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.
THE SOLDER, ATHLETE, AND FARMER
There are two chapters in our JOURNEY book that the world needs TODAY.
Authority – Do you know how to use your God-given authority to defeat the works of the enemy in your family? Things like sickness, fear, panic, stress, anxiety, and unrest are things we have authority over. In this chapter, I explain our Biblical authority and give parents exercises and tools for teaching their children how to rise up and walk in the authority Christ died for.
Healing – Do you know how to pray for the sick as Jesus did? In this chapter, I walk parents through how to teach their children to pray for the sick with faith that produces fruit.
Use the storm for GOOD and allow it to create a hunger in you for more of Him. Allow me to empower you with the language, tools, and activities to equip your children to be powerful people who change the world around them.
You can order your copy here: Journey Book – Let the Children Fly
So many of you precious people are feeling worn out, discouraged, and in battle. May I encourage you? The enemy’s assignment is to wear you out (Daniel 7:25). But God has given us the tools of warfare. Now more than ever, we must know and apply our armor daily. Ephesians 6:10-17 outlines God’s protective covering over your mind, body, and spirit. But it is conditional – you must pick it up. Spend some time going over your armor, and then GET IT ON! This is not the season to do life on your own strength. In fact, Ephesians 6:10 says our power must come from His strength, not our own. You will overcome, but you have to do it His way!
Every child needs to do this exercise! Do it 1:1 with each child, so you can hear their heart and pick up on any resistance. Have them outline a body on a piece of paper. Start with their hair and walk through their mind, eyes, nose, mouth, body shape, stomach, height, etc. Think of their interests and the things that make them come alive (sports, music, dancing). Write it out on the paper as you go through who they are, top to bottom. You are helping them see who they are. While we are constantly being transformed on the inside, there are some things we cannot change, such as our nose shape, eye color, height, gifts, what makes us come alive, etc. This is the package of who they were created to be. Now have them make a circle around the entire body. Explain to them that who they are is to be guarded and protected as if it is inside a bubble. Read Proverbs 4:23 and explain if any person, peer, teacher, sibling, social media post, song, friend, movie, leader, or thought tells them that something is wrong with their body, gifts, talents, etc., they are to reject it. Empower them with how to reject it. Perhaps they will take that thought captive and say to themselves, “That is not something I agree with, and do not give that voice permission to speak to me.”
When I was teaching my children this concept, Hudson (age four at the time) got up, went to the front door, made a kicking motion, and slammed the door. I asked what he was doing, and he said, “I had a bad thought, so I was kicking it out” Yeah, like that, buddy! They can write it on a piece of paper, rip it up, cross it out, or shred it. I had a season that we were going after this and put a set of colorful markers in the bathroom and would have my children write the lie on a piece of toilet paper with the colorful marker and then toss it into the toilet. The color would lift, making a beautiful swirl in the toilet bowl (isn’t that true of what God does with whatever we give Him? It turns it into something beautiful.). Teach them that there is a difference between being humble and allowing people to speak into their lives and give healthy feedback and constructive criticism vs. someone or something being used as a spokesperson of the enemy to tear down what God has built and designed. Give specific examples such as a friend saying, “Shut up. You are so annoying when you talk,” and a teacher saying, “I need for you to manage your mouth when I am teaching the class.” Both are addressing the issue of their mouth, but one is to be rejected and the other is to be received. How do they know the difference? It is generally tested by peace.
If while doing this with older children, you feel resistance or they say things like “This is stupid,” “Why do we have to do this?” “What’s the point?” Please do not back down. The resistance is telling you that they have already allowed a voice inside their bubble, which needs to be exposed. I would take it as far as you can, and then if it is time to back off (Holy Spirit will lead you), say something like this, “Okay, yeah, we can stop, but I need for you to hear this. Your resistance and wall to even talk about who you are is revealing that you have allowed a thought to enter your bubble. It is there to steal your joy, rob you of your peace, and tell you that something is wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with you, and I am here when you are ready to deal with it.” I would intentionally speak their love language and look for creative ways to bring them joy because it releases a chemical in their brain that gives them the will to fight and endure hard things. Give it a few hours or a day but circle back by saying something like, “Hey, remember when I asked you to draw that picture? What was happening inside of you when we talked about who you are?” Listen to them. Do not fix or correct them but listen to what their heart has to say. For many older children, simply exposing it helps them reject it and realize that they are feeling icky about themselves because of a lie, not because something is wrong with them. Others may need to ask Jesus to show them who they need to forgive for speaking that their body, gifts, and personality are unacceptable.
