I love when I can see God’s hand in my own life, but it takes my breath away when I see common themes of His hand in other people’s lives. God seems to be telling His children to guard against being so busy that time with Him gets pushed back. Stewarding increase comes with a price but spending time with Him should be non-negotiable. Seek Him FIRST, always! If you have found yourself running so hard, laboring in the increase, and going on, stop, repent of failing to keep Him first, and schedule a date ASAP!
SEEK HIM FIRST
Years ago in California, we were having a terrible drought. The summer temps can hold onto 110 degrees for months, and it was scorching the land. Many cursed their city; others prayed for God to intervene. Drought affects more than just our immediate comfort. Many months later, long after the temperatures had gone back down to a comfort level, we had rains that would not let up. It poured for days. It soaked everything and anything in sight. Many cursed their city; others prayed for God to intervene. Yet few connected that perhaps the rainfall was an ANSWER to the prayers prayed months earlier. In fact, the rain not only watered our land, but the experts said it would have taken us nearly seven years to recover from the drought that the rainfall did in one season. We pray, beg, and ask God to move and then complain when He does so on His terms, in His ways. I see a flood of chaos, mess, and destruction all around me, and it is overwhelming, but I also see ANSWERED PRAYERS. We wanted God to rise up and respond to the scores of injustices to unborn babies; we wanted Him to act on behalf of the corruption with our leaders; we begged Him to save our children from being used and abused; we prayed for Him to awaken us. We prayed sleepless nights for churches to cease operating in control. We poured our hearts out for peace and unity in our families and communities. Friends, do not curse the WAY God chooses to answer His children’s heart cries. He sees the sleepless nights, the agony of the mother’s heart, and the cry of His people. Take comfort in knowing that He is God, and this is NOT His first rodeo (have you read Daniel lately?) He is STILL a good Father and knows what He is doing.
It is hard to know how to pray at this hour. I have found myself often declaring, “God, we bless the work of Your hands and say let Your will be done on earth today despite the discomfort it brings me. We loosen every assignment of the enemy against Your perfect plan. Holy Spirit, cover me with Your perfect peace in this hour, but Lord, have Your way with us!”
Picture someone baking a pie for their evening gathering with friends. Could you imagine someone else coming to take the pie out of the oven and running to the corner to consume the whole thing on their own? They would not only develop a stomachache but have robbed themselves of the joy of consuming the pie with friends and family as it was intended. Your child comes with a parenting manual, and His name is Emmanuel – God with us. I say this in love, but some of you need to repent for taking His creation and running away with it. He did not spend nine months knitting them together and ushering them into the world only to have you run away together. He desired all along that you would parent together with Him. God wants you to parent with Him, not for Him.
If you are single and had a childhood that left you with more heart splinters than joy, JOURNEY is for you. If you are newly married without children yet and want to learn how to model your family after His, JOURNEY is for you. If you were raised with rules and performance expectations and want to break the cycle, JOURNEY is for you. If you are knee-deep in the toddler season and want to prevent having to undo some parenting down the road, JOURNEY is for you. If you are struggling in your parenting with children of any age, JOURNEY is for you. If you feel distance and space between you and one of your children, JOURNEY is for you. If you are a grandparent and want to sow into your adult children and grandchildren, JOURNEY is for you. If you came from a great family and are simply hungry for more, JOURNEY is for you. JOURNEY is a month-long adventure of going deeper with God as you align your heart and family after His. This is not a parenting method or 1, 2, 3 steps, but rather introducing you to a lifestyle of partnering with Him. NOW is a great time to sow into your family no matter what season you are in.
This is going to be fun and encourage many. A friend told me that when she was younger, she damaged the family vehicle. The dad made her get a job to pay it back, which she did at Taco Bell. It was there that she met a couple who introduced her to Jesus. I love these stories of how God uses things to bring us to Him.
