It’s OK to Cry

When was the last time you had a good, hard cry? What was it about? Was it truly a good cry, or was there remorse or regret in it? There IS a difference in our cries–it lies in the heart behind them.

“In the days of His humanity, [Jesus] offered up both prayers and pleas with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His devout behavior. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.”

Hebrews 5:7-8 NASB

JESUS OFFERED UP BOTH PRAYERS AND PLEAS WITH LOUD CRYING AND TEARS

These verses recently stopped me in my tracks. I was fully aware of Jesus praying and pleading with the Father during His time here on earth as a human, but it’s how He prayed and pleaded in this verse that struck me differently–“with loud crying and tears!” We may remember seeing Jesus’ agony, praying and pleading in the garden, pending His death, when “His sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood” (Luke 22:44 NLT); but have you heard this kind of prayer? His suffering was SO heavy that it caused Him to cry loudly with a HEAVY amount of emotion!! The Greek word for this literal “outcry” helps me wrap my mind around this more; it says it was like a “boisterous shrieking, like a wounded person emitting non-human-type sounds.”1 Doesn’t it make you wonder how Peter, James, and John slept through that and didn’t hear it, being nearby?!? Jesus cried real teardrops and made loud, agonizing noises in His suffering that would turn any head; He experienced deep feeling in His senses; He was affected!

WHAT DID JESUS DO WHEN HE FELT LIKE THIS?

Based on the meanings of the Greek words in these two verses, Jesus:

  • Moved toward the Father in order to interact…to connect…with Him.
  • Brought His suffering…His personal, urgent, heart-felt needs…to the Father, knowing what He was going through was prescribed for a specific conclusion.
  • Was humble, even though He urgently asked for His suffering and anguish to pass and sought peace (refuge/safety from the danger awaiting Him). His humility was similar to presenting an olive branch, which was a sign of willingness to bring a conflict to a conclusion. Even though His humanity sought peace from His suffering, He was willing to finish what He was sent to do! An olive branch is also a sign of purity, peace, and victory. In carrying His suffering to the Father (the One Who sent Him for the purpose of fulfilling the required payment for sin), laying it down, and offering Himself willingly, Jesus was the olive branch–the pure and spotless one required for a sin sacrifice (Hebrews 7:24-27); the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), the One Who made peace between us and the Father (Colossians 1:19-20); and the victor over death (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).
  • Cried, yet even in His tears, there was an engaging, combative strength. Through His trusting in His Father’s commission (even though He, in His humanity, wasn’t excited about what He was about to physically go through), the Father heard His prayers and pleas and unleashed His power, enabling and empowering Christ, in His human form, to complete the assignment the Father gave Him to do…and to do so fearlessly.
  • Listened and heard the Father reiterating His mission.
  • Took hold of what was good (which is what “devout” means) out of the experiences He suffered through (whether because of demons or humans) and submitted to the Father. He focused on what was truly worthwhile and outwardly responded in obedience from there. As we know, He went on to die on the cross and complete His mission. Isn’t a huge part of being a servant (which Jesus claimed to be–Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45, Luke 22:26-27, John 13:12-17) obedience?!?

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT?

Christ experienced suffering! We know this, yet why do we think we’ve done something wrong, if things start to go “wrong?” If Jesus, as the Son of God, experienced suffering and heavy emotion, why would we, as children of God, think we get a free pass and shouldn’t experience suffering…the kind that makes our souls and voices shriek…ourselves? On the flip side, we also shouldn’t think that we’re not adopted children of God, because we’re in a time of suffering! When we experience suffering (that hasn’t been caused by a sinful decision), we have the opportunity to take hold of what’s good out of it, just like Jesus did. We have the unique experience that requires a response, and how we respond shows others what we feel is worthwhile (worthy of respect).

One day, in the New Jerusalem, there won’t be any of this type of crying (Yeah! This same kind of “boisterous shrieking” that Jesus felt…and we can feel on our journey here.). Let’s stay focused on why we’re here, submit, and obey. Even when it’s hard and our humanity wants the danger to go away, we have the opportunity to grab hold of something good out of it!

What is God Asking You to Obey Him in Right now?
What “Good” Are You Grabbing Hold of in What You’re Going Through?
Take a Peek at the List of Jesus’ Responses to Suffering, Again, Above. Do You Need to Respond Differently to Imitate Him in Something You’re Going Through?

