I have tears as I type this. God knows the safest place for His children is in His will, close to His heart, and following His voice. He has been so tender and good with us to remove the things that stand in our way. He has been patient and kind, but we all have our own choice of how we are going to respond. Are you willing to stay in the frying pan until He declares you ‘well done’? Are you willing to have a season of dying and death to the things you have held onto for so long? Are you willing to praise Him even when circumstances scream otherwise? Are you willing to surrender it all? Are you willing to say yes and follow even when His ways are not your own? He knows the future, the next chapter, and what’s coming, and He knows how to lead His children into the safety of His wing. There are so many stories of many of you saying YES and seeing Him in the land of the living like never before. May we not count the cost but count the reward of saying YES to Him.
The Kingdom Era will be marked by families moving from busyness to connection. Anxiety to empowerment. Compromise to authority. Mark my words – this is what God is doing in families, and you either align yourself with Him, or you miss it because you refuse to let go of the old.
Church Era in families – busyness, anxiety, compromise.
Kingdom Era in families – connection, empowerment, authority.
There is only ONE perfect Parent, and His name is Father God. He created parenting and is the original Father. Everyone all falls short but is invited to PARTNER with Him. This really is excellent news. You don’t need to walk under the pressure of perfection, which means you can enjoy your parenting journey.
Do you ever have those situations where everything lines up perfectly, and you are convinced your child is guilty? I did the other week, and my son was adamant he was innocent. I took him at his word, but it still felt fishy to me. He carried this pressure and tension with him everywhere for a week. He was snippy, and I often felt like I just needed to not be in the same room with him for long. Sometimes you just need to let teenagers be teens, but I didn’t like it. He came into my room to drop off laundry, and his eyes were red. I asked if he was okay, and he said NO. Questioning who he had a conflict with, he says, “YOU,” and begins to tell me what it has been like all week, being falsely accused of something he didn’t do and then brought up numerous things I had said during the week that communicated to him that he is untrustworthy. The truth is nothing I said meant what he thought it did. He had the lens of being falsely accused, and anything after that felt like a judgment. Poor kid was really beaten up over the belief that I charged him with a crime he didn’t commit. I assured him that I knew he was innocent because nobody shows that much emotion and care when they are guilty. I apologized for not believing the best AND for failing to see his heart all week. He walked out of my room feeling better, and I was doing some major high-fives with the Lord. I am THRILLED he cares not only about his integrity but our connection that much. Sometimes moms blow it too! And that’s okay because our children are learning, even through our mistakes, how to use their voice and process their heart.
I walked through some deep betrayal years ago and wrestled it deeply with God. I had this mental picture of Jesus holding both of us on His lap, and it made me mad. This person brought me so much turmoil and pain, and I didn’t like the fact Jesus loved them so much (this isn’t my true heart, but it was a moment in my processing the pain). I finally called my mentor because it was making my heart feel unsafe with God. How in the world could He love someone who has brought so much pain? Her response was brilliant and literally shifted something so deep within me. She said, “Lisa, you do not fully understand the picture. God loves this person just as much as He does you because He created them, but God is only on the side of righteousness, and this person isn’t choosing righteousness.”
It wasn’t a matter of whose side God was on as much as it was who was on His side. It was like my hands opened, and I dropped whatever offense, pain, or fight I was holding onto and clung to righteousness. It altered decisions and outcomes dramatically. The question is not “Is God on my side?”. The question is, “Are you on God’s side?”.
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?
My goal is to take your hand and place it in Jesus’ hand so that you walk this out together with Him. He is the One who sees, knows, and holds the keys to your freedom. He is the One who purchased your forgiveness, healing, and wholeness. He is the One able to heal, redeem and restore. He is the One who loves you far beyond what your mind can grasp. He is the One who understands. Jesus is your friend. Holy Spirit is your guide, and Father God is your anchor.
Invite Him by praying, “Holy Spirit, I welcome You to come and reveal whatever it is You want to show me. I ask for an increase in Your peace and presence. Open my eyes to see what You see. Open my ears to hear what You have to say. Open my heart so that I can receive all that You have for me. In Jesus’ name.”
God has lots of things to say about forced intimacy, and it is not how He interacts with His creation. We lead our children to the Father’s heart through love, not control and fear. Forced intimacy is not Kingdom!
I was so struck while reading Psalm 119:143 – “In my distress and anguish your commandments comfort me.” I was reading commands as in obedience, but as I sat with this longer, the revelation came. What does God command us to do? To praise, not fear, rejoice, and give thanks. Whoa!
Praise – gets our eyes off our circumstances and on Him. We become whatever we set our gaze to.
Not fear – fear sabotages our faith.
Rejoice – means to partner with.
JOY – joy releases a natural chemical in our brain that restores our passion and fight.
Give thanks – focuses on what He has already done (and is capable of doing again).
The nature of distress is extreme anxiety. The nature of anguish is server suffering. God’s COMMANDS bring us back to the reality that He sees. He is in control; He is able; He has done it before and can do it again. Yes, His commands comfort me.
Rest is not being inactive. Rest is the position of our heart after we have released something over to God and left it in His care. We cease taking matters into our own hands and operating in self-sufficiency. We hand over the transaction to Him, and at that moment, we are in restful confidence He can act on our behalf. We rest in the assurance that He is able, capable, mighty, willing, powerful, and active in our lives. Simply put, spiritual orphans can NOT find rest because the world’s weight is on them to self-provide, self-protect, self-defend, and self-secure. But as Sons and Daughters, we have a Father who is alive and well and wants to help us. Have you ever sat on an aircraft and watched people attempt to put their luggage in the overhead compartment? They struggle to lift the weight of their carry-on above their head while juggling their coffee, trying hard not to hit the person in front of them. Along comes a flight attendant in full confidence in their ability to help lighten the load and get them situated. Have you ever watched a child struggle to tie their shoes or fasten their pant button? They get frustrated easily with their lack of ability. A loving parent comes alongside them and, with ease, eagerly helps them. The Father is like the flight attendant wanting to carry your load. The Father is like a loving parent wanting to help in your time of need. Rest is not simply doing nothing. Rest is releasing your burdens for Him to do something.
HeartWork – “Jesus, I surrender and hand to You my burden of _____.”