How would you answer this question? “When my children fight, argue, and yell, I feel _____.” Siblings are going to have challenges because it is part of their training ground in learning how to respond to others in love. HOWEVER, if you are being triggered every time they have conflict, you will only add to the chaos. They need a loving parent to step in and teach and train them how to resolve their issues, grow and mature in areas and how to increase their love for the ones God has given them to care for.
God doesn’t want to fix you. He understands why you grab ahold of control to feel safe. He wants to encounter you in that place so that you no longer have a need to control.
The greatest way to impact your children is not to do better than your parents but to heal from what happened to you so that you can parent from a place of freedom, not striving and straining. I would actively spend time forgiving both sets of parents for teaching and modeling lack, ask Jesus what lies you believe because of it, break agreement with the lie, and then ask Jesus for His truth. This is a powerful encounter time that aligns families.
God wants you to walk in wholeness because you will naturally parent out of that place of hurt or freedom.
We are going to talk about the walls we learn to build to protect those heart splinters from being touched. The good news is that the walls are somewhat effective in keeping the bad out, but the sad news is that they also keep the good from entering. God never called us to a life of managing pain. Jesus died so we could be free, and free indeed, of it. Take out a sheet of paper and write down 3-5 adjectives to describe your mom, then do it for your dad. We are not looking for sugar-coated words but your truth. For example, for my mom, I would say emotional, special touches, distant, and polished. For my dad, I would say he is the life of the party, shallow, generous, and available. You are writing down how you received and experienced them. The family is very important to God because it is modeled after God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit, who all have unique roles in the godhead.
God/Father – is where we get our provision, protection, and identity.
Jesus/Siblings – is where we get our companionship/friendship/sense of belonging.
Holy Spirit/Mother – is where we get our comfort, nurturing, and teaching.
The ultimate purpose of the enemy in John 10:10 is to steal, kill, and destroy our connection with God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. One of the ways he does that is through undealt with hurts, lies, and offenses in childhood because the child will naturally project those hurts to the godhead. It is one thing to be hurt by your absent father; it is another to believe the Creator of the universe is ignoring you. It is one thing to be hurt by an emotionally out-of-control mother; it is another thing to believe the Holy Spirit is unsafe. It is one thing to be rejected by your siblings; it is another thing to think that Jesus doesn’t care about your world. At the end of life, it comes down to one simple thing – our relationship with our Heavenly Father. This matters!!! While we might feel peace and closeness with Jesus, if we have distance with Holy Spirit, something will be missing, just like a family where there are not two parents. If you feel close to Jesus, but are afraid of Father God, then you are not walking in the fullness of your salvation. We want to be connected fully and freely to God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. Take a look at the words you used to describe your mom and dad. Take an honest estimate of your reality. Is that how you would describe your experience with God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit? If not, then praise God for the healing that has been done in your heart. If yes, then this simply reveals where the heart splinter has caused you to build a wall to protect the pain. How do we remove the wall? The Cross is the answer for everything, and forgiveness breaks the yoke that the enemy has been able to influence us. “I make the choice to forgive _____ for _______. I cancel any debt they owe me and turn them over to Jesus Christ to be judged accordingly.” Renounce the lie the God/Jesus/Holy Spirit is _____ (whatever you put on your list). Hand the hurt/sadness to Jesus (just watch and listen to what He does). Ask, “God/Jesus/Holy Spirit, how did it make You feel that I believed that lie about You?” Ask what He wants to give you instead. Declare the truth about God/Jesus/Holy Spirit. Spend some adequate time walking this out. Can you see how vital family connections are and how they affect a child’s view of God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit?
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.
God created us to be fully alive, deeply accepted, and belong completely. The aftermath of the fall is that man became a spiritual orphan separated from God and wandered around life, feeling profound feelings of abandonment, loneliness, and isolation. The Good News is that Jesus came to restore us back to that place of deep security with the Father. We can accept Christ yet still be wandering like an orphan striving, begging, and doing life on our own. Imagine a child digging through the dump fending for themselves and meeting their needs for food and clothing all on their own day in and day out with no rest in sight. Now picture a palace where the table is always set, and there is a room with your name on it. When we become Christians, we get the honor of living in the palace, yet some enjoy the view and go back to the dump laboring daily to meet their needs. It is impossible to raise a child as a Son/Daughter in God’s Kingdom when you occupy the dump yourself. If you want to raise them in the palace, you have to enter yourself.
