1.) IN all my busyness, I diligently protect enough “margin” (time alone with God and my family) in my life and days to live deeply at peace and stand still on the inside – no matter how much all spins on the outside.
2.) My soul finds Ultimate pleasure in the many dimensions of God I encounter and experience through every human I am allowed to cross paths with!!
3.) My deepest heart ache goes to children who are not properly loved. I wish I could take every child in the world – who isn’t/wasn’t lavished and adored and love them myself – even as much as I have been allowed the privilege of loving my own ten.
4.) I drink deeply of God directly through the sun. And a full moon. And all of nature.
5.) I have never lived “inside the box” and don’t want to be put in one when I die. I want to be cremated and thrown back into the ocean. Or for that matter, save a step and throw me overboard from a ship. But into the ocean….where I have spent so much of my life longing to be.
6.) I thoroughly enjoy drinking, mostly wine, but have NO desire to get drunk! I have drank regularly since I was 16, except when I was on ORU honor code. And I have never been close to drunk.
7.) I enjoy cigars – especially in my most sacred prayer times. (Goes back to native american indian ritual).
8.) My 5th generation back grandfather was Pushmatahaw – the greatest Choctaw Chief. (I even have a Choctaw name – Montema Yukpa. It means “Joyful deliverer of that which is sacred.”)
9.) My great-grandfather, Earl Jessup, co-founded and named the Assembly of God denomination.
His son, Charles Jessup, my dad’s father, was a great healing evangelist of the 20th century. He began tent revivals with the biggest tent Barnum and Bailey had ever created. He had the first hospital that combined prayer and medicine. And Oral Roberts and Elvis Presley both claimed him as their role model. (But I praise God for Oral Roberts and how much farther he actually took the Goodness of God!)
10.) I honestly believe the passionate and Victorious love of God is bigger and greater than any of us have ever begun to understand and in the end that GOD’S LOVE will win bigger than anything we can wrap our little minds around.
1.) IN all my busyness, I diligently protect enough “margin” (time alone with God and my family) in my life and days to live deeply at peace and stand still on the inside – no matter how much all spins on the outside.
I wrote a blog post recently on forgiveness and had a friend come to me and implore that I go into more detail and how to really walk out forgiveness and what that looks like. She said to me “You live it so naturally that you don’t even have to think about it. Some of us need more instruction on how to really forgive.” I was a little surprised and asked her how she knew that about me. Her answer contained so much wisdom. She responded “Because you have so many close people in your life and people are just messy. And yet you walk in a joy and love that I know only comes from living in a constant state of forgiving.” Wow…..she was right!
So, let’s talk about this a little, shall we?
I have often shared the quote “To not forgive another person is like taking poison (yourself) and thinking it will kill your offender.”
To forgive does not mean to forget.
Do you think Jesus could have forgotten the Cross? That was the greatest act of forgiveness known to man.
Inherent in forgiveness, are also lessons learned. It is ok if we choose (wisely) not to trust a certain individual again or limit that person’s presence in your life. But when we forgive, we let go of the offense. We let go of the hurt and the pain and the “YUCK” associated with that person or situation.
Someone asked me last week, “how do you know if you have really forgiven someone?” And I asked “Really forgiven? Your blood pressure doesn’t rise when you think of them or see them.” Your heart doesn’t beat faster and you do not get a PIT in your stomach. That is when you know that you have quit giving yourself the poison.
Truth is – I learned a long time ago that I would rather live free and at peace with everyone – myself, my God and everyone else in my life – than be tormented. Because ……..I LIKE TO BE HAPPY. It is a gift I give to myself. I do whatever it takes, every hour of my life, to feel good deep down to my core.
Unforgiveness and judgements – toward myself or another – are the fastest and most effective way to torment myself and feel all muddy inside.
And forgiveness does not mean internalizing things so deeply you simply ignore it or refuse to think about it. IF it is someone close to your daily existence, I highly recommend talking things through with that person. Even if you need to write a letter to get all your thoughts down on paper. It is always worth hashing thru to be at peace with the people in your life. But then you must allow the person the chance to respond. I most often discover, that person has a point of view shockingly different than mine and it is valid. Some humility makes this entire process far easier. LISTEN. AND BE TEACHABLE.
