I was in one of my go-go-go modes and feeling frazzled by all that needed to get done. My daughter came to me so sweetly and said, “Mom, is there anything I can do for you because you really NEED to rest?” She was so gentle and kind but serious about it. She is only SEVEN but understands the concept of staying in a place of peace, rest, and trusting well. It would be easy to partner with feeling like a hypocrite in trying to teach my children about the Kingdom when I still struggle with things, but my kids will never have the years of trauma and emotional baggage I did as a child. While I am unlearning things, they are learning them for the first time at a young age. It is OKAY that I am teaching them about their Father when I am still learning. It is also OKAY that they are surpassing me in many (many) areas already. I think that is awesome, and I welcome the voice of a seven-year-old to remind me that it is okay to rest. She is a world changer and often changes mine!
CAN I PRAY FOR YOU, MOM?
Do you ever hear of a great testimony and say, “I want that?” While the heart of sharing testimonies is the confidence God wants to do it again in your life, the focus has to be on HIM, not the fruit. We can’t just say, “I want that fruit”; it has to be, “I want HIM.” So, when you see God move mountains in someone’s life, let it encourage you that He is able, but ask Him for the keys in your own life and follow whatever He tells you in your situation.
In 2012 I felt led to take my then 8-year-old twins to the Voice of Apostles in Florida. It was a life-changing experience for us as a family. On the last night, I took them out to a lively pizza joint with lots of noise and activity, but I seemed to get lost in watching one particular family sitting across from us. I could see wealth and success all over the dad. He was a proud man of prestige as he had much to show for his life’s dedication. But I could also see intense shame. I could not shake it. While his kids bounced around, he remained unusually still. I heard the Lord say clear as a bell, “If you pray for him, I will heal him.” I was unclear about what he needed healing of, but I told the Lord, “Yes,” yet somehow knew that doing so in a public place wouldn’t be honoring, so I waited for the right time. I can’t explain it other than I had the gift of faith and knew that he would be healed. We ended up finishing at the same time, and when he attempted to stand up, I noticed the crutches that were used to drag his legs across the floor. My heart broke for him and the source of his shame. When we both got outside, I approached him and chatted briefly, and he seemed friendly. When I asked if I could pray for him, he said, “For what?” and immediately got defensive. Having to state the obvious, he became enraged and publicly humiliated the girls and me for wanting to pray for him. It was hard. He mocked me and gathered others to laugh at us. Ugh. As a family, we have prayed for scores of people and have had very few people decline, but this was different. When we got in the car, I started to cry. My sweet Lauren said, “Mom, I am sorry he wasn’t kind to you,” and my tears gave way to deep emotion. I told the girls I wasn’t crying because I got rejected and made fun of. I was crying because despite his extraordinary success, the man had a wound, and God wanted to heal him, but he built a wall around his weakest area and wouldn’t let anyone in. Years later, the story still brings a tear to my eye, not for the rejection I endured but because of his unwillingness to receive the love God had for him through us.
I felt a check in my spirit to check my son’s bag. I did and found that he ‘borrowed’ his sister’s Fitbit (the one she waited for a year to get). She was already gone for the weekend, and after he and I worked through it, he put it back immediately. The following day I sensed God telling me to have him confess it to his sister. We all knew she would be pretty upset and feel violated, rightfully so. When he told her, she handled it like a rock star and was very humble and gracious. But then, a few hours later, he had it on his wrist again. When I asked him, he said, “Oh, she realized I valued it more than she did and gave it to me.” WOW. I gently pointed out that that would not have happened had he not owned his mistakes. God’s ways just work and have a crazy way of blessing us, even when we mess up. What a powerful lesson for him to see the fruit of humility.
