When the twins were in 8th grade, one began to ask me if I would host a group of peers, including a boy’s name I hadn’t heard before. I said no. She asked me again if I would take a group out for pizza. Something didn’t sit right. Again, she begged me if I would gather the group. Finally, I asked why it was so important to her. She said, “I want a boyfriend.” While the door was bound to open eventually and can be a beautiful thing, something didn’t sit right with me. I asked her, “WHY do you want a boyfriend so bad?” and she said, “Because I want to be special to someone.” It was a painful discussion, but I told her no. No way would I allow that door to be open for her unless and until that part of her heart was filled by Jesus first because no boy would be able to fill it. Not now and not later. I explained it would open the door for an appetite that no human could fill. Of course, she was upset and stormed off to her room, where she remained for the better portion of three days. She came out for meals but fumed. I encouraged her to grab her journal and use the tools I have taught her as a daughter of the King. She journaled her heart out page after page of pain seeping through the pages of her deepest desire to be seen and significant. I began to hear worship music from her room, and when she emerged, she thanked me for saying no. I learned such a valuable lesson that we must filter our choices through the question, “Am I doing this as a daughter secure in who I am and therefore can enjoy this, OR am I operating as a spiritual orphan who needs this to feel good about myself?” There is a world of difference. One leads to life and joy, and the other to heartbreak and greater pain.
ARE YOU A DAUGHTER OR AN ORPHAN?
Sometimes I think I could write a book titled MY DESTINY (almost) KILLED ME! I am opening up a window into a part of my journey to see some of the lessons God has taught me along the way. May it encourage you in your journey!
I have wrestled these past years deeply with managing Let the Children Fly. Is it a business? Is it a ministry? Many would say it is both. Yet as others attempted to empower me on how to GROW my platform, it only increased my inner agitation. There is an insane amount of pressure in the Body of Christ to create and establish something by the labor of your own hands. Years of seeking wise counsel would tell me how to increase and grow my ministry, yet I could never get peace about it. Until recently, when God told me why… I never set out to run a business or lead a ministry. Growth organically occurred AFTER I stewarded what He gave me. To grow my platform outside of my intimacy with Him felt scary, even risky. It’s like working with a publisher before the book is finished. We can only faithfully steward something within our capacity. God isn’t about increasing the platform. He is about increasing capacity to steward more of what He wants to give you, and IN THAT, the platform increases naturally. To do it the other way around is nothing short of pride. It will not reap a true harvest. God will never give you a platform in your name.
Banning Liebscher once said, “Do not go after being the most elegant speaker. Go after the anointing and authority. The first produces fame; the second produces transformation and eternal fruit.” Everyone wants a platform, but few survive the resistance training between the audience and the stage. There has to be a process, a journey. Before you can carry the weight of a platform, you must be refined in key areas of weakness, or the stage will crush you. It is God’s mercy not to elevate you beyond your capacity. He isn’t denying you; He is protecting you. Everyone has patches of ice they slip on, and God wants to teach you how to endure things without falling. This is a process of growth that takes time. God is a master at growing people for the long term and is not interested in fifteen minutes of fame. He wants fruit that will last into eternity and later generations. Fruit takes time to mature. The Body has lost the art of serving others for no other motive than helping someone else succeed. Not everything needs to be turned into a marketing or financial funnel to profit you. Social media is a power that exposes what is inside us. If a sense of significance comes from the number of likes, we are partnering with a dangerous pit. While the temporary high of the ‘likes’ feels good, it leaves us feeling empty. There is nothing wrong with social media as long as it is from a place of being a Son/Daughter. Our motive is everything. Some people do not have a calling to reach the world. They have a calling to change the world of a few people well. You will be rewarded, not for what you grew, but for how faithful you were with what God has given you.
I was lamenting to God once about the world’s value around numbers. The pressure that says you are only as good as your followers. I had an intimate time surrendering the pressure to God and being okay right where He has me. The next day I woke to a message from Facebook saying they helped me clean my group up and deleted **2K** people from my group. Gulp. I felt the loss for a moment and knew deep down I was okay because the numbers (+ or -) do not define my faithfulness, worth, or value. The pressure broke off, and I refused to let it drive me.
You can’t find your calling/destiny until you first have discovered your new identity as a Son/Daughter. To give you your destiny before you know how to operate in your calling would be a recipe for disaster. If you want to know your destiny, first learn your true identity. Finding your calling is one thing – overcoming the battle to remain in it is another. God isn’t looking for the most significant person, ministry, or platform. He is looking for YOU to be faithful in stewarding what He has given YOU. You contribute something on earth today that is vital, and you can’t afford to waste it on anything outside of where He has you. There is only one Kingdom ROCKSTAR, and His name is Jesus. He didn’t come to promote but to steward well all that His Father gave Him to profit others, not Himself.
