BALANCE

BALANCE

Sometimes parenting with Holy Spirit is funny. I just praised my daughter for NOT sharing with her sibling (and meant it). Emma is my second twin, and her whole life, we have had to go after her using her voice, saying NO, and setting boundaries. She is my child who will freely give you the shirt off her back and socks, too! She is also the child who will have tears in her eyes and a smile on her face. Once, her twin sister asked if she could have one of her birthday presents that was still wrapped, and Emma said, “Sure!” It has been a long road of teaching her how to listen to her heart and respond accordingly. YES, I want my children to share, but not at the expense of becoming a doormat. YES, I want my children to obey, but not from a place of being double-minded. YES, I want my children to put others first, but not at the expense of losing her true self. So, one morning, when her sibling asked to borrow her phone for the day, she said, “No,” I pulled her aside and praised her. Where her twin has had to learn how to be more kind, thoughtful, and caring towards others, Emma has had to learn to be kinder to herself. 

TREASURE HUNTING

I am sharing this testimony from one of my spiritual daughters:

“When the girls and I have some free time, we like to do what we call treasure hunting. We ask the Holy Spirit where to go to find someone that needs prayer. Today before our mission, I told the Lord I wanted to witness a real impact. For someone’s life to be completely changed (well, don’t be surprised when you get what you asked for.). We walked where we felt led at Walmart and ended up in an aisle face-on with my children’s father, who we had not seen in 9 years. Clear as day the Holy Spirit said that’s who you’re here to pray for. Umm, really, Jesus? You know our history, right? We said hello. Did some very minimal catching up and asked him and his now wife if we could pray for them, and they willingly received prayer. (For those of you that don’t know our story. Karina and I walked away from everything we owned when I was pregnant with Val to leave an abusive, toxic relationship and find safety). I truly believe this was a divine appointment. Never in my life have I felt the presence of God as strong as I did at this moment. His peace was definitely present. You know God has done a work in your heart when you can extend grace to somebody when they least deserve it. I am sharing this because I want you guys to witness that the power of God is real. If you knew me nine years ago, then you know this encounter would have been restraining order number four. My heart has truly been transformed, and to be honest, I’m still pretty shocked. What happened today was with strength I cannot take credit for. I would like my prayer warriors to agree with me in prayer for him and his wife to have shelter, find a successful treatment center, as well as some accountability to walk beside them. He told the girls he would be around again someday when he’s clean. I am proud of him for being honest and respectful.”

JESUS LOVES GAMES

My son came for some snuggles while I was having my time with Jesus. I had him ask Jesus if He wanted to spend time with him too, which He confirmed. Then I asked, “Ask Him what He wants to do with you,” and my son said, “Play on my tablet.” Of course, I didn’t NOT think that was Jesus, but guarding against being the middleman, I let it go. An hour later, as I was spiking his hair, he said he didn’t do very well playing his video game. I jokingly said, “How is that possible? I thought Jesus was playing with you,” and he said, “No, I was doing all of the driving,” and it organically turned into the sweetest conversation about letting Jesus be in the driver’s seat of our lives. Where I thought my son was more interested in his computer games than spending time with Jesus, He orchestrated the entire moment THROUGH the very thing that mattered to my son. He is so good!

MY MAMA JOURNEY

I survived a near-death experience and was told I would never be able to have any biological children due to the surgeries. I married with that understanding, and we were approved and waiting for our first foster child when we discovered we were pregnant. Two months later, we lost our child, and it was devastating. I sat in our sunlit living room and cried for 8 hours, not only mourning the events that will never happen but wondering why God allowed me to get pregnant if we were content from the beginning not to have our own. That loss shifted something so deep within me to reject the words spoken over my body. While I never got to hold this child, their life taught me that it is okay to believe in God’s ability over reality. We got pregnant again the following month but lost that child too. The thing that brought my mama’s heart so much comfort was this mental picture of Jesus holding both of my babies in each of His arms, like twins. However, I could feel something was off inside of me, yet I couldn’t put my finger on it. I went to someone in the church trained in inner healing ministry, and while I no longer struggled with suicide as I did in my earlier years, we felt led to deal with the spirit of death. While I never got to hold this child either, I was set free from a spirit of death throughout their life. A month later, we got pregnant with TWINS. God was aligning my heart with His and showing me the mighty redemption of things lost and stolen in the family. Through my full-term twin pregnancy, I was learning to experience the goodness of God’s love and joy on a whole new level. I was becoming a mom and had the power to change the life of another human being. When Lauren and Emma were four months old, we got pregnant with Hudson (named after Hudson Taylor). My pregnancy was challenging, and I knew something wasn’t right. Due to random events, we scheduled my C-section earlier than his due date, and it ended up being a 2.5-hour procedure because the OB who delivered my twins failed to sew me back up inside, wreaking havoc inside my body. Had I not gotten pregnant again so soon and needed a C-section, I would have ruptured on the inside, leaving my twins without a mother. Hudson’s birth literally saved my life. This has been such a prophetic statement on how God uses our children to heal, redeem, and restore things in our lives. Where I was to give life and birth to my son, in reality, he gave it to me. I was asked many times if we were done having kids knowing how full my hands were with three children under 14 months. While everything in me screamed YES, I didn’t have peace about it. Three years later, Ellie Rose entered this world and completed our family. Waiting for her taught me that whatever is ‘right,’ logical, or even considered wise, does not matter if it does not bring peace. I have been reminded of this many times over the years as I have chosen not to follow the norm, popular vote, or what I ‘should’ do, but rather be led by peace for my unique family. And so, my journey into motherhood began. 

