We wrapped up two glorious weeks in Colorado and were up early for our flight. There was so much joy and gratitude pouring out of each of us. That is until we were going through security. It was hectic and very chaotic. The crowd had a subtle push as everyone wanted to get through the security line without further delay. Hudson started getting agitated and was letting everyone around him know it. I would ask him to do something knowing there wasn’t much time to tinker around. He was obeying but with extreme exaggeration. It would have been almost comical if it wasn’t holding up the rest of the people. I became annoyed and upset with his attitude. I made a sharp comment about his attitude which only made things worse. On the train, I was able to take a breath and heard Jesus tell me that I needed to be a student of my son and to allow him to teach me what he needs in this new teen brain season. I apologized for my sharp words that focused more on his outward behavior than his heart. I told him what Jesus showed me because it is always important to me that my children know while I am their mother and to be respected, Jesus is their friend and cares about their hearts, too. I love it when Jesus shows me where I have misunderstood my child’s heart. He is their advocate and I want them to know it. While on the plane, he asked to sit by me which was his way of communicating he wanted to reconnect. I knew he wouldn’t value having a conversation in front of everyone so I wrote him a note. His reply caught me off guard. His frustration was not within himself, but rather stemming from my rushed and chaotic parenting. He is still a child at 14, while capable of much, still a child, and simply needed more time.
BE A STUDENT
Ellie was invited to spend the day at the coast with friends. They were having so much fun that it turned into an impromptu sleepover. She came home the following morning 2 minutes after we walked in the door from church. We were rushing around getting things done as we had friends coming over for brunch. I greeted her, hugged her, and continued to get ready. The entire time our friends were here, she was in a funk. She was snapping at her siblings and just being unpleasant. After they left, I heard her respond unkind and asked her to come to me. I inquired if anything happened on her adventure with her friend that needed to be processed. Nope. I asked if she was tired from the late night and needed a quick nap. Nope. I asked if she was hungry as our lunch was off due to late brunch. Nope. I finally said, “Then what is agitating your heart so bad?” and she burst into tears. She began to tell me how much joy and fun she had with her friends and that when she walked in the door, it was like no one cared that she was back. BINGO! I vividly remember Emma having the exact same scenario play out years ago. She cried big tears, saying that when she came back home, no one asked her about her time or stopped doing what they were doing to welcome her. I did not fully understand the scope of it until Ellie experienced the exact same thing. Friends give us a deep sense of belonging, so when a child has a great sleepover, playdate, or outing with their friends, their love tank in the area of belonging is overflowing. When they re-enter the family, they need a few minutes to be welcomed back home with intention, or it can send the message, “You don’t belong here.”
When an older child says, “I am bored,” they are often saying, “I am starving for connection,” so giving them a list of chores doesn’t always meet the need but drives the isolation deeper. Partner with Holy Spirit when you hear your child declare, “I AM BORED,” to see if they are really crying out for healthy connection.
As my children enter their teen years, I have been sensitive to the fact that things are changing, including my parenting and responses to them. What worked when they were five or ten doesn’t work with pre-adults, which is a good thing.
My son was in a funk for a month or so. I would describe it as he has shut down a little, has a wall, refuses counsel, and seems to be making 101 choices in the opposite direction. It was never anything significant, but many little things that added up. He was on a roll one morning, agitating everyone within reach. I was frustrated with the lack of getting through to his heart. On the way to school, I heard the Lord say to drop Ellie off and have Hudson jump in the front seat. I drove to the other side of the parking lot and had every expectation and intention of giving him a firm chat about his choices and attitude. I heard the Lord say, “Remind him of who he is,” and began to declare, “Hudson, you are my son. You are fiercely loved and profoundly cherished. You are a gentleman, kind and caring. You see others and value them. You are a powerful builder…” and on and on I went reminding him who he was.
When I ended, he said, “Is that all?” and left the car. As I drove away, I said out loud, “Well, that didn’t work, Lord.” I pulled into the parking lot of my conference when the phone rang. It was my son, and he was so distraught he couldn’t form words. I asked if he needed me to return, and he said, “YES.” I reversed it and picked him up. We sat in the parking lot (the same place we had been a moment before), and he sobbed. No words, just tears. He began to say he was sorry for all of the things he was doing that he knew deep down were wrong. We grabbed Communion at the Prayer House and took it to the Cross. It was time for him to go to school and me to my conference, but his tears would not stop. He has a compassionate heart but is not overly emotional, so I knew something deeper was going on and wanted to partner with whatever God was doing in his heart and brought him home. I went to have lunch with him, and the tears were still coming with ease. He had no words, just tears. He finally said, “Mom, I know I have been making a lot of bad choices, and I just needed to know that you believed in me again.” Gulp!
When was the last time you reminded your child of how you felt about them? They may need to hear it again TODAY.
Such a precious testimony of how this mom is training her son to hear God in a time of peace.
“My son wanted to take a toy to the kids’ club at the gym. Instead of saying yes or no, I had him ask Jesus. Right away, he heard no. We talked about how we always listen to Jesus and what He says about things. A few days later, he wanted to bring the same toy and told me that Jesus said it was ok. I was suspicious but decided not to be the middleman in the situation with God. He brought the toy and almost left it at the gym (my daughter remembered and got it for him). Later, I asked him if it was Jesus that said he could bring the toy to the gym or himself. Right away, he admitted it was his voice. It opened up a great conversation about why we need to listen to Jesus. Thanks for the encouragement that he really does hear at 3.5 years of age. I continue to ask the Lord for creative and fun ideas for teaching my kids to hear. I’m excited about what He has for us this year!”
