How many of you would love to have someone there to encourage you, guide you, give you specific wisdom in your situation and help coach you through life? We all do, right? The WORD is your parent, mentor, and guide. We can proactively read the Word – read for the sake of spending time with Him without an agenda AND/OR We can read the Word based on what we are going through. Pinpoint the issue; conflict, anger, strife, fear, provision, etc., and then spend time researching what the Word has to say about it. I can’t tell you how powerful, validating, and encouraging this has been for me over the years. The counsel of man is fantastic in its rightful place, but some issues and situations are reserved for God’s opinion, counsel, and guidance. God has given us an outline of how to respond to a situation and conduct our lives SO THAT it goes well with us. Let Him lead and teach you through His Word.
Isn’t this a beautiful testimony from a father?
“Our family went on a family hike, and our eldest daughter was having fun running around. We got to the falls and took some pictures, but on the way back, she started whining about wanting to be carried and kept her whining and crying all the way back to the car. I told her if she kept it up, I would give her a spanking, and I could see the fear come into her eyes. She started trying to force herself to stop crying, and it was like something had switched inside me. I asked if she needed to be held, and she gave a huge nod with obvious relief, so I took her out of the car and held her on a nearby rock. I felt prompted by Holy Spirit to ask if she liked the waterfall, and she said no, that it was too loud. I asked if the noise and force of the waterfall scared her, and she said yes. I told her I was sorry for not realizing she was scared and asked if she would forgive me. She did, and I walked around holding her a little longer, and we ended up having a nice time again. This wouldn’t have happened before taking the mentoring class. When we were at the critical moment right when we got back to the car, I felt God cut in and remind me (gently, but in a way that couldn’t be ignored) that my connection to her heart was more important than her outward behavior, and it just froze me. I just wanted to share how the things you shared with us continue to bear fruit in our lives.”
One day, I was super-duper stressed and couldn’t get the kids in their rooms fast enough so that I could have a date with Jesus. I saw the kids as a hindrance to my very serious issues that needed to be resolved. The first thing I heard God say to me was this, “Lisa, what you need now is JOY, and I have given you four bundles of it. You push them away when you are stressed, but what you really need is MORE of what they carry.” Gulp! Out of pure obedience, I called them all up and announced that we would be playing a family game. My heart was so heavy, and finally, my daughter said that she could tell I didn’t really want to be there. I apologized and just told her that I needed “Heaven’s joy to come down on me.” My son (then 6) stood up on his chair, motioned his arms outstretched towards heaven, and said, “Joy, come NOW,” and then threw his hands towards me. He did this in a child-like chanting manner over and over. I was about to scold him for standing on that chair, which is against our house rules! Right before my mouth opened, my daughter, Ellie (then 4), got up on her chair and joined him. Argh! This was not how I wanted to deal with my heavy burden. Then my other daughter got up. I was about to come unglued. My religious spirit was highly offended, and this was way too much child-like foolishness for my serious state; PLUS, they were breaking the rules by standing on the furniture!!! When my last daughter arose to join them, I heard the Spirit say, “Join them!” Oh, come on! There was no way this heavy-hearted mama was going to get up and partner with such foolishness. A millisecond later, I was on my chair with my hands outstretched for heaven, and before I could pull it down, such JOY splashed all over me like a tsunami. I was overcome with peaceful joy and laughter. It went on for nearly fifteen minutes. I was so tuckered out after that, and my belly ached from laughter.
Oh, sweet Jesus, thank You for teaching me that worry and fret do not add an ounce of victory to what YOU have already done for me. Thank You for teaching me that Your Kingdom is righteous, full of PEACE and JOY, and if I truly want Your will to be done, I get to go play and rest while You take care of all the details.
If current events are causing your heart grief, please know there is an action that is demanded in response. Your mama’s heart was not designed to carry this weight, but He is allowing your heart to feel His heart SO THAT you rise up and release the burden back to the One who can move. I encourage you to intentionally spend some time carrying your mama’s heart into the Throne Room and interceding on behalf of those involved in the situation. Your voice is powerful!
My voice is a broken record as I state over and over and over that if the Father looks at the heart, so should we in our parenting. God told me years ago, “Stop denying my daughter her dog,” and with that, I moved into another home just to get her a dog. I am not a dog lover, and it was a hard thing for me to obey. God has surely been good on His word, and Boo has brought so much healing to her heart over the years.
Want to give your children a gift today? Read through Psalms 139: 1-18 with them at the breakfast table. This is a powerful revelation of the goodness of God and rebukes the lie that we are alone. Anchor them today in His Word.
