Mary and Joseph were the human vessels God worked THROUGH to accomplish HIS purpose and plan for HIS Kingdom! What if Joseph decided *HE* wanted Jesus to be a football player or a doctor? Just think of how the world would have missed what God was doing. God is smart. God is good and knows what He is doing with the world. He needs parents who will lay down their own agenda and partner with what He is doing SO THAT our children can do all that He has created them to do for His purpose and His plan. I encourage you to spend some quiet time before the Lord today and ask Him, “Father, will You please show me what YOU have put inside my child” or “Holy Spirit, will You please show me the destiny (purpose on earth) You have placed deep inside of them?”
WHO ARE THEY?
Proverbs 22:6 – “Teach a child to choose the right path, and when he is older, he will remain upon it.”
Teach – verb 1. show or explain to (someone) how to do something. There is a difference between dictating laws and teaching them. Instructions can turn into rules/laws, which is legalism. Teaching is the verb of Jesus! Ex. A child steals something from the store. We can instruct our children that we don’t steal, or we can teach them WHY a loving Father doesn’t desire for His children to steal from others. Ex. A child hits his sister. We can discipline and reprimand the child for his behavior, or we can teach them HOW hitting affects others. Ex. A child doesn’t listen to you. We can pull out parenting tools of control and fear, or we can teach them WHAT obedience looks like. Are you instructing or teaching your children?
Years ago, someone told me I should write a book about all of the ways you could release the Kingdom through children. Something didn’t sit right with me, and days later, the comment was grinding in my heart. I had to ask God why because if that is what I do, why then writing a book about it was so upsetting to me? I heard Him so clearly when He said that if I were to write a 1, 2, 3 step parenting book about the fruit in MY family, people would attempt to do the steps in their family, hoping for the same fruit, but it wouldn’t work — #1. Their family is different than mine and #2. You can’t bear Kingdom fruit by accomplishing steps. It is a relationship, not a formula. It is a lifestyle, not an event. And so, with that, God gave me a strategy with Let the Children Fly. Instead of attempting to get parents to model their family after MINE. My heart, goal, and passion are to connect YOU to HIM so that you can begin living a lifestyle of Kingdom fruit. I am convinced of one thing – I have found a river of heaven in parenting, and from it has sprung a massive river of life in multiple families across the globe. Families are awakening. My online class, JOURNEY, is designed to lead you to the same river we have found so that your family can bear the fruit it was intended to do as a lifestyle with Him. When you are ready, we are here to help you! Your family is worth investing in.
Parents can’t help but parent out of their own journey, which often includes their own hurts, lies, and offenses. Parents who don’t know who they are can’t empower their children with who God called them to be, and this creates things that are out of alignment with His Kingdom. We don’t want to shut down in our children what needs to be awakened in us. Often, God allows our children to carry something that rubs us the wrong way. It isn’t that they are doing something wrong. It is that something needs to be healed, aligned, or brought to life in us, and God is parenting us through them. God often takes that adult child on a journey of healing, not just for their own heart, but for the family KEYS that their parents needed. It is never too late to bring healing to your family line, and sometimes it flows up the generations. Let the healing in your heart not only impact your children but your parents and grandparents too.
I often hear comments about how ‘easy’ it is for me to partner with God in my parenting, as if somehow I have an easy button in parenting because of it (huh?). Yep! I have pressed into hearing Him for my children. Yep! I have some history with Him. Yep! I have faith that He will show up, reveal, and help me. Yep! I have a partner in parenting. But I STILL have to: Exercise that muscle! Make a choice to go to Him! Intentionally listen to Him! Be uncomfortable in the waiting! Trust that He knows more than I do! Surrender my children! I am in a season now where I feel utterly clueless, do not know what to do, and have Mama Bear emotions over my child’s choices. I, too, can often feel like I am at square one in my parenting. My history serves as evidence that He is faithful, but I still have to choose Him and do my part over and over and over again. That is how we build HIStory and partner with Him.