1 “2906. kraugé.” Bible Hub, https://biblehub.com/greek/2906.htm. Accessed 14 September 2022.

What/Whom Do We Value?

Multiple songs had the same message: I’m unashamedly serving the King, Who deserves ALL the glory; any glory we get is borrowed, so don’t even worship me or make me an idol; focus your worship on Him! I was checking out a variety of songs earlier today by a particular music artist, which I thought could appeal to my teenage kiddos. An idea came to me to see if this artist was going to be in concert anywhere nearby in the foreseen future; I decided to look it up. I read a few reviews of the artist’s current tour. One gave the concert a lower rating, because the artist (who is the headliner) and opening artists didn’t come out after the concert to take pictures with the fans or sign autographs; this, apparently, irked the individual a bit. As I continued to listen to a number of additional songs by the artist, God gave me a thought. Given the message, over and over again, in the artist’s songs, maybe the reason he didn’t want to take pictures and sign autographs afterward is because it wasn’t about him (I’m super emotional today, anyway, but this totally gets water spouts from my eyes working!)!! HE didn’t want to be the attention!! Rather, he wanted to give the attention to Whom it was due! I don’t know about you, but if this is his reason for denying meet and greets, I find it extremely refreshing in a world that’s all about “me” and getting attention!

In the early verses of Hebrews, Christ is described as “the radiance of [God the Father’s] glory and the express image of His nature” (1:3). The Greek word for “nature,” in this verse, is “hypóstasis” and means to stand under/to have a legitimate claim to what is guaranteed under an agreement. Even though this is the case, we see in Hebrews 5 that Christ “didn’t glorify Himself…” (5:5). In the text, we’re directed to the source: God the Father is the One Who called His Son to His position (5:1-4, 5, 10). Christ has a legit claim to His position as High Priest, yet He doesn’t snatch those accolades and parade them around to bring glory to Himself! He is “the radiance of His Father’s glory!”

As the Father continues to show me areas of my heart and mind that need exfoliating (this is a nod to His work talked about in the last post), this area requires a long pause.

Do my actions connect value with God the Father as the source, or is my heart’s intent to receive the credit?
How careful am I to make sure that I verbally phrase things in a way that isn’t drawing kudos to myself, but rather radiating the Father’s glory?!? Do my words address Him by name?

As I’m writing this, the Father is, through the Spirit, bringing to mind a conversation I just had this afternoon with my neighbor in which I wasn’t careful to radiate the Father’s glory. I just sent her a text to clear up Who REALLY is the valued source!

My prayer is that we, as a Liv community, will be mindful, as the music artist I was listening to seemed to be, of how we act and speak, being careful to shine HIS glory, not seek our own. AMEN!

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

Clogged Paths, Healing, and Renewal

Before you call me a freak, let me explain.

Many of you know my health journey. For those of you who don’t, here are some of my “thorns:”

  • Brain tumor (which, at my recent MRI, has grown plumper–my term, not theirs–it’ll continue to be watched on a yearly basis and is unnecessary to be surgically removed at this time)
  • Chronic, severe, complex migraines
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia tendencies (was one point away from being diagnosed with it)
  • Persistent Postural-Perpetual Dizziness (aka PPPD or 3PD, which is chronic dizziness)
  • Spasmodic dysphonia (a neurological disorder that affects my voice and speech) with a tremor component

In mid January this year (a month and a half after having Covid), my health took another turn. During the following four months, I was in bed for two. During the two months I wasn’t in bed, only eight of those days were without some type of symptom related to the above issues, affecting my mobility and functionality. I knew I couldn’t keep living like that! Something had to change! Through the wisdom God gave a friend and her courage to speak it, I started down a different, natural, holistic path from the ones I’ve trodded before, investigating as much as my brain could absorb. In my research, God led me to a web site, where I saw this:

https://drdbrant.com/lymphatic-drainage-massage

A gigantic light bulb illuminated brightly in my mind, as I became aware that every area of my body’s compromised! I have MULTIPLE symptoms that’re listed above under EVERY organ of my complex lymphatic/glymphatic system! This showed me why my immune and circulatory systems have been affected in such chronic ways–my lymphatic/glymphatic systems appear to be clogged!

