SEXUAL SAFETY

SEXUAL SAFETY

One of the most vulnerable households for child sexual assault is the house that is run by ‘because I said so,’ and a legalistic one because they operate out of a list of rules and total parental authority and often fail to listen to the child. Children cannot hold in such a horrendous lie and/or the worry that abuse causes. They might not come right out and say that XYZ happened, but they will let it leak out, and we need ears to LISTEN TO THEM!

Here is a sad but true example: A little 4th grader came home from his youth group in a foul mood. The mom repeatedly disciplined him for his attitude, but he would not shake it. Finally, she asked him how youth group went, and he said, “I hated it.” She replied that he must go anyway because it was expected of him. He yelled out that his teacher was gay, and the mother swooshed him to his bedroom for talking inappropriately about someone. Had the mother listened to the child, she would have seen that he used to love youth group, and the sudden change warranted investigation. When a young child talks about an adult being gay, it should warrant you to find out why the child thinks that way, how he knows that of the youth leader, etc. If she had only asked and inquired deeper, she would have learned that her son was molested that night, only to come home and be disciplined for not wanting to return. I call it ‘pulling on the rope.’ When a child makes a harsh comment, pull on the rope by asking WHY questions. Not all ill words are a character issue; sometimes, they are flags waving to get our attention.

NO JUNIOR HOLY SPIRIT

We attended a service, and they announced the little kids would be coming in and passing something out to the adults. I assumed it would be the youth group, but in walked the smallest of kids. They were adorable in every way! Suddenly the worship was ignited, and His sweet presence filled the room. It was like you couldn’t cuddle deep enough in His lap. It was so safe and secure. I asked God what He was doing, and He reminded me of a vision He gave me years ago about revival. He asked if I would enjoy a family reunion with the great and great greats. I agreed it would be so much fun to see those in my family line. He asked how I would feel if my own children weren’t there, and I would be sad if they missed out. It would bring me so much joy to have them there with me to experience what I was experiencing. He said, “That is how I feel when ALL of my family is together.”

Get this – adults are feeling uncomfortable, and He brings the little ones into the room, releasing His presence over the adults, and touching them deeply. The Father’s delight is released when the WHOLE family is present in His presence.

SPIRITUAL RAID

It was intense… I woke up one day and couldn’t figure out what was going on. It felt like the cartoon picture of a swarm of hornets attacking endlessly, and it lasted all day long. I felt pressure from all sides with no explanation or purpose. It was so intense I literally could not work or do much of anything. I tried to busy myself to manage and endure whatever was happening. I can honestly say I have never experienced anything like that in all my life. The only emotion that I could identify with it was profound discouragement. I knew if I quit, I would feel better. The next morning, I woke up, and all was blue skies again. I felt led to ask, “Jesus, yesterday was insanely intense. I have no grid for what any of that was. Is there anything You want me to know?” and I heard Him say this, “There was a full-on assault against You yesterday” (yeah, the swarming hornets = full-on assault). I asked about what and heard the word “RAID.” I looked it up: a raid is a military tactic with a specific mission. It is not to capture but about using shock and awe to get your enemy to retreat to their previous line. 

JESUS WAS THERE

My near-death experience didn’t include any bright lights. In fact, it was the opposite. I grew up going to church but didn’t have a relationship with Jesus. While I remember the vivid details like it was yesterday, there are no words in the English language to describe what hell is like. Words like fear sound like a picnic compared to reality. It was torment. It was without hope. Imagine weights on your feet and sinking to the depth of the pitch-black ocean floor slowly with the keen awareness that no one is around, and no one ever will be, yet you are so aware of your lack of hope. We don’t talk about hell much, but it is a very real place. When God says He sent His Son to save us, He wasn’t kidding. My experience fuels my passion every day to give parents tools to bridge their children, not to a religious belief, but a real relationship with a loving Father who cares passionately about them. Salvation matters. 