I like to get away with God to give Him space to speak to me without an agenda. This is what He showed me during our recent time together. I saw a snake wrapped around me I assumed it meant some sort of deliverance (yikes), but He began to talk to me about being ‘joined at the hip’ and how the snake serves as fuzz in Velcro, preventing it from fully attaching and sticking together. I also saw a picture of slime, which by nature, is to be repulsive. Hmmm. As I inquired about the snake, He said the word, ‘scales’ three times. At first, I thought He meant the skin of a snake, but suddenly I saw a picture of a weight scale and instantly heard in my spirit, “God despises unbalanced scales.” This has to do with cheating on the true worth and value of something. I saw a line across a page, and He began to show me that when we are adopted, we are to live in that space. It includes our identity, worth, value, destiny, abilities, energy level, faith, etc. He showed me how people elevate themselves above the line with pride, idol worship (and allowing others to worship them), taking up space that isn’t theirs to take, self-promotion with an orphan heart, striving, building a platform over building His Kingdom, etc. This picture was easy for my mind to see and grasp. Then He said, “But there is another unbalanced scale that I hate,” and He showed me those who operate below the line by partnering with being disempowered, lack need for permission or approval, lacking godly confidence, being timid, shrinking back, not owning their voice, dismissing their gifts, comparison, etc. One elevates themselves above where God has them, and the other lowers themselves below God’s call on their lives. Both are out of balance of the true worth and value of a life called and adopted by God for His Kingdom and purposes. The only way to fully attach to others in the way God intended is to do so from the position He has called us. It is nearly impossible to connect in a healthy way to an idol, just as much as it is hard to thrive with someone who partners with lack. If you find yourself in either camp outside of the balanced God-given space, I encourage you to take some time to make this right with Him. Confess it and ask Him to bring you into His measurement of who you are!
Many of us are fully aware there is hurt in the family. Why? Because we have spiritual orphans for parents, and they parent out of that place. One can be a believer and still operate as an orphan in certain areas. Orphan living creates a lifestyle of hardship, pain, control, confusion, lack, anxiety, worry, and fear. God knit your child together in HIS image but with YOU in mind. He knows what you did and didn’t get in childhood and knits your child together perfectly to BLESS you. Sometimes that blessing comes in the way of conflict, challenges, and frustrations because your child is made in His image, and there are things in YOU that need to come into alignment. When the parent partners with fear, the child typically resists because they do not have the same fear. When a parent partners with orphan tools like control, the child typically resists because their nature is not designed to be controlled. When a parent partners with anger, the child builds walls to self-protect. When there is a pattern of conflict with a child, the goal is to see if this is your issue or theirs. Who is the one God is growing in their capacity? Of course, that is the nature of childhood to evolve, grow, and mature, but sometimes the friction and conflict in our parenting is because God wants to align, heal, change, mold, shape, or address something in US. THE SAME GOES FOR LEADERSHIP! You can have spiritual orphans in leadership operating out of their own journey, causing hurt and pain to those under them. When there is a pattern of conflict, ask God, “Is this their issue or mine?” When it is a leadership issue – PLEASE HEAR THIS – we need to remember we are no longer little children. We are Sons and Daughters with a voice. We have Kingdom assignments and authority. God knew that leaders have blind spots, weaknesses, and orphan places when they were promoted in leadership and/or given spiritual gifts. How do you know God did not knit you together perfectly in that church to see, hear, and experience the area they need to grow in? If you have eyes to see, then you have been given a privilege by God to be a part of the solution, not add to the problem (directly or indirectly). We are not there to expose and tear them down despite the pain caused; we are there to COVER them. How do you cover them? #1. You need to have conversations with Jesus before conversations with others. #2. Resolve the hurt and pain in your heart, FIRST. Forgive, forgive, forgive. #3. If a culture of honor means a culture of silence, you are no longer participating in the right kingdom. The truth sets us free, and we need the Body to process that truth at times. Robbing people of the ministry of validation only isolates the pain, which is a breeding ground for lies. #4. Discern the spirit behind it. What is really in operation? We know we do not fight people of the flesh, but rather the spirit behind it that is influencing them. #5. Use your authority over that spirit in your own life. Expose the spirit and break up with it. Refuse to be manipulated by it anymore. #6. Pray for that leader to come out from under that influence. Release the opposite spirit over them. #7. Ask God for an opportunity to talk with them. #8. Do not rob them of your presence just because you have gotten hurt by their orphan behavior. BE THE CHANGE they need. Stand and stay until the Lord releases you from that assignment. #9. If you talk with others about it, make sure your speech is not about swapping stories but rather leading others to freedom and healing, and then together, pray for them. Stand in the gap for them and release Holy Spirit in that area of their life. #10. Allow God to use this trying and challenging season to refine and build you up in your voice and calling. God generally allows us to experience the things we have the greatest authority over. Treat the situation how you would want your children to respond to you when operating out of orphan parenting.
