I often hear moms of little ones lamenting that all they do is change diapers, feed, clean, do laundry, and repeat. They feel insignificant as their world revolves around caring for their demanding and helpless child. To which I reply, “YOU ARE KIDDING YOURSELF. You are in the biggest season of your life. You get to be the gateway between the generations deciding what you do and do not want to pass on to the next generation who will carry the baton of your family line. You are deciding what parenting style is best for raising healthy whole children. You are deciding what holiday traditions are worthy of introducing your children to. You are discerning what triggers you and what needs to be brought into wholeness. You are building a foundation with their Father that will be the foundation in which they are raised. You are the one who gets to gaze in their eyes and communicate love to their souls. You are teaching them that they are safe and wanted. Oh, Mama, you are in the most incredible season of your life as you take the helm and sail the next generation into the Father’s arms.”
LIFE WITH LITTLES
The need for inner healing is the space between God’s truth and our reality. The enemy seeks to separate us from our BELIEF in God’s goodness. He can’t touch that reality as the Cross is a finished work, but he can mess with our thoughts about it. We live in a fallen world, and all have experienced hurts and offenses, some more than others. Not everyone is walking wounded – many are free and healed. Christ said to Satan while fasting, “You have nothing in Me – no hooks.” He had no emotional wounds, He and His Father were good, and He carried no lies or shame that the enemy could use against Him. Lies typically enter during an event where something happens that produces negative feelings, and at that moment, the enemy tries to whisper lies to us about God, ourselves, and others. We all know of examples where someone gets bad news and overreacts. Most likely, they agreed with a lie, only to realize later that it wasn’t true. If the lie remains, something will be ‘off’ with God, ourselves, or others. Things like peace, love, and unity go out the window quickly when lies are present. Why? Because that is the purpose of a lie: to steal, kill, and destroy. Steal, kill and destroy what? Our connection with the truth about God, ourselves, and others. Simple, isn’t it? When our soul gets so heavy and wounded with hurts, lies, and offenses, we begin to medicate ourselves with band-aids. Some ways are more harmful than others, but they can include: running away, putting walls up, partnering with fear, becoming angry, lying, turning to drugs, sex or porn, drinking, withdrawing, yelling, swearing, isolating ourselves, etc. While these serve to protect us (otherwise, people wouldn’t use them), the band-aids create a whole new set of issues since getting close to a protected heart can be challenging. You won’t find band-aids in the Bible, Jesus’ ministry, or heaven. They are inferior coping mechanisms that help us to manage the pain of an offense or wound.
So, what is the solution? Allow Jesus to heal that inner part of you that got hurt SO THAT you can be aligned with His truth and walk in wholeness.
I woke up to find a note slipped under my hotel room door informing me I had a gift waiting for me at the front desk. It was a box of chocolates from a precious friend. I was greeted with many sweet messages from friends who wanted me to know they loved me. One friend messaged me wondering if Valentine’s Day was hard for me being a single woman, and I responded NO. Not at all, because it has always been a day about love, and I feel so well-loved. Romantic love is one thing, but love is universal between parent and child, siblings, friends, mentors, and spiritual children, and I have a life packed with love. However, this morning I was struck by my emotions. I slipped out of bed early like I always do and sat quietly before the Lord with my hot cup of coffee. My mind drifted to my mom. Tears began to flow. I have lived my life longer without her than with her, and suddenly I felt like a little girl wanting my mommy again. It overwhelmed me. Losing a parent at an early age has a profound impact on you and forces you to fill those parenting needs and longings elsewhere. God has been so good and faithful to me over the years by always planting me in a community where I am seen and loved well. But today, I am a little girl who was able to connect to the love of my mom, and it touched me so deeply.
Moms, no matter what you have done, no matter what your journey looks like, no matter how many times you have blown it, you are still the one and only one who gets to be called their mom. Go hug your children today and remind them of your deep and fierce love for them.
“When someone slanders another to us, we must remember that we are not mainly fighting flesh and blood, but spiritual forces of evil” (Ephesians 6:12). Satan knows that slander deadens and splits churches, poisons friendships, and fractures families. He knows slander quenches the Holy Spirit, kills love, short-circuits spiritual renewal, undermines trust, and sucks the courage out of the saints. So our goal, particularly in the context of the church, is to help each other shed demonic weights and avoid satanic stumbling blocks.
So how do we do this? The best way is to become people who are not safe to slander around. We must ask each other questions like: “Have you shared your concern with this person directly? I’d be willing to go with you to talk to him. Just to be clear, is this information I should know? Do you want me to help you pursue reconciliation? Are you doing everything you possibly can to put away ‘all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander’ (Ephesians 4:31)? How can I help you guard this person’s reputation like a treasure (Proverbs 22:1)?” In other words, friends don’t let friends slander. Friends don’t let friends act like God-haters (Romans 1:30).