After I became a Christian, I wrestled deeply with my profound experience with hell. It bothered me that I could never erase that part of my history. My mentor asked me where Jesus was during that time, and this intense religious spirit rose up within me. I was deeply offended that she even suggested God was in my messiest, darkest, most sinful moment. He was too good, too pure, and too holy to stoop so low. I was taught that God is on one side, sin and mess are on the other, and the two don’t mix. She showed me Romans 5:8, which says, “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us *while* we were still sinners.” The Word broke that religious spirit off of me, and I was now willing to ask Jesus where He was in my darkest hour. I saw a picture of my hospital bed and all the life-saving tubes connected to my frail body. I saw Jesus sitting in a chair at the end of my bed with the palm of His hands over His eyes. I couldn’t believe it. HE WAS THERE!!! My mentor sensed He had more to show me, and when we asked, I saw Him slowly pull His hands down and saw His face soaked with tears. Tears flowed freely that day as I realized He was there in my darkest, messiest moment! While seeing Him there didn’t change an ounce of my reality, it changed the entire interpretation of the events. He spared my life even before I was ‘saved’ and cared deeply about my pain. You can’t have an encounter like that and not be marked for life. Friends, HE IS THERE! It is okay to ask Jesus where He was in your darkest hour.

GRIEVING HOLY SPIRIT DREAM

I have been stewarding this dream for years and believe it is the time to share it. God was teaching me about family and, ultimately, the church because leadership should reflect good parenting.

In my dream, the kids and I arrived at our new housing. It was a unique round building with a gorgeous custom kitchen and living room in the middle. It was designed with the intention of people doing life together. Off of the living area were master suites with private bathrooms. We walked in, each carrying a different-sized suitcase, like the ones that were passed down from parents or grandparents. There was no check-in station as it was designed to be set up like a family with connection between the occupants, not run like a motel or business. We were aware there were people gathered in one of the rooms. I knew in my dream they were aware we had arrived and were waiting, but they didn’t come out to greet us or give us instructions. I didn’t want just to assume which room was ours, so despite traveling a long distance, we waited joyfully. The landlord walked in to greet us like a mother eager to see her child. I felt at home when she hugged me. She began to flow with tears. It wasn’t an anxious, wounded, or fearful cry. Just tears of genuine sadness. She said, “I want you here, but you can’t stay. You would be a model tenant, but they were here first and don’t want you here.” It didn’t feel like personal rejection as much as just the way things were done there. The sincere compassion I felt for the landlord for having renters who did not honor her desires for her own building made it easy to take my eyes off of myself and put them on her. I hugged her and assured her we would be okay, even though it meant we would be ‘homeless’ once we walked out the door. This tender moment morphed into me, saying firmly, “I will go (to honor her), but I will not leave until I have taken a shower first.” I was so aware in my dream it was 4 in the afternoon, and I was already clean. I went to take my shower and noticed a line that went all the way out the door. End of dream.

I woke up at 4 the next morning with a deep pang in my heart over what I had just witnessed in my dream. I got out of bed and sat in the dark living room, where I began to unpack the dream with God. He said, “Ask me who the landlord was in the dream,” and it was revealed she was Holy Spirit. I immediately fell on my face and wept. To witness Holy Spirit being grieved grieves me. To this day, I still can’t talk about the dream without tears coming to my eyes. I will never forget the genuine sadness in her eyes. The round living area represented what should have been a family room (not an empty living room). The people in the bedrooms were the parents/leaders who had authority just by ‘being there first.’ The dream highlights the need for instruction and guidance from them. Their closed room door and unwillingness to come out represents a wall they have built to shut out what they don’t want to enter. God sends children into families and people into churches carrying certain things (suitcases) because He knows what they need is inside of them. It grieves Him when we reject the ones He has sent to us to BLESS US. When we begin to run our families/churches according to our own agenda, we miss out on what He is doing in them. The lack of concern from the parents/leaders felt unloving, prideful, and downright rude, but the Lord showed me later that they were protecting something. Oftentimes when a parent/leader has wounds, hurts, jealousy or insecurity will, they will shut out the very ones God brings to them to help them. Just by their presence, a child/person can trigger the parents/leaders wound and cause them to ‘shut the door.’ This is a greater reflection on the parent/leader but often feels to the child/person like something is wrong with them. Parents/leaders can argue that what they are doing is right because they are ‘protecting’ something, but God never called us to be self-protectors. That is His job. I was aware in my dream, due to the uniqueness of the circle building, that the people in the closed room were at the 11 o’clock position. 11 can represent imperfection, disorder, disintegration, and chaos, which is exactly what happens when parents/leaders are unwilling to open the door, communicate clearly or welcome what those under them carry by God’s design. My shower represented my awareness that this interaction slimmed me, and I needed to rid myself fully and completely of any hurts, offenses, judgments, or bitterness. I assumed the words “you would be a model tenant” meant we were faithful financially, which is important to a landlord, but the Lord showed me that the word ‘model’ meant we, as a family, carried a model. There are five people in my family, and we all just happen to represent a different part of the five-fold ministry. We have an anointing in the area of family, and God has given us an anointing on how to model our families after His. We came into the family room, bringing that model with us. This is super important because we ALL carry things and that God wants to release through us. The vintage suitcases represented what has been passed down from each generation. We never meet someone with an empty suitcase. God has been setting things in motion in each family line for centuries. We carry what our parents, grandparents, and on did or didn’t complete on earth but may have sowed into. Each person’s suitcase is filled with valuable keys, solutions, and tools to build His Kingdom. My shower was at four which confirmed to me that I was FOR them, even though it wasn’t received. Taking a shower was about me, but FOR them as not to carry the offense against them. God also woke me at 4 am. Children are born FOR their parents until they are taught otherwise. Ironically, God woke me up at 4:44 am to release this dream. The long line indicated this dream wasn’t just for me but a corporate one, as many were slimed in the process of being shut out. This is a key and strategy of the Lord. We must clean ourselves of hurts, offenses, and judgments before we are fully free to move on.

