One of the best statements spoken over me was from a business mentor who heard me lamenting about how hard the process was, and she said, “Well, that doesn’t sound like a very empowering statement. You can do better than that.” It woke something up in me to create solutions, not complaints. Feel the pain and then put my energy towards solutions. This has been something I have tried to empower my children in too. First, validating their frustration and then helping them to move from victim to empowered in choices to care for their needs, heart, and situation.
VICTIM TO EMPOWERED
Testimony from a father. This is what it is all about! The best parenting in the world means little if it does not love big.
“My wife and I discovered today which love language each of our children gravitates toward & made an intentional effort to fill them. The results were immediate & noticeable! It was as if their cup was running over & they had extra to share. Really neat!”
We had to catch a morning flight out of Sacramento, and I kept changing the time I thought we should leave. Finally, half joking, I said, “Jesus, what time should I leave?” We left at that time. In the middle of nowhere, my light comes on, saying my back tire is low. We stopped, and the nice attendant turned on the air for free. I filled it up but heard God tell me to check the tire. I kept moving to rotate the tire so I could inspect it. Sure enough, there was a nail! I decided to see if it would hold, but I was losing pressure quickly within minutes. I pulled off, and a tire place was right there. But it was only 7 am, and they didn’t open till 8. If I waited till 8, I would have missed my flight. We called, and the manager answered, saying he would start his day early for me. As I pulled in, he was waiting for me. Expecting to walk out with two new, unexpected tire purchases, he said he could patch it and then had the heart to not even charge me. I tried to tip him but to no avail. From the time I pulled off till I was on the road again was *15 minutes*. Had that happened just two miles later, we would have been stranded on the side of nowhere! I swelled with His goodness and laughed when I heard Him say, “I know about nails.” He knew the nail would be in the road and had me leave earlier, stop when and where we did, and provided each step of the way. Wow!
Many gave prophetic words that 2020 was the year of vision, yet others gave words that it was the year of the MOUTH, highlighting the importance not just of what you SEE but what you DECLARE after you have eyes that see. I find it super interesting that one aspect of the coronavirus is that we are required to cover our mouths. The natural realm always mimics what is going on in the spiritual realm. While I see the importance of honoring our leaders who ask us to be wise in wearing masks, I see greater wisdom in making sure we are opening our mouths in our homes and declaring BOLDLY! Your mouth may be covered in the natural, but you are not on a gag order. In fact, now more than ever, it is time to teach your children how to declare God’s truth boldly. May I encourage you to sit as a family and create your declarations? Say them out loud, boldly, and with authority. This virus is defeated! As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! No weapon formed against me shall prosper! God, have your way with me! I will know what to do because Jesus lives in me! God always leads me! God sits upon His throne! I am covered and protected! My mind is filled with hope and peace! The virus will bow to Jesus! God knows what He is doing! We will overcome! Jesus’ blood paid for it all! Peace is our strength! The tomb is EMPTY! Jesus is ALIVE – TODAY!
I seriously LOVE how God networks between people. He is a perfect economist and never does it just to bless one side. A neighbor had a very serious situation with her son that was made public. I felt it in my heart to reach out to her, even though we had never met, and let her know we were praying for her. She was deeply touched by my message. We became FB friends. She saw the girls doing a bake sale for school to raise money for missions and stopped by unannounced with a bunch of cupcakes. I was deeply touched by her random kindness. We chatted over meals, attended groups together, and she came to my parenting classes. She became my friend. One day, she called me out of the blue and said, “I didn’t want you to worry about dinner tonight, so I bought you Papa Murphy’s pizza for dinner.” I cried as I put dinner on the table. Sometimes it is nice to have someone SEE the load you carry and love you in such a tangible and practical way. The moral of the story is this – OBEY when God gives you a nudge to love someone. Oh, the plans He has for us.