Since this revelation, the LORD’s blessed me with the ability to start giving my lymphatic/glymphatic symptoms some help in the form of nutrients, minerals, and carbons to hopefully help things move and function the way He intended our bodies to in His design. Ultimately, my goal is to press on with a variety of detoxes to remove the unseen uglies from my insides. I’m only a couple weeks in, but I’m already noticing a difference. My down days are shorter; I’m able to bounce back more quickly and be able to function, again…and not just function, but actually have more energy to do things for longer. I actually went to two grocery stores BY MYSELF this week…IN THE SAME DAY!!! Granted, I came home and took a nap after each, and my family brought in the groceries, when I got home, and put them away, but that’s a HUGE step forward for me!! All praise to God for leading me on this healing journey of renewal!

Yesterday, I started dry brushing (Yeah! It’s a thing. If it’s new to you, you’re not alone! It’s new to me, too! Here are a couple videos you can watch, if you’re interested.). Dry brushing is just one of the things I’m beginning to try to help my lymphatic system drain better.

As I was enjoying this new routine, the Spirit of God brought to mind the need to give strength and renewal to other parts of my insides, as well…specifically, my heart and mind! I asked Him to show me where I’m “dead” or not functioning in a way that He prefers, so, with His guidance and help, these things can be removed and renewed, as well!

“One who conceals his wrongdoings will not prosper, but one who confesses and abandons them will find compassion.”

Proverbs 28:13 NASB

“When I did not confess my sins, I was worn out from crying all day long. For day and night, Your hand [of displeasure] was heavy upon me; my energy (vitality, strength) was drained away as with the burning heat of summer. Selah. Then, I acknowledged my sin to You and did not conceal my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,’ and You took away the guilt of my sin. Selah.”

Psalm 32:3 GNT, 4 AB, 5 HCSB

“Create for me a pure heart, O God! Renew a resolute spirit within me!”

Psalm 51:10 NET

“Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God–what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.

Romans 12:2 NETB

I want to be clear. I’ve prayed concerning my health issues and am certain that they’re NOT related to a sin issue that God is desiring to clear up (not that I don’t have sin issues!)! I’m just reminded of the importance for us to really look at what’s inside…not only physically, but spiritually, as well. We need to identify the root cause of any issues (i.e., sin), exfoliate them and brush them off, leaving behind a renewed heart and mind that is able to test and approve what God’s will is. Isn’t that such a common question?!? “How do I know what God’s will is?” Well, from Romans 12:2, we can be sure that if we yield to or integrate what’s popular right now (and contrary to what God prefers) into our lives, we won’t know what His will is. We need to be up front with God, exposing our sin to Him, presenting it to Him, laying it down as a sacrifice, and turning away from it (Romans 12:1). Submitting to Him is part of the mind’s transformation process into the mind of Christ.

Is there anything inside you today that needs to come to the surface, between you and God?

Does your soul need “dry brushed?”

Praying for you all, Liv community! Feel free to comment at the top of this post or reply below, if you want me and others in the Liv community to be praying for anything specifically!

None of the products listed within this post have been used to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease; a drug is the only thing that can legally make this kind of claim, according to the FDA. What’s been shared in this post are my thoughts and opinions only, as I continue on this health journey.

Internal Walk-Through

Buying a home can be stressful, yet exciting! This was, again, evident, as I listened to a Kelly Minter pod cast (one of her Cultivate episodes) the other day; in that episode, she told a story about her aunt and uncle moving into town and needing to buy a house. Since Kelly already lived in town, she became the point person, working with their realtor on their behalf. At some point after the negotiations (our dog distracted me, then, so I lost that part of the story), the realtor suggested another walk-through. It’d been a while since Kelly’d bought her house, so she asked why another walk-through was necessary, since they’d already done one. The realtor shared the wisdom of making sure everything that was agreed upon was still in the house. As they walked through the house, sure enough, the refrigerator was gone!! Kelly related that to ourselves. Sometimes, we remember having compassion or kindness, joy or contentment, but we don’t often do a walk-through to make sure it’s still there.

We’re going to take a walk-through of our hearts and minds today…not exactly looking for the good things (to make sure they’re still there), but to see if anything that isn’t supposed to be there, as children of God, has been brought in.

As we examined last post, we have an opposer who’s seeking to destroy us, our reputations, God’s reputation, and our relationships.

