We can believe in Jesus yet remain outside the palace and act like an orphan striving and begging to have their needs met. A great question to ask in any given situation is, “Jesus, what would an orphan do in this situation? How would a Son/Daughter of the King respond?”
SONS & DAUGHTERS
Seen, Heard & Valued
I was in a season where I was aware that the words coming out of my mouth were critical and sharp. I am not typically one to hold a grudge or offense for very long, but it was like I was constantly calling out the bad. Little things like the man who cut me off, or the person who didn’t use their blinker, or the lady who didn’t return her shopping cart. Once I said it, I let it go but it bothered me that I even had the eyes to see it. They were things that should not be requiring my energy or time.
I became so aware of it that I told the kids I would pay them $1 every time they caught me being critical. But it only seemed to increase.
I finally met with my friend who is a professional counselor and asked her what in the world was the problem that I could not control my critical words. She said something to me that not only changed my life and set me free but became a KEY that I have used with others for their freedom.
She said, “Shame HAS to blame” and began to introduce me to the profound effects that shame has on our mind, body, and soul. Shame is so toxic to our existence that it kills, shuts down and robs of us of our God-given abilities. Shame is like acid. By blaming others (my critical words) it was releasing some of the toxicity. It was survival to manage the shame. I HAD to blame. The goal, therefore, was not to manage the release of the shame but to resolve the shame once and for all.
Thus began a several month-long journey of discovering the root of the shame and how to release it GOD’S WAY.
I created a ten-day online experience for others to join me on the journey of loving yourself deeper, wider and more passionately than you have been loved before.
This is a self-guided class at your own convenience. You will watch a video teaching and for the rest of the days, I provide activities and exercises to do based on the video teaching. The second week focuses on how to raise children to be proactive so they never have to find themselves again down the road.
As an ASCEND member you can enroll in this self-guided class at no additional charge.
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.
I LOVE the testimonies coming in from our Family Encounter video of children going to their parents and repenting for not coming under their authority. Such a sweet time of cleansing their hearts and reestablishing the covering God has given them. WOW, just WOW!
You can watch it here if you missed it: Family Encounter Night – YouTube
Sometimes we bring our children to Jesus, and other times we bring Jesus to our children.
Sometimes when parents set the bar high for standards and kids don’t measure up, they partner with the lie that they aren’t good enough. This is not about parents doing it wrong for setting high standards, but about the wrong message sinking into their heart. Children need to be called to a high standard AND experience grace for missing it. This is called childhood, which is the training ground to becoming whole, healthy, fruitful adults. Children are a work in progress and grace must be a part of that process. When a child fails to meet expectations, it becomes a great opportunity to discuss ways they can grow in their capacity to achieve different results next time and become better.
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!
Nothing causes more hurt in families and the church than believers operating as spiritual orphans.
#1. The orphan spirit operates out of insecurity and jealousy. The spirit of sonship functions out of love and acceptance.
#2. The orphan spirit is jealous of the success of his brothers. The mature son is committed to the success of his brothers.
#3. The orphan spirit serves God to earn the Father’s love. The mature son serves God out of a sense of divine acceptance and favor.
#4. The orphan spirit tries to medicate its deep, internal alienation through physical stimulation. The mature son walks in the joy and presence of the Lord for comfort.
#5. The orphan spirit is driven by the need for success. The Spirit leads the mature son into his calling and mission.
#6. The orphan spirit uses people as objects to fulfill goals. Mature sons serve people to bless the Kingdom.
#7. The orphan spirit repels children. The spirit of sonship attracts children.
#8. The orphan spirit has anger and fits of rage. The spirit of sonship rests in the Father’s ability to control and guide the future.
#9. The orphan spirit is always in competition with others. The spirit of sonship is always blessing others.
#10. The orphan spirit lacks self-esteem. The spirit of sonship walks in the love and acceptance of Father God.
#11. The orphan spirit receives its primary identity through material possessions, physical appearance, and activities. The spirit of sonship is grounded in sonship and the Father’s affirmation.
