Do you struggle with feeling like if you can just get the to-do list done first, you can have intimacy with God and spend time with Him? It is a very real thing for many to feel like order has to come before intimacy, but I say with God that intimacy is what brings order. So do not let the lie of busyness keep you from the One your soul longs for.
INTIMACY WITH GOD IS WHAT BRINGS ORDER
My near-death experience didn’t include any bright lights. In fact, it was the opposite. I grew up going to church but didn’t have a relationship with Jesus. While I remember the vivid details like it was yesterday, there are no words in the English language to describe what hell is like. Words like fear sound like a picnic compared to reality. It was torment. It was without hope. Imagine weights on your feet and sinking to the depth of the pitch-black ocean floor slowly with the keen awareness that no one is around, and no one ever will be, yet you are so aware of your lack of hope. We don’t talk about hell much, but it is a very real place. When God says He sent His Son to save us, He wasn’t kidding. My experience fuels my passion every day to give parents tools to bridge their children, not to a religious belief, but a real relationship with a loving Father who cares passionately about them. Salvation matters.
After I became a Christian, I wrestled deeply with my profound experience with hell. It bothered me that I could never erase that part of my history. My mentor asked me where Jesus was during that time, and this intense religious spirit rose up within me. I was deeply offended that she even suggested God was in my messiest, darkest, most sinful moment. He was too good, too pure, and too holy to stoop so low. I was taught that God is on one side, sin and mess are on the other, and the two don’t mix. She showed me Romans 5:8, which says, “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us *while* we were still sinners.” The Word broke that religious spirit off of me, and I was now willing to ask Jesus where He was in my darkest hour. I saw a picture of my hospital bed and all the life-saving tubes connected to my frail body. I saw Jesus sitting in a chair at the end of my bed with the palm of His hands over His eyes. I couldn’t believe it. HE WAS THERE!!! My mentor sensed He had more to show me, and when we asked, I saw Him slowly pull His hands down and saw His face soaked with tears. Tears flowed freely that day as I realized He was there in my darkest, messiest moment! While seeing Him there didn’t change an ounce of my reality, it changed the entire interpretation of the events. He spared my life even before I was ‘saved’ and cared deeply about my pain. You can’t have an encounter like that and not be marked for life. Friends, HE IS THERE! It is okay to ask Jesus where He was in your darkest hour.
Picture a spine with a pinched nerve. Now picture that person having to carry a box upstairs. The weight of carrying the box would put pressure on what is out of alignment and cause GREAT AFFLICTION! The same is true in the spirit realm. God created us to be in alignment, and when we are out of alignment with Him, the pressures of the world (work, relationships, financial issues, parenting, heart splinters, etc.) can cause great affliction. We cannot always control the pressure that comes our way, but we can manage our mind, body, and spirit to be in alignment with Him. How? Ask Him.
“Jesus, is there anything in my body that is not in alignment with Your will?”
“Jesus, are there thoughts I am feasting on that are not Yours?”
“Jesus, is my spirit in alignment with the Holy Spirit?”
Ask Jesus to show you a picture of how filled/dried out your heart sponge is right now. Ask Him to fill you to overflowing now.
“Holy Spirit, I invite You to come and fill me with Your peace, presence, and love. Fill my eyes, ears, words I speak to others, words I speak to myself, my nervous system, my muscles, my gut and my emotions. Fill me with Your presence in a tangible way.”
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.
How would you answer this question? “The thing I wanted from my dad the most was _____.”
I am not asking if you did or didn’t receive it. I am asking what you wanted the most from him. Spend some time forgiving him for not knowing how to give it to you. More importantly, have you learned how to get that from your Father? If we do not learn how to receive from Abba, we will simply pass on the same lack to our children. It is never about having perfect parents but experiencing the perfect Father.
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.”
Gather the children in the family room and bring their blankets. Read together Mark 4:35-41 and have them pretend they are in a boat that is rocking back and forth (you role-play too). If you really want to give visual effects, use a fan (wind), spray bottle (rain), and flashlight (lighting). The point being there is a STORM all around them. Then have them get under their blanket and lay down quietly for a couple of minutes. Talk to the children about Jesus’ peace in the middle of the storm. There is so much going on around us, but Jesus promises never to leave us to endure the storm alone. We can get in Jesus’ bubble, where He calms and protects us and showers us with His peace. Practice this on the days when you or the children feel out of sorts, anxious, or worried. “Hey sweetie, remember when we learned about the storm and Jesus? Do you want to get in Jesus’ bubble now?”
My goal is to take your hand and place it in Jesus’ hand so that you walk this together out with Him. He is the One who sees, knows, and holds the keys to your freedom. He is the One who purchased your forgiveness, healing, and wholeness. He is the One able to heal, redeem and restore. He is the One who loves you far beyond what your mind can grasp. He is the One who understands. Jesus is your friend, Holy Spirit is your guide, and Father God is your anchor.
Before you begin, start off by inviting Him. “Holy Spirit, I welcome You to come and reveal whatever it is You want to show me. I ask for an increase of Your peace and presence. Open my eyes to see what You see. Open my ears to hear what You have to say. Open my heart so that I can receive all that You have for me. In Jesus’ name.”
