Teen boys are awesome and so much fun. I love that Hudson is growing into a man of bold character. HOWEVER, he is still a minor in my home. Doing this dance of ‘almost-a-man-but-still-a-child’ and has, at times, lacked some humility. It has been a bit of a challenge to teach him how to be humble without stepping on his new muscle of manhood. Recently I was at my wit’s end with his constant gray-haired wisdom, hurting our connection. I asked Jesus for a creative way to get to his heart without squelching it and waited for the revelation. I was out driving with the girls when the revelation came (oh, parenting with Jesus is so much fun). I texted him and told him to come out when the girls returned. He jumped in the driver’s seat, expecting to talk, but I told him to start driving. He was okay on the side roads, and I instructed him to go ahead and turn left (onto an incredibly busy intersection with blind corners), make his way down by the grocery store, and go south on the highway. He began to tell me he wasn’t ready (which he wasn’t), and I assured him it would be okay if he listened to my voice. He lamented, and I encouraged him. Finally, he began to beg me not to make him do it because he knew, in his own estimate, he wasn’t ready for the highway. I looked him square in the eyes and said, “That, my son, is humility. That is what I need to see in some other areas. You are growing and maturing, but you are not all-knowing and ready to take on everything. With some things, you still need my help and instruction.” Now, whenever he gets ‘overly wise,’ I simply ask if he wants to drive on the highway, and he knows immediately that it is time to dial it down a bit. Jesus is so much fun!
16 GOING ON 65
I walked through some deep betrayal years ago and wrestled it deeply with God. I had this mental picture of Jesus holding both of us on His lap, and it made me mad. This person brought me so much turmoil and pain, and I didn’t like the fact Jesus loved them so much (this isn’t my true heart, but it was a moment in my processing the pain). I finally called my mentor because it was making my heart feel unsafe with God. How in the world could He love someone who has brought so much pain? Her response was brilliant and literally shifted something so deep within me. She said, “Lisa, you do not fully understand the picture. God loves this person just as much as He does you because He created them, but God is only on the side of righteousness, and this person isn’t choosing righteousness.”
It wasn’t a matter of whose side God was on as much as it was who was on His side. It was like my hands opened, and I dropped whatever offense, pain, or fight I was holding onto and clung to righteousness. It altered decisions and outcomes dramatically. The question is not “Is God on my side?”. The question is, “Are you on God’s side?”.
I love the concept of purity rings, where parents purchase a ring and give it to their daughter over a meaningful weekend, inviting her to guard her purity. I think all parents should take their child’s sexual purity seriously. However, I began to see over the years that the purity ring concept was actually setting the child up for greater failure. When a teen fails to resist temptation, they build a wall with their parents because it isn’t just about their choice but about profoundly disappointing their parents, who had created such high expectations. Purity shouldn’t be a pass/fail but rather a lifestyle of good choices. I think it is wise to keep the bar high (really high) when it comes to teaching, equipping, and empowering our children with their sexual health; however, we live in a culture that is so flamboyantly sexualized. When we teach purity, we also need to be taught HOW to take our mistakes, failure, and sin and bring it to God. Fear, shame, and pride keep us in our sin, while confession, humility, and honesty bring restoration. Moral failure is a top reason why teens fall away from God. They feel like they have committed a fatal sin and are now separated from God. While it is true sexual immorality does have profound ramifications that affect our mind, body, and spirit, it is only God who can heal and restore what was lost. We aren’t expecting our teens to crash the car once they get their license, but it is wise to give them instructions on what to do in case of an accident so that they are empowered should they find themselves in that mess.
I once asked a girl in her young 20s what contributed to her choice to remain pure despite continuous pressure. She told me how her parents laid the foundation by teaching her the power of sex, attraction, and moral health and then presented it in a way that empowered her that her daily choices were guarding herself FOR something and not just AGAINST something. One is empowering, and the other one is merely obeying a command through resistance. Ex. For the person dieting, they will be much more successful if they make a choice not to eat the cake BECAUSE they have their eyes fixed on a higher goal of denying themselves now SO THAT they can fit into their jeans down the road. The JOY of the future is what helped them to say NO to the cake today. They wanted their jeans more than the cake. Another person diets simply by denying themselves in a self-condemning, shameful way of managing resistance, which only stirs up the desire for cake even more. It is rooted in willpower, “I can’t,” and rules. This isn’t a recipe for success, longevity, or real transformation. I was inspired to keep the concept of the purity ring for my girls but to do it FOR their future husbands. I took them out, and we talked about purity (not sex ed, but the purity of their mind, body, dress, heart, emotions, and relationships), and then we each picked out a tie for their future husbands. They are placed where they can see them daily and are reminded that he is a living human being on earth today. They pray for him, think about him, and some are even keeping a journal about him (wondering, dreaming, and praying for him). This establishes that they are guarding their purity FOR HIM. My daughter came home one day, expressing an interest in a boy at school. I asked, “Is that the boy you have been praying for?” and instantly, she realized, “NO!”