Isn’t this precious from a mom taking our online parenting JOURNEY class?
“God showed me that I still live like a spiritual orphan by not always accepting His love and joy. He made them very clear to me through this experience. While walking home from taking my daughter to her bus stop, I saw a homeless man in our neighborhood, which is a very rare thing, like that has never happened before. I asked Jesus, ‘What do You want me to know about this person?’ I heard, ‘He is loved. I love him immensely.’ Today I heard, ‘You behave or feel as if I treat you the way homeless people are treated in the world; that’s not true… I love you immensely.’”
My daughter woke up early with me, so we went on a date to grab drive-thru coffee and ended up at the bookstore. I noticed a book about the lies young girls believe and handed it to her. She spent a great deal of time browsing the contents and finally put the book down. I asked her why, and she said, “Because I don’t believe lies.” There was such an anointing on what she said. She was not saying she has never believed a lie, nor was she saying she is 100% lie-free, but she was right to say she doesn’t believe lies. I have taught my kids what lies feel like, and they have begun to self-govern when lies are being entertained in their minds. Lies always remove your peace, make your mind spin like crazy, and create feelings of anxiety, worry, and stress in your heart. When my children are feeling this, they know how to ask, “Jesus, what lies am I believing?” and they know how to ask Him for His truth. Can you imagine what this generation would look like if they knew how to stomp on the lies that come to steal, kill and destroy?
Some of you need to repeat this out loud until your mind and heart believe it.
I AM GOING TO BE OKAY! I AM GOING TO BE OKAY! I AM GOING TO BE OKAY! I AM GOING TO BE OKAY! I AM GOING TO BE OKAY! I AM GOING TO BE OKAY! I AM GOING TO BE OKAY!
Because I am a Daughter/Son to the Creator of the universe. He cares about me, knows how to protect me, and leads me to still waters. I am under His wing, which shelters me from all that comes my way.
I want my life to be a vessel of transformation for others to find, see and experience Him. Messages like this make me stop and thank God for the way He set me free and gave me a voice to help others.
A mom taking our JOURNEY class shares: “I felt like I could actually comprehend who I was created to be by doing this lesson. This is changing me deeply, and I’m so excited to feel it!”
It is hard to know who you are when you spend the majority of the time staring at a lens with your own reflection. We only truly discover who we are when we gaze into the One who created us in His image. Selfies only reflect what you want to see. God’s image reflects who we were made to become.
Seen, Heard & Valued
I was in a season where I was aware that the words coming out of my mouth were critical and sharp. I am not typically one to hold a grudge or offense for very long, but it was like I was constantly calling out the bad. Little things like the man who cut me off, or the person who didn’t use their blinker, or the lady who didn’t return her shopping cart. Once I said it, I let it go but it bothered me that I even had the eyes to see it. They were things that should not be requiring my energy or time.
I became so aware of it that I told the kids I would pay them $1 every time they caught me being critical. But it only seemed to increase.
I finally met with my friend who is a professional counselor and asked her what in the world was the problem that I could not control my critical words. She said something to me that not only changed my life and set me free but became a KEY that I have used with others for their freedom.
She said, “Shame HAS to blame” and began to introduce me to the profound effects that shame has on our mind, body, and soul. Shame is so toxic to our existence that it kills, shuts down and robs of us of our God-given abilities. Shame is like acid. By blaming others (my critical words) it was releasing some of the toxicity. It was survival to manage the shame. I HAD to blame. The goal, therefore, was not to manage the release of the shame but to resolve the shame once and for all.
Thus began a several month-long journey of discovering the root of the shame and how to release it GOD’S WAY.
I created a ten-day online experience for others to join me on the journey of loving yourself deeper, wider and more passionately than you have been loved before.
This is a self-guided class at your own convenience. You will watch a video teaching and for the rest of the days, I provide activities and exercises to do based on the video teaching. The second week focuses on how to raise children to be proactive so they never have to find themselves again down the road.
As an ASCEND member you can enroll in this self-guided class at no additional charge.