WHAT LIES AM I BELIEVING ABOUT RAISING MY CHILDREN?

WHAT LIES AM I BELIEVING ABOUT RAISING MY CHILDREN?

When parents find themselves parenting harshly, it generally stems from a belief that love must be earned. While this is not true about their heart for their child, it was the belief that they were raised in. Performance and pressure are the ingredients to be loved. This operating system is not Kingdom and will not produce the fruit of love, connection, and trust that we desire with our families.

Do you find yourself being overly harsh, firm, and rigid in your parenting? Ask, “Jesus, will You please show me what LIE I believe about raising my children?” Verbally break agreement with the lie. Ask Jesus for HIS truth.

DEFENDER

Pray this powerful prayer and allow Holy Spirit to restore connection with your child. “Holy Spirit, I give You permission to be my child’s Defender and Advocate. Would You please reveal to me where I have been wrong, caused a hurt or made a mess so that I can make it right?” If He showed you something, go low and ask for forgiveness.

TEACHING CHILDREN TO HEAR

Such a precious testimony of how this mom is training her son to hear God in a time of peace.

“My son wanted to take a toy to the kids’ club at the gym. Instead of saying yes or no, I had him ask Jesus. Right away, he heard no. We talked about how we always listen to Jesus and what He says about things. A few days later, he wanted to bring the same toy and told me that Jesus said it was ok. I was suspicious but decided not to be the middleman in the situation with God. He brought the toy and almost left it at the gym (my daughter remembered and got it for him). Later, I asked him if it was Jesus that said he could bring the toy to the gym or himself. Right away, he admitted it was his voice. It opened up a great conversation about why we need to listen to Jesus. Thanks for the encouragement that he really does hear at 3.5 years of age. I continue to ask the Lord for creative and fun ideas for teaching my kids to hear. I’m excited about what He has for us this year!”

LYING TO YOURSELF

One of my daughters was working through some stuff with her father and made the decision not to connect with him when the opportunity presented itself. It is a hard dance to know how to parent a child with heart splinters, when to push, and when to take your hands off. I asked God for help, and it came to me while worshiping in church. I embraced her and shared with her what He told me. God commands you to honor your father but wants you to know that part of honoring your father is staying true to your heart and not lying about your process. While I cannot encourage her to keep this wall between her and him, she has come a long way from being the girl with a smile on her face and tears in her eyes. She has fought hard to be honest with herself about how she feels, and the fact she was setting a boundary for her heart was a good thing. It is a sign that she is no longer willing to lie to herself for someone else’s profit. God is proud of her for the hard heart work she has done over the years to be fully alive. She sat down with tears streaming down her face. In all honesty, the parts that hurt her the most about her relationship with him are the parts of him that are so shut down and unable to engage. She realized at that moment that God healed her of the very thing in him. Part of honoring our mother and father is becoming the fullest expression of who God made us to be! 

WHAT IS UNDER THE ANGER?

My daughter came to me crying, saying that her sister came into her room demanding she takes out the bathroom garbage. When she told her she would do it later, her sister got upset and began to intimidate her. When I inquired, she said she had taken the garbage out last week, and it was her sister’s turn. I asked if she was faithful with her week, then why did she care if her sister was faithful with hers? Why did that agitate and upset her so much? I felt like something deeper was going on. I asked her to sit on her bed and ask Jesus to show her why she cared so much about her sister’s chores to the point she would use force and intimidation to attempt to control her sister, which her mind knew was not okay. I have taught my children behind every big emotion (anger, rage, intimidation) is what we call SSL – the softer emotion of being SCARED, SAD, OR LONELY. I asked her which one she was feeling under the intimation. She identified she felt scared. She was agitated in the process and kept saying, “I just don’t like it (when they don’t do their chores).” Holy Spirit had me ask this, “…. because what will happen if they don’t do their chores?” She said, “You will be mad at me.” I asked, “And if Mom is mad at you what will happen?” And she broke down in tears and said, “We won’t be connected.” This is where we have to have some tough skin and allow our children to process our parenting, even when we feel misunderstood or falsely accused. It doesn’t matter what MY truth is; she is revealing HER truth at this moment which was driving her behavior. One week she was on dish duty and failed to do it. I went to make breakfast in a hurry and didn’t have any clean dishes, and I got upset. I returned to her a few minutes later and asked for forgiveness, telling her that while she was in the wrong for not managing her chores, I didn’t manage my heart well (I was stressed about something else, and she got the brunt of it). While I thought we worked it out, we didn’t have the opportunity to reconnect before she left for school and went the whole day feeling the space between us. It left a message in her heart that if the chores weren’t done, we would lose our connection, which scared her. I asked for forgiveness again for not managing my emotions well that day and reminded her that she was not responsible for my emotions. That’s my job. I also told her that it is not her job to control her siblings so that she and I remain connected. She melted in my arms and wept. And then humbly apologized to her sister for being so mean.

This is where partnering with Holy Spirit in our parenting gets exciting. We get to give Him space to minister to our children above our capabilities. There is a time for character training and discipline, but in this case, she was feeling a threat to our connection, and that is what needed to be restored.