But if the person is “beyond” talking to, for any reason, than you process this out 100 % with the Lord Himself. Crying is one of the most beautiful healing tools that Father God gave to us. I am not promoting making or forcing yourself to cry. But when you have the urge……please……CRY.
For as you let the tears flow, they literally wash away pain and hurt and help you to relinquish all that you are trying so bitterly to hold onto. They also cleanse that toxin from your body that is most responsible for every sickness known to man, especially cancer. AS you cry and release all that pain, then the Father is able to come in and comfort and heal and help you in a supernatural way to love and forgive, like only HE can. Crying empties you of all the negative, while preparing the vessel to make a place for God. Then please call out to Him to come and meet you and replace the hurt and pain and all that muck with Himself. I promise He will do it, if you simply give Him permission and ask Him.
And if you can not cry, then either tell or write every single thing you want to say and every point that you have to Father God. Then be still and turn your heart toward Him and ask Him, give Him your permission, to come in and replace the hurt with forgiveness and to give you His perspective. He tells us “To be still and KNOW that I am God.” This is when you need to be still and KNOW your God. AFter I dump the contents of my heart and thoughts and feelings to Him, very honestly I might add, I always be still and look to Him and expect Him to meet me and change me and tweak me and make the differences in me that only HE can make. And He is sooo good at making, if I will allow Him to.
I have come to believe that most people are really doing the best they can do at any given time, considering all their circumstances. People, and all their choices, habits, and mindsets come about because of all they have been through. (Remember this particularly about your own parents. And how they were brought up by their parents. )
Everyone needs mercy. Grace. And compassion. You think about the things you wish people would give you more Grace about. Have you ever thought ”if they just knew about something or another.”
You probably know more about yourself and understand the reasons that you do the things you do and respond/react to things like you do, than anyone else knows about you.
If you simply sought to administer the same Grace and Mercy you always wish others showed to you, you would be much closer to a real life of walking in forgiveness and peace.
John 20:23 tells us that “Whatsoever sins we forgive are forgiven and what ever we retain, WE retain.” Whatever you do not forgive, you take on that “spirit”. We had a friend whose daddy was murdered by his business partner. This man could not forgive the murderer, but became consumed with murdering him for years. He became such a vivid murderer in his own heart. He lived daily with the torment of wanting revenge and to murder the murderer. That spirit of murder stole all that was good from him for many years. When he finally stood at gunpoint, with his gun at the man’s head, God spoke to him and released everything within him and he dropped the gun and bawled. He was finally set free. He forgave the man and became free of that spirit of murder.
When we forgive, WE become clean. We are set free. It has nothing to do with what the other person deserves, or asks for.
I used to be a counselor in a world renowned cancer center. I would spend 10 hours in one week, with one person, in intensive counseling. (I even had the wife of the president of the World Health Organization come in from Rome for this treatment.) What I learned was Almost every single cancer case was rooted in horribly valid and seemingly unforgivable offenses that had rotted the core of this person and had become the biggest thing they fed upon in their souls. Or occassionally it is something smaller, that the person just can not forgive.
To not forgive not only robs you of all peace, it it the biggest detriment to health. I will even go so far as saying – a heart that continually forgives and seeks peace benefits your health and is more important than even what you eat. To maintain your own heart attitudes and be at peace literally feeds your cells LIFE AND VITALITY.
Science has discovered that everything has frequencies. And the frequency of Love literally heals your DNA. While the opposites destroy.
Give yourself the greatest gift you can give yourself – Choose to be someone who always chooses to forgive. Always walk it through authentically, because your body will not be fooled. Somethings are much harder and take more time to forgive.
BUT YOU CHOOSE -
THAT YOU WILL FORGIVE
THAT YOU MAY BE SET FREE!!!
I lost a baby girl 19 years ago today. Her name was Angel. We still remember her and honor her on this day, because she will forever be a part of us and is here for all eternity. I want to share here what the Lord spoke to me so clearly 10 days after she parted from me. In hopes to encourage another one of you who has been through this.
