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.
“I asked my daughter to ask Jesus what lie she was partnering with tonight after she was caught lying and sneaking (which is something she has struggled with for a while). She said, ‘God is angry. He is nervous that I will lie and be sneaky again.’ So I asked her which kingdom partners with anger – she answered the enemy. Which kingdom partners with nervousness? – the enemy. I told her to close her eyes again and ask again. This time she smiled wide and said, ‘He forgives me and is happy and wants to help me not to lie and be sneaky.’ The weight I saw lift from her was undeniable. She was later dancing joyfully to worship music my husband had been playing in the kitchen.”
I shared a post about Ellie bombing a test and having to deal with the shame that was trying to come on her. She was able to identify it and not come under it, but it took her a bit to process. A week later, she put a note on my bed about how smart she was, and it struck me funny. While yes, I celebrate the amazing grades, I wanted to make sure she was staying in alignment with the truth. She came to me puzzled by my note and said, “Yes, I am a good student,” to which I said, “No, that is not who you are.” She was confused. I told her, “Your worth and value are no more in your great grades than when you bombed your test. Either way, you are good.”
We have got to help our children separate their identity from their successes, or else we are doing nothing more than praising them for being performance-driven.
What does a heart splinter in our children look like? A child of mine made a mess – a big one in my book. And then attempted to cover it up even though I have repetitively taught my children that coming to me is always the better route than keeping it from me. They lied to my face not once but FIVE times. Each time I could feel it and finally encouraged them to take some time to gain the confidence to answer honestly. They did, kinda (not really). An hour later, I invited them to talk about it, and their response lacked heart and vulnerability. I could feel FEAR from them and kept reminding them that partnering with fear in their messes would not help them clean it up. They commented about always being the one to disappoint me (which was odd because this child is the one who goes out of their way NOT to disappoint others almost to a fault). While I rarely use isolation as a parenting tool, I felt like this child needed to sit out and spend some time processing on their own. I brought them dinner and reminded them that I loved them but that three issues were going on. #1. The original mess. #2. Their response to the mess. #3. Their belief that they are always a disappointment.
They grabbed their journal and began to talk to Jesus about the splinter in their heart. By the time dinner was over, genuine tears were present. I invited them to share, and with great emotion, they said they asked Jesus to show them when they first felt like they were a disappointment and recalled a time six years ago. I did not manage my emotions well. She did something wrong, and it was the tipping point for me, and my response to her was larger than her offense. I remember the event well. I asked if they were willing to forgive me for the event and for introducing her to the idea she was a disappointment. I did not introduce her to that – the enemy did, but he worked through my choice not to manage my emotions well. Forgiving me removes the hook the enemy was using against them. We asked Jesus what LIE they believed because of this event, and He said, “That when Mom is upset, it means you will be alone.” I knew it was their truth because, when Jesus revealed that, great emotion came over them. Suddenly so many things about this child made sense. It was coming across like they were great at serving and kindness, yet it was really a fear of not wanting to upset me. Ugh. We broke agreement with the lie and asked Jesus for His truth. I had them sit in front of me and prophetically hand over the responsibility of managing my emotions back over to me. I handed back their God-given right to be a child, make mistakes, and learn from them. I prayed over them that Holy Spirit would erase that memory from her mind whenever she saw me having emotions, and it would no longer be an association or trigger. We hugged for a very long time. I invited them to go do something that would bring them great joy because joy resets brain chemicals, and joy is warfare.
Parents, I made a mess by not managing my emotions well, and here we are YEARS later, and that single event is still affecting my child. But this is what I want you to hear – #1. I do not partner with condemnation or accusation. I am on a journey. I make messes, too. God is still deep at work with me through my own journey of learning more and more how to be His daughter. I already asked for forgiveness when the event happened, and I am forgiven. I cannot and do not allow the enemy to spank me for what Jesus has already paid the price for (someone needed to hear that!). #2. THIS lie would have come up in my child’s future marriage when their spouse got upset with them or when they became a parent. It would have created bad fruit, and finally, they would have gone to someone for help, and what would Jesus have shown them? That when they were younger, their mother didn’t manage her emotions well, which created a lie.
THE FACT THAT WE CAN RESOLVE THIS **IN** CHILDHOOD IS HEAVEN ON EARTH. I told them when they went to bed, “I am SO glad you made a mess today because Jesus used it to reveal something so deep inside your heart, and today you got set free from a lie that would have shaped your life.”