SEXUAL SAFETY

Teaching about the birds and bees is different from sexual safety. I believe sex education should start in the home so that children have a solid understanding and do not learn it for the first time on the playground with mixed and twisted information. Over time, this is an evolving process that happens in layers as they age and mature. However, sexual safety is something that every parent must be intentional with and proactively equip their children to be safe. We teach our children how to keep their heads safe using bike helmets, their bodies safe by not answering the door, their hands safe while holding yours, and their mouths healthy using a toothbrush, but we also need to teach them about sexual safety. What age is this for? ALL!!! I cannot stress this enough. Unless your child is with you 24/7, and I mean 24/7, then perhaps they don’t need to be equipped, but if they go to school, have playdates, overnights, babysitters, friends, neighbors, and attend church, they need to be equipped. 

JUST SAY NO!

Years ago, I had my second lump removed from my breast. I scheduled my follow-up surgery on the same day my insurance expired. My doctor ran the test and told me I had a 65% chance of getting the most aggressive form of breast cancer within five years and suggested I go on a low-dose cancer drug. I told her my insurance ended that day, and she said, “Well, you better hurry up then and make a decision,” assuring me she could give me an extended prescription to cover me for a while. I was barely 40 years old, a single mom, and had four little babies at home under five. Flashbacks of losing my mom to breast cancer poured out of my eyes as I wept, sitting in my car in the parking lot. My ability to think and make rational decisions became paralyzed in fear. I was gambling with my life, and it was not something to take flippantly. I called some friends who had their journey with cancer and strongly suggested I take the drug. I cried out to God (literally), telling Him how scared I was (not just for me, but how this would affect my children), and asked what I should do. Suddenly, I got this overwhelming thought, “Why would I treat a cancer I do not have?” The doctor said I had a higher percentage that I COULD get it, but I currently did not have cancer. The tornado of chaos and emotions gave way to deep peace. I attempted to clean up the streaks of black mascara that stained my face and, with bold confidence, went back up to my doctor’s office to tell her, “Thank you, but no thank you.” I was fully aware that fear would knock, wanting me to play the What-If game.

I made an agreement with God that day. I reminded Him that He is my great Physician (years earlier, I was scheduled for a double transplant – until God stepped in). I already had faith in what He can do through my body, so I turned the issue over to Him and told Him, “I am not going to pay attention to this report. This one is on You, and You can alert me if something is wrong, but I will not let fear talk to me.” Over the years, I have had to remind myself of that agreement on a few occasions, and when fear knocks, I answer by blessing my body and cursing cancer.

Fast forward to one summer. We have always spent our summers on the road doing family ministry. That summer, we had our trip all planned down to the details, but the more things came together, the louder my lack of peace became. I finally laid it all down as I no longer wanted to fight for peace. A week later, I found a mass in my breast. Between swinging from one doctor appointment to the next and waiting for appointment day to arrive, we spent our summer walking out the reality that a tumor was found. I got the call while standing in the swimsuit section of Target and would be lying if I said the room didn’t spin a bit when I hung up the phone. But I asked God, “Is this my time?” and clearly, I heard, “NO!” My mind never played the What-If game, and I kept my peace all summer.

