ACTS OF SERVICE

ACTS OF SERVICE

A mom mentioned: When I read about children with the language of acts of service wanting you to help them, I thought of my daughter. An example would be me fixing her hair. Sometimes I don’t have time to help her and ask her to do it herself, and she does get upset actually.”

My response: I know you love her and show it through providing breakfast, clean clothes, and getting her to school, but can you increase doing it in a way that she values and understands? What if sending her to school with her hair done by you filled her tank in a way that empowered and helped her throughout the day to feel safe and secure? Would you want to do it then? She is giving you the keys to her heart. The amazing thing about children is that their hearts are small and fill so fast. A five-minute hair session can literally change her day! How can you create the time to communicate love to her? Can you wake up five minutes earlier? Can you braid it the night before? When you honestly cannot do it, how then can you communicate that you still love her without being able to do her hair?

Let’s slow this down for a moment. A child is asking for help because that is how their tank gets filled, and the parent to whom they are offering their heart begins to get upset and frustrated with them for not doing it themselves. They now walk away with a tank even lower than when they first asked. I KNOW this is not the goal of many parents, but this is what happens when we fail to understand *their* language. We have miscommunication and a breakdown of deposits in their heart. Hear the difference: “No, I already taught you how to tie your shoes. You be a big boy and do it by yourself. Stop fussing and get it done now. No, I will not help you. You are going to make me late. Hurry up,” VS. “Oh, buddy. I love that you want me to help you, and my heart really wants to, but I cannot right now. I need you to tie your shoes. I am so proud of you for the way you have mastered tying your shoes.” Can you hear the difference? One sees the heart and affirms them, while the other only sees the task. It isn’t a yes/no, you do it/I do it response. It is seeing their heart and making sure you are communicating and affirming your love for them.

I WANT THAT

Do you ever hear of a great testimony and say, “I want that?” While the heart of sharing testimonies is the confidence God wants to do it again in your life, the focus has to be on HIM, not the fruit. We can’t just say, “I want that fruit”; it has to be, “I want HIM.” So, when you see God move mountains in someone’s life, let it encourage you that He is able, but ask Him for the keys in your own life and follow whatever He tells you in your situation.

