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.
WHO AM I?
There are few words to describe this moment. Years ago, we were on the road as a family, and it gave me a picture of where each child was at with ministry. There is a real flow to know when to push, when to encourage, and when to back off. Lauren came to me and said, “It is time, Mom, for me to cross my chicken line using a microphone.” and stepped out for the first time using a mic (that’s a big deal for a child). We later spoke in the exact same town, and Lauren stepped out and taught next to me. I have waited for this day, and it was glorious to watch her own it, release it in her own way and walk in such confidence as a beloved Daughter. I am so so so proud of you, Lauren Max!!! You are light years ahead of when I was your age. You are soaring! All of the kids did a great job loving on the parents and encouraging them with powerful words.
Ellie was feeling afraid, and I was reminded of a story I heard years ago that impacted me. It went something like this. A young girl was walking home late at night and passed a man who she later learned did some terrible things to another girl around the same time they passed each other. She couldn’t shake that it could have been her and went to the police station to identify him. She asked to speak to him and inquired why he walked by her and didn’t hurt her. His response was, “Are you kidding me? With those two big bodyguards walking with you?” I asked Ellie if two big bodyguards were standing at the door of her room, would she feel safer? Yes, of course. I then told her that the same God who protected that girl was there for her. She smiled and drifted off to sleep. Fear always reduces God to being powerless and incapable. Faith restores Him to His rightful place, position, and power.
When we neglect to call out who our children are, the world will step up and do it for us. However, the world’s truth is often different from ours. Calling out a child’s identity isn’t about what they do, such as, “You are the best soccer player,” or “You always get A’s,” but more so about who they are, “You are patient,” “You are kind,” “You are worthy,” “You are capable.’” Calling this forth sets them up for taking on the world and the challenges set before them. The first increases pride as it focuses on their performance. The latter increases their identity as it focuses on Christ in them. Don’t we want our children to walk out the door overflowing with the confidence of who God made them to be? It isn’t about systems or hard labor but about keeping His presence through peace. Running a household is hard work, yet many hands make the work light. The smallest of hands can feel good about themselves for successfully managing things.
My son came for some snuggles while I was having my time with Jesus. I had him ask Jesus if He wanted to spend time with him too, which He confirmed. Then I asked, “Ask Him what He wants to do with you,” and my son said, “Play on my tablet.” Of course, I didn’t NOT think that was Jesus, but guarding against being the middleman, I let it go. An hour later, as I was spiking his hair, he said he didn’t do very well playing his video game. I jokingly said, “How is that possible? I thought Jesus was playing with you,” and he said, “No, I was doing all of the driving,” and it organically turned into the sweetest conversation about letting Jesus be in the driver’s seat of our lives. Where I thought my son was more interested in his computer games than spending time with Jesus, He orchestrated the entire moment THROUGH the very thing that mattered to my son. He is so good!
Matthew 10:8 – “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!” I love how God allows you to hear an answer to an issue you haven’t had yet. Years ago, I heard Chris Gore share the story of driving down the road with his daughter, who asked from the back seat, “Dad, if you could have one wish from Jesus, what would it be?” She then interrupted to say, “Oh, I know. You would want Charlotte (sister) to be healed (she is in a wheelchair).” Chris said, “No. If I could have one wish, I would want to have the revelation of who Jesus is so that Charlotte would be healed when I prayed.” He was acknowledging that if Jesus was here in the flesh, she would be healed, and he longed to have the greater revelation of the Healer, not just the healing. I have never been able to shake or forget this testimony. One of the things I value the most about this community is that they anchor their feet on the Word of God and camp out there until it becomes a reality. Our thoughts, opinions, and experiences do not lead our lives – the Word and example of Jesus do. If God says, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons,” then that is the bar in which we live regardless of our sight, emotions, or thoughts. If we are not seeing or experiencing what is written or modeled by Jesus, we aren’t afraid to stand and stand again until it becomes our reality. We press into His standard, not ours. We worship until we become so like Him in our minds. We cry out for breakthrough, not just in healing and raising the dead, but so that our hearts are aligned with His. Either He is, or He is not who He says He is – we get to choose which camp we will live our lives from. At the end of our days, may we be found to say, “I believe.”
I met with a young 20-year-old girl who got delivered of two tormenting spirits. I was overwhelmed with compassion for her. She was sincerely trying so hard but was harassed by these spirits. We cannot manage demonic spirits – we deal with them using our authority. It was time for them to go and for her to be FREE! Oh, that we would understand as believers the power and authority that He has so graciously handed to us. Many moons ago, I was sitting in my kitchen and reading Isaiah 61 for the first time. I wrote the date next to it in my Bible and had this awareness that this verse was for me, yet I was in the middle of walking out my own brokenness. I love how God can call us long before we are ready. Over the years, that fire in my belly has only increased. I am passionate about setting the captives free, bringing comfort to the hurting, and declaring freedom. Simply put, my mission statement is to defeat the works of the enemy in the family room!!! “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.” (Isaiah 61:1).
Do you struggle with wanting to do things perfectly? Some personalities are wired towards this bent, while others have been taught only perfect counts. If you can stay in the lane of being HUNGRY instead of perfect, it will bear the fruit you desire because it is about His ability, not yours.
Anger, even rage, is a common ‘dirty little secret’ of many parents. Anger is actually an appropriate response for an orphan who has the weight of the world on their shoulders, has to protect themselves, and strive to meet their needs. The answer isn’t anger management; it is experiencing the Father’s love at that moment. He isn’t mad at your anger and wants you to know His love even in those messy places.
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.
My mom was a school teacher and not only had gorgeous penmanship, but she also had a high value for it. Homework wasn’t just supposed to be accomplished in our house; it was also supposed to be done neatly. My writing was never perfected like hers, but even as an adult, whenever I write something sloppy, I have an internal check that I should either slow down or redo it. When we proactively teach our children who they are, we are helping them partner with God’s truth about them, which anchors them through life experiences. Example: God told me early on that my son would be a gentleman, so I have called it out since he was two years old. I have looked for ways he can practice being a gentleman (opening doors, helping with strong things, giving up his chair for an elderly lady, etc.). When my son does not act like a gentleman, something goes off inside of him that feels funny because he is acting in a way that is contrary to his true nature.
Children will exercise their flesh and act out; it is the nature of a child, but having the truth written in them helps guide them to become the person they are created to be. When children are not told who they are, they are influenced to become the things God never designed them to be.