DANCE, EMMA, DANCE!

DANCE, EMMA, DANCE!

Emma, my second twin, wiggled in my womb so much it could easily take the nurses 45 minutes just to get an ultrasound of her. She hasn’t stopped moving since. Not in a hyper way (she is actually very mellow), but she is always dancing. I was never allowed to be carefree as a child, and the creative arts aren’t my natural bent, so it somewhat agitated me that she couldn’t just walk through the grocery store but always had to be leaping and twirling. I used to try to teach her to control herself and walk like a lady. It caused tension between us at times. Finally, God began to show me that her dancing is a gift from Him. It is almost warfare in nature. Something shifts in the atmosphere when she dances, which is so powerful.

I sensed Holy Spirit calling me to worship Him despite the heaviness of my heart. I found myself calling my daughter from the other room, “Dance, Emma, DANCE!” Within a few moments, something broke in the atmosphere. Interestingly, I endured a lot of grief while pregnant with her, and I sincerely believe all of the ‘movement’ was her dancing in the womb. I don’t always understand what is going on, but I DO know this – children are powerful carriers of the Kingdom, and when we as parents learn to steward their gifts vs. trying to control them, WE are the ones who are blessed.

BUILDING WALLS

 A parent was asking me about the child who slams their door and remains in the room upset. Their question included, “I can’t control them,” and something profound rose within me. No, they are right that control-based parenting is ineffective for the long haul and does little to address the child’s heart. However, I think there is a lot of space between “I can’t control them,” and “there is no way I will lay down my authority that fast when the enemy comes to build a wall with my child.” Let me explain. The purpose of a wall in the natural (bushes, fences, room dividers, retaining wall) is to hold something in and/or keep something out. It creates a physical boundary line that communicates “you can’t get through.” We build walls in our hearts when we are hurt or afraid to keep the bad out and to self-protect ourselves from getting hurt again. This makes logical sense, EXCEPT #1. It keeps the bad out but also keeps the good out. #2. It traps the bad so that it can’t escape and causes us to carry the hurt/offense around. #3. God never intended us to carry the job of self-protection. That is His job. When the enemy is working my child to build a wall to keep pain in (and me out), I agree I can’t control them, but boy, mama bear comes out in the spiritual realm. I bind whatever is in operation, ask Holy Spirit to bring into light whatever is in darkness, release comfort to their hearts, and I go after their love language BIG time. When I see my child struggling and needing the comfort of a wall to feel safe, I BACK OFF from parenting their flesh and wrong behavior and go after their heart. My goal isn’t to have perfect kids. My goal is to keep their heart in the palm of my hand and teach them a lifestyle of going to God even in the complicated and messy places. Control? No. Power and authority, YES!

HELPING EACH OTHER

This is a testimony I got from a young single mom.

“Lisa, I wanted to thank you for your obedience to your calling; the Kingdom parenting online course has tremendously helped my daughters hear the voice of God. We were in our prayer closet tonight, and my daughter (who used to have the hardest time hearing) said Holy Spirit told her that her older sister had something stuck in her heart. She invited her in and asked if she had something stuck in her heart, and she broke out in tears and openly received healing! We thank God for you, and I wanted you to know we love your family!” 

FEAR KNOCKED

My son got an invitation to go on a friend’s boat. I had peace and said yes. However, several hours into it, I realized it was the same lake a sweet friend’s husband passed away at. We also had a recent story in the news of a nine-year-old that drowned in the same location. Fear was knocking loudly, and I began to rehearse all these different scenarios and thoughts in my mind. Suddenly I realized nothing had happened, and yet I was reacting with my emotions as if it had. I identified it as the spirit of fear, told it where it could go, and slammed the door. Just because fear knocks does not mean I need to answer the door!

LISTENING TO THE CHECK IN MY SPIRIT

I want to invite you into part of my personal journey in keeping my own children safe.

My daughter asked me one summer if she could get an app. After much dialogue, I agreed. The app was simply supposed to be a service for managing and tracking information. Fast forward to the present. I was away on a trip and noticed my daughter was not acting like herself. I called her numerous times and could just tell something was going on. I even FaceTimed her just to see her face. I hung up and said out loud, “She is lying. She is not okay.”

I came back from my trip and discovered a man was outside at night. Beer cans and bottles were left on different occasions in the same place; another night a pair of construction glasses were left behind. I felt a heightened sense of danger but could not for the life of me find my authority. Normally in situations like that, I rise up like Mama Bear and deal with it, but I was stumbling. It went on for a week. I discovered footprints outside my daughters’ bedroom window and one morning found evidence of someone in our backyard too. My fear was increasing. Clearly, they were not there to break-in, or they would have done it already. There was someone outside watching or worse yet, waiting. I was growing restless with concern. I met with the police and bought an expensive surveillance system. All the while my fear that there was present danger would not cease or back down.

