MY JOURNEY

MY JOURNEY

I told God, lying on my hospital bed, that I wanted to be a poster child of His power. A week later, I was supernaturally healed of both my kidney and liver failure. Twenty-seven years later, He continues to display His power throughout my life. When I am going through something, I seem to REALLY go through things. I feel, embrace, endure, process, and ponder. I just have this knowing that what God is doing IN me, He will eventually want to do THROUGH me. I sometimes laugh at the depth in which God takes me when He seems to take others faster. Part of it is through my process; He is allowing me to give language for it, along with powerful tools of heaven, knowing that I will share it with others. My life is not my own, but His for His use for His purposes.

WHICH ONE ARE YOU PARTNERING WITH?

When you partner with the pressure of perfection, you will reap anxiety, worry, and lack of joy. On the other hand, when you partner with His perfection, you will reap peace, joy, abundance, clarity, movement, and solutions in your parenting.

PLANTING SEEDS

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.

THERE IS MORE!

Take a moment and picture how incredible it would be to be in Hawaii. No, seriously. Stop right now and think about a trip to paradise. The mere thought of the ocean mist, bright sun, and warm sand – sounds like heaven. Now, picture yourself on the balcony of the high-rise hotel on the beach. Pretty cool, huh? What if you were to walk down to the sandy beach with a relaxing book and sit under the sun umbrella? How about strolling up and down the shoreline, flirting with the cool waves against your warm toes? Better yet, picture yourself knee-deep and enjoying the waves splashing against your body. Swimming out deeper and jumping in the waves is an experience like no other. If you venture out just a little further, you can snorkel and see some of the most fantastic fish swimming. Still, does the wonder of the ocean end there? No! There is even more! When you learn how to surrender to the mercy of an oxygen tank, you can stay immersed under the water for quite some time and enjoy the outstanding, breathtaking beauty that is not available for those seated in the safety of their hotel balcony. While the mere thought of being in Hawaii right now is a good one, God wants us to know that there is MORE of Himself waiting to be discovered, and these depths in God far outweigh any beauty we may find on earthly soil. The only person to ever reach the vast depth of the Father was Jesus. For the rest of us, we can stay on the beautiful yet comfortable, confined balcony or allow the Spirit to draw us deeper and deeper. No matter where you are at right now, know there is MORE! The goal isn’t to be air-dropped into the middle of the sea and claim that we have arrived. Doing so ill-equipped would be not only dangerous but also foolish. The goal is the JOURNEY! God finishes and completes our faith, and it is our job to allow Him to lead us one step at a time. Philippians 1:6 is your anchor! 

Now, link this analogy to parenting: Can you picture how drastically different our parenting will be based on where we position ourselves? Those on the balcony will have a different parenting mindset than those who parent from the ocean’s depth. 

Through the different seasons of your life. Are you gradually moving deeper and deeper, or are you having continued visits between the same few safe and familiar locations?

I TOLD YOU!

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.

PERFECT PRESSURE

In four different parent coaching sessions, the theme was moms partnering with profound pressure to do things correctly and yet being in situations where they could not possibly achieve perfection. Jesus showed up in a similar way with each of them. When children are raised with the bar so high, they learn directly or indirectly that messes and mistakes are not acceptable. They develop a mindset that says, “God is only pleased with me when I do it right,” and while it profits them in life to be overachievers, they are missing out on HIS truth. Messes, weaknesses, and failures do not separate you from God. His truth is that when we come to Him, our weakness and lack bring intimacy and closeness. A loving parent knows that a 2-year-old will make messes, and they see it as an opportunity to offer comfort, reassurance, and help them grow in their capacity to do better next time. They do not see the child failing but rather as maturing and are honored to be a part of the process. If we only have closeness with Jesus when we are getting A’s and doing things perfectly, there will be a level of fear preventing deeper closeness because, deep down, you believe it is only because of your ‘good’ performance. There is a satisfying closeness with someone that only comes when they love you despite your failures and weakness, which is real vulnerability and closeness. If you experience this in your parenting, I encourage you to spend time with Him.

