“I came to Lisa because I was finally ready to admit something that was extremely painful. There was an apparent disconnect between myself and my oldest daughter, and I did not love her like my other child. Something in my life held me back from embracing her wholeheartedly. I remember holding her as an infant and not bonding with her; fear would not allow me to snuggle and kiss her. I was terrified of her dying of SIDS. As my wife and I met Lisa, she walked me through a beautiful process with the Holy Spirit of identifying when I first let fear into my life (before this session with Lisa, I hadn’t even considered this incident in 30 years). I was now able to forgive the family member and be set free from living under fear. That night right before bedtime, I sat down with my oldest daughter, looked her in the eyes, and said, ‘I have something important I want to tell you. When you were first born, I was so afraid that something bad could happen to you that I put up a wall of protection around my heart. Do you forgive me for not loving you with my whole heart?’ She said yes, and we hugged. I honestly don’t think that we have ever embraced like that in the seven years of her little life. Not only did the wall come down in my heart, but the wall in her heart came down. Presently my daughter and I are experiencing new levels of peace and freedom that, up until then, I had been jealous of. I have grieved for these moments, and now we are becoming whole.”
I want to plant a seed for you to ponder with the Lord. Does your ministry or area of influence reflect that of mothers and fathers caring for God’s family, or is it set up to function more like managers running a business? The latter will never produce the kind of fruit God wants His family to bear. If we are managers running a business, we will only promote those who make us look good, are excellent at what they do, and make little messes. We will choose people just like us who cause little friction. We will have success and image as the goal, not the journey. We will raise successful spiritual orphans who have learned that performance matters above character and capacity development. Sadly, this promotes rockstars of the hour, but they are not equipped to deal with the long-term weight of what God wants to do through them because they have never dealt with the issues in their foundation. If we lead from the position of mothers and fathers, we will allow God to bring to us whoever He feels best, even if that means a development process for both parties. We will judge our success by the fruit of a life transformed, even if it means there were messes made. We will value what He values, not the world. We will give those under us the gifts of a mother and father, such as being seen, heard, valued, instructed, etc., because a person can only really be their best when healthy mothers and fathers cover them. Managers may win awards and achieve success, but only mothers and fathers gain eternal rewards. Ask Jesus to show you if there is an area of your leadership and authority where you have functioned as a manager rather than a mother and father. Repent. Ask Jesus to show you how to model your leadership/influence after His. Enjoy the fruit He wants to grow and develop through your eternal legacy!
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?
A sweet friend who I have known and loved for over 20 years sent me a private message telling me that one of my posts did not bring her peace. My first thought was that I should remove the post out of love for her, as I would never want to be responsible for increasing someone’s fear. But it didn’t sit right with me. I held onto it for a few hours waiting for direction from the Lord. Finally, I heard Him say, “Peace is an inside job,” and I marinated in that truth all day. While we are to test all things according to His Word, the truth is someone’s post, the news, circumstances, and hard trials do not have to rob us of our peace. This is a spiritual muscle that many have been tested in lately. Are you keeping your peace, guarding it at all costs? Flex your muscle that says, “I am unmoved by anything other than the hand of God and remain anchored to His perfect peace!”
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.
My daughter was having an unusually rough day, and I kept catching her sneaking things, which was so out of character for her. We asked Jesus to shine His bright flashlight in her heart, which provoked her to ask me the meaning of her name. I showed her a fun book where she could look it up. Once she found it, she began to cry and said, “Oh, I am so glad! I thought my name meant deceiver.” I was shocked, but as I listened to her, I realized she had misunderstood something someone had said. She then partnered with the voice/thought that told her she was a deceiver and guess how she acted that day. We then asked Jesus what her name meant to Him, and she heard “hard worker.” Guess how she started acting since she heard that.
Here is the mental shift: my old way of parenting would have disciplined her for sneaking things and not being honest. While that is something I would want to deal with, it wasn’t the issue. The heart issue was that she believed a lie about her identity. Her joy and peace returned when her identity was secured in the truth.
Ask any adult who grew up in Minnesota in the ’80s who Jacob Wetterling is, and they will tell you. He was an 11-year-old boy who was abducted while riding his bike home, and his body was not found for 27 years. It left a bone-chilling fear in parents that the same thing could happen to their child. Parents kept their children safe by not letting them go out at night or roam the neighborhood like they once did. Countless parents partnered with FEAR over what happened to Jacob, and it shaped their parenting. The children watched their responses and learned how to handle uncertainty and danger. As a mother now myself, I get it, but what happened is that it taught a generation in that region about fear and feeling unsafe. Those kids, myself included, grew up with an undying fear that something terrible could happen. It was nearly 30 years later that I broke agreement with the fear and learned that I was safe at night.
How you respond to current events NOW has the potential to shape your child and how they respond to future crises. Are you teaching and modeling for them how to walk in fear and panic or confidence and faith? They are watching you and are learning how to respond in times of crisis.
Someone needs to break up with this false ‘protector’ as this mom shares: “I feel like I always used fear to protect me. Like it’s a deceptive tool the enemy used against me. Instead of me putting my trust in God, I put it in fear to keep me safe. As I’ve grown, I’ve seen how fear is actually a form of witchcraft because it is a form of control. Control is the absence of trust and faith in God.”
Do you like the girl in the mirror? Do you wish you had a mentor who could cheer you on? Do you feel alone in a room full of people? Do you always feel this distance in your heart? Do you often feel like something is wrong? If yes, I invite you to join the two-week online adventure of being seen, heard, and valued.
You can register here: Moms & Dads – ONLINE CLASS – Let the Children Fly