I led my group to ask Jesus to show them a time they made Him laugh and one girl busted out laughing saying, “Well, that wasn’t Jesus.” I was curious about what had just happened, so I asked if she wanted to share. She told the story of being a toddler and accidentally spilling her milk. Her mom freaked out and reacted very strongly. When the mom turned her back, she gave her mom a funny wrinkled-up face. Is it hard to imagine that Jesus laughs over us? While I do not think Jesus was communicating it is okay to be rude or disrespectful to our parents, I am sure if another adult were in the room, they would have forced themselves not to smile at the cuteness of a toddler reacting to the fury of a mother’s rage over spilled milk. So give it a try, and I dare you not to laugh at what He shows you.
IT WAS JESUS
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.”
Romans 8:28 – “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.”
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.
I absolutely loved reading this comment from a mom taking our JOURNEY class.
“After taking the online class, I am already seeing so much of the Kingdom being released in our house. Our mindsets have changed, and our language has changed. I was getting impatient about the kids getting their shoes on as we were trying to get out the door, and my youngest son (6 years) said to me, ‘Mom, are you speaking life right now?’ Be still my heart -THEY ARE GETTING IT! (And props to him for calling out ‘impatience’ and asking if I wanted to claim it. Now I have accountability too!)”
Years ago, when I was getting ready to put the house on the market, there was a ton of work to do. Three times I asked my son (then 7) if he had picked up his room, and three times he said it was perfectly clean. I was already tired and exhausted and felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. I walked down into his room and stopped dead in my tracks. Legos – everywhere! Upon further investigation, I discovered a week’s worth of perfectly clean clothes stuffed in the most bizarre places. I came unglued. I unleashed my mounting frustration on him and ‘cursed’ him – not with swear words, but by calling out things that were not a part of his identity. I was saying things like, “You are making my life so hard,” “You don’t care how hard I am working,” “You always do this,” “You never clean your room…” Lies full of anger.
In the midst of my emotional release, Holy Spirit told me to STOP and go upstairs. It was so strong that I simply zipped my mouth mid-sentence and walked out. I got upstairs and lamented to God in my pity party about being a single mom having to do it ALL by myself, plus homeschooling, plus selling the house, plus, plus, plus, plus. Finally, the anger gave way to tears, and I needed to realign myself with the truth that I was NOT alone, that God was still providing and caring for me, that I had permission to rest and know that my Father radically loves me! I know enough about inner healing to know I just sliced my son’s heart pretty good and needed to make it right with him ASAP. I went down to his room, where he was faithfully cleaning his Legos, and told him with tears how sorry I was. His response was, “Oh, that’s okay, Mom.” I made him stand up and put my hands on his shoulders, and told him that it wasn’t okay that I, or anyone else, spoke to him like that and that I was wrong. His response? “Don’t worry about it, Mom. I still love you.” His response confused me as it didn’t match the scene a few moments ago. He said these powerful, life-changing words with tears in his eyes. He said, “Oh, Mom, you don’t get it. What you said hurt my heart so bad, but when you were walking up the stairs, I asked Jesus what He wanted me to know, and He said, ‘Don’t listen to her,’ so I just threw out your words.”
I had trained and then practiced and practiced with my children going to Jesus, and now, when it was ME causing the hurt, he knew how to take it to Jesus and get the healing he needed without me! Equipping our children to hear His voice and work through hurts, lies, and offenses is, in my opinion, the greatest tool for success you can ever give your child in today’s world. I encourage you – MASTER this over time! Please just sit for a moment and let the Holy Spirit use that testimony to release something in your own heart.
Ellie (8) walked into the store and immediately grabbed this huge Valentine’s box of candy and declared, “We have to buy this!” to which I replied, “Oh, no, we don’t.” She said it wasn’t for her but for someone else. Her persistence caught me off guard, and she was clearly on assignment. I wasn’t sure what God was up to, but I was excited to see it unfold. She spotted a worker and knew immediately it was for her, but she was busy. We kept walking around, and Ellie had this ‘Christmas morning’ type of excitement about giving this girl a gift. We made our way to the seasonal section, and I tried to get her to pick out a less expensive one, but she said, “No, Mom, it can’t be small, but something that lavishes on her.” Finally, the worker was available, and Ellie explained to her that God told her to buy a gift for someone and that she was highlighted to her. She was so taken off guard and unsure how to respond. Ellie went on to say that God wanted her to know that she was loved and so special to Him and then handed her the (BIG) box of chocolates.
