WHAT HAS HE DONE?

WHAT HAS HE DONE?

This season has been hard. Does anyone relate? It feels like we are waiting and stewarding everything new without our normal joys and connections. I felt the Lord inviting me to find JOY. I gathered the kids, and we made a list of all the things the Lord IS DOING or HAS DONE for us in this season. WOW. We cried when we realized that God’s hand had been so near and active. It shifted our perspective and lightened our hearts.

How about you? Why not gather the family and make a list of all the ways you have seen, heard, experienced, witnessed, or encountered God’s hand IN this season?

PRAY FOR INCREASED DISCERNMENT

Discernment is knowing, sensing, the ability to determine right and wrong, and having eyes to see what isn’t in the natural. It is a spiritual gift that we can ask for more of. We had picked up one of the two moving trucks, and after loading it, I noticed one of the tires was low. We filled it, and it appeared okay after the 30-minute drive home. Others kept telling me it was okay, but I had the discernment that something wasn’t right and that it should really be checked out before we hit the road. The service crew came out and changed THREE different tires. He said the tire was splitting and would have blown once we got on the road. Thank You, Jesus, for discernment and the ability to determine that something isn’t right even when our eyes can’t see it in the natural.

Pray – “Jesus, thank You for giving your life so that we can access the Kingdom of heaven. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for the gift of discernment that leads and alerts us. Father, I ask for an increased measure of discernment. Strengthen my ability to see and hear what others cannot so that I may respond to Your voice in all areas of my life. Show me how to trust and listen to the gift of discernment as I partner with You. Teach my children how to walk in discernment. In Jesus’ name.”

ENCOUNTER THE FATHER

The goal is not to use spiritual tools to ‘fix’ our children. The goal is to lead our children to an encounter with their Father!

JESUS WAS THERE

My near-death experience didn’t include any bright lights. In fact, it was the opposite. I grew up going to church but didn’t have a relationship with Jesus. While I remember the vivid details like it was yesterday, there are no words in the English language to describe what hell is like. Words like fear sound like a picnic compared to reality. It was torment. It was without hope. Imagine weights on your feet and sinking to the depth of the pitch-black ocean floor slowly with the keen awareness that no one is around, and no one ever will be, yet you are so aware of your lack of hope. We don’t talk about hell much, but it is a very real place. When God says He sent His Son to save us, He wasn’t kidding. My experience fuels my passion every day to give parents tools to bridge their children, not to a religious belief, but a real relationship with a loving Father who cares passionately about them. Salvation matters. 

After I became a Christian, I wrestled deeply with my profound experience with hell. It bothered me that I could never erase that part of my history. My mentor asked me where Jesus was during that time, and this intense religious spirit rose up within me. I was deeply offended that she even suggested God was in my messiest, darkest, most sinful moment. He was too good, too pure, and too holy to stoop so low. I was taught that God is on one side, sin and mess are on the other, and the two don’t mix. She showed me Romans 5:8, which says, “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us *while* we were still sinners.” The Word broke that religious spirit off of me, and I was now willing to ask Jesus where He was in my darkest hour. I saw a picture of my hospital bed and all the life-saving tubes connected to my frail body. I saw Jesus sitting in a chair at the end of my bed with the palm of His hands over His eyes. I couldn’t believe it. HE WAS THERE!!! My mentor sensed He had more to show me, and when we asked, I saw Him slowly pull His hands down and saw His face soaked with tears. Tears flowed freely that day as I realized He was there in my darkest, messiest moment! While seeing Him there didn’t change an ounce of my reality, it changed the entire interpretation of the events. He spared my life even before I was ‘saved’ and cared deeply about my pain. You can’t have an encounter like that and not be marked for life. Friends, HE IS THERE! It is okay to ask Jesus where He was in your darkest hour.

GROUP HUG

I was sitting with the Lord, processing something in my heart. He told me to go grab three crowns (each member of our family has a specific crown) and put them on the floor in a triangle shape. He began to show me how so often we come to Him in a line as if we are standing face to face. That is great, except it still requires a lot of us (to hear well, discern, plug in, etc.). He said to put my heart carrying that issue in the center of all three of them. I did just that and experienced an encounter so deep that it reduced me to tears. I have never felt so unbelievably insignificant in the best way possible. When God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit huddle together for a group hug with you in the middle, something is going to shift. I encourage you to allow Him to encounter your heart today in the same way.