I knew my husband was dead wrong (I could even prove it in the Bible). But my responses to him were over the top (“above average,” as my pastor liked to say). I soon realized that if Jesus were married to my husband, HE would be able to respond in love and peace no matter what He was doing. This revelation didn’t make me feel condemned for not being perfect. Instead, it made me realize how UN-like Jesus I really was, and I hungered to be more like Him. A mentor friend so graciously told me, “Lisa, every time he sends you to the moon (in anger), use that to go after healing in your heart.” I did just that. He would trigger me, and I would sit with Jesus to find the root of why that was a sore spot for me. I would pull the root, if so to speak, and my reaction was less and less the next time he did the same behavior. Soon I began to see myself unaffected by his less-than-kind choices. There is such power in becoming healed, and we can use those trigger points in our favor to help usher us in greater healing and wholeness.
A mom taking our class shares this precious story: “Just last night, as I was getting my girls ready for bed, my youngest was having a meltdown over something someone had said to her. With a new awareness since taking this class, I helped to walk her through forgiveness and ask Jesus what He thought of her. She went from crying inconsolably to laughing and at peace, ready to go to sleep and wondering what she would dream. It was beautiful.”
If you want to embark on a JOURNEY of going deeper with Him in your parenting, we have room for you.
I finally ordered my son to his room to give us all a break from the constant strife. Moments later, as I walked down to his room, I vividly remember saying, “Holy Spirit, I have no idea if I am going to yell at him, spank him, hug him or play with him when I get there, but You do!” And then I remember adding a little, “… And you better show up quick!” The moment I entered his room, it was like I could ‘see’ pain in him. I got this impression to grab a stack of paper. I sat on the floor with my (then) 5-year-old son and had him wad up a piece of paper and throw it, but while he was throwing it, he had to call out how he felt about his dad leaving. “I am mad he can’t play ball with me” (throws the paper ball and makes a new one), “I am mad I am the only boy in the family” (throws the ball and makes a new one), “I am sad he can’t tuck me in at night.” This hurting child threw nearly 50 paper balls, and by the end, he was weeping. It was one of the most painful moments for me as a mom to watch this pain seep out of him, but it had to get out. In the end, I scooped him in my arms and just held him. I called forth his worth and value and that he was fiercely loved and wanted. From that moment on, the ‘sting’ was gone from being fatherless (not that there wasn’t more to process, but the splinter was gone). There are adult men and women all over the world who are dealing with the trauma of being fatherless, but as parents, we CAN partner with Holy Spirit to give us creative ways to deal with the hurt, lies, and offenses of childhood IN childhood!
1,000’s of people have been affected by my life because the forces of darkness were not successful. Death came knocking hard and almost won. Many years ago, I was slipping into a coma enduring 76 long hours alone, slowly dying. It would be another full day before I was found. Hell thought it won that day. The enemy thought he succeeded in killing a life that didn’t appear to matter much to anyone. A heart that hurt more than it loved. A mind that was tormented by lies of utter unworthiness and despair. I took more than I contributed and shared my brokenness with anyone brave enough to try and get close to me. But God… But God saw the value of what He created! But God knew the plans He had for me! But God was confident in His power! But God knew my day of salvation was near! But God decided life was better for me! But God sent His Son to die for ME! But God knew it would be the final blow before I began to rise up like a lioness! But God knew that my ache would turn into my roar! But God knew my future included pulling others out of the pit! But God, He had four precious babies in store for me! But God knew the lies were just that – lies! But God sent people in my path to help me! But God knew my pain would turn into worship! But God was aware of what He was doing in me! But God knew I would be His weapon of destruction against the forces of evil that almost conquered me!
Baby, I do not know what you are facing today, but the same God who moved in my life is MOVING in your life. Keep going, for He is not done with you yet. He trusts Himself with your journey.
There are scores and scores of testimonies building up of how GOD is using this season to strengthen the family. If you could peel back the rooftops and have a birds-eye view into many homes, you would see this. Dads are connecting with their children. Mothers are letting out the pain instead of carrying it around. Fathers are on the floor, laughing with their kids. Moms are teaching respect. Marriages are being healed and restored. The kids’ love tanks are overflowing. Connections are being restored with siblings. Children are being taught who they are. Parents are teaching their children about His goodness. There is laughter. Families are talking again. Offenses are being forgiven. Siblings are playing and releasing joy. Children feel like they belong. Moms are being seen and heard. Dads are relaxing. Pain is being addressed and resolved. Dads are laying down the idol of money. Pillars of peace are being contended for. Families are readjusting their focus. Families are seeking Him together.
