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.
PRAY FOR GOD TO ENCOUNTER THEM
I had two significant encounters that changed my relationship with Holy Spirit. Here is the first one.
When I became a solo parent, there was a wide and deep gamut of emotions to process. I would go into my closet and let it out. I could cry (even yell), and the kids would not be able to hear me. It was my safe place. My mentor gave me two books to read, and I would wake up early and go into my closet. Something began to yearn deep within me for more of Him. The former was great, but I was dying for more. It felt like survival. I had to have more of Him. I did not want the wacky, weird, even embarrassing Spirit that made my heart feel so unsafe and uncomfortable, but I was growing in my unquenchable hunger for Him, and at that point, my hunger was forcing my guard down. Hungry people do whatever it takes to be fed, even break down mental barriers that have been erected to keep them ‘safe.’ Within six months of losing my husband, my dad died, and two weeks later, my stepdad died. I was in full-blown grief over the significant men in my life and, at the same time, developed a headache that would not cease. It felt like a constant brain freeze from eating something cold too fast; nothing would reduce the pulsating pain. This went on for three months straight. People kept telling me it was just stress due to my profound grief, but deep down, I knew I had better coping skills than that. Despite the pain, I managed to drive the kids from CO to MN by myself for my dad’s funeral, and weeks later, I even took them to the mountain for our annual family getaway, but all I could do was lay on the bunk bed, unable to move. Finally, one night, I told the kids to lie down on Mommy’s floor and sleep. I could not help them get their PJs on or brush their teeth. I put my head on the pillow that night, fully confident I would die of my brain blowing up. The pain was unbearable. Hours later, I was rushed by a friend to the ER, where they discovered my carotid artery was torn. It was nothing short of a miracle that I held together for three long months walking around with a ripped artery. I was transferred to ICU and was told a simple sneeze could severely tear the artery completely. I was at high risk for a stroke or aneurysm. I spent a very scary few weeks maneuvering through healing for both my broken body and heart. I was still so sick and weak after being released from the hospital that my friends thought it best to keep the kids for a bit longer to give me time to heal. I was assigned a home health nurse because I kept fainting and passing out whenever I would stand up. One afternoon, I sat dazed on the couch, wanting to get up to make myself something to eat, but too weak to move. It was hours before my nurse arrived, yet I knew I risked passing out again if I got up. I was trapped in my body. While my heart was being stretched beyond its capacity with grief, my body was also being pushed to the limits. I was overwhelmed by my state and so desperately wanted to be healed. I missed my children (I had not been with them for over a month) and felt isolation so deep it was paralyzing. I was extremely sick and powerless to take care of my basic needs. It is hard to describe the weakness of my mind, body, and spirit at that moment. It felt like death.
Out of nowhere, I began to see events unfold. This was not just in my mind; it was as if it was really happening, and I was watching it like a movie. I saw a girl on a hospital bed and emergency workers rushing around her. They were running and racing the hospital gurney down the hall (again, I was watching this as if they were really doing it). There was seriousness and panic in the air. The girl on the hospital bed was me, and suddenly they stopped and placed a white sheet over her. I cannot fully explain what happened next, but I stood up and dropped to my knees. It was like my face could not get low enough to the ground, and words began to flow out of my mouth. It was as if I was speaking from the depth of my toes. I did not understand what I was saying, yet I knew I was saying something. It was forceful, and while I was aware I could stop it at any time and felt ‘in control,’ it was so powerful and moved without my effort or help that I did not want to interrupt it. It went on for a good five minutes, and then it was like it was over. I sat up stunned, with my face and hair completely soaked. I was a bit bewildered by what I had just experienced but realized I felt physically different. I felt like me again and felt strong for the first time in months. I had absolutely no grid for what just happened. I called my mentor, fully convinced I may have just lost my mind. She began to laugh and said with much joy, “Oh Lisa, you just had your first vision and spoke in a prayer language. Lisa, that was Holy Spirit!!!!” I believe the vision was Holy Spirit alerting me that a spirit of death was coming to me, and He gave me a language to pray against it. My mind did not understand it, but my spirit did. That encounter left me speechless for months. Was that the odd, wacky, and uncomfortable Spirit I saw touching others? Suddenly to have my own experience changed everything. I had to have more of Him. My hunger became almost excruciating to steward. My biggest prayer from that moment on was, “More, Lord, MORE.” Holy Spirit knew my journey and knew why I was so leery of Him, yet He also knew my deepest desire could only be filled and satisfied by Him. He knew I had a calling on my life that would be to introduce scores of people around the globe to Him, but I first had to experience Him, and He knew it had to happen in a way that came through my need, not my intellectual knowledge as that was shut down to Him.