Though faith can move a mountain, if the mountain does not move as you so desire, that does not mean it is because you did not have enough faith.
One of the greatest fallacies that Christians fall prey to is believing that because they have done all they know or were told to do, as scripturally instructed, God will perform to their scripturally or personally based expectations. When He does not comes through, this causes a “crisis of faith”. This happens in most believers lives, at some point.
As one who has walked with the Lord for over 40 years, I will tell you – most unfortunately – that often times……GOD…..DOES NOT….do what I want or expect!
He does not perform and do things the way(s) we know or think He should, or as any good parent would do for their offspring.
Trust me, I have had it out with Him on this very point. Asking why He can not parent and provide for us at least as well as I would my own children?
Can anyone relate?
You may feel that is a bit blasphemous, but He and I have this really honest thing going. I know that He is not challenged by my questions.
What I have learned is that He is the only one big enough to always be trusted. EVEN WHEN WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND HIM! And more often than not, I will just tell you – we can not begin to wrap our little minds around His greatness or His methods.
He ALWAYS has a plan and it is ALWAYS for our best. I have walked long enough and real enough with Him to become convinced of this with all my heart! And that takes walking through a lot of crap!!
Oftentimes, we feel that God speaks a word to us, and then does not do what He says He will do. I want to suggest – God does not lie and you did not mishear Him.
The variance here is that we think we know what He meant by what He said, but the reality is that we do not.
When you are believing till the end that God is going to heal your loved one of cancer, because He told you He would, IN THIS LIFE, and then he dies…..
WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TO THINK??
I have been intimately involved in this very scenario a number of times. Makes me want to bawl even now. But I watched the Father bring these men to more wholeness and trust with Him and in their lives while they were ailing, than they ever came to before their sickness.
I could honestly say, with all my heart, God raised them up whole in this life. Not in their physical shells, as we so desperately desired.
But they left this realm of existence WHOLE. Not perfect mind you….just healed and whole in their relationships with their Father God and others.
And may we all seek that wholeness and trust – above everything else. Because it is the most important thing in this life journey.
If you feel that Father God has told you something and then “dropped the ball”, seek Him and find out what He meant, beyond your mortal understanding.
I still do not understand WHY the Lord let my Daddy die 18 years ago. He left 16 grandkids, who needed him in all the tremendous uniqueness and love he offered as a grandfather. Not to mention, his wife and daughters and the entire rest of his world. He loved like no one else I have ever known.
But I know God raised him up whole. Why not physically…I still don’t know. But I do know with all my heart, ONLY AS I TRUST MY FATHER WILL I WALK THE REST OF MY LIFE WITH ANY PEACE.
Our human tendency in severe crisis is to run away from God. I have learned to run to Him, with every single conflict – from great to seemingly minuscule. I am brutally honest, with both humility and respect, and pour out the contents of my heart and mind completely. Then I “be still and KNOW my God”. Then I wait on Him to come to me and either speak a word or give me peace and understanding, that passes ALL my mental understanding or thoughts.
But as I wait on Him to make the difference in me that I need to survive – HE comes through with understanding and peace!!!
He is Faithful!
He is always there. He always “catches” me. Strengthens me. Develops me further. Makes the differences only He can make. And I go on….feeling more HIS than ever before. This Struggle works out to be my greatest security in all the world. Rather than lost in an abyss, totally swallowed up in darkness and hopelessness, which is where we find ourselves when we run away from Him, I find myself held in His bosom, protected, loved, and cherished.
Sometimes Father God gives us the answers we cry out for…sometimes only peace, sometimes with understanding. Sometimes the answer come immediately, sometimes not. But isn’t trusting Him and walking in His peace worth more than everything there is.
As we try to wade through this life, inevitably having to deal with STUFF we would have never chosen for ourselves, those we love, or anyone else for that matter, let’s step into the journey of life with the Father in a constant renewing state of trust as the foundation of that relationship.
My Father is big enough to carry us. He weeps with those of us who are weeping. He loves us beyond anything we could ever fathom. We have nothing or no one greater. And HE IS ENOUGH! I have personally and intimately discovered, through all that life can throw at me- HE IS ENOUGH!!!