What has our adversary presented you with, that you’ve bought and brought into your innermost space–your heart and mind?
  • Seeing illusions caused by intoxicating influences of sin (i.e., like the unintended consequences of selfishness, greed, lying, pride, etc.), being unable to think clearly, and acting without self-control–1 Peter 5:8.
  • Allowing your decisions, understanding, and opinions to be corrupted and broken down because of sin–2 Corinthians 11:3.
  • Being distracted. Maybe it’s by something good, yet it’s distracting you from God’s purpose for you right now;…or maybe it’s by lust, envy, or justifying that you have every right to respond the way you have–1 Peter 5:8.
  • Being wholly seduced and deceived into focusing on things that are impure and immodest–2 Corinthians 11:3.
  • Staying in a state of brokenness, chaos, and division–Romans 16:20.
  • Holding onto shame and the hidden things of darkness–2 Corinthians 4:2.
  • Walking around, ready to do any evil deed–2 Corinthians 4:2.
  • Mixing truth with corrupt motives (using the word of God as bait to deceitfully ensnare someone)–2 Corinthians 4:2.
  • Sacrificing something spiritually–John 10:10.
  • Cutting off or separating yourself from Truth; turning away from Him in order to follow the adversary–John 10:10, 1 Timothy 5:15.
  • Exposing yourself to sin, the violent attack of the evil one, and the pain that, ultimately, comes from it by not spiritually standing guard–1 John 5:18-19, 1 Peter 5:9.
  • Not keeping your heart and mind in check according to the things of God, and your behavior is showing it–Matthew 16:23.
  • Struggling with or throwing down other people, making them the focus of your fight–Ephesians 6:12. This is something I needed to be reminded of and continue to pray over. It’s interesting that the adversary was thrown down from heaven and has since made us humans his target, deceiving us into throwing down other people, instead of him and the angels that followed him (who were also thrown down out of heaven)–Revelation 12:9.
  • Standing against things/people God is for; hating good (i.e., the things of God); distorting and deviating from the straight (not crooked) ways of the Lord–1 Chronicles 21:1, 2 Timothy 3:3, Acts 13:10.
  • Having pride in your heart, setting yourself on the throne of your life as god, instead of the one, true God–Isaiah 14:12-15.
  • Withholding forgiveness from a believer, leaving an open door to give the adversary more authority in your life…something that doesn’t belong to him; this is, ultimately, the purpose of his thoughts–2 Corinthians 2:10-11.
  • Ignoring God’s written and living Word, not giving Him any consideration–Matthew 13:41.
  • Acting passively…and giving place in your heart to the accuser to fill your heart completely (i.e., with lies)–Acts 5:4. There’s a link, here, between Ananias holding back some money he received for his and his wife’s place (their land) and holding back his heart from giving it to God completely. So we don’t give place is why we’re instructed multiple times in Scripture to “Love the LORD [our] God with all our heart[s]” (Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 23:27, Luke 10:27).
  • Being willing to respect and serve the adversary, bending a knee to him by demonstrating your submission to him and his authority over you (even if it’s in just one, particular area)–Matthew 4:9-10.
  • Being preoccupied with your own interests and things that benefit you–2 Timothy 3:2.
  • Loving money or the thought/pursuit of having money–2 Timothy 3:2.
  • Not experiencing, recognizing, or appreciating God’s grace (favor); therefore, you’re responding without thankfulness–2 Timothy 3:2.
  • Unwilling to make others less angry or come to an agreement or covenant–2 Timothy 3:3.
  • Not being content or responsible with what you’ve been given authority over, deserting your home, and going after a different kind of purpose (one that’s empowered by self, not God)–Jude 1:6.
  • Dreaming, yearning for things and/or people that oppose the ways of God and expecting God to bless you–Jude 1:7.
  • Being stained at the core of your soul, so everything else that comes from there becomes tainted, polluted, and displeases God–Jude 1:8.
Is there anything in your or your family’s heart and/or mind that doesn’t belong and needs to be removed?

I will pray over this, specifically, with you all!

Comment at the top or reply at the bottom of this page with how I can.

The Opposition–We’re Being Watched

For years, we watched shows with our kids about animals, especially those in Africa. It was mesmerizing to watch the powerful lions, how they interacted, how the lionesses banded together to hunt their prey, and how the pride male (the king of the pride) controlled the uprising of the younger males. We’d watch as the lionesses camouflaged themselves in the grasses, eyeing a wildebeest herd very intently, identifying the calves or sickly animals; they were weaker, easier to take down, and quickly became a meal for the pride.

