From the time Ellie was itty-bitty, she would ask me to buy her stuff. I am not a materialistic girl, and the best way to get me to save money is to give it to me because I won’t spend it. I am frugal to the core. Her requests bothered me, and I began to view her as materialistic. I spent countless hours training her to stop asking for things as I saw it as a character issue. One day I realized, oh my goodness, gifts were her love language. All those times, I pushed her away and scolded her when she was not really asking for the toy but wanting to feel loved. I came to her in tears and repented. She smiled the biggest smile, finally feeling understood. Now when she asks, I see it as my clue that she needs some lovin’. If I have to say “No” to her, I assure her of my love and that she means the world to me, though I am not able to buy her that item right now. I handle the request with much more sensitivity than I did before. I also proactively look for ways that I can give her little gifts. It is never the price tag that matters to her; it is the love through it. I am often leaving little things on her bed with a note attached. The other children only have a problem with it when their tanks are low. When their tanks are full to overflowing, they have no jealousy or sense of injustice that their sister is getting more gifts than they are.
THE GIFT OF GIFTS
This story still brings tears to my eyes years later. In 2012 I felt led to take my then 8-year-old twins to the Voice of Apostles in Florida. It was a life-changing experience for us as a family. On the last night, I took them out to a lively pizza joint with lots of noise and activity, but I seemed to get lost in watching one particular family sitting across from us. I could see wealth and success all over the dad. He was a proud man of prestige as he had much to show for his life’s dedication. But I could also see intense shame. I could not shake it. While his kids bounced around, he remained unusually still. I heard the Lord say clear as a bell, “If you pray for him, I will heal him.” I was unclear about what he needed healing of, but I told the Lord, “Yes,” yet somehow knew that doing so in a public place wouldn’t be honoring, so I waited for the right time. I can’t explain it other than I had the gift of faith and knew that he would be healed. We ended up finishing at the same time, and when he attempted to stand up, I noticed the crutches that were used to drag his legs across the floor. My heart broke for him and the source of his shame. When we both got outside, I approached him and chatted briefly, and he seemed friendly. When I asked if I could pray for him, he said, “For what?” and immediately got defensive. Having to state the obvious, he became enraged and publicly humiliated the girls and me for wanting to pray for him. It was hard. He mocked me and gathered others to laugh at us. Ugh. As a family, we have prayed for scores of people and have had very few people decline, but this was different. When we got in the car, I started to cry. My sweet Lauren said, “Mom, I am sorry he wasn’t kind to you,” and my tears gave way to deep emotion. I told the girls I wasn’t crying because I got rejected and made fun of. I was crying because despite his extraordinary success, the man had a wound, and God wanted to heal him, but he built a wall around his weakest area and wouldn’t let anyone in. Years later, the story still brings a tear to my eye, not for the rejection I endured but because of his unwillingness to receive the love God had for him through us. Obedience isn’t about making us great, popular, or looking good. It is about the love God has for others.
A mom came to me desperate over her son being bossy to his siblings. She was tired of co-parenting with him and, after a year, had tried everything; spankings, timeouts, yelling, discipline, and reprimands, yet nothing seemed to break through his behavior. I asked her what happened a year ago, and she began to tell me the story of the night the police came and handcuffed the dad and took him away for doing something ‘bad.’ I can only imagine the atmosphere in the home that night with confusion over losing their dad and all the mother’s emotions. Even if the mom hid her visible feelings from her children, they still felt the atmosphere. I asked her if her son was being bossy, as in a negative character trait, or if he was trying to save his siblings from doing something terrible that gets them taken away too. He felt the weight of responsibility and feared that bad behavior equals being removed from the home. Sometimes our child’s ongoing negative, annoying, frustrating behavior is rooted in something else. In this case, the child was believing a lie that it was his job to keep his siblings in line so that they don’t get removed from the family, too. I think he is a hero and a brave brother. As parents, we need to discern how to parent what is really going on with their hearts and not just the outward behavior.
A dad was struggling to get his teen daughters to understand why their choice of music wasn’t edifying. The girls argued that it was ‘just a little’ bit of bad language and that it wouldn’t hurt anything. The dad prayed for a creative solution to get into his daughters’ hearts on the subject. The next morning, he announced he was making a very special dessert with “a very special ingredient.” He made a big deal of the upcoming dessert all day, and after their dinner plates were cleaned, they were begging for the much-awaited sweet treat. They scarfed down the yummiest batch of brownies, and while smacking their lips, they inquired about the ‘special ingredient.’ The dad sat back and calmly announced, “Dog poop, but don’t worry, it was just a little bit.” They seemed to understand in that moment that ‘just a little bit’ can indeed be harmful. This glorious creative teachable moment can be used with music, swearing, drugs, disobedience, alcohol, lying, slander, etc. Sometimes kids need a visual to understand your point.
