HONORING OTHERS

HONORING OTHERS

When I was in my 20’s, I was a part of a solid, healthy young adults ministry. We were away at our annual singles conference, where one of my friends played Jesus in a skit. Afterward, a small group of us were hanging out in the lodge with our pastor talking. The friend who played Jesus ordered a beer and came to tell us that someone had made a big deal about ‘Jesus’ drinking a beer. It seemed silly to many of us, but then our pastor asked him if that beer was something he would die for. He said, “No, it’s just a beer,” and the pastor encouraged him to lay it down because it was causing someone else to struggle. I was so moved by that, and it hasn’t left me all these years. I may have a right to do something, but I have the privilege and honor of loving those around me, and sometimes that means giving up, laying down, or sacrificing for their gain. This isn’t about the approval of others; it is about being winsome with our choices, words, actions, and character. I have taught this principle to my children – you don’t have to be doing something ‘wrong’ to affect someone.

HONORING (FUTURE) HUSBAND

My daughter made a mistake by getting lured into an app that began to get pretty unhealthy. When it was exposed, it was revealed that the girls on the app were not talking to other girls but grown men with ill intent. It was gross and so deceptive and shook her up pretty deep. We worked through that, but a week later, we were sitting at church, and I felt led to ask her if she wanted to go for prayer afterward. She did. It was a powerful time, but I could tell she was still holding onto something. I pulled her aside and asked her what was still agitating her heart, and she broke down in tears. A while back, I took each of the girls out to buy a tie for their future husbands. Their sexual purity isn’t just about them. It is about honoring their future husbands. The tie serves as a reminder to pray for him. They are not saying NO to something. They are saying YES to someone. Through her tears, she said, “Mom, I know I did not do anything wrong (app) and that it was not my fault, but I feel like I dishonored my husband.” Her heart was pierced that her choices affected him (long before they had ever met). I told her what she was experiencing was called conviction, and that is a good thing.

PRODIGALS REVIVED

I see prodigals coming home. I see boys becoming sons. I see anger leaving. I see women becoming daughters. I see those in isolation being embraced. I see the Father with a tear in His eye over His babies. I see JOY. I see people staying up all night long having encounters with Him… again. I see homecoming parties in heaven. I see love. I see FAMILY! I see people being REVIVED.

MATURING MOTHERS

Such a sweet testimony from my friend taking our Moms & Dads class on being seen, heard, and valued. 

“While spending my time in prayer doing my homework assignment, He showed me that my daughter was doing something behind my back IN THAT MOMENT. This has never happened before. So, I rushed to her, and instead of coming down hard on her or shaming her (ways I have parented before), I asked Jesus to help me, and we walked through getting to her heart. It wasn’t anything huge, but it was dishonest. At the end of the conversation, I told her I wanted her to be honest so she could feel heard. I was given a great opportunity to try and use these gifts, and I feel like it went well! Thank you so much!!” 

What I LOVE about this testimony is that she did not see her daughter as a liar but as robbing herself of using her voice to be heard. EMPOWERMENT!!!!

PROTECTION

I love the way God loved my children during our Mexico trip. I saw His provision, faithfulness, and protection in real and tangible ways over and over.

Another team announced they had spots for us to join them on an outreach back to the dump. Everything within me wanted to go, but I felt the Lord tell me not to go. I honored it, and soon the team came back and began to tell us the stories of a large number of puppies that were left at the dump to die. They were infested with worms and flies and couldn’t be touched despite them crying at their ankles. They were starving and very sick. They said the sound of them begging for help was brutal. Lauren has been my dog lover since birth, and I instantly knew that God was protecting her. She burst into tears when they returned with stories and still talks about it. I instantly knew God was sparing her from seeing it in person, as it would have been too much for her.

I am so captivated by God’s love for us and the timing in which He allows us to go through things. He is so tender, kind, and wise in the way He meets us right where we are yet never lets us remain there. He is such a good Father. 

