CATTLE PROD

CATTLE PROD

I used to have this cycle where events would tell me that I didn’t belong. I would work it out sometimes rather fast, but it took my time and energy. Cycles can be exhausting and wear you out. I began to see this as unfruitful and pressed in further with the Lord. While it was great I could work it out in my heart, I wasn’t so sure God wanted me to be on auto-repeat with the same situation.

As I asked the Lord, I heard the word ‘cattle prod.’ Growing up around Minnesota farms, I knew what a cattle prod was but felt an invitation from the Lord to study them further. WOW! A cattle prod’s purpose is never to kill or destroy the animal; it is to CONTROL them with the purpose of getting them to MOVE IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION. I asked God to show me who gave the enemy the legal right to use this tool on me, and I saw my mom. My childhood was full of pain and heart splinters, causing me to move out for good when I was in the 8th grade. But the picture He showed me was when I still lived with my family. Surprised by the time frame, God showed me that my mom would often make comments about me not belonging, or she would say, “Maybe you need to live elsewhere.” This taught me, long before I was removed from the home for good, that I didn’t belong in the circle. So fast forward to adulthood when circumstances gave me the message I didn’t belong; it was like a cattle prod in my side. It would get my attention, and I would stop doing what I was doing and spend time unpacking the hurt and lies. I always found the truth and peace again, but once I realized the root of where this was coming from, I forgave my mom for teaching me I didn’t belong and declared that tool no longer effective. I saw Jesus come to a herd of cows (and had the sense I was one of them). When He scooped me up, I morphed into a little lamb snuggled in His arms. He carried me away from the dirt and manure and brought me to the grassy field. But when He set me down, I immediately tried to run back to the herd. Why in the world would I do that if He just reduced me? He said, “Because it is familiar. You believe you are a heifer, but you are My sheep. The cattle prod is used on those who do not know who they are (identity). It is My job to keep you in the pasture, but I do not use a cattle prod to control you; I use My staff to lead you.”

The irony of the cattle prod is that it always seemed to happen right before something big in my life, and it caused me to not only stop but move in the opposite direction. Hmmm.

HeartWork – Do you have an area of your life where you feel like you get cattle prodded out of the blue, and it takes you days or weeks to find your footing again? Ask Jesus to show you what He wants you to see. Maybe this isn’t so much about you but about the enemy using past experiences to shock you into old cycles. Ask Holy Spirit to bring healing to the area you keep getting poked in and for Him to break the power of the cattle prod. You are not a heifer. You are His sheep!

ABORTION

Do you remember Pilot Sullenberger (Sully), who landed his plane in the Hudson River, saving the lives of all his 155 passengers? His aircraft lost both engines after flying through a flock of geese. Despite being a hero, the NTSB brought charges against him because he didn’t save the plane. During the trial, they had flight simulators that ‘proved’ he should have turned the plane around after the engines shut down and that he could have successfully landed in LaGuardia. Wisdom from experts created evidence against his choice.

Finally, his voice was heard. He agreed that there may have been a ‘perfect’ outcome, but he gives voice to the fact the simulators could not factor in having the weight of human life in your hands and making a split-second decision that will affect you the rest of your life. After that, all charges were dropped. It is easy to have perfect wisdom when you are clear-minded, but other factors control and impact the outcome when you are in a real-life situation.