Children have the ability to access people’s hearts in ways adults can’t reach. They are such sharp arrows in the Kingdom!
Mother’s Day is a challenging day for many hoping, waiting, and longing for a child. I want to spend some time sharing our testimonies about our miracle babies. Here is my story!
I had a series of abdominal surgeries in my early 20s due to my drug overdose. As the tech came in to put me to sleep, he mentioned my never being able to have biological children, something my doctor never told me. I woke tormented by the thought as I had a daughter that I placed for adoption years earlier, and the hope of having children again someday was my balm. He assured me that we would cross that bridge when the time came. After additional testing, I was given a 5% chance of getting pregnant naturally. I grieved the reality in the back of my mind for years, and when I got engaged, we had to have a painful conversation about our future. We were approved for foster care, had the room all ready, and waiting for the placement phone call when I got pregnant. We were undone with joy! Excited, we met at the doctor’s office at eight weeks to hear the heartbeat, to which they found none. I sat in our sunlit empty family room for 8 hours, staring at the floor, crying and bewildered why God would allow me to get pregnant only to take it away. I experienced a depth of pain and confusion unknown to my weathered heart. We got pregnant again the following month, and I called the nurse’s line to say I was feeling good. She laughed at me, saying people don’t call the nurses’ line with the complaint of feeling good, but I knew something was wrong. Sure enough, not only was the heartbeat not found, but it was ectopic, and they wanted me to help end it. I could not. I knew the risks, but with my journey, there was no way I could agree to help end its life, even if it meant losing mine. It was an agonizing season for me. I found great comfort with a picture of Jesus sitting and holding each of my babies so close in age. I poured my heart out to a mentor and told her something felt like these babies were stolen from me. I know miscarriage happens, but something felt off to me. While I was no longer suicidal, I had opened the door to the spirit of death, and we did ministry in that area (please note I am NOT saying all miscarriages are from the same cause. This was my journey as God led me to resolve this in my life from my partnership with suicide and death). Two months later, we got pregnant again – with TWINS. I knew deep down this was the redemption story of what was lost. Knowing what a miracle it was to even get pregnant at all in my medical condition, I did not think we would get pregnant yet again, but when the twins were four months old, we got pregnant with Hudson and again with Ellie Rose. All the while, my 5% chance never changed, but GOD…
We became a solo family two weeks before Christmas. I went to bed Christmas Eve but woke around 2am thirsty. I don’t need much sleep but getting out of bed for a glass of water was out of the question. The thirst persisted. I finally got up and stumbled to the kitchen, where my feet hit the standing water from the dishwasher that had leaked. I was so thankful to have found it then, as it would have ruined our hardwood flooring and seeped into the basement had it been left for Christmas morning. I cleaned it up in the dark, sat on the kitchen floor, and wept. There was no way I had an ounce of energy left in me to wash dishes three times a day for five people. I felt so alone and overwhelmed. I told God I wasn’t stupid but honestly didn’t know who to call to repair it. An electrician? A plumber? Another wave of tears came as I embraced my hopelessness. I wasn’t even sure I knew where to buy a new one. Home Depot? Did Sears carry them? My husband would have known with ease how to handle this situation, but he wasn’t there, and my cluelessness was reducing me to another wet pile of tears on the kitchen floor. I suddenly remembered the verse that talked about God being my Husband. I dried my tears and said, “Okay, YOU are now my Husband. We have a problem with our dishwasher. What are You going to do about it?” Three days later, I ran the dishwasher, and it never leaked again. A place in my heart was created that Christmas for God to become my Husband, my faithful, know-it-all, can-fix-it Husband. I no longer operated in spiritual singleness. FAITH is the wedding band that activates His power, peace, and solutions in my life.
God speaks to us in various ways, but one powerful way He speaks to His children is through peace.
Peace – a sense of liquid peace comes over you like a warm blanket. Do you know that God is peace? Pure, 100% peace that doesn’t match your physical, on-earth circumstances. When we sit quietly and invite His presence, we can often feel it in the form of peace washing over us. What does a loving Father do when His children are upset? Begin giving instruction? NO! A loving Father would scoop them up, hold them close to His chest, and embrace their tiny bodies. He is communicating love, protection, safety, and security in His embrace. Sometimes we want God to tell us this and that, and sometimes He just wants to wrap us in His presence, and out of that, He leads us where we need to be. This is truly ‘entering the place of rest’ that so few believers learn to enjoy. We want to squirm or ‘do’ instead of just resting while He holds us.
