THE EMPTY PRESENT

THE EMPTY PRESENT

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.

ABORTION

Do you remember Pilot Sullenberger (Sully), who landed his plane in the Hudson River, saving the lives of all his 155 passengers? His aircraft lost both engines after flying through a flock of geese. Despite being a hero, the NTSB brought charges against him because he didn’t save the plane. During the trial, they had flight simulators that ‘proved’ he should have turned the plane around after the engines shut down and that he could have successfully landed in LaGuardia. Wisdom from experts created evidence against his choice.

Finally, his voice was heard. He agreed that there may have been a ‘perfect’ outcome, but he gives voice to the fact the simulators could not factor in having the weight of human life in your hands and making a split-second decision that will affect you the rest of your life. After that, all charges were dropped. It is easy to have perfect wisdom when you are clear-minded, but other factors control and impact the outcome when you are in a real-life situation.

I have a hard time taking an ‘in your face’ public stance against abortion, not because I am not pro-life, I AM, but because I SEE the mom, not just the child. I cringe when I see people standing up for the child and, in the meantime pushing the hurt further in the mom. I want to paint a picture to help you understand how a young mother could choose to end her child’s life. The enemy preys on situations that shock our system. The bill that arrived in the mail, a loss of a job, experiencing someone’s rage, the death of a loved one, etc. In these moments, our minds and nervous system are overwhelmed. This is when the enemy comes in and whispers lies that feel true. We partner with lies at that moment because we have ‘evidence’ that the lie is true (even though it is not). When a young girl finds herself pregnant, the shock alone is paralyzing. Many of them are still walking out puberty, where their emotions and thinking aren’t fully developed. The news is like putting a heavy blanket on a young puppy. It is too heavy for them to process and carry. “You aren’t old enough,” “You will ruin your child,” “Your mom will kill you if she finds out,” “People will think you are a whore”, “You will never have a life again,” “You can’t do this,” “The father will never walk this out with you,” “You are all alone,” “You don’t even have a car,” “You will never get a job now that you have a child,” and on and on it goes. Shame kicks in, which causes many to isolate themselves from family and community. They attempt to carry the weight alone and are left with their limited fear-based thinking to create a solution. They are now in extreme emotional isolation. Emotions trigger thoughts, and thoughts trigger emotions. It spirals out of control, and the ‘what if’ game brings torment. Fear races through their minds at the realization they can’t even fully care for themselves yet, much less the burden and responsibility of another child. Remember the scene in Titanic when the water was entering the cabin, and they were sucking the last bit of air out of the corner before the water completely engulfed them? Now picture that person gasping for air with a child attached to them. The inadequacy is paralyzing, and a spirit of fear is in operation.

We have girls in shame, fear, and isolation – all tools of the enemy that gain the legal right to influence. The abortion movement is ‘wisdom’ inspired by the enemy to steal, kill and destroy the next generation. They go under the disguise of ‘helping,’ but it is like burning down the house to kill a spider. It may have removed the ‘problem’ but leaves scars deep inside. When a young mom partners with shame and fear, it is like putting a magnet on herself. The abortion industry is there to ‘save’ them from this situation and also has a magnet attached to it. Both sides attract each other in the spiritual realm. It isn’t the young mom in a rational, clear-minded place walking into the abortion clinic; it is a young mom who is being influenced by the spirit of fear, profound shame, and deep emotional isolation that leads her there. After the abortion, the mental torment ceases, and the dust clears, leaving her to realize what she has just done. She must choose one of two roads – deal with the pain of her reality or push it down so deep it blinds her conscience. Rationalizing in their mind but knowing in their spirit otherwise.

We can demand a ‘perfect’ choice, but unless we understand what is in operation and HOW a young mom can be seduced to end the life inside of her, we will not help them choose otherwise. The battle is not won on the picket line but in the spiritual realm. The enemy’s plan is to use fear, shame, and isolation to lure the young mom into the abortion clinic, where she volunteers to end her child’s life. God’s plan is to use community, love, and acceptance to help the young mom navigate a very challenging situation. This is where true mothers and fathers are needed the most because life is literally dependent upon it.

LET’S ASK JESUS

Ask, “Father, is there a wall between us?”

If you heard yes ask, “What is the name of the wall?”

Ask Him what tool He wants you to use to tear down the wall.

