I was sitting with the Lord, processing something in my heart. He told me to go grab three crowns (each member of our family has a specific crown) and put them on the floor in a triangle shape. He began to show me how so often we come to Him in a line as if we are standing face to face. That is great, except it still requires a lot of us (to hear well, discern, plug in, etc.). He said to put my heart carrying that issue in the center of all three of them. I did just that and experienced an encounter so deep that it reduced me to tears. I have never felt so unbelievably insignificant in the best way possible. When God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit huddle together for a group hug with you in the middle, something is going to shift. I encourage you to allow Him to encounter your heart today in the same way.
Rest doesn’t mean sitting idle and doing nothing. It means getting your identity from Him, not in what you do. If rest is something you struggle with, ask, “Jesus, will You please show me what about rest makes my heart so uncomfortable?”
I am so undone by the goodness of Jesus. I was processing some deep things as my daughter was walking through one of her biggest breakthroughs. It was breathtaking to watch her walk this out on her own. While spending time with Jesus, I kept hearing the story about the woman caught in adultery. There are many thoughts about what Jesus was writing in the sand, so I asked Him to show me. He answered my question by showing me the position of His eyes. While the men of the day, who deemed themselves mighty important and superior to the rest, dragged a naked woman before the courts (the shame and humiliation must have been brutal), Jesus looked away. Could it be He knew His presence alone was convicting, and He didn’t want to stare at her nakedness? Then I heard Him say, “I didn’t defend her sin, but I did defend the JUDGMENTS against her.” I wept! Jesus isn’t about shaming you publicly for your weaknesses, sins, or messy places. He is there to defend the part of your heart that is in need of a Savior. Read John 8!
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.
If you are single and had a childhood that left you with more heart splinters than joy, JOURNEY is for you. If you are newly married without children yet and want to learn how to model your family after His, JOURNEY is for you. If you were raised with rules and performance expectations and want to break the cycle, JOURNEY is for you. If you are knee-deep in the toddler season and want to prevent having to undo some parenting down the road, JOURNEY is for you. If you are struggling in your parenting with children of any age, JOURNEY is for you. If you feel distance and space between you and one of your children, JOURNEY is for you. If you are a grandparent and want to sow into your adult children and grandchildren, JOURNEY is for you. If you came from a great family and are simply hungry for more, JOURNEY is for you. JOURNEY is a month-long adventure of going deeper with God as you align your heart and family after His. This is not a parenting method or 1, 2, 3 steps, but rather introducing you to a lifestyle of partnering with Him. NOW is a great time to sow into your family no matter what season you are in.
Ponder this for a moment – EVEN IF you were perfect in all you do as a parent, you still wouldn’t be able to meet all your child’s needs. God designed it that way. There is only one God, and it is He who needs to fill certain places in a child’s heart that even the best of moms and dads can’t reach. That should encourage you that it isn’t all up to you and that you can partner together with the one and only perfect Father to parent your child.
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.
Learning to shift my focus is what really helps me in times of earthly stress. Say it is a money issue. I do not focus on the need for money to come in (which would seem the proper response). Instead, I focus on His goodness as my Husband. When I need something, my eyes and faith aren’t on the end result, but on HIM. Instead of praying, “Jesus, I need x-amount of money by Thursday. Please send the money.” I focus on, pray, and declare, “God, YOU alone are MY Provider.” See the difference? One keeps our eyes on the lack/need, while the other keeps our eyes on Him. The latter is the place of FAITH and REST. God whispered to me years ago to “enroll them” (meaning my kids at a Christian school in CA). That is all He said. Nine months of fear and doubt followed. Worry was on one side, and God’s gentle whisper on the other – I had to choose which one I was going to partner with. After I sold our house in Colorado, said my goodbyes, and drove four children across the country, the school called to say there wasn’t any room for them and asked what my plan B was. At that moment, my entire world could have crashed. I thought about the question and realized there was NO plan B because I wasn’t striving to make plans happen. I only had what God told me. My eyes weren’t on them getting into the school or not; my eyes were on GOD’S GOODNESS. He told me what to do, I did it, and whatever He had for us would be good because He is a good Father, Husband, and Provider. A week later, the school called back to say there was room for the children. Of course, there was; God told me to enroll them. Do we have a plan B when circumstances squeeze us? Either God is good, or He isn’t. Either He is our Provider, or He isn’t. Either He is love, or He isn’t. We can’t pick and choose when we want to take Him off the shelf and when we want to put Him back on it.
Get out your journal and encounter your Father. Ask Him what He wants you to ask Him.
I was raised in the Lutheran church but did not become a believer until I was 24. I loved God, Jesus, and His Word, but I wasn’t so sure about Holy Spirit. I disliked anything that reeked of being ‘charismatic’ and often made sharp remarks about it. It was not that I did not want the Spirit of God, but rather, I was afraid and unsure. I feared it might have been demonic in disguise. I had a mentor who embraced Holy Spirit, which made me uncomfortable. We would have conversations about it, but it usually ended with me telling her I was done. My mom went to a faith healer when she was diagnosed with reoccurring breast cancer and had an ‘encounter,’ as she said, but died two months later. That only increased my dislike and distaste for anything ‘charismatic.’
I am so thankful that God knows our hearts and understands our journey. I am even more grateful that He doesn’t keep us there. On occasion, I will get a message from a parent confessing their unbelief about things regarding Holy Spirit. They share their sincere heart and concerns with me. I listen, but I have learned over the years that they do not need, or really want, for ME to try and convince them one way or another. They need not another opinion but to hear directly from Him. My loving response to them is simply this – it is Holy Spirit’s job to lead you into all truth (not mine or any other pastor/leader/teacher). Mental knowledge is one thing, but the conviction of His truth is another. I encourage you to take what you are cautious and concerned about and bring it to Him directly. Ask Him to teach you and lead you to His truth. Teaching is not what He does; it is who He is (John 16:13).
The number one reason why people can’t hear God speaking to them isn’t because God isn’t speaking. It is that they don’t really believe God loves them enough to speak to them. It is a heart issue, not a listening issue.