LOVE BIG

LOVE BIG

Testimony from a father. This is what it is all about! The best parenting in the world means little if it does not love big.

“My wife and I discovered today which love language each of our children gravitates toward & made an intentional effort to fill them. The results were immediate & noticeable! It was as if their cup was running over & they had extra to share. Really neat!”

FILL THOSE TANKS

If you have followed Let the Children Fly for long, you know that I am a big promoter of knowing and filling your child’s love tank. How many adults walk around with unmet needs waiting for someone to fill them? It is a lonely and isolating experience. The sad thing is few people can read your mind to know what you need. I have been very diligent in not only teaching my children about their love language but how to discern when they are feeling low, isolated, or disconnected and how to get their needs met in a HEALTHY, proactive way. Typically when their tanks are low, there is an increase of bickering, conflict, bad moods, agitation, and strife. While I went after character training, I also helped them to be PROACTIVE with their needs so that it doesn’t get to that point. Hudson came to me one morning and said, “Hey Mom, I set up a game of cards for us.” Truth be told, the timing wasn’t great, as I had a lot to do, but I had eyes to see that my son could have cared less about cards and was really saying, “Hey Mom, my love tank is low, and I want you to fill it before I go to school.” Yep! I can make time for you, son.

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.

DANCE, EMMA, DANCE!

Emma, my second twin, wiggled in my womb so much it could easily take the nurses 45 minutes just to get an ultrasound of her. She hasn’t stopped moving since. Not in a hyper way (she is actually very mellow), but she is always dancing. I was never allowed to be carefree as a child, and the creative arts aren’t my natural bent, so it somewhat agitated me that she couldn’t just walk through the grocery store but always had to be leaping and twirling. I used to try to teach her to control herself and walk like a lady. It caused tension between us at times. Finally, God began to show me that her dancing is a gift from Him. It is almost warfare in nature. Something shifts in the atmosphere when she dances, which is so powerful.

I sensed Holy Spirit calling me to worship Him despite the heaviness of my heart. I found myself calling my daughter from the other room, “Dance, Emma, DANCE!” Within a few moments, something broke in the atmosphere. Interestingly, I endured a lot of grief while pregnant with her, and I sincerely believe all of the ‘movement’ was her dancing in the womb. I don’t always understand what is going on, but I DO know this – children are powerful carriers of the Kingdom, and when we as parents learn to steward their gifts vs. trying to control them, WE are the ones who are blessed.

UNBALANCED SCALES

I like to get away with God to give Him space to speak to me without an agenda. This is what He showed me during our recent time together. I saw a snake wrapped around me I assumed it meant some sort of deliverance (yikes), but He began to talk to me about being ‘joined at the hip’ and how the snake serves as fuzz in Velcro, preventing it from fully attaching and sticking together. I also saw a picture of slime, which by nature, is to be repulsive. Hmmm. As I inquired about the snake, He said the word, ‘scales’ three times. At first, I thought He meant the skin of a snake, but suddenly I saw a picture of a weight scale and instantly heard in my spirit, “God despises unbalanced scales.” This has to do with cheating on the true worth and value of something. I saw a line across a page, and He began to show me that when we are adopted, we are to live in that space. It includes our identity, worth, value, destiny, abilities, energy level, faith, etc. He showed me how people elevate themselves above the line with pride, idol worship (and allowing others to worship them), taking up space that isn’t theirs to take, self-promotion with an orphan heart, striving, building a platform over building His Kingdom, etc. This picture was easy for my mind to see and grasp. Then He said, “But there is another unbalanced scale that I hate,” and He showed me those who operate below the line by partnering with being disempowered, lack need for permission or approval, lacking godly confidence, being timid, shrinking back, not owning their voice, dismissing their gifts, comparison, etc. One elevates themselves above where God has them, and the other lowers themselves below God’s call on their lives. Both are out of balance of the true worth and value of a life called and adopted by God for His Kingdom and purposes. The only way to fully attach to others in the way God intended is to do so from the position He has called us. It is nearly impossible to connect in a healthy way to an idol, just as much as it is hard to thrive with someone who partners with lack. If you find yourself in either camp outside of the balanced God-given space, I encourage you to take some time to make this right with Him. Confess it and ask Him to bring you into His measurement of who you are!

A TOUCH FROM HIM

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.

SHE IS DIFFERENT

I took my twins on a day trip to go shopping. I had an allotted amount in my mind that I wanted to lavish on them. I envisioned spending the whole time focusing on them and making them feel seen and special. The first two stores were on my list, and I zoomed in and out at record speed, knowing we had a lot of ground to cover. We went to Forever 21, and two hours later, Emma was ready for the dressing room. There was no place to sit, so I camped out on the dirty floor as the girls giggled, tried on their clothes, and came out to show me. An hour later, Emma is still putting on her fashion show, and I am growing agitated. I rebuked my inner attitude and told it to be joyful (it didn’t work, but I tried). I have never been so excited to leave a store. We entered the next one, and the same thing happened. The first 30 minutes were fun exploring the store, but an hour later, Lauren and I sat there with her pile of selected items waiting for Emma to come out with outfit #88. I released my frustration by commenting, “Are you almost done?” with a tone that communicated I wasn’t enjoying this as much as she was. I felt like I was going to lose it and heard the Lord say, “Go ahead, but you will have to clean up your mess.” As I sat there processing the mess I was about to make (and weighing if it was worth it), I suddenly saw clearly that this wasn’t a case of Emma doing something wrong but about us having utterly different shopping styles. God showed me a picture of releasing my frustration in a way that communicated to my daughter that there was something wrong with her and that she needed to conform to make me comfortable. I realized this is how young girls shut down and turn from their true selves. They are raised to keep mama happy and deny their true selves to keep connection and peace. This is never a child’s job description, and we need to be super careful we are managing our hearts so that we don’t unintentionally shut down our true selves. Suddenly, I noticed that Emma came out of the room with her original clothes on but still had a pile to try on. Her entire demeanor was different, and the joy was gone from her eyes. I asked her why and she said, “It’s okay. I realize I took too long,” but her real heart was sad and disappointed. I wrestled with managing my own frustrations and caring for her heart. We sat on the bench outside the store, and I began to tell her what God had shown me. It was uber important for her to see that her style of shopping stretches me to the core, but that didn’t mean her way was wrong. She was NOT in sin or disobedience, nor was anything wrong with her. She would have giggled the entire time if she had been with peers. However, I explained to her that shopping with me meant she might need to tone it down a bit, not because it was wrong, but to honor those around her. I checked in with her a couple of times to ensure she wasn’t partnering with lies or feeling like something was wrong with her just because I am wired differently from her. I gave her examples of times I have stretched others and had to learn when to tone it down to honor them while still being true to how I was created. It is a dance of learning how to manage our hearts and parenting our child’s hearts.

