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.
IT IS TIME
- Children & Ministry, Testimonies
God said, “I am building her testimony,” – My daughter wanted to try out for a sport that was important to her, but she called me asking if she could skip it and come home. Everything within my mama’s heart wanted to tell her no and make her do hard things (because I knew her heart wanted to do it). But I heard the Lord say, “Let her come home. I am building her testimony.” We went for a walk and talked about it. I began asking her questions about what had happened and what her heart was experiencing. We talked about risk and how there is a chance it may not end well. We talked about other things she attempted in life that did not end so well, which made her laugh. She realized she had the capacity to handle it if it didn’t turn out the way she hoped. I then asked her, “Is the fear of risk greater than the disappointment of not making the team because you were too afraid to try?” She began to see it as a risk but worth it. We created a plan to help empower her. While I could have ‘made’ her do it, her faith would not have been built. She will forever have a brick in her testimony wall of how God walked her through her fear of taking a risk.
Years ago, the kids and I went through the Kingdom training classes. One night, I was selected to be a part of the team to ask Jesus (prophesy) what He wanted to say to each person. There had to be well over 150 people lined up around the room. It was a powerful night of activation for me. I got to the end, and Jary was waiting, but when I got to her, she turned the tables on me and began to prophesy such deep rich words of life over me. It is hard to explain all that happened at that moment. All I know is that I received something so profound through this woman’s prayers. Years later, I can say that I am walking in what she released over me.
I homeschooled the kid’s elementary years, so I was used to being their ‘school teacher’ in the classroom setting, but it was years into homeschooling when I realized that one of my primary roles as a mother was to be a teacher. As they were getting older, the tones and attitudes in their speech started to really wear on me. It was not what they were saying but how they were saying it. As I was praying about it, Proverbs 16:24 came to mind, “Kind words are like honey-sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” I suddenly got this idea to cash in on the science lesson I had just taught on senses. I told them to meet me in the kitchen and blindfolded them. I asked them to stick out their tongue and I put a small dab of horseradish on it. They yelped and moaned. We tried it again, but this time I put honey on their tongue. Yum. That was much better. I shared the verse with them and talked about how sometimes their words sounded like horseradish, but that God wants us to use words and tones that are like honey. We role-played what that sounded like when someone took their toy, when they wanted something, or were asked to do something. I pretended to be them and modeled what kind and sweet tones looked like, and then I molded what horseradish sounded like. They thought it was funny, and we all laughed.
Here is what I want you to see. I was good at teaching science and math, but when it came to teaching principles of the heart to train and equip them, I felt shy and ill-equipped. I was so tired of their tones and needed to do something, but honestly, after the teaching, I remember feeling like it was flat, not deep enough, and I doubted they would retain any of it. I felt awkward and so unsure of myself that it was making a difference. My delivery felt skinny and weak. As the days went on, I would come to them, get down on their level and say, “Remember when I put that stuff on your tongue? How do you think you just sounded?” They had to stop and think and redirect their choice of speech. I began to get the revelation that they were not mini adults and did not need the 12-week course or 2-hour lecture on a subject. They understood me fully, and I had their hearts because I was teaching them through connection and releasing joy through the science experiment. They got it, and I grew in understanding that if I just show up and teach them, they will respond. To this day, with tweens and teenagers, all I have to say is, “That doesn’t sound like honey to me,” and they know immediately their tone was off.
Like it or not, if you are a parent, you ARE a teacher. It might not be of other children or in the classroom, but you are, by God’s design, a teacher of your own children. The more you embrace this part of parenting, the easier life will be for both you and your child. I encourage you to say this out loud a couple of times until it really sinks deep. “I AM a teacher. I proactively teach my child in times of peace how to succeed in life.” “I AM a teacher. I proactively teach my child in times of peace how to succeed in life.” “I AM a teacher. I proactively teach my child in times of peace how to succeed in life.” Have you received the revelation that to be a parent means to be a TEACHER?
I love having the kids ask Jesus what He thinks of them in all situations. Doing this has helped to break off lies and continues to keep their identity solid in Him. While my girls would always hear sweet things, my son would say, “Good!” when I would ask him what he heard. “How does Jesus feel about you?” “Good!” I would have him ask again and even reminded him that the God of the universe who created the entire world had more to say than “Good!” However, Holy Spirit told me to stop doing this as my son heard correctly and simply communicated it in his own way. If he asked Jesus how He felt about him and saw Jesus giving him thumbs up in his mind, he interpreted that as ‘good.’ I realized I needed to back off and let him hear from God in his own way because when the God of the universe says “Good!” it is good indeed!
Such a precious testimony of how this mom is training her son to hear God in a time of peace.
“My son wanted to take a toy to the kids’ club at the gym. Instead of saying yes or no, I had him ask Jesus. Right away, he heard no. We talked about how we always listen to Jesus and what He says about things. A few days later, he wanted to bring the same toy and told me that Jesus said it was ok. I was suspicious but decided not to be the middleman in the situation with God. He brought the toy and almost left it at the gym (my daughter remembered and got it for him). Later, I asked him if it was Jesus that said he could bring the toy to the gym or himself. Right away, he admitted it was his voice. It opened up a great conversation about why we need to listen to Jesus. Thanks for the encouragement that he really does hear at 3.5 years of age. I continue to ask the Lord for creative and fun ideas for teaching my kids to hear. I’m excited about what He has for us this year!”
I cannot get enough of these testimonies of moms learning how to partner with God in their parenting!
