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
Ask, “Jesus, how do You feel about me right now?” Please write it down. You can’t listen to lies about your worth when you know what the Creator of the universe says about you.
A mom came to me desperate over her son being bossy to his siblings. She was tired of co-parenting with him and, after a year, had tried everything; spankings, timeouts, yelling, discipline, and reprimands, yet nothing seemed to break through his behavior. I asked her what happened a year ago, and she began to tell me the story of the night the police came and handcuffed the dad and took him away for doing something ‘bad.’ I can only imagine the atmosphere in the home that night with confusion over losing their dad and all the mother’s emotions. Even if the mom hid her visible feelings from her children, they still felt the atmosphere. I asked her if her son was being bossy, as in a negative character trait, or if he was trying to save his siblings from doing something terrible that gets them taken away too. He felt the weight of responsibility and feared that bad behavior equals being removed from the home. Sometimes our child’s ongoing negative, annoying, frustrating behavior is rooted in something else. In this case, the child was believing a lie that it was his job to keep his siblings in line so that they don’t get removed from the family, too. I think he is a hero and a brave brother. As parents, we need to discern how to parent what is really going on with their hearts and not just the outward behavior.
When we first became a solo family, I asked God to show me how to restore my children’s faith and trust in males. I was concerned that they would project their hurts onto God, and that concerned me. At church one Sunday, I was mesmerized by a senior man being so affectionate with his bride of 60 years. It was like my eyes turned, and I was then drawn to the father who was tickling his giggling son. Then my eyes locked onto a man who faithfully came to church week after week to serve. I suddenly realized God was showing me examples of healthy males all around us. After church, I sat the kids down, and we began to talk about all of the men in our world and how each of them reveals a part of God’s design. We called these examples the Purple Heart Dad. Each one of them made up the whole picture of what God has designed for men. For years whenever the kids saw a male doing something that was a reflection of a good father, they would say, “That guy just _____. He has a purple heart.” God was building their view of a godly man. I want to thank ALL of you men who are loving your wife, protecting and shepherding your children, walking in your calling, leading people and walking in integrity. Others are watching more than you realize, and God is using your life in ways you cannot see.
It was intense… I woke up one day and couldn’t figure out what was going on. It felt like the cartoon picture of a swarm of hornets attacking endlessly, and it lasted all day long. I felt pressure from all sides with no explanation or purpose. It was so intense I literally could not work or do much of anything. I tried to busy myself to manage and endure whatever was happening. I can honestly say I have never experienced anything like that in all my life. The only emotion that I could identify with it was profound discouragement. I knew if I quit, I would feel better. The next morning, I woke up, and all was blue skies again. I felt led to ask, “Jesus, yesterday was insanely intense. I have no grid for what any of that was. Is there anything You want me to know?” and I heard Him say this, “There was a full-on assault against You yesterday” (yeah, the swarming hornets = full-on assault). I asked about what and heard the word “RAID.” I looked it up: a raid is a military tactic with a specific mission. It is not to capture but about using shock and awe to get your enemy to retreat to their previous line.
When we first arrived in Redding, a friend came over for dinner. He said, “Lisa, you are in an open heaven,” to which I smiled big and said, “I know. That is why we moved here” (for the supernatural and presence of God). His response put chills in my spine, and I have never forgotten this reply. He said, “Act like it.” Don’t just declare it, LIVE in it. Don’t just say it, BE it. Don’t just smile, DIGEST it. Don’t just acknowledge it, EMBRACE it. Don’t withhold it, SHARE it. Don’t just receive it, TEACH it to your children. Friends, if you declare Jesus is your Lord and Savior, YOU live in an open heaven… Act like it!
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 son came for some snuggles while I was having my time with Jesus. I had him ask Jesus if He wanted to spend time with him too, which He confirmed. Then I asked, “Ask Him what He wants to do with you,” and my son said, “Play on my tablet.” Of course, I didn’t NOT think that was Jesus, but guarding against being the middleman, I let it go. An hour later, as I was spiking his hair, he said he didn’t do very well playing his video game. I jokingly said, “How is that possible? I thought Jesus was playing with you,” and he said, “No, I was doing all of the driving,” and it organically turned into the sweetest conversation about letting Jesus be in the driver’s seat of our lives. Where I thought my son was more interested in his computer games than spending time with Jesus, He orchestrated the entire moment THROUGH the very thing that mattered to my son. He is so good!
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
The family operates like the gears in a machine. My sweet Ellie was in a season of big emotions (oh boy). I could tell the emotions were overwhelming her, but when I asked if she was okay, she said, “Yes. I am totally fine,” yet moments later, she released a bunch of crooked emotions. It made quite a mess and affected everyone in the family, including being late for school and my meeting. When she came home from school, she asked to talk about it, quickly apologizing. I sensed more was going on as this was becoming a new pattern and not just a bad day moment. We revisited earlier that day when I invited her to give her heart a voice, and she lied when she said she was ‘totally fine.’ We began to ask Jesus to show us why she was not honest. She said, “I am used to doing things right, and I do not like it when I make a mess.” I encouraged her to allow Jesus to speak into that area as He wants us to live whole and fruitful lives. If we are uncomfortable with our growth and process, we will move into a performance-based lifestyle, which is not His will or Kingdom. I asked her “What about making a mess makes your heart so uncomfortable?” and she burst into tears. YEP. There it is. She recalled a situation not that long ago where I had just spent the entire afternoon lavishing on her and intentionally connecting 1:1 but she came home and began picking a fight with her siblings. I had a meeting to get to and lots to do (I was running late because I was out with her). I commented how her attitude was affecting the rest of us, and since that comment, she felt like having big emotions was bad, so she lied about how she was feeling. Was that my true heart? NO! Was I telling her she couldn’t have emotions? NO! Was I trying to shut her down? NO! Did I handle the situation the best I could? NOPE. I was rushed, pressured, and honestly a bit frustrated with her that I had just poured so much into her, and she was choosing disconnection with her siblings. Her ‘lying’ was revealing a heart splinter (hurt, lie, or offense). That is a GOOD thing. As we sat with Jesus, He showed us what was going on underneath her lying and brought the lie she believed about not being allowed to have big emotions into alignment. Parenting was never meant to be a call to perfection. It was meant to operate like the gears of a machine, knowing that everyone affects each other and can be used for HIS glory and HIS alignment. She got set free from the lie. I got to model humility by cleaning up my own mess.
P.S. If you want to learn more about how to partner with God in your parenting, consider joining our online JOURNEY class: Journey – ONLINE CLASS – Let the Children Fly
A friend messaged me this: “Last night, our son (age 6), who can feel things in the atmosphere, said he felt scared and didn’t know why. His father explained that other people are afraid of something he doesn’t need to be afraid of. This would normally result in many discussions. But last night, he said, ‘Oh, okay. Can I talk to Jesus about it?’ To which the answer was, ‘Of course, bud!’ He got quiet, the room shifted, and he fell asleep! Yay, Jesus!”
IF A SIX-YEAR-OLD IS LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT TO TALK TO JESUS ABOUT FEELING SCARED, WHAT’S OUR EXCUSE? There is a KEY in this testimony. He felt it, talked to Jesus about it, and rested. It’s okay to feel, but we must bring it to Jesus for the rest to come.