Orphan Parenting is when we parent our children from the place of isolation, abandonment, self-protection, striving, loneliness, self-sufficiency, and lack. We are modeling to our children how to live like an orphan, not from Kingdom reality.
Kingdom Parenting stems from a confidence that you are more than enough and God is doing a good work in YOU; therefore, there is no need to compare yourself to others. You are fully aware of the journey and process the Father has you on because you are intimately walking it out with Him, and you trust Him that He knows best.
The following list is NOT a pass/fail. It is the JOURNEY of becoming more and more like Him. Everyone starts out as an orphan, and we will spend the rest of our days on earth discovering, realizing, and embracing the love of our Father.
Orphan Parenting – Orphans feel insecure about themselves, their performance, and their worth. They are competitive with others internally and are jealous of others’ success because it reminds them of their lack.
Kingdom Parenting – Sons/Daughters know they are loved and, out of that place, feel deeply secure to take risks, adventure out, and explore new things. When they see someone else gain what they desire, it gives them hope for what is available.
Orphan Parenting – Orphans cannot rest because they have to constantly be doing ‘good’ in order to feel worthy of His love. They are agitated when children are joyful and carefree because they do not feel they have the right to relax.
Kingdom Parenting – Sons/Daughters are able to experience the Father’s pleasure over them even when they are resting and are able to be at peace knowing He is well pleased with who they are, not just what they do. They welcome the joy children release.
Orphan Parenting – Orphans feel a gaping hole in their heart that is painful. They strive to fill it with outside sources (shopping, alcohol, porn, social media, etc.), but it only leaves the hole bigger. They often get annoyed with the confidence of a child who operates without the gaping hole.
Kingdom Parenting – Sons/Daughters are strengthened by intimacy as they have allowed Jesus access to the aches and pains in their hearts, which position them on solid and secure ground.
Orphan Parenting – Orphans have a deep drive for success, but with the goal of feeling worthy or good enough. It puts them in the driver’s seat of their lives at all costs.
Kingdom Parenting – Son/Daughters are confident in the plans God has for them and are led by the Holy Spirit to lead them on a life adventure that is full of favor, open doors, and eternal fruit. Their definition of success is measured by obedience, not popularity, ‘likes,’ or bank accounts.
Orphan Parenting – Orphans use people for their gain and advancement. They see people as stepping stones to their own agenda. They see people as an opportunity to network.
Kingdom Parenting – Son/Daughters serve those around them to build them up, following Christ’s example to serve and have a high value on connection.
Orphan Parenting – Orphans are annoyed by children and see them as a hindrance to their agenda who drain them of their time, energy, and resources. They respond with dominance, fear, and shame to control the child’s behavior to meet their agenda.
Kingdom Parenting – Son/Daughters understand the foolishness and immaturity of a child and respond with love and healthy authority.
Orphan Parenting – Orphans are often angry and full of rage out of ongoing fear that they cannot control the world around them. They have high levels of anxiety and worry.
Kingdom Parenting – Son/Daughters are confident that their Father is in control of all things and has the ability to work all things out for their good. Because their circumstance does not define them, they are able to respond in peace and not react.
Orphan Parenting – An orphan only feels as good about themselves as their outward appearance, clothing, number of ‘likes,’ material possessions, etc., allow. Orphans are always the first to get the latest trend and are constantly looking for praise and applause from others.
Kingdom Parenting – Son/Daughters are deeply affirmed by the Creator of the universe that He has created them to be unique and have immeasurable value to Him. They are secure and confident because of their relationship and intimacy with Him.
The ONLY way to cease acting like an orphan is to embrace the love of the Father and accept the invitation to act like a Son and Daughter. It’s already been paid for. All you have to do is receive.
