LET HIM LEAD!

LET HIM LEAD!

I was able to score cheap tickets to Florida and decided I would take the kids for some R&R and splashing in the ocean before school started the following week. The following morning I woke at 3 am pondering our trip. While it ‘looked’ fun, I had no joy. I got out of bed and began to process why going to Florida was not bringing any joy whatsoever. The joy turned into NO PEACE. It wasn’t fear, but simply no peace or joy on it. The Kingdom is righteousness, peace, and joy; I have used these as my pillars to lead me. I canceled the trip.  And then I see this… A double hurricane isn’t my idea of joy either, God. Thanks for leading me so well.

Shhhhhhh! LISTEN! HE KNOWS HOW TO LEAD HIS SHEEP.

40 YEAR LIE

 A lady in her 40’s was so paralyzed by groups that she would not attend classes, go to Bible studies, church, restaurants, or anywhere else where large groups gathered. Finally, she could not take the isolation anymore and began seeking help. When they asked Jesus to show her the first time she felt paralyzed by a large group, she recalled the story of when she was just three years old and remembered feeling loved and secure with her large family. They were at her house, and there was a lot of excitement and love, but on a particular day, when she walked into the room, they all hushed really quickly, and she could tell that something was wrong. They all just stared at her, and the silence was paralyzing and awkward for her. For years the question, “What is wrong with me?” haunted her. Jesus showed her that the family was in town for her surprise birthday party and that they were all discussing how they would surprise her. When she walked in, they all got silent, not wanting to ruin the surprise.

Doesn’t that story break your heart? ONE lie for FORTY years! But this is what I want you to see – when the heart splinter (in this case, a lie of “what is wrong with me?”) entered, it was the PARENTS who surely saw a change in their daughter. You cannot believe a lie like that and not have it change how you think, feel and act. Had the parents been empowered to help her, the splinter could have been pulled in childhood.

NO FEAR

Love this testimony from my friend about how she walked in her authority as a parent. We don’t manage the fear; we deal with it.

“My son has been fearful of blood/bleeding ever since his pinky finger accident in January. This week he got his first wiggly tooth, and I immediately saw fear come when we talked; he said he was afraid because when the tooth comes out, it will bleed. He talked about his wiggly tooth constantly for days (not wanting to play certain games/eat certain foods because his tooth might come out). 2 nights ago, I went into his room while he was sleeping and commanded fear to leave him, that he wouldn’t fear bleeding, and would have joy in the process of losing his tooth. The next day he didn’t bring up his wiggly tooth AT ALL, and, this morning, he came out and wanted all the family to wiggle his tooth because it was more wiggly, and he was EXCITED about it… NO FEAR!”

EMMA’S OUTFIT

I have favorite stories of my children about how God encountered their hearts. This is my favorite one of Emma’s because we are still seeing the fruit of it a decade later.

When Emma was five, she came to me sobbing that she hated her outfit. I encouraged her to pick out something else. She did, and that, too, produced an ocean of tears. She set off to find something else, but the flood of tears continued. At this point, I was getting a little annoyed and frustrated. We were already super late for Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s house, and clothes were simply a non-issue in my home up until that point. Why did they matter so much now? By the fifth outfit, I was about to give her a good lecture on, “naked you came, naked you will leave,” and I could feel my blood pressure rising. I heard her tears coming back up the stairs, and suddenly Holy Spirit whispered, “Ask her WHY.” I sat her down and asked why she hated her clothes. She stated immediately that it was because she wasn’t pretty enough (lie). But we had to keep asking questions. WHY did she believe she wasn’t pretty enough? She then revealed the painful splinter: “Because my daddy doesn’t love me.”

Satan had whispered to her that he didn’t like her because she wasn’t pretty enough and that if only she could find the right outfit, she would be pretty enough to be loved. Imagine if the splinter had not been dealt with that day. Fast forward several years to when she is fifteen. Her unresolved need for love drives her to dress for boys’ attention. What about when she is twenty-five and married and causes a great amount of debt due to her obsession with shopping in an attempt to feel good about herself?

