"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

19 October 2014

Speaking Life!

photo courtesy of pinterest
On Thursday evening, the small group I facilitate had our 4th meeting of the school year.  

We are studying The Power of a Praying Parent (the updated edition) and it is quite powerful! (no pun intended!)

Because I had 2 women missing that evening, I summarize on here so they can "catch up" with the discussion/information.  (Of course, I won't be writing about personal anecdotes or specific issues that the moms brought up, due to privacy concerns......but sometimes I have a mom who gives permission to use her story, etc.)  

This week we did the chapter entitled "Learning to Speak Life" and most of the discussion centered around how we as moms can speak life to our teens/college young adults and how to help our teens speak their own words of "life" vs negative thoughts/speech or ungodly speech.

We opened with a time of worship by praying for a specific concern regarding two of the moms and by listening/watching Toby Mac's song "Speak Life".  It was excellent!  Very good lyrics for our discussion. 

 We then played a ball of yarn "Web" game....we had to toss a ball of yarn to another person, speak words of life (encouragement, something positive) to that person, and then pull the string tight.  That person then chose to toss it to another person, until each person said and had spoken to them, words of life.  We saw the web design it made and I reminded the moms that if these were tangled with good words of life, can they imagine how tangled up their heartstrings would be with negative words that impact their child's heart, mind, and soul??  Many of the moms were very touched by the words spoken to them.

Summary of Chapter 16 

By teaching/training and role modeling that God's Word is Truth, and by having a real love for God, along with a spirit-filled heart, it will be easier as  we grow to speak words of life/truth.  All of these things help lead us to words that speak life.  Speaking life is simply stating truth, wrapped in love, and focusing on the positive.

For example:  a teen girl who says she is ugly has a root issue of low self esteem so as moms we want to focus on the fact/truth, that God made her. He doesn't make mistakes.  He created her in His image and she is fearfully and wonderfully made.

photo courtesy of praise 4 website

We can then point out her strengths such as she is strong, muscular, smart, funny, kind, caring, honest, etc.  Whatever your teen's strengths are, choose to speak them.....help her/him to know that God made them for a purpose and a plan and she has giftings and talents.  This carries over to when they speak about negative things that are not just physical traits.  For example, if they fail a test and are "down in the dumps" about it or feel "dumb", point out the areas where they are doing well, academically and think about getting a tutor or providing them with extra help so they really see that you care and take their education seriously.  These are just brief examples of things we discussed.  There are also cases of bullying, negative self-talk, or negative talk of others.  All of these things are not of God.  Help your teen to turn things around by making positive statements and teaching God's Scriptures.

We need to be asking ourselves if what we or our teens are saying line up with TRUTH.  Is the negative thought based on fact or is it their interpretation of things?  Teens still need us to help sort this out......sometimes college-aged kids need this as well. Other questions to consider are:  will this matter in 5 years?
Is thinking/speaking this way helping or hurting my personal goals/my faith/spiritual development.

We discussed how negative emotions are OK!! Our emotions, all of them...both positive and negative, are given to us by God! He is the Creator of all things!

Some negative emotions that teens (or parents!) face are:  guilt, sadness, depression, anger, shame, embarrassment, stress, being upset with no known reason, being upset for someone else or something that was done to them.

We do need to feel all of our emotions for healthy growth.  However, it is our job as parents to help our children sort through and work out those negative emotions.  What we (and they) need to focus on is channeling those negative thoughts into positive thoughts and positive ways of dealing with them.  For instance, when we are angry, the Bible tells us NOT to sin. We can feel something and not sin with/in it.  State the feeling to your  teen ("I see that you are feeling angry...is that true?") and wait for them to respond.  "you can feel angry...it is ok." (too many of us grew up in Christian homes/families/churches where we were told it is NOT ok to be angry, depressed, etc.....that is NOT TRUTH!!).  Jesus felt angry at times...Jesus was sad at times.  God was angry often at His chosen people! Our role as praying moms is to encourage our children to take an active, positive approach to their feelings....have them journal, or work-out, or talk to someone they trust.  Sometimes teens need to talk to a respected and trusted person who is NOT their parent. Make sure you are providing those opportunities. I know for my own oldest daughter, she often turned to one of her youth group leaders......she turned to me and my husband as well, but there were times when she preferred to share with a church leader...this is normal!!  Encourage it!! (make sure you already know the leader well...and trust him/her....it is best that if you have a son, he talks with a male leader if a 1:1 situation, and if a daughter, a female.).

We never know the impact our words will have on our teenagers and young adult children.  We need to remember that all of our words...every.single.one, will someday be judged by God!

Encourage your child to "be real" with you and allow her/him to be open and honest.  Make sure as a parent that you are open and honest with them, too.....and give them real life experiences that you have gone through, depending on their maturity level, etc.  

Pray positive words and Scriptures over your child and WITH your child!  Too often we neglect this area.

Pray often for your teenager to keep his heart pure.......and pray for your child's salvation in Christ, if they haven't already made their own decision to follow Him.

If your teen is the one doing the negative talk about someone else, help lead them to confession and repentance before God.  This is very important!  Help them to think of positive things to say or ways to solve whatever the problem is.

Most of us shared small anecdotes of times we've heard our teens either speaking negative words about themselves or others.  I gave the example of how my own 2 daughters tend to have very high self-esteem...sometimes TOO high.....my youngest especially, is given a lot of praise and positive feedback from her ballet instructors, other parents, teachers, relatives, for her ballet performances.  She knows she is the most advanced student in the troupe because she is told this often by the headmistress of the studio.  However, I have caught her saying things like "I don't need to do that, I already know it" or "I know I"m the best at the academy...." and other prideful things.  This too is just as much of a sin as the negative comments.  I have to remind her that her gifting of dance and grace is from GOD!  And that she needs to be careful of not being/sounding prideful.  We've been teaching her that pride goeth before a fall (destruction) according to the Scriptures and that she needs to be thankful for her gifting and remain humble before the Lord and others. This area has improved, thankfully.

We had one mom give an account of something negative that turned out to have a positive outcome!  I can't go into details here as I didn't get her permission to write about it, but please know that GOD MOVES IN MIRACULOUS WAYS!

Our words are very powerful.......for the good and for the bad.  If we are keeping a guard on our mouths, our children will see that model and will tend to be more careful with their own speech.
Never give up praying for your teenager and college kids.......our prayers and our positive words speak life.

At the end of the discussion, we took each other's prayer requests, writing them down for the week, and then we had the drawing for the free giveaway.  Our winner was Hope M.....she won a dark chocolate caramel candy stick, a coupon for a free cup of coffee at the Grace Fellowship/Latham cafe, and a mini bottle of Bath and Body Works Country Chic lotion all tied with an autumnal ribbon.

I hope to see everyone from group at our next meeting in 2 weeks.......and in the month of December, we will be having another free giveaway that you won't want to miss!

have a blessed day!!


Deb said...

This is a great post! We as parents do need to "Speak Life" to our sons and daughters. I am doing that at a distance now since my son has recently left to study Spanish in preparation for leaving to serve as a missionary in Mexico. I am back in blog land after a little break. Great to check in and see what is going on with you. Will be visiting again soon!

Melanie Lopata said...

Great post, Faith! I'll definitely exercise this with Amber. She has a pretty good self esteem and confidence but it is important to speak positively especially in regards to others so our children can learn from our example.

And that yarn game sounds fun!!