When my children were all toddlers, I brought them outside on a hot summer day and gave them an umbrella to play with. Oh, they had so much fun with it!

I then took the garden hose and sprayed it up in the air to land on them. They all screamed and giggled under their protective covering. I asked them to set the umbrellas down by the door and they went off to play again but I surprised them with a burst of water from the hose. This time they were left uncovered, and all went scrambling to grab and open their umbrellas. We sure had a lot of laughter and joy that afternoon. 

I sat them down and explained that staying under the umbrella kept them safe from the hot sun and the water pouring down from the hose. While the sun and water did not harm them, if they stayed outside for a long time, it could. I helped them to see the same is true with the covering that God and I have put over them to keep them safe. There is freedom to laugh and play and have a great time, but when you get out from under the umbrella, you can get burned or drenched! 

I explained that my umbrella represents the rules of the home, and God’s umbrella represents Biblical principles and obeying His commands. When the kids would disobey, I explained that they were getting a consequence because they chose to get out from under the umbrella. The love, favor, and blessings NEVER leave no matter what we do, but we can position ourselves directly under His wing or move far from it. The choice is ours and it is called free will. We have the right to choose whatever we want but the question is what do we want to choose? His ways and remain protected, or our way and deal with the consequences? 

Soon the kids began to understand this principle and all I would have to do is take my one index finger and point it up while taking the other like a cup and holding it over the index finger (to represent the umbrella), which signaled to them they weren’t obeying or staying under the umbrella with their choice.

Why not have some fun today with an umbrella, garden hose and teaching your child how to stay under your covering?


Has the Lord done anything in your life? Luke 19:40 – “If we keep quiet (and don’t praise God), the stones will cry out.” Why would you and I remain silent, forfeiting the joy and praising God for what He has done? No testimony is too small. Whenever you see God move, write it down and when your child is in need of Him, remind them of His history with them. Encourage them to have faith that He will do it again and spend time together remembering God’s goodness.

God has done so much in my children’s lives. I want to always remember those ‘parting of the sea’ moments, the times He showed up and saved the day, when He tangibly loved like a tender Father, provided for us, revealed HIS protection, lavished undeserved favor, or spoke to us. 

Years ago, I saw a sign that said BLESSED at a store, and it hit me. We aren’t ‘blessed’ in a religious way, but as in a verb that states we’ve experienced Him in tangible and real ways. ‘Blessed’ for us isn’t just a nice descriptive adjective. It is our lifestyle.

Despite being quite pricey and not of the best quality, I bought the sign and called a family meeting. We talked about having stones of remembrance and reflected on the testimonies each one of us carry. We took turns writing them on the board. I hope that this board is all black by the end of my life and can’t contain all that God has done in our lives.

Has God done anything in your family? Why not create your own MEMORY STONES of what He has done.


In the days ahead, be spies for God by calling out every time you see God showing His love, protection, care and tenderness for your children. When you see God’s faithfulness, love, and protection over them, call it out. 

“Sweetie, that was God. He loves you so much”, “Buddy, that was God watching out for you”, “WOW, I love how God takes care of you by _____.”


Do you ever feel like you understand a Biblical concept only to be challenged by it greatly and discover there is so much more to learn? That is what it has been like for me in the area of responding to evil, wrongdoings, and injustices. There were a series of events that happened not to me, but to my children. Some were even considered criminal, and it has caused me to press in deeper than ever before. 

As I was processing, I thought of the verse to bless those who curse you. My mind argued that the verse doesn’t really say, “BLESS”, right? I was sure it said, “Pray for those who persecute you…” I had to look it up. NOPE! It says to BLESS them. I had an internal battle of how unfair it was to BLESS someone for injustice. And furthermore, doesn’t that disrupt the Biblical principle of reaping and sowing? I was deeply uncomfortable as I sat with the Lord allowing Him to make all things right and straight in my mind and heart over this issue. 

Yes, I am to BLESS those who do wrong.

Why? Because wrongdoings are rooted in evil. There is no gray area – it’s either His Kingdom or the enemy – PERIOD. If someone does something because they are being influenced by the enemy, whose goal is always to kill, steal and destroy, my RESPONSE is what makes the difference between their evil doing having a victory or not in my life.

My mind was getting it but there was something in my heart that was still struggling. If you get blessed for wrongdoing, then what’s the point in doing good? Suddenly God showed me a picture of a Velcro vest. The kind you use in fun nerf gun wars where the bullets are meant to stick on you. BINGO! I got it. The eyes of my heart were opened. 

When I BLESS someone for evil doing, their bullets do not stick to me.

When I refuse to bless the intent of the wrongdoing sticks.

As I shared this with my team, one of the girls said she felt like she was going to throw up as a serious criminal act was done against her and the thought of blessing him made her sick to her stomach. Does she really need to bless him? YES, as the Scripture applies to my situation, her situation, those who have lost loved ones over murder, whose child has been harmed, those who have endured things like Holocaust, yes, the verse is the same for all Sons and Daughters. 