It doesn’t make it true just because someone speaks a word over you. Just because the odds are against you doesn’t mean you have lost. Just because a doctor says so doesn’t mean you have to partner with it. Just because fear speaks to you doesn’t mean you have to listen. I am happy to report that I am okay, and we are on the other side of this journey.

JESUS LOVES HIP HOP

I was completely engaged in worship one Sunday morning when I heard the Lord say, “I like hip hop.” It was so out of the blue. I heard it again and was like, “Okay. That’s great.” When I heard it a third time, the revelation came. I was raised in a good ole Lutheran church, and in my home, you wouldn’t be caught dead going to church in anything other than your Sunday best which included black patent leather shoes. I had come a long way, but I still had a deeply ingrained belief about what clothing did and did not look appropriate for church. My daughter had slipped her bright pink sneakers on without me noticing until we got to church, and I had scolded her, saying they weren’t appropriate church shoes. I had to humbly repent of partnering with the religious spirit because apparently Jesus likes hip hop and thinks bright pink shoes are just fine in His house!

JESUS AND NAILS

 We had to catch a morning flight out of Sacramento, and I kept changing the time I thought we should leave. Finally, half joking, I said, “Jesus, what time should I leave?” We left at that time. In the middle of nowhere, my light comes on, saying my back tire is low. We stopped, and the nice attendant turned on the air for free. I filled it up but heard God tell me to check the tire. I kept moving to rotate the tire so I could inspect it. Sure enough, there was a nail! I decided to see if it would hold, but I was losing pressure quickly within minutes. I pulled off, and a tire place was right there. But it was only 7 am, and they didn’t open till 8. If I waited till 8, I would have missed my flight. We called, and the manager answered, saying he would start his day early for me. As I pulled in, he was waiting for me. Expecting to walk out with two new, unexpected tire purchases, he said he could patch it and then had the heart to not even charge me. I tried to tip him but to no avail. From the time I pulled off till I was on the road again was *15 minutes*. Had that happened just two miles later, we would have been stranded on the side of nowhere! I swelled with His goodness and laughed when I heard Him say, “I know about nails.” He knew the nail would be in the road and had me leave earlier, stop when and where we did, and provided each step of the way. Wow!

FEELING SCARED

A friend messaged me this: “Last night, our son (age 6), who can feel things in the atmosphere, said he felt scared and didn’t know why. His father explained that other people are afraid of something he doesn’t need to be afraid of. This would normally result in many discussions. But last night, he said, ‘Oh, okay. Can I talk to Jesus about it?’ To which the answer was, ‘Of course, bud!’ He got quiet, the room shifted, and he fell asleep! Yay, Jesus!”

IF A SIX-YEAR-OLD IS LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT TO TALK TO JESUS ABOUT FEELING SCARED, WHAT’S OUR EXCUSE? There is a KEY in this testimony. He felt it, talked to Jesus about it, and rested. It’s okay to feel, but we must bring it to Jesus for the rest to come.

ANGELS WATCHING OVER YOU

Years ago, I heard of this story, and it has shaped my faith in God’s ability to protect my children. A young Christian student was home for the summer. She had gone to visit some friends one evening, and the time passed quickly as each shared their various experiences of the past year. She ended up staying longer than she had planned and had to walk home alone. But she wasn’t afraid because it was a small town and she lived only a few blocks away. As she walked along under the tall elm trees, Diane asked God to keep her safe from harm and danger. When she reached the alley, which was a shortcut to her house, she decided to take it. However, halfway down the alley, she noticed a man standing at the end as though he were waiting for her. She became uneasy and began to pray, asking for God’s protection. Instantly a comforting feeling of quietness and security wrapped around her; she felt as though someone was walking with her. When she reached the end of the alley, she walked right past the man and arrived home safely. The following day, she read in the paper that a young girl had been raped in the same alley just twenty minutes after she had been there. Feeling overwhelmed by this tragedy and the fact that it could have been her, she began to weep, thanking the Lord for her safety, and to help this young woman, she decided to go to the police station. She felt she could recognize the man, so she told them her story. The police asked her if she would be willing to look at a lineup to see if she could identify him. She agreed and immediately pointed out the man she had seen in the alley the night before. When the man was told he had been identified, he immediately broke down and confessed. The officer thanked Diane for her bravery and asked if there was anything they could do for her; she asked if they would ask the man one question. Diane was curious as to why he had not attacked her. When the policeman asked him, he answered, “Because she wasn’t alone. She had two tall men walking on either side of her.”