Spiritual Parenting Class ~ Session 3

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To start, I’ll say there was too much amazing-ness in this class! Too much!

You know when God brings just the right person, at just the right moment, to encourage you with just the right words?
That was this session for me.
Just right.

Michelle Anthony has a gift of sharing vulnerable parent insight, biblical words of wisdom, and a sass I both relate to, and appreciate!

This week focused on Identity and Faith Community.
My head appeared like a bobble doll’s ~ nodding up and down, a million miles a minute.
Yes! Yes! Yes! Sing it, sistah!

Beginning with Identity, Michelle reminded us, that we act out as the person we believe we are,
instead of who God says we are.

In a world that screams who our identity should be in music, clothes, neon lights, and box office hits, that same identity is screamed even louder, and brighter at our kids.

But there is a softer, stronger, calmer voice that reminds us who we are, and that is our Heavenly Father. Do we listen to His truths, or to the lies of this world?

To further illustrate our identity in Christ, everyone at our table was given Playdough, and 60 seconds to form the colorful blob into our children.
Some literally shaped a tiny person, while others formed hearts. And those, like me, who were not meant for sculpting, created a snake for a child!

Looking at the person we’d formed, the lightbulb went on… each one of us crafted our kids in our image.

Next, we rolled the Playdough into a ball, cupped both hands around it, and squeezed! What was left was nothing but handprints.
Visualize it as God’s handprints, Michelle encouraged us.

And that’s how we should help our children learn their identity ~ in Christ’s image, in his handprints, not ours, and definitely not who the world is attempting to identity them as.

If I attempt to raise Tanner and Ty in my image and my hopes, my natural {although not conscious} temptation will be to manipulate them down a path that isn’t for them. Instead, my priority becomes helping them discover God’s unique plan for each of them ~ God’s plan for their personality, profession, school, future spouse..

Now, in no way does this mean that I step back from my parenting role. God has entrusted these precious boys to my hubby and I, and if we continue to check in with #1, our Heavenly Father, together we can help our boys find their unique part in the Big God Story.

This trying to shape my kids into my image conviction came out of left field, and hit me smack dab on the noggin.
Just this week I was sharing a concern I have with our oldest boy. At 3 /12, Tanner’s a bit shy with big crowds, he’s slow to warm-up, he has a tendency to fidget, and not look people in the eye. But once he knows you, his huge, compassionate, empathetic heart trumps his first, shy appearance. He’s an amazing 3 1/2 year old.

In reality, my desire was to shape him in my identity~ to be outgoing, bubbly, and overflowing with words.
But he is him, and I am me!
His identity in Christ, not my identity!

From Ephesians 5, Michelle encouraged us to remind our kids of who they are in Christ, and pray for them.
Sometimes when our children act out, it’s from the identity messages they are hearing from the world. It may be that they’ve forgotten who their identity is in Christ.
I’m encouraged to look at those situations and ask God, what is the identity my son is claiming right now? Yours, or the world’s? And how can I help direct his identity in YOU?

As parents, another way we can intentionally help set the Christ-identity framework is to avoid viewing Christianity as an add-on {something we do only on Sundays, or at Life Groups}. Living as a Christian, should be the same in every situation, with whoever we are with. Modeling this for our kids means redeeming bad days {the ones in which I’m trying to change my shy boy into an outgoing monster} with words of blessing.

Blessing our kids is a daily, practical opportunity to point them back to who they are in Christ. To bless them, goes a step further than simply praying for them, and becomes praying audibly over them ~ when they get out of the car at school, when they are scared, when they have a big life decision… pray a blessing over them.

This doesn’t have have to be some long, drawn-out, sermony prayer, but more of letting our kids hear God’s words out loud to them.
You are loved. 
You are special. 
You are made in His image.

Before even hearing this Spiritual Parenting session, my hubby started praying a blessing over Tanner, regarding the shy/fear issue. We were noticing that as soon as we pulled into his pre-school parking lot, he’d get very quiet and nervous. Praying for the words to remind our son of his Christ identity, my husband clearly heard God ~ Be strong and courageous! Now, the entire way to school, we sing Be strong and courageous! Christ’s words gave Tanner the confidence he needed to walk into school. This may just be his life verse, one that we’ll write in his room and frame on his wall. Be strong and courageous, my sweet Tanner!

I wouldn’t mind if someone prayed a prayer of blessing over me each morning. There’s nothing like starting out the day in God’s goodness and truth! It’s the equivalent of having a worship song swimming around in my head all day.

Building a faith community was the two-fold conclusion of the this session.

Having a faith community to learn from one another’s experiences of God, and join in corporate worship is an intentional way to model spiritual parenting to our kids. Personally, I’ve grown the most from seeing God work in others, and hearing their story of His redemption in their life.

Creating traditions and celebrating with others, reminds each of us of God’s blessings. When we moved into our house, I told my hubby I wanted to have a huge Blessings Party, in which we’d invite all of our friends over, and share how we’ve seen God’s blessings in our lives. I will be putting that party on the calendar soon!

When the world offers counter-identities, it’s valuable for our kids to look around and see other Christian friends and families standing with them. Growing up, I knew I could talk to my parents about anything, as well as their dear friends, and my own peers.

Living life with people, having impromptu dinner parties, and brownie baking sessions is who we are as a family. I want our boys growing up, knowing they, nor their parents, are on an island, but instead, we choose to invite people into our home, share the authentic ups and downs, laugh over a meal, and pray for each other. Christian community is not meant to be lived alone.

A faith community is not an excuse for a “holy huddle.” As valuable as christian friends are, the goal is to model to our kids how to serve those who are not yet a part of the Big God Story. We have an old neighbor, affectionately called Auntie, who is not a believer, but is like a part of our family. Our boys love her, and we do too! We’ve shared meals, and conversations, and walked through several life seasons with her. She is a reminder to look outside of our church walls, and do life with our neighbors!

Mostly, the faith community reminds us that we are not alone in this Big God Story. As parents we are not alone. Our children are not alone. I take comfort in knowing God planned community to grow us together, in Him.

And there you have it~ the amazing-ness of Identity and Faith Community as Spiritual Parents

To practically apply what we learned this week, I’m writing bible verses, God’s reminders, about who we are in Christ, all over our house, starting in Tanner’s room…
be strong and courageous, lil’ man!

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