GRIEVING HOLY SPIRIT DREAM

I have been stewarding this dream for years and believe it is the time to share it. God was teaching me about family and, ultimately, the church because leadership should reflect good parenting. In my dream, the kids and I arrived at our new housing. It was a unique round building with a gorgeous custom kitchen and living room in the middle. It was designed with the intention of people doing life together. Off of the living area were master suites with private bathrooms. We walked in, each carrying a different-sized suitcase, like the ones that were passed down from parents or grandparents. There was no check-in station as it was designed to be set up like a family with connection between the occupants, not run like a motel or business. We were aware there were people gathered in one of the rooms. I knew in my dream they were aware we had arrived and were waiting, but they didn’t come out to greet us or give us instructions. I didn’t want just to assume which room was ours, so despite traveling a long distance, we waited joyfully. The landlord walked in to greet us like a mother eager to see her child. I felt at home when she hugged me. She began to flow with tears. It wasn’t an anxious, wounded, or fearful cry. Just tears of genuine sadness. She said, “I want you here, but you can’t stay. You would be a model tenant, but they were here first and don’t want you here.” It didn’t feel like personal rejection as much as just the way things were done there. The sincere compassion I felt for the landlord for having renters who did not honor her desires for her own building made it easy to take my eyes off of myself and put them on her. I hugged her and assured her we would be okay, even though it meant we would be ‘homeless’ once we walked out the door. This tender moment morphed into me, saying firmly, “I will go (to honor her), but I will not leave until I have taken a shower first.” I was so aware in my dream it was 4 in the afternoon, and I was already clean. I went to take my shower and noticed a line that went all the way out the door. End of dream. I woke up at 4 with a deep pang in my heart over what I had just witnessed in my dream. I got out of bed and sat in the dark living room, where I began to unpack the dream with God. He said, “Ask me who the landlord was in the dream,” and it was revealed she was Holy Spirit. I immediately fell on my face and wept. To witness Holy Spirit being grieved grieves me. To this day, I still can’t talk about the dream without tears coming to my eyes. I will never forget the genuine sadness in her eyes. The round living area represented what should have been a family room (not an empty living room). The people in the bedrooms were the parents/leaders who had authority just by ‘being there first.’ The dream highlights the need for instruction and guidance from them. Their closed room door and unwillingness to come out represents a wall they have built to shut out what they don’t want to enter. God sends children into families and people into churches carrying certain things (suitcases) because He knows what they need is inside of them. It grieves Him when we reject the ones He has sent to us to BLESS US. When we begin to run our families/churches according to our own agenda, we miss out on what He is doing in them. The lack of concern from the parents/leaders felt unloving, prideful, and downright rude, but the Lord showed me later that they were protecting something. Oftentimes when a parent/leader has wounds, hurts, jealousy or insecurity will, they will shut out the very ones God brings to them to help them. Just by their presence, a child/person can trigger the parents/leaders wound and cause them to ‘shut the door.’ This is a greater reflection on the parent/leader but often feels to the child/person like something is wrong with them. Parents/leaders can argue that what they are doing is right because they are ‘protecting’ something, but God never called us to be self-protectors. That is His job. I was aware in my dream, due to the uniqueness of the circle building, that the people in the closed room were at the 11 o’clock position. 11 can represent imperfection, disorder, disintegration, and chaos, which is exactly what happens when parents/leaders are unwilling to open the door, communicate clearly or welcome what those under them carry by God’s design. My shower represented my awareness that this interaction slimmed me, and I needed to rid myself fully and completely of any hurts, offenses, judgments, or bitterness. I assumed the words “you would be a model tenant” meant we were faithful financially, which is important to a landlord, but the Lord showed me that the word ‘model’ meant we, as a family, carried a model. There are five people in my family, and we all just happen to represent a different part of the five-fold ministry. We have an anointing in the area of family, and God has given us an anointing on how to model our families after His. We came into the family room, bringing that model with us. This is super important because we ALL carry things and that God wants to release through us. The vintage suitcases represented what has been passed down from each generation. We never meet someone with an empty suitcase. God has been setting things in motion in each family line for centuries. We carry what our parents, grandparents, and on did or didn’t complete on earth but may have sowed into. Each person’s suitcase is filled with valuable keys, solutions, and tools to build His Kingdom. My shower was at four which confirmed to me that I was FOR them, even though it wasn’t received. Taking a shower was about me, but FOR them as not to carry the offense against them. God also woke me at 4 am. Children are born FOR their parents until they are taught otherwise. Ironically, God woke me up at 4:44 am to release this dream. The long line indicated this dream wasn’t just for me but a corporate one, as many were slimed in the process of being shut out. This is a key and strategy of the Lord. We must clean ourselves of hurts, offenses, and judgments before we are fully free to move on.

CLING TO RIGHTEOUSNESS

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.

HELPING EACH OTHER

This is a testimony I got from a young single mom.

“Lisa, I wanted to thank you for your obedience to your calling; the Kingdom parenting online course has tremendously helped my daughters hear the voice of God. We were in our prayer closet tonight, and my daughter (who used to have the hardest time hearing) said Holy Spirit told her that her older sister had something stuck in her heart. She invited her in and asked if she had something stuck in her heart, and she broke out in tears and openly received healing! We thank God for you, and I wanted you to know we love your family!” 