MIND VS. SPIRIT

All the wisdom in the world doesn’t change a person’s heart. When I speak words of wisdom, they go from my mind to your mind; but when Holy Spirit speaks, it goes into your spirit, and that is where the real transformation occurs. One word from Jesus can change more inside of you than a 12-week course. This is why it is so crucial that we often bring our children to the Lord’s presence to ask Him what He thinks. This is creating an encounter for our children. Instead of wisdom alone guiding them, they are learning they have a relationship with the living God, who wants to help them in all situations.

LET’S ASK JESUS

Ask, “Jesus, how do You feel about me right now?”

Please write it down. You can’t listen to lies about your worth when you know what the Creator of the universe says about you.

HEART SPLINTERS

Have you ever taken a splinter out of a child’s finger? You surely do not want to do it in public. They yell and scream and act like you are cutting off their finger. But once it is out, they run off and play as if nothing happened. Have you ever tried to remove a splinter that has been stuck for a while? The skin closes, leaving it trapped and extremely painful. They are no longer screaming to get it out; they are screaming to protect it. This is what happens when we endure hurts, lies, and offenses as a child that gets ignored, shamed, or dismissed. The hurt, lie, or offense becomes a heart splinter agitating our heart, but instead of screaming for it to get out like a child, we begin to scream when anyone comes close to it because we do not want it touched. We are protecting the heart splinter because it is too painful and uncomfortable. Triggers are simply another word for someone touching that sore spot that reveals where your heart splinter is. No one in their right mind wants a wound to be touched, but the only way to get it out is to put some pressure on it and feel it so that it can be released.

Childhood hurts can turn into adult-sized wounds. Childhood lies can turn into adult strongholds. Childhood offenses can turn into adult bitterness.

Many parents are parenting with heart splinters. They are yelling, screaming, shaming, acting out, raging, controlling, drinking, swearing, and spinning out of control. The solution is not more self-control. The solution is to allow God to minister to that owie that is causing you so much heartbreak and pain and ultimately affecting the way you parent. God wants to tell you that He is not mad at your reaction to the pain and your need to protect yourself, but it is time to let it be dealt with so that you can receive the ministry, healing, and the balm that your heart has needed for so long. How do we do this? First, identify that what you are feeling is not coming from your children. They simply are the ones touching the heart splinter, but your reaction is because something is already in there. Not all issues belong to our children. Some of them are ours. Second, go deeper. What are you feeling beneath the anger, yelling, and control? Pull on the rope and ask yourself, “What am I really feeling right now?” or “What does my heart need right now?” Third, ask, “Jesus, who do I need to forgive for introducing me to _______?” Forgiveness is your key to unlocking the heart splinter because the Cross is the answer for everything. Sometimes we need to forgive for the event (they didn’t listen to me) but also the fruit of the event (because I never felt heard, it is affecting the way I parent my children). It is okay to spend some time carrying your hurt to the Cross. Fourth, ask, “Jesus, what lie am I believing because of this heart splinter?” We have to be able to receive what He shares. We are not just hearing and nodding; we are hearing and receiving it like a gift. Verbally break agreement with the lie, such as, “I renounce the lie that I am _______.” It is super important to replace the lie with His truth so ask Him, “Jesus, what is Your truth?” and then write out whatever He says and declare it out loud over yourself every single morning for the next 30 days. Renew your mind with what He says about it. 

While some triggers stem from significant trauma and may require help from those in the Body to process, as outlined in Isaiah 61, many heart splinters are actually quite small but have felt super big because we have carried them around for so long. You are not seeing the splinter from a logical adult brain but from the eyes of whatever age you were when the splinter was introduced (hence why the reactions are often so immature and irrational). Are all childhood owies a heart splinter? NO, not at all. Let me explain the difference. Say a young boy loses his dog, and another loses his father. The one who lost his father goes on to live a successful healthy life, but the one who loses the dog remains hurt and wounded. What’s the difference? The one who lost his dad was surrounded by a community that validated his pain and gave him grace and space to process the pain, causing the hurt to get out. The boy who lost his dog was told to ‘get over it,’ pushing the hurt in further. It is never about the size of the heart splinter but is about how the child was or was not able to process it. This is why God puts children in families. This is why the culture of busyness is a threat to the family (parents are too busy to see or discern what is going on for their child). This is why compassion and validation are heaven’s parenting tools. This is why we must go after connection with our children. This is why partnering with our child’s Creator is so important. Something else I have learned about heart splinters. It is by God’s design that parents help children with their childhood bumps, bruises, and owies, but sometimes parents are not able to do that because of their own heart splinters. By the time we are adults, we need to take responsibility for our own journey and do the hard heart work so that our children do not need to clean up the mess. While you might be craving and longing for someone to come and do it for you, that is not the way it works. You must own your own journey and take responsibility for the healing your heart needs. Show yourself compassion by acknowledging and dealing with the pain once and for all. Christ died so that you do not have to carry this weight around with you anymore. He has answers, keys, solutions, balm, and healing for your journey.