MAY YOU BECOME MORE LIKE HIM

MAY YOU BECOME MORE LIKE HIM

My goal is to take your hand and place it in Jesus’ hand so that you walk this together out with Him. He is the One who sees, knows, and holds the keys to your freedom. He is the One who purchased your forgiveness, healing, and wholeness. He is the One able to heal, redeem and restore. He is the One who loves you far beyond what your mind can grasp. He is the One who understands. Jesus is your friend, Holy Spirit is your guide, and Father God is your anchor.

Before you begin, start off by inviting Him. “Holy Spirit, I welcome You to come and reveal whatever it is You want to show me. I ask for an increase of Your peace and presence. Open my eyes to see what You see. Open my ears to hear what You have to say. Open my heart so that I can receive all that You have for me. In Jesus’ name.” 

I have a few keys for you:

Journal – I encourage you to get a journal and be intentional about spending time writing and processing whatever He is revealing to you. Sometimes we can process things better on paper, and it serves as a great reflection to go back and see how the Lord is leading us step by step. 

Worship – Increase your worship. I know you are all busy, but this is like charging your batteries, so you aren’t running on empty. Worship fills you with His presence and envelopes you in His love. Worship aligns, alters, and shifts things inside of us without our minds and bodies being aware. Worship puts the focus back on Him and increases our faith. You can have an intentional time of worship, play your favorite set while making dinner, find worship channels on YouTube, or listen while you are driving, taking a shower, or while the kids are playing. Listen to it while falling asleep or be intentional to take a five-minute break on the floor and saturate yourself in His presence. The goal is not to see how little you can do, but the truth is, a little bit of His presence changes everything. 

Community – While your struggle might have a different name, the truth is we all have our areas of weakness, triggers, and make messes. Invite a friend to a park date and have the kids play while you talk about the posts and what God is revealing to you. Ask them over for coffee or plan an informal mom’s night out to bring it up in discussion. You will be surprised just how much others long to be seen in their parenting. Be the one who breaks the ice and creates space for them to be seen and grow. 

2 Corinthians 3:16-18, (MSG) says, “Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.” 

May He be revealed to you deeply, and may you become more like Him!

YOU CAN’T KILL JESUS

Family devotions one day seemed like a disaster, but that ended up being the lesson. The child who was supposed to lead picked a chapter and spent the next ten minutes reading to us, but we were all getting a bit dizzy with their fast-paced reading and rushing through the passage at record speed. Then they gave their own commentary, and 20 minutes later, we were still sitting there rather detached and unengaged. They then suggested we soak for a few moments but put on dance music, making it nearly impossible to ‘be still and know.’ Family devotions felt like a bit of a flop. Until God showed up and said, “Your lesson today is the flopped lesson.” We spent the rest of the time talking about how to lead others and create space for people to engage and for Holy Spirit to come. I asked the ‘leader child’ what the heart of the passage was, and she said, “That you can’t kill Jesus.” BOOM, that was explosive. I encouraged her to make sure as a leader, she did read the entire passage to get the front and back story of the Scriptures, but that sometimes less is more, and had she started with that statement, we could have spent hours unpacking that. My whole point in inviting you into our living room is simply to share that it isn’t about getting it right or doing it correctly. Even in the flop, Jesus shows up. My kids are learning and growing, and they grew in understanding of how to be a better leader. I would say that is a success.

GOD IS FUN

I hear this all the time – “I believe God is good and loves people, but I don’t think of Him as this fun God. I grew up with a picture that God is always very serious. His Kingdom is serious in that it’s life-changing, but the idea of playing and engaging with Him seems foreign.”

If this is your view of God, I want to invite you to sit with Jesus, His Son. Ask Him, “Jesus, will You please give me a picture of the FUN side of Your Father?” You might want to set an alarm on your phone and ask Jesus to introduce you to this part of His Father every day until you can begin to see and experience this part of YOUR Father, too. Yes, God is Almighty and serious and powerful, but He is also the most fun-loving, tender, and engaged Father.