Want to learn more? Order your copy of Heart Splinters – Resolving Childhood Owies In Childhood. Read it together as a family. Learn the tools of heaven together. Heart Splinters BOOK – Let the Children Fly
There are few words to describe what this past season has been like for us as a family. Leaving our former home in California, where we were deeply connected in the midst of a worldwide crisis, is no joke. We spent the next five months living out of a suitcase in someone else’s space, attempting to find our footing. Not going to lie – it was swirly, confusing at times, and extremely heavy. I have struggled to share our news with people because the end result is a massive “WOW, GOD” story, but the journey was intense, raw, and real. It is sacred and feels inadequate to put it out there as news. Nonetheless, I know many of you were on the journey with us, and I want to share what God has done.
We were never looking for a house. We were looking for His peace. There is a massive difference. Any ole house would have met our basic needs for shelter. We were looking for the peace that falls when you know you are right where you need to be. We didn’t move – we transitioned our hearts, community, ministry, destiny, and family, which is no small undertaking, and it must must must be done with Him leading. Looking back at every house and city we contended for, every twist and turn in discovering our home. Every cycle of hoping and laying down was an accumulation of His process in transitioning us. We would stand our ground for a city, and while we did not land there, He positioned us to fight for it. Each house represented something of a larger picture that He was unfolding in us. It was a massively stretching time for all five of us as we did not know the big picture or end story in the process. We were invited to trust Him in ways that refined us all.
Years ago, someone gave me a word about a house and that very specific things would happen in this house. I knew in my spirit our past homes were not the home the prophetic word was speaking of, but I knew without a doubt that THIS next home would be where the promise was filled, and that is another reason why our intentionality of stewarding His leading was so vital. When we first arrived, four people offered us their rental homes in Northern Colorado, and I was adamant we were to land south. I woke August 17th to find a Facebook memory pop-up of God revealing our former house in Redding to us on this day years ago. I sat there soaking in a “Do it again, Lord” moment, and by sunset, we had found our next home.
It didn’t look the way I thought it would, it didn’t unfold the way I thought it would, and it didn’t appear the way I thought it would, but I can declare God is good. I am undone by the way He not only met our need for shelter but the oodles of ways He has provided for my heart, soul, and mama’s heart by His radical provision of a home, ministry hub, and safe space. I can declare – HE IS WORTH THE WAIT!!
From the time Ellie was itty-bitty, she would ask me to buy her stuff. I am not a materialistic girl, and the best way to get me to save money is to give it to me because I won’t spend it. I am frugal to the core. Her requests bothered me, and I began to view her as materialistic. I spent countless hours training her to stop asking for things as I saw it as a character issue. One day I realized, oh my goodness, gifts were her love language. All those times, I pushed her away and scolded her when she was not really asking for the toy but wanting to feel loved. I came to her in tears and repented. She smiled the biggest smile, finally feeling understood. Now when she asks, I see it as my clue that she needs some lovin’. If I have to say “No” to her, I assure her of my love and that she means the world to me, though I am not able to buy her that item right now. I handle the request with much more sensitivity than I did before. I also proactively look for ways that I can give her little gifts. It is never the price tag that matters to her; it is the love through it. I am often leaving little things on her bed with a note attached. The other children only have a problem with it when their tanks are low. When their tanks are full to overflowing, they have no jealousy or sense of injustice that their sister is getting more gifts than they are.
There are few words to describe this moment. Years ago, we were on the road as a family, and it gave me a picture of where each child was at with ministry. There is a real flow to know when to push, when to encourage, and when to back off. Lauren came to me and said, “It is time, Mom, for me to cross my chicken line using a microphone.” and stepped out for the first time using a mic (that’s a big deal for a child). We later spoke in the exact same town, and Lauren stepped out and taught next to me. I have waited for this day, and it was glorious to watch her own it, release it in her own way and walk in such confidence as a beloved Daughter. I am so so so proud of you, Lauren Max!!! You are light years ahead of when I was your age. You are soaring! All of the kids did a great job loving on the parents and encouraging them with powerful words.
The kids wanted to go somewhere alone, and I had mixed feelings about it. As I processed my thoughts, I told them, “You can go, but only if you listen to your babysitter.” They looked at me like I had three heads. Surely they were too old for a babysitter. I told them Holy Spirit was their babysitter, and if they agreed to listen to whatever He instructed them to do, I was fine with them going. They agreed, and I was able to hand them over to their sitter just like I did when they were younger, leaving them for the first time. I love how I can actively give my children the freedom to grow up yet trust Him to guide and protect them.