I have a few keys for you:
Journal – I encourage you to get a journal and be intentional about spending time writing and processing whatever He is revealing to you. Sometimes we can process things better on paper, and it serves as a great reflection to go back and see how the Lord is leading us step by step.
Worship – Increase your worship. I know you are all busy, but this is like charging your batteries, so you aren’t running on empty. Worship fills you with His presence and envelopes you in His love. Worship aligns, alters, and shifts things inside of us without our minds and bodies being aware. Worship puts the focus back on Him and increases our faith. You can have an intentional time of worship, play your favorite set while making dinner, find worship channels on YouTube, or listen while you are driving, taking a shower, or while the kids are playing. Listen to it while falling asleep or be intentional to take a five-minute break on the floor and saturate yourself in His presence. The goal is not to see how little you can do, but the truth is, a little bit of His presence changes everything.
Community – While your struggle might have a different name, the truth is we all have our areas of weakness, triggers, and make messes. Invite a friend to a park date and have the kids play while you talk about the posts and what God is revealing to you. Ask them over for coffee or plan an informal mom’s night out to bring it up in discussion. You will be surprised just how much others long to be seen in their parenting. Be the one who breaks the ice and creates space for them to be seen and grow.
2 Corinthians 3:16-18, (MSG) says, “Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.”
May He be revealed to you deeply, and may you become more like Him!
In America, we do not trust a child’s ability to operate a motor vehicle until they are eighteen. We do not believe a young adult can responsibly consume alcohol before age twenty-one. Yet in the Word, which is loaded with promises and commands, not once are we given an age restriction. I want you to soak in this for a moment. The same Holy Spirit that touched Jesus – resurrecting Him from DEATH – is the same Spirit that dwells in half-pint, snot-nosed children. The Spirit of GOD ALMIGHTY is the same Spirit that operates in YOUR child. Go ahead, be a little undone by that concept because it IS huge! It is to be honored, valued, and highly respected. I often rally the kids and ask them what Jesus wants to say to us. They often hear divine wisdom that was beyond my logical thinking. This is a fun, empowering way for them to practice hearing God’s voice. Try this today in your home: “Hey kids, let’s ask Jesus _______.”
I have a resource called Encountering the Father. In this digital download, you will receive a teaching on how to encounter the Father as a family, along with over 100 encounter question cards. Order yours here: Encountering the Father EBook – Let the Children Fly
Do you find your worth attached to your performance? During one of the teachings from the online JOURNEY class, I asked if they had parents who called out the good in them as a child. Many did not, but for those who did, the response is always something along these lines, “Yeah, they called out the good, but it always seemed to be the good about what I DID, not who I was.” When we dish out praise based on behavior/performance, we are teaching children that their performance pleases us and dictates their value. That is not what God says or how He operates with us. He LOVES us because of who we are, not what we do! So why not try it today? Ask, “Jesus, when You look at my child, what do You see?” Write it out on their mirror, on a piece of paper. Be creative and have fun; you have permission to connect with them!
I encourage you to read these together as a family and strengthen your spiritual hearing together. Pray aloud, “Holy Spirit, I invite You to come and fill my heart with peace (stop for a moment and receive His gift of peace). Come teach me about the Father’s heart to communicate with me. I grant You permission to remove everything and anything acting as earmuffs blocking my ability to hear clearly. I don’t want to partner with any thoughts, beliefs, or feelings that aren’t in alignment with Jesus or Your Word. I long to have an intimate and deeply connected relationship with my Father and grant You permission to highlight things to me. Come have Your way with me and open my heart to receive all that my Father has for me. In Jesus’ name.”
John 15:5-8 (MSG) says, “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation is intimate and organic, and the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing that will last. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is – when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.”
Did you catch that? When you make room to hear what HE has to say, the harvest is abundant. It doesn’t say when you labor really hard or do umpteen good things. It says when you listen to what HE has to say! The key is doing what you hear the Father telling you to do, NOT what religion, the Jones, or fear of your mother-in-law tells you to do! The first thing each of us has to settle in our minds and hearts is this: “Does Father God speak to His children?” If He does, then you must stand in faith that it will happen. If you don’t believe His voice is for today, then you are walking in doubt, and that alone can block your ability to communicate with Him. If you do not believe that He wants to speak to you as a parent, you will have difficulty acknowledging when He is speaking to your children. Often, we expect God to scream in our faces, and THEN we will believe He speaks. While He can do anything, our faith typically allows us to experience the Kingdom. The more WE honor His voice, the more we will honor when He is speaking to us.
For today’s assignment, I encourage you to really soak in, chew on, and digest this question deeply: DOES THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE HAVE THINGS TO SAY TO ME PERSONALLY? I encourage you NOT to respond immediately but to spend the day allowing Holy Spirit to reveal to you your faith level and what you truly believe. Be at peace and allow Him to show you as you reflect on the question.
**If you are feeling stuck or have the revelation that deep down you don’t really believe He communicates today or with you personally, then we have to go back to the Word and allow it to transform our minds. It’s okay to press into this issue and allow Him to teach us. Do a Bible word search on the subject. I can teach you how to hear and widen your understanding of what it looks like, but I can’t give you faith or make you receive! That’s an inside job that each person must decide on their own.