We moved to California, but only three of the four children had acceptance letters for the school. We had yet to hear about a spot for Ellie. We were sitting in Hebrews coffee shop when the head of the school approached me and told me there was room for Ellie. I asked her to share it with Ellie directly. Upon hearing the news, Ellie shot me a look and, with her finger in the air, said, “I told you!” and went off to play. It wasn’t arrogant or disrespectful. It was full of faith and confidence that phone calls, lack of calls, now or later, it doesn’t matter. What her Father has spoken is as good as true! It was easy for her to wait because she heard what He said – that she would get in. This was God building her faith! In the future, when she wants something, I would remind her of this testimony and encourage her to have faith for it again.
I TOLD YOU!
There are scores and scores of testimonies building up of how GOD is using this season to strengthen the family. If you could peel back the rooftops and have a birds-eye view into many homes, you would see this. Dads are connecting with their children. Mothers are letting out the pain instead of carrying it around. Fathers are on the floor, laughing with their kids. Moms are teaching respect. Marriages are being healed and restored. The kids’ love tanks are overflowing. Connections are being restored with siblings. Children are being taught who they are. Parents are teaching their children about His goodness. There is laughter. Families are talking again. Offenses are being forgiven. Siblings are playing and releasing joy. Children feel like they belong. Moms are being seen and heard. Dads are relaxing. Pain is being addressed and resolved. Dads are laying down the idol of money. Pillars of peace are being contended for. Families are readjusting their focus. Families are seeking Him together.
Keep going! You are doing an incredible job allowing Him to use this season for GOOD. I know you are tired, and there are still so many unknowns, but you are doing it one choice at a time. When the FAMILY is strengthened, there is an advancement of His Kingdom. Revival happens when the family is REVIVED! May Your Kingdom come into the FAMILY ROOM!
I had four days to find a home, and on our last day, I had resolved in my heart that it was not going to happen on this trip. I often say that I am not shopping for a home, but peace shopping and nothing was bringing me peace. I arrived at a meeting a few minutes earlier and began to scroll through the pages of available houses while sitting in the parking lot. A brand-new home popped up, and I sent them a message, fully confident I would encounter the typical robot responses. Instead, the owner replied, saying we could come the following day, but I was flying out that morning. He said I could come right now, but I couldn’t get out of this important ministry meeting. I suggested after, but he was busy then. We settled on a time, and I went into my meeting. When we got into the car, I looked up the address, and it was another 30 minutes south of our hotel. I was tired and frankly done with looking at homes. I just wanted to go back to the hotel and rest. I mentioned to Ellie that I was going to cancel the showing, and she said, “No way. You can’t do that. God told me that we would get a house by the end of today, and this is our last showing before we go back home. Mom, you have to go.” In all honesty, I went simply to appease her faith.
I drove down, and the first thing I noticed was that the homes in this community did not look like Southern homes but Colorado homes, which was on my wish list. I love Colorado home builders as they just have a different style about them. We enjoyed our tour and visited with the owner, who was wonderful (another thing on my wish list). He let me know that another application was already from the people coming to see it the following day. I resolved to submit to the process even though we were flying out in the am. I got in the car and heard God say, “Do you want it?” I pondered for a moment and said, “Yeah, I think I do,” and heard Him reply, “Then fight for it.” I don’t have a competitive bone in my body and would never fight for a house if someone else had an application in, but at the Lord’s leading, I left the owner a message telling him our journey and asked if he would give me favor by allowing us to have the house. By that evening, we were under contract!
I would not have even gone to the appointment had it not been for what the Lord spoke to Ellie in the morning and her resilience to let Him move. Teach your child how to hear the voice of their Father. Encourage your child how to stand on His word. Train yourself on how to follow His leading through your children.