Look at this precious testimony from a mom embracing taking communion together as a family.
“We had out-of-town company get to our house last night, and we didn’t do our normal evening family devotions and communion. My kids went to bed, and I was up talking with company when, an hour later, my 7-year-old daughter came out of her room, didn’t say a word but went to pour herself juice and break bread for Communion. She sat at the table like this and prayed while she partook. Then she came and hugged me and simply said, ‘I felt like I needed to do this.’ And went to bed. My mama’s heart burst.”
“One night a boy came to the group for the first time. He had some special needs but was accepted instantly. We were talking about our hearts and had a gift bag that symbolized each child’s heart. We talked about how our hearts can become hurt when others don’t speak life to us, or we accept lies from the enemy. We gave examples of things that may have been said to us, hurtful things, and ripped off some black construction paper to fill our bags. Holding the white gift bags up, you could see a lot of dark inside since they were filled. I explained God created us ALL with treasures in our hearts, and when all of those hurts remain, we need to let Him heal our hearts. Each student threw out all of the ‘hurt’ and found a wrapped present at the bottom (they had no idea it was even there!). They ripped open their presents and were thrilled to find some sweet treats, as well as a bunch of notecards with special messages inside of what GOD says of them! Mason’s face grew hopeful, and He collected all of his notecards, shoving them back in his bag. He didn’t want to lose any of them as he said they were his treasures. I asked Mason if he thought there were any hurts in his heart that he needed God to take out, to which he quickly responded, ‘Oh yes! Definitely!’ I asked him if we could pray for him, and he agreed. God’s power was so overwhelming as we all laid hands on Mason and agreed for a healed heart. His countenance was so encouraged when we were finished. He told each student & helper he loved them as he left and asked if he could hug everyone. This is what it’s all about!”
We want to model our home after His and allow our children to taste and see that His ways are good so that when they are older, they will not be enticed by what the world has to offer them. I am not talking about legalistic head knowledge of ‘thou shall not’ but the ability to experience it as part of their own journey. Let me give you some practical examples.
Stealing – God says do not steal. When we set up our homes with a value system for not stealing, we are teaching our children that God’s ways work. To steal means to open yourself up for discipline, consequences, and broken trust. We are allowing them to taste and see that God’s ways work. We give them the message, “It isn’t going well for you because you have chosen something outside of God’s protection for you, i.e., stealing.” To ask for something and be denied is hard on the flesh, but as children learn to accept the ‘no’ answers in life it builds character, which will profit them for a lifetime. We don’t punish our children because they chose something outside of God’s best, we use it as a teachable moment to show them why it is important not to steal. (Not saying consequences aren’t warranted, I am saying we don’t want to use Biblical standards for our children and then punish them for not honoring it).
Respect – God says honor your mother and father. When we set up our homes to reflect a core value of honoring authority, we are providing for them covering and protection. This is showing them the beauty of God’s Kingdom. When we allow our children to walk all over us and be rude and disrespectful, we are subjecting them to insecurity, lack of favor and broken connection. They will experience God’s Kingdom by being taught to walk in respect and honor for those in authority over them. Once the twins started high school, they witnessed things they didn’t see in their Christian school. Naturally, I was concerned how this would affect them but because I built a foundation around their identity, we continued to use it as a teachable moment. One day my daughter came home and said, “Mom, I always knew you told us why it was important to walk in who we are, but today I saw with my own eyes what it looks like to have a life not knowing who you are.” Another time she came home really hurt by someone who acted like a true spiritual orphan. She understood the hurt was stemming from them not knowing Jesus and went in her room and wept for them. She spent nearly two hours in her room praying, crying and journaling. When she came out, she said, “Mom, I have got to have more of Jesus. I couldn’t imagine a life without Him.”
Does our parenting model heaven? Think about it – spankings, punish, taking away favorite possessions, isolation, harsh words spoken, exasperated parents… Could there be a better way? God is our perfect Father and knows how to run a family well. Is our parenting modeled to look like heaven? Does God give us three warnings and we are out? Does God spank us and then just leave us to deal with our mess? Does God isolate us when what we really need is enlightenment, understanding or better tools? Is He mad at us when we are acting out the hurt and pain in our heart? Is overwhelmed by our needs? Please hear my heart. I am NOT saying discipline, spankings, or time alone can’t be a valuable tool. I AM saying that when those are the ONLY tools in our parenting tool belt, we might be missing the mark. If it is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance, could it be some of our control-based parenting tools aren’t bearing good fruit simply because we aren’t modeling it after God’s Kingdom?