USHERING CHILDREN INTO ENCOUNTERS

USHERING CHILDREN INTO ENCOUNTERS

Do children need to be believers to play in the Kingdom or do they play in the Kingdom to choose Him? I think it is both. When did God speak the loudest to Saul (Paul)?  When He was Jesus’ enemy #1. When did Jesus invite Matthew?  When he was full of greed. When did Jesus welcome the man on the cross?  When he was destined to hell. God’s most profound act of love was a free gift to those who didn’t know Him. Oh, yes, He cares for those who do not yet know Him. God speaks and interacts with unbelievers. And in doing so, it provides an encounter with the One who is worthy of it all. Encounters become the gateway in which many realize He is the One and make the choice to follow Him. This is a glorious, beautiful event because it becomes their testimony which no man can argue or deny. Our goal as parents should be to seek to provide our children with encounters with Him and the joy of playing in His Kingdom so that they experience Him. Head knowledge is religion where encounters are relationship.

Some ways to usher our children into an encounter could include: showing them a Scripture of how much Jesus cares about them (not just to correct their behavior), asking Jesus questions that pertain to their world, heart and cares, inviting Jesus into their pain, taking them to church, allowing them to stay with you during worship, sharing with them what He showed you during your quiet time, telling your own God stories, letting them dance at home with worship music, soaking (simply sitting/lying quietly generally with music on to feel His peace), asking God to help them with something (and then helping them see how He responded).

When my children were little, I had a sign on the wall that said, “Dear Jesus, thank You for ______. Would You please help me with ______”. Each day they would pray filling in the blanks. I was modeling for them how to be thankful and come to Jesus with what was important to their heart. At the end of the day, we would play the High/Low game where they would share what was the high and low of their day. Their highs would almost always reflect the very thing they asked Jesus for. One day my daughter asked Jesus to help her get a sweet treat. It felt rather insignificant to me, but hours later we were at a store, and a clerk said she made one too many ice cream cones and offered it to my daughter. I immediately reminded her of her prayer that morning. I saw my role as a dot connector. Teaching them to pray, then helping them see the way God was responding and speaking to them. Their faith grew each time leaving them hungry for more. We were building their stories with Him long before any of them made a personal decision to follow Him.

LET’S CHOOSE LIFE

Proverbs 18:21 (MSG) says, “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.” Parents, let’s CHOOSE LIFE over our children every morning. You can do it verbally, on the bathroom mirror, in a frame (and change it weekly/monthly), or in their lunch box. Each day speak a fresh organic declaration over them or sit down and write them out for your whole family. We each wrote our own and had them posted on our bathroom mirror. I like to do it every morning on the way to school. When I pass a specific building, that is my mental reminder to make sure I am intentionally calling out who they are. I want them to walk into school wrapped in the statement, “I love you. You are important to me. You matter. I am proud of you. You can do this. You are my favorite. You are smart. You have got this. I believe in you.” This is easy on good days but vital when peace seems to go out the window in the mornings.

Here are a few – · I love being your mom! · If I could choose out of all the kids in the world, I would choose YOU. · You have got this. · I loved that you _____ this morning. · Your best is enough. · Best day EVER! · Go shine your light BRIGHT. · You are God’s answer to those around you. · I am so glad God put you in our family. · Being your mom is my favorite job. · I love you, and Jesus loves you. · You made a mess this am, but I love you anyway. · I am so proud of you. · You are such a hard worker. · I believe in you. · You are a joy to be around. · Your siblings are so blessed to have you. · You matter. · I love you to the moon and back. · That was really kind of you to do that. · You make me smile. · There is no one like you. · I love to see how you are growing up. · You are so special. · You are awesome! · I love seeing you smile. · I appreciate you so much.

CHARACTER MATTERS

Character matters because it matters to God. Children without character can’t sustain the gifts and assignments God wants to give them. It is much easier, by God’s design, to learn character IN childhood from parents who love and care for them. In this eBooklet, I will walk you through defining godly character (not legalism) and how to cultivate a lifestyle of character. Additionally, I will provide you with fun, creative activities to teach your children.

Character Training SOAR Magazine – Let the Children Fly

ALL HELL BREAKING LOOSE

Sometimes when it feels like all hell is breaking loose, it is because there is a part of hell that needs to be broken loose. This is not the time to endure; it is the time to rise up and fight with your spiritual authority and tools. This is the time to expose what the enemy is doing and bring it into the light.

