I love Holy Spirit – like crazy, crazy love Him. But we didn’t start out that way. In fact, we have come a long way to get here. I was raised in the church and loved Jesus, but I was never introduced to Holy Spirit as a person. Years later, my mom was dying of cancer and went to a known faith healer. She came back glowing from her experience. She was so convinced of her experience that she stopped taking medication. I later woke up from being in a coma for three months to the news that she had died. A deep-seated judgment came over me against faith healers and the charismatic movement. I seethed in anger, blaming Him for taking my mom. I once found a worship tape from this man and ripped out the ribbon in disgust. I spent 15 years pursuing God passionately while rejecting Holy Spirit. It wasn’t really that I didn’t like the Spirit of God. It was that I adamantly did not like the people who fell into the charismatic camp and ‘went after’ the things of the Spirit. It bothered me. I felt uncomfortable. I didn’t understand it. And more so, I concluded it didn’t work because my mom still died. Underneath my resentment was a deep sadness that, despite her attempts to get healed, it didn’t work, and I was left motherless. God, in His mercy, brought me into a season of such deep hunger. I was consumed with the need for more of Him. It is impossible to embrace all the Father has for us without also embracing Holy Spirit. I had to forgive this man for my judgments against him, and suddenly the Lord started showing me how precious and sweet it was that my mom pioneered with Holy Spirit and had a massive encounter with Him before she passed. Judgments towards the things we don’t yet understand blind our ability to receive!
I LOVE HOLY SPIRIT
There was a time God brought my daughter through some deep healing of trauma where I almost called 911 because she couldn’t breathe. The breakthrough brought such freedom that it literally changed the direction of her life. God was removing something in her heart. We once had a family meeting that was so messy I wasn’t sure any good would come of it. It brought forth the biggest breakthrough with the children’s father, and they have had a growing connection ever since. God was building something. We pulled Lauren from school halfway through the year, one of the hardest choices for her to make. Looking back, she learned some life lessons that shaped her identity and cemented her worth in Him. God was shaping her. Another child made such a big mess when she flat out rebelled against counsel and was playing with fire. She tasted it and decided it was not for her, and in the midst, God gave her the keys to help set other children free. God was building something in her. What’s my point? My point is that as parents, we have been crying out for God to move and act on behalf of our families. We have cried out about gender issues, sexual exploitation, the media that fills their minds, the attack on parental authority, lack of character, bullies, sexual perversion, promotion of sex, sex trafficking, online predators, threats to our parental rights, and on and on. LET GOD MOVE! We can’t cry out one minute, and the moment He moves, partner with fear. We have to stay in faith just as much TODAY as we did when we were crying out. God knows what He is doing. The world is messy right now, but that doesn’t mean God isn’t working. You are feeding faith or fear whenever you open your mouth. Whatever we feed grows. Either we can sit and call out every detail of the process in fear and worry, or we can zoom out and SPEAK and DECLARE the truth about who God is. Messes do not mean God isn’t working. Often, God allows the mess to be seen before He steps in.
Of all the things I have endured in life, the hardest part has been the healing process of receiving the good. More often than not, things like joy, play, silliness, trust, lavishing, loyalty, and laughter have been taught to me through my children. They are made in His image, not mine, and God knit them with gifts, talents, and personalities to redeem and restore what was lost in my childhood. God continues to parent us through our children. It’s like He first gives us one set of parents to raise and train us. Then He addresses the neglected or shut down areas by using our children to parent us (our kids don’t parent us, but He parents us through them). This is why family is so important to Him. He is building something in us, and the generations are interconnected.
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.
A mom shares: “There was a lot going on for me this month and I am certainly not where I started. I felt like each lesson had just the right wisdom for what I was experiencing on a certain day. I have learned and felt more of who God is. I have received healing from past hurts and grown in being more of a Daughter. I have also learned a lot about my authority. And that’s just me. I appreciate all of the tools that I have already tried with my children.”
You cannot take the parent out of parenting any more than you can take the child out of childhood. Your journey, heart, and needs matter and shape your parenting more than anything. If you want to love your child to the fullest, you are going to have to allow God to love you. If you want to empower your child to the fullest, you are going to have to allow God to empower you. If you want to train your child to the fullest, you are going to have to allow God to train you. If you want to see/hear/value your child to the fullest, you are going to have to allow God to see/hear/value you. If you want to embrace your child to the fullest, you are going to have to allow God to embrace you.
