Teens

PRAY FOR MY DAD

I have been camping out in these testimonies of God’s goodness with the next generation and am undone by His power and goodness to them. Two younger ladies came to me asking for prayer. They shared how their relationship with their father was strained, and wanted prayers. I thought they meant for reconciliation and began to pray accordingly, but they interrupted me to say, “No, we want prayer for Jesus to give us the keys to our father’s heart.” Another gal who has battled self-harm for years due to her father’s alcohol consumption and believing the lie she is rejected asks Jesus why he needed alcohol. She heard, “Because he feels rejected by his parents.” She wept as she realized he was battling the same lie she was plagued with and wanted Jesus to give her the keys to his heart. Another gal asked to meet with me and shared some of her dad’s choices over the years that brought the family a lot of pain. When we asked Jesus what her dad’s heart needed, she began to cry as Jesus showed her he felt like a failure and ashamed. She realized she had punished him and how it was causing him further hurt. She asked for forgiveness, and Jesus began to give her the keys to mending that relationship. We ministered to a boy who said, “All these years, I thought my dad was just mean, but Jesus showed me today that he has a heart splinter from his own journey.” This is so powerful as kids move from victim to empowered. Hurt to authority. Walls of self-protection to love. Jesus loves restoring the family and does not look down on a child due to age. They have the same size Holy Spirit as their parents and can be powerful weapons against the plans of the enemy to destroy the family.

TEEN BOYS

Moms of teen boys – this is for YOU! I have been crying out for keys with my son in this new season, and I believe the Lord was showing me some new strategies. I could not believe my ears when my friend began to share the same keys God showed her. I asked her to share in her own words. I believe this is a massive KEY for moms with teen boys. 

“I am learning that my perception of connection with my fourteen-year-old son is not my son’s idea of connection. As a mom who parallels the earthly role of the Holy Spirit, I often emulate my role to that of the Holy Spirit – to teach and impart wisdom. And because I love communication and heart processes, I would frequently suggest to my Justin that we can read a book or listen to a podcast together and talk about them. On my end, I can see such meaningful fruit and growth for both of us and bring us closer at the same time. But to my son, that was not connection; I picked that up from his uninterested body language and the frustrated sigh. In fact, I think it made us more distant because I missed the mark in connecting what he desired in our relationship. One day I asked him how he feels connected in our relationship, and he shared that he loves quality time with me, like going out on a date for sweet treats. I cringe as I write this because I am a crunchy mama who loves to feed my kids healthy food. So going out for sweet treats is the last thing I would want to do with my son as a form of connection. But since understanding how my son feels connected to me, we have gone on several dessert dates, and every time his love tank gets filled, we have deeper heart-to-heart conversations. I am learning to meet my son where he is at – to talk/teach less and listen and ‘be’ with him more. Thankfully, he still enjoys snuggling with me, and often when I am on the couch, he sits next to me and puts his head on my shoulder. And we just sit there together. Sometimes we say nothing to each other, and I caress his hair and give him a quick massage. Also, learning to be a learner of things that excite my son has brought us closer. For example, he is a basketball player, so watching a basketball game with him, asking questions about the players/plays, and allowing him to ‘teach’ me and reposition our roles is so healthy as he individuates and develops into his independent self at this age. The process of adjusting to this transition has been so hard at times as I learn to let go and readjust my parenting style to meet him in his teenage development stage.”

TEEN BRAIN

Teen girls have been fairly smooth sailing for me. When emotions are big, I feel confident in how to respond and help them. Teen boys, on the other hand, have refined me to my core. I love my son dearly, and connection with him is important to me, but I have been challenged to remain connected to him while he is finding his way. As a mom, I have full awareness that I cannot fully bring him into manhood and learning how to do this dance has been interesting. Parts of this season with him have made me feel so inadequate, weak, and even worried. Yet it has made me all the more dependent upon the Lord in a new and fresh way. I was crying out to God recently for strategy and help when He told me to tap into the incredible men around us who have more wisdom and knowledge than I do in this area. I was blown away by their insight and surprised by how similar their responses were. Men really do hold keys to a young man’s heart. 