“The more we love people, the more we hate slander, because a slanderer hates his victims” (Proverbs 26:28). Let us remember that we are stewards of the treasure of each other’s good names. Let us resolve to avoid sharing information that is unnecessarily damaging to another person’s reputation and to repent to everyone affected if we do. Let us seek to silence the sin nature slanderer within and graciously give and receive others’ help when one of us slips, perhaps unaware, into slander. Let us do damage to Satan’s forces by speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Let us lay aside the destructive sin-weight of slander. In an age of social media, that lacks the functional information-spreading restraints of past eras, let us be all the more slow to post (‘slow to speak’ – James 1:19) analysis, speculation, and commentary on information about another person or group, even if it has become public in our slander-saturated culture, that might eventually prove slanderous.
“All the serious biblical warnings about slander still apply, which should make us all, especially those of us with ‘platforms,’ tremble.” – Jon Bloom.
When my kids were little, we would play a game of ‘hot potato’ where we would stand in a circle, and I would toss a beach ball to one of them. As I threw the ball, I would make a statement, “You are kind,” and they had to grab the ball, discern if it was a truth or lie, and then throw it back to me, declaring which one it was.
“You are wanted” – TRUTH
“You are ugly” – LIE
“You belong” – TRUTH
“You are stupid at math” – LIE (math might not be their strong suit, but they are not stupid).
I was teaching them that not every thought they have, or words spoken over them are the truth. In fact, some of them are downright LIES and can be thrown out. Little did I know back then just how profoundly it would shape them as they got older. They are so quick to grab the thought, discern it (generally because it feels awful), and then toss it back out. Jesus tells us to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5)! Grab a ball today and teach your children to discern what is a LIE and what is TRUTH.
I cannot love this testimony anymore! A mom was trying to be super intentional to keep her daughters spiritually fed during C-19. They were going to a co-op group, but the girls were bored to tears and begged to stop going. The mom then tried another Christian group, but the leader’s daughter was super controlling, and the girls felt like it was more about the girl than Jesus and did not like feeling used and mistreated each week. The daughter finally came to her mom and said, “Can’t we just please do Awana at home as a family?” YES!! There is indeed a time and place to gather corporately, and we learn and gain things in community that are vital, but that does not need to replace the power of the home and feeding our spirits together.
Why not create a once-a-week FAMILY TIME? Let it be a time of worship, soaking, journaling, giving prophetic words to each other, praying, declaring, discussing important topics, going on a hunt to find people to love, creating skits, or understanding certain Bible passages.
I knew God wanted me to write the book HEART SPLINTERS – Resolving Childhood Issues in Childhood. But I was walking through a season of deep discouragement and feeling disempowered. It is super hard to feel confident in your calling and put your voice out there when feeling disempowered. The manuscript was always a work in progress on my desk, but I was dragging my feet. I saw a Facebook post about a well-loved husband who had committed suicide leaving behind a precious family. While I had not met them, we had many mutual friends, and it rocked our community deeply. His wife shared her raw experience on social media, and it came across my news feed countless times.
One day, I saw it pop up again, but I kept scrolling since I had already read it. I so clearly heard God tell me to go back and reread it. I did, unsure of what He wanted me to see. I heard Him tell me to print the picture of this family. It was so strong that even though my printer was out of ink, I went to the local drug store to obey. I felt a little odd holding a picture of a family I had never met and who was going through so much tragedy, but I held the picture in my hand and asked, “God, what do You want to tell me about this family?” and He said, “This is your YES – this is why I want you to write HEART SPLINTERS. People are perishing without this information.” The tears were instant as I fell out of my chair on my face, and wept for hours. “Oh, Jesus, forgive me for partnering with being disempowered. Forgive me for walking small. Forgive me for not opening my mouth. Forgive me for laying down what You have called me to pick up. JESUS! Use me to tell Your sheep there is hope. Let what You did in my life, and the lives of my four children serve as a testimony of what You can do. Light and life always trump death and darkness.”
And with that encounter, the manuscript was finished.
I wholeheartedly agree with what this mom in class has to share about speaking identity over her child.
“I just love all the ideas for teachable moments! My parents, probably my mom mostly, would always say positive things to me, but it never came back to God. When you think it’s just your mom’s opinion, it’s easy to dismiss the validity, but knowing who we are to God is breathtaking. Having that strong foundation of being able to call out the lies so easily because I know the truth would have dramatically changed my life. I spent too much time believing those lies, and my identity has been weak. I pray that God will lead me to be the parent that can call out the good as beautiful gifts from Jesus and also call out the lies from the enemy so we can throw them out!”
Mamas, you can’t speak badly about your body and not have it affect your son’s and daughter’s belief about women. They learn to honor, respect, and value a woman’s body through you. So watch what you say about yourself!
My daughter was having an unusually rough day, and I kept catching her sneaking things, which was so out of character for her. We asked Jesus to shine His bright flashlight in her heart, which provoked her to ask me the meaning of her name. I showed her a fun book where she could look it up. Once she found it, she began to cry and said, “Oh, I am so glad! I thought my name meant deceiver.” I was shocked, but as I listened to her, I realized she had misunderstood something someone had said. She then partnered with the voice/thought that told her she was a deceiver and guess how she acted that day. We then asked Jesus what her name meant to Him, and she heard “hard worker.” Guess how she started acting since she heard that.
Here is the mental shift: my old way of parenting would have disciplined her for sneaking things and not being honest. While that is something I would want to deal with, it wasn’t the issue. The heart issue was that she believed a lie about her identity. Her joy and peace returned when her identity was secured in the truth.