PRAY FOR GOD TO ENCOUNTER THEM

I came to my spiritual mentor crying over the choices of someone else. I was enduring suffering at the hands of their brokenness. I will never forget his response to me. He said, “Lisa, turn all that emotion into prayers that God would encounter them because one encounter with Jesus can heal their heart, align their mind and restore what is broken inside them.” At first, I couldn’t do it. I was too hurt to love them ‘that much.’ I then began to see that deep down, they weren’t trying to hurt me, but their brokenness was hurting not only me but them as well. It positioned me to intercede for them in a whole new way. Sometimes we get hurt because there is stuff in our hearts that God wants to heal and restore. Other times we get hurt because those around us need freedom.

JESUS IS MY DEFENDER

I am so undone by the goodness of Jesus. I was processing some deep things as my daughter was walking through one of her biggest breakthroughs. It was breathtaking to watch her walk this out on her own. While spending time with Jesus, I kept hearing the story about the woman caught in adultery. There are many thoughts about what Jesus was writing in the sand, so I asked Him to show me. He answered my question by showing me the position of His eyes. While the men of the day, who deemed themselves mighty important and superior to the rest, dragged a naked woman before the courts (the shame and humiliation must have been brutal), Jesus looked away. Could it be He knew His presence alone was convicting, and He didn’t want to stare at her nakedness? Then I heard Him say, “I didn’t defend her sin, but I did defend the JUDGMENTS against her.” I wept! Jesus isn’t about shaming you publicly for your weaknesses, sins, or messy places. He is there to defend the part of your heart that is in need of a Savior. Read John 8!

MORE LIKE JESUS

 If I were to ask moms if they wanted to be more like Jesus, most would eagerly raise their hand with a resounding, “Yes!” Yet few of us understand or enjoy the process of becoming more like Him. Let me explain how God gives us an opportunity to be more like Jesus the moment we become parents.

Every home we have lived in had an open floor plan and my four children (very close in age) would begin in one end of the house and zoom in and out of the kitchen, dining room, living room and then repeat over and over at record speed. I am a very fun mom and can handle noises and messes, but it was like they would hit a certain octave and my blood pressure would shoot up. I would cash in on my parental authority and command that everyone switch gears to something more peaceful. I couldn’t shut it down fast enough. This would go on for years and I could never really figure out why I was fine one minute and not the next. One day when I was barking orders for peace, I heard God say, “What are they doing wrong?” I replied, “I don’t know, but I don’t like it.” I began to see that maybe this was my issue and not theirs. For the next month, whenever the kids raced around the house, I would go in the back room and process my heart. I felt anxious, scared and uptight, yet my ears were hearing joy, laughter, and connection. Why was this so upsetting to me? God began to show me that when I was little and my siblings and I would get crazy, all hell would break loose and someone would get punished severely. You didn’t want to be on the receiving end, but worse yet was having to endure listening to your siblings get the wrath. He showed me that joy scared me because it meant someone was going to get hurt. He gave me four bundles of JOY to restore what was lost in my own journey. I began to cry at the reality of just how anxious joy made me feel.

Of all the things I have endured in life, the hardest to walk through has been the healing process of receiving the GOOD. And more times than not, it was something modeled through my children (joy, play, silliness, trust, lavish, loyalty, laughter). They are made in His image, not mine, and God knits them with gifts, talents, and a personality to redeem and restore what was lost in mine. God continues to parent us through our children. It’s like He gives us one set of parents to raise and train us and whatever area was neglected or shut down He continues the job when we become parents and uses our children to parent us (our kids don’t parent us, but He parents us through them). This is why family is so important to Him. He is building something in us and the generations are interconnected.

HeartWork – Get out your journal and recall the last time you had an above average reaction to something your child did. Ask Jesus some questions and allow Him to minister to your heart (do not be introspective, but rather ask and listen to what He has to share). “Jesus, was this their issue or mine?” If it was your issue, ask, “Jesus, what was my heart feeling at the time?” “What made my heart so uncomfortable at that moment?” “When was the first time I felt that emotion?” “What did my heart need?” If your reaction to something is on a scale of 1-5, chances are you are just feeling a response to the event, but if your reaction is a 6-10, there is a good chance you are being triggered from previous situations that brought pain. God wants to heal that place so that you can respond in love and walk in peace.