For the areas you see the orphan spirit still at work, ask Father God to encounter you with His love and truth! For the areas you have experienced someone else’s orphanness, pray for them to receive God’s love.
Sometimes I think I could write a book titled MY DESTINY (almost) KILLED ME! I am opening up a window into a part of my journey to see some of the lessons God has taught me along the way. May it encourage you in your journey!
I have wrestled these past years deeply with managing Let the Children Fly. Is it a business? Is it a ministry? Many would say it is both. Yet as others attempted to empower me on how to GROW my platform, it only increased my inner agitation. There is an insane amount of pressure in the Body of Christ to create and establish something by the labor of your own hands. Years of seeking wise counsel would tell me how to increase and grow my ministry, yet I could never get peace about it. Until recently, when God told me why… I never set out to run a business or lead a ministry. Growth organically occurred AFTER I stewarded what He gave me. To grow my platform outside of my intimacy with Him felt scary, even risky. It’s like working with a publisher before the book is finished. We can only faithfully steward something within our capacity. God isn’t about increasing the platform. He is about increasing capacity to steward more of what He wants to give you, and IN THAT, the platform increases naturally. To do it the other way around is nothing short of pride. It will not reap a true harvest. God will never give you a platform in your name.
Banning Liebscher once said, “Do not go after being the most elegant speaker. Go after the anointing and authority. The first produces fame; the second produces transformation and eternal fruit.” Everyone wants a platform, but few survive the resistance training between the audience and the stage. There has to be a process, a journey. Before you can carry the weight of a platform, you must be refined in key areas of weakness, or the stage will crush you. It is God’s mercy not to elevate you beyond your capacity. He isn’t denying you; He is protecting you. Everyone has patches of ice they slip on, and God wants to teach you how to endure things without falling. This is a process of growth that takes time. God is a master at growing people for the long term and is not interested in fifteen minutes of fame. He wants fruit that will last into eternity and later generations. Fruit takes time to mature. The Body has lost the art of serving others for no other motive than helping someone else succeed. Not everything needs to be turned into a marketing or financial funnel to profit you. Social media is a power that exposes what is inside us. If a sense of significance comes from the number of likes, we are partnering with a dangerous pit. While the temporary high of the ‘likes’ feels good, it leaves us feeling empty. There is nothing wrong with social media as long as it is from a place of being a Son/Daughter. Our motive is everything. Some people do not have a calling to reach the world. They have a calling to change the world of a few people well. You will be rewarded, not for what you grew, but for how faithful you were with what God has given you.
I was lamenting to God once about the world’s value around numbers. The pressure that says you are only as good as your followers. I had an intimate time surrendering the pressure to God and being okay right where He has me. The next day I woke to a message from Facebook saying they helped me clean my group up and deleted **2K** people from my group. Gulp. I felt the loss for a moment and knew deep down I was okay because the numbers (+ or -) do not define my faithfulness, worth, or value. The pressure broke off, and I refused to let it drive me.
You can’t find your calling/destiny until you first have discovered your new identity as a Son/Daughter. To give you your destiny before you know how to operate in your calling would be a recipe for disaster. If you want to know your destiny, first learn your true identity. Finding your calling is one thing – overcoming the battle to remain in it is another. God isn’t looking for the most significant person, ministry, or platform. He is looking for YOU to be faithful in stewarding what He has given YOU. You contribute something on earth today that is vital, and you can’t afford to waste it on anything outside of where He has you. There is only one Kingdom ROCKSTAR, and His name is Jesus. He didn’t come to promote but to steward well all that His Father gave Him to profit others, not Himself.
I want to remind you that if you are a born-again believer, you have a Shepherd over you in this hour. He knows how to keep you safe, protect you and lead you to green pastures. He knows when you are wandering off and how to go after you.
