Raising kids that Dare
I never thought I'd write about being a parent or having kids, but recently I've been really excited to have gained a clearer understanding of my kids and their destinies. Most importantly, what I have learned is applicable to everyone, not just those in a parental role.
I have been really challenged recently to think about how I can get my kids to engage more in my work and world. I've just written a devotional about dreaming with God - how do I get my kids to dream with God?
One of the things I find my kids ask me is 'where do I even start'? The world is such a big place with so many possibilities it seems to boggle their minds! My mission as their mother is to make sure they understand the basics of who they are and what they're made for. When we named our kids we made sure this reflected what we felt God was speaking over their lives. After a decade of parenting, we can see that those names (and their meanings) are a part of their identity. Interestingly, it is precisely those things which are the most severely attacked.
At birth, we clearly knew we had to give one of our children a name that means "Godly Helper", yet for years we have battled with impulsive, strong-willed, determination that results in altogether UNHELPFUL behaviour! It was only when I had a stroke of genius (or more aptly, a divine nudge) to educate my child on the meaning of his name that we saw a breakthrough. When he began to see that the very reason God had made him determined and impulsive was so that he could BE HELPFUL and fulfill the call attached to his name, we saw a significant change in his attitude.
Suddenly, he realised that his choices have the ability to enforce who God has made him to be, or go directly against it. He recognised that the enemy is going to try very hard to make sure he makes bad choices which hijack his God-given identity. This understanding has truly transformed all of my children and their ability to see what's going on 'below the surface'. Suddenly the kid who's name means 'loved and laughter' understands that there is probably a reason why he is prone to feeling alone and grumpy, and with that understanding comes a deeper choice as to which feelings he decides to dwell on. The concept of choosing joy suddenly means a lot more!
In our house it is not unusual to hear me say "What's your name?" and with it comes that adorable facial expression of realisation and understanding. This has been one of the most significant shifts in our family dynamics that we have had.
This brings a fresh understanding of what dreaming is! They understand and are more secure about who they are made to be, which helps them to 'dream' in line with God's already spoken plan. Suddenly the kid who knows that God has written "Godly Helper" over his life understands that his wish to be like daddy and take Bibles to unreached people, FITS!
This summer has become about cementing an understanding of their identity and encouraging them in adventures. Once you know who you are, you can step out in confidence no matter what the terrain! You are willing to try, to dream, to go wading in uncharted, muddy territories, no matter what your size, because you know who you are, and what God has written as the heading over your life.
So maybe we should all be thinking about the words that are spoken over our lives, it may not be in a name, God has ways of speaking his intentions over us, even if we're not looking for it.
Maybe we keep struggling in the same area, always in the same way - I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it many more times - the area of our greatest attack is often an indication of our greatest gifts. Maybe our child is struggling with speaking when her name is to do with having a voice? Maybe you are struggling with self-confidence when all the prophetic words you've had have to do with speaking in front of people... once we see there is a pattern, we are automatically equipped because we are aware of the enemies scheme to rob and destroy.
So this summer, I've decided it's time to start daring to take it back, daring to see the attack for what it is, and being willing to engage in the warfare that is needed to take back the ground that may have been encroached upon in your life, your kids lives, or even your parents or friends lives. We have been doing family devotionals using the book below, but also many other plans that help set up kids for dreaming, adventuring and walking in security and an identity that is rooted in all the right places.