I want to share with you one of the most significant revelations I have had in my parenting. It was a game-changer and altered everything within my family structure. Every home we lived in happened to have an open floor plan where the dining room, kitchen, and living room were a large space. The kids were young and closer in age and would begin running from one end of the house and zoom around each room, chasing each other. I am a fun mom. I can handle flying Nerf gun bullets, stepping on the pile of Legos, forts in the living room, and messes made from hardcore playing. But when the kids would zoom in and out all around me, it was like I was fine one moment, and a millisecond later, I was not. I would immediately shut it down and redirect them to something quiet and still, like a movie. There was a season that I honestly wondered if Holy Spirit was whispering in their ear, “Start running,” because it seemed like that was all they did from sunup to sundown, and it was driving me crazy. I was just about to step in when I heard the Lord say, “What are they doing wrong?” I vividly remember responding out loud with, “I do not know, but I do not like it.” That little exchange was like a tap on the shoulder, and I realized that maybe, just maybe, this was not their issue but mine. As they continued, I would sneak into my room and process my heart. I was hearing giggles, joy, and sibling connection, yet my heart was filled with anxiety. I began to see that my response was not matching my reality. I was becoming more and more aware that something deep inside of me was not at peace, which affected my parenting that was shutting them down and redirecting them, and I hated it. I hated feeling so much unrest. I hated not feeling in control. I hated that I had to redirect them so that I could feel at peace. Every time they would start zooming around, I would remove myself and process my heart, which took nearly six weeks – six weeks of laying down my tools of control to keep myself comfortable and six weeks of being radically uncomfortable. Finally, I got the revelation as to what was happening in my heart. God asked what I was feeling, and I said, “Anxious.” Anxious? Why on earth would I be anxious when my children were laughing and connecting? And suddenly, I got a mental picture of my childhood. My three siblings and I were close in age too, and whenever our joy or play began to get ‘out of control,’ one of us would be beaten or shut down. I am not sure which was worse, being beaten yourself or the powerlessness of having to watch your siblings. I began to cry. I could still hear their giggles in the other room as my deep anxiety was being released through the wave of emotions. I heard God say, “When your children are full of joy, you get anxious that one of them will get hurt, so you shut it down to protect them,” but the sad thing is that they are not in danger. It is ME who needed to know we were safe, not them. I got set free that day from the fear of joy.
Had I continued to use my authority to control my children to keep my heart feeling safe, I would, in essence, be teaching them that joy is not acceptable, not through beating them but by shutting it down each time. THIS is how our unresolved issues affect our parenting, and we swing so far to the other side of the pendulum. Jesus is our center and wants us anchored in freedom and wholeness. The deep, life-altering revelation that God gave me is that while I am older, wiser, and more capable than my children, God knit them together, not in MY image to be molded and shaped into a little me, but in HIS image and He uses them to reveal, heal and restore what was lost in ME so I can become more like HIM. I am the adult, but God is my Parent, and He uses my little ones to parent me ALL THE TIME. Now when I want my children to cease zooming all over the place, I am able to use my parental authority as God has directed in peace, not from a place of control and needing them to change their behavior so that I could feel comfortable. There is a world of difference.
Your turn – What is the biggest and most consistent trigger you experience in your parenting? Go ahead; it’s okay, take a risk and know that you are not alone in your parenting journey of becoming more like Him.
This subject is my heartbeat and life story. It is the area of greatest heartbreak and pain and yet my greatest area of redemption and joy. God asked me years ago to gather a group of moms and teach them the revelations God has given to me to unlock the family cycles and align my family with HIS. The fruit was so significant that their friends came to me asking me to teach them, too. Years later, month after month, I am still walking parents through the journey of unlocking their own families. I am not selling you a product. I am inviting you to invest in your family so that your children do not need to experience what you experienced. I am giving you tools to learn how to connect to your child’s heart. I am empowering you that you truly are enough for the job of raising the next generation. I am equipping you to set your grandchildren up for greater success. Together we are changing your family’s legacy!
I just want to tell you how proud I am of you. While it is not fun talking about what isn’t working, sometimes our freedom comes from acknowledging reality. Jesus says that it is the truth that sets us free, and we cannot align ourselves with that truth if we are not first willing to see and acknowledge that we are not in alignment with His truth. I have been overwhelmed with messages of gratitude and testimonies of how people came humbly to Jesus and encountered His love, revelation, and healing. He is doing a good work in you, and your children are blessed by your willingness to do the heart work! I am just so proud of you!