DATES WITH JESUS

I encourage you to set an alarm on your phone, and every time it goes off, no matter where you are and what you are doing, ask yourself, “Jesus, how do You feel about me right now?” You will be surprised by what He has to say at that very moment.

ALIGNMENT

Picture a spine with a pinched nerve. Now picture that person having to carry a box upstairs. The weight of carrying the box would put pressure on what is out of alignment and cause GREAT AFFLICTION! The same is true in the spirit realm. God created us to be in alignment, and when we are out of alignment with Him, the pressures of the world (work, relationships, financial issues, parenting, heart splinters, etc.) can cause great affliction. We cannot always control the pressure that comes our way, but we can manage our mind, body, and spirit to be in alignment with Him. How? Ask Him.  

“Jesus, is there anything in my body that is not in alignment with Your will?” 

“Jesus, are there thoughts I am feasting on that are not Yours?” 

“Jesus, is my spirit in alignment with the Holy Spirit?”

ENCOUNTER HIS GOODNESS

He is not just a ‘good Father.’ He is YOUR Father. If our journey has not included a father modeling what goodness looks and feels like, then we will only be able to relate to His goodness in our minds as a concept. Our soul longs to EXPERIENCE His goodness. While this may come more naturally to those who have healthy earthly experiences with their dads, your lack does not doom you. His goodness includes knowing how to captivate your heart. Listen to this song and let His love wash over you. Some of you have heavy things on your heart, and He wants to enter that space with you. Some of you feel so dry and weary, and He wants to revive you with His power. Some of you feel so worried and afraid, and He wants to cover you with His shield of protection.

Cody Carnes – Run To The Father (Live at Motion Conference) – YouTube

HOLY SPIRIT IS YOUR FRIEND #1

I had two significant encounters that changed my relationship with Holy Spirit. Here is the first one.

When I became a solo parent, there was a wide and deep gamut of emotions to process. I would go into my closet and let it out. I could cry (even yell), and the kids would not be able to hear me. It was my safe place. My mentor gave me two books to read, and I would wake up early and go into my closet. Something began to yearn deep within me for more of Him. The former was great, but I was dying for more. It felt like survival. I had to have more of Him. I did not want the wacky, weird, even embarrassing Spirit that made my heart feel so unsafe and uncomfortable, but I was growing in my unquenchable hunger for Him, and at that point, my hunger was forcing my guard down. Hungry people do whatever it takes to be fed, even break down mental barriers that have been erected to keep them ‘safe.’ Within six months of losing my husband, my dad died, and two weeks later, my stepdad died. I was in full-blown grief over the significant men in my life and, at the same time, developed a headache that would not cease. It felt like a constant brain freeze from eating something cold too fast; nothing would reduce the pulsating pain. This went on for three months straight. People kept telling me it was just stress due to my profound grief, but deep down, I knew I had better coping skills than that. Despite the pain, I managed to drive the kids from CO to MN by myself for my dad’s funeral, and weeks later, I even took them to the mountain for our annual family getaway, but all I could do was lay on the bunk bed, unable to move. Finally, one night, I told the kids to lie down on Mommy’s floor and sleep. I could not help them get their PJs on or brush their teeth. I put my head on the pillow that night, fully confident I would die of my brain blowing up. The pain was unbearable. Hours later, I was rushed by a friend to the ER, where they discovered my carotid artery was torn. It was nothing short of a miracle that I held together for three long months walking around with a ripped artery. I was transferred to ICU and was told a simple sneeze could severely tear the artery completely. I was at high risk for a stroke or aneurysm. I spent a very scary few weeks maneuvering through healing for both my broken body and heart. I was still so sick and weak after being released from the hospital that my friends thought it best to keep the kids for a bit longer to give me time to heal. I was assigned a home health nurse because I kept fainting and passing out whenever I would stand up. One afternoon, I sat dazed on the couch, wanting to get up to make myself something to eat, but too weak to move. It was hours before my nurse arrived, yet I knew I risked passing out again if I got up. I was trapped in my body. While my heart was being stretched beyond its capacity with grief, my body was also being pushed to the limits. I was overwhelmed by my state and so desperately wanted to be healed. I missed my children (I had not been with them for over a month) and felt isolation so deep it was paralyzing. I was extremely sick and powerless to take care of my basic needs. It is hard to describe the weakness of my mind, body, and spirit at that moment. It felt like death.

