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!!!!
How many of you remember the old Tootsie Pop commercial with the owl who said, “How many licks does it take?” It doesn’t matter. Just keep licking, and eventually, you will get there. How many prayers does it take? It doesn’t matter. Just keep praying, and eventually, you will see the hand of God. Gather the children and begin to put spoonfuls of water into a glass. Eventually, there will be ONE spoonful of water that tips the water over the edge; this is the same with our prayers. We pray without ceasing, full of faith that each prayer combined with others brings about change. Ask Jesus what He wants you to pray about and go after it as a family. Act out your prayers, declare them, write them, draw them, dance them out – just PRAY!
Something that always brings a shift for me is when I hold my hand palms up and say, “Lord, I let go. You can have this one. I will not carry it, hold onto it or worry about it. This one is on You.” It removes the tension I feel from operating outside of my control.
There was a time when I wasn’t fully engaged with my daughter, grossly misunderstood something, and reacted strongly. Later, when it all came out, I realized how hurt she was that she didn’t feel validated or heard. When I asked her for forgiveness, I sensed the Holy Spirit saying to add, “Father God is never too busy; He always hears your heart and knows everything about you.”
Oftentimes for children, it isn’t the event that causes lasting wounds but the lies about the godhead attached to their experiences. It is okay that my children know I am human. Still, they need to know Father God is rock solid, never loses His cool, is always available, always alert, never sleeps, and never makes a mistake. He isn’t overwhelmed, unsure of what to do, isn’t mad/upset, and is never too busy. As a parent, I can take my weakest moments with my children and use them as opportunities to teach them about their Perfect Father!
I vividly recall the day I put great effort and energy into making a special dinner for my family. I eagerly called them to the table to reveal my effort. I got less-than-sweet comments from each of the children, and they just got up and went off to play. I sat there with a huge mess to clean up and felt somewhat offended. I wanted to go on a cooking strike, vowing never to feed them again, but I realized that wasn’t a good option. I pictured them doing that in someone else’s home, and I didn’t like the thought. I knew I had to figure out a way to TEACH them what honor and gratefulness looked like in that situation. The following morning, they came to the table and I had them draw me a picture. Before they finished, I picked up and said, “Ick. I don’t like purple.” To another one, I said, “Gross. This is nasty”, and another I said, “I hate this.” They were mortified and in complete shock. I asked them how it made them feel. Awful! I explained that when someone makes a meal, it is like their artwork made with love for them. I never forced my kids to eat anything, but I set the bar for them to be grateful, gracious, and kind. After every meal, they are required to thank the person who made the meal and ask to be excused. I am not their maid, slave, or chef; I am their mother worthy of honor and respect.
The biggest war the next generation will face in their lifetime is the battle over their identity! Parents, teaching your child who they are – who God says they are – the parts that cannot be changed – the areas that aren’t moved or reduced based on circumstances – is a LIFELINE in today’s culture.
Do you have an issue with hurtful words (and tones) in your family? Try this teaching exercise.
Teach Proverbs 15:1. Get a really fancy plate at the thrift store. Speak in a soft, gentle tone and explain to the children the dish is like a person’s heart and how careful we need to be with it. When they least expect it say something hurtful in a sharp tone and smash the plate to the ground (this works great in the garage on a tarp). They will be shocked that you just did that. Begin to put the pieces back together again but show them that you can’t. Share with them that once our words are spoken, we can’t take them back, and sometimes we say things in a way that hurts their heart. Another great way to do it is with a tube of toothpaste. Have the kids squeeze it out on wax paper. After a few moments of fun, ask them in a serious tone to put the toothpaste back in the tube. No matter how hard they try, they won’t be able to. Explain that the tube is like their mouth, and we have to be careful what comes out because we can’t put it back in.
**Obviously, there is always forgiveness, and God is faithful to clean up our mistakes and messes when we ask for help, but this teaching focuses on teaching children to be wise with their words. In the days ahead, when you hear them speaking to one another in a harsh tone, ask them if they want to deal with the mess their tone will create if they continue. Chances are, if they aren’t able to change, it could be that their tone is revealing a deeper hurt between siblings that need to be addressed.
This lesson was taken from our Character Counts SOAR parenting magazine. If you are interested in more activities, you can purchase your digital copy here: Character Training SOAR Magazine – Let the Children Fly
He is such a good Father. Sometimes what feels like rejection is actually protection. If your mind does not understand, declare, “Father, I trust You.”
When I was younger, my little sister hurt her face falling off of a swing and was rushed to the ER for stitches. My mom left me behind, blaming me for it, even though I had nothing to do with it. The shame was paralyzing. When I was working through the memory, Jesus left the room (if you know anything about inner healing, you know that you want Jesus to enter the room, not leave it). We asked Jesus where He went, and I saw Him marching down to the ER. He said these powerful words to me, “I was your advocate with your mom and defended you, but she didn’t listen to me.” Tears of validation rolled down my cheeks as I realized HE saw the truth of what happened, and that Holy Spirit WAS ministering to my mom as they waited in the ER. Sadly, she wasn’t able to humble herself to His leading. I firmly believe had she been able to do so, she would have come back and made it right with me and attempted to restore our connection. Instead, it became a watershed memory that introduced me to the crippling lie that something was wrong with me.
When we mess up as parents, blow it, misunderstand our children, or get triggered, it is so important we let Holy Spirit minister truth to us so that we can clean up any messes made and not be used as instruments to wound our own children. Holy Spirit, I give You full permission to be my child’s advocate!
Parents – you have homework! Love is a VERB. Grab some paper and begin to write notes to your child. So tuck them in their underwear drawer, by their toothbrush, in their favorite book. Let them find your nuggets of love!!!! You can do it for your children or have them do it for each other.
I love asking Jesus questions. And I love hearing what He has to say. Recently someone invited me to ask, “Jesus, what are You praying for me today?” And the concept messed with me a bit. We are in a significant season, and we will step into all that we have been contending for in the past season. It’s a powerful moment for me personally, as well as Let the Children Fly. The resistance, warfare, and battle in the spiritual realm has been real – very real. I asked Jesus what He was praying for me today, and I saw a proud parent watching their child play in a school band recital. The joy on the Father’s face was more beautiful than the music. But then the scene changed, and I saw a father and child with backpacks on as they began to climb a mountain – together. I got emotional as I realized the Lord was saying He has been praying for me to learn how to do things WITH Him (the climb) and not just FOR Him (the recital). That is exactly what He has taught me in this season and what brought me to this place of profound breakthrough. We can only go alone so far, but when we learn how to walk with Him in our journey, He takes us further, deeper, and higher.