Peter tells us a bit about our spiritual opposition (adversary) in 1 Peter 5:8.
  • The devil is like a lion!
  • This opponent is a strong resistance!
  • He uses false, unjustified, criticizing statements to damage our reputations, God’s, and, ultimately, hurt us.
  • He wants to punish us by putting a rift in our relationship with others and with God.
As children of God, the devil is seeking US!

Most of us know this…but do we know the Greek word for “seek” in 1 Peter 5:8 means to seek by inquiring?!? The devil is investigating…searching…asking questions to find out if we’re weak and easy prey or if we’re strong in the LORD. Have you ever had questions randomly pop up in your mind…ones that induce doubt, fear, pain, anxiety,…? Can you take a guess where those inquiring questions are coming from? It’s nothing new. The devil started with Eve in the garden and is continuing the same kind of scheme today. How we respond (in actions and/or words) will tell him all he needs to know–if we’re weak…or strong in the LORD.

Many of you may be reading this and thinking, “I know this! I’m good! I haven’t fallen for that!” I truly hope that’s the case! May I ask you some questions, though? They’re ones I’m asking myself…AND my family…to be sure I/we don’t have “blood” running down my/our leg without knowing, we’re not walking with a “limp,” or are completely oblivious to Truth.

Today, we’re going to look at things that can be seen on the outside (we’ll look at things in the heart and mind next post). The Bible gives us a comprehensive list. I haven’t posted in a while, but this is what I’ve been picking apart with the Spirit, piece by piece, in its original language. If you don’t have time to fully ingest it all today, just absorb small morsels at a time, asking the Spirit of God to reveal any areas that need His healing. It’s worth giving our lives a detailed inspection.

What kinds of things could be popping up in your life that can be a welcoming sign to that preying opposer?
  • Being a pushover, giving up and giving in (having a moveable, changeable trust in God)–1 Peter 5:9.
  • Not publicly making a stand for God–1 Peter 5:9.
  • Making sinning a practice, continuing to carry out the same kinds of sin indefinitely. It’s evident that these behavioral/heart decisions oppose who God is and are spurred on by the slanderer…the false accuser…through getting us to focus on us, not God–1 John 3:8.
  • Resembling the wrong father (the father of lies, rather than God the Father); spending time with, relating to, obeying, and connecting with the devil intimately, instead of the One Who gives us life–John 8:44, 1 John 3:10.
  • Saying something untrue about someone to damage his/her reputation; saying someone’s done something wrong, when he/she either hasn’t or you don’t have the facts to back it up; pointing out someone’s faults publicly in a disapproving, morally wrong way with an intent to hurt him/her, punishing him or her by putting a rift in a relationship–2 Timothy 3:3. Sound familiar? It’s the exact same Greek word used for “the devil!”
  • Treating another member of the family of God differently than how God would prefer (without a family affection toward them)—1 John 3:10, 2 Timothy 3:3.
  • Destroying others with our lies/deceitful words; using imitations to deceive people, exploiting those without discernment who have a lot of emotional pain (that they brought on themselves), enticing them with their own greed.–John 8:44, Exodus 23:7, Acts 13:10.