NO JUNIOR HOLY SPIRIT

We attended a service, and they announced the little kids would be coming in and passing something out to the adults. I assumed it would be the youth group, but in walked the smallest of kids. They were adorable in every way! Suddenly the worship was ignited, and His sweet Presence filled the room. It was like you couldn’t cuddle deep enough in His lap. It was so safe and secure. I asked God what He was doing, and He reminded me of a vision He gave me years ago about revival. He asked if I would enjoy a family reunion with the great and great greats. I agreed it would be so much fun to see those in my family line. He asked how I would feel if my own children weren’t there, and I would be sad if they missed out. It would bring me so much joy to have them there with me to experience what I was experiencing. He said, “That is how I feel when ALL of my family is together.”

Get this – adults are feeling uncomfortable, and He brings the little ones into the room, releasing His presence over the adults, and touching them deeply. The Father’s delight is released when the WHOLE family is present in His Presence.

JESUS, HEAL MY MOMMY

I was once wrestling with the kids, and Ellie jumped on my leg, and I reacted – strongly! It squelched the mood really quickly. While I was tucking Ellie in, she started to cry and said she was really sorry for hurting me (my leg was swollen). I held her and, with tears, also told her I was sorry for the way I handled it. I explained to her that while I have forgiven my parents, there was a lot of violence growing up, and sometimes when I get hurt, it is like my adult mind does not process the details, and I just go into flight/fight mode. She knew she was forgiven, and our connection was good. A little while later, she came to me and asked if she could pray for me. I thought she meant my leg, but she began to pray for my mind and that everything would come into order, and that whatever got ‘ruined’ by the violence in my home would be made right again. I thank Jesus so much for showing me how to teach my children about His Kingdom and that He shows them when to release it over ME!

JESUS IS ALL YOU NEED

I wrapped up six weeks of classes at the local rescue mission for moms with drug and alcohol addictions in an 18-month program. Let me tell you – when Jesus is all you got; He becomes all you need. These ladies are so precious, and the transformation was visible. They shared stories of how they are learning to partner with God in their parenting. So many reported that the entire house is calmer, and the kids are much more at peace. They are learning to see, really see, their children for the first time, and the fruit has been incredible. Jesus, you are so amazing, and I am so thankful I know you and get to tell others about you.

WEARING MAKEUP

I am often asked at what age a girl should begin to wear makeup. In response, I share our journey. Lauren and Emma were 12 years old when they asked me if they could start wearing makeup. For one, I said yes, and for the other, I said no. I asked each of them, “Are you walking as a Daughter and want to put on mascara because it is fun and you want to enjoy it? Or are you walking as an orphan who needs mascara to feel beautiful?” There is a world of difference! If it is the latter, I am not helping my daughter’s beauty by encouraging her to use makeup (or anything else) to become her false identity. I took the one shopping to buy her first cosmetic product while I worked with the other one to know the beauty of her worth and value FIRST, and then we went shopping. Both girls know who they are today and do not need makeup to feel beautiful. They are able to enjoy it as a Daughter and feel secure with or without it. 

SPEAKING LIFE

I absolutely loved reading this comment from a mom taking our JOURNEY class. 

“After taking the online class, I am already seeing so much of the Kingdom being released in our house. Our mindsets have changed, and our language has changed. I was getting impatient about the kids getting their shoes on as we were trying to get out the door, and my youngest son (6 years) said to me, ‘Mom, are you speaking life right now?’ Be still my heart -THEY ARE GETTING IT! (And props to him for calling out ‘impatience’ and asking if I wanted to claim it. Now I have accountability too!)”