Use these questions the next time you are triggered with a higher than usual response to your child and allow those uncomfortable moments to be the times you are molded to be more like Jesus. We don’t want our wounds or lack parenting our children. We want to parent from a place of wholeness and freedom. Understanding this is so important because oftentimes we react to our children who aren’t doing anything wrong, yet our reaction (out of a wounded or hurt place) teaches them that it is not okay to be who God made them to be, such as joyful (in my case). Allow Him to parent you through your child!

P.S. I am proud of you for doing the hard things so that your child doesn’t need to reap the fruit.

ENCOUNTER THE FATHER

The goal is not to use spiritual tools to ‘fix’ our children. The goal is to lead our children to an encounter with their Father!

FAMILY DEVOTIONS

Do you ponder God’s grace as much as you ponder your guilt? Is your list of blessings as long as your list of complaints? Is your mental file of hope as thick as your mental file of dread? Focus on the giants, and YOU stumble. Focus on GOD, and the giants tumble! You can rewrite the story for the next generation by teaching them how to build their mental file. Grab a piece of paper, and together as a family, begin answering these questions: Where have you seen God move this week? How did Jesus help you today?

WALLS

We are going to talk about the walls we learn to build to protect those heart splinters from being touched. The good news is that the walls are somewhat effective in keeping the bad out, but the sad news is that they also keep the good from entering. God never called us to a life of managing pain. Jesus died so we could be free, and free indeed, of it. Take out a sheet of paper and write down 3-5 adjectives to describe your mom, then do it for your dad. We are not looking for sugar-coated words but your truth. For example, for my mom, I would say emotional, special touches, distant, and polished. For my dad, I would say he is the life of the party, shallow, generous, and available. You are writing down how you received and experienced them. The family is very important to God because it is modeled after God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit, who all have unique roles in the godhead. 

God/Father – is where we get our provision, protection, and identity.

Jesus/Siblings – is where we get our companionship/friendship/sense of belonging. 

Holy Spirit/Mother – is where we get our comfort, nurturing, and teaching.

The ultimate purpose of the enemy in John 10:10 is to steal, kill, and destroy our connection with God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. One of the ways he does that is through undealt with hurts, lies, and offenses in childhood because the child will naturally project those hurts to the godhead. It is one thing to be hurt by your absent father; it is another to believe the Creator of the universe is ignoring you. It is one thing to be hurt by an emotionally out-of-control mother; it is another thing to believe the Holy Spirit is unsafe. It is one thing to be rejected by your siblings; it is another thing to think that Jesus doesn’t care about your world. At the end of life, it comes down to one simple thing – our relationship with our Heavenly Father. This matters!!! While we might feel peace and closeness with Jesus, if we have distance with Holy Spirit, something will be missing, just like a family where there are not two parents. If you feel close to Jesus, but are afraid of Father God, then you are not walking in the fullness of your salvation. We want to be connected fully and freely to God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. Take a look at the words you used to describe your mom and dad. Take an honest estimate of your reality. Is that how you would describe your experience with God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit? If not, then praise God for the healing that has been done in your heart. If yes, then this simply reveals where the heart splinter has caused you to build a wall to protect the pain. How do we remove the wall? The Cross is the answer for everything, and forgiveness breaks the yoke that the enemy has been able to influence us. “I make the choice to forgive _____ for _______. I cancel any debt they owe me and turn them over to Jesus Christ to be judged accordingly.” Renounce the lie the God/Jesus/Holy Spirit is _____ (whatever you put on your list). Hand the hurt/sadness to Jesus (just watch and listen to what He does). Ask, “God/Jesus/Holy Spirit, how did it make You feel that I believed that lie about You?” Ask what He wants to give you instead. Declare the truth about God/Jesus/Holy Spirit. Spend some adequate time walking this out. Can you see how vital family connections are and how they affect a child’s view of God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit?

YOU ARE ON A JOURNEY

God wants you walking in wholeness because you will naturally parent out of that place of hurt or freedom. God is not mad at your anger. God understands why you need to use control to feel safe. He understands the frustration you feel. Jesus has not left you in your mess. You have not ruined your children. You are a on JOURNEY! Your triggers are your road signs revealing what is going on inside of you. 

