The other night my daughter was ANGRY and lashing out at everyone for the smallest things. Clearly, this was not her, as she is normally sweet as chocolate. The following morning, I asked her to do the dishes, which should have been a four-minute gig, and 1.5 hours later, she was still there. It was time to go, and she still hadn’t finished. I came to her and put my hand on her heart and said, “Babe, I do not know what is going on, but you were not wired to hold onto sin, and something is clearly coming out crooked. When you are ready to talk, I am here.” I didn’t know there was sin, but those were the words that came out of my mouth. She asked to talk hours later and, with tears, began to tell me that she was invited by her friends to vape at school. She declined the offer, but the realization that she had to stand alone was overwhelming to her. I wanted to assure her that it wouldn’t happen again, but the truth is she will have to stand alone and make choices against the pressure of the crowd for the rest of her life. It was a beautiful and tender conversation about what it really means to be a follower of Jesus in today’s world. We talked about the ‘high’ of popularity and the joy of obedience. The next morning at Church, worship began, and I leaned over to her and said, “Sweetheart, focus on this song with your situation in mind. Is He worthy of following, even if it means not vaping with your friends?” I HATE that she was asked by her friends to vape, but I am SO glad it agitated her soul to the point of being exposed and that God used it to be yet another building block in her story with Him. He IS worthy of it all!
My friend woke in the early morning to have a sudden desire to check her phone (that was GOD speaking to her). She clicked on a message from a friend, and it almost read like a goodbye letter (the check in her spirit was Holy Spirit). The friend went offline, and she didn’t have her phone number. She got up and asked a mutual friend to call their friend right away. She didn’t answer the phone. My friend told her to call her husband, who confirmed his wife was still in bed sleeping. My friend wrote back, “No, have the husband go check on his wife.” (Holy Spirit was alerting her spirit). The friend called the husband again with instructions to check on her. He realized the door was locked and, after barging in, found that his wife had hung herself and was able to save her within seconds of her passing. God knew He could wake my friend from a deep sleep and that she would respond to His leading. It saved a little three-year-old girl from losing her mom that day. Hearing your Father is a lifeline to you and those around you!
Years ago, as I was learning how to play in His Kingdom, I often struggled to balance my hunger for Him and being a full-time solo parent of four small children. I wanted to attend meetings and training, pray for people, give people prophetic words, and be on the ministry team, but I felt like I couldn’t because my children needed me. I felt trapped between my two loves. Then, at church, a gal who barely knew me gave me a prophetic word that I was a conductor of the orchestra. She said God knew my heart longed to play the instrument, but it was time for me to pick up the conductor’s wand and help others play their instruments. I knew at that moment God was saying that I was to empower my children on how to play in the Kingdom and get under them to help them fly. Our world shifted at that moment, and I no longer felt the pull in two directions but poured my hunger into my children. Nearly a decade later, my children travel and minister with me. It has been a dance of giving them opportunities and crossing chicken lines. I watched the fruit of that one prophetic word and felt like I was witnessing my legacy. Tears of utter gratitude came freely that God did not call me to lay down my desires but multiplied them four times.
How many of you will be with family for Christmas? How many will be giving gifts? Why not give the gift that will impact your children’s children and last into eternity?
Many people will be with loved ones for Christmas yet still harbor judgements, bitterness, and unforgiveness towards them. Most often than not, from legitimate hurts and pains done to them. But nonetheless, we wrap presents of material possessions that will fade away and fail to give the gift of the true meaning of Christmas.
There is a bit of irony that in honor of the Savior of the world, the One who came as a man, took our spanking and gave us every benefit of the Father and called us His own, we celebrate His gift by giving gifts that will eventually find their way to trash or local thrift store, but fail to cash in on the true Gift and give the ultimate gift of being released from accusations, judgments and unforgiveness.
I am inviting you to wrap up the greatest gift you could give your parents, sister, brother, in laws – forgiveness for being human, their shortcomings, lack of being able to give you His best. Forgive them for not knowing who they are so they could treat you according to who you are. Release them from the debt owed that they could never repay on their own. Cancel the word curses you have attached to their backs. Pull out the knives of judgement.
When you do this, it frees them up in the spiritual realm to be dealt with by God and come into greater alignment. They fell short because they didn’t have the greater revelation – few parents intentionally do things to harm and hurt their children. If the eyes of your heart have been opened, you can’t keep holding the blind in judgement for being blind. They couldn’t give you what you needed (and deserved), because they aren’t able to see. They didn’t because they didn’t know. They failed, because they didn’t understand.
Part of freedom is realizing God has redeemed you and from that place of gratitude we extend forgiveness for those who are still in the redemption process.
When I am processing big things like this, I like to make a ceremony of sorts out of it. Grab an empty box and sit by the Christmas tree. Begin to write out the things that you are holding onto against your mother and place them in the box. Do it for any family member that brings you unrest and inner chaos. Wrap up the box, like you would any other present, and place it under the tree as an act of surrender. The swaddled baby came to receive the gift of your heart; He desires to hold the aches, bruises and tenderness. Offer it to Him.
And then prophetically wrap up an empty box for your loved one as a symbol that you are giving them the gift of dealing with the accusations, judgements, unforgiveness and word curses. You are no longer going to feed your heart because Jesus now carries that part of your heart.
They may never know the gift – and all that it has cost you – of laying down what was your rightful inheritance as a child and coming humbly to the One who gave it all up so that He could adopt you as His own.