P.S. Have you ever noticed that ‘all hell breaks loose’ at the wrong time? Like when you are trying to walk out the door, you are late for something, or in front of others? Yep. That is on purpose so that you will be too distracted or pressured to take the time to deal with it.

HONORING YOU

It is very difficult for a child to release the Kingdom at the store if they are on the floor pitching a fit because you did not buy them a toy. They will have a harder time hearing God’s voice if they haven’t been taught to listen to yours first. You will have a greater challenge getting them to be ‘others’ focused if they have been taught that they are the only ones that matter. Character matters!

SPRAY BOTTLE

A great tool for teaching children their authority is to take a spray bottle and catch them off guard by spraying them. Teach them that, like a sneeze, we are always releasing something into the atmosphere. When we throw a tantrum at the store, we aren’t just doing that to Mom but to everyone around us. When we hit our siblings, we are releasing that into the atmosphere. When you are kind, that gets released, too. As you teach, keep surprising them with sudden sprays that fall onto their skin. We release those things into the atmosphere when we release God’s love, respect, honor, kindness, joy, etc. Which one do they want to release? Since my kids have a grid for this now, all I have to say is, “Hey guys, what do you think just got released into the atmosphere?” We can teach children to take the spiritual temperature of a room and then release the opposite. There is power in the name of Jesus that shifts things in the atmosphere everywhere we go!!

THE GIRL IN THE MIRROR

Do you like the girl in the mirror? I want to encourage you with something. Maybe the battle isn’t so much in despising what you see in the mirror but what you were taught about the girl in the mirror. Our parents and grandparents were raised in a generation where women needed to have a stamp of excellence on them, which included looking immaculate at all times. It was not proper to go out without your hair done, makeup on, or dressed spiffy, even just going to the grocery store. Heck, they even wore heels to the park. Things HAVE changed in our culture, where it is socially acceptable to go to the store in your messy bun, workout clothes, and sweat. But maybe what hasn’t changed is what that taught you about the girl in the mirror. Moms lamented about their bodies and cursed their imperfections with little girls watching, which taught them motherhood = lack, being disqualified, unattractive, undesirable, fat, and not good enough. When little girls grow up and become moms themselves, they have it ingrained in them that now they are disqualified too. If this is how you feel about the girl in your mirror, I encourage you to grab hold of that LIE and push it back where it belongs. Tell that girl she is amazing, has birthed life, that there is grace in the imperfection (whatever that even means), that she has earned her stretch marks and wrinkles. Be compassionate to her and let the girl behind you see a mom who is empowered and kind to her body. You will teach a whole new generation that motherhood = beauty, character, love, compassion, grace, and true beauty. Fill in the blank below.

“The girl in the mirror is ____”.

CRAZY CYCLE

This is going to be a HUGE key for many parents! From a very early age, I could feel resistance with one of my daughters. I figured it was a generational thing and have intentionally gone after her heart. I would find myself saying YES to the others with ease, but my heart was hesitant, and I always wanted to say NO to her. It made no sense to me, but I could feel it. She agitated me in a way the others didn’t, yet she wasn’t really doing anything in the natural to warrant it. It was awful to admit because it felt like maybe I even liked her less than the others. I didn’t, but the resistance always made me feel like I was subtly rejecting my own child. God later revealed this to me through someone else, and I rushed home to share it with my daughter. She cried and began to tell me that she felt it, too, and even when we would go on dates, she felt like she couldn’t get close to me. We walked through what this looked like between us and have had such breakthrough.

It looks like this: When there is control-based parenting, the child responds in one of two ways. #1. They feel resistance, anger, and/or have hate or murder in their heart (which doesn’t mean death but can ‘kill’ you with their words). These children then partner with the spirit of REBELLION in their hearts. This can be outward or inward rebellion. #2. The other child feels hurt, isolated, withdrawn, unworthy, like a victim, and helpless when faced with a controlling parent, and they partner with a spirit of REJECTION. The problem is that when the parent feels the spirit of rebellion or rejection coming from the child, it makes them increase their control. A crazy cycle begins in which neither the parent nor the child is really seeing/responding to the other person, but rather the two spirits of control and rebellion/rejection are having a hay day! Connection, love, and unity go right out the window.