I began to sense something so strongly in my spirit with my daughter. I would ask her questions, but her answers were not bringing me peace. She went to bed early one night, and my spirit was deeply agitated. An hour later I went into her room, turned on her light, sat down and told her I was not leaving until whatever this thing was broke. She lamented with great emotion that everything was fine and that she was not covering anything or intentionally lying.

Parents, sometimes we have to listen to our gut louder than our children. My spirit was alerting me, and it was to be heard, not ignored or dismissed. Yes, we want to respect their free will. Yes, they are becoming adults. Yes, we do not want to move into operating out of control. But if my daughter, who is still under my covering and authority, is struggling, in over her head or hurting, I cannot just turn from her because she resists me in the moment. It is my job to get involved.

Finally, I just started to pray out loud, pouring out my concern and sense that something was not right. I asked her again, and she said nothing. I continued to pray. “Jesus, what is this?” Finally, with great courage, my daughter mentioned that the app she got over the summer had private online chat groups (something that was NOT promoted ahead of time. One didn’t know about it until they were members). She began to tell me about the discussions from peers with instructions on how to pursue same-sex relationships and why kids should have sex before marriage. I asked what she thought about it and she said she knew it was not right. There was still something about this that was not matching the deep check in my spirit. I said, “Sweetie, you are right, that is not okay, but there is something else.” Her witnessing those conversations did not equal the danger I was sensing. She was adamant there was nothing.

I finally asked to see it and was MORTIFIED to discover my daughter was not talking with peers but grown men. Peers do not ask those kinds of questions and my spirit suddenly rose up like Mama Bear. The girls on this online chat were being deceived and lured. Because she violated my rules for safety AND ignored the warnings of the Holy Spirit she opened herself up to danger. And it was manifesting in the natural outside at night.

We walked through some serious repentance (she was horrified at the realization), deleted the app, rose up in our authority as a family and returned the surveillance camera.

God is serious about keeping our children safe, too. Holy Spirit put a check in my spirit that something was not okay. We have to get comfortable listening, honoring, obeying and responding to that nudge in our spirit and not talk ourselves out of it. My daughter had opened not only herself, but our family to danger and Holy Spirit was ON IT to reveal and expose it.

SELF-CONTROL AT THE LIBRARY

This is how I taught my four toddlers how to grow in self-control during story time at the library. I figured it was an excellent place to train them because no one would notice either way. I sat them down at home and talked about the librarian. I asked Lauren to stand up and share the story of her birthday party. As she was talking, I began to interrupt, wave my hands, hang on her, and be super silly. Then I asked Emma to stand up and share what she had for lunch, and I did the same thing. Yes, we were all laughing hard, but we talked about how awkward it is to be trying to share and have people be disrespectful and rude. I role-played being the librarian reading a book. I taught them how to fold their hands and zip their lips. We talked about how we can be crazy loud monkeys at the park, but a library is a place where we use self-control and show respect. I was armed with training and ready to test it out. Before getting out of the van, I reminded them of the rules and what I expected. I praised them ahead of time, letting them know I believed in them. We entered, and chaos broke out as expected. A couple of times, they began to get up, and I would fold my own hands to model for them what I expected. If they were talking, I would motion to zip my lips, point to my ears, and then intently listen to the librarian. If they attempted to get up, I would give a firm no-no motion with my head. If one ran away, I would go after her and pick her up and set her back down. I would whisper that we are listening to the story. It took us three weeks before my children fully understood but let me tell you, the JOY they brought to the room was priceless. I noticed other moms trying to get their children to start listening, too. They got to enjoy the story because they were taught how to pay attention and show respect. I also had them go up to the librarian at the end of each story time and thank her for reading to them. The first time she had a tear in her eye and said, “I dread story time each week. It is the worst part of my job. Thank you for noticing my effort.” I don’t know about you, but as a mom, that isn’t okay with me. By the time school started, they were way ahead of the game because we had already gone after knowing when to be still and quiet and how to listen when adults are teaching/reading. It is training like this at an early age that sets them up for success down the road.

GOD SEES MY CHILD

My voice is a broken record as I state over and over and over that if the Father looks at the heart, so should we in our parenting. God told me years ago, “Stop denying my daughter her dog,” and with that, I moved into another home just to get her a dog. I am not a dog lover, and it was a hard thing for me to obey. God has surely been good on His word, and Boo has brought so much healing to her heart over the years. 

