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.
GOD SEES MY CHILD
This is from 2016, and we still run into this waitress.
We went to our favorite restaurant last night, and a waitress came running over to us, asking if we remembered another waitress the kids prayed for over a year ago. I remembered her well. She looked like she had back pain and the kids asked about it. She began to tell us that her fiancée was in a bad motorcycle accident and in ICU, not expected to live. She told us that no one would take her shift and that she had to come in if she wanted to keep her job. She had a raging headache, and her back was hurting her. When we were leaving, the kids asked if they could pray for her; she was so emotionally thankful. They prayed for healing for her and her fiancée. The waitress yesterday told me that after the kids prayed, the man took a sudden turn and ended up having ‘miraculous’ healing and fully recovered. It is easy to ask simple questions of care and concern over others, and often, God opens up an opportunity to release Heaven over them!
I just spent some time walking with a father who is dealing with the trauma (and horror) of his pre-teen daughter being groomed and seduced by an online predator. Seeing him take every step with Jesus in the process has been breathtaking. Jesus is not afraid to do the messy and hard things with you. He wants to carry the burden, the grief, and the fear and has so much to say and give you in exchange.
“You can’t. You are a single mom.” I will honor those involved by not sharing details, but I have been told this on more than one occasion over the years. The first time was when God called me to go on a mission trip. I had no desire to go, yet He began to speak to me so clearly that I gave Him my ‘yes,’ and within a week, all the funds came in. I was told, “There is no way God would call a single mom to go.” Those words stung! I beg to differ. Jesus always went after the weak, the sick, the broken, the least of these, and those overlooked. It isn’t the ‘less than’ part that qualifies a person. It is what Jesus does IN the weakness. Our weakness simply becomes the ground in which we are aware of our need for Him. No one needs to convince a solo parent (or their children) that God’s best is a family with both a mother and father, but it is incorrect to disqualify someone based on weakness alone. Judge them based on what God does through the weakness. Man may need a perfectly polished resume to qualify you, but God does not.
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!
I often hear comments about how ‘easy’ it is for me to partner with God in my parenting, as if somehow I have an easy button in parenting because of it (huh?). Yep! I have pressed into hearing Him for my children. Yep! I have some history with Him. Yep! I have faith that He will show up, reveal, and help me. Yep! I have a partner in parenting. But I STILL have to: Exercise that muscle! Make a choice to go to Him! Intentionally listen to Him! Be uncomfortable in the waiting! Trust that He knows more than I do! Surrender my children! I am in a season now where I feel utterly clueless, do not know what to do, and have Mama Bear emotions over my child’s choices. I, too, can often feel like I am at square one in my parenting. My history serves as evidence that He is faithful, but I still have to choose Him and do my part over and over and over again. That is how we build HIStory and partner with Him.
God knit your child in HIS image but with YOU in mind. He knows what you did and didn’t get in childhood and continues to parent you through your children. Parenting seems to be just fine until you have that one child who challenges you to the core. Is something wrong with the child? More times than not, no! God knit that child together in a way that aligns, restores, and heals things in you. This child is not a ‘black sheep’. This child is being used by God to change something in YOU. You can either spend the next 18 years shutting them down and disciplining them, OR you can heal what God is revealing through them.
The church is about to enter its messiest season ever. God does not make black sheep and knows what He is doing when He brings people together in the church. We have become masters at looking good, but underneath, people are bleeding. The amount of hurt in the church, youth who walk away, and spiritual abortions performed are staggering, and God is dealing with His family. Our wakeup call has already been sounded! We have endured the ‘time out’! Now that we are coming back together, we will see messes in the church like never before BY GOD’S DESIGN! He is exposing operating systems that need to be aligned with His Kingdom. He is revealing where leaders are leading from orphan places. He is highlighting areas where impurities have been allowed in. He is giving eyes to see patterns and cycles that are not bearing fruit. It is time to put away our spanking sticks in the church and discipline those GOD IS USING to create the change.
Nothing brings more chaos to a home than siblings. Nothing brings more training and character development than siblings (by God’s design). Nothing brings more chaos to a church than sibling conflict. Nothing brings more training and character development than taking those messes and allowing God to reveal, heal, restore, and deliver.
