I sat in a room with 80 young kids one night. Oh, my word, the world hasn’t yet seen what God can do with a group of children who are hungry for him. One girl said to her friends that her knee was hurting, and they immediately laid hands on her, and was healed. Her response? “Cool.” At first, I wasn’t sure how to process the flippant response, but I heard Holy Spirit say, “Because the supernatural is natural to her.” So powerful!
SUPERNATURAL BECOMES NATURAL
When we first became a solo family, I asked God to show me how to restore my children’s faith and trust in males. I was concerned that they would project their hurts onto God, and that concerned me. At church one Sunday, I was mesmerized by a senior man being so affectionate with his bride of 60 years. It was like my eyes turned, and I was then drawn to the father who was tickling his giggling son. Then my eyes locked onto a man who faithfully came to church week after week to serve. I suddenly realized God was showing me examples of healthy males all around us. After church, I sat the kids down, and we began to talk about all of the men in our world and how each of them reveals a part of God’s design. We called these examples the Purple Heart Dad. Each one of them made up the whole picture of what God has designed for men. For years whenever the kids saw a male doing something that was a reflection of a good father, they would say, “That guy just _____. He has a purple heart.” God was building their view of a godly man. I want to thank ALL of you men who are loving your wife, protecting and shepherding your children, walking in your calling, leading people and walking in integrity. Others are watching more than you realize, and God is using your life in ways you cannot see.
“Last night my husband startled me so badly that I became so enraged and punched him, which is unlike me because I’m not much of a physical person. I was so angry I wanted to cry. This morning God revealed to me how I felt an extreme lack of protection from my father. My dad always thought it was funny to scare the living daylights out of me. He wasn’t trying to torment me. He was playing, but for me, the way I am wired, it was torment. I had to forgive my dad for not protecting me and not making me feel safe and secure. Ahhhh!! Sweet relief!”
Random acts of kindness are when people go out in the name of Jesus and do good, kind, helpful things for others. While this is indeed praiseworthy and profitable Christian behavior, we need to be asking Him the who, what and where in order to be abundant in our harvest. Let me give you an example: One day, I was having a really hard day. I decided to get my eyes off myself and asked God what we should do with our day. I heard Him say to go be a blessing and rake leaves. I jumped into action. Logical thinking concluded that going to the poorest part of town and blessing the souls there would be best. I loaded up the van with kids and rakes and waved to my neighbor as we took off searching for the family that needed to be blessed. After forty-five minutes of driving around endlessly looking for a single family that had not yet raked, I was growing frustrated. What was supposed to help my day ended up making my day even worse. Defeated and somewhat mad, I made the trek back home. Upon entering our community, I heard the words, “What? You don’t think your rich neighbors need Me?” and instantly, I knew God gave me the WHAT (raking), but I ran with it before I asked the WHO or WHERE. I repented. Immediately upon parking in the driveway, the kids flung open the van door and ran across the street to the neighbor’s house (yes, the one we waved to on the way out) and raked all of the leaves. But the story doesn’t end there. Days later, I received a letter from the single elderly lady with a check saying she was so overwhelmed by all the work that needed to be done and was crying out to the Lord about her needs AS we were driving by waving at her. She finally had to leave the house with the yard work not done, and when she came back, she found ten bags full of raked leaves.
That is a perfect example of the harvest being ABUNDANT. God is a perfect economist. While one woman needed to take her eyes off her circumstances, another woman needed an extra set of helping hands. We can’t just DO in the name of Jesus. We need to ask Him the who, what, and where, too! And this requires communication – both talking and listening.
Back in my 20’s, I was hospitalized for three months, and upon waking from my coma, I discovered I had kidney, liver, and respiratory failure. I was pretty sick and very weak. My vital organs were all compromised, and I almost died because of it. One of the hardest parts of that journey was physical therapy, where I had to mentally train my body to work again. All I wanted to do was lay down and quit. It was too hard. I did not have the muscle strength to do what my circumstances demanded of me. My muscles felt like a wet noodle. I wanted to stop. I wanted to quit. I wanted to be left alone, but my PT cared about my health journey and knew it was best to push me, call me further, and expect more of myself SO THAT I could be strong and healthy again. I am so glad they could see further down the road than my eyes could at that moment. I needed to trust their wisdom in order to pull myself out of that pit.
Here’s the deal – many of you have been in a spiritual coma. Things have happened and caused your muscles to feel fatigued. You are like a wet noodle in the spiritual realm and have simply laid down and quit. You have allowed the toxins of life to affect your spiritual health. I get it more than you know. But we cannot remain in bed, hoping and praying that God will supernaturally step in and heal us where He has invited us to take our place. We must do our part. You have to get out of bed and begin using those muscles again, as hard as it is and as weak as you may feel. You have come too far to quit now. Your children will reap the fruit of your choices one way or another.
