ASK ME LIKE MY SON

ASK ME LIKE MY SON

I want to remind you that if you are a born-again believer, you have a Shepherd over you in this hour. He knows how to keep you safe, protect you and lead you to green pastures. He knows when you are wandering off and how to go after you.

Years ago, we were in a store shopping when Hudson asked for a Lego set. Before I could reply, he began to beg me with intense emotion. Watching him plead and beg like a fish flopping around out of water was repulsive to my ears. I stopped him, put my hand on his shoulder, and asked, “Who am I?” He was reminded that he was talking to his mother, who fearlessly loves, provides, and protects him. The one who carried him for nine months and knows him better than anyone else on earth. The one with a track record of being kind, loving, and attentive to his wants and needs. Having his full attention, I said, “Ask me like my son, not a begging orphan,” and he quickly changed the way he approached me. He wanted the Lego set so badly but failed to see that he could trust me with his heart. I wanted him to see that he could trust me, even with the thing that mattered most to his heart at that moment, even if I said not now because I was for him and loved him. It was a trust issue, not a Lego issue.

Repent for partnering with any belief that tells you that God is not a good father or does not care.

ANGER

Nothing turns a sweet mama into an angry grizzly bear faster than partnering with the orphan spirit. The spiritual orphan believes lies such as, “I am all alone,” “No one cares,” “No one sees me,” “No one listens to me,” “Nothing I do matters,” “I am insignificant”… While your child may be doing something to trigger you, they aren’t the real source of your anger – your thoughts are! Next time you are ready to blow, try this, “GOD! I am really angry right now. Would You please reveal to me what LIES I am believing?” Then ask, “Father, what is Your truth?” He loves showing up in our mess and isn’t mad at our anger!

PARENTING MANUAL

Picture someone baking a pie for their evening gathering with friends. Could you imagine someone else coming to take the pie out of the oven and running to the corner to consume the whole thing on their own? They would not only develop a stomachache but have robbed themselves of the joy of consuming the pie with friends and family as it was intended. Your child comes with a parenting manual, and His name is Emmanuel – God with us. I say this in love, but some of you need to repent for taking His creation and running away with it. He did not spend nine months knitting them together and ushering them into the world only to have you run away together. He desired all along that you would parent together with Him. God wants you to parent with Him, not for Him.

DATE WITH JESUS

Years ago, I felt this insane craving to be alone with the Lord. I booked a hotel, got the four kids situated, and took off for my 24-hour date with Jesus. I spent my quiet alone time making my grocery list, journaling my thoughts, getting food, responding to emails, and reading a book. When it was over, I was physically refreshed but spiritually dry. I realized I treated my ‘date with Jesus’ as if I were the only one at the table and did all the talking. The second time I booked my 24-hour date with Jesus, I took nothing but my Bible, journal, and a large jug of water. My soul came alive. It was just Him and me, and I left feeling like we had spent a month together on a deserted island. I vowed I would make it a priority to get away at least twice a year.

When I became a single mom, I realized I couldn’t do it anymore because of finances. I heard God say so clearly, “Do not ever let money be a deciding factor between us,” and, in faith, I booked a hotel room on my credit card. Someone graciously took my children for the night, and I had the most glorious time with Him. There was a glitch with the hotel, and they ended up giving me the hotel for FREE. I laughed and vowed once again that I would never let anything stand in the way of my 24-hour dates with Him. Fast forward over a decade, and I am still sneaking away. There is no price tag to put on your intentional time with Him. 

MODELING OUR HOME AFTER HIS

We want to model our home after His and allow our children to taste and see that His ways are good so that when they are older, they will not be enticed by what the world has to offer them. I am not talking about legalistic head knowledge of ‘thou shall not’ but the ability to experience it as part of their own journey. Let me give you some practical examples.