  • Betraying others–2 Timothy 3:4.
  • Pretending to be a messenger of Christ–2 Corinthians 11:13-15.
  • Deceitfully teaching others what a messenger of Christ looks like–2 Corinthians 11:13-15.
  • Standing with the devil, welcoming him and his ways into your choices; giving him opportunities to act through you; deciding to act under his power and direction, instead of God’s, actively doing what he prefers–James 4:7, Ephesians 4:27, 1 John 3:10. Actively involved with others who welcome him and his ways–2 Timothy 3:5.
  • Having no moral values and being unfair–Acts 13:10.
  • Playfully misbehaving and making trouble–Acts 13:10.
  • Being a bait-stick of a trap, luring someone into a sin, which, then, entraps them–Matthew 13:41.
  • Secretly taking something–John 10:10.
  • Disobeying–Ephesians 2:2.
  • Fully living according to this wicked world’s specific, dark qualities as well as the ruling authority of demonic spiritual forces, instead of the authority God has given you as His saint through faith in Christ, accompanied by His Spirit. Allowing demonic spiritual forces to influence you as the source of your emotions, what you like, what you want, etc., and engage with you, giving the power in a situation to take it from one step to the next–Ephesians 2:2, Genesis 3:1-6, Acts 26:18.
  • Jumping into what the adversary is stirring up, instead of talking with God about it first to see if it’s something He wants you to do–1 Chronicles 21:1.
  • Rejecting what God prefers and outwardly disobeying (rebelling against) Him and your parents–2 Timothy 3:2, 1 John 3:10.
  • Buying into the accuser’s lies and then acting on them; scheming (i.e., lying to the Holy Spirit)–Acts 5:2-4.
  • Behaving pridefully and/or appearing arrogantly better or higher–1 Timothy 3:6, 2 Timothy 3:4.
  • Saying something’s true without being able to back it up (boasting about your importance or abilities without basis and having an arrogance that goes with that); moving on to others, who will listen, when found out–2 Timothy 3:2.
  • Speaking with a lack of respect about God or things connected with Him (i.e., blaspheming); purposely, arrogantly disrespecting the things of God; refusing to acknowledge things that are good (things that would give others a good opinion of God and His extensive worth)–2 Timothy 3:2, 1 Timothy 1:20, Jude 1:8.
  • Lacking self restraint–2 Timothy 3:3.
  • Being savage–2 Timothy 3:3.
  • Being reckless–2 Timothy 3:4.
  • Loving pleasure more than loving God; giving yourself over to pleasing yourself completely (aka, whoring, fornication)–2 Timothy 3:4, Jude 1:7.
  • Looking like you have a deep respect for the things of God, but saying no to the power you could receive by leaning into God’s abilities–2 Timothy 3:5.
  • Having a bad, unattractive character testimony to those outside the family of God…one that doesn’t inspire others to willingly and excitedly accept what’s beautiful and praiseworthy…and, therefore, feeling disgraced by your damaged reputation–1 Timothy 3:7.
  • Looking for help from ghosts or people who summon spirits (i.e., necromancer, wizard, soothsayer): 1. of those who’ve died in order to foretell the future, 2. that have the power to affect actions, behaviors, and opinions, 3. for magic (linking an action with an effect, mystically), 4. for sorcery (wielding evil spirits with a different, hateful intent), and 5. for obtaining knowledge/wisdom of the unknown/invisible realm–Leviticus 19:31.
  • Rejecting those ruling over you–Jude 1:8.