Teen brain is a real thing. Teen boy brain is a very real thing. I asked Hudson to write down five things he wished everyone understood about boys his age. Here is his unedited reply.
That most of the dumb things that I do aren’t on purpose.
Just because I was involved in the conflict doesn’t mean that I am the one who started it.
Be slow to anger.
Just because I did something wrong, don’t push me away.
Guys have feelings, too, so don’t ignore them.
If this testimony describes your heart’s desire, join us for the next online class to learn HOW.
“I felt immensely inadequate. One day I just fell to the ground in tears and cried out, ‘God, I cannot do it all; I am not capable! My children need more than me; I am not enough!’ He said back to me, ‘I am enough, teach them to come to Me!’ BOOM! Right there, I realized so much of me was still working in my own efforts, and the Holy Spirit corrected me; He is what they need, not me. They needed to learn to go to Him, hear Him, and know Him. I love this lesson and the steps to guide our children to get to the source of the issue. So many times, we circle around the issues repeatedly, never getting to the root of the problem. In our own human efforts, we try to gain ground by dealing with the superficial symptoms instead of addressing the true issues, the hurt, the lie, or the offense. When we take ourselves out of the picture and teach our children to go to Daddy, He is the one that can deal with the truth of the circumstances, and He does it SO much more efficiently than I do. I hope to embed these steps more and more as I lead the hearts of my children. I hope to grow them up in a way where they are empowered. I am, again, thankful that God has led me to this class to bring more focus and direction in leading my children by the Spirit.”
Join us here: Journey – ONLINE CLASS – Let the Children Fly
We had just moved into our new home in California when I had the strangest dream about a yappy dog outside my patio. He wasn’t annoying me but trying to tell me something. It was so real. I woke up and sensed God telling me to turn the outside light on. I didn’t partner with fear but heard Him say, “Do not look outside. Just turn on the light.” I ended up staying up after that and never felt afraid as I knew God had my back but knew something was happening outside my patio door. It was the strangest thing. There is power in TURNING ON THE LIGHT!
How many times a day do you talk to your child? To communicate love? Lead? Inform? Correct? Speak identity? Instruct? Comfort? How many times a day do you listen to what your Father wants to say to you?
People often assume I have a child ministry. I do not. I have a parent ministry. There is a big difference. Parents are my people group. God gave me the name Let the Children Fly, and while it absolutely means the smallest of children, it also means His children, the parents. Over and over again, I hear parents say, “I signed up to get tools for my children, but so far, it has all been about my journey.” OR “I feel like I am the child being parented by God.” OR “I am learning a lot about myself through this course.” You can begin your journey TODAY.
My parents went through a terrible divorce, and we remained with my mom full-time. Before my dad died, he shared the painful story of how he went to Hawaii and wrote the names of my siblings and me in the sand. When the waves washed our names away, he said goodbye to each of his four children as if we had died. It was his way of processing the pain and letting go. Years later, I visited the very island my dad said goodbye to me. I felt the Lord wake me early to write my children’s names in the sand, but I am not letting them go, nor am I grieving them. Instead, I surrendered them to the Father, who will never leave or forsake them; a Father who holds their future and embraces their heart today and forever.
God wants you to walk in wholeness because you will naturally parent out of that place of hurt or freedom.
I have been camping out in these testimonies of God’s goodness with the next generation and am undone by His power and goodness to them. Two younger ladies came to me asking for prayer. They shared how their relationship with their father was strained, and wanted prayers. I thought they meant for reconciliation and began to pray accordingly, but they interrupted me to say, “No, we want prayer for Jesus to give us the keys to our father’s heart.” Another gal who has battled self-harm for years due to her father’s alcohol consumption and believing the lie she is rejected asks Jesus why he needed alcohol. She heard, “Because he feels rejected by his parents.” She wept as she realized he was battling the same lie she was plagued with and wanted Jesus to give her the keys to his heart. Another gal asked to meet with me and shared some of her dad’s choices over the years that brought the family a lot of pain. When we asked Jesus what her dad’s heart needed, she began to cry as Jesus showed her he felt like a failure and ashamed. She realized she had punished him and how it was causing him further hurt. She asked for forgiveness, and Jesus began to give her the keys to mending that relationship. We ministered to a boy who said, “All these years, I thought my dad was just mean, but Jesus showed me today that he has a heart splinter from his own journey.” This is so powerful as kids move from victim to empowered. Hurt to authority. Walls of self-protection to love. Jesus loves restoring the family and does not look down on a child due to age. They have the same size Holy Spirit as their parents and can be powerful weapons against the plans of the enemy to destroy the family.