“One night a boy came to the group for the first time. He had some special needs but was accepted instantly. We were talking about our hearts and had a gift bag that symbolized each child’s heart. We talked about how our hearts can become hurt when others don’t speak life to us, or we accept lies from the enemy. We gave examples of things that may have been said to us, hurtful things, and ripped off some black construction paper to fill our bags. Holding the white gift bags up, you could see a lot of dark inside since they were filled. I explained God created us ALL with treasures in our hearts, and when all of those hurts remain, we need to let Him heal our hearts. Each student threw out all of the ‘hurt’ and found a wrapped present at the bottom (they had no idea it was even there!). They ripped open their presents and were thrilled to find some sweet treats, as well as a bunch of notecards with special messages inside of what GOD says of them! Mason’s face grew hopeful, and He collected all of his notecards, shoving them back in his bag. He didn’t want to lose any of them as he said they were his treasures. I asked Mason if he thought there were any hurts in his heart that he needed God to take out, to which he quickly responded, ‘Oh yes! Definitely!’ I asked him if we could pray for him, and he agreed. God’s power was so overwhelming as we all laid hands on Mason and agreed for a healed heart. His countenance was so encouraged when we were finished. He told each student & helper he loved them as he left and asked if he could hug everyone. This is what it’s all about!”
I AM IMPORTANT
So touched by this. Years ago, we had a ministry student do some work for us, and she made a choice that caused my daughter intense pain and heartbreak. God used it for good in my daughter’s life, and she is completely fine today from the event. She reflects back on the story through the lens, not of pain and grief but of how the Father was so real to her. I recently received a text message from a number I didn’t recognize, and it took me a moment to put the story together. It was from this young gal who lamented sincere repentance. I am not sure about the events that unfolded in her journey, but God was clearly convicting her, and despite the time passed, she was eager to make it right. She offered to send me money to buy something for my daughter and owned her choices. My goodness, there is something so beautiful about holy conviction of wrongdoing AND humbling yourself to make it right. My daughter was able to respond directly, assuring her that she was fine and that nothing was owed. I just wanted to share to encourage you that there is no time limit on clearing the air and making things right with others, especially in God’s family.
In your mind, picture your bathroom mirror with steam all over it. Slowly pray the following prayer and then watch and listen to what you hear Him saying to you.
“Lord, if You could write any word to describe my identity in you what would it be?”
Now ask Him to wipe away the steam so that you can see yourself in light of that word.
Gather as a family in the living room, in the car, at the dinner table, or bedtime, and ask Jesus together. This is so empowering for children because they get to witness how God communicates with you, which increases their faith, and together you get to encounter Him. Spiritual hearing is a muscle that is strengthened by worshiping and praying. The more you do it, the stronger you become at it.
When we first became a solo family, I was concerned about how my young children would view men. God began to highlight certain men to us; one was good at loving his wife, another was super funny, and another was great at connecting with his children. Some were models to us far away, and others became the hands and feet of Jesus to us. I began to call out certain character traits in each of the men to my children, and we created a phrase, “They are a Purple Heart Dad.” Years later, we were writing out our prayers for the year, and my daughter, who has received many prophetic words about the medical field, wrote down, “I want to a Ph.D.,” which I assumed meant a medical degree. Months after praying for her Ph.D., we realized she meant Purple Heart Dad. To this day, we use this expression almost weekly as we see men being incredible examples of kindness, love, servanthood, protection, joy, wisdom, strength, etc. God has given us so many incredible men who have stood in the gap and shown us God’s heart for a man, father, husband, and friend.
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.
Sometimes I think I could write a book titled MY DESTINY (almost) KILLED ME! I am opening up a window into a part of my journey to see some of the lessons God has taught me along the way. May it encourage you in your journey!
I have wrestled these past years deeply with managing Let the Children Fly. Is it a business? Is it a ministry? Many would say it is both. Yet as others attempted to empower me on how to GROW my platform, it only increased my inner agitation. There is an insane amount of pressure in the Body of Christ to create and establish something by the labor of your own hands. Years of seeking wise counsel would tell me how to increase and grow my ministry, yet I could never get peace about it. Until recently, when God told me why… I never set out to run a business or lead a ministry. Growth organically occurred AFTER I stewarded what He gave me. To grow my platform outside of my intimacy with Him felt scary, even risky. It’s like working with a publisher before the book is finished. We can only faithfully steward something within our capacity. God isn’t about increasing the platform. He is about increasing capacity to steward more of what He wants to give you, and IN THAT, the platform increases naturally. To do it the other way around is nothing short of pride. It will not reap a true harvest. God will never give you a platform in your name.