Years ago, we were in a store shopping when Hudson asked for a Lego set. Before I could reply, he began to beg me with intense emotion. Watching him plead and beg like a fish flopping around out of water was repulsive to my ears. I stopped him, put my hand on his shoulder, and asked, “Who am I?” He was reminded that he was talking to his mother, who fearlessly loves, provides, and protects him. The one who carried him for nine months and knows him better than anyone else on earth. The one with a track record of being kind, loving, and attentive to his wants and needs. Having his full attention, I said, “Ask me like my son, not a begging orphan,” and he quickly changed the way he approached me. He wanted the Lego set so badly but failed to see that he could trust me with his heart. I wanted him to see that he could trust me, even with the thing that mattered most to his heart at that moment, even if I said not now because I was for him and loved him. It was a trust issue, not a Lego issue.
Repent for partnering with any belief that tells you that God is not a good father or does not care.
If I were to ask moms if they wanted to be more like Jesus, most would eagerly raise their hand with a resounding, “Yes!” Yet few of us understand or enjoy the process of becoming more like Him. Let me explain how God gives us an opportunity to be more like Jesus the moment we become parents.
Every home we have lived in had an open floor plan and my four children (very close in age) would begin in one end of the house and zoom in and out of the kitchen, dining room, living room and then repeat over and over at record speed. I am a very fun mom and can handle noises and messes, but it was like they would hit a certain octave and my blood pressure would shoot up. I would cash in on my parental authority and command that everyone switch gears to something more peaceful. I couldn’t shut it down fast enough. This would go on for years and I could never really figure out why I was fine one minute and not the next. One day when I was barking orders for peace, I heard God say, “What are they doing wrong?” I replied, “I don’t know, but I don’t like it.” I began to see that maybe this was my issue and not theirs. For the next month, whenever the kids raced around the house, I would go in the back room and process my heart. I felt anxious, scared and uptight, yet my ears were hearing joy, laughter, and connection. Why was this so upsetting to me? God began to show me that when I was little and my siblings and I would get crazy, all hell would break loose and someone would get punished severely. You didn’t want to be on the receiving end, but worse yet was having to endure listening to your siblings get the wrath. He showed me that joy scared me because it meant someone was going to get hurt. He gave me four bundles of JOY to restore what was lost in my own journey. I began to cry at the reality of just how anxious joy made me feel.
Of all the things I have endured in life, the hardest to walk through has been the healing process of receiving the GOOD. And more times than not, it was something modeled through my children (joy, play, silliness, trust, lavish, loyalty, laughter). They are made in His image, not mine, and God knits them with gifts, talents, and a personality to redeem and restore what was lost in mine. God continues to parent us through our children. It’s like He gives us one set of parents to raise and train us and whatever area was neglected or shut down He continues the job when we become parents and uses our children to parent us (our kids don’t parent us, but He parents us through them). This is why family is so important to Him. He is building something in us and the generations are interconnected.
HeartWork – Get out your journal and recall the last time you had an above average reaction to something your child did. Ask Jesus some questions and allow Him to minister to your heart (do not be introspective, but rather ask and listen to what He has to share). “Jesus, was this their issue or mine?” If it was your issue, ask, “Jesus, what was my heart feeling at the time?” “What made my heart so uncomfortable at that moment?” “When was the first time I felt that emotion?” “What did my heart need?” If your reaction to something is on a scale of 1-5, chances are you are just feeling a response to the event, but if your reaction is a 6-10, there is a good chance you are being triggered from previous situations that brought pain. God wants to heal that place so that you can respond in love and walk in peace.
Use these questions the next time you are triggered with a higher than usual response to your child and allow those uncomfortable moments to be the times you are molded to be more like Jesus. We don’t want our wounds or lack parenting our children. We want to parent from a place of wholeness and freedom. Understanding this is so important because oftentimes we react to our children who aren’t doing anything wrong, yet our reaction (out of a wounded or hurt place) teaches them that it is not okay to be who God made them to be, such as joyful (in my case). Allow Him to parent you through your child!
P.S. I am proud of you for doing the hard things so that your child doesn’t need to reap the fruit.