Think about what life would be like if you went mute and had to try to teach, train, and love your children without words. Seriously, think about how many times a day you use your words to guide your children, teach and train them, encourage them, cheer them on, and help them. How often do you use your words to lavish love all over them and tell them how precious and beautiful they are to you? Now ponder how often you let your Father speak to you a day.
I believe this is what His original design for family was supposed to look and operate like.
From my sweet friend: “I taught my eldest son (14) how to soak and listen for the voice of God about four years ago, and in doing so, he has learned how to pray in the Spirit. He went to bed and got up an hour later and asked if we could talk. He proceeded to tell me he had been soaking and needed to share with me what he heard. All of a sudden he starts prophesying over me going after my heart splinters, my longing for a mother that was never fulfilled and how much that hurt and how I still long for it, and why I struggle with my stepmom is because I wanted that from her, too. It was never fulfilled… then he went on to speak about the hurt in her, and why she could not fulfill it. He started praying something along the lines of ‘You didn’t have anyone to mother you, but God was there, and He mothered you, which is why you can be the mother you are today.’ I have been processing ALL the things he spoke over me over the last few weeks as the Holy Spirit has shown me I have offense in my heart with my stepmom. God used my son to show me. God. Is. So. Faithful! Thank you for teaching us how to partner with the Holy Spirit in our parenting.”
I have shared about my powerful time ministering to the moms at the rescue mission in California. A friend messaged me saying she wished I could come minister to her girls in Colorado. I just happened to have had a trip planned and an evening free so I took Lauren and Emma to minister with me. What a glorious night of freedom for these sweet mamas. I honor them for the hell they have been through and for the ways God is redeeming, restoring, healing and repaying for all that has been stolen. If you want to see God move, sit with those who truly need Him.
A father of some teenage children had the family rule that they could not attend PG-13 or R-rated movies. His three teens wanted to see a particular popular movie that was playing at local theaters. It was rated PG-13. The teens interviewed friends and even some members of their family’s church to find out what was offensive in the movie. The teens made a list of pros and cons about the movie to convince their dad that they should be allowed to see it. The cons were that it contained ONLY 3 swear words, the ONLY violence was a building exploding (and you see that on TV all the time, they said), and you actually did not ‘see’ the couple in the movie having sex – it was just implied sex, off camera. The pros were that it was a popular movie – a blockbuster. Everyone was seeing it. If the teens saw the movie, they would not feel left out when their friends discussed it. The movie contained a good story and plot. It had some great adventure and suspense in it. There were some fantastic special effects in this movie. The movie’s stars were some of the most talented actors in Hollywood. It probably would be nominated for several awards. Many of their Christian church members had even seen the movie and said it wasn’t ‘very bad.’ Therefore, since there were more pros than cons, the teens said they were asking their father to reconsider his position on just this ONE movie and let them have permission to go see it. The father looked at the list and thought for a few minutes. He said he could tell his children had spent some time and thought on this request. He asked if he could have a day to think about it before making his decision. The teens were thrilled, thinking, “Now we’ve got him! Our argument is too good! Dad can’t turn us down!” So, they happily agreed to let him have a day to think about their request. The next evening the father called in his three teenagers, who were smiling smugly, into the living room. There on the coffee table, he had a plate of brownies. The teens were puzzled. The father told his children he had thought about their request and decided that if they ate a brownie, he would let them go to the movie. But just like the movie, the brownies had pros and cons. The pros were that they were made with the finest chocolate and other good ingredients. They had the added special effect of yummy walnuts in them. The brownies were moist and fresh, with wonderful chocolate frosting on top. He had made these fantastic brownies using an award-winning recipe. And best of all, the brownies had been made lovingly by the hand of their own father. The brownies only had one con. The father had included a little bit of a special ingredient. The brownies also contained just a little bit of dog poop. But he had mixed the dough well – they probably would not even be able to taste the dog poop, and he had baked it at 350 degrees, so any bacteria or germs from the dog poop had probably been destroyed. Therefore, if any of his children could stand to eat the brownies, which included just a ‘little bit of crap,’ and not be affected by it. Of course, none of the teens would eat the brownies, and the smug smiles had left their faces. Only Dad was smiling smugly as they left the room. Now when his teenagers ask permission to do something he is opposed to, the father just asks, “Would you like me to whip up a batch of my special brownies?”