Years ago, I was invited to a mom’s night out with our local twin’s club and hungered for deep girlfriend time. I had four-month-old twins and just discovered we were pregnant again. Little did I know how that evening would change my life. These seasoned moms began to share the horror stories of taking twins out in public – each story topping the next with embarrassment over unruly children in public places. One lady raised her glass to toast ‘eating out in public with twins’ goodbye. Something about this conversation was upsetting to me. Maybe it was because I have often said that eating out was my love language (my deeper confession is that I’m not too fond of cooking). Part of me didn’t like being controlled by a child who didn’t even know how to walk yet, and part of me wanted to raise my glass and toast to equip our children to not only have the character to be able to enter all places, but to be a JOY! I went home that night, determined to do just that. We would go out in public, and I used it as an intentional training ground to equip our baby twins, soon-to-be-four children under four years of age, how to have self-control, honor, and respect. Years later, I am still reaping the fruit. I saw a need to equip hungry parents in the ways of Kingdom parenting, specifically as it pertains to healthy character building that models the heart of the Father, the original parent! Character firmly plants a child to bear good fruit. Your home will be one of honor, respect, and peace when character is at the foundation. Enjoy the journey of equipping your children to bear good fruit.
Our pastor shared a story about buying a pack of gum for cheap. He went in the next day, and they had raised the price because the clerk had made an error the day before. Our pastor digs in his pocket for the change to make up the difference. The clerk says it was his error and that he owed nothing. His response has never left me. He said, “If I am faithful to give you what is yours, God will be faithful to give me what is mine.” A few days later, I let my son play the video game at the table of our restaurant. When we got in the car, he showed me $7 that he ‘found’ under the video game. I heard our pastor’s words in my mind and immediately turned the car around to have my son explain to the waiter what had happened. My son didn’t do anything wrong, as he clearly thought it was lost money, but not making it right would have made it wrong. The following day I got tangled in L.A. traffic and ended up in a lane that required me to pay $20 for parking. I told the attendant I would just drive through and exit. While doing so, I made a comment that the guy would never even know if we just slipped into a parking spot, but my daughter instantly said, “But Mom, that would be dishonest.” Once again, I heard, “If I am faithful to give you what is yours, God will be faithful to give me what is mine,” and we drove off. Teaching children about character and modeling it ourselves is so valuable to the Father.
I survived a near-death experience and was told I would never be able to have any biological children due to the surgeries. I married with that understanding, and we were approved and waiting for our first foster child when we discovered we were pregnant. Two months later, we lost our child, and it was devastating. I sat in our sunlit living room and cried for 8 hours, not only mourning the events that will never happen but wondering why God allowed me to get pregnant if we were content from the beginning not to have our own. That loss shifted something so deep within me to reject the words spoken over my body. While I never got to hold this child, their life taught me that it is okay to believe in God’s ability over reality. We got pregnant again the following month but lost that child too. The thing that brought my mama’s heart so much comfort was this mental picture of Jesus holding both of my babies in each of His arms, like twins. However, I could feel something was off inside of me, yet I couldn’t put my finger on it. I went to someone in the church trained in inner healing ministry, and while I no longer struggled with suicide as I did in my earlier years, we felt led to deal with the spirit of death. While I never got to hold this child either, I was set free from a spirit of death throughout their life. A month later, we got pregnant with TWINS. God was aligning my heart with His and showing me the mighty redemption of things lost and stolen in the family. Through my full-term twin pregnancy, I was learning to experience the goodness of God’s love and joy on a whole new level. I was becoming a mom and had the power to change the life of another human being. When Lauren and Emma were four months old, we got pregnant with Hudson (named after Hudson Taylor). My pregnancy was challenging, and I knew something wasn’t right. Due to random events, we scheduled my C-section earlier than his due date, and it ended up being a 2.5-hour procedure because the OB who delivered my twins failed to sew me back up inside, wreaking havoc inside my body. Had I not gotten pregnant again so soon and needed a C-section, I would have ruptured on the inside, leaving my twins without a mother. Hudson’s birth literally saved my life. This has been such a prophetic statement on how God uses our children to heal, redeem, and restore things in our lives. Where I was to give life and birth to my son, in reality, he gave it to me. I was asked many times if we were done having kids knowing how full my hands were with three children under 14 months. While everything in me screamed YES, I didn’t have peace about it. Three years later, Ellie Rose entered this world and completed our family. Waiting for her taught me that whatever is ‘right,’ logical, or even considered wise, does not matter if it does not bring peace. I have been reminded of this many times over the years as I have chosen not to follow the norm, popular vote, or what I ‘should’ do, but rather be led by peace for my unique family. And so, my journey into motherhood began.
I sat in a room with 80 young kids one night. Oh, my word, the world hasn’t yet seen what God can do with a group of children who are hungry for him. One girl said to her friends that her knee was hurting, and they immediately laid hands on her, and was healed. Her response? “Cool.” At first, I wasn’t sure how to process the flippant response, but I heard Holy Spirit say, “Because the supernatural is natural to her.” So powerful!
