A teen boy pitched a first-class attitude, walked out of a prayer meeting, and went to sit in the car. He was scolded and rebuked by the leaders. He didn’t care and refused to budge from his position. The leader confronted his parents on his attitude, which got them to explore things further. It was revealed weeks later that the male who was leading the prayer meeting was actually grooming his sister! Yes, son, you have every right to respond, react and refuse to follow when someone is threatening your sister. Sometimes kids are reacting to something that is WRONG. They do it in an immature way because they are children, but sometimes they react to something because they are discerning it doesn’t feel right. LISTEN TO THEM!
LISTEN TO THEM!
I hosted a mom’s group and decided we would celebrate a different mom each week by showering her with gifts, words, and extra encouragement. It was a powerful time each week. One week I sensed I was to have my children write a prophetic word. Ellie, who is a fabulous artist, drew a detailed picture and wrote, “God is planting a seed deep within you that will bring life.” I asked Ellie to tell me about the picture, and she said, “Jesus showed me a picture in my mind of a tree that looked like that.” Yet it looked like a perfectly drawn male body part. I was contemplating whether I should trust it and give it to the mom or toss it. I was convicted that Ellie had a strong history of hearing with clarity, so I privately handed it to the mom and said, “Maybe you can look at this one later.” She looked at it anyway and burst into tears. She began to share the heartbreak and pain of not getting pregnant again after years of hoping and trying. We had no idea she was carrying this burden, which became a very tender ministry time for her. Fast forward a year later, and she is about to give birth to her second child.
One of the things I love about traveling and speaking is the ministry time. One touch of God can change a life in a moment. I often spend a great deal of time with God before asking how I can partner with what He is already doing in a particular community, as I never want to come in and just do my thing. At one place over the summer, He said to do ministry time totally different than I was used to (love that!). The Presence was so sweet and tangible. As a minister, you want people to encounter and receive all they can, but there was something that wouldn’t let me move forward. I had to process what He was doing and how I could partner with it while standing on stage in silence. He said, “I don’t want to come in as Fire tonight. I want to come in as a Gentleman. There are people in the room who need to know I am safe.” People encountered a safe Father, and it was breathtaking. It was the simplest yet most profound ministry time I have ever led.
Isn’t this a beautiful testimony from a father?
“Our family went on a family hike, and our eldest daughter was having fun running around. We got to the falls and took some pictures, but on the way back, she started whining about wanting to be carried and kept her whining and crying all the way back to the car. I told her if she kept it up, I would give her a spanking, and I could see the fear come into her eyes. She started trying to force herself to stop crying, and it was like something had switched inside me. I asked if she needed to be held, and she gave a huge nod with obvious relief, so I took her out of the car and held her on a nearby rock. I felt prompted by Holy Spirit to ask if she liked the waterfall, and she said no, that it was too loud. I asked if the noise and force of the waterfall scared her, and she said yes. I told her I was sorry for not realizing she was scared and asked if she would forgive me. She did, and I walked around holding her a little longer, and we ended up having a nice time again. This wouldn’t have happened before taking the mentoring class. When we were at the critical moment right when we got back to the car, I felt God cut in and remind me (gently, but in a way that couldn’t be ignored) that my connection to her heart was more important than her outward behavior, and it just froze me. I just wanted to share how the things you shared with us continue to bear fruit in our lives.”
Years ago, I was invited to a mom’s night out with our local twin’s club and hungered for deep girlfriend time. I had four-month-old twins and just discovered we were pregnant again. Little did I know how that evening would change my life. These seasoned moms began to share the horror stories of taking twins out in public – each story topping the next with embarrassment over unruly children in public places. One lady raised her glass to toast ‘eating out in public with twins’ goodbye. Something about this conversation was upsetting to me. Maybe it was because I have often said that eating out was my love language (my deeper confession is that I’m not too fond of cooking). Part of me didn’t like being controlled by a child who didn’t even know how to walk yet, and part of me wanted to raise my glass and toast to equip our children to not only have the character to be able to enter all places, but to be a JOY! I went home that night, determined to do just that. We would go out in public, and I used it as an intentional training ground to equip our baby twins, soon-to-be-four children under four years of age, how to have self-control, honor, and respect. Years later, I am still reaping the fruit. I saw a need to equip hungry parents in the ways of Kingdom parenting, specifically as it pertains to healthy character building that models the heart of the Father, the original parent! Character firmly plants a child to bear good fruit. Your home will be one of honor, respect, and peace when character is at the foundation. Enjoy the journey of equipping your children to bear good fruit.