This is the text I sent to a handful of men: “Hello! I am asking a couple of men who I trust for some feedback. Hudson is 14 and clearly shifting seasons. I am sensitive to these changes and want to grow in supporting him and become all that God has for him, even if the male brain and wiring are not my norm. Would you be willing to give me insight on the following questions from your perspective as a dad but also from when you were his age? What is something he really NEEDS at this age/stage? What is one of the worst things a mother could do at this age? What could I do as his mom to affirm his need to pull away and become his own individual? Any additional thoughts? I sincerely value hearing and learning how best to parent him! Lisa.”

BE A STUDENT

We wrapped up two glorious weeks in Colorado and were up early for our flight. There was so much joy and gratitude pouring out of each of us. That is until we were going through security. It was hectic and very chaotic. The crowd had a subtle push as everyone wanted to get through the security line without further delay. Hudson started getting agitated and was letting everyone around him know it. I would ask him to do something knowing there wasn’t much time to tinker around. He was obeying but with extreme exaggeration. It would have been almost comical if it wasn’t holding up the rest of the people. I became annoyed and upset with his attitude. I made a sharp comment about his attitude which only made things worse. On the train, I was able to take a breath and heard Jesus tell me that I needed to be a student of my son and to allow him to teach me what he needs in this new teen brain season. I apologized for my sharp words that focused more on his outward behavior than his heart. I told him what Jesus showed me because it is always important to me that my children know while I am their mother and to be respected, Jesus is their friend and cares about their hearts, too. I love it when Jesus shows me where I have misunderstood my child’s heart. He is their advocate and I want them to know it. While on the plane, he asked to sit by me which was his way of communicating he wanted to reconnect. I knew he wouldn’t value having a conversation in front of everyone so I wrote him a note. His reply caught me off guard. His frustration was not within himself, but rather stemming from my rushed and chaotic parenting. He is still a child at 14, while capable of much, still a child, and simply needed more time.

READJUST AFTER SCHOOL

Want to help your child reset after coming home from school? Give them an intentional few minutes of just being still in God’s presence. I would have a snack prepared for them and tell them to grab a corner of the living room and enjoy their snack while just lying quietly. Sometimes all it took was five minutes, and you could feel a shift in the atmosphere.

Do you have teens who resist spiritual things? No problem. YOU soak and fill the atmosphere of your home with His presence before they come home. When they walk through the door, they won’t be able to help but feel His presence.

WHAT EVERY MAN NEEDS TO KNOW

For Christmas one year, I gave Hudson a little book called “What Every Man Needs to Know” that listed things like how to build a fire, ask a girl out, how to fart, etc. It was supposed to be a joke, and I thought he would laugh. Instead, he read it cover to cover and earmarked all of the things listed in the book that he didn’t yet know how to do. My heart was gripped by the way he saw the need to be instructed in the areas of becoming a man. I knew I needed to respond, but I didn’t feel comfortable asking a single man to take on that role. I asked Hudson to make a list of the top 20 things he wanted to learn, and I asked God for a solution. I knew I couldn’t just step in and teach him as it was something that needed to come from a man, not his mother. My mind began to flip through the countless incredible men in our lives who I, as a mother, honor, respect, and trust. I began to reach out to each of them and told them the story of the book and Hudson’s list. I asked them if they would be willing to pick one thing on the list and teach and empower Hudson in that area. Oh, let me tell you how these men have risen to the occasion. Hudson has learned how to tie a tie, build a fire, change a tie, drive a car (yes, he took him out and let him drive his car!), cut down trees, burn a massive bonfire, drive a tractor, build things, change the oil in a car, replace wipers, roast hot dogs (without burning them), run a business, make money, throw knives, shoot a gun, sail a boat, go fishing, fix a bike tire, dress like a man (I loved this lesson), one man even gave him a talk about how to treat girls with respect. I am in awe over the rich men in our community who are willing to take time out of their busy lives and families to help a boy become a man.