Stealing – God says do not steal. When we set up our homes with a value system for not stealing, we are teaching our children that God’s ways work. To steal means to open yourself up for discipline, consequences, and broken trust. We are allowing them to taste and see that God’s ways work. We give them the message, “It isn’t going well for you because you have chosen something outside of God’s protection for you, i.e., stealing.” To ask for something and be denied is hard on the flesh, but as children learn to accept the ‘no’ answers in life it builds character, which will profit them for a lifetime. We don’t punish our children because they chose something outside of God’s best, we use it as a teachable moment to show them why it is important not to steal. (Not saying consequences aren’t warranted, I am saying we don’t want to use Biblical standards for our children and then punish them for not honoring it).

Respect – God says honor your mother and father. When we set up our homes to reflect a core value of honoring authority, we are providing for them covering and protection. This is showing them the beauty of God’s Kingdom. When we allow our children to walk all over us and be rude and disrespectful, we are subjecting them to insecurity, lack of favor and broken connection. They will experience God’s Kingdom by being taught to walk in respect and honor for those in authority over them. Once the twins started high school, they witnessed things they didn’t see in their Christian school. Naturally, I was concerned how this would affect them but because I built a foundation around their identity, we continued to use it as a teachable moment. One day my daughter came home and said, “Mom, I always knew you told us why it was important to walk in who we are, but today I saw with my own eyes what it looks like to have a life not knowing who you are.” Another time she came home really hurt by someone who acted like a true spiritual orphan. She understood the hurt was stemming from them not knowing Jesus and went in her room and wept for them. She spent nearly two hours in her room praying, crying and journaling. When she came out, she said, “Mom, I have got to have more of Jesus. I couldn’t imagine a life without Him.”

Does our parenting model heaven? Think about it – spankings, punish, taking away favorite possessions, isolation, harsh words spoken, exasperated parents… Could there be a better way? God is our perfect Father and knows how to run a family well. Is our parenting modeled to look like heaven? Does God give us three warnings and we are out? Does God spank us and then just leave us to deal with our mess? Does God isolate us when what we really need is enlightenment, understanding or better tools? Is He mad at us when we are acting out the hurt and pain in our heart? Is overwhelmed by our needs? Please hear my heart. I am NOT saying discipline, spankings, or time alone can’t be a valuable tool. I AM saying that when those are the ONLY tools in our parenting tool belt, we might be missing the mark. If it is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance, could it be some of our control-based parenting tools aren’t bearing good fruit simply because we aren’t modeling it after God’s Kingdom?

GOING AFTER IDENTITY

I have said all along that God parents us as we parent our children. Here is another excellent example of that. My daughter is wired to need one best friend with whom she can connect deeply (just like her mama). We have known this for years, and she hasn’t quite broken out of her comfort zone yet to help foster that kind of friendship. She met someone she saw great value in and attempted to reach out to her. The person’s response was nothing short of rude and unkind. When she told me about it, I took a deep breath and began to ask Jesus for the strategy to help her walk through this. I invited her to talk to me and began asking questions. She was able to see the lack of kindness and that it could have been said better. I asked if it hurt her heart, and she said these powerful words, “Mom, how can I be hurt by someone I don’t even know? Her rudeness isn’t a reflection of my heart to reach out to her.” And then instantly, I heard God say, “Lisa, this is YOUR issue, not hers.” I hugged her, went to my room, shut the door, and processed it with the Lord. He began to show me that while I don’t feel that rejection today, that is how I felt at her age as a young 13-year-old (not so much from peers, but from family, which shaded my view of my sense of belonging anywhere I went). I don’t have the capacity to know what it feels like to be 13, endure a hard interaction and keep my identity intact. While seeing my daughter whole and rather unaffected, it ministered deeply to my own heart. I asked God to highlight and reveal to me in the days to come any time I project my teenage heart onto them and their experiences. There is going to be so much goodness coming out of these high school years, both for them and myself. 

Note to parents of younger children: Going after their identity, discerning lies about their worth and value, and calling out good character when they are little PAYS OFF! All of your sowing will reap a harvest in due time.

THE WAR FOR OUR CHILDREN

Oh, I long for you to see this.