Have you ever had a season where you knew God was leading you, but it did not make sense to those around you, and their well-meaning counsel caused you to doubt yourself? It makes sense that their questions and concerns would plant seeds of doubt because part of what you are believing for is IMPOSSIBLE and foolish in the eyes of man. I had a ripped carotid artery that included a high risk of stroke or aneurysm. I was on blood thinners and bruised at the slightest touch. I was on a no-physical contact restriction, which was impossible being a newly single mom of four active small children. A spiritual fire began to grow in my belly, and no one around me understood it. I was so hungry, yet when I would try and explain it to others, I was met with a water hose. I had an encounter with the Holy Spirit and did not understand what was happening, but I knew at that moment I was healed. I went to my doctor shortly after, who did a scan and said my artery was still ripped. I came home and cried to my mentor, saying I know that I know that I am healed, and she said these really powerful words to me. She said, “Lisa, no one would judge you for aligning yourself with the doctor given the seriousness of the issue. But you have to pick which one you are going to partner with – the wise doctor or what God showed you – you pick.” I told her there was no choice; I knew that I knew. I went off my blood thinners (If I was wrong, I was literally risking my life). But I had the gift of faith for it. Six months later, I had another scan, and the doctor said, “Hmmm, not only is your artery healed, there is absolutely no sign whatsoever of any past trauma (which is impossible).” It taught me to hold on for dear life to what I know that I know and to bless people for their care and wisdom but to know I am anchored to Him alone.
When God does something in your life, He is showing others what is possible for Him to do in their life, too. Selling our home in Colorado was a big part of our journey, but little did I know just how much He would allow that testimony to follow us around and continue to impact people. A friend was telling me about getting her house ready for the market and the stress of keeping a clean home with a toddler. God put the name of a realtor friend in my heart, and I texted her asking if she was looking for a house that matched this one, and she wrote back, “YES.” Her parents were en route with cash in hand to purchase the exact kind of home. They closed a month later. Another friend was telling me about their plans to move back home. I got a picture in my mind of a friend I didn’t even know was looking to buy and messaged her. She said they were going through the loan process. Two days later, they went to see the house (before it was even listed), and a week later, they were under contract. I cannot tell you the COUNTLESS times people have stopped me saying they heard this testimony, and it gave them the faith to move. There is life on the fingerprints of God in your life.
This testimony feels ancient now, but it is a big part of our family’s story. What people didn’t get to hear is that a year later, the people who wanted to buy the house wrote thanking me for asking to be released from the contract. They had a sudden turn of events and thanked me for listening to God. It increased their faith that God was leading them, too, despite the disappointment at the moment. God is a good (and a great) real estate agent!
Every month my daughter laments about how bad her cramps are. She asks to stay at home rather than go out with us for dinner or join in any fun. I finally told her, “Sweetie, I know this isn’t fun, but your period is a BLESSING and not a curse. Why don’t you start blessing your body and how it was designed.” She took it to heart and the next day said this was her first month ever where the pain went away. Honestly, I am not surprised. We call it a curse and then wonder why we are racked in pain. Your words are powerful and carry life and death. Be careful what you are speaking out over your own body.
I have favorite stories of my children about how God encountered their hearts. This is my favorite one of Emma’s because we are still seeing the fruit of it a decade later.
When Emma was five, she came to me sobbing that she hated her outfit. I encouraged her to pick out something else. She did, and that, too, produced an ocean of tears. She set off to find something else, but the flood of tears continued. At this point, I was getting a little annoyed and frustrated. We were already super late for Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s house, and clothes were simply a non-issue in my home up until that point. Why did they matter so much now? By the fifth outfit, I was about to give her a good lecture on, “naked you came, naked you will leave,” and I could feel my blood pressure rising. I heard her tears coming back up the stairs, and suddenly Holy Spirit whispered, “Ask her WHY.” I sat her down and asked why she hated her clothes. She stated immediately that it was because she wasn’t pretty enough (lie). But we had to keep asking questions. WHY did she believe she wasn’t pretty enough? She then revealed the painful splinter: “Because my daddy doesn’t love me.”
Satan had whispered to her that he didn’t like her because she wasn’t pretty enough and that if only she could find the right outfit, she would be pretty enough to be loved. Imagine if the splinter had not been dealt with that day. Fast forward several years to when she is fifteen. Her unresolved need for love drives her to dress for boys’ attention. What about when she is twenty-five and married and causes a great amount of debt due to her obsession with shopping in an attempt to feel good about herself?