Out of nowhere, I began to see events unfold. This was not just in my mind; it was as if it was really happening, and I was watching it like a movie. I saw a girl on a hospital bed and emergency workers rushing around her. They were running and racing the hospital gurney down the hall (again, I was watching this as if they were really doing it). There was seriousness and panic in the air. The girl on the hospital bed was me, and suddenly they stopped and placed a white sheet over her. I cannot fully explain what happened next, but I stood up and dropped to my knees. It was like my face could not get low enough to the ground, and words began to flow out of my mouth. It was as if I was speaking from the depth of my toes. I did not understand what I was saying, yet I knew I was saying something. It was forceful, and while I was aware I could stop it at any time and felt ‘in control,’ it was so powerful and moved without my effort or help that I did not want to interrupt it. It went on for a good five minutes, and then it was like it was over. I sat up stunned, with my face and hair completely soaked. I was a bit bewildered by what I had just experienced but realized I felt physically different. I felt like me again and felt strong for the first time in months. I had absolutely no grid for what just happened. I called my mentor, fully convinced I may have just lost my mind. She began to laugh and said with much joy, “Oh Lisa, you just had your first vision and spoke in a prayer language. Lisa, that was Holy Spirit!!!!” I believe the vision was Holy Spirit alerting me that a spirit of death was coming to me, and He gave me a language to pray against it. My mind did not understand it, but my spirit did. That encounter left me speechless for months. Was that the odd, wacky, and uncomfortable Spirit I saw touching others? Suddenly to have my own experience changed everything. I had to have more of Him. My hunger became almost excruciating to steward. My biggest prayer from that moment on was, “More, Lord, MORE.” Holy Spirit knew my journey and knew why I was so leery of Him, yet He also knew my deepest desire could only be filled and satisfied by Him. He knew I had a calling on my life that would be to introduce scores of people around the globe to Him, but I first had to experience Him, and He knew it had to happen in a way that came through my need, not my intellectual knowledge as that was shut down to Him.

P.S. I wept writing that. I cannot imagine my life without Holy Spirit. I think of the pages and pages and pages of testimonies of ways He has shown up, revealed truth, parented the kids, opened doors, brought me comfort, healing, and joy, and been there for me. What about you? Are you stuck in the place of being hungry for more of Him but leery of Holy Spirit? Do you need an encounter with Him that reveals who He really is? Cry out and tell Him. It’s okay to acknowledge your weariness, concern, and doubt. Confess your trust and faith in Him, even when you do not have it all figured out yet. More Lord, MORE! 

YOU CAN’T KILL JESUS

Family devotions one day seemed like a disaster, but that ended up being the lesson. The child who was supposed to lead picked a chapter and spent the next ten minutes reading to us, but we were all getting a bit dizzy with their fast-paced reading and rushing through the passage at record speed. Then they gave their own commentary, and 20 minutes later, we were still sitting there rather detached and unengaged. They then suggested we soak for a few moments but put on dance music, making it nearly impossible to ‘be still and know.’ Family devotions felt like a bit of a flop. Until God showed up and said, “Your lesson today is the flopped lesson.” We spent the rest of the time talking about how to lead others and create space for people to engage and for Holy Spirit to come. I asked the ‘leader child’ what the heart of the passage was, and she said, “That you can’t kill Jesus.” BOOM, that was explosive. I encouraged her to make sure as a leader, she did read the entire passage to get the front and back story of the Scriptures, but that sometimes less is more, and had she started with that statement, we could have spent hours unpacking that. My whole point in inviting you into our living room is simply to share that it isn’t about getting it right or doing it correctly. Even in the flop, Jesus shows up. My kids are learning and growing, and they grew in understanding of how to be a better leader. I would say that is a success.

GOD IS FUN

I hear this all the time – “I believe God is good and loves people, but I don’t think of Him as this fun God. I grew up with a picture that God is always very serious. His Kingdom is serious in that it’s life-changing, but the idea of playing and engaging with Him seems foreign.”

If this is your view of God, I want to invite you to sit with Jesus, His Son. Ask Him, “Jesus, will You please give me a picture of the FUN side of Your Father?” You might want to set an alarm on your phone and ask Jesus to introduce you to this part of His Father every day until you can begin to see and experience this part of YOUR Father, too. Yes, God is Almighty and serious and powerful, but He is also the most fun-loving, tender, and engaged Father.