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.
When my kids were little, I would drive 45 minutes south to attend a church in Denver that believed children could play in the Kingdom. I was so undone by the power they carried. They needed some coaching in the ‘how,’ but when it mixed with their childlike faith, INCREDIBLE things began to happen. I never wanted my children to feel like God was a religious burden or that walking out our faith meant putting them in uncomfortable situations. I wanted to teach them that it was a JOY to love those around us and that the Kingdom truly is FUN. I called it ‘Playing in the Kingdom,’ and they came to life. They are older now, and we all still look for ways to play in the Kingdom and love those around us in everyday situations.
“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!”
A mom taking our class shares this precious story: “Just last night, as I was getting my girls ready for bed, my youngest was having a meltdown over something someone had said to her. With a new awareness since taking this class, I helped to walk her through forgiveness and ask Jesus what He thought of her. She went from crying inconsolably to laughing and at peace, ready to go to sleep and wondering what she would dream. It was beautiful.”
If you want to embark on a JOURNEY of going deeper with Him in your parenting, we have room for you.
From the mouths of babes. A mom was troubled by her daughter’s ongoing anxiety and worry. Every night she would declare how awful she is going to sleep, and it would put her into a bad cycle with so much angst and worry in her voice. I taught her how to teach her daughter to take authority over it and this is what her daughter said, “I like that, filling me with peace. I’m going to sleep well tonight.”
We can’t always shield our children from reality, but we can show them how God shows up in the midst of it. These are just a few God stories amid such ache, chaos, and loss. Share them with your children and let the events shape who they are and want to be! Don’t let this just be a memory of fear and loss. It was also a day of great character, love, and courage.
Do a google search on 9/11 God stories, and you will see scores of amazing testimonies. The Unsung Heroes: 12 Powerful Stories From September 11th (inspiyr.com)
For Hudson’s 8th-grade mission trip, he was offered a chance to work in the church nursery and would tell me about this boy named Micah. His parents took my parenting class, so I reached out to Kelly to tell her how precious it was that they had connected. She said Micah talks about Hudson all the time. Clearly, God was on the connection, so we decided to get them together. When Micah came running out the door to greet us, I was so taken aback by how much he looked like Hudson at that age. Their bond is precious, and I am so thankful for the scores of men who have sown into Hudson over the years and that he has a grid and understanding of what it means to sow into someone’s life. It is so fun to watch your child receive and then grow up to be the one who values passing that gift onto someone else.
My 14-year-old twin daughters felt like God was leading them to start a small group for their 11-year-old sister and her friends. I supported them, telling them that it would be just as much for their growth and development as leaders as it would be for the girls receiving from them. I would mentor them while they were mentoring the girls. The third week in, they couldn’t get their act together. There was conflict over the lesson, and the morning of it still wasn’t done. I didn’t think it was wise to have all of the girls come if they weren’t prepared, so I went to text the moms. I was just about to hit ‘send’ when I heard the Lord say, “Do not cancel.” Hmm. Okay, sometimes the Lord allows us to reap what we sow, and I figured the Lord wanted the girls to experience what happens when you don’t steward what you have been given. My heart hurt for them as I knew it would be uncomfortable and awkward being an unprepared leader.
When the group was over, the girls came to me and said it was the ‘best group ever.’ What? No. It couldn’t be. They weren’t prepared at all. How? And that is when I heard the Lord remind me that I have always taught my kids to lead and speak from the heart. It isn’t about memorizing lines but knowing the issue in their heart and speaking from that place. I ultimately failed to realize that God was the one who called them to do this, and He was sufficient to speak through them. Perhaps the group was such a success because it wasn’t all planned out perfectly, and God had room to move. Sometimes mother does not know best, and we need to learn to trust that the Father has their back and knows what He is doing with them.
Over the years, many business/ministry mentors have told me that I need to have a clear identity statement for my business. I would work on it and get so frustrated that I would conclude it was insignificant. Over and over, this issue came up, yet it left me with the same feelings and frustration and dread. I would get a clear statement only to doubt myself and start over. I was told we could take as long as needed, but this part had to be done before moving forward. Ugh! I asked the Lord the following morning why it was so hard for me, and He so clearly and tenderly responded by saying, “Lisa, your dad never told you who you were, so you are having a hard time declaring who you are.” Knowing that I am a full-grown adult, and my dad is deceased, I asked what I was supposed to do with the lack, and He said, “Let Me parent you in this area.” The next morning, I scheduled a couple of hours in the Prayer House, where He began to unpack, reveal, and declare my business/ministry identity over me. From that moment on, there has been such rich and vibrant clarity of my mission. We have to know who we are in order to do what we are called to do.