TENDER LEADERS

Christians can often see/feel the spirit behind things yet are so ill-equipped in discernment (the ability to judge well), they respond negatively to the person instead of the spirit realm. To expect acceptance would mean to violate what they are seeing. People often attack the behavior, but what they are really standing up against is the spirit that their spirit knows is not right. We hurt people when we attack them instead of helping them. Those who have walked in isolation and believe the enemy’s whispers about their identity are fed up with believers who were powerless to help them, failed to validate the deep isolation and then demanded outward performance. If it is a spirit issue then the church should be ones to HELP and instead we have been the ones to accuse, blame and shame. Let me use this word picture. If a child is being tormented by a spirit of fear and reacts to it with yelling and crying the parent will FEEL the spirit in fear in operation yet they don’t always have eyes to discern (the ability to judge well), but they can feel it (and without discernment it normally riles up the parent too). Getting mad at the child, disciplining, isolating, scolding them or telling them to ‘stop’ is pointless because it isn’t just about their less than pleasant behavior, as in bad character. It is about something going on in the spirit realm that is influencing them. They need HELP to resolve the issue in the spirit realm before their behavior will change. The enemy’s goal is outlined in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” He comes to STEAL community (isolation), oftentimes in our own homes, he then whispers lies to KILL their identity (who they were created to be) and then DESTROYS the thing that we all long for – community and connection. The church should be a safe place to resolve spiritual issues, but because they have been so ill-equipped to discern the spirit and have focused solely on behavior modification, we have actually furthered the agenda of tolerance and acceptance. We have forced the world to accept what we have not been able to respond to well and help resolve. There is a time to rise up as parents and leaders in our authority, not against the child/person but the spirit behind it. Parents need to be equipped with tools to walk in discernment when this spirit is in operation in their homes. Children who are being influenced by this spirit need HELP to resolve it.

DO YOU TRUST HIM EVEN IF…?

Excerpt from my book:

I was sandwiched between my pursuit of trying to help the kids with their deep owies and yet still trying to keep the bridge from burning fully with their father. I was struggling with letting them go to his house for the weekend, knowing it would only reap more trauma. Part of the problem was that we did not fully yet know what kind of trauma was happening, just that the kids were having strong reactions and saying things that were pointing to some very upsetting possibilities. My friend asked me, “Do you trust God even if something happens?” My immediate answer was, “NO! No, I do not.” I mean, I loved Him, and He was my Savior, but trust Him with my children? Oh my. That stretched a level of faith in me I had not yet tapped into. Her reply was both upsetting and convicting. She said, “That is the problem, Lisa. Unless and until you resolve that God is big enough, even if things happen to your children that bring pain, you will spend the next 18 years wearing yourself out trying to play God in their life. Resolve this issue first and then make a decision in their best interest.” This was perhaps one of the most painful yet defining moments in my parenting and one I have to ask myself repeatedly. Do I trust Him even if _____?

LET’S CHOOSE LIFE

Proverbs 18:21 (MSG) says, “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.” Parents, let’s CHOOSE LIFE over our children every morning. You can do it verbally, on the bathroom mirror, in a frame (and change it weekly/monthly), or in their lunch box. Each day speak a fresh organic declaration over them or sit down and write them out for your whole family. We each wrote our own and had them posted on our bathroom mirror. I like to do it every morning on the way to school. When I pass a specific building, that is my mental reminder to make sure I am intentionally calling out who they are. I want them to walk into school wrapped in the statement, “I love you. You are important to me. You matter. I am proud of you. You can do this. You are my favorite. You are smart. You have got this. I believe in you.” This is easy on good days but vital when peace seems to go out the window in the mornings.

Here are a few – · I love being your mom! · If I could choose out of all the kids in the world, I would choose YOU. · You have got this. · I loved that you _____ this morning. · Your best is enough. · Best day EVER! · Go shine your light BRIGHT. · You are God’s answer to those around you. · I am so glad God put you in our family. · Being your mom is my favorite job. · I love you, and Jesus loves you. · You made a mess this am, but I love you anyway. · I am so proud of you. · You are such a hard worker. · I believe in you. · You are a joy to be around. · Your siblings are so blessed to have you. · You matter. · I love you to the moon and back. · That was really kind of you to do that. · You make me smile. · There is no one like you. · I love to see how you are growing up. · You are so special. · You are awesome! · I love seeing you smile. · I appreciate you so much.

