PREPARING FOR BATTLE

PREPARING FOR BATTLE

I am confident of God’s leading me as my Husband, and He has been so faithful over the years. We entered the home stretch of the election war and really wanted to hear His heart and strategy for our family. We spent time just being quiet and enjoying His presence while listening to a worship song. Then I asked the question, “Jesus, is there anything specifically You want us to do to prepare for the season we are in?” The children each heard similar things regarding strategy, and it was very confirming, but Emma said, “I heard Him say that we are to stock up in our hearts, especially with JOY, because joy gives us the will to fight hard things.”

It would be impossible to be fully prepared for whatever could come our way. But stocking up on the ingredients that will help us weather any storm is essential right now. Joy releases a chemical in our brain that gives us the will to fight and endure hard things. Joy is your weapon – stock up on an arsenal of it.

FULL CIRCLE

Years ago, God told me to go back to a situation that was familiar to my childhood. I went, and the entire week felt fruitless. I couldn’t come up with a single thing that created movement or fruit, and it bothered me. I sat on the dock watching the sunrise on our last morning with tears in my eyes that somewhere, maybe I missed the assignment and was truly grieved. The entire trip seemed so pointless. Until I heard God say this, “Lisa, I brought you back to the same situation you were in as a child, not because anything has changed, but to show you how far I have changed you.” I wept tears of utter gratefulness for the incredible movement deep inside of me over the years. Sometimes God allows us back in previous situations or seasons simply to give us a view of the good work He had done in us. Thank You, Jesus, that You are faithful to finish and complete the good work in our lives. Take a moment today and ponder your younger self; a year ago, five years, and twenty years ago. Allow Him to show you just how far He has carried you.

FOREVER BABYSITTER

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. 

TEACHING IS WHO HE IS

I was raised in the Lutheran church but did not become a believer until I was 24. I loved God, Jesus, and His Word, but I wasn’t so sure about Holy Spirit. I disliked anything that reeked of being ‘charismatic’ and often made sharp remarks about it. It was not that I did not want the Spirit of God, but rather, I was afraid and unsure. I feared it might have been demonic in disguise. I had a mentor who embraced Holy Spirit, which made me uncomfortable. We would have conversations about it, but it usually ended with me telling her I was done. My mom went to a faith healer when she was diagnosed with reoccurring breast cancer and had an ‘encounter,’ as she said, but died two months later. That only increased my dislike and distaste for anything ‘charismatic.’

I am so thankful that God knows our hearts and understands our journey. I am even more grateful that He doesn’t keep us there. On occasion, I will get a message from a parent confessing their unbelief about things regarding Holy Spirit. They share their sincere heart and concerns with me. I listen, but I have learned over the years that they do not need, or really want, for ME to try and convince them one way or another. They need not another opinion but to hear directly from Him. My loving response to them is simply this – it is Holy Spirit’s job to lead you into all truth (not mine or any other pastor/leader/teacher). Mental knowledge is one thing, but the conviction of His truth is another. I encourage you to take what you are cautious and concerned about and bring it to Him directly. Ask Him to teach you and lead you to His truth. Teaching is not what He does; it is who He is (John 16:13).

PURE INTIMACY

God has lots of things to say about forced intimacy, and it is not how He interacts with His creation. We lead our children to the Father’s heart through love, not control and fear. Forced intimacy is not Kingdom!

YOUR FATHER WANTS TO TALK TO YOU!

How many times a day do you talk to your child? To communicate love? Lead? Inform? Correct? Speak identity? Instruct? Comfort? How many times a day do you listen to what your Father wants to say to you?

YES, LORD

Parents often share that, deep down, they are afraid if they say YES to more of God, He will require something of them that they may not want to do (like sell everything and live overseas). I want to challenge this fear-based belief and say that it is more of a reflection of one’s belief about what kind of Father He is. The reality is saying YES to the deeper things of God means you are going to have to enter a training ground of learning how to receive His goodness, kindness, and blessings as a Son/Daughter. And that, for many, is the harder work!!!!