GRIEVING HOLY SPIRIT DREAM

I have been stewarding this dream for years and believe it is the time to share it. God was teaching me about family and, ultimately, the church because leadership should reflect good parenting. In my dream, the kids and I arrived at our new housing. It was a unique round building with a gorgeous custom kitchen and living room in the middle. It was designed with the intention of people doing life together. Off of the living area were master suites with private bathrooms. We walked in, each carrying a different-sized suitcase, like the ones that were passed down from parents or grandparents. There was no check-in station as it was designed to be set up like a family with connection between the occupants, not run like a motel or business. We were aware there were people gathered in one of the rooms. I knew in my dream they were aware we had arrived and were waiting, but they didn’t come out to greet us or give us instructions. I didn’t want just to assume which room was ours, so despite traveling a long distance, we waited joyfully. The landlord walked in to greet us like a mother eager to see her child. I felt at home when she hugged me. She began to flow with tears. It wasn’t an anxious, wounded, or fearful cry. Just tears of genuine sadness. She said, “I want you here, but you can’t stay. You would be a model tenant, but they were here first and don’t want you here.” It didn’t feel like personal rejection as much as just the way things were done there. The sincere compassion I felt for the landlord for having renters who did not honor her desires for her own building made it easy to take my eyes off of myself and put them on her. I hugged her and assured her we would be okay, even though it meant we would be ‘homeless’ once we walked out the door. This tender moment morphed into me, saying firmly, “I will go (to honor her), but I will not leave until I have taken a shower first.” I was so aware in my dream it was 4 in the afternoon, and I was already clean. I went to take my shower and noticed a line that went all the way out the door. End of dream. I woke up at 4 with a deep pang in my heart over what I had just witnessed in my dream. I got out of bed and sat in the dark living room, where I began to unpack the dream with God. He said, “Ask me who the landlord was in the dream,” and it was revealed she was Holy Spirit. I immediately fell on my face and wept. To witness Holy Spirit being grieved grieves me. To this day, I still can’t talk about the dream without tears coming to my eyes. I will never forget the genuine sadness in her eyes. The round living area represented what should have been a family room (not an empty living room). The people in the bedrooms were the parents/leaders who had authority just by ‘being there first.’ The dream highlights the need for instruction and guidance from them. Their closed room door and unwillingness to come out represents a wall they have built to shut out what they don’t want to enter. God sends children into families and people into churches carrying certain things (suitcases) because He knows what they need is inside of them. It grieves Him when we reject the ones He has sent to us to BLESS US. When we begin to run our families/churches according to our own agenda, we miss out on what He is doing in them. The lack of concern from the parents/leaders felt unloving, prideful, and downright rude, but the Lord showed me later that they were protecting something. Oftentimes when a parent/leader has wounds, hurts, jealousy or insecurity will, they will shut out the very ones God brings to them to help them. Just by their presence, a child/person can trigger the parents/leaders wound and cause them to ‘shut the door.’ This is a greater reflection on the parent/leader but often feels to the child/person like something is wrong with them. Parents/leaders can argue that what they are doing is right because they are ‘protecting’ something, but God never called us to be self-protectors. That is His job. I was aware in my dream, due to the uniqueness of the circle building, that the people in the closed room were at the 11 o’clock position. 11 can represent imperfection, disorder, disintegration, and chaos, which is exactly what happens when parents/leaders are unwilling to open the door, communicate clearly or welcome what those under them carry by God’s design. My shower represented my awareness that this interaction slimmed me, and I needed to rid myself fully and completely of any hurts, offenses, judgments, or bitterness. I assumed the words “you would be a model tenant” meant we were faithful financially, which is important to a landlord, but the Lord showed me that the word ‘model’ meant we, as a family, carried a model. There are five people in my family, and we all just happen to represent a different part of the five-fold ministry. We have an anointing in the area of family, and God has given us an anointing on how to model our families after His. We came into the family room, bringing that model with us. This is super important because we ALL carry things and that God wants to release through us. The vintage suitcases represented what has been passed down from each generation. We never meet someone with an empty suitcase. God has been setting things in motion in each family line for centuries. We carry what our parents, grandparents, and on did or didn’t complete on earth but may have sowed into. Each person’s suitcase is filled with valuable keys, solutions, and tools to build His Kingdom. My shower was at four which confirmed to me that I was FOR them, even though it wasn’t received. Taking a shower was about me, but FOR them as not to carry the offense against them. God also woke me at 4 am. Children are born FOR their parents until they are taught otherwise. Ironically, God woke me up at 4:44 am to release this dream. The long line indicated this dream wasn’t just for me but a corporate one, as many were slimed in the process of being shut out. This is a key and strategy of the Lord. We must clean ourselves of hurts, offenses, and judgments before we are fully free to move on.