TRAIN THEM

Years ago, I was invited to a mom’s night out with our local twin’s club and hungered for deep girlfriend time. I had four-month-old twins and just discovered we were pregnant again. Little did I know how that evening would change my life. These seasoned moms began to share the horror stories of taking twins out in public – each story topping the next with embarrassment over unruly children in public places. One lady raised her glass to toast ‘eating out in public with twins’ goodbye. Something about this conversation was upsetting to me. Maybe it was because I have often said that eating out was my love language (my deeper confession is that I’m not too fond of cooking). Part of me didn’t like being controlled by a child who didn’t even know how to walk yet, and part of me wanted to raise my glass and toast to equip our children to not only have the character to be able to enter all places, but to be a JOY! I went home that night, determined to do just that. We would go out in public, and I used it as an intentional training ground to equip our baby twins, soon-to-be-four children under four years of age, how to have self-control, honor, and respect. Years later, I am still reaping the fruit. I saw a need to equip hungry parents in the ways of Kingdom parenting, specifically as it pertains to healthy character building that models the heart of the Father, the original parent! Character firmly plants a child to bear good fruit. Your home will be one of honor, respect, and peace when character is at the foundation. Enjoy the journey of equipping your children to bear good fruit.

FREEDOM FIGHTER

My favorite day of the week was going to the rescue mission and mentoring the moms. I drove away with tears streaming down my face out of pure compassion and love for them. When you see someone – really see THEM – not their choices, messes, or failures – you can’t help but love them. They visibly look different every week I show up. They are becoming Daughters and fighting hard with the tools of heaven for their families. I got permission to take them to see the movie Harriet Tubman with me one week. We all have a FREEDOM FIGHTER inside of us, and these moms are giving it everything they got. There is a calling on their lives to help others find the freedom they are experiencing. I am so proud of each of them.

OUR JOURNEY

Who moves in the middle of a worldwide crisis? GOD DOES!! Many of you are asking for the back story of our move, and I finally have a moment to share. It is really quite simple. I didn’t have the grace to stay. At the same time we went on lockdown, our landlord asked for the house back so they could move into it. We already had tickets to Colorado for spring break, so instead of canceling them, we moved them up and spent the first several weeks of lockdown in Colorado, giving me lots of time to think, process, and pray. We were due back in Redding on Easter evening, and I could not do it. I would cry every time I thought of returning, and it felt so heavy. It was so strong that we changed our tickets to a later date. The following day I sat with the Lord wanting to process whatever was in my heart, and I so clearly heard Him say, “The grace has lifted” (from our season in Redding). There was never a decision. I never weighed the pros and cons or made an intellectual decision on what was best for our family. If God has given me the grace to endure a season that has cost me something dearly and deeply and lifts that grace, then the decision is simply to follow Him. I told the kids, and within days, we met with our landlord to confirm our move-out date. It happened very fast, mainly due to moving in the middle of Covid, the landlords moving back in, and the kids being on online learning already. We will continue to process our hearts with this massive transition for our family, but one thing I know for certain is that when God leads, it will be good!

KEEPING EYES PURE

A mom told me that she started the Mommy & Me journal, where you go back and forth sharing journal entry-type messages. Her daughter placed the journal on the mom’s bed, and as she flipped the pages, she learned that her fourth-grade daughter was introduced to porn earlier that day by two classmates. She wrote that it was upsetting, so she told her classmates, “This is inappropriate,” and they stopped. I love that this little girl had no grid for porn, but her spirit knew it wasn’t okay, and she honored and listened to the voice within. I believe by her standing against it, she protected the other kids who were exposed but didn’t know how to stand up against it. I also love that she told her mom right away so that she didn’t need to carry this weight around with her. The Mommy & Me journal is a beautiful way to keep connected to your children. Get a notebook or journal and write notes back and forth to each other. It can take you a day, a week, or longer to respond, and you merely put it on their bed when you have something for them to read. It is a great way to ask questions, give them space to ask you things that may otherwise be hard for a child to do in person, and connect with their heart. I have been doing this for years with my girls, and we all love it. May I encourage you to share this testimony with your children? Use language such as, “Hey guys, I read the most amazing testimony of a fourth-grade girl. Want to hear?” And then use it as a teachable lesson. For the littlest of ones, I would not introduce them to the word porn but would say it was something inappropriate, or you can begin to have conversations about private parts being private. For older kids, perhaps you will ask them if their classmates have ever talked about or shared inappropriate pictures. Leave space for Holy Spirit to lead you in talking to your children.