I was so encouraged by this testimony from my friend. They were selling their home, which was located by a power line. The agent’s photographer erased it from the photos to make it look nicer. He was really proud of his work and spent a lot of time editing the photos, so my friend didn’t say anything but sensed it was not fully accurate. They had an offer that fell through, and when my friend asked the Lord about it, he sensed God telling him to change the photos back to the original. He asked the agent to change the pictures and asked God to increase the price. He sold it for 25K, HIGHER than the previous asking price with the altered photos. My friend went on to share, “I feel like the closer we go with God, the higher the level of obedience He requires.” YES! I agree! Character matters. Obedience matters.
PARENTS MUST OBEY TOO
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.
I met with a young 20-year-old girl who got delivered of two tormenting spirits. I was overwhelmed with compassion for her. She was sincerely trying so hard but was harassed by these spirits. We cannot manage demonic spirits – we deal with them using our authority. It was time for them to go and for her to be FREE! Oh, that we would understand as believers the power and authority that He has so graciously handed to us. Many moons ago, I was sitting in my kitchen and reading Isaiah 61 for the first time. I wrote the date next to it in my Bible and had this awareness that this verse was for me, yet I was in the middle of walking out my own brokenness. I love how God can call us long before we are ready. Over the years, that fire in my belly has only increased. I am passionate about setting the captives free, bringing comfort to the hurting, and declaring freedom. Simply put, my mission statement is to defeat the works of the enemy in the family room!!
“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.” (Isaiah 61:1).
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.
A while back, we went out to eat, and this man was cursing up a storm and yelling loudly. When we sat down, the kids wanted to call out the bad and do the whole, “Did you see that man…?” I stopped them and said, “Ask Jesus what He wants you to know about that man.” They started saying things like, “He was hurt as a boy,” “He doesn’t know who he is,” “He doesn’t know Jesus.” Hurt people do hurtful things. People act out what other people have spoken over them. When we ask Jesus to show us what’s going on inside of others, our perspective changes. One of the most powerful ways we can release the Kingdom as a family is to see stuff like that in our normal everyday life and ask Jesus to show us what He sees. We will shift how we view, judge, and see that person when we see through His eyes.
Here is the back story of our online Kingdom parenting class. It was evident God was doing a good work in us as He taught me how to partner with Him in my parenting. He was showing up in all sorts of messy places and encountering my children. I was working on my computer when I heard the Lord say to post on FB how He had just encountered my son to bring healing. I heard it again and obeyed, feeling a little vulnerable. Instantly people started liking the post, but it wasn’t my Christian friends who liked it. It was my non-Christian friends. One comment said, “Now, that is the God I want to follow.” A few days later, I heard Him say, “Now post this” (another example of Him showing up). It became a lifestyle for us, and I would often share how God was parenting with me. One day God told me to gather 12 moms and sow into them so that they, too, could learn how to partner with Him as a lifestyle and not just an event. I invited them, and they eagerly agreed. Since they were all over the nation, I decided I would write out some of my thoughts to teach them in an online classroom format. We were all set for a given date, and in the weeks building up to it, I could not seem to get anything down. Writer’s block is a real thing. I assumed He would show me on our upcoming vacation – nope. I thought He would show me if I went away to spend time with Him – nope. I assume He would show me if I got up extra early to be focused – nope. The night before the class started, I still had NOTHING. It wasn’t that I didn’t know what to share; it was that I didn’t know how to organize it to share it clearly. I went to bed and soaked my pillow with tears. Apparently, I heard wrong about gathering these moms, and the only thing to do at this point was to come to them humbly in the morning and tell them I was wrong. I woke at 2 am, and it was like a computer download showed up in my brain. I could not turn my laptop on fast enough, and I typed for an hour straight, just releasing what was coming to my mind at record speed. I hit the send button (Lord have mercy, the spelling errors that were in that first draft) and sat there saying, “Jesus, I don’t ever want to feel that again. What do You have for Day Two of the class?” I labored ALL day long with nothing. I went to bed and cried again, assuming it was just going to be a one-day class and that I would have to wake early to tell the moms. At 2 in the morning, I woke up with my brain on fire again and raced to my computer to type as fast as possible. I told the Lord again, “I don’t ever want to feel that again. What is for Day Three?” and all day, I labored over the material, which produced nothing. I went to bed with tears… this went on for TWENTY-ONE days/nights. I never did catch on that He would be faithful to give me the message as He had done the day before. I walked those mamas through the material and assumed I would remain with them, but they had so much fruit in their parenting that their friends came to me and asked if I would mentor them, too. Easy enough now that the material was already written. And the following month, more people came again and again. Years later, God still keeps bringing people.
Here is the link to register for the class: Journey – ONLINE CLASS – Let the Children Fly
I was in one of my go-go-go modes and feeling frazzled by all that needed to get done. My daughter came to me so sweetly and said, “Mom, is there anything I can do for you because you really NEED to rest?” She was so gentle and kind but serious about it. She is only SEVEN but understands the concept of staying in a place of peace, rest, and trusting well. It would be easy to partner with feeling like a hypocrite in trying to teach my children about the Kingdom when I still struggle with things, but my kids will never have the years of trauma and emotional baggage I did as a child. While I am unlearning things, they are learning them for the first time at a young age. It is OKAY that I am teaching them about their Father when I am still learning. It is also OKAY that they are surpassing me in many (many) areas already. I think that is awesome, and I welcome the voice of a seven-year-old to remind me that it is okay to rest. She is a world changer and often changes mine!
