Encounter

MIND VS. SPIRIT

All the wisdom in the world doesn’t change a person’s heart. When I speak words of wisdom, they go from my mind to your mind; but when Holy Spirit speaks, it goes into your spirit, and that is where the real transformation occurs. One word from Jesus can change more inside of you than a 12-week course. This is why it is so crucial that we often bring our children to the Lord’s presence to ask Him what He thinks. This is creating an encounter for our children. Instead of wisdom alone guiding them, they are learning they have a relationship with the living God, who wants to help them in all situations.

PERFECT PRESSURE

In four different parent coaching sessions, the theme was moms partnering with profound pressure to do things correctly and yet being in situations where they could not possibly achieve perfection. Jesus showed up in a similar way with each of them. When children are raised with the bar so high, they learn directly or indirectly that messes and mistakes are not acceptable. They develop a mindset that says, “God is only pleased with me when I do it right,” and while it profits them in life to be overachievers, they are missing out on HIS truth. Messes, weaknesses, and failures do not separate you from God. His truth is that when we come to Him, our weakness and lack bring intimacy and closeness. A loving parent knows that a 2-year-old will make messes, and they see it as an opportunity to offer comfort, reassurance, and help them grow in their capacity to do better next time. They do not see the child failing but rather as maturing and are honored to be a part of the process. If we only have closeness with Jesus when we are getting A’s and doing things perfectly, there will be a level of fear preventing deeper closeness because, deep down, you believe it is only because of your ‘good’ performance. There is a satisfying closeness with someone that only comes when they love you despite your failures and weakness, which is real vulnerability and closeness. If you experience this in your parenting, I encourage you to spend time with Him.

**Ask, “Jesus, will You please show me who I need to forgive for introducing me to the need to be perfect?”

**Forgive that person for directly or indirectly teaching you about perfectionism and pressure. 

**Ask, “Jesus, what lies have I believed because of the pressure to be perfect?”

**Renounce/break up with the lie. “I renounce the lie that _____.”

**Ask, “Jesus, what is Your truth?” Declare His truth over yourself daily!

LET’S ASK JESUS

Ask, “Jesus, how do You feel about me right now?” Please write it down. You can’t listen to lies about your worth when you know what the Creator of the universe says about you.

ENCOUNTER HIM

When we face anger, anxiety, fear, etc., it invites us to encounter Him. Many believe you have to be free of such things to encounter God, but the truth is some of the greatest intimacy comes when we invite Him into those messy places.

ENCOUNTERING THE FATHER

In America, we do not trust a child’s ability to operate a motor vehicle until they are eighteen. We do not believe a young adult can responsibly consume alcohol before age twenty-one. Yet in the Word, which is loaded with promises and commands, not once are we given an age restriction. I want you to soak in this for a moment. The same Holy Spirit that touched Jesus – resurrecting Him from DEATH – is the same Spirit that dwells in half-pint, snot-nosed children. The Spirit of GOD ALMIGHTY is the same Spirit that operates in YOUR child. Go ahead, be a little undone by that concept because it IS huge! It is to be honored, valued, and highly respected. I often rally the kids and ask them what Jesus wants to say to us. They often hear divine wisdom that was beyond my logical thinking. This is a fun, empowering way for them to practice hearing God’s voice. Try this today in your home: “Hey kids, let’s ask Jesus _______.” 

I have a resource called Encountering the Father. In this digital download, you will receive a teaching on how to encounter the Father as a family, along with over 100 encounter question cards. Order yours here: Encountering the Father EBook – Let the Children Fly

HEARING GOD

God speaks to us in various ways, but one powerful way He speaks to His children is through peace. 