Any of these prick a bit? He’s looking for an open door, a weak spot…someone he can gulp down entirely. I don’t want him to destroy you or me! I pray that if we, in any way, are standing opposite God, rather than with Him, “God will grant us repentance, so that [we] may know the Truth, and that [we] may come to [our] senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:25-26 NKJV).

How may I pray for you, specifically, today?

Just like wildebeests gather around an injured one to protect it from the hunting lionesses, I want to gather around each other, providing strength through the power of the Holy Spirit in prayer!

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Practical Parenting Tips for Discipling Kiddos–Part 3

Has anyone else been tempted to get overwhelmed with their own discipling? There are so many things in these last two posts, and again in this one, that speak to me, as I want to disciple my kiddos well. If you feel overwhelmed at times, please hear this: Even focusing on one of these areas can improve your communication with your kids, can show them God, and can even change what your child thinks or believes. I’ve experienced it! So, close the door on that temptation and put your discipleship of Jesus in action with the kiddos…and they don’t have to be yours! Show these principles with those in your path today.

Ok. More notes from Dr. Kathy Koch’s Q & A session (her full speaking event can be found at the end of this post)…

LOOK FOR EVIDENCE THAT THEY WORSHIP WITH INTEGRITY AND TRUTH
  • Tell them when you see it! What you say matters!
  • If you value your relationship with Christ, put it on display!
  • Do they hunger for the Word? Do YOU? “Because I love God, I read His Word. Because I love God, I serve. Because I love God, I pray.” Share your love for God as the basis for what you do, not a heavy handed “Did you read your Bible today?!?”
  • Raise kids to know: 1) that they’re created in the image of God, strategically and intentionally; 2) that they’re created for His glory; and 3) that God wants them and others to find Him!
  • Teach that prayer is a relationship, an ongoing conversation with your best friend.
WE CAN’T HOLD OTHERS ACCOUNTABLE FOR WHAT THEY DON’T BELIEVE
  • It’s wrong and critical to hold others to a standard they don’t know (believe); they’ve been deceived.
  • Teach Truth! Expose the lie. “According to Scripture,…” Use as many verses as possible (not just ones we typically gravitate toward). Use other, real-world examples, especially if they don’t believe Scripture.
FOCUS MORE ON WHAT YOU WANT THAN WHAT YOU CURRENTLY SEE
  • As mentioned in Part 1, “Change=exchange.” So, if laziness is what you see, the opposite would be hard work, effort, diligence (effort over time), perseverance (effort in the face of difficulties), teachability, humility, teamwork, honoring your father and mother…For every one sin (negative), there are almost always multiple (sometimes 20) related positives.
  • Pray for what you want to see; talk about the positives; maybe even journal as a family about it.
  • Laziness is caught; there’s almost always someone they’ve seen who is lazy and successful.
  • Laziness is a lack of purpose. Using Ephesians 2:10 as a basis, ask, “How do you live on purpose?” “How did you live on purpose today?” “What gifts have you been created with? Are you walking in them?” You can also say, “I, as your mom, will not allow you to not steward the gift that God’s given you. I’ve seen this passion in you since you were five! Let’s re-light that or figure out how.”
  • Give them opportunities to serve to get beyond themselves. Serving someone who needs something they can offer is one of the best ways to move from a lazy apathy to an act of energy.
  • America’s school drop-out rate (pre-Covid) was 6,250/DAY! Schools aren’t doing a good job of engaging kids with meaningful content…nor are a lot of churches. Every verse of Scripture was put there on purpose, for a purpose, but if we don’t teach kids the relevancy of Scripture to them, they’ll believe that God and the Bible are irrelevant. A lack of engagement is a lack of purposeful belief that it matters. How does it matter?
STOP ASKING QUESTIONS KIDS CAN’T ANSWER
  • Rather than asking kids “What do you want to do when you grow up?” invite people over for dinner, exposing the child to different jobs…talk about what the dinner guest does, what they like about it, what their biggest struggles are in their job, etc.
  • Download with the child after dinner; ask them what they liked/didn’t like about that occupation and gauge their interest level in it.
HOMESCHOOLING
  • There’s no behind or ahead in homeschooling; there’s freedom.
  • Have fair expectations for your kids AND you, the parent.
KIDS ARE BEING RAISED BY (NOT JUST WITH) TECHNOLOGY
  • They think everything should be easy (i.e., auto correct, GPS, ordering online), so why should life be so hard?
  • Kids are addicted to the adrenaline drop (when the device dings, vibrates, etc.), not the devices themselves, per se. It does distract them, shifting their focus.
  • 5 lies technology’s taught our kids:
  1. I’m at the center of my own universe. They look at the phone, buzzing, see who it is and say, “I’m not in the mood”…I’M THE CENTER!
  2. I deserve to be happy. They play what they want only when THEY want it. This is why they’re not persevering and digging deep; they believe happiness is their right.
  3. I deserve choice (i.e., drop-down menus), and we feed the lie…literally! We don’t say no to “I want fried chicken, not grilled!” Choice is a privilege, not a right. They haven’t been taught that…or don’t believe that, so they think they can go to bed when they want.
  4. I’m my own authority. I’m in charge. They treat parents, church, and God like Amazon Prime.
  5. Because information is all I need, I don’t need teachers. Information is everywhere, but information won’t change you; we have to have not only knowledge, but wisdom (agreeing with God). Wisdom–the right application to the right situation with the right outcome, which requires Life (God)is found in God (Job 12:13-25, 28:12-24, Romans 11:33, Proverbs 1:23)–. Put down our devices, so they’ll put down theirs. Let US (God through us) be the ones to show them joy and passion. Let US be the ones to live on purpose. Let US be the ones to not keep track (it doesn’t matter how many people “liked” this post or who’s read it today; I’m obeying what God told me to do). Culture is loud…not just for what it says, but how it says it. Remember: Context and environment are important in how we communicate.
WATCH THE Q & A

Q & A–53:00 mark

Practical Parenting Tips for Discipling Kiddos–Part 2

I said I’d take her to the store that day to look for jeans. When it was nearing time to go, I checked in to make sure she’d gotten her homework and job done (some people call them “chores,” but we call them “jobs,” as chores sound loathing; everyone has a job to do). Nope; it wasn’t finished. It’s the parent’s right to change his or her plan, based on new information (or so I understood years ago from a book authored by a Christian psychologist). I wanted to teach my kiddo responsibility, so…plans changed; we didn’t go to the store.