THUMBS UP

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!

BALANCE

Sometimes parenting with Holy Spirit is funny. I just praised my daughter for NOT sharing with her sibling (and meant it). Emma is my second twin, and her whole life, we have had to go after her using her voice, saying NO, and setting boundaries. She is my child who will freely give you the shirt off her back and socks, too! She is also the child who will have tears in her eyes and a smile on her face. Once, her twin sister asked if she could have one of her birthday presents that was still wrapped, and Emma said, “Sure!” It has been a long road of teaching her how to listen to her heart and respond accordingly. YES, I want my children to share, but not at the expense of becoming a doormat. YES, I want my children to obey, but not from a place of being double-minded. YES, I want my children to put others first, but not at the expense of losing her true self. So, one morning, when her sibling asked to borrow her phone for the day, she said, “No,” I pulled her aside and praised her. Where her twin has had to learn how to be more kind, thoughtful, and caring towards others, Emma has had to learn to be kinder to herself. 

CONCUSSION HEALED

THANK YOU to everyone who prayed and invited their children into praying for my concussion. My pain level was at a 7/8 when I asked for prayer two days ago. I felt led to stop taking the pain meds in an act of faith as so many were praying and have not had any in two days. My pain/pressure has gone down to a 3/4. For those of you who had your children pray, it is essential to follow back up with them and let them know the progress as this builds their faith. I would often say to my children something like, “Hey guys, remember when you prayed for Miss Amy? She is feeling much better. You guys are rock stars and so powerful. Look at what you did.” And they would respond, “No, JESUS did it.” This is very important. Often we empower our children to walk in healing the sick and powerful things happen, but we do not highlight that it is 100% the work of the Cross and the power of Jesus through us. If we fail to focus on this aspect, we are raising children to be prideful and taking credit for God’s glory. I have seen this happen, and it does not produce long-lasting fruit. Yes, children are very powerful. Yes, things happen when we pray. But it must be anchored in the truth that Jesus is the One who heals through us, not us.

GOD USES ANYTHING

I went on a date with my son, and he broke down and told me how unkind Lauren had been to him all over the dog. We got home, and I asked her about it, and she didn’t express much care about it. The following morning, we talked about it again as a family, but her response was cool and casual as if to communicate she had no intention of changing (insert trigger moment for Mom when siblings are unkind to each other). She came to me a couple of times throughout the day and said she would ‘try harder,’ but this wasn’t about behavior management, as this issue has been there on some level since the day we got Boo. I told her she needed to fight harder for her freedom and that I was there to help, but she had to own it. By that evening, she asked if we could talk. She said she was upset with Hudson. About what? That he would do something that would harm the dog. I asked what she was afraid would happen if Boo was hurt. She said, “That he would be put down.” I assured her that would not be pleasant, but the reality is she will outlive the dog, and at some point, she will have to say goodbye. She agreed. I asked if she was feeling more compassion for Boo being in pain, that she had to let go of him or that she would have to deal with the aftermath of missing him every day, and with that, a burst of emotions came flooding over her. She was not afraid of losing him; she was afraid of longing for him. Instantly my mind recalled how she processed when she lost her dad. She was angry for a while and then just came to accept it. What I failed to realize at the time was that she was stewarding an unmet longing for him. She, like many people, despised the feeling of longing for something that you can’t have, and there was a part of her heart that jumped in to protect her from feeling that ever again. She wasn’t controlling Hudson. She was trying to protect herself from having to feel the longing for something you want and desire but can’t have. As her mom, I get a lump in my throat even writing that. She has gotten into a lot of conflict over the years for her ‘controlling’ behavior over her siblings with the dog, yet all along, she was scared of losing him like she did her dad. She was able to repent for her attempt to control and manage Hudson’s actions. She asked Jesus to forgive her for trying to do His job of protecting her heart and Boo’s life. She had a greater revelation that it is God and God alone who holds Boo’s life in His hands, and He already has Boo’s life figured out from beginning to end. I asked her if she could have faith that God also cares about Hudson and that He didn’t want Hudson to do something to Boo that would cause him to be put down and the profound way that would affect his relationship with Lauren. That God is protective over leading Hudson too. She began to cry and said she had never thought of that and suddenly felt compassion for him. Hudson isn’t the enemy here – her fear is.

Thank You, Jesus, that You parent our hearts and see what is really going inside of us. She didn’t need a consequence for her unkind behavior. She needed an encounter with a Father who has never left or forsaken her, who sees and hears her heart and cares deeply about what she holds dear. Okay, I might be crying myself after sharing that testimony of you.