When I first began life as a single mom, I would wake in the middle of the night, totally paralyzed by anxiety. The best way to describe how I felt is to recall the scene from the movie Titanic when they were in the bottom cabin, and water began filling the room. They only had a tiny pocket of air left and were gasping for that last bit of air before they were fully submerged. That is how I felt, except I had four kids holding onto me, and none of them could swim. It was horrifying to consider which one I had to let go of because I couldn’t carry them all. Talk about horrible! One day, I couldn’t take the stress of being stressed any longer and faced my fear head-on. I realized that the verse in Jeremiah about His plans for a future and hope was my life verse (Jeremiah 29:11), but it also applied to the kids. At that moment, I realized I got five doses of that promise because my kids were minors and under my watch. I finally surrendered all of the panic, worry, and anxiety. I declared, “Father, if it is Your best will and plan for us to be homeless, then we will be the cutest homeless family standing on the corner with our signs.” I was quite serious at the time, and all I can say is that you would not believe the financial testimonies God has produced through our family. They are nothing short of miracles. Supernatural living was birthed through striving to rest in His goodness.
I had a dream. We were having a gorgeous church potluck-style gathering in a massive lodge. There was so much activity going on, from bean bag tosses to archery to great food. Everyone was lively and having a great time. Something caught my eye, and I wandered outside, where I found these larger-than-life boulders that you had to climb down a bit to get to this raging bonfire that radiated heat. It was memorizing. Many fires were going on, but each required some effort to get close to it. I was lonely outside by myself, so I decided to go back to where the party was, but as I did, I noticed a fire at the end that was really bright, and I wondered if it was unmanaged or even getting out of control. I hiked to it and found the most beautiful fire sitting all by itself. It felt so strange to have a fire with no one around. I wanted to be with the people but couldn’t abandon the fire. I woke up and heard the Lord say, “My people do not know how to be entertained by MY fire.” There has been a profound invitation to be still and at peace with His fire and to allow it to transform as fire transforms whatever it consumes. I am finding a place of peace I am not sure I have ever encountered.
How about you? Are you still longing for the party, or have you wandered alone to the fire?
I had an encounter with the Lord that left me in tears for 48 hours. My soul was agitated and frustrated, and I even said, “Either I am going to quit, or God is bringing me to death.” I spent a whole day pressing in, talking with wise counselors, and seeking Him. Finally, the revelation came and revealed an area I have been out of alignment in. Not ‘sin,’ but a belief that I was modeling my life after what wasn’t His heart. A lie so deeply entrenched it shaped my view of Him. When we are out of alignment, we create landing places for the enemy to use and influence us. Think of a disc in your spine being out of alignment – it will affect many areas of your body. Alignment matters! It would be so easy to lament and ask God why on earth did He wait 27 years to reveal that to me? It would have shaved off years of pain, confusion, and heartbreak to have been aligned years – no, decades – ago. But that is not the Father’s heart. He is not interested in airlifting us over the ocean, dropping us in the middle just to call us ‘deep.’ He is interested in the journey, the process, and the discovery together. I feel like some of you have cursed your process with words such as, “I should be further along than I am,” “I should be over this by now,” “I will never be free of this,” “I will never measure up to where others are at,” “Freedom is not for me,” etc. Break agreement with these lies and allow Jesus to be your guide one step at a time. He knows what He is doing with your life and will never ever be a day early or a minute too late. I bless your JOURNEY!
We moved to California, but only three of the four children had acceptance letters for the school. We had yet to hear about a spot for Ellie. We were sitting in Hebrews coffee shop when the head of the school approached me and told me there was room for Ellie. I asked her to share it with Ellie directly. Upon hearing the news, Ellie shot me a look and, with her finger in the air, said, “I told you!” and went off to play. It wasn’t arrogant or disrespectful. It was full of faith and confidence that phone calls, lack of calls, now or later, it doesn’t matter. What her Father has spoken is as good as true! It was easy for her to wait because she heard what He said – that she would get in. This was God building her faith! In the future, when she wants something, I would remind her of this testimony and encourage her to have faith for it again.
We attended a service, and they announced the little kids would be coming in and passing something out to the adults. I assumed it would be the youth group, but in walked the smallest of kids. They were adorable in every way! Suddenly the worship was ignited, and His sweet presence filled the room. It was like you couldn’t cuddle deep enough in His lap. It was so safe and secure. I asked God what He was doing, and He reminded me of a vision He gave me years ago about revival. He asked if I would enjoy a family reunion with the great and great greats. I agreed it would be so much fun to see those in my family line. He asked how I would feel if my own children weren’t there, and I would be sad if they missed out. It would bring me so much joy to have them there with me to experience what I was experiencing. He said, “That is how I feel when ALL of my family is together.”
Get this – adults are feeling uncomfortable, and He brings the little ones into the room, releasing His presence over the adults, and touching them deeply. The Father’s delight is released when the WHOLE family is present in His presence.
Look at this precious testimony from a mom embracing taking communion together as a family.
“We had out-of-town company get to our house last night, and we didn’t do our normal evening family devotions and communion. My kids went to bed, and I was up talking with company when, an hour later, my 7-year-old daughter came out of her room, didn’t say a word but went to pour herself juice and break bread for Communion. She sat at the table like this and prayed while she partook. Then she came and hugged me and simply said, ‘I felt like I needed to do this.’ And went to bed. My mama’s heart burst.”