I was in line at the post office one morning and checked something on my phone, which caused me to click on a recent post. My daughter saw the number of likes and said, “Man, Mom, what did you post that everyone loved so much.” I realized a few of you probably know my heart behind my posts. I never share any of the testimonies of my children without their permission. It is their story, and I would never want them to feel exposed. For every story you hear, there is a handful that we keep quite close to our hearts. I take great care with their testimonies as it is the relationship between them and their Father. At the same time, they clearly understand that God has given us a gift and that we have a call on our lives to steward it well and give it away so others can receive too. I also realized few of you probably know that I do not share the posts, the likes, or your comments with my children after I ask permission. I do not want them to value (or devalue) what God had done for them based on the number of likes and responses. I have intentionally shielded them from social media and think it will be quite a shock to them when, one day, they see how their experiences with Jesus have impacted so many families around the globe. I am not raising celebrities on a platform. I am raising a Son and Daughters who have a lifestyle of going to their Father. You just get a front-row seat to witness it.
I AM RAISING SONS AND DAUGHTERS
Picture a toddler screaming and crying in the middle of the grocery store. No matter what you say, he turns a deaf ear to you. He is kicking and flapping his arms hysterically – a total and complete meltdown. Everyone is looking at you in the checkout lane, wondering why you can’t control your child. You feel the piercing stares of judgment. How would you respond?
How about this scene? Picture sitting in a country club – the kind where they eat lunch in diamonds and pearls – and in walks an elderly man and four children. The children are all nicely dressed but unruly, bouncing all over the chairs and disrupting the people around them. The youngest won’t stop crying and the eldest are bickering. The guests are getting more and more agitated at this appalling site. Judgment and stern looks are being thrown towards the man allowing such disgrace to intrude on their well-to-do luncheon.
What would you say if I told you the young toddler above was dealing with a double ear infection, and his eardrum just popped? Is the issue the meltdown or bacteria in his eustachian tubes? I am sure the words ‘eustachian tube’ were the last thing on your mind, but that area of his body is raging with pain, and nothing else matters to him at that moment. What would you say if I told you the rest of the story of the kids at the country club? Finally, the affluent guests couldn’t take it any longer and called the manager over to request the immediate removal of such nonsense. The manager replies, “Oh, I am so sorry. That is their grandfather, and they just came from their parent’s funeral. They both died in a car accident last week.”
I share this to make a strong point – we have to look beyond their flesh and have to discover what is REALLY going on inside of them. Spanking, time outs, discipline, removing toys, withholding dessert, doubling chores, yelling, ignoring, giving them an electronic or bribing them with a sugary treat is as foolish at that moment as treating a broken leg by doing laundry. When we are empowered with the truth of what we are dealing with, we will be so much better and help them overcome and win the battle.
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.
When we first became a solo family, I asked God to show me how to restore my children’s faith and trust in males. I was concerned that they would project their hurts onto God, and that concerned me. At church one Sunday, I was mesmerized by a senior man being so affectionate with his bride of 60 years. It was like my eyes turned, and I was then drawn to the father who was tickling his giggling son. Then my eyes locked onto a man who faithfully came to church week after week to serve. I suddenly realized God was showing me examples of healthy males all around us. After church, I sat the kids down, and we began to talk about all of the men in our world and how each of them reveals a part of God’s design. We called these examples the Purple Heart Dad. Each one of them made up the whole picture of what God has designed for men. For years whenever the kids saw a male doing something that was a reflection of a good father, they would say, “That guy just _____. He has a purple heart.” God was building their view of a godly man. I want to thank ALL of you men who are loving your wife, protecting and shepherding your children, walking in your calling, leading people and walking in integrity. Others are watching more than you realize, and God is using your life in ways you cannot see.
So proud of this mom for this glorious example of partnering with Him to parent your son.
“Last night after dinner, I started cleaning up the kitchen, and my two-year-old was just impossible – screaming, crying, hanging on my leg, etc. I sensed the Holy Spirit telling me, ‘Leave what you are doing for later and go sit with your son.’ Even though everything in my perfectionist self shouted, ‘Look at the kitchen!’ I picked up my son and went to sit with him, just doing what he wanted to do, which ended up just sitting close on my lap and being with me. He was immediately calm and, at one point, looked up at me with so much love and gave me a kiss – which is something he very rarely does spontaneously, and it ended up such a special moment we spent together. Afterward, everything else also went smoothly (bath time and bedtime). I realized that he needed his love tank filled. I am so happy I listened to the Holy Spirit.”
The revelation this mom had taking our online parenting JOURNEY class is breathtaking.
“I am no longer an orphan. I have had a taste of not being an orphan, but I seem to always go back to the dump. I want to try to interact with others who God showed me are not only orphans but walking corpses… sounds horrific. And it is. But I see how I gave up my joy in the Lord to try and connect with the dead. I am so sick and sad by this… not only for me but for others. How do you show others a new dance move with Jesus when you are trying to do the lack of dance that you see? And then I am showing my boys to try and fit into a culture that is dead. No more.”
