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 had walked in full of shame but walked out of the frozen food aisle the hero he really was!
I SALUTE YOU!
- Playing in the Kingdom, Testimonies
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.
One night we drove through our old community, walking down memory lane. There is something so fun about hearing your child’s childhood memories. I pulled into the DQ drive-thru to continue our ‘remember when’ discussion. Across the street from the DQ is a large lake that people walk around. And I was undone by a particular memory and how it shaped my family. Years ago, when the kids were all under seven years old, I read a book about the children in Africa and how they were sad they didn’t have unity amongst the believers and decided to do something about it. I was interrupted with questions about our own community as Holy Spirit was stirring something up in my children for the unity of their own town. I began to ask them questions about what we should do. I let it be 100% led by them. They wanted to write to all of the church leaders and invite them to a unity prayer walk around the lake, which we did. They prayed over the envelopes before mailing them. They wanted to make prayer signs and put them around the lake for things to pray for (unity, the leaders, and families). They wanted to unite the believers as lovers of Jesus despite their differences. God gave us a glorious sunny day; they walked their little legs around the whole lake and hammered the stakes into the ground. And waited and waited. In the course of five hours, only FIVE people showed up. One stopped along the way and appeared to be reading the signs and responding. Three walked right by and didn’t even notice. They watched from the other side of the lake as one took the time to destroy each of their signs, tossing them on the ground. As we walked around the lake to pick up our trashed signs, I felt such a profound mix of utter discouragement and disappointment but an odd sense of growing JOY. We endured a silent car ride home as I cried out to the Lord to show me how to steward the events with the children who so clearly were led by Him and cared about the unity of their community. I called a family meeting to allow them to process. They did not see a lack in their efforts but a lack of unity, which was all that mattered. They began to pray with an incredible passion for their city. The Lord spoke to me later and said, as a mother, I can’t use the measuring stick of FRUIT or QUANTITY in training my children to follow Him. The ONLY thing that matters is OBEDIENCE! We obeyed whether the entire community showed up or none. We followed HIS leading, which paved the way for us to respond to His voice countless times over the years to impact our community. It taught us that we live for an audience of ONE.
My favorite day of the week was going to the rescue mission and mentoring the moms. I drove away with tears streaming down my face out of pure compassion and love for them. When you see someone – really see THEM – not their choices, messes, or failures – you can’t help but love them. They visibly look different every week I show up. They are becoming Daughters and fighting hard with the tools of heaven for their families. I got permission to take them to see the movie Harriet Tubman with me one week. We all have a FREEDOM FIGHTER inside of us, and these moms are giving it everything they got. There is a calling on their lives to help others find the freedom they are experiencing. I am so proud of each of them.
When my kids were little, I would drive 45 minutes south to attend a church in Denver that believed children could play in the Kingdom. I was so undone by the power they carried. They needed some coaching in the ‘how,’ but when it mixed with their childlike faith, INCREDIBLE things began to happen. I never wanted my children to feel like God was a religious burden or that walking out our faith meant putting them in uncomfortable situations. I wanted to teach them that it was a JOY to love those around us and that the Kingdom truly is FUN. I called it ‘Playing in the Kingdom,’ and they came to life. They are older now, and we all still look for ways to play in the Kingdom and love those around us in everyday situations.
I am pretty good at processing my heart. Messy emotions don’t make me uncomfortable, and I know how to press into them for growth and freedom. But divorce kicked my bum in this area. I felt stuck and unable to know how even to process my emotions, much less do something about them. I have always had older female mentors speaking into my life, and I leaned on them heavily this season, but I had this insane desire to find a non-Christian male counselor. I wanted to get feedback outside of my usual circle. I only went once because I got what I needed in my first meeting. I was lamenting about all of the issues between my ex-husband and how I just wanted to put a pretty bow on it and THEN divorce. I hated the unresolved conflict because I didn’t want to leave things so messy. He said to me, “Lisa, the meaning of divorce is unfinished business. If it were resolved, you wouldn’t be getting a divorce. You need to learn to be okay with not having it cleaned up.” Whoa… It freed me from the broom in my hand that so desperately wanted to clean up every area of the mess and make it neat again. My heart couldn’t partner with throwing the broom on the floor and walking away. Instead, I decided to give my broom to Jesus to deal with the mess as He chose best. It was one of the most challenging aspects of my divorce, yet one of the most freeing.