I was coaching a mom whose daughter was believing lies about herself. When the mom asked her to ask Jesus, she said, “I don’t hear Him speaking to me.” The mom went on to say she hears Him well when she worships and isn’t sure how to help her ‘hear.’ I encouraged her to have her daughter take the statement she believed about herself and turn it into a song. If it was life-giving, brought peace, and one that people would sing at Church, she could be assured it was a true statement about herself. If the church wouldn’t adopt her song, neither should she. Oh, baby girl, your spiritual ears work just fine!!
Fear is a tool the enemy uses to paralyze us and stop us from moving forward. Fear always comes with a LIE. Lies are not true and are almost always in the tune of God being powerless, small, or absent. We are created to crave God, but FEAR is the number one thing stopping us. We fear that if we surrender entirely to Him, He will send us to a remote area, take our children away, or require something of us we don’t feel equipped to do. Would it shock you to know that the same fear tactic the enemy uses on you, he uses on your neighbors? What if the fear you are fearing is just a LIE to get YOU to partner with the shore so that you never go after the GOODNESS of God? To fear God in the above way reveals that we do not really know our Father. The fear reduces you to being powerless, which is the whole point. To know Him is to trust Him, and to trust Him is to experience His radical goodness. Draw a line in the sand and tell fear it is time to GO!
I want to plant a seed for you to ponder with the Lord. Does your ministry or area of influence reflect that of mothers and fathers caring for God’s family, or is it set up to function more like managers running a business? The latter will never produce the kind of fruit God wants His family to bear. If we are managers running a business, we will only promote those who make us look good, are excellent at what they do, and make little messes. We will choose people just like us who cause little friction. We will have success and image as the goal, not the journey. We will raise successful spiritual orphans who have learned that performance matters above character and capacity development. Sadly, this promotes rockstars of the hour, but they are not equipped to deal with the long-term weight of what God wants to do through them because they have never dealt with the issues in their foundation. If we lead from the position of mothers and fathers, we will allow God to bring to us whoever He feels best, even if that means a development process for both parties. We will judge our success by the fruit of a life transformed, even if it means there were messes made. We will value what He values, not the world. We will give those under us the gifts of a mother and father, such as being seen, heard, valued, instructed, etc., because a person can only really be their best when healthy mothers and fathers cover them. Managers may win awards and achieve success, but only mothers and fathers gain eternal rewards. Ask Jesus to show you if there is an area of your leadership and authority where you have functioned as a manager rather than a mother and father. Repent. Ask Jesus to show you how to model your leadership/influence after His. Enjoy the fruit He wants to grow and develop through your eternal legacy!
When God does something in your life, He is showing others what is possible for Him to do in their life, too. Selling our home in Colorado was a big part of our journey, but little did I know just how much He would allow that testimony to follow us around and continue to impact people. A friend was telling me about getting her house ready for the market and the stress of keeping a clean home with a toddler. God put the name of a realtor friend in my heart, and I texted her asking if she was looking for a house that matched this one, and she wrote back, “YES.” Her parents were en route with cash in hand to purchase the exact kind of home. They closed a month later. Another friend was telling me about their plans to move back home. I got a picture in my mind of a friend I didn’t even know was looking to buy and messaged her. She said they were going through the loan process. Two days later, they went to see the house (before it was even listed), and a week later, they were under contract. I cannot tell you the COUNTLESS times people have stopped me saying they heard this testimony, and it gave them the faith to move. There is life on the fingerprints of God in your life.
God said, “I am building her testimony,” – My daughter wanted to try out for a sport that was important to her, but she called me asking if she could skip it and come home. Everything within my mama’s heart wanted to tell her no and make her do hard things (because I knew her heart wanted to do it). But I heard the Lord say, “Let her come home. I am building her testimony.” We went for a walk and talked about it. I began asking her questions about what had happened and what her heart was experiencing. We talked about risk and how there is a chance it may not end well. We talked about other things she attempted in life that did not end so well, which made her laugh. She realized she had the capacity to handle it if it didn’t turn out the way she hoped. I then asked her, “Is the fear of risk greater than the disappointment of not making the team because you were too afraid to try?” She began to see it as a risk but worth it. We created a plan to help empower her. While I could have ‘made’ her do it, her faith would not have been built. She will forever have a brick in her testimony wall of how God walked her through her fear of taking a risk.
“One night a boy came to the group for the first time. He had some special needs but was accepted instantly. We were talking about our hearts and had a gift bag that symbolized each child’s heart. We talked about how our hearts can become hurt when others don’t speak life to us, or we accept lies from the enemy. We gave examples of things that may have been said to us, hurtful things, and ripped off some black construction paper to fill our bags. Holding the white gift bags up, you could see a lot of dark inside since they were filled. I explained God created us ALL with treasures in our hearts, and when all of those hurts remain, we need to let Him heal our hearts. Each student threw out all of the ‘hurt’ and found a wrapped present at the bottom (they had no idea it was even there!). They ripped open their presents and were thrilled to find some sweet treats, as well as a bunch of notecards with special messages inside of what GOD says of them! Mason’s face grew hopeful, and He collected all of his notecards, shoving them back in his bag. He didn’t want to lose any of them as he said they were his treasures. I asked Mason if he thought there were any hurts in his heart that he needed God to take out, to which he quickly responded, ‘Oh yes! Definitely!’ I asked him if we could pray for him, and he agreed. God’s power was so overwhelming as we all laid hands on Mason and agreed for a healed heart. His countenance was so encouraged when we were finished. He told each student & helper he loved them as he left and asked if he could hug everyone. This is what it’s all about!”