I have a hard time taking an ‘in your face’ public stance against abortion, not because I am not pro-life, I AM, but because I SEE the mom, not just the child. I cringe when I see people standing up for the child and, in the meantime pushing the hurt further in the mom. I want to paint a picture to help you understand how a young mother could choose to end her child’s life. The enemy preys on situations that shock our system. The bill that arrived in the mail, a loss of a job, experiencing someone’s rage, the death of a loved one, etc. In these moments, our minds and nervous system are overwhelmed. This is when the enemy comes in and whispers lies that feel true. We partner with lies at that moment because we have ‘evidence’ that the lie is true (even though it is not). When a young girl finds herself pregnant, the shock alone is paralyzing. Many of them are still walking out puberty, where their emotions and thinking aren’t fully developed. The news is like putting a heavy blanket on a young puppy. It is too heavy for them to process and carry. “You aren’t old enough,” “You will ruin your child,” “Your mom will kill you if she finds out,” “People will think you are a whore”, “You will never have a life again,” “You can’t do this,” “The father will never walk this out with you,” “You are all alone,” “You don’t even have a car,” “You will never get a job now that you have a child,” and on and on it goes. Shame kicks in, which causes many to isolate themselves from family and community. They attempt to carry the weight alone and are left with their limited fear-based thinking to create a solution. They are now in extreme emotional isolation. Emotions trigger thoughts, and thoughts trigger emotions. It spirals out of control, and the ‘what if’ game brings torment. Fear races through their minds at the realization they can’t even fully care for themselves yet, much less the burden and responsibility of another child. Remember the scene in Titanic when the water was entering the cabin, and they were sucking the last bit of air out of the corner before the water completely engulfed them? Now picture that person gasping for air with a child attached to them. The inadequacy is paralyzing, and a spirit of fear is in operation.

We have girls in shame, fear, and isolation – all tools of the enemy that gain the legal right to influence. The abortion movement is ‘wisdom’ inspired by the enemy to steal, kill and destroy the next generation. They go under the disguise of ‘helping,’ but it is like burning down the house to kill a spider. It may have removed the ‘problem’ but leaves scars deep inside. When a young mom partners with shame and fear, it is like putting a magnet on herself. The abortion industry is there to ‘save’ them from this situation and also has a magnet attached to it. Both sides attract each other in the spiritual realm. It isn’t the young mom in a rational, clear-minded place walking into the abortion clinic; it is a young mom who is being influenced by the spirit of fear, profound shame, and deep emotional isolation that leads her there. After the abortion, the mental torment ceases, and the dust clears, leaving her to realize what she has just done. She must choose one of two roads – deal with the pain of her reality or push it down so deep it blinds her conscience. Rationalizing in their mind but knowing in their spirit otherwise.

We can demand a ‘perfect’ choice, but unless we understand what is in operation and HOW a young mom can be seduced to end the life inside of her, we will not help them choose otherwise. The battle is not won on the picket line but in the spiritual realm. The enemy’s plan is to use fear, shame, and isolation to lure the young mom into the abortion clinic, where she volunteers to end her child’s life. God’s plan is to use community, love, and acceptance to help the young mom navigate a very challenging situation. This is where true mothers and fathers are needed the most because life is literally dependent upon it.

TRIGGERS

Your spouse was only half of the problem. Your response to their unloving ways is what God wants to reveal and heal so that you do not take it with you in your future. Please read that sentence again.

You might not like hearing this; neither did I. But it ended up being one of the greatest GIFTS and I want to give that gift to you.

Your triggers are your friends!

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.

SHAME HAS TO BLAME

I was in a season where I was aware that the words coming out of my mouth were critical and sharp. I am not typically one to hold a grudge or offense for very long, but it was like I was constantly calling out the bad. Little things like the man who cut me off, the person who didn’t use their blinker, or the lady who didn’t return her shopping cart. Once I said it, I let it go, but it bothered me that I even had the eyes to see it. They were things that should not require my energy or time. I became so aware of it that I told the kids I would pay them $1 every time they caught me being critical. But it only seemed to increase. I finally met with my friend, a professional counselor, and asked her what the problem was that I could not control my critical words. She said something to me that not only changed my life and set me free but became a KEY that I have used with others for their freedom. She said, “Shame HAS to blame,” and began to introduce me to shame’s profound effects on our mind, body, and soul. Shame is so toxic to our existence that it kills, shuts down, and robs us of our God-given abilities. Shame is like acid. By blaming others (my critical words), it was releasing some of the toxicity. It was survival to manage the shame. I HAD to blame. The goal, therefore, was not to manage the release of the shame but to resolve the shame once and for all. Thus began a several month-long journey of discovering the root of the shame and how to release it GOD’S WAY.

