WALKING THROUGH TRAUMA

WALKING THROUGH TRAUMA

I wanted to give you a few things to consider regarding children walking through trauma (crisis, divorce, death, a move). 

Talk – Children also endure what adults in the home are going through. Use age-appropriate language and ask them questions about what they saw, how they felt, what it was like for them, etc. Give them permission to talk. A great way to access their heart is by asking questions. Let Holy Spirit lead you in the conversation. Another great way to help them release what is in their hearts is by drawing pictures. Ask them to illustrate how their heart feels about the event. Be intentional to have family time alone together and check in to see how everyone is doing and where they are at in processing everything. I generally ask, “How is your heart feeling, and what do you need right now?” 

Fear – Being scared is normal in the time of danger, but now that danger is over, we don’t want to continue to partner with it as it can turn into fear which welcomes the wrong spirit. If you see signs your child is holding onto the concern that something bad will happen, remind them they are safe, that the trauma is over and that God isn’t the one giving them that emotion, but instead God gives us power, love, and peace in our minds (1 Tim 1:7). If the fear continues, you may need to walk your child through commanding the fear to go in Jesus’ name AND inviting Holy Spirit to come and fill their mind, eyes, and emotions with peace, comfort, and joy. If your child reports an image they saw and it replays in their minds over and over, validate their concern over the issue, “Sweetie, I am so sorry you had to see that. It must have been so scary for you.” I would then remind them that Jesus’ blood covers it all and that we can use His blood to wash our minds. My kids would act out pouring His blood on their hands and then wash their minds (like pouring shampoo and washing your hair). “Jesus, we invite You to wash our minds of these images and fill them with Your love.” This is a powerful way for children to apply the blood of Jesus to their situation. 

Joy – Returning children to joy is essential in trauma. It releases a chemical in their brain that helps them rise above challenging circumstances. While we can’t always change our circumstances, we can invite joy into them. Perhaps it is a 5-minute dance party, jumping on the bed, a game of balloon volleyball, or a tickle attack. Do not underestimate the power of these pockets of joy for children in a crisis. 

Connection – Just because you are together 24/7 doesn’t mean you are connecting. Know their love language and intentionally fill it. Children’s love tanks empty quickly but fill fast. Connection is golden during this time, and it is an intentional verb. Go after 1:1 connection today. Grab a soda and sit in a corner alone together to talk, rub their back while holding them, tell them how proud you are of them for the way they have handled things, give them something as a token of your love for them (a note on their bed, a pack of gum, or a quick trip to the store to pick something out). etc. Be intentional. Know their love language and intentionally fill it. Children’s love tanks empty quickly but fill fast.

Limited Screen Time – I know it is hard because many are bored, and you want to be on your phone a lot too, but I strongly encourage you to try and limit it. Their hearts need real human contact and connection, not a lifeless screen. Screens increase joy chemicals but through artificial connection only leaving them more lonely afterwards. We do not want to throw our children into an addiction to screens just to cope with their pain and loss.

Build Their Faith – This is where we get to help our children see Jesus in the midst of the storm. Yes, it was awful, but we spend time focusing on calling out where Jesus was. Yes, we had a fire in our city, but Jesus kept us safe. Yes, we had to leave our home, but Jesus provided us with a hotel room/friends. Yes, we lost our beloved Whiskeytown, but God designed His creation to grow new life… keep it going. Validate the reality but focus on Him. These are bricks in their faith. God was there. God was in control. God helped me. The next time they are afraid, in need, or walking through a storm, you can remind them of their history with God, “Remember when we had to leave our home, and God took care of us? Let’s ask Him to do it again for you in this situation.” This is how they build their faith and confidence in Him. 

Peace – Peace is His presence, and nothing ushers it in more than worship. Be intentional about having family worship time. He changes us in worship and realigns us to His face. Increase soaking time where you just put on music, lay still, and encounter His presence. This is super important for children.

Parents, you are enough during this season of chaos and pain, and you will know what to do because He dwells inside you. You will not only overcome this as a family, but it will make you stronger.

EASTER STORY

I was asked to put on an Easter event at our church long before I had my own children. We wrote out a little booklet telling the Easter story and had the kids find a colored egg that went with the page of the story. They had to open the egg and see how the object inside correlated with the story. We hosted over 1,000 families that day, which was a huge hit. I have since hosted many Easter parties telling children of the GOOD NEWS.

May your family enjoy this interactive story of our RISEN KING! Gather the following items, put them in a designated colored egg, and hide them around the house (I have added some additional suggestions that you may have on hand). The child has to find that colored egg, bring it to you to read the Scripture relating to that part of the Easter story.

EASTER STORY PIECES:

Light green – Palm branch (small leaf, pine tree branch).

Dark Pink – Communion cup (insert note inside that says ‘see table’ and put grape juice on the table). 

Dark orange – Nickel.

Light Blue – Crown (twig, rose thorn).

Light purple – Dice.

Dark blue – Nail. 

Light yellow – something black (felt, construction paper, or drawing with a black marker). 

Dark green – Gauze (cotton ball, cloth). 

Light Orange – Stone (rock). 

Dark Yellow – Empty.

Light pink – Keys (car/house key).

Dark purple – Cross.

CONNECTION OVER BUSYNESS

Testimony from a mom: “I have a memory of my mom in the kitchen, having her back turned against us and doing dishes. My dad, brother, and I were in the living room chatting, eating, and watching TV. I realized God was showing me a lack of connection with my mom. My mom was a busy homeowner taking care of two young kids while caring for a huge extended family. I always yearned for some time with her (later on, I learned that my love language is quality time). God showed me that He wants me to connect with my children by spending time with them. The sad truth is that I spend a lot of time cooking, cleaning, and just taking care of a family. All the chores weigh me down, and I can’t seem to find time for them. God is shining a big flashlight in my heart and my past to let me know that He wants me to put down my chores and spend time with my children (my older one’s love language is also quality time). Thank You, Jesus, for showing me this.”

