I got up early to finish some computer work, and Ellie came to me. She said she had a really bad nightmare. I held her for a moment, but it was too early for her to stay up. As I tucked her back in bed, I whispered to her, “Sweetie, ask Jesus where He is right now.” Still half asleep, she smiled ear to ear and said, “He’s right here with me.”
Hopefully by now you have worked through and settled the question if God wants to speak to you. Faith is an important ingredient in our relationship with our Father. In fact, Hebrews 11:6 says that it is impossible to please God without faith! Ponder for a moment what life would be like if you went mute and had to try to teach, train, and love on your children without words. Seriously, think about how many times a day you use your words to guide your children to teach and train them, encourage them, cheer them on and help them. How often do you use your words to lavish love all over them and tell them how precious and beautiful they are to you? Now, how many times a day do you let your Father speak to you? Stop for a moment and ask yourself.
Why not spend the next hour with your children and tell them you are all going to play a game. NO TALKING. Each person has to communicate what they want to say without using words. Too many believers have limited their relationship to God with the written Word (which is very important), but He wants us to relate to Him, hear Him, feel His love, and experience Him. I liken the difference to wives whose husbands are overseas. While they may exchange beautiful love letters, it is not the same as the wife whose husband is there every night holding her, kissing her, and protecting her. The latter is the kind of love Jesus wants to have with us. We all know no marriage would be healthy or survive without communication. That is how personal God wants our relationship with Him to be. How could anyone find that level of intimacy with someone without talking, listening, and responding to each other? I have often heard people say that they believed God loved them in the “He loves the whole wide world” sense but had never fully understood how much He loved THEM personally until they heard Him speaking to them (John 10:27; Revelations 3:20). The purpose of the cross wasn’t only for forgiveness but also to grant us a relationship with God. God paid a pretty big price to offer us a relationship with Him. Do we not really believe that He wants to communicate with us (John 14:6)? We often pray, fast, believe, declare, hope, meditate, quote Scriptures, seek medical help, strive, ask others to pray, do it on our own strength and lean on our own understanding, but have we simply just asked Him?
I recently heard that people who hear God’s voice (and seek Him) are successful people. I agree – God is all-knowing all the time, and desires to share His answers with us, but we need to ask and then be quiet for a moment and listen to His response. Proverbs 25:2 says, “It is God’s privilege to conceal things, and the king’s privilege to discover it.” The reason why the Creator of the universe would concern Himself with speaking to us is for one reason alone – He loves us (Romans 5:8)! Many of us have been bruised by life circumstances, past relationships, or parents who parented out of their own wounds which can make it hard for us to grasp the depth and width of God’s love for us (Ephesians 3:8). But that’s the whole point of the Good News – we are LOVED! Radically wanted and loved in a way no human ever has and with a depth so deep we would never be able to consume it all. A proper response to His love is hunger – hunger for MORE of Him! Some of the greatest encounters with God are when we get to a place of such holy dissatisfaction with the reality there is MORE of Him and cry out for it. While we have all of God available to us when we first believe there will always be more of Him to discover, explore, experience, and encounter – always! How hungry are you for Him? Hungry people do what it takes, go great distances and pay the cost to get food. Spiritual hunger is a good thing. Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”
How hungry are you?
“I had been wondering if what I was teaching my 18-month-old was even working. Over the last month, I have noticed he walks into the room when the light is off and starts to cry. He runs to me and says, ‘Momma, it’s dark. I am scared.’ As he was running away, something rose up within me, and I told him to go back in there and tell the dark, ‘I AM NOT AFRAID,’ and I stomped my foot down. We did this for a whole month. He would cry, and I would remind him, and then he would tell the dark he wasn’t afraid and walk in and grab a toy. Finally, I turned the lights on for him after he walked through the door. But this morning, he walked into the dark living room, and I heard him say all on his own and stomp his feet, ‘I AM NOT AFRAID!’ He came to me so proud, stomping his feet, and said, ‘I am not afraid.’ Needless to say, we had a party in the kitchen when he told me this. Lisa, I thought you should hear this… What you do for parents even when their kids are too young to comprehend. They do, and I’m so grateful to see my son stomp on the floor to say he is not afraid!”
