Ellie had a school fundraiser where she had to run a long course, and along the way, they throw colored powder on the runners. Super fun! The morning of the run, she said she was worried about running. I asked her why since she usually is quite fast and does well. She said, “I am so afraid I will come in last.” Together we asked Jesus to show her what she was so afraid of with coming in last, and she said, “People will think I am not good enough.” We talked about the truth that SOMEONE has to arrive first, and there is always someone at the end. That’s life. But we want to make sure that we aren’t carrying LIES about our worth and value if we come in first OR last. Jesus showed her that when she carries the weight of worry and anxiety, she is slowing herself down and not doing her best. I had her confess to Jesus that she was partnering with worry, and she asked Him to help her run HER best. Jesus is building her life story and had a lesson that she can choose to partner with worry and anxiety or trust Him to help her. A lesson that she will need to choose for the rest of her life.
WHICH ONE DO YOU WANT TO PARTNER WITH?
Ask, “Jesus, what lies am I believing about my parenting?”. I am fairly certain I know your response. No, I am not a mind reader, but I do know that the enemy throws out these seeds to all parents, hoping to get us to partner with them because it may feel or sound true. The lie you believe about your parenting most likely sounds something like the following: I am ruining my children. I am not enough. My child will grow up to hate me. I do not have what it takes.
Friends, the enemy is a liar, and you ARE enough. Not because of you, but because GOD gave you your child, and He trusts Himself to work all things out (even your shortcomings, wounds, and messes). When a parent partners with this lie, he is taking out two generations in one because a parent who believes they aren’t enough will act like they aren’t enough. If you struggle with the lie that you aren’t enough, are ruining your child, or don’t have what it takes, write the lie out and destroy it (burn it, trash it, shred it, stomp on it, flush it or rip it). THEN ask, “Jesus, what is Your truth about my parenting?” The next time the enemy throws that lie at you, counter it with what Jesus said.
John Bevere has an outstanding book called, The Bait of Satan, which talks about how Satan baits every believer with offense and how, once we bite the bait, he has a legal right to influence that situation. This is a serious issue that believers need to gain control over, as offense has the power to destroy much when we open the door. For example, I had a mental argument with someone (and winning, I might add), and the moment I stopped that argument, I began arguing with someone else in my mind. I realized that the spirit of offense was present and was attempting to cause me to become offended. So I renounced it and regained my mental peace.
We cannot resolve conflict with the spirit of religion. We resolve conflict WITH God, not FOR Him.
FIRST – When an issue comes up, you must ask yourself, “Have I taught, trained, and equipped them in this area?” That means, have you proactively taught them how to handle disappointments, the difference between right and wrong, how to handle when someone else wants your toy, or how to respond when someone is being unloving before the conflict? These things require intentional parenting in times of peace. This is where you get to cuddle, connect, go on dates, have family meetings, etc. You get to fill up their love tanks by connecting through intentional teaching with Mom and Dad. Much of the early toddler years are spent doing this very thing – some days without ceasing! It is the heart that says, “Hey, son/daughter, I have something to show (or teach) you.”
SECOND – Look for opportunities in real life to apply the thing you are trying to teach. This is where the training part comes in. You practice, practice, practice with real-life situations. Will a 2-year-old master self-control in the first week? Nope! You will be an intentional parent for 18 years and will need to teach and train them in the area of self-control in every stage of their life. Perhaps with a 2-year-old, your training subject will not be getting the toy they desire. When they are 10, it will be about completing their homework each night, and perhaps when they are 18, it will be having self-control with the opposite sex. These character traits should be something we build upon as they get older.
THIRD – You now have a foundation upon which you can build. Say you have already laid the first and second part of the foundation in the area of self-control. Now, when you take them to a meeting where they need to sit quietly, you can pull out that teaching and training to prepare them for what you expect from them. You can begin role-playing in certain situations. I would often park the van at the grocery store parking lot to do a quick family huddle about what was expected and how we could proactively use the skills I had just taught them. Here’s what it would sound like: “Hey guys, who wants dinner tonight? Okay, we are going to go into the grocery store for food, not toys. Hudson, will you get the door for us? Lauren, do you want to push the cart? Emma, will you be my big helper and put the food in the cart for me?” I am now leaning into the skills that I have taught them and cashing in on them. I am building us all up for a successful shopping trip. We are all doing our part while we are connected and creating fun family memories versus an unfruitful and frustrating experience for all.
LAST – When a foundation has been established, THEN you can add discipline, such as time-outs, consequences, removing privileges, etc. Can you see how confusing it would be to a child when parents keep disciplining them for the ‘NO’ behaviors but never spend time teaching them what IS acceptable? You could say it looks like this:
- An issue arises that you want to see a change in (every family will be different on this).
- Proactively teach during times of peace, using it as a connecting time to get to their heart.
- Now coach them by role-playing that issue in real-life situations.
- Look for opportunities where they can proactively apply that skill.
- Discipline is now appropriate if the child chooses not to use the training you have established for them.