I heard God say, “Go talk to the men.” I looked around in a room full of people and asked which one. I heard it again, “Go talk to the men.” I wasn’t sure which one I was supposed to go to. When I heard it again, I realized He didn’t say talk to a man, but MEN. I told Him I would but asked what I was supposed to say. He said, “I will tell you.” I waited… and waited… and waited. He finally revealed the message: I am talking to the men – the husbands, fathers, grandpas, leaders, uncles, and brothers.
I once made a list of all of the ‘bad’ things that happened to me and could find a Scripture that specially gave a command against what happened. It etched something so deep inside of me that when God says to do or don’t do something, He is doing so to cover and protect us. If we want healthy families, we need to have a value to honor and obey what He is telling us. Following His ways is the only way to bring life and fruit to our homes.
Take a moment and picture how incredible it would be to be in Hawaii. No, seriously. Stop right now and think about a trip to paradise. The mere thought of the ocean mist, bright sun, and warm sand – sounds like heaven. Now, picture yourself on the balcony of the high-rise hotel on the beach. Pretty cool, huh? What if you were to walk down to the sandy beach with a relaxing book and sit under the sun umbrella? How about strolling up and down the shoreline, flirting with the cool waves against your warm toes? Better yet, picture yourself knee-deep and enjoying the waves splashing against your body. Swimming out deeper and jumping in the waves is an experience like no other. If you venture out just a little further, you can snorkel and see some of the most fantastic fish swimming. Still, does the wonder of the ocean end there? No! There is even more! When you learn how to surrender to the mercy of an oxygen tank, you can stay immersed under the water for quite some time and enjoy the outstanding, breathtaking beauty that is not available for those seated in the safety of their hotel balcony. While the mere thought of being in Hawaii right now is a good one, God wants us to know that there is MORE of Himself waiting to be discovered, and these depths in God far outweigh any beauty we may find on earthly soil. The only person to ever reach the vast depth of the Father was Jesus. For the rest of us, we can stay on the beautiful yet comfortable, confined balcony or allow the Spirit to draw us deeper and deeper. No matter where you are at right now, know there is MORE! The goal isn’t to be air-dropped into the middle of the sea and claim that we have arrived. Doing so ill-equipped would be not only dangerous but also foolish. The goal is the JOURNEY! God finishes and completes our faith, and it is our job to allow Him to lead us one step at a time. Philippians 1:6 is your anchor!
Now, link this analogy to parenting: Can you picture how drastically different our parenting will be based on where we position ourselves? Those on the balcony will have a different parenting mindset than those who parent from the ocean’s depth.
Through the different seasons of your life. Are you gradually moving deeper and deeper, or are you having continued visits between the same few safe and familiar locations?
Parents often share that, deep down, they are afraid if they say YES to more of God, He will require something of them that they may not want to do (like sell everything and live overseas). I want to challenge this fear-based belief and say that it is more of a reflection of one’s belief about what kind of Father He is. The reality is saying YES to the deeper things of God means you are going to have to enter a training ground of learning how to receive His goodness, kindness, and blessings as a Son/Daughter. And that, for many, is the harder work!!!!
If I were to ask moms if they wanted to be more like Jesus, most would eagerly raise their hand with a resounding, “Yes!” Yet few of us understand or enjoy the process of becoming more like Him. Let me explain how God gives us an opportunity to be more like Jesus the moment we become parents.