When I was in my early 20s, I was roommates with a gal who was younger than me but more mature in every way. I would describe her as having Jesus in one hand and my hand in the other, and she would constantly introduce us in new ways. I learned so much from her. One day I had an appointment to get my car worked on, and she agreed to pick me up. I got my car checked in and was waiting outside for her. She was late – like really late. I wandered the sidewalk for over 30 minutes, growing more and more agitated. When she finally appeared, she found me in my car, speeding off without having the work done. I was mad. VERY mad. I punished her with the silent treatment and refused to talk to her. Over the years, I felt bad for how I treated her and gained some maturity in realizing that it was pretty lame of me to be so upset when she was going out of her way to help me. The memory always told the story of my bad behavior and being so rude, but I heard God say, “Ask Me to show you what I saw,” and I saw this picture in my mind of a little girl shaking; she was so scared by being left alone at night outside. She was surrounded by fear and intimidation as she was utterly unprotected and vulnerable. I realized at that moment my reaction to her had little to do with a friend who was late to pick me up and more about it triggering my memory of being vulnerable, alone, and left behind. My strong reaction was not about being impatient but about trying to feel protected and safe again. Over the years, I have learned about these splinters in our hearts that cause big reactions when touched. God does not want us to manage them but be FREE from them.
How about you? Do you have a memory that pops up often in your mind that tells the story of how ‘bad’ or wrong you behaved? Ask Jesus to show you what He sees.
Love this testimony from my friend about how she walked in her authority as a parent. We don’t manage the fear; we deal with it.
“My son has been fearful of blood/bleeding ever since his pinky finger accident in January. This week he got his first wiggly tooth, and I immediately saw fear come when we talked; he said he was afraid because when the tooth comes out, it will bleed. He talked about his wiggly tooth constantly for days (not wanting to play certain games/eat certain foods because his tooth might come out). 2 nights ago, I went into his room while he was sleeping and commanded fear to leave him, that he wouldn’t fear bleeding, and would have joy in the process of losing his tooth. The next day he didn’t bring up his wiggly tooth AT ALL, and, this morning, he came out and wanted all the family to wiggle his tooth because it was more wiggly, and he was EXCITED about it… NO FEAR!”
I encourage you to set an alarm on your phone, and every time it goes off, no matter where you are and what you are doing, ask yourself, “Jesus, how do You feel about me right now?” You will be surprised by what He has to say at that very moment.
Fear knocked, and I felt seduced by it for an hour. I finally called a friend to pray with me and heard God say, “Your hedge is not high enough.” I knew He meant that I needed to increase prayers and declarations. I needed to put a verb in my prayers, so I asked Holy Spirit for a creative idea, and this is what He gave me. I had the kids all write out their worries, fears, and statements about the coronavirus. We shared our vulnerability as a family and then shredded them. We then wrote out TRUTH statements and hung them on our Cross. We feasted on these throughout the day. We wanted to do a prophetic act about the virus passing over our home, and instantly I remembered these balls I got at the dollar store years ago (they actually look like the virus). We put a bucket of warm soapy water outside our front door, made bold declarations that the virus would pass us over, and threw them into the soapy water. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you are building a hedge of prayer around your family in this hour.
We can empower our children to go to their Father in their time of feeling unsafe.
Ellie stayed with some friends, and the moment Ellie walked in the door, I could tell something was really wrong. She told me that she needed to tell me something, and the story unfolded through an abundance of tears. She said that earlier that day, they went to another family’s house, and the adults were inside while all the children played outside. Someone completely exposed their privates to her and was assertive with what they wanted her to do. My spirit knew my reaction was vital in getting her to get it all out, but my flesh was screaming inside. I told her that I needed her to be full of courage and tell me everything that happened so that I could help her. Through her gasps of air, she began to tell me about it. “Mom, my heart was really scared, and I didn’t know what to do. You weren’t there for me, and Mrs. so-and-so wasn’t there. Mom, I was all alone….” I want to stop my story to tell you how outraged I was at that moment. Nothing had happened yet, and the enemy told her she was powerless and alone. Such a stupid, bold-faced LIE. All she had to do was yell, and all the parents inside would have come running. The enemy is such a liar! Back to the story. I asked her what she did, and she continued, “Well, since no one was there for me, I asked Jesus what I should do, and I saw Him really serious, almost mad, and He was pointing his (index) finger, shaking it saying, ‘This is inappropriate.'” I asked her what she did, and she said she put her finger in the air like Jesus did and told the person it was inappropriate. She went from a powerless victim to rising up like a lioness as she imitated what she saw her Father saying, and the person ran away. She had no mental capacity to find scriptures in that situation at her age. She needed a relationship, an encounter, and quick instructions at a crucial moment from a protective Father. Religion didn’t protect my child that day – JESUS did!