Moms and dads, please do not ignore this exercise. Children who grow up with the wrong voices inside their bubble carry them around for years, shaping who they become. We can empower our children to reject lies and protect who God designed them to be.
Are you willing to put in the effort and help your child understand their value and worth?
In our online Kingdom parenting class, I share, “People act out what other people have spoken over them.” If this is something that you have struggled with in life and is now affecting your parenting, I encourage you break agreement with that and walk into the truth of who you are (so that you can parent from that place).
Declare this over your child, even when they are struggling and making messes. “I speak over YOU today there is still room for you at the table. Your messes are part of the growth process. There is still room for you. God has not weakened His gaze or affection over you. You have permission to be on your journey and learn as you grow! We live in a performance-based culture that values your A+ and rejects you for getting a C. God values your process and journey of becoming the full expression of who you were created to be. Break agreement with any voice telling you otherwise!”
One day, Emma came to me in tears with her beloved Pinkie Pie (pink horse), whose leg broke off. Pinkie Pie was no ordinary toy. She had waited months to get it and had lavished more love on that horse than on any other toy! To have it broken was truly a sad loss for her little heart. My heart wanted to rush out and buy her a new one, but Holy Spirit showed me that Emma was learning compassion. I realized that she needed to know how to deal with things in her life that were broken because life is messy, and we can’t always just ditch the broken and replace it with new. I asked her if she loved Pinkie Pie any less because she lost her leg, and she said no. To play with a Pinkie Pie with only three legs required an adjustment, but that’s life! We still have her, as she is our reminder to love all things, even when they are broken. Jesus always healed out of compassion, not need. We need to be looking for ways to teach our children to walk in compassion for others.
How many of you remember the old Tootsie Pop commercial with the owl who said, “How many licks does it take?” It doesn’t matter. Just keep licking, and eventually, you will get there. How many prayers does it take? It doesn’t matter. Just keep praying, and eventually, you will see the hand of God. Gather the children and begin to put spoonfuls of water into a glass. Eventually, there will be ONE spoonful of water that tips the water over the edge; this is the same with our prayers. We pray without ceasing, full of faith that each prayer combined with others brings about change. Ask Jesus what He wants you to pray about and go after it as a family. Act out your prayers, declare them, write them, draw them, dance them out – just PRAY!
One of the biggest lies about Christian parenting is that you have to master things yourself first (knowing the Word, hearing God’s voice, praying for others, soaking in His presence, etc.). Maybe, perhaps, it was God’s plan all along that you grow together as a family going after the things of the Kingdom. There is NO way I would be where I am now if it weren’t for my formal Kingdom training that was married with my children’s child-like faith. The KEY is in sharing what you are learning WITH your children and TOGETHER playing in the Kingdom.
Do you realize that you have a mighty, mighty generational line? Each generation came from the womb, where they were knit together by Father God. Each and every one of your ancestors has left you something – something good and something not so good. The rich spiritual inheritance from ALL THE WAY BACK is yours. You can receive it. But you can also throw out the deficit that each generation has left in the spiritual realm, too. It isn’t so much that things like anger, abuse, etc. are in your ‘blood’; as much as when the door to the enemy is opened (foothold), and you are raised in an environment of trauma and fear. It is easy to adopt the same behavior because it is familiar. You have heard of the girl hating her alcoholic father and then marrying one, the child who cursed her overweight mother and then became overweight herself. Your bloodline isn’t the issue – it is the modeled and learned behavior. Christ came to realign us with our heavenly family so that we wouldn’t be held captive to the mistakes of our earthly one.
Joy is more than an emotion. It releases a chemical in our brain that increases hope. Studies show children with higher levels of this chemical are more resilient when faced with difficulty. Make JOY a priority today!
Break out the dance music
Declare a nerf gun war
Play indoor beach ball volleyball
Do something out of the norm to usher in JOY.