Use the tool and your free will to tear the wall down.

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.

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU

Emma had a bit of a rough day, and I knew her heart felt tenderized. The following morning, I made an effort to really see her and gave her a long good morning hug. I began to call out the truth about who she was. When I said the words, “There is nothing wrong with you,” she let out a big sigh and relaxed in my arms. I realized what she needed the most was to be affirmed that SHAME (something is wrong with me) is a liar, and she had permission to ignore it despite the evidence making it feel very true.

JOHN 10:10

I have a friend whose teen daughter is fighting for her life after harming herself. I have another friend whose teen daughter ran away, and they don’t know where she is. I have another friend with a teen son addicted to porn. Another friend has a daughter in a psych ward. The one thing they all have in common is that they all passionately love Jesus. The battle for our children is real. We MUST equip our children with heaven’s tools to deal with hurts, lies, and offenses. As believers, we may experience the beginning of John 10:10, but we get to camp out in the last part! “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

THE GIRL IN THE MIRROR

Do you like the girl in the mirror? I want to encourage you with something. Maybe the battle isn’t so much in despising what you see in the mirror but what you were taught about the girl in the mirror. Our parents and grandparents were raised in a generation where women needed to have a stamp of excellence on them, which included looking immaculate at all times. It was not proper to go out without your hair done, makeup on, or dressed spiffy, even just going to the grocery store. Heck, they even wore heels to the park. Things HAVE changed in our culture, where it is socially acceptable to go to the store in your messy bun, workout clothes, and sweat. But maybe what hasn’t changed is what that taught you about the girl in the mirror. Moms lamented about their bodies and cursed their imperfections with little girls watching, which taught them motherhood = lack, being disqualified, unattractive, undesirable, fat, and not good enough. When little girls grow up and become moms themselves, they have it ingrained in them that now they are disqualified too. If this is how you feel about the girl in your mirror, I encourage you to grab hold of that LIE and push it back where it belongs. Tell that girl she is amazing, has birthed life, that there is grace in the imperfection (whatever that even means), that she has earned her stretch marks and wrinkles. Be compassionate to her and let the girl behind you see a mom who is empowered and kind to her body. You will teach a whole new generation that motherhood = beauty, character, love, compassion, grace, and true beauty. Fill in the blank below.

“The girl in the mirror is ____”.

CHRISTMAS STORY

We became a single-family two weeks before Christmas when the kids were tiny. That year Santa, baking cookies, and white elephant gift exchanges felt so empty to me. I burned for my children to understand they had a Father who adored them through the gift of Baby Jesus! I wanted to see how much of the story they already understood, so I told them to go in the backroom and create a skit with Hudson being Joseph, Emma as Gabriel, Lauren as Mary, and little Ellie playing the role of a wise man. It was the most precious thing I had ever witnessed. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I heard their version of the Christmas story.

This became a parenting tool for me. I would have the children role-play, act out or give a 2-minute speech on a subject, and I did it to discern what they knew, did not yet understand, or how they saw things from their point of view. I would use their play/skit or message as a way to add more to the story and help expand their understanding. It made ‘teaching’ fun and full of joy rather than lecturing. Now that they are older, they are less thrilled with acting out a story, but I have them create a 2-minute video or speech and share it with the family. It helps them pull in deep to see what is inside of them. This has been great with topics such as drugs, slander, bullying, kindness, respect, etc. Pick any story in the Bible and ask your children to create a skit acting it out. Then add more to the story as the days roll on to help them grasp the story deeper.

I TOOK YOUR SPANKING

So precious. I was coaching a mom over the fact she felt like God was distant. It is impossible to witness God encountering someone and not be affected yourself. This one brought tears to my eyes, and I have been chewing on it as it continues to minister to me. She shared how she knew it wasn’t true but often feels like God has forsaken her. She brought up the fact that He turned on Jesus on the Cross, and if He did it to His Son, why wouldn’t He turn on her too? We asked Jesus about that (because sometimes human wisdom is inferior to what He has to say – after all, He was there). Jesus said to her, “My Father allowed me to endure the spanking for you so that you never had to experience Him turning from you!” Speechless. The enemy was using the Cross against my friend, but Jesus came to set the truth straight.

RESOLVING HEART SPLINTERS IN CHILDHOOD

Childhood owies can turn into adult-sized wounds. Childhood lies can turn into adult strongholds. Childhood offenses can turn into adult bitterness.

