IT IS TIME

IT IS TIME

There are few words to describe this moment. Years ago, we were on the road as a family, and it gave me a picture of where each child was at with ministry. There is a real flow to know when to push, when to encourage, and when to back off. Lauren came to me and said, “It is time, Mom, for me to cross my chicken line using a microphone.” and stepped out for the first time using a mic (that’s a big deal for a child). We later spoke in the exact same town, and Lauren stepped out and taught next to me. I have waited for this day, and it was glorious to watch her own it, release it in her own way and walk in such confidence as a beloved Daughter. I am so so so proud of you, Lauren Max!!! You are light years ahead of when I was your age. You are soaring! All of the kids did a great job loving on the parents and encouraging them with powerful words.

SET FREE

A mom from class shares: “I was not supposed to be able to carry a baby to full term due to medical issues. My whole first pregnancy was bathed in fear of a miscarriage. The doctors continually warned me not to get my hopes up for a baby (even up until I was 30 weeks along!). Then, I noticed my son was very fearful and wouldn’t talk when we were out of the house. He was chatty at home but would freeze up at church, the park, or wherever. Then God showed me the connection of fear and my pregnancy with my son. I repented of the fear I partnered with (although I didn’t know that term at the time), and my husband and I prayed over him as he slept and commanded the spirit of fear to leave in Jesus’ name. The next day we went to the park with friends, and he was his usual chatty self. I didn’t see the spirit of fear in operation at all! He was free! It was amazingly simple. We are teaching him that fear is a liar, and he wants him to believe things that aren’t true. And now we are teaching him to cast fear out when he feels it. It’s amazing.”

I WANT A PHD!

When we first became a solo family, I was concerned about how my young children would view men. God began to highlight certain men to us; one was good at loving his wife, another was super funny, and another was great at connecting with his children. Some were models to us far away, and others became the hands and feet of Jesus to us. I began to call out certain character traits in each of the men to my children, and we created a phrase, “They are a Purple Heart Dad.” Years later, we were writing out our prayers for the year, and my daughter, who has received many prophetic words about the medical field, wrote down, “I want to a Ph.D.,” which I assumed meant a medical degree. Months after praying for her Ph.D., we realized she meant Purple Heart Dad. To this day, we use this expression almost weekly as we see men being incredible examples of kindness, love, servanthood, protection, joy, wisdom, strength, etc. God has given us so many incredible men who have stood in the gap and shown us God’s heart for a man, father, husband, and friend.

I WANT THAT

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.

DON’T GIVE UP HOPE!

I received this from a mom who took our online class: “DON’T GIVE UP HOPE!!! If you’d have told me two days ago, that my teen daughter would talk to me till 1 am in the morning, I’d have said it was impossible. If you’d told me that my defiant, self-harming, oppositional girl would also hold me tight and hug me for almost a full minute, I’d have cried, longing for you to be right. If you’d told me that this self-proclaimed atheist girl would tell me that she is ‘giving God another shot,’ I’d have wept, thinking that day would never come. YES… all those things happened last night. I was the hopeless person on this FB page all the time. Some of you have supported me so much through this hard journey and remember my girl. I just HAD to take time to write here that THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED!!! She is still proceeding with caution, and I am parenting her with SOOO much grace and mercy, and love. DON’T GIVE UP HOPE!!!”

PEACE IS YOUR PILLAR

Do you know that God wants to lead you by His peace? He knows how to lead your family well. Read this great testimony from my friend.

“I actually felt quite overwhelmed during part of our school year last year and considered putting our two oldest in a charter school. They were registered for this fall and everything. I had stomach aches DAILY until I submitted to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to sit down and seek God’s will for our family. Guess what? We’re still homeschooling this year, and I have felt nothing but peace about it since then!”

THE POWER OF COMMUNION

We have been taking communion as a family each morning and focusing on the power and privilege of Jesus! My son has had a tough time with another boy in school. Years of unkind words, physical jabs, and rudeness have worn on him. My heart hurt for him, but I knew God had allowed him to be in this situation, so it was my job to empower and equip him to rise above and walk in character. It has been hard for all of us! This boy is no longer at the school, but Hudson got word he may be back next year and had a lot to say about it. I coached him on how to have faith that God is HIS Protector. But something amazing happened. As we went after communion each morning and focused on the power of the blood of Jesus to resurrect, heal and transform situations and people, Hudson began to pray for him. Instead of praying ‘against’ him, he prayed FOR him. The light bulb went off for Hudson that Jesus really IS the one who can transform this other boy and work on his heart. Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!