One of the most vulnerable households for child sexual assault is the house that is run by ‘because I said so,’ and a legalistic one because they operate out of a list of rules and total parental authority and often fail to listen to the child. Children cannot hold in such a horrendous lie and/or the worry that abuse causes. They might not come right out and say that XYZ happened, but they will let it leak out, and we need ears to LISTEN TO THEM!
Here is a sad but true example: A little 4th grader came home from his youth group in a foul mood. The mom repeatedly disciplined him for his attitude, but he would not shake it. Finally, she asked him how youth group went, and he said, “I hated it.” She replied that he must go anyway because it was expected of him. He yelled out that his teacher was gay, and the mother swooshed him to his bedroom for talking inappropriately about someone. Had the mother listened to the child, she would have seen that he used to love youth group, and the sudden change warranted investigation. When a young child talks about an adult being gay, it should warrant you to find out why the child thinks that way, how he knows that of the youth leader, etc. If she had only asked and inquired deeper, she would have learned that her son was molested that night, only to come home and be disciplined for not wanting to return. I call it ‘pulling on the rope.’ When a child makes a harsh comment, pull on the rope by asking WHY questions. Not all ill words are a character issue; sometimes, they are flags waving to get our attention.
If parents could learn the rhythm of their child’s heartbeat, their world would be changed.
Often, the last thing I feel like doing when I feel heavy is worship, but there is something so powerful about opening your mouth and flexing those weak muscles. Worship ushers in His presence, aligns our thoughts with His, and, most importantly, gets our eyes off of ourselves and our weaknesses and back onto Him and His power, strength, and ability. I have my go-to songs for when I feel tired and weary.
On the first day of our JOURNEY class, I explain that there is always more and we can always go deeper with God. The goal is not to be airdropped in the middle of the ocean just to be able to say, “I have arrived,” but to enjoy the JOURNEY with Him every step of the way. I ask parents if they can see God’s invitation to come out deeper with Him, and the #1 response I get from parents reflects fear that He will ask something of them (like sell everything and move away) or make them do something their heart doesn’t want to. This reflects areas of our heart where we have yet to discover that He is indeed a GOOD Father. He knows the desires He has placed inside of us, and they are to prosper us and give us hope, not shut us down. It is like parents crave and hunger for more but at the same time do not want it because they fear what He will require of them. If this is you, I want you to know that this is not God’s heart or voice speaking but the enemy to try and get YOU to shrink back from His goodness.
I just want to tell you how proud I am of you. While it is not fun talking about what isn’t working, sometimes our freedom comes from acknowledging reality. Jesus says that it is the truth that sets us free, and we cannot align ourselves with that truth if we are not first willing to see and acknowledge that we are not in alignment with His truth. I have been overwhelmed with messages of gratitude and testimonies of how people came humbly to Jesus and encountered His love, revelation, and healing. He is doing a good work in you, and your children are blessed by your willingness to do the heart work! I am just so proud of you!
How far would you go to empower your child’s faith? A dear brother mentioned they were coming to Redding for a quick trip. I could feel something so strong on this trip but he did not communicate the purpose. The night before they came I asked a friend if he would be willing to get a word for the family. But in the morning as we were getting ready for church, I felt like God said to focus on the eldest daughter. I called my friend and asked if he would seek God’s heart for her specifically. After the service, they remained in their chairs as the Lord was touching the daughter deeply. We connected with my friend who gave her a very powerful word. Hours later, back at my house, I asked him what made him feel led to come out. He shared that during their church planting summer in Spain, God began to speak to him about truly preparing his children for the call of mission. That it wasn’t just about taking them along but truly preparing the next generation. Shortly after their return from Spain his eldest daughter said, “I think God told me that we are supposed to go to Bethel.” This father booked round trip tickets for five, two hotel rooms and a rental car for a less than 24-hour trip JUST to sow into his daughter hearing from God and empower her in that area. He wanted to strengthen her own faith and get behind what God was doing in her life. Jesus, bless this father for having eyes to see that his daughter was learning how to hear you and getting behind it. Give us eyes to see how we can strengthen our children’s spiritual muscles.