Every home we have lived in had an open floor plan and my four children (very close in age) would begin in one end of the house and zoom in and out of the kitchen, dining room, living room and then repeat over and over at record speed. I am a very fun mom and can handle noises and messes, but it was like they would hit a certain octave and my blood pressure would shoot up. I would cash in on my parental authority and command that everyone switch gears to something more peaceful. I couldn’t shut it down fast enough. This would go on for years and I could never really figure out why I was fine one minute and not the next. One day when I was barking orders for peace, I heard God say, “What are they doing wrong?” I replied, “I don’t know, but I don’t like it.” I began to see that maybe this was my issue and not theirs. For the next month, whenever the kids raced around the house, I would go in the back room and process my heart. I felt anxious, scared and uptight, yet my ears were hearing joy, laughter, and connection. Why was this so upsetting to me? God began to show me that when I was little and my siblings and I would get crazy, all hell would break loose and someone would get punished severely. You didn’t want to be on the receiving end, but worse yet was having to endure listening to your siblings get the wrath. He showed me that joy scared me because it meant someone was going to get hurt. He gave me four bundles of JOY to restore what was lost in my own journey. I began to cry at the reality of just how anxious joy made me feel.
Of all the things I have endured in life, the hardest to walk through has been the healing process of receiving the GOOD. And more times than not, it was something modeled through my children (joy, play, silliness, trust, lavish, loyalty, laughter). They are made in His image, not mine, and God knits them with gifts, talents, and a personality to redeem and restore what was lost in mine. God continues to parent us through our children. It’s like He gives us one set of parents to raise and train us and whatever area was neglected or shut down He continues the job when we become parents and uses our children to parent us (our kids don’t parent us, but He parents us through them). This is why family is so important to Him. He is building something in us and the generations are interconnected.
HeartWork – Get out your journal and recall the last time you had an above average reaction to something your child did. Ask Jesus some questions and allow Him to minister to your heart (do not be introspective, but rather ask and listen to what He has to share). “Jesus, was this their issue or mine?” If it was your issue, ask, “Jesus, what was my heart feeling at the time?” “What made my heart so uncomfortable at that moment?” “When was the first time I felt that emotion?” “What did my heart need?” If your reaction to something is on a scale of 1-5, chances are you are just feeling a response to the event, but if your reaction is a 6-10, there is a good chance you are being triggered from previous situations that brought pain. God wants to heal that place so that you can respond in love and walk in peace.
Use these questions the next time you are triggered with a higher than usual response to your child and allow those uncomfortable moments to be the times you are molded to be more like Jesus. We don’t want our wounds or lack parenting our children. We want to parent from a place of wholeness and freedom. Understanding this is so important because oftentimes we react to our children who aren’t doing anything wrong, yet our reaction (out of a wounded or hurt place) teaches them that it is not okay to be who God made them to be, such as joyful (in my case). Allow Him to parent you through your child!
P.S. I am proud of you for doing the hard things so that your child doesn’t need to reap the fruit.
Years ago, I heard of this story, and it has shaped my faith in God’s ability to protect my children. A young Christian student was home for the summer. She had gone to visit some friends one evening, and the time passed quickly as each shared their various experiences of the past year. She ended up staying longer than she had planned and had to walk home alone. But she wasn’t afraid because it was a small town and she lived only a few blocks away. As she walked along under the tall elm trees, Diane asked God to keep her safe from harm and danger. When she reached the alley, which was a shortcut to her house, she decided to take it. However, halfway down the alley, she noticed a man standing at the end as though he were waiting for her. She became uneasy and began to pray, asking for God’s protection. Instantly a comforting feeling of quietness and security wrapped around her; she felt as though someone was walking with her. When she reached the end of the alley, she walked right past the man and arrived home safely. The following day, she read in the paper that a young girl had been raped in the same alley just twenty minutes after she had been there. Feeling overwhelmed by this tragedy and the fact that it could have been her, she began to weep, thanking the Lord for her safety, and to help this young woman, she decided to go to the police station. She felt she could recognize the man, so she told them her story. The police asked her if she would be willing to look at a lineup to see if she could identify him. She agreed and immediately pointed out the man she had seen in the alley the night before. When the man was told he had been identified, he immediately broke down and confessed. The officer thanked Diane for her bravery and asked if there was anything they could do for her; she asked if they would ask the man one question. Diane was curious as to why he had not attacked her. When the policeman asked him, he answered, “Because she wasn’t alone. She had two tall men walking on either side of her.”