I heard from a wonderful guest speaker from Sweden who shared this glorious testimony. A young man took a photo of himself in a sassy pose and made 50 copies which he hung all around his school. The caption said, “I am a Christian. Ask me why!” Kids would come to stand by him to whisper, “Tell me why.” He later said, “That was the best thing I ever did!” Jesus ignites a boldness in our children’s hearts to be the light for those around them.
I AM A CHRISTIAN
Excerpt from my book:
I was sandwiched between my pursuit of trying to help the kids with their deep owies and yet still trying to keep the bridge from burning fully with their father. I was struggling with letting them go to his house for the weekend, knowing it would only reap more trauma. Part of the problem was that we did not fully yet know what kind of trauma was happening, just that the kids were having strong reactions and saying things that were pointing to some very upsetting possibilities. My friend asked me, “Do you trust God even if something happens?” My immediate answer was, “NO! No, I do not.” I mean, I loved Him, and He was my Savior, but trust Him with my children? Oh my. That stretched a level of faith in me I had not yet tapped into. Her reply was both upsetting and convicting. She said, “That is the problem, Lisa. Unless and until you resolve that God is big enough, even if things happen to your children that bring pain, you will spend the next 18 years wearing yourself out trying to play God in their life. Resolve this issue first and then make a decision in their best interest.” This was perhaps one of the most painful yet defining moments in my parenting and one I have to ask myself repeatedly. Do I trust Him even if _____?
My son is just that – MY SON! He had made a mess by going against my instructions, not once but three times. He wanted something and felt tempted by it even though he knew it was wrong. As we walked through this, something really hurt my heart, and I had to process it with the Lord. Yes, teens rebel. I get that. Teen brain is a real thing. Yes, kids make messes. I get that. Foolishness is the right of the immature. But I am his mother and have established trust his entire life, and I am not about to let teen brain speak to him otherwise about who I am as his mom. I told him part of his consequence is to go back and handle the situation differently. He had to put some effort into really pondering how he could have done it differently, and I suggested he write me a note. Tears came to my eyes as I read his HEART on paper, communicating his wants and desires with me and asking for permission to ‘break the rule’ for the reasons listed. It was respectful, kind, and quite mature. I came to him and asked how he felt about the mess he had made and the consequences given. He felt awful as tears were still fresh in his eyes. I told him that God cares about the desires of his heart, and SO DO I. Had he taken the time to bring his desires in the light, he most likely could have not only had his wish granted but without the price tag of lying and breaking connection. Sin never works well in the long wrong, and I am so glad he is learning this more and more now.
“This morning before school, we had an episode at home where a lie was involved. It resulted in us disciplining the child who had lied, who then decided to throw a fit, storming to her bedroom and locking herself in it. Daddy came to the rescue and managed to bring the child downstairs again to finish breakfast and get shoes on to head to school. I felt my child needed a little more explanation on why she was disciplined. I went on to explain that lying breaks Mommy’s trust and her heart. I tried to explain it from many angles and as easily as possible. The other child, who was not involved, comes in and says, ‘Mommy, could I try to explain it in a different way?’ I agreed. Said child puts her two hands together in the format of a bridge and says: ‘This is you (…), and this is Mommy. You guys are close, and you trust each other. When you lie, this bridge gets weaker.’ Slowly separating her hands, she proceeds, ‘Then, if you keep lying, the bridge will break because there will be no trust.’ So, we made an agreement, building a little bridge with our hands, that we would always tell the truth no matter how difficult that truth is and even if we are scared of telling the truth. I realized she was feeling a lot of shame because of telling a lie. So, Daddy (being the most amazing daddy in the world) said, ‘I also lied when I was a kid.’ Her eyes widened, and she asked, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘I was scared.’ I could sense shame falling off of her as she realized that she was not the only person that ever lied. I took the opportunity and also said, ‘Mommy has also lied because I was scared of being punished if I told the truth.’ I could tell she was mind blown by both of us admitting we had lied before. We reinforced the importance of telling the truth no matter what and got them ready for school. As soon as we were done, she jumped up and walked around like the full confident self she was. She came over to say goodbye to me, and we did our special handshakes, and at the end, we built a bridge again, and this time around, there was no shame in her eyes. Lessons learned in this. I’ll definitely take that illustration of trust with me forever. That’s gold! Vulnerability breaks shame! Boom! I love my family more than anything after Jesus!”