**Ask, “Jesus, will You please show me who I need to forgive for introducing me to the need to be perfect?”

**Forgive that person for directly or indirectly teaching you about perfectionism and pressure. 

**Ask, “Jesus, what lies have I believed because of the pressure to be perfect?”

**Renounce/break up with the lie. “I renounce the lie that _____.”

**Ask, “Jesus, what is Your truth?” Declare His truth over yourself daily!

IF YOU PRAY FOR HIM

This story still brings tears to my eyes years later. In 2012 I felt led to take my then 8-year-old twins to the Voice of Apostles in Florida. It was a life-changing experience for us as a family. On the last night, I took them out to a lively pizza joint with lots of noise and activity, but I seemed to get lost in watching one particular family sitting across from us. I could see wealth and success all over the dad. He was a proud man of prestige as he had much to show for his life’s dedication. But I could also see intense shame. I could not shake it. While his kids bounced around, he remained unusually still. I heard the Lord say clear as a bell, “If you pray for him, I will heal him.” I was unclear about what he needed healing of, but I told the Lord, “Yes,” yet somehow knew that doing so in a public place wouldn’t be honoring, so I waited for the right time. I can’t explain it other than I had the gift of faith and knew that he would be healed. We ended up finishing at the same time, and when he attempted to stand up, I noticed the crutches that were used to drag his legs across the floor. My heart broke for him and the source of his shame. When we both got outside, I approached him and chatted briefly, and he seemed friendly. When I asked if I could pray for him, he said, “For what?” and immediately got defensive. Having to state the obvious, he became enraged and publicly humiliated the girls and me for wanting to pray for him. It was hard. He mocked me and gathered others to laugh at us. Ugh. As a family, we have prayed for scores of people and have had very few people decline, but this was different. When we got in the car, I started to cry. My sweet Lauren said, “Mom, I am sorry he wasn’t kind to you,” and my tears gave way to deep emotion. I told the girls I wasn’t crying because I got rejected and made fun of. I was crying because despite his extraordinary success, the man had a wound, and God wanted to heal him, but he built a wall around his weakest area and wouldn’t let anyone in. Years later, the story still brings a tear to my eye, not for the rejection I endured but because of his unwillingness to receive the love God had for him through us. Obedience isn’t about making us great, popular, or looking good. It is about the love God has for others.

LET’S ASK JESUS

Ask, “Jesus, if You were here in the flesh, how would You handle my children?” (You may be surprised by the answer).

BUNDLES OF JOY

One day, I was super-duper stressed and couldn’t get the kids in their rooms fast enough so that I could have a date with Jesus. I saw the kids as a hindrance to my very serious issues that needed to be resolved. The first thing I heard God say to me was this, “Lisa, what you need now is JOY, and I have given you four bundles of it. You push them away when you are stressed, but what you really need is MORE of what they carry.” Gulp! Out of pure obedience, I called them all up and announced that we would be playing a family game. My heart was so heavy, and finally, my daughter said that she could tell I didn’t really want to be there. I apologized and just told her that I needed “Heaven’s joy to come down on me.” My son (then 6) stood up on his chair, motioned his arms outstretched towards heaven, and said, “Joy, come NOW,” and then threw his hands towards me. He did this in a child-like chanting manner over and over. I was about to scold him for standing on that chair, which is against our house rules! Right before my mouth opened, my daughter, Ellie (then 4), got up on her chair and joined him. Argh! This was not how I wanted to deal with my heavy burden. Then my other daughter got up. I was about to come unglued. My religious spirit was highly offended, and this was way too much child-like foolishness for my serious state; PLUS, they were breaking the rules by standing on the furniture!!! When my last daughter arose to join them, I heard the Spirit say, “Join them!” Oh, come on! There was no way this heavy-hearted mama was going to get up and partner with such foolishness. A millisecond later, I was on my chair with my hands outstretched for heaven, and before I could pull it down, such JOY splashed all over me like a tsunami. I was overcome with peaceful joy and laughter. It went on for nearly fifteen minutes. I was so tuckered out after that, and my belly ached from laughter.

Oh, sweet Jesus, thank You for teaching me that worry and fret do not add an ounce of victory to what YOU have already done for me. Thank You for teaching me that Your Kingdom is righteous, full of PEACE and JOY, and if I truly want Your will to be done, I get to go play and rest while You take care of all the details.

BE A STUDENT

We wrapped up two glorious weeks in Colorado and were up early for our flight. There was so much joy and gratitude pouring out of each of us. That is until we were going through security. It was hectic and very chaotic. The crowd had a subtle push as everyone wanted to get through the security line without further delay. Hudson started getting agitated and was letting everyone around him know it. I would ask him to do something knowing there wasn’t much time to tinker around. He was obeying but with extreme exaggeration. It would have been almost comical if it wasn’t holding up the rest of the people. I became annoyed and upset with his attitude. I made a sharp comment about his attitude which only made things worse. On the train, I was able to take a breath and heard Jesus tell me that I needed to be a student of my son and to allow him to teach me what he needs in this new teen brain season. I apologized for my sharp words that focused more on his outward behavior than his heart. I told him what Jesus showed me because it is always important to me that my children know while I am their mother and to be respected, Jesus is their friend and cares about their hearts, too. I love it when Jesus shows me where I have misunderstood my child’s heart. He is their advocate and I want them to know it. While on the plane, he asked to sit by me which was his way of communicating he wanted to reconnect. I knew he wouldn’t value having a conversation in front of everyone so I wrote him a note. His reply caught me off guard. His frustration was not within himself, but rather stemming from my rushed and chaotic parenting. He is still a child at 14, while capable of much, still a child, and simply needed more time.