Years ago, we attended weekly Kingdom classes in Denver. I would watch the leader grazing the stage speaking such profound and mighty things. I kept saying to myself, “I am going to do that someday, but BIGGER.” I wanted what they had. I felt pangs of deep longing as they walked in such authority and power. Oh, I wanted it so bad. However, I avoided all eye contact whenever the leader would walk by me for fear they would call on me. I was mortified at the thought of public speaking, the microphone, or being in front of people. I would leave the meetings craving it, yet I was upset with myself for feeling jealous of their gifts and success. I soon began to realize that it wasn’t jealousy that I was feeling but yearning and longing for MY destiny. They were modeling what was possible, and I was so hungry for it. It spoke to who I was created to be. This is an exciting time of revelation and discovering one’s purpose on earth, yet the enemy comes and whispers in our ear that we are jealous, which turns it into a double-minded battle of the mind and heart. Our hearts scream, “I want that so bad,” and yet our minds say, “You shouldn’t be jealous of others.” We should steward the longing, not seeking to harness or shut it down. This is a very delicate season for many. Will we walk in the discomfort of holy dissatisfaction (having the revelation there is more, but not yet there), or will we let the enemy snatch it away with his lies of jealousy and insecurity? Of course, jealousy could reveal the flesh or a wound, but more times than not, it is God allowing you to see a part of your destiny modeled, and it should increase your faith to what is possible. Make a list of the things or people that stir up your jealousy. Do you see a pattern? Ask Jesus what He wants you to see.
My daughter was so excited to meet a sweet girl on the first day of school. It made her transition so much easier knowing she had made a friend, but as the days rolled on, another girl seemed to have a real problem with her and was making life difficult. She would come home and talk about what the ‘mean girl’ was doing to her. Finally, I asked Lauren if she was willing to forgive the girl for not being loving. After she let go of the offense, Jesus showed her the girl was scared that my daughter would take away her friend and that she would be left alone. Then I had her ask Jesus what HE wanted her to do about it. Instantly, she heard she was to ‘kill her with kindness.’ The next day, she pulled her aside, apologized for any way she may have made her mad or upset, and then blessed her with a sweet treat. It broke that girl’s wall down, and she immediately began to accept her. The following day, she presented my daughter with a handmade thank you note for being so kind to her. THAT is how we teach our children to be the head and not the tail, how to flip situations for God’s glory and how to release heaven in worldly situations on earth.
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.
God has been speaking to me about Him being our help in our time of need. Psalm 46:1 – “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.” He reminded me of a situation when we first moved to Redding. I fell asleep the moment my head hit the pillow, only to be woken suddenly a few minutes later by the sound of talking outside my window. I was annoyed that people would carry on a conversation so loud at midnight. I rose to look out and found what appeared to be a girl in an intoxicated state, trying to refuse the advances of a male inside a car. My spirit was now wide awake as I watched. I didn’t know if I should call the police, run out there and bang on the window. Suddenly I realized I was to pray. I began to pray for her like she was my own child in danger. She went with him into this condo across the street. I could tell she was trying to resist but was too drunk to be firm. My prayers only increased, and this fire overcame me to defend and cover her in the spirit. About five minutes later, she ran out of the house and safely got into her car. I have thought about this countless times over the years. That girl never knew I was praying for her, but God woke me to stand with her in the spirit realm and be her covering. I wonder how many times God has awoken others to pray and cover me over the years. We will never know this side of heaven just how much God is at work in our lives through others. What would this generation look like if they were taught (by you) to stand on Psalms 46:1 with great faith? Read the verse, talk about it, unpack it, act it out, role play, talk about real-life situations, remind them as they walk out the door… just make sure you DO IT so they can grab hold of it.
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.
How far would you go to empower your child’s faith? A dear brother mentioned they were coming to Redding for a quick trip. I could feel something so strong on this trip but he did not communicate the purpose. The night before they came I asked a friend if he would be willing to get a word for the family. But in the morning as we were getting ready for church, I felt like God said to focus on the eldest daughter. I called my friend and asked if he would seek God’s heart for her specifically. After the service, they remained in their chairs as the Lord was touching the daughter deeply. We connected with my friend who gave her a very powerful word. Hours later, back at my house, I asked him what made him feel led to come out. He shared that during their church planting summer in Spain, God began to speak to him about truly preparing his children for the call of mission. That it wasn’t just about taking them along but truly preparing the next generation. Shortly after their return from Spain his eldest daughter said, “I think God told me that we are supposed to go to Bethel.” This father booked round trip tickets for five, two hotel rooms and a rental car for a less than 24-hour trip JUST to sow into his daughter hearing from God and empower her in that area. He wanted to strengthen her own faith and get behind what God was doing in her life. Jesus, bless this father for having eyes to see that his daughter was learning how to hear you and getting behind it. Give us eyes to see how we can strengthen our children’s spiritual muscles.