The goal is to remove the owie before it becomes a life-threatening spiritual wound! I call these owies, heart splinters. Have you ever taken a splinter out of a child’s finger? You surely do not want to do it in public! They yell and scream and act like you are cutting off their finger. But once it is out, they run off and play as if nothing happened. Have you ever tried to remove a heart splinter that has been stuck for years from an adult? While they may have a smile on their face, they will protect that wounded site at all costs. Even attempting to touch it will cause pain, as the tiny splinter now has a blanket of inflammation and infection around it. Can you see the difference between how a child deals with the pain versus a grown adult? What does a child with a splinter in their heart look like? They act out, scream, bully their siblings, yell, disobey, pinch, overeat, refuse to eat, hit, kick, cause trouble with siblings, have nightmares, they retreat, slam doors, yell “I hate you,” cry, are rude, are mean and are disrespectful! This is why it is so vital to raise up parents who can discern what is going on beneath the surface of their child’s outbursts. You are the one who knows what is normal for your child. You are the one who knows when they are acting out from being hungry, tired, or when it appears “out of the blue.” You have known their cry since they were first ushered into your arms. You are the one God entrusted to listen to them. You are their mama/daddy, their advocate, their teacher and helper! Unresolved heart splinters create mental, emotional and physical isolation which is the breeding ground for the enemy to whisper lies.

A young mom texted me, desperate for some help. She began to tell me that while shopping, her daughter wanted a particular toy. It was quite expensive, and the mom said no. The daughter became so unglued that the mother had to carry her out of the store. The entire way home she was trashing the car, throwing things and screaming. When they got home, her tantrum intensified, and she drew blood from her mother’s arms while she attempted to get her up the stairs and into her room for a time out. The mom was beside herself as her daughter had never acted this badly before, and she desperately wanted to know what to do. I shared with her that there was a “heart splinter” and that we just needed to partner with Holy Spirit to discern if it was a hurt, lie or offense was so that we could remove the splinter that was causing her heart so much pain and agitation. I encouraged the mom to bring a sheet of paper and crayons to her very distraught daughter and encourage her in a very soft voice to draw what was going on (children can articulate their heart better through drawing than they can by talking). Almost immediately, the daughter calmed down and picked up a crayon. The mom was texting me while the daughter was drawing a picture about her school from SIX months ago. The mom was asking how in the world she was supposed to know what happened that long ago. I encouraged her to relax and let Holy Spirit lead her daughter to freedom. We weren’t looking for the details of an event; facts do not set us free. We were looking for the hurt, lie or offense. Holy Spirit is our HELPER, and we need to give Him room to do His job. She began to draw a picture of a day when she got in trouble for misbehaving. Most people are trained to deal with the behavior or acting out, but God looks at the heart, so we need to question WHY she was acting out. What caused the sudden change in behavior that day that was so drastic she got in trouble for it? If you want to bring your child back into alignment, you must go a wee bit deeper and not just react to the outward behavior. Even if the child doesn’t know, we can ask Jesus because He was there. The mom helped the daughter ask Jesus what was going on in her heart when she got in trouble. He wants the truth out more than we do! She then drew a picture of being at her dad’s house the night before. Her daddy failed to protect her and let her eyes see things on TV that scared her and made her feel unsafe. BINGO! So why the outburst of behavior six months later? Because there was a splinter in her heart of hurt (and fear), and when the mom said no to the toy that she really wanted, it pushed the splinter down further and it hurt. Can you guess what the daughter’s love language is? Yes, gifts. We don’t need to fuss or worry about how it all unfolds. Do we really think that the enemy plays fair and by the rules? Resist the urge to have it all make perfect sense. Just be led by the Spirit and He will show you the root cause. Now that we knew what was going on, I walked the mom through how to lead the daughter to #1. forgive her dad for not protecting her. Then they #2. asked Jesus where He was that day and then followed up with the greatest question we can ask Him in our time of distress: #3. They asked Jesus the question, “Jesus, how do You feel about me?” Nothing stomps on the enemy’s head more than finding out Jesus’ feelings about someone because His view is always full of truth, love, and life. The mom texted five minutes later saying she had her sweet daughter back.