I created a ten-day online experience for others to join me on the journey of loving yourself deeper, wider, and more passionately than you have been loved before. You will watch a video teaching, and I will provide activities and exercises based on the teachings for the rest of the days. The second week focuses on how to raise children to be proactive, so they never have to find themselves again down the road.

You can register here: Moms & Dads – ONLINE CLASS – Let the Children Fly

DISEMPOWERED

The definition of empowerment is to give (someone) the authority or power to do something. This means you can’t empower yourself. It is something that is given or denied by someone else. This is why God puts us in families and churches with mothers and fathers who have authority over us, see the value in us, and champion what God has placed inside of us. I am not talking about when people are using their God-given authority in a healthy way. There is an appropriate time for a parent, leader, teacher, or pastor to protect those in their care by not allowing them to do something. This is healthy and a protective covering. Nor am I talking about entitlement and that people should just be able to do whatever they want when they want it and that no one can tell them “No.” I am talking about when people in authority use the tool of disempowerment to protect something in them that needs to come into alignment. I hope to bring perspective to the dynamics of what happens when parents/leaders use disempowerment as a tool to control those under them.

Orphan – Disempowerment removes parents/leaders from being true mothers and fathers the way God intended homes and churches to operate and therefore opens them up to the demonic simply by creating a culture that isn’t in alignment with His Kingdom. Being disempowered pulls them back into an orphan mentality.

Double-Mindedness – Disempowerment can throw a person into double-mindedness. They want to honor it, but it doesn’t feel right. They talk their mind out of their emotions and their emotions out of their mind. It creates a cycle that is so inner focus that it consumes them. “I love them,” “I can’t understand why they don’t believe in me,” “I see how powerful they are,” “What’s wrong with me?” They have a very hard time reconciling their mind and heart because they are both screaming two different things. The Bible says a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. It is hard for someone to be confident and full of courage when your mind and heart are not in alignment with each other.

Covering – Disempowering someone puts the wrong kingdom covering over that child/person. The nature of empowerment is authority. When someone (falsely) takes it from you, it leaves you vulnerable to the enemy because it is by Christ’s work on the Cross that we are all empowered with authority to walk who He has called us to be.

Stunts Growth – Being disempowerment removes the protective covering that allows for mistakes and messes while maturing. There is no learning curve and without it, children/people are crippled in making choices because they know they can’t do it perfectly so they shy away from trying.

Shame – Disempowerment isn’t God’s tool so it will never make sense to the human mind and heart, but they attempt to reconcile the question “what is wrong with me?” (when in fact, there is nothing wrong with them). Some can spend a lifetime attempting to answer this question.

Introspection – Disempowerment hands the person a mirror and forces them to be critical of themselves, not knowing where they went wrong or how to make it better. An awkward awareness of self follows you around unsure if you will make the same mistake again with others, yet you aren’t fully aware of what mistake you made in the first place.

Rejection – The greatest form of rejection is when someone dismisses the gifts inside of you because it is the very reason why you were created.

Idol – Disempowerment puts the focus on the one in authority in an idol state and is always unhealthy for all parties. It makes their stamp of approval the goal rather than what God is doing and saying in that person’s life. The more it is withheld, the more the person craves it, and the idol grows. It is a vicious cycle and trap of the enemy to get one’s eyes off Jesus. Idol worship is empty and lacks the ability to produce fruit.

Judgement – I found this part very interesting. When there is idol worship there will be a lack of peace. The enemy often hands a person the tool of judgment to fight it off with. I have seen this countless times as people have battled disempowerment and then become seduced with judgment. Their minds try hard to slap it back into honor and love, but eventually, they give away and push back the disempowerment with judgment. The very person they so deeply wanted to know who believed in them suddenly becomes the worst person on earth, and judgments are made about who they are, their intentions, and credibility. This is so sad because they move from being disempowered to judgmental, which continues to hinder them.