My mindset got rocked a bit when I watched a Q & A session with Dr. Kathy Koch, which followed her talk titled “Secure Children’s Hearts to Unlock Their Potential” (I referred to this in the last post, which is worth checking out!). Parents were encouraged to follow through on our promises, even if something negative (like a job not being done) follows…It shows our kids unconditional love, like God’s, as well as faithfulness, rather than “love” based on behavior.

Below are more tips on discipling kiddos’ hearts from that Q & A session. These are just my notes…a snapshot, but I hope you’ll still be blessed (watch the video at the end of this post to catch Dr. Kathy’s full Q & A session!).

LET YOUR LOVE COMPEL YOU, NOT THE FACT THAT YOU LOOK LIKE THEM
  • Go TO them. INITIATE conversation; it honors them.
  • Say, “I love you too much to argue with you,” or “I love you too much to let you continue talking to me that way.”
OFFER SPECIFIC PRAISE, NOT JUST THAT THEY’RE “GOOD”
  • Focus the praise on WHO THEY ARE, not on the related behavior.
  • Say, “You’re BEing so kind!” rather than “You’re such a good girl! That was nice that you smiled at her, even though she’s been so mean to you,” or “You’re BEing so diligent!” rather than “Good boy for finishing that!”
CORRECT; DON’T CRITICIZE

* “Correct” means “put wrong right.”

  • Specifically share how to make a wrong right.
  • Say, “You’re BEing _____________; try _____________ next time” (i.e., “You’re BEing careless; try moving everything on the counter when you’re wiping it down to make sure the counter gets clean. Dust and dirt gets trapped under things, too. If you move the things on the counter, you’ll BE extra careful.”).

* “Criticize” means “point out wrong.”

  • There is no such thing as “constructive criticism!”
  • Don’t use nouns; IDENTITY controls BEHAVIOR.
  • Don’t say, “You ARE _______________.”
PROVIDE EVIDENCE THAT YOU’RE RIGHT
  • Say, “I know, because _____________” (i.e., I know you’re BEing untruthful…and even deceitful, because I heard you say, “_______________,” to your sister; you just told me the opposite.”
  • Evidence doesn’t lie.
  • We HAVE to have current evidence; we can’t base our assessment on past behaviors. Otherwise, we don’t let them change; we just stick the child in their past.
  • Make sure what we’re teaching as “right” is according to SCRIPTURE, not our own opinion!
FEEL IT BEFORE FIXING IT
  • Humble ourselves.
  • Ask, “How can I help you?” or “What do you need?”
  • Remember our tone of voice, time of day, etc. Boys will talk more when they can avoid our eyes; the dinner table is not the best place to have a serious conversation with them. Go for a drive with them, take a walk, etc.
  • Talk about forgiving them for the choice they made.
  • Say thank you more often.

There is SO MUCH here that I’ve been learning and re-learning…SO much I’m trying to marinate on and put into practice! One way is that I tend to fix it and then feel it; in fact, as I’m typing this, I’ve been called out on the timing of when I brought something up to one of my kiddos. Ouch. Point taken! Humility: the exercise of the day!…With the tips above heavy on my heart, I went into the kitchen, where my kiddo was, waited for the right moment, gently held both hands, and began to share how God has forgiven me numerous times for speaking out of anger; because He’s forgiven me, I’m choosing to forgive, too. Then, I asked for forgiveness for focusing more on what needed to be done than choosing a better time to address the issue…Walls of defense, frustration, anger? They all crumbled…visibly. Humility, forgiveness, truth? They, by God’s mercy, restored a beautiful connection.

I’m truly a work in progress! Thank you, LORD, for loving me enough to correct me!

WEIGHING IN

Do any of these tips resonate with you? If so, which one(s)? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment at the top of this post or a reply at the bottom of the post.

Would you be courageous enough to share an example where God’s way brought about something beautiful?

NEXT POST: MORE NOTES & APPLICATIONS FROM DR. KATHY‘S Q & A!
WATCH THE Q & A

If you have the time to take in the full Q & A session with Dr. Kathy, check it out below.

Q & A session begins at the 53:00 mark (it follows Dr. Kathy’s speech).