Here’s another real-life example: Let’s say you are shopping, and your kids are touching everything, running crazy, and having a meltdown for a new toy. You have a few options. You can: #1. Conclude your children aren’t old enough for an outing to the store, and thus put the burden on yourself to either pay for a sitter or go late after they are in bed. #2. Get mad, yell, scream, and then feel awful! OR #3. Teach and train your children what it looks like to have self-control at the store. I heard a story of a mom who was so fed up with her grocery trips that she sat her kids down and explained to them what was required. Then every single day for an entire week, they would go to the store, not to buy anything, just to walk up and down the aisles so the kids could practice! That mom is now reaping the tasty fruit of grocery shopping in peace. Oh, did you hear that? What was the Kingdom of God again? Righteousness, peace, and joy! What is a specific area you need to intentionally go after in teaching and training your child?
Can I give you a parenting key? Don’t just read these posts every day and say, “Amen.” Use them as conversation pieces with your family. Perhaps some days, you will call a family meeting and discuss them at length, but you can also bring them up while driving, at the dinner table, or while tucking them in at night. They don’t need the complete teaching but bite-sized nuggets to chew on. You also don’t have to have it all mastered or figured out before you can begin the discussion with them. Sometimes the best discussions are simply saying, “Hey, I read this post that talked about another child who felt fear. Have you ever felt that?” and let Holy Spirit guide your DAILY teachings and instructions of your children.
My childhood was brutal. It was full of torment, lies, abuse, deep hurt, and confusion. I was in a coma from a drug overdose when my mom died at another hospital of breast cancer. It took me years to unravel the pain and forgive her. It was not until my 30’s that the reoccurring nightmares ceased over the emotional torment with my mom. God did not just have to heal things in me; He had to rewrite ‘normal.’ I no longer have hatred in my heart toward her. I no longer judge her as a person or a mom. I no longer speak ill of her. I no longer blame her for my heartbreak and pain.
Furthermore, I have not passed on the cycle to my children. Why? #1. God is good! He pulled me out, saved me, and restored the deep places in my heart back to Him. My parents were powerful influences in my life, but God is bigger. They have done many things wrong, but God is a Master of rewriting stories, redemption, and making broken places whole again. He is the ultimate perfect Parent. #2. My mom was not an evil person. If she was a member of Let the Children Fly, I think she would weep at the revelation of her own doing. She did what she did because she was a spiritual orphan trying to parent! Orphans can NOT produce a life of peace and joy. Let the Children Fly is simply the tools my mom needed but did not have to parent me well. God’s ministry through me is my love gift back to my own mother. While I may have lost my mom, I have gained thousands of parents around the globe who get to hear the message that they can partner with God in their parenting and can do things differently with their children. I am passionate about what I do because I have lived the fruit of a life without it.
Get the tools you need to parent your children well! Heart Splinters BOOK – Let the Children Fly
My daughter started to cry, more like wail. I came running into the room thinking she was hurt, and she said, “He called me a boy!” I reassured her she was a girl, but the crying would not stop. I asked her what she would think if I told her she was a puppy or had purple hair. She thought that was pretty silly. Exactly! Just because someone calls you a boy doesn’t make it true. She was distraught because she accepted what he said, which didn’t fit.
Children need to learn that rejecting words spoken over them is okay. They need to be taught that not everything they hear (from others and in their minds) is true. Lies don’t feel good, make sense or bring peace because lies are demonic. Children can be empowered to say NO to lies!
Do you long to be the parent you dreamed of when you were younger? Do you desire a deeper connection with your children? Is peace in your home something you crave? I declare it is possible as I have seen it in the lives of parents across the globe!
The other night my daughter was ANGRY and lashing out at everyone for the smallest things. Clearly, this was not her, as she is normally sweet as chocolate. The following morning, I asked her to do the dishes, which should have been a four-minute gig, and 1.5 hours later, she was still there. It was time to go, and she still hadn’t finished. I came to her and put my hand on her heart and said, “Babe, I do not know what is going on, but you were not wired to hold onto sin, and something is clearly coming out crooked. When you are ready to talk, I am here.” I didn’t know there was sin, but those were the words that came out of my mouth. She asked to talk hours later and, with tears, began to tell me that she was invited by her friends to vape at school. She declined the offer, but the realization that she had to stand alone was overwhelming to her. I wanted to assure her that it wouldn’t happen again, but the truth is she will have to stand alone and make choices against the pressure of the crowd for the rest of her life. It was a beautiful and tender conversation about what it really means to be a follower of Jesus in today’s world. We talked about the ‘high’ of popularity and the joy of obedience. The next morning at Church, worship began, and I leaned over to her and said, “Sweetheart, focus on this song with your situation in mind. Is He worthy of following, even if it means not vaping with your friends?” I HATE that she was asked by her friends to vape, but I am SO glad it agitated her soul to the point of being exposed and that God used it to be yet another building block in her story with Him. He IS worthy of it all!