Treat yourself to a few minutes of rest while you listen to worship. Don’t have time? That’s a LIE. Seek Him first, and the rest of your day lines up. You do have time. Put a movie on for the kids, listen in the car after dropping them off at school, while in the tub, or getting ready, and pop your earbuds in while working out or cleaning. You have time for Him, trust me!
Of all the things I have endured in life, the hardest part has been the healing process of receiving the good. More often than not, things like joy, play, silliness, trust, lavishing, loyalty, and laughter have been taught to me through my children. They are made in His image, not mine, and God knit them with gifts, talents, and personalities to redeem and restore what was lost in my childhood. God continues to parent us through our children. It’s like He first gives us one set of parents to raise and train us. Then He addresses the neglected or shut down areas by using our children to parent us (our kids don’t parent us, but He parents us through them). This is why family is so important to Him. He is building something in us, and the generations are interconnected.
I love the way God loved my children during our Mexico trip. I saw His provision, faithfulness, and protection in real and tangible ways over and over.
Another team announced they had spots for us to join them on an outreach back to the dump. Everything within me wanted to go, but I felt the Lord tell me not to go. I honored it, and soon the team came back and began to tell us the stories of a large number of puppies that were left at the dump to die. They were infested with worms and flies and couldn’t be touched despite them crying at their ankles. They were starving and very sick. They said the sound of them begging for help was brutal. Lauren has been my dog lover since birth, and I instantly knew that God was protecting her. She burst into tears when they returned with stories and still talks about it. I instantly knew God was sparing her from seeing it in person, as it would have been too much for her.
I am so captivated by God’s love for us and the timing in which He allows us to go through things. He is so tender, kind, and wise in the way He meets us right where we are yet never lets us remain there. He is such a good Father.
I hit a low one day. My heart ached, and nothing seemed to relieve it. It was intense. I felt like I was just managing life one breath at a time. I got up early to spend time with Him, and it felt heavy. I opened my mouth to pour out my heart despite it feeling like a two-ton elephant on my lips. The Lord replied. He said, “You are accusing Me of being an unfit Father.” The weight was lifted as I repented for wanting anything or anyone else to be my hope, anchor, and confidence. Oh, You are anything but an unfit parent. You are faithful! You are alive! You are present! You are capable! You are able! You are willing! You are powerful! You are MINE!
Get out of the courtroom! Some of you have been hammered with accusations from the enemy that your God is not a good Father. God is moving in a way many have not experienced before, and His ways are not always ours. We have to leave room for Him to be just that – GOD! If you hear a barrage of accusations against Him, LEAVE THE COURTROOM! You do not need to listen to evidence against Him. The evidence is tainted; the accusations are lies. The trial is a mock trial. It is not your job to defend the Creator of the universe! It is your job to silence the enemy with your praise! It is your job to know and stand on the Word of God! It is your job to be a witness of love to others! There is no case to be won – we live in a place of victory now!
My parents went through a terrible divorce, and we remained with my mom full-time. Before my dad died, he shared the painful story of how he went to Hawaii and wrote the names of my siblings and me in the sand. When the waves washed our names away, he said goodbye to each of his four children as if we had died. It was his way of processing the pain and letting go. Years later, I visited the very island my dad said goodbye to me. I felt the Lord wake me early to write my children’s names in the sand, but I am not letting them go, nor am I grieving them. Instead, I surrendered them to the Father, who will never leave or forsake them; a Father who holds their future and embraces their heart today and forever.
When we face anger, anxiety, fear, etc., it invites us to encounter Him. Many believe you have to be free of such things to encounter God, but the truth is some of the greatest intimacy comes when we invite Him into those messy places.
If you are single and had a childhood that left you with more heart splinters than joy, JOURNEY is for you. If you are newly married without children yet and want to learn how to model your family after His, JOURNEY is for you. If you were raised with rules and performance expectations and want to break the cycle, JOURNEY is for you. If you are knee-deep in the toddler season and want to prevent having to undo some parenting down the road, JOURNEY is for you. If you are struggling in your parenting with children of any age, JOURNEY is for you. If you feel distance and space between you and one of your children, JOURNEY is for you. If you are a grandparent and want to sow into your adult children and grandchildren, JOURNEY is for you. If you came from a great family and are simply hungry for more, JOURNEY is for you. JOURNEY is a month-long adventure of going deeper with God as you align your heart and family after His. This is not a parenting method or 1, 2, 3 steps, but rather introducing you to a lifestyle of partnering with Him. NOW is a great time to sow into your family no matter what season you are in.
