YOU ARE NOT WHAT YOU DO

YOU ARE NOT WHAT YOU DO

I shared a post about Ellie bombing a test and having to deal with the shame that was trying to come on her. She was able to identify it and not come under it, but it took her a bit to process. A week later, she put a note on my bed about how smart she was, and it struck me funny. While yes, I celebrate the amazing grades, I wanted to make sure she was staying in alignment with the truth. She came to me puzzled by my note and said, “Yes, I am a good student,” to which I said, “No, that is not who you are.” She was confused. I told her, “Your worth and value are no more in your great grades than when you bombed your test. Either way, you are good.”

We have got to help our children separate their identity from their successes, or else we are doing nothing more than praising them for being performance-driven.

UNIQUE YOU

Corporate love works well for the one in authority but not so much for the receiver because it denies their creative expression and teaches them they need to look like, sound like, and act like everyone else. Each child is different, and we must learn how to dance with them alone. They have different styles, personalities, likes, interests, talents, desires, and ways of connecting. The sooner we realize this as parents, the greater joy there will be in our homes. It is impossible for a child to feel seen, heard, and valued when expected to be someone other than who God knits them together to be. 

Examples of corporate love: expecting everyone to work, eat, get dressed, and do homework at the same speed. Some children just move faster/slower.

Expecting everyone to respond to the same style of communication. Some children need things spelled out more, said with greater tenderness or more engagement, such as eye contact.

Expecting everyone to adjust to your spoken love language. Children speak their own language and may not have a natural high appreciation for yours.

Expecting everyone to value and appreciate what you value and appreciate. Some children are just simply not going to follow in your footsteps but need to find their own journey.

Expecting everyone to be happy when you are happy, tired when you are tired, or hungry when you are hungry. Children have different needs based on their own bodies.

Ask Jesus to show you if you are expecting your children to be mini-you’s in an area that God wants them to BE who He created them to simply be.

“I AM BUILDING HER TESTIMONY”

God said, “I am building her testimony,” – My daughter wanted to try out for a sport that was important to her, but she called me asking if she could skip it and come home. Everything within my mama’s heart wanted to tell her no and make her do hard things (because I knew her heart wanted to do it). But I heard the Lord say, “Let her come home. I am building her testimony.” We went for a walk and talked about it. I began asking her questions about what had happened and what her heart was experiencing. We talked about risk and how there is a chance it may not end well. We talked about other things she attempted in life that did not end so well, which made her laugh. She realized she had the capacity to handle it if it didn’t turn out the way she hoped. I then asked her, “Is the fear of risk greater than the disappointment of not making the team because you were too afraid to try?” She began to see it as a risk but worth it. We created a plan to help empower her. While I could have ‘made’ her do it, her faith would not have been built. She will forever have a brick in her testimony wall of how God walked her through her fear of taking a risk.

RIGHT VOICES

Children who grow up with the wrong voices inside their mental bubble carry them around for years, shaping who they become. We can empower our children to reject lies and protect who God designed them to be. Proverbs 4:23.

OUR JOURNEY

Who moves in the middle of a worldwide crisis? GOD DOES!! Many of you are asking for the back story of our move, and I finally have a moment to share. It is really quite simple. I didn’t have the grace to stay. At the same time we went on lockdown, our landlord asked for the house back so they could move into it. We already had tickets to Colorado for spring break, so instead of canceling them, we moved them up and spent the first several weeks of lockdown in Colorado, giving me lots of time to think, process, and pray. We were due back in Redding on Easter evening, and I could not do it. I would cry every time I thought of returning, and it felt so heavy. It was so strong that we changed our tickets to a later date. The following day I sat with the Lord wanting to process whatever was in my heart, and I so clearly heard Him say, “The grace has lifted” (from our season in Redding). There was never a decision. I never weighed the pros and cons or made an intellectual decision on what was best for our family. If God has given me the grace to endure a season that has cost me something dearly and deeply and lifts that grace, then the decision is simply to follow Him. I told the kids, and within days, we met with our landlord to confirm our move-out date. It happened very fast, mainly due to moving in the middle of Covid, the landlords moving back in, and the kids being on online learning already. We will continue to process our hearts with this massive transition for our family, but one thing I know for certain is that when God leads, it will be good!

WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE?

One night we drove through our old community, walking down memory lane. There is something so fun about hearing your child’s childhood memories. I pulled into the DQ drive-thru to continue our ‘remember when’ discussion. Across the street from the DQ is a large lake that people walk around. And I was undone by a particular memory and how it shaped my family. Years ago, when the kids were all under seven years old, I read a book about the children in Africa and how they were sad they didn’t have unity amongst the believers and decided to do something about it. I was interrupted with questions about our own community as Holy Spirit was stirring something up in my children for the unity of their own town. I began to ask them questions about what we should do. I let it be 100% led by them. They wanted to write to all of the church leaders and invite them to a unity prayer walk around the lake, which we did. They prayed over the envelopes before mailing them. They wanted to make prayer signs and put them around the lake for things to pray for (unity, the leaders, and families). They wanted to unite the believers as lovers of Jesus despite their differences. God gave us a glorious sunny day; they walked their little legs around the whole lake and hammered the stakes into the ground. And waited and waited. In the course of five hours, only FIVE people showed up. One stopped along the way and appeared to be reading the signs and responding. Three walked right by and didn’t even notice. They watched from the other side of the lake as one took the time to destroy each of their signs, tossing them on the ground. As we walked around the lake to pick up our trashed signs, I felt such a profound mix of utter discouragement and disappointment but an odd sense of growing JOY. We endured a silent car ride home as I cried out to the Lord to show me how to steward the events with the children who so clearly were led by Him and cared about the unity of their community. I called a family meeting to allow them to process. They did not see a lack in their efforts but a lack of unity, which was all that mattered. They began to pray with an incredible passion for their city. The Lord spoke to me later and said, as a mother, I can’t use the measuring stick of FRUIT or QUANTITY in training my children to follow Him. The ONLY thing that matters is OBEDIENCE! We obeyed whether the entire community showed up or none. We followed HIS leading, which paved the way for us to respond to His voice countless times over the years to impact our community. It taught us that we live for an audience of ONE. 

TREASURE HUNTING

I am sharing this testimony from one of my spiritual daughters:

“When the girls and I have some free time, we like to do what we call treasure hunting. We ask the Holy Spirit where to go to find someone that needs prayer. Today before our mission, I told the Lord I wanted to witness a real impact. For someone’s life to be completely changed (well, don’t be surprised when you get what you asked for.). We walked where we felt led at Walmart and ended up in an aisle face-on with my children’s father, who we had not seen in 9 years. Clear as day the Holy Spirit said that’s who you’re here to pray for. Umm, really, Jesus? You know our history, right? We said hello. Did some very minimal catching up and asked him and his now wife if we could pray for them, and they willingly received prayer. (For those of you that don’t know our story. Karina and I walked away from everything we owned when I was pregnant with Val to leave an abusive, toxic relationship and find safety). I truly believe this was a divine appointment. Never in my life have I felt the presence of God as strong as I did at this moment. His peace was definitely present. You know God has done a work in your heart when you can extend grace to somebody when they least deserve it. I am sharing this because I want you guys to witness that the power of God is real. If you knew me nine years ago, then you know this encounter would have been restraining order number four. My heart has truly been transformed, and to be honest, I’m still pretty shocked. What happened today was with strength I cannot take credit for. I would like my prayer warriors to agree with me in prayer for him and his wife to have shelter, find a successful treatment center, as well as some accountability to walk beside them. He told the girls he would be around again someday when he’s clean. I am proud of him for being honest and respectful.”