God is purifying His church and getting us ready, but we will miss it if we fail to see the areas He is cleaning up.
I went on a date with my son, and he broke down and told me how unkind Lauren had been to him all over the dog. We got home, and I asked her about it, and she didn’t express much care about it. The following morning, we talked about it again as a family, but her response was cool and casual as if to communicate she had no intention of changing (insert trigger moment for Mom when siblings are unkind to each other). She came to me a couple of times throughout the day and said she would ‘try harder,’ but this wasn’t about behavior management, as this issue has been there on some level since the day we got Boo. I told her she needed to fight harder for her freedom and that I was there to help, but she had to own it. By that evening, she asked if we could talk. She said she was upset with Hudson. About what? That he would do something that would harm the dog. I asked what she was afraid would happen if Boo was hurt. She said, “That he would be put down.” I assured her that would not be pleasant, but the reality is she will outlive the dog, and at some point, she will have to say goodbye. She agreed. I asked if she was feeling more compassion for Boo being in pain, that she had to let go of him or that she would have to deal with the aftermath of missing him every day, and with that, a burst of emotions came flooding over her. She was not afraid of losing him; she was afraid of longing for him. Instantly my mind recalled how she processed when she lost her dad. She was angry for a while and then just came to accept it. What I failed to realize at the time was that she was stewarding an unmet longing for him. She, like many people, despised the feeling of longing for something that you can’t have, and there was a part of her heart that jumped in to protect her from feeling that ever again. She wasn’t controlling Hudson. She was trying to protect herself from having to feel the longing for something you want and desire but can’t have. As her mom, I get a lump in my throat even writing that. She has gotten into a lot of conflict over the years for her ‘controlling’ behavior over her siblings with the dog, yet all along, she was scared of losing him like she did her dad. She was able to repent for her attempt to control and manage Hudson’s actions. She asked Jesus to forgive her for trying to do His job of protecting her heart and Boo’s life. She had a greater revelation that it is God and God alone who holds Boo’s life in His hands, and He already has Boo’s life figured out from beginning to end. I asked her if she could have faith that God also cares about Hudson and that He didn’t want Hudson to do something to Boo that would cause him to be put down and the profound way that would affect his relationship with Lauren. That God is protective over leading Hudson too. She began to cry and said she had never thought of that and suddenly felt compassion for him. Hudson isn’t the enemy here – her fear is.
Thank You, Jesus, that You parent our hearts and see what is really going inside of us. She didn’t need a consequence for her unkind behavior. She needed an encounter with a Father who has never left or forsaken her, who sees and hears her heart and cares deeply about what she holds dear. Okay, I might be crying myself after sharing that testimony of you.
We don’t want to shut down in our children what needs to be awakened in us. Oftentimes, God allows our children to carry something that rubs us the wrong way. It isn’t that they are doing something wrong. It is that something needs to be healed, aligned, or brought to life in us, and God is parenting us through them.
Years ago, the kids and I went through the Kingdom training classes. One night, I was selected to be a part of the team to ask Jesus (prophesy) what He wanted to say to each person. There had to be well over 150 people lined up around the room. It was a powerful night of activation for me. I got to the end, and Jary was waiting, but when I got to her, she turned the tables on me and began to prophesy such deep rich words of life over me. It is hard to explain all that happened at that moment. All I know is that I received something so profound through this woman’s prayers. Years later, I can say that I am walking in what she released over me.
I was so struck while reading Psalm 119:143 – “In my distress and anguish your commandments comfort me.” I was reading commands as in obedience, but as I sat with this longer, the revelation came. What does God command us to do? To praise, not fear, rejoice, and give thanks. Whoa!
Praise – gets our eyes off our circumstances and on Him. We become whatever we set our gaze to.
Not fear – fear sabotages our faith.
Rejoice – means to partner with.
JOY – joy releases a natural chemical in our brain that restores our passion and fight.
Give thanks – focuses on what He has already done (and is capable of doing again).
The nature of distress is extreme anxiety. The nature of anguish is server suffering. God’s COMMANDS bring us back to the reality that He sees. He is in control; He is able; He has done it before and can do it again. Yes, His commands comfort me.