When I share this story in person, I often go into some ministry time as the majority of the people in the room had a similar situation with a different outcome. The key was that Ellie went to Him and had an encounter with Him in the midst of it, which led her out of it. But God is a big boy and can answer for Himself. It is okay to ask Him hard questions. I would spend some time asking Him questions like:
“God, where were You when that happened to me?”
“Jesus, will You please show me a picture of Your face when You saw what I endured?”
“Holy Spirit, why did the person do what they did?”
He wants to minister to you through these hard questions. I have seen some of the biggest breakthroughs in people’s walk with Jesus as they are willing to process the hard questions with Him.
We were in the midst of our move when a leader asked for Hudson to come and be filmed receiving a prophetic word. That was great, but the leader insisted he show up in a tie. My son was less than amused, and I wasn’t able to do much about it as our boxes were already packed. He said he would figure out the clothes but just to get him there. Like most teen boys, Hudson was a bit miffed at having to wear someone else’s clothing but did it and honored their wishes. But then I got an email saying they had to redo the filming since the lighting wasn’t as good as with the others. Hudson said no, thank you. I got another email and another and another. I was trying to say goodbyes and pack the last of our items and yet felt obligated to honor their request. I finally told Hudson to reply, stating his reason for not coming back up.
Here is his email: “Dear _____, I do not mean to be disrespectful at all, but I do not feel you are using the prophetic in the way it was intended. Prophetic words come from God, through you, to me, and you have already given me that word. I do not see why I need to wear a tie to receive what God wants to say to me. If I come back in and get filmed with you giving me a word, it will be fake because I already received it and can’t act on camera like I did the first time. I am sorry, but I will not be coming back in. I hope you are able to use the first video.”
I grit my teeth a bit when he first read it to me as my ‘honor your leader’ bells were going off, but I heard the Lord say, “He is right,” and I let the chips fall wherever they needed to fall as the leader received his email.
A mom taking our online JOURNEY class shared this:
“I put some worship music on. My daughter and I laid down with our eyes closed and just soaked in God’s word. After about 5 minutes, she got fidgety. I got her settled in again for about a few more minutes and asked her, ‘So did God tell you anything?’ My mistake; she got upset.”
This is where most parents back off and conclude it doesn’t work or their child isn’t responding. But I encourage parents to continue to be the spiritual leader of their home and KEEP GOING. Five minutes to a child is like 45 minutes to an adult. When she was done – she was done – that’s okay. Build upon it next time. Praise her for doing it this time. Kids get fidgety, and it doesn’t always mean they aren’t paying attention. It can mean they have some pent-up wiggles that need a release. A parent’s response to fidgeting can pull them out of experiencing God and into feeling pressure to perform or do something. Be sensitive with how to respond to a child when they are learning how to encounter the Father. Praise her for doing it at all! Tell her how the Father feels about her spending time with Him (if you don’t know – ask Him). A while later, come to her and lovingly ask, “Do you remember when we were listening to the worship music? Why did that upset you when I asked you what Jesus said?” Listen to what she is saying, as she will give you clues as to what she was experiencing. I would keep going and do it again. If she isn’t interested, then YOU do it and allow her to feel the atmosphere of when you are encountering Jesus. Invite her again… and again. But please do not allow her experience to shut you down as the spiritual leader of your home.
Picture jumping into your Father’s arms in the pool. Ask, “Jesus, how can I trust You more today?” Let Him show you the answer.
Gather as a family in the living room, in the car, at the dinner table, or bedtime, and ask Jesus together. This is so empowering for children because they get to witness how God communicates with you, which increases their faith, and together you get to encounter Him. Spiritual hearing is a muscle that is strengthened by worshiping and praying. The more you do it, the stronger you become at it.