I just want to give a word of encouragement to those of you who are feeling the squeeze and tension of being transformed. One of the hardest seasons to steward is what I call seasons of ‘holy dissatisfaction.’ You have the revelation that there is more and can no longer be content with the former but are not yet in the new. It is like taking your foot off of a rock and not yet landing on the next one. This season is uncomfortable because we have eyes to see that our old ways of operating are no longer working, and we want to grab onto anything familiar and secure. Jesus is your anchor in these seasons. Grab onto Him, His Word, and focus on His presence. It is not up to you to figure everything out. Your job is to be humble and keep your eyes on Him. He is faithful to move us where we need to be. Trust Him in the process. Remember to increase your time spent reading the Word, worshiping, and declaring, “Jesus, I trust You!”
STAYING IN THE FRYING PAN
Play a game with the kids today. Pick five random topics – sports, money, eating, horses and houses. Do a search to see what God has to say about these things. This is NOT an exercise in being legalistic but rather teaching them how to go to Him when issues and ideas come their way so that they develop their muscle of seeking Him first and hearing what He has to say about it. Have fun discovering the Word on a whole new level as a family. I did this often when the kids were little, and part of their process now that they are teenagers is to seek the Word when they have made a mess. Ex. My child was making promises for their own gain and then would laugh when others expected them to make good on their word. They had no intention of delivering but were just giving lip service to get what they wanted. It causes hurt and frustration with others. I asked them to spend some time in their room (not as a time out, but to pause for reflection and to be able to mentally process) and search what the Word had to say about lying. They came back so convicted that what they did was wrong and quickly made it right with everyone.
Instead of partnering with condemnation or moving into behavior modification, listen to what your anger is really saying. Jesus wants to hear the voice under the emotions.
Your child is not being disobedient to resist the things in you that are not Kingdom. What do I mean? So many times, parents come to me out of pure frustration over a child who is rebelling, angry or defiant. But once we explore the situation deeper with Holy Spirit, we discover that the parent is partnering with fear, control, or woundedness, and the child is simply reacting to what is out of alignment and will not follow that path. That is ultimately a good thing, as God parents us through our children. Not all conflict in the home is the child’s fault. Sometimes it is God allowing us to see what is in our hearts that need to be aligned. Your child is not being disobedient to resist the things in you that are not Kingdom – that’s called God’s redemption!
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.
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!”
Who wants this?
“‘But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings, and you will go out and leap like calves from the stall. Then you will trample the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day I am preparing,’ says the LORD of Hosts” (Malachi 4:2-3).
I see HEALING, EMPOWERMENT, and AUTHORITY in this verse. What if REVIVAL wasn’t something that we were to champion to make happen but more so to do our part, and it was a natural fruit or expression of God? I believe Malachi 4:6 is the recipe for true revival. Your part – Listen to those who are leading you back to family and turn to your child. “And he will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction” (Malachi 4:6).
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.