But the KEY is in the interpretation of ‘BLESS.’ To bless doesn’t always mean prayers of ‘blessings’, open doors, and favor. To bless means to throw back heaven at them. In my friend’s situation, things like repentance and conviction are Kingdom and ultimately one of the richest blessings in a person’s life as it causes them to be made right with Him. 

When wrongdoings happen, our response should be to take a hold of the ball as fast as possible and throw back the things of heaven in a measure of blessing them with GOOD for their evil. 

Romans 12:14 – “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”

I encourage you to plant the seeds deep in your child’s heart in this regard. Do you have Velcro vests? Nerf guns? Bring them out and play a round of friendly fire. Don’t have any? No problem. Think of something you can use that would STICK on someone. 

A ball made of tape with the sticky side out

A glob of peanut butter (that would get their attention)

A dusting of flour or powdered sugar

Call a family meeting and toss the item on them making it stick. Explain that it represents evil wrongdoings, offenses, rudeness, injustices, etc. Talk about what that looks like. 

Then share how our job is to pick up the bullet/peanut butter/powdered sugar, etc. as fast as possible and throw it back at them but with a BLESSING. 

Talk about the different ways to bless someone. 


It is important with all of the noise in the world and atmosphere that children are declaring with their mouth the truth. This is the double edge sword the Word mentions in Hebrews 4:12 (NIV).

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Watch this short video with your child and then have a special date to write out their own declarations. Hold them accountable each morning by asking if they have filled their mind with His truth (just like they care for their teeth, fill their belly, and put clothes on their bodies). 

Declarations – YouTube


Take a tiny pinch of coffee grounds and spread them over the kitchen floor. Invite your children to join you in the kitchen and ask them to help you find the coffee grounds on the floor. “Hey guys, I dropped my coffee grounds. Can you help me find them?” It won’t be easy to find them all spread out. Then ask them to close their eyes and quickly dump a visual amount on the ground. This time ask them to pick up the coffee grounds… but one little grain at a time. Spend a few moments attempting to do this impossible task. You might want to lie down on your tummy and get serious, “One, two, three. Sarah, how many did you get? Four, five?” When they lament that it is impossible, take a broom and sweep up the coffee. Sit the kids down and talk about the kitchen floor representing the whole wide world – there are no separate regions or countries – just one big piece of land. Explain that the tiny grain of coffee represents sin in the world. What is sin? Sin is anything we do that goes against what God has planned for us. Sin is when we break God’s household rules. He isn’t mad at us when we sin, but it makes Him sad because He designed us to be loved, blessed, protected, and full of joy, and sin robs us of that. Help them see that God knows every grain of coffee, even those they couldn’t find or see with their eyes. Explain to them that there are many coffee grounds (sin) in the world right now for others to see. Every family will have a different grid regarding what your children know about the world’s affairs, but you can filter it through the coffee grounds analogy when they see, hear or feel things.

Example: You are driving and see vandalism, graffiti, or broken windows. Mom – “That is sad that someone broke that window.” Child – “Who broke it?” Mom – “I don’t know.” Child – “If you don’t know who broke it, how can the police arrest them?” Mom – “Remember the grains of coffee on the kitchen floor? Breaking things is a sin; even if he gets away with it and never gets caught by the police, God saw it, and God knows.”

Example: The kids see or hear something on the news and ask you about it. You can give them human wisdom and intellectual understanding or anchor them to the truth that God sees, knows, and is aware. A GREAT response is, “Wow, that is a great question. I have some thoughts, but let’s ask Jesus what He thinks.” I did this once about something I was so assured of the response, and He showed me something different, which created a powerful family discussion. 

The God who sees, hears, and knows all has made Himself available to us through Jesus to come and talk to Him – ASK HIM! Jeremiah 33:3 – “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” 

Bitter Cup – We want to help our children understand that we ALL sin. Each of us has a grain of coffee (sin) with our name on it. Make some strong coffee and let your children take a sip. None of us are blameless before Him. Share something you did recently that was a sin. Ask them to remember something they did. Explain that sin is like strong coffee that tastes bitter. HERE IS THE KEY: While we ALL sin, God has given us provision for how to clean it up. How? By confessing (whoops – Jesus, I blew it) and by asking for HIS forgiveness (He took the spanking for us on the Cross). When we do that, He removes the grain of coffee with our name on it. 

In the days ahead, when they violate your household rules, you can lovingly remind them of the bitter coffee and say, “Sweetheart, when you _____, it was a sin. Do you want to hold onto that bitter cup or come give it to Jesus?” 

Cream & Sugar – He does not want us to pour some cream and sugar on the coffee (sin) to make it taste better. Sin is bitter, and He wants to remove it from us. Teach your children that when they sin and cover it up, keep it a secret, blame someone else or deny it; it is like pouring a pound of sugar in the coffee cup. You can do this as a visual for the children. Instead, He wants us to offer up the coffee cup to Him and hand it over, never to drink from it again. 