USE HIM

I knew my husband was dead wrong (I could even prove it in the Bible). But my responses to him were over the top (“above average,” as my pastor liked to say). I soon realized that if Jesus were married to my husband, HE would be able to respond in love and peace no matter what He was doing. This revelation didn’t make me feel condemned for not being perfect. Instead, it made me realize how UN-like Jesus I really was, and I hungered to be more like Him. A mentor friend so graciously told me, “Lisa, every time he sends you to the moon (in anger), use that to go after healing in your heart.” I did just that. He would trigger me, and I would sit with Jesus to find the root of why that was a sore spot for me. I would pull the root, if so to speak, and my reaction was less and less the next time he did the same behavior. Soon I began to see myself unaffected by his less-than-kind choices. There is such power in becoming healed, and we can use those trigger points in our favor to help usher us in greater healing and wholeness.

BIG BROTHER

For Hudson’s 8th-grade mission trip, he was offered a chance to work in the church nursery and would tell me about this boy named Micah. His parents took my parenting class, so I reached out to Kelly to tell her how precious it was that they had connected. She said Micah talks about Hudson all the time. Clearly, God was on the connection, so we decided to get them together. When Micah came running out the door to greet us, I was so taken aback by how much he looked like Hudson at that age. Their bond is precious, and I am so thankful for the scores of men who have sown into Hudson over the years and that he has a grid and understanding of what it means to sow into someone’s life. It is so fun to watch your child receive and then grow up to be the one who values passing that gift onto someone else.

SET FREE

A mom from class shares: “I was not supposed to be able to carry a baby to full term due to medical issues. My whole first pregnancy was bathed in fear of a miscarriage. The doctors continually warned me not to get my hopes up for a baby (even up until I was 30 weeks along!). Then, I noticed my son was very fearful and wouldn’t talk when we were out of the house. He was chatty at home but would freeze up at church, the park, or wherever. Then God showed me the connection of fear and my pregnancy with my son. I repented of the fear I partnered with (although I didn’t know that term at the time), and my husband and I prayed over him as he slept and commanded the spirit of fear to leave in Jesus’ name. The next day we went to the park with friends, and he was his usual chatty self. I didn’t see the spirit of fear in operation at all! He was free! It was amazingly simple. We are teaching him that fear is a liar, and he wants him to believe things that aren’t true. And now we are teaching him to cast fear out when he feels it. It’s amazing.”

FEEDING THE SQUIRRELS

Years ago, my world was falling apart as my marriage ended. I was responsible for the lives of four little ones, and all of the fears and unknowns made it difficult to breathe sometimes. Yet, despite the chaos around me, this insane hunger was starting to rumble inside me. I was desperate to teach my children who their Father was and began to long for them to hear and know Him through experience, not just head knowledge. At the time, I wasn’t in a church that supported children playing in the Kingdom, and my religious mind told me they were too young for such complicated spiritual matters. Yet my heart and soul were exploding with desire. I longed for the day they would be mature enough to participate in the Kingdom. 

We were all down in Denver eating shelled peanuts by the river. Lauren, then five years old, asked if she could feed the squirrels. Suddenly, to my surprise, I heard myself say, “I do not know if it is a good idea; go ask Jesus.” I admit I had zero faith that she could do it. A few seconds later, she jumped off the chair to play. To know Lauren is to know that she is quite strong and bright and will repeatedly ask and even repackage her question until she gets the desired answer. She doesn’t just let things go and run off and play without getting her answer. I called her back and inquired if she had asked Jesus or not, and what she said rocked my world to the core. She said, “Oh yeah, He said it wouldn’t be a good idea,” and again, she bounced off to play. For me, at that moment, the world stopped. Tears streamed down my face as I realized my baby had just heard the God of the universe speak to her. I knew at that moment that I was not a single parent but that my children have a Father who is eager to parent them. I took a mental snapshot of what just happened and vowed to the Lord that I would spend the rest of my days on earth tuning my children’s ears to His voice. 

Pray (out loud) – “Father, open my eyes to see my children the way You do. I invite You to flip, change, arrange or rearrange any old religious mindsets that do not align with You! Father, teach me to be a teacher of the next generation. I take back ownership of MY home and declare that it will be a place of peace, rest, and connection. It is through hearing You that I really know You and begin to trust You. Bless my parenting journey, and in all I do, may I lead them to You – a loving, caring, and involved Father. Help me lead them to listen well. Amen.”

