PERFECT FATHER

PERFECT FATHER

There was a time when I wasn’t fully engaged with my daughter, grossly misunderstood something, and reacted strongly. Later, when it all came out, I realized how hurt she was that she didn’t feel validated or heard. When I asked her for forgiveness, I sensed the Holy Spirit saying to add, “Father God is never too busy; He always hears your heart and knows everything about you.”

Oftentimes for children, it isn’t the event that causes lasting wounds but the lies about the godhead attached to their experiences. It is okay that my children know I am human. Still, they need to know Father God is rock solid, never loses His cool, is always available, always alert, never sleeps, and never makes a mistake. He isn’t overwhelmed, unsure of what to do, isn’t mad/upset, and is never too busy. As a parent, I can take my weakest moments with my children and use them as opportunities to teach them about their Perfect Father!

IMAGINE LIFE WITHOUT HIM

In preparation for a speaking engagement I sensed Holy Spirit wanted me to ask the kids, “What would your life be like if you loved Jesus, but couldn’t hear His voice?” This list surprised me just as much as it will you. This is in their own words and behind every word is a testimony and story of them hearing His voice.

“Life would be… hard, hurts in my heart, stay offended, bitter, very fearful, unkind, unconnected, lonely, lack of favor, unforgiveness, anger, aggression, scared, broken relationships, pressure, controlled, orphan spirit, more sickness, less creativity, bored, less adventures, hopeless, discouraged, rejected, struggle in school, trapped, believing lies, embarrassed, ashamed, forget things, nightmares, no honor, bullied, lack of confidence, difficulties, no hidden treasures, sad, heartbroken, exposed to bad things, lack of protection, lack of wisdom, no encounters with His presence, unsafe, lack of provision, couldn’t be used, powerless believers, lack of peace…”

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.

MODELING OUR HOME AFTER HIS

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?

HE IS HERE

God is not standing over you, watching you parent, or keeping track of your every wrong move. He is geared up, ready to jump in the moment you invite Him. So, give it a try today. Having a hard mommy moment? Frustrated over a child’s behavior? Hit with big news? Invite Him in and watch and see how He encounters you IN the moment.

BLACK & WHITE – PART TWO

Please read PART ONE first.

You Have Work To Do!

If you have a white lineage, I encourage you to go before the Lord today and ask for forgiveness on behalf of your family line, heritage, and ancestors for any way they participated in the dehumanizing, abuse, and control of black people in the name of slavery (through purchase or attitude). I encourage you to ask for forgiveness for any way your family line has partnered with the attitude and belief of supremacy and hierarchy based on race. 

Gather your children and talk about the issue of race. Talk about how it would feel to be excluded your whole life simply because of your hair color. We owe them their history, even if it isn’t always pretty. We owe them the truth so that they can be empowered to change their world. Have them write out an “I am sorry” card and offer it to Jesus. Have them write out declarations and speak into the atmosphere that we are all equally made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-28). 

If you have a black lineage, I encourage you to get before the Lord today and ask for forgiveness on behalf of your family line, heritage, and ancestors for any way they have come under the spirit of control and partnered with rebellion or rejection (victim spirit) in defense. I encourage you to spend some intentional time today forgiving those who have caused you and your family line harm, hardship, and cruelty. This will not be won naturally because we are reaping the fruit of the strongholds created generations ago. Each person must do their own part to clean up the mess we were handed, put their stake in the ground, and declare we will not tolerate this any longer. 

CAN I HOLD YOU?

My friend told me about a story with her son, and I think it is GLORIOUS. Her adopted son had a rough year with his dad moving out and his big sister moving away. He recently spent time at his dad’s house while his parents were in town. The young boy returned to his mom’s house and was OUT OF CONTROL! Yelling, kicking, hitting, screaming – unglued. She shared how she normally would have exercised some serious authority over his behavior and would have dealt firmly with him for his outburst. But she could see he was hurting and said, “Buddy, can Mommy hold you for a moment?” He was hesitant but eventually came to her, put his face in her neck, and just wept. He woke up the next morning back to himself again. There is a time and place to discipline a child for negative behavior, and there is a time and place to partner with Holy Spirit and move in the opposite spirit. This boy was simply trying to express the BIG emotions going on inside of his heart. He needed the security of a mother’s love, and whatever was causing his heart so much agitation was released through her affection.

LOVE CASTS OUT FEAR

Isn’t this a beautiful testimony from a father?

“Our family went on a family hike, and our eldest daughter was having fun running around. We got to the falls and took some pictures, but on the way back, she started whining about wanting to be carried and kept her whining and crying all the way back to the car. I told her if she kept it up, I would give her a spanking, and I could see the fear come into her eyes. She started trying to force herself to stop crying, and it was like something had switched inside me. I asked if she needed to be held, and she gave a huge nod with obvious relief, so I took her out of the car and held her on a nearby rock. I felt prompted by Holy Spirit to ask if she liked the waterfall, and she said no, that it was too loud. I asked if the noise and force of the waterfall scared her, and she said yes. I told her I was sorry for not realizing she was scared and asked if she would forgive me. She did, and I walked around holding her a little longer, and we ended up having a nice time again. This wouldn’t have happened before taking the mentoring class. When we were at the critical moment right when we got back to the car, I felt God cut in and remind me (gently, but in a way that couldn’t be ignored) that my connection to her heart was more important than her outward behavior, and it just froze me. I just wanted to share how the things you shared with us continue to bear fruit in our lives.”

GOD IS SO UNFAIR!

A child of mine has been making lots of messes lately, which has caused a break in connection with the rest of us. The other night another child was crying in their room out of pure exasperation with their sibling. I knew as a mom I had to be more aggressive spiritually in going after this, but I did not know what to do. Sometimes just opening my mouth and letting others in helps shift something, so I shared it with my team. We ended up putting on worship music to be in His presence. I began to cry out for help. God showed me two specific things I was to do for this child. The one made sense, but the other was switching the kids’ rooms around. My first thought was, “Are you kidding me? Said child makes a big mess and gets rewarded with the room upgrade? Another child, who has been hurt by them, has to give that room up?” My mind did not see the wisdom in this strategy AT ALL, but when you partner with God in your parenting, and He gives you a strategy for your child who is in a hard season, you OBEY fully and completely. The kids came home from school, and we spent the night rearranging all of their rooms. I kept telling my child, “God loves you and knows you. He is so unfair in that He is not giving you what you deserve but what you NEED.” Thank You, Father, that You judge by the scales of Your eyes and not ours.

IDENTITY

When we neglect to call out who our children are, the world will step up and do it for us. However, their truth is often different from ours. Calling out identity is not about what they do, such as, “You are the best soccer player,” or “You always get A’s,” but more so about who they are; “You are patient,” “You are kind,” “You are worthy,” “You are capable.” Calling this forth sets them up for taking on the world and the challenges set before them. The first increases pride as it focuses on their performance and ultimately hinders connection as they learn they are only as good as their successes. The latter increases their identity as it focuses on Christ in them and what He has done. We want our children to walk out the door overflowing with the confidence of how God made them, not feeling the pressure to earn something or strive to become what they think others want them to be.