What is most important to you in your parenting? Fill in your own blank. “I want to _______ my child to the fullest.” Now ask yourself how you are doing with allowing God to do that with you.
I survived a near-death experience and was told I would never be able to have any biological children due to the surgeries. I married with that understanding, and we were approved and waiting for our first foster child when we discovered we were pregnant. Two months later, we lost our child, and it was devastating. I sat in our sunlit living room and cried for 8 hours, not only mourning the events that will never happen but wondering why God allowed me to get pregnant if we were content from the beginning not to have our own. That loss shifted something so deep within me to reject the words spoken over my body. While I never got to hold this child, their life taught me that it is okay to believe in God’s ability over reality. We got pregnant again the following month but lost that child too. The thing that brought my mama’s heart so much comfort was this mental picture of Jesus holding both of my babies in each of His arms, like twins. However, I could feel something was off inside of me, yet I couldn’t put my finger on it. I went to someone in the church trained in inner healing ministry, and while I no longer struggled with suicide as I did in my earlier years, we felt led to deal with the spirit of death. While I never got to hold this child either, I was set free from a spirit of death throughout their life. A month later, we got pregnant with TWINS. God was aligning my heart with His and showing me the mighty redemption of things lost and stolen in the family. Through my full-term twin pregnancy, I was learning to experience the goodness of God’s love and joy on a whole new level. I was becoming a mom and had the power to change the life of another human being. When Lauren and Emma were four months old, we got pregnant with Hudson (named after Hudson Taylor). My pregnancy was challenging, and I knew something wasn’t right. Due to random events, we scheduled my C-section earlier than his due date, and it ended up being a 2.5-hour procedure because the OB who delivered my twins failed to sew me back up inside, wreaking havoc inside my body. Had I not gotten pregnant again so soon and needed a C-section, I would have ruptured on the inside, leaving my twins without a mother. Hudson’s birth literally saved my life. This has been such a prophetic statement on how God uses our children to heal, redeem, and restore things in our lives. Where I was to give life and birth to my son, in reality, he gave it to me. I was asked many times if we were done having kids knowing how full my hands were with three children under 14 months. While everything in me screamed YES, I didn’t have peace about it. Three years later, Ellie Rose entered this world and completed our family. Waiting for her taught me that whatever is ‘right,’ logical, or even considered wise, does not matter if it does not bring peace. I have been reminded of this many times over the years as I have chosen not to follow the norm, popular vote, or what I ‘should’ do, but rather be led by peace for my unique family. And so, my journey into motherhood began.
I had two significant encounters that changed my relationship with Holy Spirit. Here is the first one.
When I became a solo parent, there was a wide and deep gamut of emotions to process. I would go into my closet and let it out. I could cry (even yell), and the kids would not be able to hear me. It was my safe place. My mentor gave me two books to read, and I would wake up early and go into my closet. Something began to yearn deep within me for more of Him. The former was great, but I was dying for more. It felt like survival. I had to have more of Him. I did not want the wacky, weird, even embarrassing Spirit that made my heart feel so unsafe and uncomfortable, but I was growing in my unquenchable hunger for Him, and at that point, my hunger was forcing my guard down. Hungry people do whatever it takes to be fed, even break down mental barriers that have been erected to keep them ‘safe.’ Within six months of losing my husband, my dad died, and two weeks later, my stepdad died. I was in full-blown grief over the significant men in my life and, at the same time, developed a headache that would not cease. It felt like a constant brain freeze from eating something cold too fast; nothing would reduce the pulsating pain. This went on for three months straight. People kept telling me it was just stress due to my profound grief, but deep down, I knew I had better coping skills than that. Despite the pain, I managed to drive the kids from CO to MN by myself for my dad’s funeral, and weeks later, I even took them to the mountain for our annual family getaway, but all I could do was lay on the bunk bed, unable to move. Finally, one night, I told the kids to lie down on Mommy’s floor and sleep. I could not help them get their PJs on or brush their teeth. I put my head on the pillow that night, fully confident I would die of my brain blowing up. The pain was unbearable. Hours later, I was rushed by a friend to the ER, where they discovered my carotid artery was torn. It was nothing short of a miracle that I held together for three long months walking around with a ripped artery. I was transferred to ICU and was told a simple sneeze could severely tear the artery completely. I was at high risk for a stroke or aneurysm. I spent a very scary few weeks maneuvering through healing for both my broken body and heart. I was still so sick and weak after being released from the hospital that my friends thought it best to keep the kids for a bit longer to give me time to heal. I was assigned a home health nurse because I kept fainting and passing out whenever I would stand up. One afternoon, I sat dazed on the couch, wanting to get up to make myself something to eat, but too weak to move. It was hours before my nurse arrived, yet I knew I risked passing out again if I got up. I was trapped in my body. While my heart was being stretched beyond its capacity with grief, my body was also being pushed to the limits. I was overwhelmed by my state and so desperately wanted to be healed. I missed my children (I had not been with them for over a month) and felt isolation so deep it was paralyzing. I was extremely sick and powerless to take care of my basic needs. It is hard to describe the weakness of my mind, body, and spirit at that moment. It felt like death.