You can’t steward the position of disempowerment well enough because it is not your identity or God-given place. There is only ONE way out of disempowerment. Forgiveness. Forgive the parent/leader who told you they didn’t believe in you, who didn’t value your gifts, and who didn’t find you worth investing in. For many, there is great grief and sadness as the person in authority is generally someone you care a great deal about (parent/leader). Give your heart a voice in walking this out and allowing God to restore your authority!

WHAT’S MY NAME?

My daughter was having an unusually rough day, and I kept catching her sneaking things, which was so out of character for her. We asked Jesus to shine His bright flashlight in her heart, which provoked her to ask me the meaning of her name. I showed her a fun book where she could look it up. Once she found it, she began to cry and said, “Oh, I am so glad! I thought my name meant deceiver.” I was shocked, but as I listened to her, I realized she had misunderstood something someone had said. She then partnered with the voice/thought that told her she was a deceiver and guess how she acted that day. We then asked Jesus what her name meant to Him, and she heard “hard worker.” Guess how she started acting since she heard that. 

Here is the mental shift: my old way of parenting would have disciplined her for sneaking things and not being honest. While that is something I would want to deal with, it wasn’t the issue. The heart issue was that she believed a lie about her identity. Her joy and peace returned when her identity was secured in the truth.

ABBA

How would you answer this question? “The thing I wanted from my dad the most was _____.” 

I am not asking if you did or didn’t receive it. I am asking what you wanted the most from him. Spend some time forgiving him for not knowing how to give it to you. More importantly, have you learned how to get that from your Father? If we do not learn how to receive from Abba, we will simply pass on the same lack to our children. It is never about having perfect parents but experiencing the perfect Father.

DUSTY ROAD

Friends, as bloody, bruised, and betrayed as you may feel, you have got to walk your path to Calvary. Only in that place can you truly rise again. We must must must teach our children to be quick to let go of hurts and offenses, like the hot potato game. It’s okay that you caught it but feel the heat and toss it off of you quickly.

EMMA’S OUTFIT

I have favorite stories of my children about how God encountered their hearts. This is my favorite one of Emma’s because we are still seeing the fruit of it a decade later.

When Emma was five, she came to me sobbing that she hated her outfit. I encouraged her to pick out something else. She did, and that, too, produced an ocean of tears. She set off to find something else, but the flood of tears continued. At this point, I was getting a little annoyed and frustrated. We were already super late for Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s house, and clothes were simply a non-issue in my home up until that point. Why did they matter so much now? By the fifth outfit, I was about to give her a good lecture on, “naked you came, naked you will leave,” and I could feel my blood pressure rising. I heard her tears coming back up the stairs, and suddenly Holy Spirit whispered, “Ask her WHY.” I sat her down and asked why she hated her clothes. She stated immediately that it was because she wasn’t pretty enough (lie). But we had to keep asking questions. WHY did she believe she wasn’t pretty enough? She then revealed the painful splinter: “Because my daddy doesn’t love me.”

Satan had whispered to her that he didn’t like her because she wasn’t pretty enough and that if only she could find the right outfit, she would be pretty enough to be loved. Imagine if the splinter had not been dealt with that day. Fast forward several years to when she is fifteen. Her unresolved need for love drives her to dress for boys’ attention. What about when she is twenty-five and married and causes a great amount of debt due to her obsession with shopping in an attempt to feel good about herself?

The hurts, lies, and offenses are there to steal, kill, and destroy our relationships with God, ourselves, and others. I believe that the enemy was seeking to plant a lie deep in Emma that day that would reap a harvest for a lifetime through the pain with her father. I explained that the voice she heard was not Jesus but His enemy.