This precious little girl was acting out the heart splinter the next day in school, and the school disciplined her for her behavior but failed to see she needed protection to feel safe again. That put her in emotional isolation, and that is where she becomes susceptible to the enemy’s lies. Picture the mom spanking, yelling, isolating, punishing, and disciplining the child into obedience. Was that ever really the issue? Would heaven do that to us when we are afraid or feel unsafe? We treat children like they are in blatant sin and punish them when what they really need is HELP! There is a time and place for corrective discipline, but when we use it at the wrong time, it can push the splinter in even deeper. Do not partner with condemnation after reading this. We have all done it, and it has been done to us many times. The point isn’t to pass blame; the point is to praise God for bringing us into a deeper revelation that there is a better way. This is the epitome of what Let the Children Fly is all about. I am passionate about empowering parents to help their children with real tools to resolve these heart splinters IN childhood!

I encourage you to come and get the tools you need to be empowered, equipped and trained further in your parenting JOURNEY. Sign up here: Journey – ONLINE CLASS – Let the Children Fly

FEAR OF JOY

I want to share with you one of the most significant revelations I have had in my parenting. It was a game-changer and altered everything within my family structure. Every home we lived in happened to have an open floor plan where the dining room, kitchen, and living room were a large space. The kids were young and closer in age and would begin running from one end of the house and zoom around each room, chasing each other. I am a fun mom. I can handle flying Nerf gun bullets, stepping on the pile of Legos, forts in the living room, and messes made from hardcore playing. But when the kids would zoom in and out all around me, it was like I was fine one moment, and a millisecond later, I was not. I would immediately shut it down and redirect them to something quiet and still, like a movie. There was a season that I honestly wondered if Holy Spirit was whispering in their ear, “Start running,” because it seemed like that was all they did from sunup to sundown, and it was driving me crazy. I was just about to step in when I heard the Lord say, “What are they doing wrong?” I vividly remember responding out loud with, “I do not know, but I do not like it.” That little exchange was like a tap on the shoulder, and I realized that maybe, just maybe, this was not their issue but mine. As they continued, I would sneak into my room and process my heart. I was hearing giggles, joy, and sibling connection, yet my heart was filled with anxiety. I began to see that my response was not matching my reality. I was becoming more and more aware that something deep inside of me was not at peace, which affected my parenting that was shutting them down and redirecting them, and I hated it. I hated feeling so much unrest. I hated not feeling in control. I hated that I had to redirect them so that I could feel at peace. Every time they would start zooming around, I would remove myself and process my heart, which took nearly six weeks – six weeks of laying down my tools of control to keep myself comfortable and six weeks of being radically uncomfortable. Finally, I got the revelation as to what was happening in my heart. God asked what I was feeling, and I said, “Anxious.” Anxious? Why on earth would I be anxious when my children were laughing and connecting? And suddenly, I got a mental picture of my childhood. My three siblings and I were close in age too, and whenever our joy or play began to get ‘out of control,’ one of us would be beaten or shut down. I am not sure which was worse, being beaten yourself or the powerlessness of having to watch your siblings. I began to cry. I could still hear their giggles in the other room as my deep anxiety was being released through the wave of emotions. I heard God say, “When your children are full of joy, you get anxious that one of them will get hurt, so you shut it down to protect them,” but the sad thing is that they are not in danger. It is ME who needed to know we were safe, not them. I got set free that day from the fear of joy.

Had I continued to use my authority to control my children to keep my heart feeling safe, I would, in essence, be teaching them that joy is not acceptable, not through beating them but by shutting it down each time. THIS is how our unresolved issues affect our parenting, and we swing so far to the other side of the pendulum. Jesus is our center and wants us anchored in freedom and wholeness. The deep, life-altering revelation that God gave me is that while I am older, wiser, and more capable than my children, God knit them together, not in MY image to be molded and shaped into a little me, but in HIS image and He uses them to reveal, heal and restore what was lost in ME so I can become more like HIM. I am the adult, but God is my Parent, and He uses my little ones to parent me ALL THE TIME. Now when I want my children to cease zooming all over the place, I am able to use my parental authority as God has directed in peace, not from a place of control and needing them to change their behavior so that I could feel comfortable. There is a world of difference. 

Your turn – What is the biggest and most consistent trigger you experience in your parenting? Go ahead; it’s okay, take a risk and know that you are not alone in your parenting journey of becoming more like Him.