Out of nowhere, I began to see events unfold. This was not just in my mind; it was as if it was really happening, and I was watching it like a movie. I saw a girl on a hospital bed and emergency workers rushing around her. They were running and racing the hospital gurney down the hall (again, I was watching this as if they were really doing it). There was seriousness and panic in the air. The girl on the hospital bed was me, and suddenly they stopped and placed a white sheet over her. I cannot fully explain what happened next, but I stood up and dropped to my knees. It was like my face could not get low enough to the ground, and words began to flow out of my mouth. It was as if I was speaking from the depth of my toes. I did not understand what I was saying, yet I knew I was saying something. It was forceful, and while I was aware I could stop it at any time and felt ‘in control,’ it was so powerful and moved without my effort or help that I did not want to interrupt it. It went on for a good five minutes, and then it was like it was over. I sat up stunned, with my face and hair completely soaked. I was a bit bewildered by what I had just experienced but realized I felt physically different. I felt like me again and felt strong for the first time in months. I had absolutely no grid for what just happened. I called my mentor, fully convinced I may have just lost my mind. She began to laugh and said with much joy, “Oh Lisa, you just had your first vision and spoke in a prayer language. Lisa, that was Holy Spirit!!!!” I believe the vision was Holy Spirit alerting me that a spirit of death was coming to me, and He gave me a language to pray against it. My mind did not understand it, but my spirit did. That encounter left me speechless for months. Was that the odd, wacky, and uncomfortable Spirit I saw touching others? Suddenly to have my own experience changed everything. I had to have more of Him. My hunger became almost excruciating to steward. My biggest prayer from that moment on was, “More, Lord, MORE.” Holy Spirit knew my journey and knew why I was so leery of Him, yet He also knew my deepest desire could only be filled and satisfied by Him. He knew I had a calling on my life that would be to introduce scores of people around the globe to Him, but I first had to experience Him, and He knew it had to happen in a way that came through my need, not my intellectual knowledge as that was shut down to Him.
P.S. I wept writing that. I cannot imagine my life without Holy Spirit. I think of the pages and pages and pages of testimonies of ways He has shown up, revealed truth, parented the kids, opened doors, brought me comfort, healing, and joy, and been there for me. What about you? Are you stuck in the place of being hungry for more of Him but leery of Holy Spirit? Do you need an encounter with Him that reveals who He really is? Cry out and tell Him. It’s okay to acknowledge your weariness, concern, and doubt. Confess your trust and faith in Him, even when you do not have it all figured out yet. More Lord, MORE!
I just want to give a word of encouragement to those of you who are feeling the squeeze and tension of being transformed. One of the hardest seasons to steward is what I call seasons of ‘holy dissatisfaction.’ You have the revelation that there is more and can no longer be content with the former but are not yet in the new. It is like taking your foot off of a rock and not yet landing on the next one. This season is uncomfortable because we have eyes to see that our old ways of operating are no longer working, and we want to grab onto anything familiar and secure. Jesus is your anchor in these seasons. Grab onto Him, His Word, and focus on His presence. It is not up to you to figure everything out. Your job is to be humble and keep your eyes on Him. He is faithful to move us where we need to be. Trust Him in the process. Remember to increase your time spent reading the Word, worshiping, and declaring, “Jesus, I trust You!”
Someone needs to ask this question. Ask, “Jesus, how are You defending me in this season?”
Psalm 62:5-8 – “I depend on God alone; I put my hope in him. He alone protects and saves me; he is my defender, and I shall never be defeated. My salvation and honor depend on God; he is my strong protector and shelter. So trust in God at all times, my people. Tell him all your troubles, for He is our refuge.”