The war for our children looks like this:

Isolate them in their own homes.

Feed them with the world that feds the flesh but empties the soul.

Cause doubt through lies that may sound true but are still lies.

Become their own god rejecting all others.

God’s plan for our child’s identity looks like this:

Put them in families where they are seen, heard, and valued.

Feed them with the Word of God.

Anchor them in His truth and hold them accountable for living in a way that is pleasing to God.

Speak truth over them OFTEN.

Teach them to submit to God’s authority.

This is an active, intentional strategy that requires parents to be engaged, plugged in and alert.

HeartWork – Picture for a moment what life would have looked like if you were taught as a child who you were created to be. If you had parents who called out the good in you, even when you were at your worst. Who saw value in you even when you gave evidence otherwise? Who helped you discover together who God created you to be. What would it have felt like to know such deep connection in your family? To be so fiercely protected and covered? Would it have made a difference?

RELEASE & REST

Rest is not being inactive. Rest is the position of our heart after we have released something over to God and left it in His care. We cease taking matters into our own hands and operating in self-sufficiency. We hand over the transaction to Him, and at that moment, we are in restful confidence He can act on our behalf. We rest in the assurance that He is able, capable, mighty, willing, powerful, and active in our lives. Simply put, spiritual orphans can NOT find rest because the world’s weight is on them to self-provide, self-protect, self-defend, and self-secure. But as Sons and Daughters, we have a Father who is alive and well and wants to help us. Have you ever sat on an aircraft and watched people attempt to put their luggage in the overhead compartment? They struggle to lift the weight of their carry-on above their head while juggling their coffee, trying hard not to hit the person in front of them. Along comes a flight attendant in full confidence in their ability to help lighten the load and get them situated. Have you ever watched a child struggle to tie their shoes or fasten their pant button? They get frustrated easily with their lack of ability. A loving parent comes alongside them and, with ease, eagerly helps them. The Father is like the flight attendant wanting to carry your load. The Father is like a loving parent wanting to help in your time of need. Rest is not simply doing nothing. Rest is releasing your burdens for Him to do something. 

HeartWork – “Jesus, I surrender and hand to You my burden of _____.”

VINE AND THE BRANCH

I was talking to a friend about an area in my life that is causing a lot of stress and worry. She brought me to John 15’s story about the vine and the branch, which gives us the key to bearing fruit (which I was not having in this area). Together, we asked Jesus to show us the separation, and I heard “tourniquet,” a device that cuts off the blood flow. Hmmm. That is kind of what it felt like. I asked Jesus what the key to removing the tourniquet was, and I kept hearing “turn, turn, turn, turn,” but it sounded like the word tourniquet was stuck on a broken record, and it didn’t make sense to me at first. I asked Jesus to clarify, and He said, “You keep turning and turning and turning, and the more you move, the more it is cutting off the life-giving flow between us. Stop moving and REMAIN in me.” 

The Vine and the Branches – John 15:1-8 – “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” 

Sometimes the best thing to do is to do nothing and hand over the reins back to Him.

IMAGINE LIFE WITHOUT HIM

In preparation for a speaking engagement I sensed Holy Spirit wanted me to ask the kids, “What would your life be like if you loved Jesus, but couldn’t hear His voice?” This list surprised me just as much as it will you. This is in their own words and behind every word is a testimony and story of them hearing His voice.

“Life would be… hard, hurts in my heart, stay offended, bitter, very fearful, unkind, unconnected, lonely, lack of favor, unforgiveness, anger, aggression, scared, broken relationships, pressure, controlled, orphan spirit, more sickness, less creativity, bored, less adventures, hopeless, discouraged, rejected, struggle in school, trapped, believing lies, embarrassed, ashamed, forget things, nightmares, no honor, bullied, lack of confidence, difficulties, no hidden treasures, sad, heartbroken, exposed to bad things, lack of protection, lack of wisdom, no encounters with His presence, unsafe, lack of provision, couldn’t be used, powerless believers, lack of peace…”