I once made a list of all of the ‘bad’ things that happened to me and could find a Scripture that specially gave a command against what happened. It etched something so deep inside of me that when God says to do or don’t do something, He is doing so to cover and protect us. If we want healthy families, we need to have a value to honor and obey what He is telling us. Following His ways is the only way to bring life and fruit to our homes.
Has anyone told you lately how proud they are of you? Seriously, many of you are first-generation Christians trying to raise godly children while building a solid foundation for yourself. You are not able to pull on your childhood experiences and what was modeled for you and are pioneering your way. You ARE doing it, and you are doing a good job. Keep going. He is so very proud of you.
One word from God can flip an entire situation. Ask Him to lead you to Scripture and meditate on it. Sometimes I get one line or even one word and chew on it all day. It may not feel true. It may not look true. It may not look possible. But it IS true! Camp out on HIS truth until it becomes your truth.
Often, the last thing I feel like doing when I feel heavy is worship, but there is something so powerful about opening your mouth and flexing those weak muscles. Worship ushers in His presence, aligns our thoughts with His, and, most importantly, gets our eyes off of ourselves and our weaknesses and back onto Him and His power, strength, and ability. I have my go-to songs for when I feel tired and weary.
I had to take a moment to process my heart in the midst of so much movement. I began to feel good about all that I have been able to accomplish in a short amount of time between packing, cleaning, selling items, arranging details, canceling utilities, securing housing, saying goodbyes, homeschooling, and on and on. I stopped myself from saying aloud, “I am a ROCKSTAR!”. I saw a mental picture of how weary and exhausted I was earlier in the week, and I heard God say, “No, I AM,” and I began to cry. Oh yes, yes, yes. It is YOU who gave me the grace and strength to accomplish all that I am able to accomplish. It is YOU who showed up in my weakness and made me strong. It is YOU who sustained me with Your power to end well. It is YOU who never left me. It is YOU who walked me through this part of my journey just like You have every other one. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 – “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
I told God, lying on my hospital bed, that I wanted to be a poster child of His power. A week later, I was supernaturally healed of both my kidney and liver failure. Twenty-seven years later, He continues to display His power throughout my life. When I am going through something, I seem to REALLY go through things. I feel, embrace, endure, process, and ponder. I just have this knowing that what God is doing IN me, He will eventually want to do THROUGH me. I sometimes laugh at the depth in which God takes me when He seems to take others faster. Part of it is through my process; He is allowing me to give language for it, along with powerful tools of heaven, knowing that I will share it with others. My life is not my own, but His for His use for His purposes.
The goal is not to be airlifted and dropped in the middle of the ocean just to say you have arrived in the depths. The goal is to do the journey with Him every step of the way. He is much more interested in your JOURNEY with Him than He is with your destination. So, what do you have going on today? Do it WITH Him.
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.
You can’t take the parent out of parenting. A parent’s journey matters because they will naturally parent out of that place.
Who wants this?
“‘But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings, and you will go out and leap like calves from the stall. Then you will trample the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day I am preparing,’ says the LORD of Hosts” (Malachi 4:2-3).
I see HEALING, EMPOWERMENT, and AUTHORITY in this verse. What if REVIVAL wasn’t something that we were to champion to make happen but more so to do our part, and it was a natural fruit or expression of God? I believe Malachi 4:6 is the recipe for true revival. Your part – Listen to those who are leading you back to family and turn to your child. “And he will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction” (Malachi 4:6).
Once you learn the incredible ways earthly relationships can impact or distort a child’s view of the godhead (God, Jesus, Holy Spirit), it changes the way, you parent. I am constantly looking for ways to reveal to them the reality of who God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit really are. There have been times when I have not modeled it well and have responded harshly or with impatience. When I go back to make it right, I will say, “Holy Spirit is never harsh or impatient with you, and I am sorry that I treated you that way.” One of the most helpful things you can say to a child going through a divorce is, “Do you know God will never leave you?” or to the child being bullied, “Jesus would never treat you like that.” Humans fall short, but God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit do not.