Have you ever walked through something and felt trapped? I have. I recently was in a situation, and it felt like the scales were completely even – darned if I did, darned if I didn’t. I felt trapped, and I hated that feeling more than the dislike of my circumstances. I knew I needed to process my heart as the feeling of being trapped was keeping me from hearing and seeing clearly. I saw Jesus reach out His hand and touch the dead center of my belly. I sensed He was validating the hardness of my situation and that I was between a rock and a hard place in the natural. I finally ask, “Jesus, which side do You want me to choose?” I knew that was the wrong question, but I was trapped and needed to start somewhere in my attempt to get out. I saw Him reach His hand towards me as if to give me a lifeline. I grabbed it, and He pulled me closer to Him out from between a rock and a hard place. I didn’t need to choose between darned or darned. I could choose HIM and remain with Him alone. My heart instantly felt relief and freedom again. My friend, you are not trapped either. Reach out and grab His hand and allow Him to pull you close.
I shared a post about Ellie bombing a test and having to deal with the shame that was trying to come on her. She was able to identify it and not come under it, but it took her a bit to process. A week later, she put a note on my bed about how smart she was, and it struck me funny. While yes, I celebrate the amazing grades, I wanted to make sure she was staying in alignment with the truth. She came to me puzzled by my note and said, “Yes, I am a good student,” to which I said, “No, that is not who you are.” She was confused. I told her, “Your worth and value are no more in your great grades than when you bombed your test. Either way, you are good.”
We have got to help our children separate their identity from their successes, or else we are doing nothing more than praising them for being performance-driven.
“Hi Lisa! I have newly discovered your presence and am loving your posts and the way you approach parenting. We’ve had this in our hearts and have purposes to parent this way, but it can feel overwhelming without extra help. I love the prompts you give and the practical, real-life examples. Thank you! I just bought Heart Splinters and am slowly working through it. I have three beautiful boys. Our oldest was diagnosed with arthritis when he was 3. He lost the ability to walk and was in therapy for a year, along with multiple shots per week. He is 10 now and is completely fine! We know the Lord healed him (and blessed us with good doctors), but I can see some heart splinters regarding God and feeling like everything bad happens to him. Yesterday, he said something about this, and I said, ‘You know, I have this book called Heart Splinters. Maybe we can look at it together? I think you may have some heart splinters.’ He looked at me and said, ‘I think I do. We should do that.’ Sorry for the long message, but I’m just really excited to have found a tool to touch those places I wasn’t sure how to get to but knew they were there.”
Reliving old testimonies are my memory stones of what God has done. This is from six years ago.
Housing update for those of you who have been watching this journey unfold and want to know how to pray for us. Our house was rented from under us, and although it wasn’t right, I felt led to accept it and move on. I had great faith that God would provide as that is His testimony with us. However, weeks turned into months of looking for our next home, and yet nothing lined up. It wasn’t for the lack of finances, leads, references, or interest from the owners but rather a lack of peace with each place. Time was ticking as we were scheduled to be on the road for two months, speaking at over 17 engagements with Let the Children Fly in three different states. I was overwhelmed by the details of it all. Finding lodging for eight weeks was a full-time job in itself, let alone caring for the kids, securing storage, a home for our dog, launching a new product, teaching weekly, working daily, and all the year-end activities, PLUS finding a house! I just about signed an application for a one-bedroom apartment just to feel secure that we had SOMETHING to call home when I heard the Lord say, “You can do that if you wish, but I am not in it.” With an attitude the size of Mississippi, I said, “Do You mean You want me to go on the road with four kids bouncing from hotel to hotel for eight weeks straight with no home?” to which He so tenderly said, “YES!” In that moment, I surrendered the battle and stopped striving to find our housing. We threw everything in storage, found a home for our dog, packed our suitcases, and left. The deep joy and peace that we have endured on the first part of our travels have been indescribable. There is something about facing what we fear the most and allowing Him to take us to the other side. When you are led by the presence of God, peace becomes your pillar, and where there is no peace, the choice becomes clear. I can’t tell you just yet how this is all going to unfold.
My parents went through a terrible divorce, and we remained with my mom full-time. Before my dad died, he shared the painful story of how he went to Hawaii and wrote the names of my siblings and me in the sand. When the waves washed our names away, he said goodbye to each of his four children as if we had died. It was his way of processing the pain and letting go. Years later, I visited the very island my dad said goodbye to me. I felt the Lord wake me early to write my children’s names in the sand, but I am not letting them go, nor am I grieving them. Instead, I surrendered them to the Father, who will never leave or forsake them; a Father who holds their future and embraces their heart today and forever.
One of the things I love about traveling and speaking is the ministry time. One touch of God can change a life in a moment. I often spend a great deal of time with God before asking how I can partner with what He is already doing in a particular community, as I never want to come in and just do my thing. At one place over the summer, He said to do ministry time totally different than I was used to (love that!). The Presence was so sweet and tangible. As a minister, you want people to encounter and receive all they can, but there was something that wouldn’t let me move forward. I had to process what He was doing and how I could partner with it while standing on stage in silence. He said, “I don’t want to come in as Fire tonight. I want to come in as a Gentleman. There are people in the room who need to know I am safe.” People encountered a safe Father, and it was breathtaking. It was the simplest yet most profound ministry time I have ever led.