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?”

CLEANING UP OUR MESS

When the kids were really little, I would have them say, “I am sorry.” Once they understood that correction/discipline meant they did something to cause harm, I would have them ASK for forgiveness, such as, “I am sorry. Will you please forgive me?” And they had to wait for the reply of the other person. When they were around 4-8, I would have them say what they were sorry for, such as, “I am sorry for hitting your arm.” When they got older, I had them ask for forgiveness and state WHY what they did was not okay, such as, “I am sorry I hit your arm. It is not okay because I used my strength instead of my words.” Now that they are in their teen years, it is common for them to clean up their messes by asking forgiveness and releasing compassion and validation for how their choices have affected others. I am confident my grandchildren will reap the fruit of this because a successful marriage is not built upon perfection but on the ability to clean up one’s mess well.

PORN

One reason why children look at porn is that their parents are not teaching them about their own God-given body and are too afraid (or ashamed) to talk about it with them, so they go to the internet out of pure innocence only to be exposed to the vulgar side of sexuality. Children need to learn about sex, sexuality, private parts, and body functions from PARENTS in the HOME!

WHAT’S HIS NAME?

Gather the family and talk about their name. What happens when someone calls their name? Explore the meaning of their name or perhaps tell the story of why you named them. A name is significant in so many ways and represents who you are.

God has many names; it is important to know them as it teaches us His character and how to relate to Him in our time of need. Go through this list of the names of God, exploring each one as it relates to their world. Ex. Ask them if they have ever gotten hurt. Recall that time they fell off their bike and scraped their knee badly. Introduce them to Jehovah Rapha and talk about WHO God is at that moment. What about being afraid? Have they ever had a moment where they felt unsafe? Introduce them to El Shaddai – the God who is mighty and powerful. Teach the children they can call on the name of God anytime they want, and He will help. Putting this deep within their hearts is an important part of equipping our children for whatever they face.

  • El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty)
  • El Elyon (The Most High God)
  • Adonai (Lord, Master)
  • Yahweh (Lord, Jehovah)
  • Jehovah Nissi (The Lord My Banner)
  • Jehovah Raah (The Lord My Shepherd)
  • Jehovah Rapha (The Lord That Heals)
  • Jehovah Shammah (The Lord Is There)
  • Jehovah Tsidkenu (The Lord Our Righteousness)
  • Jehovah Mekoddishkem (The Lord Who Sanctifies You)
  • El Olam (The Everlasting God)
  • Elohim (God), Qanna (Jealous)
  • Jehovah Jireh (The Lord Will Provide)
  • Jehovah Shalom (The Lord Is Peace)
  • Jehovah Sabaoth (The Lord of Hosts)

SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY

When my kids come home with stories about how someone was unkind, rude, or disrespectful, we walk through forgiveness and then release the opposite back to them in the spiritual realm. You can’t be a victim when you are partnering with the Creator of the universe.

Homework – Call a family meeting and ask your children what would happen if you walked into the middle of a busy street and held up your hand. Nothing would probably happen. Next, ask what would happen if a police officer walked in the middle of a busy street and put up his hand. Because of his badge, he has authority. Not only that, but all of the courts back him up. We get to be police officers in the spiritual realm because of the badge of Jesus, and all of heaven backs us up. We get to tie up the bad and then unleash all the good stuff. 

PARENTING GOAL

Children who are full of fear, anxiety, and emotional hurt, who believe a lie or feel afraid, can act that out in mean, rude, and inappropriate ways. Just because a child does certain things doesn’t mean the solution is always discipline. Sometimes the solution is a hug, alone time with you, a special date, a positive word, or to be seen. God’s GOODNESS leads us to repentance because He looks beyond our messes and sees what our heart really needs. Perfect behavior should never be the goal in parenting – their heart should be!

DEPRESSION VS. OPPRESSION

Do you feel depressed? Years ago, I plopped down on the chair and began to tell my mentor that I was depressed. I felt heavy. My mind was like a thick fog, and my heart felt like it was carrying around a bag of rocks. Little brought me joy and being motivated to do basic daily chores was hard. We began to ask Jesus about what was going on in my heart, and within a few minutes, I said, “Oh, the depression is gone.” She replied, “That is because you weren’t depressed.” Confused by her reply, I asked for understanding. She began to tell me that depression is rooted in our body and has to do with a chemical imbalance. Depression is real and affects many. But she went on to say that OPPRESSION is the pressure the enemy puts on us that feels, looks, and sounds like depression but is rooted in the spiritual realm. Oppression feels like a python snake squeezing you. True chemical imbalance depression is cured by medication to regulate the hormones in the brain. But oppression is cured by taking authority in the spiritual realm, aligning our thoughts with His, and declaring truth. When we do those things, the oppression flees. If you are feeling a heavy weight of ‘depression,’ try moving into a place of intentional worship, declaring out loud, commanding it to leave in Jesus’ name, and worshiping! If you feel a shift, it was oppression. This goes for adults and children!

GOOD ENOUGH

Sometimes when parents set the bar high for standards and kids don’t measure up, they partner with the lie that they aren’t good enough. This is not about parents doing it wrong for setting high standards, but about the wrong message sinking into their heart. Children need to be called to a high standard AND experience grace for missing it. This is called childhood, which is the training ground to becoming whole, healthy, fruitful adults. Children are a work in progress and grace must be a part of that process. When a child fails to meet expectations, it becomes a great opportunity to discuss ways they can grow in their capacity to achieve different results next time and become better.