The Brain and the Power of Being Intentional

Being IntentionalTake a moment to think of someone you care about or someone that has impacted your life in a positive way. There are a lot of people that have impacted my life – especially in ministry. When I think of one lady in particular, and how she has blessed me down through the years, I get the “warm fuzzies.”

You know that feeling where you just feel better inside, under your skin and in your heart. You feel all warm inside and right with the world. My friend has been with me through thick and thin; through divorce and death; through the good and bad. She’s in her eighties now and still relevant and intentional in ministry. She lives on the West coast and I live on the East coast, but she is always with me in my heart.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit alerts me when there is a problem. This happens so I will know to pray for her. For instance when her husband, Jim, passed away suddenly I knew instantly something was wrong. I started praying for her not really knowing why or for what. But the Lord knew. In my prayers for her I am always grateful for her friendship.

Brain research shows that when we feel gratitude or thankfulness there are chemical changes in our brains. Thoughts physically alter the brain wiring. Many times children can sense the emotional state that you are in. What might happen if when a child comes into your group you silently looked at the child and thanked God for allowing this child to be in your group? Or you looked at this child with gratitude for what he or she might teach you today about being a kid? Or as Dr. Becky Bailey says, “You wish the child well.”

I’ll tell you what will happen. You will be creating chemical changes in your brain. You’ll feel better about the child. You’ll feel better about yourself and your ability to minister to this child. You will be impacting the child because he or she will sense the difference in your attitude toward him. There might even be chemical changes going on the child’s brain as well. You could be creating “warm fuzzies” in their brain and not even know it.

In an article titled, “The Secret to fixing School Discipline Problems? Change the Behavior of the Adults” ( the author talks about the success a school in San Diego has had with children and their behaviors. The adults have become intentional in their approach to discipline. In other words, if you want to fix discipline problems the adults have to change first. They use every situation as a teachable moment. They have learned that punishment doesn’t change kids’ behavior. Kids have to be taught how to change their behavior. That means adults have to use the power of being intentional in their interactions with the children. It means thinking differently toward the child and thinking positively.

This however, is not a new concept. In many of the books in the New Testament the disciples would end their letters with warm wishes.

When you read the ending of many books in the New Testament you’ll read,

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” Philippians 4:23

“The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.” 2 Timothy 4:22

“Peace to the brothers, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” Ephesians 6:23

I’ll end this by sending all of you warm greetings. May the grace of our Father be with each of you in your ministries to children.

For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on April 05, 2013.

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Written by Linda Ranson Jacobs
Linda Ranson Jacobs is one of the forefront leaders in the area of children and divorce. She developed and created the DivorceCare for Kids programs. DC4K is an international program for churches to use to help children of divorced parents find healing within the arms of a loving church family. As a speaker, author, trainer, program developer and child care center owner, Linda has assisted countless families by modeling and acting on the healing love she has found in Jesus Christ. Linda offers support, encouragement and suggestions to help those working with the child of divorce. She serves as DC4K Ambassador ( and can be reached via email at You can find additional articles from Linda on her blog at