The hurts, lies, and offenses are there to steal, kill, and destroy our relationships with God, ourselves, and others. I believe that the enemy was seeking to plant a lie deep in Emma that day that would reap a harvest for a lifetime through the pain with her father. I explained that the voice she heard was not Jesus but His enemy.

Because kids have free will, I always ask, “Would you like to tell that lie to leave?” It empowers rather than controls them. She said she wanted to get rid of the lie, so I led her through a prayer that looked like this: “Jesus, I confess I believed the lie that I am not pretty enough to be loved.” “Jesus, I forgive my dad for not making me feel like a princess.” “Jesus, where were You when I got my feelings hurt?” “Jesus, how do You feel about me?” She sat there with her eyes closed and her head bowed and suddenly got the biggest smile on her face. She looked up and said with excitement, “Mom! I wore this beautiful dress, and my hair was like a ballerina’s. I was dancing with Jesus, and He said I was HIS princess!” While that was indeed a sweet moment, what is so awesome about this story is that God used it all for good when the enemy came to harm and hurt.

To this day, years later, that girl KNOWS she is Jesus’ princess!

GOD IS NOT ON TRIAL

Get out of the courtroom! Some of you have been hammered with accusations from the enemy that your God is not a good Father. God is moving in a way many have not experienced before, and His ways are not always ours. We have to leave room for Him to be just that – GOD! If you hear a barrage of accusations against Him, LEAVE THE COURTROOM! You do not need to listen to evidence against Him. The evidence is tainted; the accusations are lies. The trial is a mock trial. It is not your job to defend the Creator of the universe! It is your job to silence the enemy with your praise! It is your job to know and stand on the Word of God! It is your job to be a witness of love to others! There is no case to be won – we live in a place of victory now! 

THERE IS MORE!

Take a moment and picture how incredible it would be to be in Hawaii. No, seriously. Stop right now and think about a trip to paradise. The mere thought of the ocean mist, bright sun, and warm sand – sounds like heaven. Now, picture yourself on the balcony of the high-rise hotel on the beach. Pretty cool, huh? What if you were to walk down to the sandy beach with a relaxing book and sit under the sun umbrella? How about strolling up and down the shoreline, flirting with the cool waves against your warm toes? Better yet, picture yourself knee-deep and enjoying the waves splashing against your body. Swimming out deeper and jumping in the waves is an experience like no other. If you venture out just a little further, you can snorkel and see some of the most fantastic fish swimming. Still, does the wonder of the ocean end there? No! There is even more! When you learn how to surrender to the mercy of an oxygen tank, you can stay immersed under the water for quite some time and enjoy the outstanding, breathtaking beauty that is not available for those seated in the safety of their hotel balcony. While the mere thought of being in Hawaii right now is a good one, God wants us to know that there is MORE of Himself waiting to be discovered, and these depths in God far outweigh any beauty we may find on earthly soil. The only person to ever reach the vast depth of the Father was Jesus. For the rest of us, we can stay on the beautiful yet comfortable, confined balcony or allow the Spirit to draw us deeper and deeper. No matter where you are at right now, know there is MORE! The goal isn’t to be air-dropped into the middle of the sea and claim that we have arrived. Doing so ill-equipped would be not only dangerous but also foolish. The goal is the JOURNEY! God finishes and completes our faith, and it is our job to allow Him to lead us one step at a time. Philippians 1:6 is your anchor! 

Now, link this analogy to parenting: Can you picture how drastically different our parenting will be based on where we position ourselves? Those on the balcony will have a different parenting mindset than those who parent from the ocean’s depth. 

Through the different seasons of your life. Are you gradually moving deeper and deeper, or are you having continued visits between the same few safe and familiar locations?