LOVE WORKS

Do not just take my word for it. Hear what moms and dads around the globe are saying about their own experience learning how to speak their child’s language. 

“It is so true that when there is conflict, it is usually because a love tank is low. However, we often see it as a discipline issue, and when we punish, we withdraw from it more. I like seeing that visual image of it – it all makes sense now! We determined what love language each of our kids gravitate towards & made an intentional effort to fill them. The results were immediate & noticeable! It was as if their cup was running over & they had extra to share. Really neat! I’ve been spending 5-10 mins extra in the morning connecting with my 3yo (‘filling’ his love tank), and our transitions to daycare in the morning have been seamless. In the past, he struggled with that transition and would scream, cry, and cling to us as we tried to leave. Now he gives us a hug and a kiss goodbye and is then excited to go play with his friends! Teaching them to know not only their own but also their siblings’ is brilliant! Filling their bucket is so important. I need to be as intentional about that as I am about making sure they eat their fruits and vegetables. Ha! I am really seeing the need to take time out in the day with my busy work at home and make sure each child gets their tank filled. I have seen where I have not been laying myself down in this area and getting worn out. I even feel like if I can make some sacrifices to do this, I will feel more rested because the kids won’t be as demanding. I am so excited to try and teach my kids about the love languages for sibling rivalry. It makes so much sense. Thank you for planting the seed that when siblings are fighting, love tanks are low. I see the importance for all of us to know each other’s love language! A lot of times when our daughter starts acting out, we know that she is really just needing attention and connection. However, what she usually wants to do is spend quality time playing games, reading books, etc. While this is fine for me at times, I tend to be a pretty solitary person, so actively engaging all the time can be quite difficult when all I’m craving is some peaceful, quiet time alone. That said, I need to start doing these things because I don’t want her to be missing out on connecting with me just because it’s uncomfortable for me. We had this emphasized. Our 5yo was spiraling down when I arrived at the friend’s house she’d been staying with while I ran errands. The simple act of me offering a hug and giving the gift of sharing my tea was enough for her to be able to relax and be happy. Hubby has noticed that on the days he makes a conscious effort to play with each girl when he gets home from work, it makes a huge difference. Love this lesson! I asked all of my kids what they thought their love languages were, and they each identified a different one, and we had a great conversation about how we give and receive love. The hardest one for me is ‘gifts,’ and my middle one has that one. This really encourages me to keep finding ways to connect with my kids through THEIR love language and not my own!”

BUT GOD…

1,000’s of people have been affected by my life because the forces of darkness were not successful. Death came knocking hard and almost won. Many years ago, I was slipping into a coma enduring 76 long hours alone, slowly dying. It would be another full day before I was found. Hell thought it won that day. The enemy thought he succeeded in killing a life that didn’t appear to matter much to anyone. A heart that hurt more than it loved. A mind that was tormented by lies of utter unworthiness and despair. I took more than I contributed and shared my brokenness with anyone brave enough to try and get close to me. But God… But God saw the value of what He created! But God knew the plans He had for me! But God was confident in His power! But God knew my day of salvation was near! But God decided life was better for me! But God sent His Son to die for ME! But God knew it would be the final blow before I began to rise up like a lioness! But God knew that my ache would turn into my roar! But God knew my future included pulling others out of the pit! But God, He had four precious babies in store for me! But God knew the lies were just that – lies! But God sent people in my path to help me! But God knew my pain would turn into worship! But God was aware of what He was doing in me! But God knew I would be His weapon of destruction against the forces of evil that almost conquered me! 

Baby, I do not know what you are facing today, but the same God who moved in my life is MOVING in your life. Keep going, for He is not done with you yet. He trusts Himself with your journey.