PURITY RINGS

I love the concept of purity rings, where parents purchase a ring and give it to their daughter over a meaningful weekend, inviting her to guard her purity. I think all parents should take their child’s sexual purity seriously. However, I began to see over the years that the purity ring concept was actually setting the child up for greater failure. When a teen fails to resist temptation, they build a wall with their parents because it isn’t just about their choice but about profoundly disappointing their parents, who had created such high expectations. Purity shouldn’t be a pass/fail but rather a lifestyle of good choices. I think it is wise to keep the bar high (really high) when it comes to teaching, equipping, and empowering our children with their sexual health; however, we live in a culture that is so flamboyantly sexualized. When we teach purity, we also need to be taught HOW to take our mistakes, failure, and sin and bring it to God. Fear, shame, and pride keep us in our sin, while confession, humility, and honesty bring restoration. Moral failure is a top reason why teens fall away from God. They feel like they have committed a fatal sin and are now separated from God. While it is true sexual immorality does have profound ramifications that affect our mind, body, and spirit, it is only God who can heal and restore what was lost. We aren’t expecting our teens to crash the car once they get their license, but it is wise to give them instructions on what to do in case of an accident so that they are empowered should they find themselves in that mess.

I once asked a girl in her young 20s what contributed to her choice to remain pure despite continuous pressure. She told me how her parents laid the foundation by teaching her the power of sex, attraction, and moral health and then presented it in a way that empowered her that her daily choices were guarding herself FOR something and not just AGAINST something. One is empowering, and the other one is merely obeying a command through resistance. Ex. For the person dieting, they will be much more successful if they make a choice not to eat the cake BECAUSE they have their eyes fixed on a higher goal of denying themselves now SO THAT they can fit into their jeans down the road. The JOY of the future is what helped them to say NO to the cake today. They wanted their jeans more than the cake. Another person diets simply by denying themselves in a self-condemning, shameful way of managing resistance, which only stirs up the desire for cake even more. It is rooted in willpower, “I can’t,” and rules. This isn’t a recipe for success, longevity, or real transformation. I was inspired to keep the concept of the purity ring for my girls but to do it FOR their future husbands. I took them out, and we talked about purity (not sex ed, but the purity of their mind, body, dress, heart, emotions, and relationships), and then we each picked out a tie for their future husbands. They are placed where they can see them daily and are reminded that he is a living human being on earth today. They pray for him, think about him, and some are even keeping a journal about him (wondering, dreaming, and praying for him). This establishes that they are guarding their purity FOR HIM. My daughter came home one day, expressing an interest in a boy at school. I asked, “Is that the boy you have been praying for?” and instantly, she realized, “NO!”

LISTEN TO THEM!

A teen boy pitched a first-class attitude, walked out of a prayer meeting, and went to sit in the car. He was scolded and rebuked by the leaders. He didn’t care and refused to budge from his position. The leader confronted his parents on his attitude, which got them to explore things further. It was revealed weeks later that the male who was leading the prayer meeting was actually grooming his sister! Yes, son, you have every right to respond, react and refuse to follow when someone is threatening your sister. Sometimes kids are reacting to something that is WRONG. They do it in an immature way because they are children, but sometimes they react to something because they are discerning it doesn’t feel right. LISTEN TO THEM!

CRAZY CYCLE

This is going to be a HUGE key for many parents! From a very early age, I could feel resistance with one of my daughters. I figured it was a generational thing and have intentionally gone after her heart. I would find myself saying YES to the others with ease, but my heart was hesitant, and I always wanted to say NO to her. It made no sense to me, but I could feel it. She agitated me in a way the others didn’t, yet she wasn’t really doing anything in the natural to warrant it. It was awful to admit because it felt like maybe I even liked her less than the others. I didn’t, but the resistance always made me feel like I was subtly rejecting my own child. God later revealed this to me through someone else, and I rushed home to share it with my daughter. She cried and began to tell me that she felt it, too, and even when we would go on dates, she felt like she couldn’t get close to me. We walked through what this looked like between us and have had such breakthrough.

It looks like this: When there is control-based parenting, the child responds in one of two ways. #1. They feel resistance, anger, and/or have hate or murder in their heart (which doesn’t mean death but can ‘kill’ you with their words). These children then partner with the spirit of REBELLION in their hearts. This can be outward or inward rebellion. #2. The other child feels hurt, isolated, withdrawn, unworthy, like a victim, and helpless when faced with a controlling parent, and they partner with a spirit of REJECTION. The problem is that when the parent feels the spirit of rebellion or rejection coming from the child, it makes them increase their control. A crazy cycle begins in which neither the parent nor the child is really seeing/responding to the other person, but rather the two spirits of control and rebellion/rejection are having a hay day! Connection, love, and unity go right out the window.