My daughter was partnering with a spirit of rejection, and I CAN’T STAND the spirit of rejection. My daughter wasn’t agitating me; the spirit was. Once she began to partner with that spirit, no matter what I would say, she would feel hurt and rejected, which drove me up a wall (in all honesty). I did use more control-based parenting until she was around five years old when I discovered Holy Spirit. But I think it has more to do with how opposite we are. She is my dancing, joyful, giddy, silly, talk a mile a minute, always wanting to create things, bake things, make a mess with paints, glitter and glue kid. I am busy, serious, don’t like messes, and have little appreciation for creative arts. Neither of us are wrong, but because I am the adult, she was feeling controlled by my repetitive ‘no’ answers and not giving her more freedom to be herself. The cycle had gone on for so long that it began to feel normal. It is easier to partner with control when they are younger, but once the spirit of rebellion and rejection are in motion, it is the tween and teen years where the ‘fruit’ of that parenting really begins to reveal itself in the child. Since the spirit of rebellion and rejection have a legal right to be there, they influence the child to behave and make choices that only further the parents’ drive for control. Obviously, rebellion and rejection are not what we want to introduce our children to. We are the ones to break the cycle!

Praise God for this incredible revelation and tool so that we can break free from the enemy’s tools of control, rebellion, and rejection, and we can walk in freedom and connection. If this sounds like something that you are experiencing with one of your children, I encourage you to spend time with Holy Spirit talking to Him about it. If you need to repent, do that first. Set a date with your child (mine was out on the driveway while the other kids were inside). Fill their love tank for a few minutes first, as a filled tank always lowers the walls and makes hard conversations easier. Explain to them that God loves them so much and has shown you an area that you need to change (this makes them feel secure that God has their back, too). I drew a figure 8 and showed her how the crazy cycle went around and around and how we both played our roles. I asked her to please forgive me for making her feel controlled. I also helped her walk through asking Jesus for forgiveness for partnering with the lie and spirit of rejection. We hugged and cried and allowed for Holy Spirit to heal without words for a while. We then tasted the new fruit in the days to come. I also called a family meeting and made sure everyone was aware of the cycle. We agreed that when they were feeling controlled, or I was seeing the rebellion/rejection, we could call out a special code to signal we were partnering with it again. I also want to add that children can control their parents, causing parents to partner with rebellion and rejection, too. This can also be a dynamic with siblings where one is controlling another. If you had a controlling parent, ask Holy Spirit if you are still allowing the spirit of rebellion or rejection to influence you today. Spirits don’t leave us just because we move out of the house. This is NOT a reflection of you being a bad parent, but rather a reflection of the enemy and what he does best – kill, steal and destroy – in this case, the connection with our children. Don’t allow him to put the blame back on you. It is okay to get mad that many of us come under this but use the anger to rise up in your authority and break the cycle. Ask Holy Spirit what keys He wants you to use with your child to repair the connection. Thank You, Father, for being a perfect parent and helping us along the way!

Crazy cycle between parent and child: Crazy Cycle Between Parent & Child – YouTube

HELLO, MY NAME IS

Go to the store, get a label/sticker, and write things like ‘loving,’ ‘kind,’ ‘helpful,’ ‘worthy,’ etc. Then, throughout the day, call out your child’s identity and remind them who they are. Ask Holy Spirit to make your ears sensitive to hear when your children call out a lie about themselves. Things like, “I am not good at this,” “I can’t,” “I am not smart,” “I am stupid,” “No one cares,” and show them their name tag and ask, “Is that who you are?” Show them it is a LIE from the enemy, and they can easily toss that lie out. It is important that children get practice hearing GOD’S words about them and learn how to toss out the lies. They will use this tool for the rest of their lives!

‘Identity’ is a very big word with a loaded meaning. This is just a tiny sampling of what we can teach our children about identity, but the most important thing is that they realize that there are two opposing views – what God says about us and the lies the enemy says. We need to choose which one we will believe and which one we will kick out the door – about ourselves and others.

GOD IS WITH US

Every child should be equipped and armed with the reality that God is always with us.

GOOGLE PARENTING

Have you ever googled a minor health symptom and begun worrying there might be something wrong after reading all the possibilities? We need to be clear about which kingdom we are releasing over each other and who we are allowing to speak into our lives.

Take a listen to this short podcast where I address what I call ‘Google Parenting.’  Google Parenting by Lisa Max – Let the Children Fly! (anchor.fm)