I took my twins on a day trip to go shopping. I had an allotted amount in my mind that I wanted to lavish on them. I envisioned spending the whole time focusing on them and making them feel seen and special. The first two stores were on my list, and I zoomed in and out at record speed, knowing we had a lot of ground to cover. We went to Forever 21, and two hours later, Emma was ready for the dressing room. There was no place to sit, so I camped out on the dirty floor as the girls giggled, tried on their clothes, and came out to show me. An hour later, Emma is still putting on her fashion show, and I am growing agitated. I rebuked my inner attitude and told it to be joyful (it didn’t work, but I tried). I have never been so excited to leave a store. We entered the next one, and the same thing happened. The first 30 minutes were fun exploring the store, but an hour later, Lauren and I sat there with her pile of selected items waiting for Emma to come out with outfit #88. I released my frustration by commenting, “Are you almost done?” with a tone that communicated I wasn’t enjoying this as much as she was. I felt like I was going to lose it and heard the Lord say, “Go ahead, but you will have to clean up your mess.” As I sat there processing the mess I was about to make (and weighing if it was worth it), I suddenly saw clearly that this wasn’t a case of Emma doing something wrong but about us having utterly different shopping styles. God showed me a picture of releasing my frustration in a way that communicated to my daughter that there was something wrong with her and that she needed to conform to make me comfortable. I realized this is how young girls shut down and turn from their true selves. They are raised to keep mama happy and deny their true selves to keep connection and peace. This is never a child’s job description, and we need to be super careful we are managing our hearts so that we don’t unintentionally shut down our true selves. Suddenly, I noticed that Emma came out of the room with her original clothes on but still had a pile to try on. Her entire demeanor was different, and the joy was gone from her eyes. I asked her why and she said, “It’s okay. I realize I took too long,” but her real heart was sad and disappointed. I wrestled with managing my own frustrations and caring for her heart. We sat on the bench outside the store, and I began to tell her what God had shown me. It was uber important for her to see that her style of shopping stretches me to the core, but that didn’t mean her way was wrong. She was NOT in sin or disobedience, nor was anything wrong with her. She would have giggled the entire time if she had been with peers. However, I explained to her that shopping with me meant she might need to tone it down a bit, not because it was wrong, but to honor those around her. I checked in with her a couple of times to ensure she wasn’t partnering with lies or feeling like something was wrong with her just because I am wired differently from her. I gave her examples of times I have stretched others and had to learn when to tone it down to honor them while still being true to how I was created. It is a dance of learning how to manage our hearts and parenting our child’s hearts.
I hear this ALL the time – a person falls radically in love with Jesus and has excellent ‘quiet times.’ They get up early and spend tons of undivided time with Him, and they have a close relationship. The kids come, and soon those quiet moments together give way to sleepless nights and the demands of their new addition. As time passes, the relationship suffers, and they begin to feel exhausted, dry, and burned out. They begin to feel guilty for not investing hours into their relationship with God, which only makes them feel worse. The time we spend with our children in this season is 24/7, but there is a Biblical command to let them leave and cleave to their future mates, meaning our 24/7 relationship will transition into a new way of connecting and relating, yet the love and relationship are still there!
Could it be God intended all along for our time with Him to be transitioned, as well, when the baby comes? Do we not think that God KNEW that our relationship with Him would change when He gave us the gift of our child? Instead of feeling guilty that your former way of relating to Jesus isn’t working, ask Him to show you what the NEW looks like.
“Jesus, I miss our times together. I miss knowing You and feeling Your presence. I miss our deep connection. Will You please show me what our relationship and time together look like in this season?”
Be blessed with the fact that your relationship is growing, changing, and being transformed into something NEW!
Psalms 5 reflects how the righteous man prays for deliverance not only for freedom from suffering but to allow himself to serve God without distraction. This is an excellent passage in the midst of all the turmoil in our government. Read this chapter as a family and talk about the reality of how one person’s choices affect those around them. But God has keys and a strategy for overcoming and thriving in the midst.
Prayer for Help – Psalms 5:1-12 – “Hear my words, O Lord. Think about my crying. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God. For I pray to you. In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice. In the morning I will lay my prayers before You and will look up. You are not a God Who is pleased with what is bad. The sinful cannot be with You. The proud cannot stand before You. You hate all who do wrong. You destroy those who tell lies. The Lord hates liars and men who kill other people. But as for me, by Your great loving-kindness, I will come into Your house. At Your holy house I will put my face to the ground before You in love and fear. O Lord, lead me in what is right and good, because of the ones who hate me. Make Your way straight in front of me. For in their talk there is no truth. Their hearts destroy. Their mouths are like an open grave. With their tongues, they say sweet-sounding words that are not true. Hold them guilty, O God! Let them fall by their own plans. Throw them out because of their many sins. For they have fought against You. But let all who put their trust in You be glad. Let them sing with joy forever. You make a covering for them, that all who love Your name may be glad in You. For You will make those happy who do what is right, O Lord. You will cover them all around with Your favor.”
Name tags identify who we are. God has written over our lives who we are with permanent markers, and we will spend a lifetime exploring the depths of our identity. When we use labels on someone, we are smearing their name tag with shame (“something is wrong with you”). A person can no longer see and explore what God says about them because you just put a blanket of shame over them. They may lie, but they aren’t liars. They may be immature, but they aren’t brats. They may be weak, but they aren’t useless. They may be ignorant, but they aren’t dumb. They may be wrong, but they aren’t hopeless. Watch the dynamics of what happens in the spiritual realm when we do this. Someone has not yet fully understood the revelation of who they are and acts accordingly. People who do not know who they are act like starving, desperate, striving orphans. Someone else is uncomfortable with their behavior and slaps a label on them, which covers up their real identity (if they could have seen it in the first place, they wouldn’t have behaved the way they did), and now instead of growing and discovering the reality of who they really are, they are doing battle with the enemy himself and what he says about them. This is a lose/lose situation. When we see people behave in a way that is less than God called them to be, do not partner with the enemy to feel powerful in your discomfort. Call out who they are despite their weakness to point them in the direction and give them a life raft of hope to cling to.
We each have a language of love that we speak and understand. It is vital we understand not only our own language but those around us. Love causes offenses to roll off our backs. Love pulls in during conflict. Love empowers others to become their fullest self. Love protects. Love is safe. Love is contagious. We can teach our children to know their language and how to intentionally put themselves in the path to get their tanks filled. Have you taken the quiz to discover your language? Has your family taken it too?