It always surprises me when I hear people talk about me as if I have mastered this concept of parenting with Jesus. Let me be the first to tell you I have great experience partnering with Jesus to raise children up to 16 years. A day after that, I need Him just as much today as I did yesterday. It was never meant to be a maturity that we reach to begin walking confidently on our own but a constant dependence upon Him. I blow it, make mistakes, feel confused, am overwhelmed, doubt myself, wonder if I am enough, don’t know what to do, feel clueless about what my children need, etc. It keeps me dependent, humble, and seeking Him just as much today as I did years ago when I first discovered He was my Husband. Get your eyes off the goal of ‘arriving’ and settle into the fact you will always need Him in your parenting, and that, my friend, is the best position to be in.
WE ALL NEED JESUS!
Do you have a child who is finding their way? Read this glorious testimony from my friend and be encouraged that God wants to and IS working in your child’s life too.
“One of my daughters made messes in her life, and the Lord said she needed her own room. Five other siblings were extremely unhappy with this decision which was to be handled by privately sharing with me their feelings followed by prayer for their sister. I watched my daughter do everything you don’t want your teen child to do. I felt helpless and didn’t see God move. Then one day, when I cried and gave up, He said, ‘Why do you think you failed? Why do you think this has to do with you? Have you forgotten her calling? How will she learn to walk in her calling unless she develops the tools she needs by being in a home with the unconditional love of her mom, dad, and siblings, who will tolerate this season of her life?’ My prayer focus changed, and the way I would see her changed. Within a couple of months, my daughter broke ties with all she was doing after having a major encounter with Jesus. She needed that room so He could visit her and her walls could come down.”
I love when I can see God’s hand in my own life, but it takes my breath away when I see common themes of His hand in other people’s lives. God seems to be telling His children to guard against being so busy that time with Him gets pushed back. Stewarding increase comes with a price but spending time with Him should be non-negotiable. Seek Him FIRST, always! If you have found yourself running so hard, laboring in the increase, and going on, stop, repent of failing to keep Him first, and schedule a date ASAP!
To validate means recognition or affirmation that a person or their feelings or opinions are valid or worthwhile. Validation is not trying to move someone out of their space but giving them permission to be where they are at. It is saying things like: “I am sorry that…” “It is not okay that…” “It makes me mad that…” “You didn’t deserve that…” “That must have been so hard when…” “Man, that stinks!” “You are so much more than that.”
Parents, look for ways to VALIDATE your child today; not just correct, change or fix them. They have been in a crazy intense season. Go to them, embrace them, and tell them you know this season has been hard, and they have had to endure a lot. Tell them it stinks. Tell them how proud you are of them, and that God loves them very much. GO! Validation is the ministry of Jesus! He cares.
Many of you know our incredible housing testimony of years ago. It was an incredible faith walk that inspired many to increase their trust in God. The moment our house sold, a wise mentor said to me, “Lisa, now what do you have faith for?” I remember telling him I didn’t want to return to that place of utter faith. It was scary, and I wanted to go back to a place of comfort and security. He encouraged me that God just grew my capacity to trust Him and to take that trust and pour it into the next thing so that my faith and dependence would become a lifestyle and not just an event in scary times. Whoa! I began to journal… “Lord, I have faith in the air I breathe (like seriously, I never worry or think about it. I just do it naturally). I have faith for water. I have faith that You love me. I have faith that I will always have clothes on my back. I have faith that You are my Savior. I have faith that You care about my housing needs. I have faith that You want to raise these children with me.”
I was walking down the areas I already had great faith in and was allowing Him to build my trust for more. One of my greatest responses when life throws me curveballs, ups, and downs, is to ask, “Lisa, do you have faith in God for this situation?” It feels like a renewal of my vows each time. Yes, Lord, I have faith and trust in You for this particular situation.
Be kind to the first child God gave you – yourself. You will be accountable for how you treat, accept, reject, love, scold, champion, deny, uphold, tear down, believe in, deny or embrace that child. God is fiercely protective and crazy in love with that child; you should be too!
This mom owned her partnership with Jesus while taking our JOURNEY class:
“Yet this is my confession: HE was not ignorant of my woundings and shortcomings when He entrusted me with these little men. He has never called me perfect, just HIS. I can clean up any mess I’ve made by the power of the Spirit that lives within me. My God LOVES to redeem my mistakes and gives all the treasures back WITH interest. I declare that my children will not only be HEALED of any past or future wounding they might receive from me or anyone else, but they will also GAIN AUTHORITY in the process to set many captives free in the same areas. I declare that what the enemy intended for evil, my God turns to MORE good in our family. I declare that we are on the fast track as a family toward the greatness God deposited in each of us in our mother’s wombs and that we will be iron sharpening iron as we move from glory to glory!”