One day, I was super-duper stressed and couldn’t get the kids in their rooms fast enough so that I could have a date with Jesus. I saw the kids as a hindrance to my very serious issues that needed to be resolved. The first thing I heard God say to me was this, “Lisa, what you need now is JOY, and I have given you four bundles of it. You push them away when you are stressed, but what you really need is MORE of what they carry.” Gulp! Out of pure obedience, I called them all up and announced that we would be playing a family game. My heart was so heavy, and finally, my daughter said that she could tell I didn’t really want to be there. I apologized and just told her that I needed “Heaven’s joy to come down on me.” My son (then 6) stood up on his chair, motioned his arms outstretched towards heaven, and said, “Joy, come NOW,” and then threw his hands towards me. He did this in a child-like chanting manner over and over. I was about to scold him for standing on that chair, which is against our house rules! Right before my mouth opened, my daughter, Ellie (then 4), got up on her chair and joined him. Argh! This was not how I wanted to deal with my heavy burden. Then my other daughter got up. I was about to come unglued. My religious spirit was highly offended, and this was way too much child-like foolishness for my serious state; PLUS, they were breaking the rules by standing on the furniture!!! When my last daughter arose to join them, I heard the Spirit say, “Join them!” Oh, come on! There was no way this heavy-hearted mama was going to get up and partner with such foolishness. A millisecond later, I was on my chair with my hands outstretched for heaven, and before I could pull it down, such JOY splashed all over me like a tsunami. I was overcome with peaceful joy and laughter. It went on for nearly fifteen minutes. I was so tuckered out after that, and my belly ached from laughter.
Oh, sweet Jesus, thank You for teaching me that worry and fret do not add an ounce of victory to what YOU have already done for me. Thank You for teaching me that Your Kingdom is righteous, full of PEACE and JOY, and if I truly want Your will to be done, I get to go play and rest while You take care of all the details.
When I travel, I intentionally spend time with the Lord once I get to the hotel to be in His presence and allow Him to align my heart to whatever He wants to do. While I know my message enough to do it in my sleep, I want HIM to show up, interrupt me and feed the people through me in whatever way He chooses.
As I was sitting with Him, I sensed strongly that I was to ask my daughter (then 9), who was with me, “Jesus, is there anything we need to confess before ministering this weekend?” The question felt out of the blue, but I trusted He was doing something. As we asked, my daughter became agitated. She was wringing her hands together and didn’t want to talk. Oh my. I told her that she could have some time to process it, but that Jesus was highlighting something for a reason. An hour later, she was still upset and shut down. I felt conflicted about what to do as a ministry leader and also as her mother. I heard God say, “How would you respond if she was a team member,” and I knew immediately if a team member was struggling with unconfessed sin, I would allow them time and freedom to work through it but would not invite them to minister. Why? Because while we all fall short of the glory of God, Jesus was highlighting something specific that He wanted to deal with BEFORE we ministered. It would not be loving of me as a leader or mother to allow someone to walk on a platform if they had something the enemy could use against them.
I told her, “Baby, you can take all the time you need to gain the courage to work this issue out with Jesus, but I love you too much to have you minister with me tonight. There is no pressure to be anywhere other than where you are right now, but as your mom, I need to cover you.” It was hours later that she finally, with great effort, came to me and told me why she was struggling. Whenever she goes to bed at night, she gets these sexual thoughts in her mind. At first, she knew she should take them captive, but they kept coming at her. She stopped taking them captive and allowed her mind to ‘see’ things. She was very emotional. I asked her what she thought she had done wrong, and she replied, “Mom, I wasn’t pure.” Oh, no, no, no, baby. You were being tempted by the enemy and needed some help, but you didn’t do anything wrong. The enemy was using it against her even though he was the one doing it, not her. There is a world of difference between something coming from within and something coming on you. I helped her walk through forgiveness for the things her eyes saw, and we asked Jesus if He forgave her. We then asked what lie she was believing because of it, and she heard, “Something is wrong with me.” We asked Jesus how He felt about her.
Hours later, we were on stage together ministering, and guess what God did during ministry time? He had me go after sexual purity. Jesus was showing us there was something in her that needed to come into alignment BEFORE we could go out and fully be His instruments. Could you imagine me calling that out when it was an area she was walking in shame? The enemy would have used it against her. Jesus is so smart, and we can trust Him to lead us.
I believe in honoring my leaders and being part of the solution instead of just opening my mouth to tear people down. HOWEVER, there are some public people who are not making me feel very safe or relaxed. Their words are fear-producing. My go-to in this process has been whenever I read, see or hear something that ignites worry or fear to STOP, take that thought captive and begin to declare who God is over that person. I have a mental picture of certain public figures who feel big and scary, but they are like two-year-olds to God. I declare over this person that while they may be really LOUD right now, God is not moved by their need to control.
Psalm 118:6 – “The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”
Psalm 146:3 – “Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there.”
Give it a try. Instead of picturing certain voices as BIG, picture them in relation to GOD!