Have you ever walked through something and felt trapped? I have. I recently was in a situation, and it felt like the scales were completely even – darned if I did, darned if I didn’t. I felt trapped, and I hated that feeling more than the dislike of my circumstances. I knew I needed to process my heart as the feeling of being trapped was keeping me from hearing and seeing clearly. I saw Jesus reach out His hand and touch the dead center of my belly. I sensed He was validating the hardness of my situation and that I was between a rock and a hard place in the natural. I finally ask, “Jesus, which side do You want me to choose?” I knew that was the wrong question, but I was trapped and needed to start somewhere in my attempt to get out. I saw Him reach His hand towards me as if to give me a lifeline. I grabbed it, and He pulled me closer to Him out from between a rock and a hard place. I didn’t need to choose between darned or darned. I could choose HIM and remain with Him alone. My heart instantly felt relief and freedom again. My friend, you are not trapped either. Reach out and grab His hand and allow Him to pull you close.
“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!”
When I was in my 20’s, I was a part of a solid, healthy young adults ministry. We were away at our annual singles conference, where one of my friends played Jesus in a skit. Afterward, a small group of us were hanging out in the lodge with our pastor talking. The friend who played Jesus ordered a beer and came to tell us that someone had made a big deal about ‘Jesus’ drinking a beer. It seemed silly to many of us, but then our pastor asked him if that beer was something he would die for. He said, “No, it’s just a beer,” and the pastor encouraged him to lay it down because it was causing someone else to struggle. I was so moved by that, and it hasn’t left me all these years. I may have a right to do something, but I have the privilege and honor of loving those around me, and sometimes that means giving up, laying down, or sacrificing for their gain. This isn’t about the approval of others; it is about being winsome with our choices, words, actions, and character. I have taught this principle to my children – you don’t have to be doing something ‘wrong’ to affect someone.
I am often asked at what age a girl should begin to wear makeup. In response, I share our journey. Lauren and Emma were 12 years old when they asked me if they could start wearing makeup. For one, I said yes, and for the other, I said no. I asked each of them, “Are you walking as a Daughter and want to put on mascara because it is fun and you want to enjoy it? Or are you walking as an orphan who needs mascara to feel beautiful?” There is a world of difference! If it is the latter, I am not helping my daughter’s beauty by encouraging her to use makeup (or anything else) to become her false identity. I took the one shopping to buy her first cosmetic product while I worked with the other one to know the beauty of her worth and value FIRST, and then we went shopping. Both girls know who they are today and do not need makeup to feel beautiful. They are able to enjoy it as a Daughter and feel secure with or without it.
A mom shared: “The other day, my eyes were horribly swollen due to some allergy. My two-year-old daughter asked me if she could lay her hands on me. She then did and thanked Jesus that He had already healed my eyes. I cannot put into words how deeply touched I was to know my toddler could pray for her sick mama and hear Jesus speaking to her. I feel as though I am in the center of my destiny when I see my children hearing Jesus for themselves.”
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!
I am pretty good at processing my heart. Messy emotions don’t make me uncomfortable, and I know how to press into them for growth and freedom. But divorce kicked my bum in this area. I felt stuck and unable to know how even to process my emotions, much less do something about them. I have always had older female mentors speaking into my life, and I leaned on them heavily this season, but I had this insane desire to find a non-Christian male counselor. I wanted to get feedback outside of my usual circle. I only went once because I got what I needed in my first meeting. I was lamenting about all of the issues between my ex-husband and how I just wanted to put a pretty bow on it and THEN divorce. I hated the unresolved conflict because I didn’t want to leave things so messy. He said to me, “Lisa, the meaning of divorce is unfinished business. If it were resolved, you wouldn’t be getting a divorce. You need to learn to be okay with not having it cleaned up.” Whoa… It freed me from the broom in my hand that so desperately wanted to clean up every area of the mess and make it neat again. My heart couldn’t partner with throwing the broom on the floor and walking away. Instead, I decided to give my broom to Jesus to deal with the mess as He chose best. It was one of the most challenging aspects of my divorce, yet one of the most freeing.
“Jesus, I hand You the broom to clean up my mess and to turn my mistakes, immaturity, and weakness into something beautiful. I hand over all the files and ask that You deal with them according to Your power and grace. I no longer hold myself captive to a mess that is too big for me to clean up.”
Romans 8:28 – “And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Perhaps you are not going through a painful divorce, but maybe you have an ending relationship, were let go from a job you loved, or are strained with your adult children. If there are issues that are undealt with, and it is causing you added pain, hear this: Your job is to LOVE Him. His job is to pick up the broom.
Messages like this make me jump up in my seat and give God a massive high five. A little girl is learning to trust her Father.
“I am feeling so encouraged and equipped to help my kids more and more. I’ve been practicing myself, and though I stumble over the words, something is getting through. Yesterday, my daughter could not find her special puppy and blanket. Instead of calling me immediately, she said that she tried to push back fear and kept asking God to show her where it was. For a brief moment, I felt bad that she hadn’t come to me asking for help, but then I rejoiced seeing how BIG of a thing that was for her! She was not consumed and paralyzed (like usual); she drew strength from going to Jesus first and asking for Him to show her. She did find it, and this morning we celebrated her victory over fear and her growth in going to Jesus and hearing him!”
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.
I led my group to ask Jesus to show them a time they made Him laugh and one girl busted out laughing saying, “Well, that wasn’t Jesus.” I was curious about what had just happened, so I asked if she wanted to share. She told the story of being a toddler and accidentally spilling her milk. Her mom freaked out and reacted very strongly. When the mom turned her back, she gave her mom a funny wrinkled-up face. Is it hard to imagine that Jesus laughs over us? While I do not think Jesus was communicating it is okay to be rude or disrespectful to our parents, I am sure if another adult were in the room, they would have forced themselves not to smile at the cuteness of a toddler reacting to the fury of a mother’s rage over spilled milk. So give it a try, and I dare you not to laugh at what He shows you.