“We were sitting on the couch, snuggling together before bed, and my daughter, all of a sudden, looked towards the playroom and said, ‘Mommy, I feel scared.’ I asked her why she felt scared, and she said she was scared of the dark over there. I asked her what she saw, and she said, ‘bad guys.’ I wasn’t sure what to do, so I asked the Holy Spirit to help me, and I felt led to ask Jesus to shine his flashlight on her heart to show her where the fear was coming from. She didn’t even seem like she was listening, but I asked her, ‘What did Jesus show you?’ She said she saw us in the camper, and we were snuggling on the couch, and the bad guys came to life. IT WORKED! She just turned four, and Jesus took her back to a memory over six months ago! I was so excited Jesus spoke to her! I felt led to ask her if we were watching a movie (because fear often enters through our eye gates with movies), and she said yes, but she covered her eyes when the scary part came. I’m not sure what movie we were watching, but we are very careful that we don’t watch anything scary, so I’m guessing that the spirit of fear twisted something, and she felt afraid. We repented and said sorry to Jesus for not protecting our eye gates, and we asked Him to forgive us for watching that movie, and He said, ‘Yes, I forgive you.’ Then we took the fear out of her heart and threw it at Jesus’ feet, and asked Jesus what He wanted to give her. She said peace. We asked Jesus and the angels to come and make the bad guys leave our house, and she said she saw 20 angels! I don’t know if she actually saw 20 angels, but she definitely saw something angelic come and make the bad guys leave because the fear was gone, and I got my joyful little girl back!”
Friends, get your copy of our Heart Splinters book and become empowered how to teach your children how to defeat the works of the enemy and usher them to Jesus!
Back in my 20’s, I was hospitalized for three months, and upon waking from my coma, I discovered I had kidney, liver, and respiratory failure. I was pretty sick and very weak. My vital organs were all compromised, and I almost died because of it. One of the hardest parts of that journey was physical therapy, where I had to mentally train my body to work again. All I wanted to do was lay down and quit. It was too hard. I did not have the muscle strength to do what my circumstances demanded of me. My muscles felt like a wet noodle. I wanted to stop. I wanted to quit. I wanted to be left alone, but my PT cared about my health journey and knew it was best to push me, call me further, and expect more of myself SO THAT I could be strong and healthy again. I am so glad they could see further down the road than my eyes could at that moment. I needed to trust their wisdom in order to pull myself out of that pit.
Here’s the deal – many of you have been in a spiritual coma. Things have happened and caused your muscles to feel fatigued. You are like a wet noodle in the spiritual realm and have simply laid down and quit. You have allowed the toxins of life to affect your spiritual health. I get it more than you know. But we cannot remain in bed, hoping and praying that God will supernaturally step in and heal us where He has invited us to take our place. We must do our part. You have to get out of bed and begin using those muscles again, as hard as it is and as weak as you may feel. You have come too far to quit now. Your children will reap the fruit of your choices one way or another.
How far would you go to empower your child’s faith? A dear brother mentioned they were coming to Redding for a quick trip. I could feel something so strong on this trip but he did not communicate the purpose. The night before they came I asked a friend if he would be willing to get a word for the family. But in the morning as we were getting ready for church, I felt like God said to focus on the eldest daughter. I called my friend and asked if he would seek God’s heart for her specifically. After the service, they remained in their chairs as the Lord was touching the daughter deeply. We connected with my friend who gave her a very powerful word. Hours later, back at my house, I asked him what made him feel led to come out. He shared that during their church planting summer in Spain, God began to speak to him about truly preparing his children for the call of mission. That it wasn’t just about taking them along but truly preparing the next generation. Shortly after their return from Spain his eldest daughter said, “I think God told me that we are supposed to go to Bethel.” This father booked round trip tickets for five, two hotel rooms and a rental car for a less than 24-hour trip JUST to sow into his daughter hearing from God and empower her in that area. He wanted to strengthen her own faith and get behind what God was doing in her life. Jesus, bless this father for having eyes to see that his daughter was learning how to hear you and getting behind it. Give us eyes to see how we can strengthen our children’s spiritual muscles.
This was the first time I experienced partnering with God to remove the heart splinters in my children. It was glorious and left me hungry to live this as a family lifestyle.
I finally ordered my son to his room to give us all a break from the constant strife. Moments later, as I walked down to his room, I vividly remember saying, “Holy Spirit, I have no idea if I am going to yell at him, spank him, hug him or play with him when I get there, but You do!” And then I remember adding a little, “… And you better show up quick!” The moment I entered his room, it was like I could ‘see’ pain in him. I got this impression to grab a stack of paper. I sat on the floor with my (then) 5-year-old son and had him wad up a piece of paper and throw it, but while he was throwing it, he had to call out how he felt about his dad leaving. “I am mad he can’t play ball with me” (throws the paper ball and makes a new one), “I am mad I am the only boy in the family” (throws the ball and makes a new one), “I am sad he can’t tuck me in at night.” This hurting child threw nearly 50 paper balls, and by the end, he was weeping. It was one of the most painful moments for me as a mom to watch this pain seep out of him, but it had to get out. In the end, I scooped him in my arms and just held him. I called forth his worth and value and that he was fiercely loved and wanted. From that moment on, the ‘sting’ was gone from being fatherless (not that there wasn’t more to process, but the splinter was gone). There are adult men and women all over the world who are dealing with the trauma of being fatherless, but as parents, we CAN partner with Holy Spirit to give us creative ways to deal with the hurt, lies, and offenses of childhood IN childhood!