HEART SPLINTERS

Have you ever taken a splinter out of a child’s finger? You surely do not want to do it in public. They yell and scream and act like you are cutting off their finger. But once it is out, they run off and play as if nothing happened. Have you ever tried to remove a splinter that has been stuck for a while? The skin closes, leaving it trapped and extremely painful. They are no longer screaming to get it out; they are screaming to protect it. This is what happens when we endure hurts, lies, and offenses as a child that gets ignored, shamed, or dismissed. The hurt, lie, or offense becomes a heart splinter agitating our heart, but instead of screaming for it to get out like a child, we begin to scream when anyone comes close to it because we do not want it touched. We are protecting the heart splinter because it is too painful and uncomfortable. Triggers are simply another word for someone touching that sore spot that reveals where your heart splinter is. No one in their right mind wants a wound to be touched, but the only way to get it out is to put some pressure on it and feel it so that it can be released. Childhood hurts can turn into adult-sized wounds. Childhood lies can turn into adult strongholds. Childhood offenses can turn into adult bitterness.

Many parents are parenting with heart splinters. They are yelling, screaming, shaming, acting out, raging, controlling, drinking, swearing, and spinning out of control. The solution is not more self-control. The solution is to allow God to minister to that owie that is causing you so much heartbreak and pain and ultimately affecting the way you parent. God wants to tell you that He is not mad at your reaction to the pain and your need to protect yourself, but it is time to let it be dealt with so that you can receive the ministry, healing, and the balm that your heart has needed for so long. How do we do this? First, identify that what you are feeling is not coming from your children. They simply are the ones touching the heart splinter, but your reaction is because something is already in there. Not all issues belong to our children. Some of them are ours. Second, go deeper. What are you feeling beneath the anger, yelling, and control? Pull on the rope and ask yourself, “What am I really feeling right now?” or “What does my heart need right now?” Third, ask, “Jesus, who do I need to forgive for introducing me to _______?” Forgiveness is your key to unlocking the heart splinter because the Cross is the answer for everything. Sometimes we need to forgive for the event (they didn’t listen to me) but also the fruit of the event (because I never felt heard, it is affecting the way I parent my children). It is okay to spend some time carrying your hurt to the Cross. Fourth, ask, “Jesus, what lie am I believing because of this heart splinter?” We have to be able to receive what He shares. We are not just hearing and nodding; we are hearing and receiving it like a gift. Verbally break agreement with the lie, such as, “I renounce the lie that I am _______.” It is super important to replace the lie with His truth so ask Him, “Jesus, what is Your truth?” and then write out whatever He says and declare it out loud over yourself every single morning for the next 30 days. Renew your mind with what He says about it. 

While some triggers stem from significant trauma and may require help from those in the Body to process, as outlined in Isaiah 61, many heart splinters are actually quite small but have felt super big because we have carried them around for so long. You are not seeing the splinter from a logical adult brain but from the eyes of whatever age you were when the splinter was introduced (hence why the reactions are often so immature and irrational). Are all childhood owies a heart splinter? NO, not at all. Let me explain the difference. Say a young boy loses his dog, and another loses his father. The one who lost his father goes on to live a successful healthy life, but the one who loses the dog remains hurt and wounded. What’s the difference? The one who lost his dad was surrounded by a community that validated his pain and gave him grace and space to process the pain, causing the hurt to get out. The boy who lost his dog was told to ‘get over it,’ pushing the hurt in further. It is never about the size of the heart splinter but is about how the child was or was not able to process it. This is why God puts children in families. This is why the culture of busyness is a threat to the family (parents are too busy to see or discern what is going on for their child). This is why compassion and validation are heaven’s parenting tools. This is why we must go after connection with our children. This is why partnering with our child’s Creator is so important. Something else I have learned about heart splinters. It is by God’s design that parents help children with their childhood bumps, bruises, and owies, but sometimes parents are not able to do that because of their own heart splinters. By the time we are adults, we need to take responsibility for our own journey and do the hard heart work so that our children do not need to clean up the mess. While you might be craving and longing for someone to come and do it for you, that is not the way it works. You must own your own journey and take responsibility for the healing your heart needs. Show yourself compassion by acknowledging and dealing with the pain once and for all. Christ died so that you do not have to carry this weight around with you anymore. He has answers, keys, solutions, balm, and healing for your journey.