Injustice of No Discipline – Organically speaking, sin does not feel good. When we fail to discipline our children, we rob them of a way out of their sins, which only teaches them to ignore the guilt. By addressing sin, even at a young age, we allow them to make it right and remove the guilt. Guilt that is piled up can lead to shame. God knows we have flesh and live in a fallen world and has not left us in condemnation. Confessing sin is an acknowledgment of wrongdoing and the opportunity to make it right with God and others. 

Sin is bitter. Forgiveness is sweet. It’s time to brew some coffee!


God not only wants us to obey, but He wants us to obey right away (and with a joyful heart). He wants our obedience to not be out of fear but out of trusting that He is for us, and He is good. 

Buy a package of small, sweet treats and place them around the house. Call a family meeting and tell them you are going to play a game. Ask for a volunteer, blindfold them, and then give them short, easy instructions on how to find the first hidden treat. Allow them to enjoy the treat and ask for another volunteer. Do this until all of the treats are found. 

Gather the children and explain to them that God is a good Father and knows how to lead us to His blessings, but we have to listen AND follow His instructions. Highlight that if you said to go left and they went right they would not have found the treat. Obedience is what leads us to His best. 

Ask for a volunteer to read Exodus 20:12 – “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

To honor means to respect and hold in high regard (like a prized toy, not a cheap broken one). 

Remind them that your role as the head of your home is to lead your children to safety and help them become all that God created them to be, and that hearing your voice and obeying not only immediately, but joyfully, is KEY to a blessed life. 

In the days to come, when you give instructions and your child is not responding with honor and respect, lovingly come alongside them and say, “Hey buddy, do you remember when you found the sweet treats because you followed my voice? I need for you to honor what I am instructing you to do now.”


My mom used to drive around in an old Chevy Monte Carlo with a bumper sticker that read, “Have you hugged your kid today?” I used to think it was awesome that she had a reminder each time she got in the car. I longed for her embrace as it made me feel wanted, safe and seen. Sadly, hugs were few and far between, but they still held a tremendous value. I want to ask YOU, “Have you hugged your kid today?”

Homework – Make it a goal to reach out and offer a hug to your child at least THREE times today. Set a reminder in your phone, do it before/after each meal, or when they ask for something. Be intentional and hug those kids today!


My daughter got in the car, and I asked her why she broke my favorite mug. She had a shocked look on her face and was trying to process how to respond. I asked her again why she broke my mug. Finally, she said with almost tears in her eyes, “Mom, I promise I didn’t break it.” I assured her I knew because the mug wasn’t broken, but I reminded her that just moments before, she was accusing her brother of something I did, not him. Instantly she understood how awful it felt to be falsely accused of something. She apologized, and we had a good chat about not being so quick to formulate judgment until you have all the facts. 

Call a family meeting and share the above story with the kids OR go ahead and role-play the same scenario. Ask questions about how it made their heart feel or how hard it is when someone is quick to judge. Read the following Scriptures together.

Proverbs 18:13 (The Message) – “Answering before listening is both stupid and rude.” 

Proverbs 18:13 (NIV) – “To answer before listening—that is folly and shame.”

Spend some time as a family asking for forgiveness for any way you have partnered with being a judge and hand over the job back to God because He alone sees all and judges justly and fairly. 


We played the greatest game when the kids were younger, called the Smile Game!

Before we got out of the van at the grocery store, Wal-Mart, or a restaurant, we all talked about the game and would remind everyone how to play it. Then, when we got out of the van, each of us had to give as many people as possible direct eye contact and smile really big, each keeping score of how many smiles we would get in return.

The game was hilarious, and joy always broke out. The kids would often be up to 50 returned smiles, reminding them that releasing the Kingdom is about JOY. It also showed them how to flip the atmosphere where most people do not acknowledge a single person in front of them.


There is an area my son lacks. As a mom, I have noticed this, and together we have gone after increasing his capacity for quite some time. However, he seems to be in a season where his faithfulness is less and less. It is frustrating (like UBER frustrating). As a leader/mom, God has spoken deeply to me about what he needs during this season. Is it to be harder on him? Greater consequences? Remind him often of his failure? Let it go and hope he grows out of it? It happened again one morning, despite talking about it the night before. He came to me and said, “Mom, I know I messed up again.” We talked about it for a moment but had to keep going to get ready. About five minutes later, I went to him while he was tying his shoes and sat at his feet. I put my hands on his knees, and the anointing flowed as I blessed his journey into manhood. I told him I was okay with the process because I knew where he was headed. I assured him I would sit with him for as long as it took because that is what mothers do. I told him there was still a spot for him in our family and that mistakes do not mean being sent to the end of the line. Tears began to flow. I blessed his brain trying to manage responsibility and hormones. I blessed his value and worth that are anchored in Him, not his performance. I blessed his messes because God is using them for his growth and refinement. 

I speak that 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!