Many times over the years in prayer ministry we have used the example of the growth of the dandelion. Roger being trained as a horticulture major in college shares so well just how prolific the dandelion becomes when you ‘chop the flower off the top of the plant!’ He says, ‘if you do not dig out the tap root of the dandelion, it only lives to produce more flowers and seed in another day.’ So it is with our strongholds. If we do not get to the root of the stronghold problem, it only remains to live again in our future stronger and more prolific than ever!
If you know anything about my past, you know that I was a queen of co-dependency with my children. Longing to not see them suffer, I didn’t realize that it was my own selfish desires that were at the root of the stronghold in me! I didn’t want to see them suffer. I didn’t want to be ashamed if they failed. I didn’t want to be inconvenienced when they didn’t get it right, and the list goes on and on!
Dr. Kevin Leman, a well-known Christian counselor says it this way: “If you think you’re doing those things for your kid, take a good look in the mirror. You’re selfish. All those things you are dong…well, you’re not really doing them for your kid. You are doing them for you, because the thought of your kid being unhappy, struggling, failing, and not being able to compete with their peers drives you crazy.”
I remember well the day that Al Ells confronted me with my co-dependency with my children. He was strong and very forceful when he said to me, “Gerri, do not do for you children anything they can do for themselves.” At the moment I burned with anger and said inside to myself, “You just don’t get it.” But upon some reflection with the Holy Spirit, He whispered to me, “Gerri, Al was right on.” It was then that I began to soften my heart and allow the Holy Spirit to speak the Father’s heart to me. They were all right! I was the one with the wrong perception and understanding! I was the one who was the selfish brat! Dr. Leman says it this way: “Doing anything for your child that he/she could do for themselves actually accomplished the opposite of what you truly want. If you snowplow the roads of life for your kid – doing things he could and should do for himself, making all his decisions for him – you rob him of developing the psychological muscles he needs to not only contribute to society but be a decent human being.”
In the New Testament we find that Jesus, Himself, was a skandalon; a stick for bait of a trip, generally a snare or stumbling block. He often was found to be a stumbling block and for one purpose – to trip up a sinner so they’d fall into His arms! Al Ells told me, “Gerri, Jesus is constantly putting stumbling blocks in the pathway of your children so they can fall into His arms and before that can happen, you run ahead and remove the stumbling block! Stop it!”
It was a revelatory moment in time for me, and at that moment the co-dependency stronghold began to break in me. It was time for me to accept responsibility for my sin, repent and ask forgiveness, and renounce and reject the lies I’d been living by. It was time for my freedom and the beginning of time for my children’s freedom to learn through difficulties and mistakes how to resolve them.
Again Dr. Leman says, “When a child is unhappy, it’s often because he’s done something wrong, failed to do something he should have done, or simply the fact that you, parent, aren’t falling in line with his wishes at this instant in time. If so, being unhappy will motivate him to do something different next time – IF you don’t give in, feel guilty for his unhappiness, and fix the situation for him. If you do, you’re not fixing the situation; you’re making the next situation and the rest of his life worse. So don’t snow-plow your kids’ roads. Every child needs to learn to shovel show, even if they live in Southern California!”
Today because of the Lord’s help, I am no longer the queen of co-dependency. I am a Daughter of the Most High God and I have my identity in Him. I am now able to help other co-dependents see and own their sin and find their freedom in knowing how to truly let go and let God!