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.
Want to hear something cute? When Ellie’s fish died, we bought something to remind her of her beloved fish. She picked out a nice journal and felt like she was supposed to start writing down the things in her heart. She asked if we could have a date and wanted to talk about how I learned how to create a message. She said that as she was writing in her journal, she felt like God was telling her she needed to grow in learning how to share the message in her heart. So precious. The following day a popular preacher came out with a free webinar on the exact subject. I told Ellie about it, and she asked if she could sign up. I assumed it would be way too mature for her, but I decided to roll with it. This girl sat glued to the computer taking fierce notes and listening to the speaker equip her with how to create a message.
Come on – when a child asks to learn because they are obeying the voice of God in their life, you listen and empower them!
Dear Let the Children Fly Family, I owe you a heartfelt apology. God is so good. Why He gave me this message of partnering with Him in our parenting is beyond me. I can think of 101 reasons why someone could do it better. But He has been preparing this message in me since the day I was born. I am passionate about family, restoration, seeing children (really seeing them), partnering with Him, and parenting the way He parents us. I have done my best to learn and grow how to steward all that He has given our family. As any ministry leader would tell you, the leader’s development is not for the faint at heart. God cares deeply about our process of becoming the fullness of who He created us to be so that we can carry our message with purity, grace, and longevity.
When I was in a long season of learning how to run a business, God told me, “Lisa, I did not give Let the Children Fly to a businessman. I gave it to you, a solo mom of four. Lead from your heart just like you do your children.” From that moment on, I felt the freedom to ‘raise’ my ministry from my heart and not like anyone else. But there has been another area of my development that has caused me much tension. I do not like the camera and never have, not even as a child. Not sure why, but I don’t. In order to steward well the voice He has given me and minister well to others, I have needed to cross that chicken line despite the fact it causes deep vulnerability. My greatest gifting is sitting with someone 1:1 where Holy Spirit shows up and ministers to them, so talking to a blank computer screen feels like I am talking to a house plant. It is just not my comfort zone. Over the years, I have overcome my dislike enough to do them anyway. I do it because I love you and want to share what God has given me to help you in your journey. It is important to have people who have gone before us model what the Kingdom can look like. We are never called to be them, but we can pull on what they model, knowing that God wants to do the same in us. I have two people who have been my ‘ministry models.’ They are women who have gone before me and have modeled women in ministry well. God has used them richly in my life to learn from, watch and glean how they lead. They are excellent, refined, polished, and beautiful and have set the bar so high, yet seeing their constant example of excellence has caused me to disqualify myself somewhere along the lines. I felt like the widow giving her all; it always seemed to pale compared to the giants around me. I recently heard God say I was to ‘break up with them’ in my mind. They are no longer the model for which I am to aim for and achieve. Once again, God told me, “I did not give Let the Children Fly to them. I gave it to you. Lead it with your face, your voice, your ability.”
When we feel like we don’t measure up to the standard, we will disqualify ourselves in the waiting to get there. The goal is not to measure up. The goal is to change the measuring stick! I cannot tell you how many times God has shown up in our home, and I want to share it with you, but I don’t. I talk myself out of it because I am not ready like the women who have shaped my vision of what it ‘should’ look like. The lighting, sound, background, outfit, hair, speech, and presentation are perfect; I am not there yet. So I have allowed that to silence my voice and sideline me. God has been speaking to me deeply in this area. Those women are not newbies. One has been in ministry since I was in diapers (literally). They have earned their polished look by taking the same steps God is calling me to right now. Yes, we want to walk in excellence, but we cannot let perfection sideline us. The world needs what God has given us, and being polished can only come from our YES and stepping out, not our man-made perfection. While I love living in a community with so many polished leaders who are brilliant, beautiful, and polished, the truth is many have a vast team of people who are trained in marketing and social media and have incredible skill sets in those areas to help them. The hard thing about that is that it can shape one to think that is how it is supposed to look, feel and sound for someone starting out. I bless their journey and success, but it is so important that we lead and steward what God has given us, stay in our own lane and accept that we are on our own journey.
So to you, my dearest friends, supporters, and passionate parents, I owe you a heartfelt apology for being silent when God has called me to speak. I ask for your forgiveness for caring more about the polish than the message. I repent of hiding behind a bar set so high and ungodly expectations of myself. The truth is I have crossed 101 chicken lines this year alone, and I am committed to crossing them again because I DO passionately believe in the message God has given me. You have my promise that I will no longer withhold from you when God tells me to share. I break up with the pressure to be anywhere other than where God has me. You deserve better. You are hungry for what we carry and have been so faithful to steward it in your own homes. I promise you that I will let go of that style of ministry and share my heart as if we are sitting across from each other. Will you please forgive me?
What about you? Have you shrunk back from using your voice because it did not look like someone else’s success?
This is a testimony I got from a young single mom.
“Lisa, I wanted to thank you for your obedience to your calling; the Kingdom parenting online course has tremendously helped my daughters hear the voice of God. We were in our prayer closet tonight, and my daughter (who used to have the hardest time hearing) said Holy Spirit told her that her older sister had something stuck in her heart. She invited her in and asked if she had something stuck in her heart, and she broke out in tears and openly received healing! We thank God for you, and I wanted you to know we love your family!”