We had just moved into our new home in California when I had the strangest dream about a yappy dog outside my patio. He wasn’t annoying me but trying to tell me something. It was so real. I woke up and sensed God telling me to turn the outside light on. I didn’t partner with fear but heard Him say, “Do not look outside. Just turn on the light.” I ended up staying up after that and never felt afraid as I knew God had my back but knew something was happening outside my patio door. It was the strangest thing. There is power in TURNING ON THE LIGHT!
Veterans are very dear to my heart. One day we were in the frozen foods aisle, and an elderly man was walking towards us in a brand-new shiny Veterans hat. I stopped and asked him if he was a Veteran. He was taken aback, and I quickly mentioned that his hat was so crisp and new. He got tears in his eyes and said he was a Veteran but too ashamed to wear his hat. A week earlier, his buddy had chewed him out for never wearing it and told him he needed to wear it with pride. That was his first outing wearing it. He pulled out his worn wallet and showed me a photo of all the medals he had earned, including the Purple Heart. He was injured as a Medevac but went to sign on for another term. I can’t fully describe to you what happened, but tears came pouring out of my eyes. I stood up straight, grabbed my son, and said, “Hudson, THIS is what a real hero is,” Tears began to fall from the man’s eyes. Another shopper stopped, I introduced them, and they stopped to shake his hand. Then another shopper came to salute him. This went on for a while, and we had a small gathering of people in the frozen food aisle honoring this hero. That man was full of shame but walked out of the frozen food aisle the hero he really was!
This testimony is one of MANY. Parents are waking up to the fact they have been managing things in the spiritual realm that require their authority. Sudden and instant changes are happening in their homes as soon as they deal with it.
“I was dealing with this (spirit of rejection) in a major way and repented of it last week after watching your live call. Things have been completely different in my house since then. My connection with my first has been so healthy and peaceful.”
Thank You, Jesus! Why was there a sudden change? Because our children feel the spiritual realm, too, and often respond to it negatively. A spirit of rejection will cause them to feel unsafe, insecure, and alert to their surroundings. The moment mom resolved the spiritual conflict, the children felt at ease again.
Go to the store, get a label/sticker, and write things like ‘loving,’ ‘kind,’ ‘helpful,’ ‘worthy,’ etc. Then, throughout the day, call out your child’s identity and remind them who they are. Ask Holy Spirit to make your ears sensitive to hear when your children call out a lie about themselves. Things like, “I am not good at this,” “I can’t,” “I am not smart,” “I am stupid,” “No one cares,” and show them their name tag and ask, “Is that who you are?” Show them it is a LIE from the enemy, and they can easily toss that lie out. It is important that children get practice hearing GOD’S words about them and learn how to toss out the lies. They will use this tool for the rest of their lives!
‘Identity’ is a very big word with a loaded meaning. This is just a tiny sampling of what we can teach our children about identity, but the most important thing is that they realize that there are two opposing views – what God says about us and the lies the enemy says. We need to choose which one we will believe and which one we will kick out the door – about ourselves and others.
Seen, Heard & Valued
I was in a season where I was aware that the words coming out of my mouth were critical and sharp. I am not typically one to hold a grudge or offense for very long, but it was like I was constantly calling out the bad. Little things like the man who cut me off, or the person who didn’t use their blinker, or the lady who didn’t return her shopping cart. Once I said it, I let it go but it bothered me that I even had the eyes to see it. They were things that should not be requiring my energy or time.
I became so aware of it that I told the kids I would pay them $1 every time they caught me being critical. But it only seemed to increase.
I finally met with my friend who is a professional counselor and asked her what in the world was the problem that I could not control my critical words. She said something to me that not only changed my life and set me free but became a KEY that I have used with others for their freedom.
She said, “Shame HAS to blame” and began to introduce me to the profound effects that shame has on our mind, body, and soul. Shame is so toxic to our existence that it kills, shuts down and robs of us of our God-given abilities. Shame is like acid. By blaming others (my critical words) it was releasing some of the toxicity. It was survival to manage the shame. I HAD to blame. The goal, therefore, was not to manage the release of the shame but to resolve the shame once and for all.
Thus began a several month-long journey of discovering the root of the shame and how to release it GOD’S WAY.
I created a ten-day online experience for others to join me on the journey of loving yourself deeper, wider and more passionately than you have been loved before.
This is a self-guided class at your own convenience. You will watch a video teaching and for the rest of the days, I provide activities and exercises to do based on the video teaching. The second week focuses on how to raise children to be proactive so they never have to find themselves again down the road.
As an ASCEND member you can enroll in this self-guided class at no additional charge.