Because kids have free will, I always ask, “Would you like to tell that lie to leave?” It empowers rather than controls them. She said she wanted to get rid of the lie, so I led her through a prayer that looked like this: “Jesus, I confess I believed the lie that I am not pretty enough to be loved.” “Jesus, I forgive my dad for not making me feel like a princess.” “Jesus, where were You when I got my feelings hurt?” “Jesus, how do You feel about me?” She sat there with her eyes closed and her head bowed and suddenly got the biggest smile on her face. She looked up and said with excitement, “Mom! I wore this beautiful dress, and my hair was like a ballerina’s. I was dancing with Jesus, and He said I was HIS princess!” While that was indeed a sweet moment, what is so awesome about this story is that God used it all for good when the enemy came to harm and hurt.

To this day, years later, that girl KNOWS she is Jesus’ princess!

RELIGIOUS SPIRIT

This is what the religious spirit looks like. A mom messaged me about a dream she kept having.

“Here is the dream: I am awaiting my turn to enter the Kingdom, and before I get there, I hear, ‘Do I know you? Do you know me?’ And I always awake abruptly. I have this worry when I wake, and I almost feel paralyzed in how to fix the problem. Like I have to jump through hoops to be back where I need to be. Or I have to perform to be good enough.”

I asked her if she was secure in her salvation. She was. I asked her how she felt when she woke up. She said she was anxious/worried. This is not how God speaks to us in our dreams, even if He is highlighting something. I told her to come out from under it, take authority over it and pray for Holy Spirit to guide her dreams. The spirit of religion was trying to groom her into thinking her relationship with God was not secure.

DON’T LISTEN TO HER

Years ago, when I was getting ready to put the house on the market, there was a ton of work to do. Three times I asked my son (then 7) if he had picked up his room, and three times he said it was perfectly clean. I was already tired and exhausted and felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. I walked down into his room and stopped dead in my tracks. Legos – everywhere! Upon further investigation, I discovered a week’s worth of perfectly clean clothes stuffed in the most bizarre places. I came unglued. I unleashed my mounting frustration on him and ‘cursed’ him – not with swear words, but by calling out things that were not a part of his identity. I was saying things like, “You are making my life so hard,” “You don’t care how hard I am working,” “You always do this,” “You never clean your room…” Lies full of anger.

In the midst of my emotional release, Holy Spirit told me to STOP and go upstairs. It was so strong that I simply zipped my mouth mid-sentence and walked out. I got upstairs and lamented to God in my pity party about being a single mom having to do it ALL by myself, plus homeschooling, plus selling the house, plus, plus, plus, plus. Finally, the anger gave way to tears, and I needed to realign myself with the truth that I was NOT alone, that God was still providing and caring for me, that I had permission to rest and know that my Father radically loves me! I know enough about inner healing to know I just sliced my son’s heart pretty good and needed to make it right with him ASAP. I went down to his room, where he was faithfully cleaning his Legos, and told him with tears how sorry I was. His response was, “Oh, that’s okay, Mom.” I made him stand up and put my hands on his shoulders, and told him that it wasn’t okay that I, or anyone else, spoke to him like that and that I was wrong. His response? “Don’t worry about it, Mom. I still love you.” His response confused me as it didn’t match the scene a few moments ago. He said these powerful, life-changing words with tears in his eyes. He said, “Oh, Mom, you don’t get it. What you said hurt my heart so bad, but when you were walking up the stairs, I asked Jesus what He wanted me to know, and He said, ‘Don’t listen to her,’ so I just threw out your words.”

I had trained and then practiced and practiced with my children going to Jesus, and now, when it was ME causing the hurt, he knew how to take it to Jesus and get the healing he needed without me! Equipping our children to hear His voice and work through hurts, lies, and offenses is, in my opinion, the greatest tool for success you can ever give your child in today’s world. I encourage you – MASTER this over time! Please just sit for a moment and let the Holy Spirit use that testimony to release something in your own heart.