REJECTING LIES

My daughter woke up early with me, so we went on a date to grab drive-thru coffee and ended up at the bookstore. I noticed a book about the lies young girls believe and handed it to her. She spent a great deal of time browsing the contents and finally put the book down. I asked her why, and she said, “Because I don’t believe lies.” There was such an anointing on what she said. She was not saying she has never believed a lie, nor was she saying she is 100% lie-free, but she was right to say she doesn’t believe lies. I have taught my kids what lies feel like, and they have begun to self-govern when lies are being entertained in their minds. Lies always remove your peace, make your mind spin like crazy, and create feelings of anxiety, worry, and stress in your heart. When my children are feeling this, they know how to ask, “Jesus, what lies am I believing?” and they know how to ask Him for His truth. Can you imagine what this generation would look like if they knew how to stomp on the lies that come to steal, kill and destroy?

LET’S ASK JESUS

In your mind, picture your bathroom mirror with steam all over it. Slowly pray the following prayer and then watch and listen to what you hear Him saying to you.

“Lord, if You could write any word to describe my identity in you what would it be?”

Now ask Him to wipe away the steam so that you can see yourself in light of that word.

Gather as a family in the living room, in the car, at the dinner table, or bedtime, and ask Jesus together. This is so empowering for children because they get to witness how God communicates with you, which increases their faith, and together you get to encounter Him. Spiritual hearing is a muscle that is strengthened by worshiping and praying. The more you do it, the stronger you become at it.

HUDSON’S STORY

Hudson’s salvation story is very different than his sisters. A guest speaker came to their school to speak at chapel. God showed up and touched the children so deeply that he was invited back the next week to speak to the older kids. Since I had three kids in that group, I was eager to go. I began to witness something odd happening. There were two groups of kids in that room that day. One group was hungry and clinging to every word and move of the speaker. My daughters were in that group. But there was another group of kids which my son was in, and something was different. While there is always grace with the things of God, their response, or therefore lack of, seemed off to me. Days later I couldn’t shake what I saw with the group my son was in. I would cry out for Jesus to show me what it was and over the course of a few days He showed me that those were the kids who haven’t yet made a choice for Jesus. They are playing hard in the Kingdom, know how to hear Him, prophesy, and heal the sick but when they watch others encounter Him, they feel like something is wrong with them because they know they aren’t encountering Him the same way. WOW! When we see that there is more it should produce hunger in us, but because these kids are surrounded in a culture where there is an assumption they are already believers, it creates shame in them that something is wrong. This broke my heart. Hear me when I tell you what this produces in a child. They are angry and frustrated and often sabotage the things of God in your home. Not because they don’t want Him but because they don’t know how to say, “Hey, I am scared to tell you that I am not experiencing what you think I am”. I have since counseled scored of parents with kids who are acting out negatively only to find out that they feel spiritual pressure to behave, act and feel a certain way with God. They get tired of pretending and grow sick of managing the feelings that something is wrong with them. I knew I couldn’t go to my son and say, “Hey, I don’t think you are saved,” as he already had a deep connection with Jesus, and I didn’t want to do anything to plant doubt or tear that down. It was one of those moments where I honestly didn’t know how to respond. We were at church one day and I left so filled with His love, yet the moment we got home all hell broke loose mainly with Hudson (don’t you just love those moments. Ugh). I was so frustrated that going to church was producing so much chaos that I sent all of the kids to their rooms for a break from each other. I sat in the living room and cried tears of pure frustration. I heard God say, “It is time. Bring Hudson out,” and I KNEW God was telling me it was time to close the gap. I called him to the living room and held him. I asked, “Hey buddy. Are there times you see other kids at school and know that you don’t feel what you see them experiencing?” His eyes got really big, and he had this look of complete shock that I knew. He began to cry and said, “Yes.” I reminded remind him that Jesus loves him and so enjoys playing with Him, but that Jesus wants to be IN him and not just come and go like a friend. Hudson accepted Jesus that day.