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!”

BECOMING A DAUGHTER

I recently hosted a series of parenting classes at the local rescue mission for moms in crisis with drugs and alcohol. In all honesty, I said yes fully expecting it not to work. I told the manager I would do it once and then we could regroup. I was actually expecting to fail thinking there was no way these keys would work for them in their situation, but I was excited to get in there and pull on heaven for the keys and strategy for them.  To my surprise, not only did the parenting classes work (ha!), but it began to transform not only the women but the whole house. God highlighted five women to pull in further and mentor them. We met every week and the most glorious thing happened in our last meeting. I began to prophesy over each person and this powerful presence came into the room. Every single person (even staff) began to weep as we all realized *I* was not the one who He was going to give the keys to, but them!!! These women are learning how to be a Daughter, change the atmosphere around them and pull on heaven for the keys for others in their shoes. I am not sure I have ever witnessed the tangible move of the Holy Spirit like that before. These women are the heroes of their family line, they are the ones chosen, called and anointed to change the direction and lead the way for others to follow! 

BIG EMOTIONS

The family operates like the gears in a machine. My sweet Ellie was in a season of big emotions (oh boy). I could tell the emotions were overwhelming her, but when I asked if she was okay, she said, “Yes. I am totally fine,” yet moments later, she released a bunch of crooked emotions. It made quite a mess and affected everyone in the family, including being late for school and my meeting. When she came home from school, she asked to talk about it, quickly apologizing. I sensed more was going on as this was becoming a new pattern and not just a bad day moment. We revisited earlier that day when I invited her to give her heart a voice, and she lied when she said she was ‘totally fine.’ We began to ask Jesus to show us why she was not honest. She said, “I am used to doing things right, and I do not like it when I make a mess.” I encouraged her to allow Jesus to speak into that area as He wants us to live whole and fruitful lives. If we are uncomfortable with our growth and process, we will move into a performance-based lifestyle, which is not His will or Kingdom. I asked her “What about making a mess makes your heart so uncomfortable?” and she burst into tears. YEP. There it is. She recalled a situation not that long ago where I had just spent the entire afternoon lavishing on her and intentionally connecting 1:1 but she came home and began picking a fight with her siblings. I had a meeting to get to and lots to do (I was running late because I was out with her). I commented how her attitude was affecting the rest of us, and since that comment, she felt like having big emotions was bad, so she lied about how she was feeling. Was that my true heart? NO! Was I telling her she couldn’t have emotions? NO! Was I trying to shut her down? NO! Did I handle the situation the best I could? NOPE. I was rushed, pressured, and honestly a bit frustrated with her that I had just poured so much into her, and she was choosing disconnection with her siblings. Her ‘lying’ was revealing a heart splinter (hurt, lie, or offense). That is a GOOD thing. As we sat with Jesus, He showed us what was going on underneath her lying and brought the lie she believed about not being allowed to have big emotions into alignment. Parenting was never meant to be a call to perfection. It was meant to operate like the gears of a machine, knowing that everyone affects each other and can be used for HIS glory and HIS alignment. She got set free from the lie. I got to model humility by cleaning up my own mess. 

P.S. If you want to learn more about how to partner with God in your parenting, consider joining our online JOURNEY class: Journey – ONLINE CLASS – Let the Children Fly

RESISTANCE

We had a Let the Children Fly team meeting and I could sense many people were dealing with spiritual resistance (the refusal to accept or comply with something, the attempt to prevent something by action or argument). As I was sharing my experience, I saw this picture of workout resistance bands wrapped around one’s legs. They can still walk, but every step requires more effort because resistance is set up to oppose their steps. I got the idea to grab rubber bands and put them between our fingers to feel the resistance. I put on some worship music, and we just spent time aligning our hearts with His.

During worship, God reminded me of a story where a man came up against great resistance, but God put up the block for his training and development. When the challenging season was over, he knew his anointing had doubled. I began to process that some resistance is good and from the Father’s hand to develop us more like Jesus. But then I saw this picture of the enemy using resistance and disguising it as being from Him. And that is when God showed me the strategy. Many people are experiencing resistance and simply accepting it, going low, and submitting to the Father when in reality, it needs to be dealt with in the spiritual realm. The more they partnered with the resistance saying, “Well, it is just for my development,” or “It comes with the territory of breakthrough,” they were actually partnering with the enemy who was bringing the wrong kind of resistance against them, their minds, calling, assignments and relationships. What’s the difference? Your level of peace! God’s training, character development, increasing our capacity, and seasons of refinement are not always pleasant, but they come with a layer of peace. Only God can discipline you in a way that still somehow feels loving and protective. If the resistance you are experiencing makes you feel uneasy, unsettled, full of lack, discouragement, or hopelessness, then perhaps it is not more patience that you need but a revelation of your authority to resist the resistance and watch it flee. I gave each team member scissors, and we stretched the rubber bands between our fingers to feel the resistance and then cut it. The bands went flying everywhere, and joy broke out. We all felt lighter and restored to hope and confidence that He will complete the work in us and fulfill the promises over us in His way and in His timing.

