You hate all who do wrong. You destroy those who tell lies. The Lord hates liars and men who kill other people. But as for me, by Your great loving-kindness, I will come into Your house. At Your holy house I will put my face to the ground before You in love and fear. O Lord, lead me in what is right and good, because of the ones who hate me. Make Your way straight in front of me. For in their talk there is no truth. Their hearts destroy. Their mouths are like an open grave. With their tongues, they say sweet-sounding words that are not true. Hold them guilty, O God! Let them fall by their own plans. Throw them out because of their many sins. For they have fought against You. But let all who put their trust in You be glad. Let them sing with joy forever. You make a covering for them, that all who love Your name may be glad in You. For You will make those happy who do what is right, O Lord. You will cover them all around with Your favor.” 

SHALOM

Shalom isn’t the absence of conflict. It is peace in the midst of it. Declare it over your situation. “I speak shalom to ____.”