God gave me the most breathtaking vision, and I believe it is for all of us. I saw myself standing on top of a mountain, and the sun was kissing my face. I stood there all day as the sun danced around my face from the early morning sunrise to evening sundown. Then the snow came and covered me head to toe. Soon the rain poured down. The entire time in the vision, I did not move my feet. I heard God say, “How many days old are you?” Unsure of the answer, I brought out my calculator and tallied my age times 365. He said, “For _____ days, you have stood and endured life.” I got this overwhelming feeling of victory, confidence, and resilience. Life has not always been easy, but 1,000’s of days later, I can look back and declare I DID IT, God is good, and I am an overcomer… so can YOU. Go do the math!
I know how the story ends!
We want to model our home after His and allow our children to taste and see that His ways are good so that when they are older, they will not be enticed by what the world has to offer them. I am not talking about legalistic head knowledge of ‘thou shall not’ but the ability to experience it as part of their own journey. Let me give you some practical examples.
Stealing – God says do not steal. When we set up our homes with a value system for not stealing, we are teaching our children that God’s ways work. To steal means to open yourself up for discipline, consequences, and broken trust. We are allowing them to taste and see that God’s ways work. We give them the message, “It isn’t going well for you because you have chosen something outside of God’s protection for you, i.e., stealing.” To ask for something and be denied is hard on the flesh, but as children learn to accept the ‘no’ answers in life it builds character, which will profit them for a lifetime. We don’t punish our children because they chose something outside of God’s best, we use it as a teachable moment to show them why it is important not to steal. (Not saying consequences aren’t warranted, I am saying we don’t want to use Biblical standards for our children and then punish them for not honoring it).
Respect – God says honor your mother and father. When we set up our homes to reflect a core value of honoring authority, we are providing for them covering and protection. This is showing them the beauty of God’s Kingdom. When we allow our children to walk all over us and be rude and disrespectful, we are subjecting them to insecurity, lack of favor and broken connection. They will experience God’s Kingdom by being taught to walk in respect and honor for those in authority over them. Once the twins started high school, they witnessed things they didn’t see in their Christian school. Naturally, I was concerned how this would affect them but because I built a foundation around their identity, we continued to use it as a teachable moment. One day my daughter came home and said, “Mom, I always knew you told us why it was important to walk in who we are, but today I saw with my own eyes what it looks like to have a life not knowing who you are.” Another time she came home really hurt by someone who acted like a true spiritual orphan. She understood the hurt was stemming from them not knowing Jesus and went in her room and wept for them. She spent nearly two hours in her room praying, crying and journaling. When she came out, she said, “Mom, I have got to have more of Jesus. I couldn’t imagine a life without Him.”
Does our parenting model heaven? Think about it – spankings, punish, taking away favorite possessions, isolation, harsh words spoken, exasperated parents… Could there be a better way? God is our perfect Father and knows how to run a family well. Is our parenting modeled to look like heaven? Does God give us three warnings and we are out? Does God spank us and then just leave us to deal with our mess? Does God isolate us when what we really need is enlightenment, understanding or better tools? Is He mad at us when we are acting out the hurt and pain in our heart? Is overwhelmed by our needs? Please hear my heart. I am NOT saying discipline, spankings, or time alone can’t be a valuable tool. I AM saying that when those are the ONLY tools in our parenting tool belt, we might be missing the mark. If it is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance, could it be some of our control-based parenting tools aren’t bearing good fruit simply because we aren’t modeling it after God’s Kingdom?
Years ago, someone told me I should write a book about all of the ways you could release the Kingdom through children. Something didn’t sit right with me, and days later, the comment was grinding in my heart. I had to ask God why because if that is what I do, why then writing a book about it was so upsetting to me? I heard Him so clearly when He said that if I were to write a 1, 2, 3 step parenting book about the fruit in MY family, people would attempt to do the steps in their family, hoping for the same fruit, but it wouldn’t work — #1. Their family is different than mine and #2. You can’t bear Kingdom fruit by accomplishing steps. It is a relationship, not a formula. It is a lifestyle, not an event. And so, with that, God gave me a strategy with Let the Children Fly. Instead of attempting to get parents to model their family after MINE. My heart, goal, and passion are to connect YOU to HIM so that you can begin living a lifestyle of Kingdom fruit. I am convinced of one thing – I have found a river of heaven in parenting, and from it has sprung a massive river of life in multiple families across the globe. Families are awakening. My online class, JOURNEY, is designed to lead you to the same river we have found so that your family can bear the fruit it was intended to do as a lifestyle with Him. When you are ready, we are here to help you! Your family is worth investing in.