WE WELCOME WHAT WE FEAR

I once asked several seasoned parents for parenting advice, and all of them said, “The one thing I feared is the ONE thing that happened.” I feared that my children would consume drugs, drop out of college, and get discovered, and in each case, it happened. We welcome what we fear. Something happened with my son, and I called my mentor, saying, “My worst fear came true.” We talked it out, and it ended up being a much smaller ordeal than my heart originally felt. At the end of the conversation, she said, “Lisa, the problem with this whole thing is your opening statement. You were carrying around fear over your son.” She was right. I was partnering with fear long before anything happened. We invite what we believe and partnering with fear actually gives it a legal right to influence circumstances. God has not designed us to manage fear but to trust Him in all circumstances. Peace and authority are my weapons in the face of fear. 

HeartWork – Whatever your greatest fear is, surrender it to God and declare His truth over the situation. Fear is not your friend. Spend some intentional time today surrendering the fear and exchanging it with His Truth.

A FOUR-YEAR-OLD TAKES ON THE SEX INDUSTRY

We were at a store years ago, and I instructed the kids to stay by the cart while I ran down the aisle to get something. When I came back, Ellie, who was four then, said to me, “Mom, this is really bad.” I asked what she was talking about, and she pointed to the display of calendars. I saw things like Hello Kitty, cute puppies, etc. She kept saying that it was really, really bad. Finally, she pointed to the Sports Illustrated swimsuit calendar. What was so incredible was she had NO reference for sexual inappropriateness. We seldom have the TV on, and the movies they watch are highly screened. I hadn’t explained to them about inappropriate dress because it was never an issue then, and they are always with me, but her SPIRIT felt the atmosphere. Using it as a teachable moment, I pulled the kids aside and asked what we should do about it. One said we should hide all of the calendars so no one could buy them. I explained how that would be very dishonoring to the manager, who had a legal right to sell them. Another child suggested we buy all of them and throw them away, so I explained how that would only encourage the store to buy more. I reminded them that they had authority over the atmosphere (in this case, a sexual one) and could exercise it. Without skipping a beat, Ellie said, “Jesus, send Your angels to hide these inappropriate calendars.”’ Just then, a man passed us, and as soon as he got side by side with the calendars, his head flipped in the other direction. Then another man walked by, and the same thing happened. The THIRD guy walked by (by now, we were all watching), and the moment he got to the display of calendars, his head immediately turned in the opposite direction. While we all left with a bit of awe over how God did that, what was most important is that we exercised our authority on earth as it is in heaven. In heaven, women are not used for casual sexual gratification, so we had every bit of authority, and all of heaven backing us, to bind that up! When a four-year-old uses her authority in Jesus’ name, it is as good as if Jesus said it Himself. That’s pretty powerful! Could you imagine a generation of little ones who knew who they were and saw it for what it was – ‘bad’ and had the tools of heaven to do something about it?

CHILDREN CAN HEAR GOD’S VOICE TOO!

“I’ve been teaching JD to hear God’s voice so today before we went into the grocery store, I asked him to pray and ask Jesus who He wanted him to show His love to. He said he wanted to draw a picture of different color flowers and also a picture of heaven and earth being connected. So I let him draw and we went in the store. When we were inside, I told him to ask Jesus who He wanted him to give it to and he pointed to the lady walking by in the flower department. I just thought it was because she was the first person he saw so I told him to keep praying. We went down a few aisles and I reminded him to keep listening to Jesus about who to give it to and he said, ‘I think I need to now,’ but there was no one around so he ran off to look. He came running back very excited and said, ‘Where’s my picture? I have an idea.’ I then followed him all around the store looking for someone. I said, ‘Are you looking for someone specific?’ and he said ‘Yeah, the first lady I saw in the flowers.’ Then it all made since to me because flowers were the first thing he said God showed him in the car. So we went back and found her, and he handed it to her and told her what the drawing was and then when I told her that it was for her, that he had prayed and heard God telling him to give it to her, she immediately started tearing up. She said she was praying on her way to work because she just has all of the stuff going on in her life right now and that that made her day. She said she was going in for surgery the day after tomorrow, so we were able to lay hands on her and pray for her. As we were walking away, JD saw this weird flower filler thing and said, ‘That’s my favorite color!’ A few minutes later she found us in the store and gave those to him and told him how much his message meant to her. Moral of the story is that children can hear God’s voice too and their simple childlike faith has the power to transform lives. If you have children try this game with them. It’s so much fun!!”

LISTEN TO THEM!

A teen boy pitched a first-class attitude, walked out of a prayer meeting, and went to sit in the car. He was scolded and rebuked by the leaders. He didn’t care and refused to budge from his position. The leader confronted his parents on his attitude, which got them to explore things further. It was revealed weeks later that the male who was leading the prayer meeting was actually grooming his sister! Yes, son, you have every right to respond, react and refuse to follow when someone is threatening your sister. Sometimes kids are reacting to something that is WRONG. They do it in an immature way because they are children, but sometimes they react to something because they are discerning it doesn’t feel right. LISTEN TO THEM!