GOOD NEWS

God has been highlighting my son to me for months now. Something just wasn’t quite right. I didn’t know if it was hormone issues, a heart splinter, or something else. I would cry out to God to reveal what was going on, and slowly the picture came into focus over a period of about six months – He isn’t a believer! There was a noticeable difference between him and the girls with attitude, interest in spiritual things, and even joy. God began to show me that when they were little, and we were going after hearing God’s voice, I would say to them, “Where does God live? In heaven? Out in the field? No, He lives in your heart,” but that isn’t actually 100% true. It is true that Jesus passionately loves us, and we can hear His voice and even play in His Kingdom, but each person must choose to receive Him and invite Him into their hearts. I believe the Lord allows children/us to play in the Kingdom so that we will enter the Kingdom, but playing in the Kingdom isn’t always the fruit of salvation. Matthew 7:22. I was keenly aware I could not go to my son directly and tell him, “Hey, I don’t think you are really a believer,” as that would have crushed him. I waited. I prayed. I cried out, and I waited some more. I knew God was after His heart and needed to let Him do the work. I continued being alert to His leading. It isn’t that my son didn’t know God, he did. It was that deep inside, he knew something was missing. He lives in a culture where kids are powerful, heal the sick, and hear God well. While my son was able to still participate in these things, he was keenly aware there was a space between his relationship with God. Others were modeling what he didn’t have. While it should have created hunger, instead, it created a wall of separation, and he felt exposed. It is hard to stand up against a culture and say, “Hey, I am not experiencing this!” We came home from church, and chaos broke out. I gave everyone the opportunity to enjoy some alone time. I sat in the living room asking God what was going on, and He told me to invite Hudson to sit with me. We sat face to face, and I could see the anguish in his eyes. I began to ask him about the space between him and God. A large teardrop fell, and I knew this was the moment I had prayed for. I asked for forgiveness for not clarifying when he was younger that someday he would need to make his own choice if he wanted Jesus in his heart. Such a sigh of relief validated his confusion over the months, perhaps years. I explained fully what salvation means; he was a sinner and has fallen short, Jesus died on the Cross for HIM, and Jesus longed not just to talk to him but actually reside and live inside of him. I passionately believe salvation isn’t just for the soul to enter heaven someday, but that salvation is for our mind, body, and spirit. We began to pray and ask Holy Spirit what parts of his mind, body, and soul needed healing. God had me ask if it was hard for him that his earthly father is very kind, even provides well for him, but doesn’t touch and interact with him. The tears began to pour out, and I asked, “And do you feel that way with Father God? That He is good, loves you, and provides for you, but that your heart longs for Him to touch, encounter, and embrace you?” With tears and the sweetest tenderness, Hudson became a Son!

JESUS LOVES HIP HOP

I was completely engaged in worship one Sunday morning when I heard the Lord say, “I like hip hop.” It was so out of the blue. I heard it again and was like, “Okay. That’s great.” When I heard it a third time, the revelation came. I was raised in a good ole Lutheran church, and in my home, you wouldn’t be caught dead going to church in anything other than your Sunday best which included black patent leather shoes. I had come a long way, but I still had a deeply ingrained belief about what clothing did and did not look appropriate for church. My daughter had slipped her bright pink sneakers on without me noticing until we got to church, and I had scolded her, saying they weren’t appropriate church shoes. I had to humbly repent of partnering with the religious spirit because apparently Jesus likes hip hop and thinks bright pink shoes are just fine in His house!

MY FIRE

I had a dream. We were having a gorgeous church potluck-style gathering in a massive lodge. There was so much activity going on, from bean bag tosses to archery to great food. Everyone was lively and having a great time. Something caught my eye, and I wandered outside, where I found these larger-than-life boulders that you had to climb down a bit to get to this raging bonfire that radiated heat. It was memorizing. Many fires were going on, but each required some effort to get close to it. I was lonely outside by myself, so I decided to go back to where the party was, but as I did, I noticed a fire at the end that was really bright, and I wondered if it was unmanaged or even getting out of control. I hiked to it and found the most beautiful fire sitting all by itself. It felt so strange to have a fire with no one around. I wanted to be with the people but couldn’t abandon the fire. I woke up and heard the Lord say, “My people do not know how to be entertained by MY fire.” There has been a profound invitation to be still and at peace with His fire and to allow it to transform as fire transforms whatever it consumes. I am finding a place of peace I am not sure I have ever encountered.

How about you? Are you still longing for the party, or have you wandered alone to the fire?