My daughter was partnering with a spirit of rejection, and I CAN’T STAND the spirit of rejection. My daughter wasn’t agitating me; the spirit was. Once she began to partner with that spirit, no matter what I would say, she would feel hurt and rejected, which drove me up a wall (in all honesty). I did use more control-based parenting until she was around five years old when I discovered Holy Spirit. But I think it has more to do with how opposite we are. She is my dancing, joyful, giddy, silly, talk a mile a minute, always wanting to create things, bake things, make a mess with paints, glitter and glue kid. I am busy, serious, don’t like messes, and have little appreciation for creative arts. Neither of us are wrong, but because I am the adult, she was feeling controlled by my repetitive ‘no’ answers and not giving her more freedom to be herself. The cycle had gone on for so long that it began to feel normal. It is easier to partner with control when they are younger, but once the spirit of rebellion and rejection are in motion, it is the tween and teen years where the ‘fruit’ of that parenting really begins to reveal itself in the child. Since the spirit of rebellion and rejection have a legal right to be there, they influence the child to behave and make choices that only further the parents’ drive for control. Obviously, rebellion and rejection are not what we want to introduce our children to. We are the ones to break the cycle!

Praise God for this incredible revelation and tool so that we can break free from the enemy’s tools of control, rebellion, and rejection, and we can walk in freedom and connection. If this sounds like something that you are experiencing with one of your children, I encourage you to spend time with Holy Spirit talking to Him about it. If you need to repent, do that first. Set a date with your child (mine was out on the driveway while the other kids were inside). Fill their love tank for a few minutes first, as a filled tank always lowers the walls and makes hard conversations easier. Explain to them that God loves them so much and has shown you an area that you need to change (this makes them feel secure that God has their back, too). I drew a figure 8 and showed her how the crazy cycle went around and around and how we both played our roles. I asked her to please forgive me for making her feel controlled. I also helped her walk through asking Jesus for forgiveness for partnering with the lie and spirit of rejection. We hugged and cried and allowed for Holy Spirit to heal without words for a while. We then tasted the new fruit in the days to come. I also called a family meeting and made sure everyone was aware of the cycle. We agreed that when they were feeling controlled, or I was seeing the rebellion/rejection, we could call out a special code to signal we were partnering with it again. I also want to add that children can control their parents, causing parents to partner with rebellion and rejection, too. This can also be a dynamic with siblings where one is controlling another. If you had a controlling parent, ask Holy Spirit if you are still allowing the spirit of rebellion or rejection to influence you today. Spirits don’t leave us just because we move out of the house. This is NOT a reflection of you being a bad parent, but rather a reflection of the enemy and what he does best – kill, steal and destroy – in this case, the connection with our children. Don’t allow him to put the blame back on you. It is okay to get mad that many of us come under this but use the anger to rise up in your authority and break the cycle. Ask Holy Spirit what keys He wants you to use with your child to repair the connection. Thank You, Father, for being a perfect parent and helping us along the way!

Crazy cycle between parent and child: Crazy Cycle Between Parent & Child – YouTube

LEADING TEENS

I have been growing discontent with leading my family spiritually. It is so easy to buy into the LIE that teens don’t want to engage, or that busyness is just a fact of life. I called a family meeting, and we had a deep heart-to-heart about our relationship with Jesus and how we operate as a family. I walked away so impacted by their hunger, even though it looks different now that they are older. We spent a lot of time processing, pondering, and praying about what it looks like to play in the Kingdom at their ages. One of the things we decided to do was each take a day of the week and lead family devotions. It was my turn, and I had them draw out a picture of themselves, and we passed the papers around in a circle, each adding what we saw inside of them (kindness, creativity, leadership, etc.). Then one person spoke over the person next to them who they are. It was so crazy simple yet life-giving. I feel such a renewed sense of hunger to keep going after their relationships with Jesus in a fresh new way.