There are scores and scores of testimonies building up of how GOD is using this season to strengthen the family. If you could peel back the rooftops and have a birds-eye view into many homes, you would see this. Dads are connecting with their children. Mothers are letting out the pain instead of carrying it around. Fathers are on the floor, laughing with their kids. Moms are teaching respect. Marriages are being healed and restored. The kids’ love tanks are overflowing. Connections are being restored with siblings. Children are being taught who they are. Parents are teaching their children about His goodness. There is laughter. Families are talking again. Offenses are being forgiven. Siblings are playing and releasing joy. Children feel like they belong. Moms are being seen and heard. Dads are relaxing. Pain is being addressed and resolved. Dads are laying down the idol of money. Pillars of peace are being contended for. Families are readjusting their focus. Families are seeking Him together.
Keep going! You are doing an incredible job allowing Him to use this season for GOOD. I know you are tired, and there are still so many unknowns, but you are doing it one choice at a time. When the FAMILY is strengthened, there is an advancement of His Kingdom. Revival happens when the family is REVIVED! May Your Kingdom come into the FAMILY ROOM!
Teaching children to walk in character is a VERB, and it is best done in the home by loving parents.
This is a great write-up from my friend who is an outstanding mother raising solid children. I agree that we cannot force our children to do anything, but we absolutely are called to create a lifestyle where we expect love, respect, and kindness from our children. It is taught, reinforced, and intentionally gone after by parents who value the process of character training.
“During this holiday season: My kids will be required to be warm and loving to all of their relatives, whether they see them often or see them a few times a year. They will be expected to behave, and though I can’t force them to *love* anything, they will be expected to appreciate every friend and family event we attend (hello, 6 Christmases). They will be given the knowledge that they are so lucky to have so many friends and family to celebrate with. They will say thank you and be grateful for every single gift that is given to them, regardless if it’s something they would choose for themselves. They will once again be taught that someone took time out of their busy life to think of them and used their hard-earned money to purchase them something and that – regardless of what is in the present – the act behind getting it is more than enough to be thankful for. As their parent, I will remember this too. Our guests can overstay, overshare, give us advice, come bearing gifts or come just as themselves with no gift at all, tell my girls they are beautiful without bringing up that they are also intelligent and immensely capable of anything they put their minds to – and even if ALL of it is ‘unwanted,’ we will smile and be grateful that we have people who care enough to do so. I keep seeing these posts about kids not being required to show love (which can be shown in more ways than just hugging) to relatives they don’t see often. They don’t have to behave at or love the events they attend. I see posts about not giving parents unwanted advice or warning about guests overstaying their welcome. I see posts about what kinds of gifts are considered acceptable, posts about how we shouldn’t call young girls pretty and should replace it with different words, and all it makes me think is, my goodness (!!). When did all of these things – compliments, gifts, friendly visits, advice, showing love towards a child, family spending time with family… things more often motivated by love than not – become things we need to put so many rules on? My kids will be taught that people show love in different and sometimes funny ways but to always look behind the gesture and see that, more often than not, it is love. As for me and my family, we will give the benefit of the doubt.
Sincerely, The odd mom out?”
Testimony from a father. This is what it is all about! The best parenting in the world means little if it does not love big.
“My wife and I discovered today which love language each of our children gravitates toward & made an intentional effort to fill them. The results were immediate & noticeable! It was as if their cup was running over & they had extra to share. Really neat!”
For Hudson’s 8th-grade mission trip, he was offered a chance to work in the church nursery and would tell me about this boy named Micah. His parents took my parenting class, so I reached out to Kelly to tell her how precious it was that they had connected. She said Micah talks about Hudson all the time. Clearly, God was on the connection, so we decided to get them together. When Micah came running out the door to greet us, I was so taken aback by how much he looked like Hudson at that age. Their bond is precious, and I am so thankful for the scores of men who have sown into Hudson over the years and that he has a grid and understanding of what it means to sow into someone’s life. It is so fun to watch your child receive and then grow up to be the one who values passing that gift onto someone else.
When I was 24, I had a drug overdose and wasn’t found for three days. The first officer on the scene declared me DOA (dead on arrival) and literally went to get the body bag. The second person on the scene declared he found a faint pulse. I love that part of my story because it is so richly prophetic. Light always trumps darkness, and it only takes ONE person to declare life to that which appears to be dead. No matter what you are going through in your marriage, with your kids, your finances, health, or circumstances, DECLARE LIFE and watch God resurrect that which looks, feels, and appears dead! As I walked out my three-month hospital stay, which included being in a coma, kidney failure, liver failure, and respiratory failure, my brother got so tired of the ongoing grim reports spoken over me from the medical staff that he put up signs all around my room that said, “No negative words spoken here.” I am here today because LIFE was spoken and declared over me.
I was teaching parents how to pray for their needs, and a father sent me this testimony. Wahoo!
“It works for vehicles too! We live an hour from town on a steep, windy, narrow mountain road. It was -15 degrees on the drive to town, and I hit a patch of ice, did a 360 turn, and slid into the snowbank. The car then wouldn’t start, so I had the girls and I pray. After praying, the car started, and we continued the remaining drive to town.”