USE HIM

I knew my husband was dead wrong (I could even prove it in the Bible). But my responses to him were over the top (“above average,” as my pastor liked to say). I soon realized that if Jesus were married to my husband, HE would be able to respond in love and peace no matter what He was doing. This revelation didn’t make me feel condemned for not being perfect. Instead, it made me realize how UN-like Jesus I really was, and I hungered to be more like Him. A mentor friend so graciously told me, “Lisa, every time he sends you to the moon (in anger), use that to go after healing in your heart.” I did just that. He would trigger me, and I would sit with Jesus to find the root of why that was a sore spot for me. I would pull the root, if so to speak, and my reaction was less and less the next time he did the same behavior. Soon I began to see myself unaffected by his less-than-kind choices. There is such power in becoming healed, and we can use those trigger points in our favor to help usher us in greater healing and wholeness.

FALSE PROTECTOR

Someone needs to break up with this false ‘protector’ as this mom shares: “I feel like I always used fear to protect me. Like it’s a deceptive tool the enemy used against me. Instead of me putting my trust in God, I put it in fear to keep me safe. As I’ve grown, I’ve seen how fear is actually a form of witchcraft because it is a form of control. Control is the absence of trust and faith in God.”

BOSSY BOY

A mom came to me desperate over her son being bossy to his siblings. She was tired of co-parenting with him and, after a year, had tried everything; spankings, timeouts, yelling, discipline, and reprimands, yet nothing seemed to break through his behavior. I asked her what happened a year ago, and she began to tell me the story of the night the police came and handcuffed the dad and took him away for doing something ‘bad.’ I can only imagine the atmosphere in the home that night with confusion over losing their dad and all the mother’s emotions. Even if the mom hid her visible feelings from her children, they still felt the atmosphere. I asked her if her son was being bossy, as in a negative character trait, or if he was trying to save his siblings from doing something terrible that gets them taken away too. He felt the weight of responsibility and feared that bad behavior equals being removed from the home. Sometimes our child’s ongoing negative, annoying, frustrating behavior is rooted in something else. In this case, the child was believing a lie that it was his job to keep his siblings in line so that they don’t get removed from the family, too. I think he is a hero and a brave brother. As parents, we need to discern how to parent what is really going on with their hearts and not just the outward behavior.

ASK HIM

Random acts of kindness are when people go out in the name of Jesus and do good, kind, helpful things for others. While this is indeed praiseworthy and profitable Christian behavior, we need to be asking Him the who, what and where in order to be abundant in our harvest. Let me give you an example: One day, I was having a really hard day. I decided to get my eyes off myself and asked God what we should do with our day. I heard Him say to go be a blessing and rake leaves. I jumped into action. Logical thinking concluded that going to the poorest part of town and blessing the souls there would be best. I loaded up the van with kids and rakes and waved to my neighbor as we took off searching for the family that needed to be blessed. After forty-five minutes of driving around endlessly looking for a single family that had not yet raked, I was growing frustrated. What was supposed to help my day ended up making my day even worse. Defeated and somewhat mad, I made the trek back home. Upon entering our community, I heard the words, “What? You don’t think your rich neighbors need Me?” and instantly, I knew God gave me the WHAT (raking), but I ran with it before I asked the WHO or WHERE. I repented. Immediately upon parking in the driveway, the kids flung open the van door and ran across the street to the neighbor’s house (yes, the one we waved to on the way out) and raked all of the leaves. But the story doesn’t end there. Days later, I received a letter from the single elderly lady with a check saying she was so overwhelmed by all the work that needed to be done and was crying out to the Lord about her needs AS we were driving by waving at her. She finally had to leave the house with the yard work not done, and when she came back, she found ten bags full of raked leaves.

That is a perfect example of the harvest being ABUNDANT. God is a perfect economist. While one woman needed to take her eyes off her circumstances, another woman needed an extra set of helping hands. We can’t just DO in the name of Jesus. We need to ask Him the who, what, and where, too! And this requires communication – both talking and listening.

SEXUAL SAFETY

One of the most vulnerable households for child sexual assault is the house that is run by ‘because I said so,’ and a legalistic one because they operate out of a list of rules and total parental authority and often fail to listen to the child. Children cannot hold in such a horrendous lie and/or the worry that abuse causes. They might not come right out and say that XYZ happened, but they will let it leak out, and we need ears to LISTEN TO THEM!

Here is a sad but true example: A little 4th grader came home from his youth group in a foul mood. The mom repeatedly disciplined him for his attitude, but he would not shake it. Finally, she asked him how youth group went, and he said, “I hated it.” She replied that he must go anyway because it was expected of him. He yelled out that his teacher was gay, and the mother swooshed him to his bedroom for talking inappropriately about someone. Had the mother listened to the child, she would have seen that he used to love youth group, and the sudden change warranted investigation. When a young child talks about an adult being gay, it should warrant you to find out why the child thinks that way, how he knows that of the youth leader, etc. If she had only asked and inquired deeper, she would have learned that her son was molested that night, only to come home and be disciplined for not wanting to return. I call it ‘pulling on the rope.’ When a child makes a harsh comment, pull on the rope by asking WHY questions. Not all ill words are a character issue; sometimes, they are flags waving to get our attention.

TRAIN THEM

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.

BUTTING HEADS

Have you ever had those days when you feel like you are constantly butting heads with a child, or they seem to be going out of their way to be a bully to their siblings, yet nothing you do seems to work? Try intentionally meeting their love language, and I bet you will see a sudden change. Children with empty tanks, even with siblings, will often fight to get it filled (obviously, in the wrong way), Love languages matter!