Banning Liebscher once said, “Do not go after being the most elegant speaker. Go after the anointing and authority. The first produces fame; the second produces transformation and eternal fruit.” Everyone wants a platform, but few survive the resistance training between the audience and the stage. There has to be a process, a journey. Before you can carry the weight of a platform, you must be refined in key areas of weakness, or the stage will crush you. It is God’s mercy not to elevate you beyond your capacity. He isn’t denying you; He is protecting you. Everyone has patches of ice they slip on, and God wants to teach you how to endure things without falling. This is a process of growth that takes time. God is a master at growing people for the long term and is not interested in fifteen minutes of fame. He wants fruit that will last into eternity and later generations. Fruit takes time to mature. The Body has lost the art of serving others for no other motive than helping someone else succeed. Not everything needs to be turned into a marketing or financial funnel to profit you. Social media is a power that exposes what is inside us. If a sense of significance comes from the number of likes, we are partnering with a dangerous pit. While the temporary high of the ‘likes’ feels good, it leaves us feeling empty. There is nothing wrong with social media as long as it is from a place of being a Son/Daughter. Our motive is everything. Some people do not have a calling to reach the world. They have a calling to change the world of a few people well. You will be rewarded, not for what you grew, but for how faithful you were with what God has given you.
I was lamenting to God once about the world’s value around numbers. The pressure that says you are only as good as your followers. I had an intimate time surrendering the pressure to God and being okay right where He has me. The next day I woke to a message from Facebook saying they helped me clean my group up and deleted **2K** people from my group. Gulp. I felt the loss for a moment and knew deep down I was okay because the numbers (+ or -) do not define my faithfulness, worth, or value. The pressure broke off, and I refused to let it drive me.
You can’t find your calling/destiny until you first have discovered your new identity as a Son/Daughter. To give you your destiny before you know how to operate in your calling would be a recipe for disaster. If you want to know your destiny, first learn your true identity. Finding your calling is one thing – overcoming the battle to remain in it is another. God isn’t looking for the most significant person, ministry, or platform. He is looking for YOU to be faithful in stewarding what He has given YOU. You contribute something on earth today that is vital, and you can’t afford to waste it on anything outside of where He has you. There is only one Kingdom ROCKSTAR, and His name is Jesus. He didn’t come to promote but to steward well all that His Father gave Him to profit others, not Himself.
I was in a really intense season – probably the most significant spiritual battle I have ever walked through. Sometimes you just get credit for staying in the game and not quitting. Yet here we are, sitting as a family, all on our laptops, writing out our testimonies to encourage others. I have tears in my eyes looking around the room at my kids typing away, eager to share their journey with others. The enemy may do his thing, but GOD is still on His throne, and as for this house, we serve the LORD!
Teach the children about the sun, stars, grass, and trees. Who made them all? God did. OOH and AAH over His mighty creation. Then tell them that there is one thing that He loves more than anything else He has ever created and ask if they want to see it. Spend some time making a big deal out of it. When they can’t hold onto their excitement any longer, bring out a mirror and let them see themselves.
In the days to come, remind them often of just how valuable and important they are to Him.
I encourage you to get a box of name tags and write on them, “Hello, my name is… kindness, a gentleman, compassion, helpful…” and all day, call them by their identity name. “Hey, Compassionate One, can you come and help me with this?”, “GENTLEMAN, please pick up your shoes.”
I got this message from a mom: “Yesterday we did the name tag activity. My 6-year-old loved it so much that he wore it all day and stuck it on his PJs at bedtime so he could wear it to bed last night.”
We had to catch a morning flight out of Sacramento, and I kept changing the time I thought we should leave. Finally, half joking, I said, “Jesus, what time should I leave?” We left at that time. In the middle of nowhere, my light comes on, saying my back tire is low. We stopped, and the nice attendant turned on the air for free. I filled it up but heard God tell me to check the tire. I kept moving to rotate the tire so I could inspect it. Sure enough, there was a nail! I decided to see if it would hold, but I was losing pressure quickly within minutes. I pulled off, and a tire place was right there. But it was only 7 am, and they didn’t open till 8. If I waited till 8, I would have missed my flight. We called, and the manager answered, saying he would start his day early for me. As I pulled in, he was waiting for me. Expecting to walk out with two new, unexpected tire purchases, he said he could patch it and then had the heart to not even charge me. I tried to tip him but to no avail. From the time I pulled off till I was on the road again was *15 minutes*. Had that happened just two miles later, we would have been stranded on the side of nowhere! I swelled with His goodness and laughed when I heard Him say, “I know about nails.” He knew the nail would be in the road and had me leave earlier, stop when and where we did, and provided each step of the way. Wow!
There is a move of God through the younger ones.
A mom shares: “Our sweet little man jumped into the car the other day and declared he wanted to be ‘bathtized.’ When I asked him why he wanted to be baptized, he said because he was called to do it and wanted to be washed clean. He was not going to wait and had an urgency to be baptized. I love his heart to obey. Jesus, help me to be obedient to Your call like that. I am so proud of the young man he is. He is a truth-teller and proclaims it for all to hear!! Keep it up, preacher man!! ‘Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.’ – Matthew 28:19.”