“Jesus, I hand You the broom to clean up my mess and to turn my mistakes, immaturity, and weakness into something beautiful. I hand over all the files and ask that You deal with them according to Your power and grace. I no longer hold myself captive to a mess that is too big for me to clean up.”
“And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28). Perhaps you are not going through a painful divorce, but maybe you have an ending relationship, were let go from a job you loved, or are strained with your adult children. If there are issues that are undealt with, and it is causing you added pain, hear this: Your job is to LOVE Him. His job is to pick up the broom.
This was taken from our Dandelion course for solo parents: Dandelion – Solo Parenting ONLINE CLASS – Let the Children Fly
One of the most vulnerable households for child sexual assault is the house that is run by ‘because I said so,’ and a legalistic one because they operate out of a list of rules and total parental authority and often fail to listen to the child. Children cannot hold in such a horrendous lie and/or the worry that abuse causes. They might not come right out and say that XYZ happened, but they will let it leak out, and we need ears to LISTEN TO THEM!
Here is a sad but true example: A little 4th grader came home from his youth group in a foul mood. The mom repeatedly disciplined him for his attitude, but he would not shake it. Finally, she asked him how youth group went, and he said, “I hated it.” She replied that he must go anyway because it was expected of him. He yelled out that his teacher was gay, and the mother swooshed him to his bedroom for talking inappropriately about someone. Had the mother listened to the child, she would have seen that he used to love youth group, and the sudden change warranted investigation. When a young child talks about an adult being gay, it should warrant you to find out why the child thinks that way, how he knows that of the youth leader, etc. If she had only asked and inquired deeper, she would have learned that her son was molested that night, only to come home and be disciplined for not wanting to return. I call it ‘pulling on the rope.’ When a child makes a harsh comment, pull on the rope by asking WHY questions. Not all ill words are a character issue; sometimes, they are flags waving to get our attention.
I was teaching parents how to pray for their needs, and a father sent me this testimony. Wahoo!
“It works for vehicles too! We live an hour from town on a steep, windy, narrow mountain road. It was -15 degrees on the drive to town, and I hit a patch of ice, did a 360 turn, and slid into the snowbank. The car then wouldn’t start, so I had the girls and I pray. After praying, the car started, and we continued the remaining drive to town.”
My son got an invitation to go on a friend’s boat. I had peace and said yes. However, several hours into it, I realized it was the same lake a sweet friend’s husband passed away at. We also had a recent story in the news of a nine-year-old that drowned in the same location. Fear was knocking loudly, and I began to rehearse all these different scenarios and thoughts in my mind. Suddenly I realized nothing had happened, and yet I was reacting with my emotions as if it had. I identified it as the spirit of fear, told it where it could go, and slammed the door. Just because fear knocks does not mean I need to answer the door!
Emma came bursting through my bedroom door when she was five and announced, “Mommy, I have to have Jesus in my heart right now!” She said her Sunday school told her all about Jesus, and she needed to do this. I said, “Oh, sweetie, that is the most amazing thing. How about you come to me first thing in the morning if this is something you really want to do?” I wanted to be sure this was her heart or something she felt like she was ‘supposed’ to do. She said, “Mom, NO. I can’t wait that long,” and so we prayed, accepting Jesus in her heart. I told her that Jesus tells us once we have accepted Him to go tell others and asked who she wanted to tell. She jumped off my lap in a flash, and about five minutes later, her twin sister, Lauren, came into my room, asking to accept Jesus. We celebrate their spiritual birthday each year, thanking God for adopting both of them.
Do you ever hear of a great testimony and say, “I want that?” While the heart of sharing testimonies is the confidence God wants to do it again in your life, the focus has to be on HIM, not the fruit. We can’t just say, “I want that fruit”; it has to be, “I want HIM.” So, when you see God move mountains in someone’s life, let it encourage you that He is able, but ask Him for the keys in your own life and follow whatever He tells you in your situation.