I witnessed a healing miracle. Maybe you need one too. A girl was plagued with a fever that would not let up. As I gathered the kids to pray, we all sensed her joy would return, and I heard that it was from being super sensitive to what was happening in the world. I called the dad to share, and he said he just heard the Lord say she was “sick to her stomach” (emotionally). They dealt with her anxiety and focused her eyes back on Jesus, not the storm, and within MINUTES her fever broke. The next day a friend mentioned that her back was still hurting from mowing the lawn. I got a picture in my mind that she was carrying emotional weight around, so I asked her to ask, “Jesus, am I carrying something that You want to carry for me?” and AS SHE PRAYED, the pain reduced.
When we are not processing our emotions fully for whatever reason, it can affect our physical body. Disease is a breakdown of our physical bodies, but long before there is a disease, there is a lack of EASE (harmony). God made our mind, body, and spirit to be in perfect harmony, working together. When parts of our body are out of alignment, it will affect other areas. We speak healing and freedom to your whole mind, body, and spirit.
What about you? Have you noticed an increase in physical symptoms, aches, and pains? Ask Jesus if you need to release some emotional trauma or stress that your body is holding onto.
Can anyone relate to this mom’s experience?
“I am so beyond grateful for your friendship and teaching! Because of what you have shared/taught, I was able to reach my baby girl’s heart through a temper tantrum, and in doing so, God was able to reach mine through my internal tantrum.”
I was in a really intense season – probably the most significant spiritual battle I have ever walked through. Sometimes you just get credit for staying in the game and not quitting. Yet here we are, sitting as a family, all on our laptops, writing out our testimonies to encourage others. I have tears in my eyes looking around the room at my kids typing away, eager to share their journey with others. The enemy may do his thing, but GOD is still on His throne, and as for this house, we serve the LORD!
Have you ever had a season where you knew God was leading you, but it did not make sense to those around you, and their well-meaning counsel caused you to doubt yourself?
It makes sense that their questions and concerns would plant seeds of doubt because part of what you are believing for is IMPOSSIBLE and foolish in the eyes of man. I had a ripped carotid artery that included a high risk of stroke or aneurysm. I was on blood thinners and bruised at the slightest touch. I was on a no-physical contact restriction, which was impossible being a newly single mom of four active small children. A spiritual fire began to grow in my belly, and no one around me understood it. I was so hungry, yet when I would try and explain it to others, I was met with a water hose. I had an encounter with the Holy Spirit and did not understand what was happening, but I knew at that moment I was healed. I went to my doctor shortly after, who did a scan and said my artery was still ripped. I came home and cried to my mentor, saying I know that I know that I am healed, and she said these really powerful words to me. She said, “Lisa, no one would judge you for aligning yourself with the doctor given the seriousness of the issue. But you have to pick which one you are going to partner with – the wise doctor or what God showed you – you pick.” I told her there was no choice; I knew that I knew. I went off my blood thinners (If I was wrong, I was literally risking my life). But I had the gift of faith for it. Six months later, I had another scan, and the doctor said, “Hmmm, not only is your artery healed, there is absolutely no sign whatsoever of any past trauma (which is impossible).” It taught me to hold on for dear life to what I know that I know and to bless people for their care and wisdom but to know I am anchored to Him alone.
Every month my daughter laments about how bad her cramps are. She asks to stay at home rather than go out with us for dinner or join in any fun. I finally told her, “Sweetie, I know this isn’t fun, but your period is a BLESSING and not a curse. Why don’t you start blessing your body and how it was designed.” She took it to heart and the next day said this was her first month ever where the pain went away. Honestly, I am not surprised. We call it a curse and then wonder why we are racked in pain. Your words are powerful and carry life and death. Be careful what you are speaking out over your own body.
My son deeply needs to connect with his family. It is beautiful yet developing the skills can be messy at times. I was away on a ministry trip while he stayed at a friend’s house for the weekend. I reminded the girls he would need to reconnect upon returning, and they eagerly created plans to connect. About an hour later, I got a text saying he walked away and didn’t want to play anymore. I called to check in with him and asked if he felt like the girls were connecting with him, and he said, “NO!” Upon inquiring with the girls, they recited that they grabbed his favorite meal, ate together, and played games. In other words, they gave him a gift and quality time. I asked them what his language was, and they both realized immediately that it was words of affirmation. I asked if they affirmed him with their words, and they realized they labored so hard to connect at that moment, but through their language, not his. This is a classic example of people’s hearts in the right place, wanting to intentionally love someone else but missing the boat because they are speaking the wrong language.
This mom says it best (taken from our online Kingdom parenting JOURNEY class):
“I’d love for my kids to feel so loved and accepted at home that they won’t look for their ‘fix’ anywhere else. I’d love for my kids to feel so secure in our love for them that they would be vulnerable with us. To speak their love language is indeed a worthy pursuit!”