PS. If you are journeying with someone who is fighting for their life, may I offer a suggestion. You stand with them until the very end, on all the scripture you can, and believe with them for their supernatural physical healing. I know God raises people up from their death beds. But should He choose not to, have the talks you need to have and prepare for what could be their end. It will come at some point in this life, so that is not wasted energy and does not show “lack of faith”. It was a tremendous regret of my family that we did not prepare for God to move differently than we thought He should. And we lost both my father and sister, never talking about “what if”, or saying any kind of good-byes. Only believing for physical healing in this life, til the last breath.
PSS. Life is our greatest gift! Along with Jesus Christ! But consider everyday, with every person you love, an ultimate privilege. Never, ever take lives for granted. We are not “owed” another day with anyone.
Recently I read a line from one my favorite theologian, Henri Nouwen, that so resonated with me. He said “The goal is human wholeness, not divine perfection.” I loved that because I have long believed that there are two kinds of people in the world – whole and unwhole. No one can reach or attain perfection, even if you spend your life trying. You can become whole, but there is such a difference between whole and unwhole.
And this is what I have been contemplating a lot lately. FOR EVERYONE GOES THROUGH STUFF!!! S____T HAPPENS! Some from our own choices, and sometimes we are just simply victims. But the difference that makes or breaks us and determines our wholeness or brokenness is how we process through these unwanted things that happen to us. Primarily…….DO WE FORGIVE?
For example: David, my husband, and I can interact with a 60 year old man, who acts and relates just like a 17 year old boy, and we know that something tramatic happened in his life at 17 that he never worked through. He never grew past it into adult WHOLENESS. He chose not to ever forgive. Thus…he never matured past 17 emotionally and relationally. We see this reality all the time.
Where a person, especially a young person, is encouraged and allowed to “process” through the trials, struggles, and wounds authentically and is encouraged to forgive, they can come through Whole. Wherever we do not forgive, we get stuck! Forever…..but we don’t see how it defines our unwholeness.
We know a number of families going through a divorce. We have coached the parents on being real and talking through everything honestly with their children. When the kids know the real truth of why their parents are getting a divorce, then the kids honestly can share what all that they are feeling and ask questions, process their reality, and then be walked through forgiveness. Which the parents will probably be having to learn at the same time. For we can get through ANYTHING in this way. And come through as stronger adults.
But whenever children are not allowed to talk and process with real information about the crisis, of any sort, they are left broken. Usually if information is withheld, they will make or create their own inaccurate stories, and often blame themselves. Unfortunately… for their entire adult lives. Until they learn and choose forgiveness.
“To not forgive is like you are taking poison and thinking it will kill the other person, that wronged you”.
Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, for your own wholeness and peace of mind. Not because the other person “deserves” it, because they usually don’t. But you do this so that you may be WHOLE.
And this is one of the greatest life lessons, that you can ever teach your children. For when a person forgives and can let go of a hurt, they can “move on”.
“Whole” people choose to deal with today’s situation, talk it through, work it through, and move on.
Broken people have a very difficult time forgiving or simply dealing with whatever current situation is at hand, without pulling in all sorts of other baggage, that seems unrelated to the current situation.
They can seem very “complicated” to deal with. For in their heart of hearts, it ALL goes back to that original hurt they can not forgive. At this point every additional hurt accumulates and is blown extremely out of proportion.
Do yourself, and every one in your life a favor, and choose to live a life of forgiveness. Process through whatever hurts you need to. Ask the Father to reveal to you the original root wound, and any other additional hurt you may have hidden from yourself.
Write a letter to Father God, or another person, but at least be honest with yourself. And after you talk it all through, with God, yourself or another person – THEN CHOOSE FORGIVENESS.
THAT YOU MAY LIVE WHOLE! God wants us to walk in the freedom of wholeness. He is not waiting for your perfection. Jesus was PERFECT, and his redemption has already accomplished THAT for you! Praise be to God!!!
The blood of Jesus and His righteousness is what makes you perfect before Father God. And only that!! NOTHING else!