P.S. I wept writing that. I cannot imagine my life without Holy Spirit. I think of the pages and pages and pages of testimonies of ways He has shown up, revealed truth, parented the kids, opened doors, brought me comfort, healing, and joy, and been there for me. What about you? Are you stuck in the place of being hungry for more of Him but leery of Holy Spirit? Do you need an encounter with Him that reveals who He really is? Cry out and tell Him. It’s okay to acknowledge your weariness, concern, and doubt. Confess your trust and faith in Him, even when you do not have it all figured out yet. More Lord, MORE!
Picture a spine with a pinched nerve. Now picture that person having to carry a box upstairs. The weight of carrying the box would put pressure on what is out of alignment and cause GREAT AFFLICTION! The same is true in the spirit realm. God created us to be in alignment, and when we are out of alignment with Him, the pressures of the world (work, relationships, financial issues, parenting, heart splinters, etc.) can cause great affliction. We cannot always control the pressure that comes our way, but we can manage our mind, body, and spirit to be in alignment with Him. How? Ask Him.
“Jesus, is there anything in my body that is not in alignment with Your will?”
“Jesus, are there thoughts I am feasting on that are not Yours?”
“Jesus, is my spirit in alignment with the Holy Spirit?”
Sometimes we bring our children to Jesus, and other times we bring Jesus to our children.
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!
I called a family meeting and told the kids to act like Jesus was in the room and had the love language of words of affirmation. We popcorn-styled, going around and around, calling out the amazing things about Jesus. His character, goodness, faithfulness, the way He loves, is so smart, etc. It stirred up our faith in who He is and anchored us in His ability. So, give it a try today. Tell Jesus who He is.
Ask, “Jesus, if You could write a letter to my child, what would it say?”
I was sitting with the Lord, processing something in my heart. He told me to go grab three crowns (each member of our family has a specific crown) and put them on the floor in a triangle shape. He began to show me how so often we come to Him in a line as if we are standing face to face. That is great, except it still requires a lot of us (to hear well, discern, plug in, etc.). He said to put my heart carrying that issue in the center of all three of them. I did just that and experienced an encounter so deep that it reduced me to tears. I have never felt so unbelievably insignificant in the best way possible. When God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit huddle together for a group hug with you in the middle, something is going to shift. I encourage you to allow Him to encounter your heart today in the same way.
When we face anger, anxiety, fear, etc., it invites us to encounter Him. Many believe you have to be free of such things to encounter God, but the truth is some of the greatest intimacy comes when we invite Him into those messy places.
In America, we do not trust a child’s ability to operate a motor vehicle until they are eighteen. We do not believe a young adult can responsibly consume alcohol before age twenty-one. Yet in the Word, which is loaded with promises and commands, not once are we given an age restriction. I want you to soak in this for a moment. The same Holy Spirit that touched Jesus – resurrecting Him from DEATH – is the same Spirit that dwells in half-pint, snot-nosed children. The Spirit of GOD ALMIGHTY is the same Spirit that operates in YOUR child. Go ahead, be a little undone by that concept because it IS huge! It is to be honored, valued, and highly respected. I often rally the kids and ask them what Jesus wants to say to us. They often hear divine wisdom that was beyond my logical thinking. This is a fun, empowering way for them to practice hearing God’s voice. Try this today in your home: “Hey kids, let’s ask Jesus _______.”
I have a resource called Encountering the Father. In this digital download, you will receive a teaching on how to encounter the Father as a family, along with over 100 encounter question cards. Order yours here: Encountering the Father EBook – Let the Children Fly
Gather the family and talk about their name. What happens when someone calls their name? Explore the meaning of their name or perhaps tell the story of why you named them. A name is significant in so many ways and represents who you are.
God has many names; it is important to know them as it teaches us His character and how to relate to Him in our time of need. Go through this list of the names of God, exploring each one as it relates to their world. Ex. Ask them if they have ever gotten hurt. Recall that time they fell off their bike and scraped their knee badly. Introduce them to Jehovah Rapha and talk about WHO God is at that moment. What about being afraid? Have they ever had a moment where they felt unsafe? Introduce them to El Shaddai – the God who is mighty and powerful. Teach the children they can call on the name of God anytime they want, and He will help. Putting this deep within their hearts is an important part of equipping our children for whatever they face.
- El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty)
- El Elyon (The Most High God)
- Adonai (Lord, Master)
- Yahweh (Lord, Jehovah)
- Jehovah Nissi (The Lord My Banner)
- Jehovah Raah (The Lord My Shepherd)
- Jehovah Rapha (The Lord That Heals)
- Jehovah Shammah (The Lord Is There)
- Jehovah Tsidkenu (The Lord Our Righteousness)
- Jehovah Mekoddishkem (The Lord Who Sanctifies You)
- El Olam (The Everlasting God)
- Elohim (God), Qanna (Jealous)
- Jehovah Jireh (The Lord Will Provide)
- Jehovah Shalom (The Lord Is Peace)
- Jehovah Sabaoth (The Lord of Hosts)