The hurts, lies, and offenses are there to steal, kill, and destroy our relationships with God, ourselves, and others. I believe that the enemy was seeking to plant a lie deep in Emma that day that would reap a harvest for a lifetime through the pain with her father. I explained that the voice she heard was not Jesus but His enemy.
Because kids have free will, I always ask, “Would you like to tell that lie to leave?” It empowers rather than controls them. She said she wanted to get rid of the lie, so I led her through a prayer that looked like this: “Jesus, I confess I believed the lie that I am not pretty enough to be loved.” “Jesus, I forgive my dad for not making me feel like a princess.” “Jesus, where were You when I got my feelings hurt?” “Jesus, how do You feel about me?” She sat there with her eyes closed and her head bowed and suddenly got the biggest smile on her face. She looked up and said with excitement, “Mom! I wore this beautiful dress, and my hair was like a ballerina’s. I was dancing with Jesus, and He said I was HIS princess!” While that was indeed a sweet moment, what is so awesome about this story is that God used it all for good when the enemy came to harm and hurt.
To this day, years later, that girl KNOWS she is Jesus’ princess!
I was raised in the church, so I assumed I was going to heaven, but my near-death experience proved I didn’t have a heart connection with Jesus. It was scary. My mom died while I was in a coma, making my recovery process even more difficult. I was so sick the plan was for me to go to a nursing home to wait for my new kidneys and liver. I received hundreds of greeting cards during my three-month hospital stay, but one stood out. It read, “With God on your side, you will never have to be alone.” At that moment, I realized I had missed the boat and told God I wanted Him. I warned Him, though, that my heart was shattered into a gazillion pieces, and I wasn’t sure even He could put it back together again, but I wanted Him to try. I told Him I needed a real, living, and powerful God, and either He was real, or He wasn’t. If He was, I wanted to be a poster child that He was real. A deep peace came over me for the first time in my life. A few days later, the doctors told me I no longer needed dialysis three times a day, and a few days later, they removed me from the kidney transplant list. The following week my team of doctors, who had followed my care from the first day, came to tell me that I was going home because, much to their surprise, my liver was ‘suddenly’ healed. My God is indeed real, living, and quite powerful!!
Hudson likes to wear his sports pants every single day! He walked out of his room with them on AGAIN, and I told him he needed to dress nicer. As he walked away deflated, I heard God say, “Let it go!” I called him back and shared how his Father defended him and apologized. We hugged, and all was fine. He came to breakfast with a whole new outfit on. A tear rolled down my face as I realized that he was motivated by the Father’s love (not my expectations).
When Hudson was six years old, he came to me after we were all in bed and said there was fear in his room. I asked what he wanted to do, and he said, “Mom, we need to go up and tell it to leave.” YES! He gets it. Fear doesn’t chase him out of his room. That is HIS room, and fear is the one that has to leave. When we KNOW fear, we need to say NO to fear. If they do not have a junior Holy Spirit, they don’t have junior authority. When my children saw ‘bad’ stuff, I asked if they wanted it to be there because respecting free will is how the Kingdom of God is established. I would then help them to pray using this outline.
The Bible instructs us to command whatever is NOT in heaven to go in Jesus’ name and to invite in whatever IS in heaven in the name of Jesus. COMMAND THE BAD TO GO: “Fear/anger/strife/chaos/, I see you, and you need to leave in Jesus’ name.” INVITE THE GOOD TO COME: “Peace/love/joy/comfort/, I invite and welcome you in Jesus’ name.” There is no rule on how to do it, but this outline helps to teach them. I love the expression, “I see you,” when speaking to the fear/anger because it helps us to FACE the issue head-on rather than ignore it or feel paralyzed by it. The greater point is that children need to be intentionally TAUGHT tools to use when fear comes. They do not need to be harassed day and night endlessly with fear. Jesus trumps fear… Always!