When my sweet Emma was little, she had the hardest time grasping the concept that she could not help herself to whatever she wanted in the stores. She would come home with her pockets filled with unpaid goodies. I kept trying to teach her, but it wasn’t sinking in. When I found a pair of dangling earrings, I knew I had to take things to the next level. I took her to the store and asked for the manager. I had Emma explain that she took the items and came to return them. To my utter surprise, the manager told me to relax and then looked at Emma and said, “That is okay, sweetie!” I was dumbfounded and asked the manager if she would be okay with that response if she were 15 or 55, still stealing from her store. I was sad the manager was working against what I was trying to set up and instill in my daughter. I share that story to say we must know the bigger picture of what is happening. I was a mom trying to teach my daughter the value of not stealing, but the manager spoke against it and encouraged Emma that it was no big deal. There is SO much going on in the world right now, and we must must must hear from God what He is doing and align our prayers, comments, and voice with His. We do not want to be like the manager and speak out against what He is doing. We want to partner with Him.
May I encourage you to gather the children and spend some intentional time as a family asking: “Father, what are You doing right now?” “Holy Spirit, how do You want me to pray today?” “Jesus, will You show me what You see?” He is a good Father and knows what He is doing. Let’s partner WITH Him and align our voices with what He is doing.
If we focus on being a perfect parent and handling everything just right, we will surely fail because Jesus is the only perfect human. However, our weaknesses, failures, wounds, and mistakes do not disqualify us from equipping our children with the truth that while we may have blown it, Holy Spirit is never impatient or annoyed with us. While Dad might be distracted or absent, Papa God is always eager for our attention and company. Where Mom may lack, He always provides. Where we stumble, He is able. How will children know this unless we actively teach them about the faithfulness of God? So, the next time you blow it, use it as an opportunity to teach your child how awesome and good Father God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit really are and that while we try, we are not always like Him, but praise God, He isn’t like us either!
I was able to score cheap tickets to Florida and decided I would take the kids for some R&R and splashing in the ocean before school started the following week. The following morning I woke at 3 am pondering our trip. While it ‘looked’ fun, I had no joy. I got out of bed and began to process why going to Florida was not bringing any joy whatsoever. The joy turned into NO PEACE. It wasn’t fear, but simply no peace or joy on it. The Kingdom is righteousness, peace, and joy; I have used these as my pillars to lead me. I canceled the trip. And then I see this… A double hurricane isn’t my idea of joy either, God. Thanks for leading me so well.
Shhhhhhh! LISTEN! HE KNOWS HOW TO LEAD HIS SHEEP.
Moms of little ones often lament that they aren’t doing anything significant in their life other than changing diapers, doing laundry, and cleaning the house. WHAT A LIE! The season where you usher children into the world is one of the most *powerful* seasons in your bloodline. You are standing at the gate as a new mom deciding what you do and do not want to pass on to your child. You are being given a chance to say, “My parents did an outstanding job of X and Y, and I want to give my child that same gift.” You are also saying, “I do not want my child to experience X and Y and will seek to bring that area into alignment for their good.” POWERFUL! Moms of little ones, do not believe the lie of your insignificance in this season. You are like a Customs and Border Protection Officer in your bloodline!
Rest is not being inactive. Rest is the position of our heart after we have released something over to God and left it in His care. We cease taking matters into our own hands and operating in self-sufficiency. We hand over the transaction to Him, and at that moment, we are in restful confidence He can act on our behalf. We rest in the assurance that He is able, capable, mighty, willing, powerful, and active in our lives. Simply put, spiritual orphans can NOT find rest because the world’s weight is on them to self-provide, self-protect, self-defend, and self-secure. But as Sons and Daughters, we have a Father who is alive and well and wants to help us. Have you ever sat on an aircraft and watched people attempt to put their luggage in the overhead compartment? They struggle to lift the weight of their carry-on above their head while juggling their coffee, trying hard not to hit the person in front of them. Along comes a flight attendant in full confidence in their ability to help lighten the load and get them situated. Have you ever watched a child struggle to tie their shoes or fasten their pant button? They get frustrated easily with their lack of ability. A loving parent comes alongside them and, with ease, eagerly helps them. The Father is like the flight attendant wanting to carry your load. The Father is like a loving parent wanting to help in your time of need. Rest is not simply doing nothing. Rest is releasing your burdens for Him to do something.
HeartWork – “Jesus, I surrender and hand to You my burden of _____.”