REDEFINING QUIET TIMES

I hear this ALL the time – a person falls radically in love with Jesus and has excellent ‘quiet times.’ They get up early and spend tons of undivided time with Him, and they have a close relationship. The kids come, and soon those quiet moments together give way to sleepless nights and the demands of their new addition. As time passes, the relationship suffers, and they begin to feel exhausted, dry, and burned out. They begin to feel guilty for not investing hours into their relationship with God, which only makes them feel worse. The time we spend with our children in this season is 24/7, but there is a Biblical command to let them leave and cleave to their future mates, meaning our 24/7 relationship will transition into a new way of connecting and relating, yet the love and relationship are still there!

Could it be God intended all along for our time with Him to be transitioned, as well, when the baby comes? Do we not think that God KNEW that our relationship with Him would change when He gave us the gift of our child? Instead of feeling guilty that your former way of relating to Jesus isn’t working, ask Him to show you what the NEW looks like.

“Jesus, I miss our times together. I miss knowing You and feeling Your presence. I miss our deep connection. Will You please show me what our relationship and time together look like in this season?”

Be blessed with the fact that your relationship is growing, changing, and being transformed into something NEW!

CLING TO RIGHTEOUSNESS

I walked through some deep betrayal years ago and wrestled it deeply with God. I had this mental picture of Jesus holding both of us on His lap, and it made me mad. This person brought me so much turmoil and pain, and I didn’t like the fact Jesus loved them so much (this isn’t my true heart, but it was a moment in my processing the pain). I finally called my mentor because it was making my heart feel unsafe with God. How in the world could He love someone who has brought so much pain? Her response was brilliant and literally shifted something so deep within me. She said, “Lisa, you do not fully understand the picture. God loves this person just as much as He does you because He created them, but God is only on the side of righteousness, and this person isn’t choosing righteousness.”

It wasn’t a matter of whose side God was on as much as it was who was on His side. It was like my hands opened, and I dropped whatever offense, pain, or fight I was holding onto and clung to righteousness. It altered decisions and outcomes dramatically. The question is not “Is God on my side?” The question is, “Are you on God’s side?”

MY MAMA JOURNEY

I survived a near-death experience and was told I would never be able to have any biological children due to the surgeries. I married with that understanding, and we were approved and waiting for our first foster child when we discovered we were pregnant. Two months later, we lost our child, and it was devastating. I sat in our sunlit living room and cried for 8 hours, not only mourning the events that will never happen but wondering why God allowed me to get pregnant if we were content from the beginning not to have our own. That loss shifted something so deep within me to reject the words spoken over my body. While I never got to hold this child, their life taught me that it is okay to believe in God’s ability over reality. We got pregnant again the following month but lost that child too. The thing that brought my mama’s heart so much comfort was this mental picture of Jesus holding both of my babies in each of His arms, like twins. However, I could feel something was off inside of me, yet I couldn’t put my finger on it. I went to someone in the church trained in inner healing ministry, and while I no longer struggled with suicide as I did in my earlier years, we felt led to deal with the spirit of death. While I never got to hold this child either, I was set free from a spirit of death throughout their life.

A month later, we got pregnant with TWINS. God was aligning my heart with His and showing me the mighty redemption of things lost and stolen in the family. Through my full-term twin pregnancy, I was learning to experience the goodness of God’s love and joy on a whole new level. I was becoming a mom and had the power to change the life of another human being.

When Lauren and Emma were four months old, we got pregnant with Hudson (named after Hudson Taylor). My pregnancy was challenging, and I knew something wasn’t right. Due to random events, we scheduled my C-section earlier than his due date, and it ended up being a 2.5-hour procedure because the OB who delivered my twins failed to sew me back up inside, wreaking havoc inside my body. Had I not gotten pregnant again so soon and needed a C-section, I would have ruptured on the inside, leaving my twins without a mother. Hudson’s birth literally saved my life. This has been such a prophetic statement on how God uses our children to heal, redeem, and restore things in our lives. Where I was to give life and birth to my son, in reality, he gave it to me.

I was asked many times if we were done having kids knowing how full my hands were with three children under 14 months. While everything in me screamed YES, I didn’t have peace about it. Three years later, Ellie Rose entered this world and completed our family. Waiting for her taught me that whatever is ‘right,’ logical, or even considered wise, does not matter if it does not bring peace. I have been reminded of this many times over the years as I have chosen not to follow the norm, popular vote, or what I ‘should’ do, but rather be led by peace for my unique family. And so, my journey into motherhood began. 

1ST RESPONDER

We can teach our children that Jesus is a 1st Responder who we can go to with our highs, lows, and everything in between.