Emma came bursting through my bedroom door when she was five and announced, “Mommy, I have to have Jesus in my heart right now!” She said her Sunday school told her all about Jesus, and she needed to do this. I said, “Oh, sweetie, that is the most amazing thing. How about you come to me first thing in the morning if this is something you really want to do?” I wanted to be sure this was her heart or something she felt like she was ‘supposed’ to do. She said, “Mom, NO. I can’t wait that long,” and so we prayed, accepting Jesus in her heart. I told her that Jesus tells us once we have accepted Him to go tell others and asked who she wanted to tell. She jumped off my lap in a flash, and about five minutes later, her twin sister, Lauren, came into my room, asking to accept Jesus. We celebrate their spiritual birthday each year, thanking God for adopting both of them.
I had an encounter with the Lord that left me in tears for 48 hours. My soul was agitated and frustrated, and I even said, “Either I am going to quit, or God is bringing me to death.” I spent a whole day pressing in, talking with wise counselors, and seeking Him. Finally, the revelation came and revealed an area I have been out of alignment in. Not ‘sin,’ but a belief that I was modeling my life after what wasn’t His heart. A lie so deeply entrenched it shaped my view of Him. When we are out of alignment, we create landing places for the enemy to use and influence us. Think of a disc in your spine being out of alignment – it will affect many areas of your body. Alignment matters! It would be so easy to lament and ask God why on earth did He wait 27 years to reveal that to me? It would have shaved off years of pain, confusion, and heartbreak to have been aligned years – no, decades – ago. But that is not the Father’s heart. He is not interested in airlifting us over the ocean, dropping us in the middle just to call us ‘deep.’ He is interested in the journey, the process, and the discovery together. I feel like some of you have cursed your process with words such as, “I should be further along than I am,” “I should be over this by now,” “I will never be free of this,” “I will never measure up to where others are at,” “Freedom is not for me,” etc. Break agreement with these lies and allow Jesus to be your guide one step at a time. He knows what He is doing with your life and will never ever be a day early or a minute too late. I bless your JOURNEY!
For Christmas one year, I gave Hudson a little book called “What Every Man Needs to Know” that listed things like how to build a fire, ask a girl out, how to fart, etc. It was supposed to be a joke, and I thought he would laugh. Instead, he read it cover to cover and earmarked all of the things listed in the book that he didn’t yet know how to do. My heart was gripped by the way he saw the need to be instructed in the areas of becoming a man. I knew I needed to respond, but I didn’t feel comfortable asking a single man to take on that role. I asked Hudson to make a list of the top 20 things he wanted to learn, and I asked God for a solution. I knew I couldn’t just step in and teach him as it was something that needed to come from a man, not his mother. My mind began to flip through the countless incredible men in our lives who I, as a mother, honor, respect, and trust. I began to reach out to each of them and told them the story of the book and Hudson’s list. I asked them if they would be willing to pick one thing on the list and teach and empower Hudson in that area. Oh, let me tell you how these men have risen to the occasion. Hudson has learned how to tie a tie, build a fire, change a tie, drive a car (yes, he took him out and let him drive his car!), cut down trees, burn a massive bonfire, drive a tractor, build things, change the oil in a car, replace wipers, roast hot dogs (without burning them), run a business, make money, throw knives, shoot a gun, sail a boat, go fishing, fix a bike tire, dress like a man (I loved this lesson), one man even gave him a talk about how to treat girls with respect. I am in awe over the rich men in our community who are willing to take time out of their busy lives and families to help a boy become a man.
We moved to California, but only three of the four children had acceptance letters for the school. We had yet to hear about a spot for Ellie. We were sitting in Hebrews coffee shop when the head of the school approached me and told me there was room for Ellie. I asked her to share it with Ellie directly. Upon hearing the news, Ellie shot me a look and, with her finger in the air, said, “I told you!” and went off to play. It wasn’t arrogant or disrespectful. It was full of faith and confidence that phone calls, lack of calls, now or later, it doesn’t matter. What her Father has spoken is as good as true! It was easy for her to wait because she heard what He said – that she would get in. This was God building her faith! In the future, when she wants something, I would remind her of this testimony and encourage her to have faith for it again.