THE GREAT I AM

I had to take a moment to process my heart in the midst of so much movement. I began to feel good about all that I have been able to accomplish in a short amount of time between packing, cleaning, selling items, arranging details, canceling utilities, securing housing, saying goodbyes, homeschooling, and on and on. I stopped myself from saying aloud, “I am a ROCKSTAR!”. I saw a mental picture of how weary and exhausted I was earlier in the week, and I heard God say, “No, I AM,” and I began to cry. Oh yes, yes, yes. It is YOU who gave me the grace and strength to accomplish all that I am able to accomplish. It is YOU who showed up in my weakness and made me strong. It is YOU who sustained me with Your power to end well. It is YOU who never left me. It is YOU who walked me through this part of my journey just like You have every other one. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 – “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 

BE A STUDENT

We wrapped up two glorious weeks in Colorado and were up early for our flight. There was so much joy and gratitude pouring out of each of us. That is until we were going through security. It was hectic and very chaotic. The crowd had a subtle push as everyone wanted to get through the security line without further delay. Hudson started getting agitated and was letting everyone around him know it. I would ask him to do something knowing there wasn’t much time to tinker around. He was obeying but with extreme exaggeration. It would have been almost comical if it wasn’t holding up the rest of the people. I became annoyed and upset with his attitude. I made a sharp comment about his attitude which only made things worse. On the train, I was able to take a breath and heard Jesus tell me that I needed to be a student of my son and to allow him to teach me what he needs in this new teen brain season. I apologized for my sharp words that focused more on his outward behavior than his heart. I told him what Jesus showed me because it is always important to me that my children know while I am their mother and to be respected, Jesus is their friend and cares about their hearts, too. I love it when Jesus shows me where I have misunderstood my child’s heart. He is their advocate and I want them to know it. While on the plane, he asked to sit by me which was his way of communicating he wanted to reconnect. I knew he wouldn’t value having a conversation in front of everyone so I wrote him a note. His reply caught me off guard. His frustration was not within himself, but rather stemming from my rushed and chaotic parenting. He is still a child at 14, while capable of much, still a child, and simply needed more time.

YOU ARE NOT WHAT YOU DO

I shared a post about Ellie bombing a test and having to deal with the shame that was trying to come on her. She was able to identify it and not come under it, but it took her a bit to process. A week later, she put a note on my bed about how smart she was, and it struck me funny. While yes, I celebrate the amazing grades, I wanted to make sure she was staying in alignment with the truth. She came to me puzzled by my note and said, “Yes, I am a good student,” to which I said, “No, that is not who you are.” She was confused. I told her, “Your worth and value are no more in your great grades than when you bombed your test. Either way, you are good.”

We have got to help our children separate their identity from their successes, or else we are doing nothing more than praising them for being performance-driven.

WHO ARE THEY?

Mary and Joseph were the human vessels God worked THROUGH to accomplish HIS purpose and plan for HIS Kingdom! What if Joseph decided *HE* wanted Jesus to be a football player or a doctor? Just think of how the world would have missed what God was doing. God is smart. God is good and knows what He is doing with the world. He needs parents who will lay down their own agenda and partner with what He is doing SO THAT our children can do all that He has created them to do for His purpose and His plan. I encourage you to spend some quiet time before the Lord today and ask Him, “Father, will You please show me what YOU have put inside my child” or “Holy Spirit, will You please show me the destiny (purpose on earth) You have placed deep inside of them?”

9/11 GOD STORIES

We can’t always shield our children from reality, but we can show them how God shows up in the midst of it. These are just a few God stories amid such ache, chaos, and loss. Share them with your children and let the events shape who they are and want to be! Don’t let this just be a memory of fear and loss. It was also a day of great character, love, and courage.

Do a google search on 9/11 God stories, and you will see scores of amazing testimonies. The Unsung Heroes: 12 Powerful Stories From September 11th (inspiyr.com)