Mamas, I want to issue a loving, but firm warning. This is the time of year that burns moms out the most. Planning, cooking, buying, shopping, wrapping, hosting, cleaning, school events, kids home on break, performance, in-laws coming, family dynamics, etc. I want to encourage you as you map out the next two months of your schedule to guard your peace – not guard your time – guard your peace. I have a rule in our home, “I will do anything as long as I can do it in peace.” If I can’t remain in peace, I won’t do it. Why? Because when Mom isn’t at peace, everyone is affected, and our role is too important to be allowing chaos, busyness, and exhaustion to influence our families. There is too much going on in the world today to allow the spirit of busyness to steal your peace. You do NOT need to do it all, shop for all, clean it all and meet everyone’s expectations. In a world of change, why not do the holidays differently this year? “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty” (Proverbs 22:3).
WARNING – DON’T DO IT!
When my mom passed away, one thing that meant so much to me were the ornaments she gave me over the years. I wanted my children to have the same gift so, every year, I would intentionally pick out an ornament that reflected a part of their year. Maybe they overcame fear and tried something new, or were brave to ride their bike without training wheels, or lost a beloved pet. Every year we unpack their ornaments one by one telling the story of who they are. Our tree is filled, not just with fun memories, but a prophetic statement of who they are. This is one of my favorite parts of Christmas.
When my children were younger and formulating what Christmas was all about, it was important to me that they got a grasp on the true meaning and not just the presents, food, tree, Santa, etc. I took a Cabbage Patch baby doll, wrapped him in a blue blanket, bought a wooden box and straw from Michael’s, and put together ‘Baby Jesus.’ After we decked the house and trimmed the tree, I sat them down and explained the true meaning of what we are celebrating. I brought out ‘Baby Jesus’ and told the kids that we treat Him with the utmost respect. He is indeed a gift that should be received with thanks, gratitude, appreciation, honor, and respect. They would ask to hold Him, take turns caring for Him, and would often leave their toys and notes by His manger. One year, I even heard one of them go to ‘Baby Jesus’ and ask for forgiveness for being mean. I had no idea that years later this would be their most memorable part. He is still under our tree today!
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?”
I love this time of year when we get to reflect on the previous year and gladly welcome the new. It seems every year, there is a deep sense of excitement for what God is doing, but this year (2020) is different. I have been in a six-year journey of contending for my destiny and all that God has given me to do on earth. It would be impossible to describe the resistance and opposition along the way. Some days it was so loud, I had all I could do not to quit just to get relief from it. But deep down I KNEW if I stayed in the game long enough God would see me through and I would come forth not only purified but with greater authority.
IT’S TIME! It’s time to take back ground that has been lost in families. I get numerous messages each week from parents around the globe being bullied, attacked and held hostage by the enemy. They are overwhelmed, scared and feel powerless to help their children. Issues such as sexual violation, attacks on their gender, divorce, online predators, death, sickness, anger, drugs, tormenting spirit of fear, walls, runaways, disrespect, orphan mindsets, lies, hurts, offenses, bitterness, trauma are attacking many homes. I am passionate that Jesus died for ALL of the keys, and there is nothing we endure on earth that Jesus does not have a solution and answer for but this year feels like a tipping point for me and Let the Children Fly.
IT’S TIME! It is time to awaken parents to their God-given authority in the family. It is time to stop being bullied in the spiritual realm. It is time to give children the weapons of heaven. It is time to walk in the power Jesus died for. It is time to empower this generation with the power and authority of Christ. It is time to link arms with other parents and destroy the isolation. It is time to rise up and protect our children from the war on their identity. It is time to deal with our own childhood issues so that we do not parent from that place. It is time to stay NO MORE to the sexualization of our children. It is time to raise our voices in our child’s school regarding sexual education. It is time to align parents as Sons and Daughters. It is time to encounter the Father as a household and build stories together.
Who is coming with me? This is the year we are going to defeat the works of the devil in our family room and align our families with His power, love and purpose.
Are you looking for a gift for a teen girl? I bought a subscription of BRIO magazine (Focus on the Family) for my then 13-year-old twins, and they begged me to renew it the following year. Great magazine for this age group!
The world will tell you to look out for me, myself, and I, but a child who is taught to see others finds the priceless joy in giving. I LOVE this testimony. Operation Christmas Child is an excellent way to help steward your child’s ability to see others and show compassion. Involve them in the process as much as possible so that it becomes their experience.
“I love my amazing children! I spotted them some money, but they both wanted to do TWO boxes (Operation Christmas Child), so I told them they had to use some of their own money, and they couldn’t have been happier to do so! They even asked if they could do a chore to earn more money to pack another box!”
Are you looking for a great child gift idea? My kids LOVED the God’s General book series for children. Plant seeds deep of real heroes and what living for the Kingdom looks like.
How many of you will be with family for Christmas? How many will be giving gifts? Why not give the gift that will impact your children’s children and last into eternity?
Many people will be with loved ones for Christmas yet still harbor judgements, bitterness, and unforgiveness towards them. Most often than not, from legitimate hurts and pains done to them. But nonetheless, we wrap presents of material possessions that will fade away and fail to give the gift of the true meaning of Christmas.
There is a bit of irony that in honor of the Savior of the world, the One who came as a man, took our spanking and gave us every benefit of the Father and called us His own, we celebrate His gift by giving gifts that will eventually find their way to trash or local thrift store, but fail to cash in on the true Gift and give the ultimate gift of being released from accusations, judgments and unforgiveness.
I am inviting you to wrap up the greatest gift you could give your parents, sister, brother, in laws – forgiveness for being human, their shortcomings, lack of being able to give you His best. Forgive them for not knowing who they are so they could treat you according to who you are. Release them from the debt owed that they could never repay on their own. Cancel the word curses you have attached to their backs. Pull out the knives of judgement.
When you do this, it frees them up in the spiritual realm to be dealt with by God and come into greater alignment. They fell short because they didn’t have the greater revelation – few parents intentionally do things to harm and hurt their children. If the eyes of your heart have been opened, you can’t keep holding the blind in judgement for being blind. They couldn’t give you what you needed (and deserved), because they aren’t able to see. They didn’t because they didn’t know. They failed, because they didn’t understand.
Part of freedom is realizing God has redeemed you and from that place of gratitude we extend forgiveness for those who are still in the redemption process.
When I am processing big things like this, I like to make a ceremony of sorts out of it. Grab an empty box and sit by the Christmas tree. Begin to write out the things that you are holding onto against your mother and place them in the box. Do it for any family member that brings you unrest and inner chaos. Wrap up the box, like you would any other present, and place it under the tree as an act of surrender. The swaddled baby came to receive the gift of your heart; He desires to hold the aches, bruises and tenderness. Offer it to Him.
And then prophetically wrap up an empty box for your loved one as a symbol that you are giving them the gift of dealing with the accusations, judgements, unforgiveness and word curses. You are no longer going to feed your heart because Jesus now carries that part of your heart.
They may never know the gift – and all that it has cost you – of laying down what was your rightful inheritance as a child and coming humbly to the One who gave it all up so that He could adopt you as His own.