Peace – a sense of liquid peace comes over you like a warm blanket. Do you know that God is peace? Pure, 100% peace that doesn’t match your physical, on-earth circumstances. When we sit quietly and invite His presence, we can often feel it in the form of peace washing over us. What does a loving Father do when His children are upset? Begin giving instruction? NO! A loving Father would scoop them up, hold them close to His chest, and embrace their tiny bodies. He is communicating love, protection, safety, and security in His embrace. Sometimes we want God to tell us this and that, and sometimes He just wants to wrap us in His presence, and out of that, He leads us where we need to be. This is truly ‘entering the place of rest’ that so few believers learn to enjoy. We want to squirm or ‘do’ instead of just resting while He holds us. 

Think about what life would be like if you went mute and had to try to teach, train, and love your children without words. Seriously, think about how many times a day you use your words to guide your children, teach and train them, encourage them, cheer them on, and help them. How often do you use your words to lavish love all over them and tell them how precious and beautiful they are to you? Now ponder how often you let your Father speak to you a day.

ENCOUNTER HIM

Carve out some intentional time to sit with Jesus and ask the following questions. Listen and journal what He is speaking to you.

“Father, does my heart truly, sincerely want more of You?” 

“God, is there anything keeping me from going further?” 

“Jesus, is there anything in my heart that is afraid or fearful of more?” 

Next, pray this prayer: “Holy Spirit, I invite You to come and remove anything in my life that acts as a wall or barrier to going deeper with You. Remove everything that stands in the way of ALL You have for me.” After you pray, I encourage you to sit for a moment and let Him do some heart surgery. 

The following is an excerpt from Graham Cooke’s LIVING ON A HIGHER PLACE: “You are going to have to grow if you want to live with God at altitude because at a high altitude you must learn to walk at a pace that you can actually sustain. At high altitudes, you have to do everything for yourself. So high altitude, spiritually, becomes solely about your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. No one can do it for you. It has to be your walk. It has to be your worship. It has to be your faith, and it has to be your relationship with the Holy Spirit. You can’t borrow stuff from other people like you did in the valley because the way life worked in the valley does not work on the mountain. It has to be you.”

THE CHURCH IS NOT CLOSED

The church is not closed – never has been – never will be, according to Ephesians 3:21. If you are not able to go to the church building of your choice tomorrow, CREATE YOUR OWN. Doing church at home is a great way to come together as a family. Have someone pick out a verse to share and discuss it as a family. YouTube is loaded with worship songs that have the words on the bottom. Pass juice and bread/crackers and take Communion together, talking about the meaning. Go around in a circle and share one thing you are thankful for (keep the game going until you run out of things to think of). Put on worship music (with or without words) and just lay quietly as a family, enjoying the peace of His presence. Ask Jesus what He wants to say to each person and spend time asking, listening, and sharing. Spiritual intimacy is great for family connections. Gather the kids and ask them for ideas – they always come up with great ideas. 

Remember that the Kingdom is JOY – partnering with JOY as a family for your home church brings the Father great delight. Play a game, laugh, be silly and enjoy the JOY. Invite another family over to join you!

FAMILY DEVOTIONS

People often ask me what I do for family devotions. I have done a variety of things over the years. My goal is to water their spirits every day just like I do their minds and tummies. I haven’t focused on the HOW as much as I have the WHAT. I felt led to buy each of them a personal devotion and a new journal for Christmas. I coached them on how to read, process, and journal. I felt like God was highlighting that my children are very comfortable with getting prophetic words for people, which I love, but sometimes we need to speak truth and life over people. It will only transform those around us if our words are anchored in HIS truth (the Word). I am having them read and process the following questions each day. 

What did this reveal to me about who God is? 

How can I relate to the story/Scripture? 

What can I be thankful for because of it? 

Who needs to hear this truth today? 

And then they are crossing their chicken lines and growing in their capacity to ask God to highlight one person who needs to hear the truth they now carry, and they are speaking it over them through text, phone call, or email. I feel like parents need to hear this. Were my kids jumping up and down at the thought of a new journal and devotions? No. Did they fully understand the heart behind the concept of journaling? No. Did they do it on their own? No. Did they thank me profusely for caring about their spiritual growth? No. Did I do it anyway? YES!!!!! Because in this house, we serve the Lord, and this is what He has led me to do with them.