Dear Let the Children Fly Family, I owe you a heartfelt apology. God is so good. Why He gave me this message of partnering with Him in our parenting is beyond me. I can think of 101 reasons why someone could do it better. But He has been preparing this message in me since the day I was born. I am passionate about family, restoration, seeing children (really seeing them), partnering with Him, and parenting the way He parents us. I have done my best to learn and grow how to steward all that He has given our family. As any ministry leader would tell you, the leader’s development is not for the faint at heart. God cares deeply about our process of becoming the fullness of who He created us to be so that we can carry our message with purity, grace, and longevity.
When I was in a long season of learning how to run a business, God told me, “Lisa, I did not give Let the Children Fly to a businessman. I gave it to you, a solo mom of four. Lead from your heart just like you do your children.” From that moment on, I felt the freedom to ‘raise’ my ministry from my heart and not like anyone else. But there has been another area of my development that has caused me much tension. I do not like the camera and never have, not even as a child. Not sure why, but I don’t. In order to steward well the voice He has given me and minister well to others, I have needed to cross that chicken line despite the fact it causes deep vulnerability. My greatest gifting is sitting with someone 1:1 where Holy Spirit shows up and ministers to them, so talking to a blank computer screen feels like I am talking to a house plant. It is just not my comfort zone. Over the years, I have overcome my dislike enough to do them anyway. I do it because I love you and want to share what God has given me to help you in your journey. It is important to have people who have gone before us model what the Kingdom can look like. We are never called to be them, but we can pull on what they model, knowing that God wants to do the same in us. I have two people who have been my ‘ministry models.’ They are women who have gone before me and have modeled women in ministry well. God has used them richly in my life to learn from, watch and glean how they lead. They are excellent, refined, polished, and beautiful and have set the bar so high, yet seeing their constant example of excellence has caused me to disqualify myself somewhere along the lines. I felt like the widow giving her all; it always seemed to pale compared to the giants around me. I recently heard God say I was to ‘break up with them’ in my mind. They are no longer the model for which I am to aim for and achieve. Once again, God told me, “I did not give Let the Children Fly to them. I gave it to you. Lead it with your face, your voice, your ability.”
When we feel like we don’t measure up to the standard, we will disqualify ourselves in the waiting to get there. The goal is not to measure up. The goal is to change the measuring stick! I cannot tell you how many times God has shown up in our home, and I want to share it with you, but I don’t. I talk myself out of it because I am not ready like the women who have shaped my vision of what it ‘should’ look like. The lighting, sound, background, outfit, hair, speech, and presentation are perfect; I am not there yet. So I have allowed that to silence my voice and sideline me. God has been speaking to me deeply in this area. Those women are not newbies. One has been in ministry since I was in diapers (literally). They have earned their polished look by taking the same steps God is calling me to right now. Yes, we want to walk in excellence, but we cannot let perfection sideline us. The world needs what God has given us, and being polished can only come from our YES and stepping out, not our man-made perfection. While I love living in a community with so many polished leaders who are brilliant, beautiful, and polished, the truth is many have a vast team of people who are trained in marketing and social media and have incredible skill sets in those areas to help them. The hard thing about that is that it can shape one to think that is how it is supposed to look, feel and sound for someone starting out. I bless their journey and success, but it is so important that we lead and steward what God has given us, stay in our own lane and accept that we are on our own journey.
So to you, my dearest friends, supporters, and passionate parents, I owe you a heartfelt apology for being silent when God has called me to speak. I ask for your forgiveness for caring more about the polish than the message. I repent of hiding behind a bar set so high and ungodly expectations of myself. The truth is I have crossed 101 chicken lines this year alone, and I am committed to crossing them again because I DO passionately believe in the message God has given me. You have my promise that I will no longer withhold from you when God tells me to share. I break up with the pressure to be anywhere other than where God has me. You deserve better. You are hungry for what we carry and have been so faithful to steward it in your own homes. I promise you that I will let go of that style of ministry and share my heart as if we are sitting across from each other. Will you please forgive me?
What about you? Have you shrunk back from using your voice because it did not look like someone else’s success?