Keep going! You are doing an incredible job allowing Him to use this season for GOOD. I know you are tired, and there are still so many unknowns, but you are doing it one choice at a time. When the FAMILY is strengthened, there is an advancement of His Kingdom. Revival happens when the family is REVIVED! May Your Kingdom come into the FAMILY ROOM!
Hudson’s salvation story is very different than his sisters. A guest speaker came to their school to speak at chapel. God showed up and touched the children so deeply that he was invited back the next week to speak to the older kids. Since I had three kids in that group, I was eager to go. I began to witness something odd happening. There were two groups of kids in that room that day. One group was hungry and clinging to every word and move of the speaker. My daughters were in that group. But there was another group of kids which my son was in, and something was different. While there is always grace with the things of God, their response, or therefore lack of, seemed off to me. Days later I couldn’t shake what I saw with the group my son was in. I would cry out for Jesus to show me what it was and over the course of a few days He showed me that those were the kids who haven’t yet made a choice for Jesus. They are playing hard in the Kingdom, know how to hear Him, prophesy, and heal the sick but when they watch others encounter Him, they feel like something is wrong with them because they know they aren’t encountering Him the same way. WOW! When we see that there is more it should produce hunger in us, but because these kids are surrounded in a culture where there is an assumption they are already believers, it creates shame in them that something is wrong. This broke my heart. Hear me when I tell you what this produces in a child. They are angry and frustrated and often sabotage the things of God in your home. Not because they don’t want Him but because they don’t know how to say, “Hey, I am scared to tell you that I am not experiencing what you think I am”. I have since counseled scored of parents with kids who are acting out negatively only to find out that they feel spiritual pressure to behave, act and feel a certain way with God. They get tired of pretending and grow sick of managing the feelings that something is wrong with them. I knew I couldn’t go to my son and say, “Hey, I don’t think you are saved,” as he already had a deep connection with Jesus, and I didn’t want to do anything to plant doubt or tear that down. It was one of those moments where I honestly didn’t know how to respond. We were at church one day and I left so filled with His love, yet the moment we got home all hell broke loose mainly with Hudson (don’t you just love those moments. Ugh). I was so frustrated that going to church was producing so much chaos that I sent all of the kids to their rooms for a break from each other. I sat in the living room and cried tears of pure frustration. I heard God say, “It is time. Bring Hudson out,” and I KNEW God was telling me it was time to close the gap. I called him to the living room and held him. I asked, “Hey buddy. Are there times you see other kids at school and know that you don’t feel what you see them experiencing?” His eyes got really big, and he had this look of complete shock that I knew. He began to cry and said, “Yes.” I reminded remind him that Jesus loves him and so enjoys playing with Him, but that Jesus wants to be IN him and not just come and go like a friend. Hudson accepted Jesus that day.
My daughter made a mistake by getting lured into an app that began to get pretty unhealthy. When it was exposed, it was revealed that the girls on the app were not talking to other girls but grown men with ill intent. It was gross and so deceptive and shook her up pretty deep. We worked through that, but a week later, we were sitting at church, and I felt led to ask her if she wanted to go for prayer afterward. She did. It was a powerful time, but I could tell she was still holding onto something. I pulled her aside and asked her what was still agitating her heart, and she broke down in tears. A while back, I took each of the girls out to buy a tie for their future husbands. Their sexual purity isn’t just about them. It is about honoring their future husbands. The tie serves as a reminder to pray for him. They are not saying NO to something. They are saying YES to someone. Through her tears, she said, “Mom, I know I did not do anything wrong (app) and that it was not my fault, but I feel like I dishonored my husband.” Her heart was pierced that her choices affected him (long before they had ever met). I told her what she was experiencing was called conviction, and that is a good thing.