Your wholeness depends on your ability to forgive, as you walk in HIS forgiveness. You may have to continually ask the Father to “Perfect His strength in your weakness.” And I have found, He loves and He runs to answer that prayer of yours.
I am one of those “seize the day” kinda people, who seeks to live each and every moment to the fullest. My Daddy showed me, with his life, how to swell and fill with all the breath, love and glory a moment could hold until your soul could contain no more, without bursting.
But this morning I got a new angle/revelation on love and relationships, that spans time. I was calling my 23 year old son-man Samuel, and as the phone was ringing, my soul traversed his lifetime. I was thinking of him for not only the amazing man he is today, in this moment and hour, but remembering the angel he was at 3 years old. The budding responsible man he was becoming as a preteen boyscout. When he first began playing football and the drive and determination he has always had, that just keeps growing.
And then under all that tough, incredibly strong man that he is – cherishing the heart and soul that has always been right under his skin.
I then jolted with this entire revelation. (all before his voice mail came on.)
I do that with all my children. They are never to me, only who they are at this moment in time. I am always cognizant of their entire package – from whence they came and all the ways they have developed and grown. With a world of potential out there in front.
Then I realized the Father does the same towards us!! He is NEVER hung up on who we are at this moment, but so embraces our total package. He is always aware of every drop of where we come from, even the details we are unaware of. Things that effect us like generational ties or bondages or heritage. AND He knows where we are going. He has so much more tolerance, if you will, for us than we ever could.
He gets us! He knows us. He accepts and embraces us.
HIS LOVE IS TOTAL AND COMPLETE!
I just began crying, overwhelmed with the understanding in a new way, of Father’s love for me, for us.
So, if someone you love is “stuck” in a hard spot, remember the sweet little boy or girl they used to be. Recall a time that what you saw and knew was soo positive. That is WHO they really are. That soul still resides in them. That is who you are to respond to…to help them find their way home.
So often, life really messes with our very souls. But under whatever hurts and hard times we must go through, our basic soul remains.
May we learn to cherish and cultivate the good in one another’s souls, and make that our focus, above any aberration we may see today.
Well, of couples who genuinely pray together and get down and be honest before God and with each other, only 1 in 1,250 get a divorce! The wild thing is – how much Jesus really does make a difference in our lives, whenever and wherever we let Him. And how few of us let Him, often enough.
But to the degree that you are truly the ONE on your throne, ruling and reigning over your life as you feel and see fit, it will really stink. I hate to admit this – but it is completely true. And David and I experience enough of both, to know fully well the huge difference.
When we are on our own throne, rather than letting His Lordship rule over all, then it can get really stinky. When He is allowed to rule, and we ask for His love, that we do not possess in and of ourselves, then we rise way above our ugly selves and it is a beautiful thing. Some hours He rules and some hours we rule. And we have learned many times the hard way, to put Him back on the throne, when WE have replaced His Lordship with our own.
Healing and true connection all begin with humility. The more you are willing to soften your hearts and be real with yourselves, each other and your God, the further you will go with one another.
Realize this journey of life, you chose to do together. And sometime we simply bring out the worst in each other. But whenever you choose to remember that you are on the same team and put yourselves back on each other’s page, therein truly melts the need to be defensive or simply vying to be understood. You both choose you want to understand each other, and yourselves, as seen and known by the other.
YOU EACH MAKE A CHOICE THAT YOU WANT TO GROW AND MAKE THIS ALL WORK AND BECOME ALL THAT YOU WERE MEANT TO BE INDIVIDUALLY AND AS A COUPLE.
David and I have worked through so much MUCK with the Holy Spirit being our only counselor. The bible refers to the Holy Spirit as our Counselor. In our day and time of therapist of every nature, not many access Him for that purpose. But we would come together and get down on our faces and both cry to the Lord, being honest about how we felt and thought, giving both the chance to fully vent and then we would lie still until the Holy Spirit came and lead us what to do next. IT WAS BIZARRE! we did that for a year and a half, all the time, as we travailed through our hardest year and a half ever. (about 15 years ago) And HE ALWAYS MET US!!! The Holy Spirit would melt our hearts and let us see truly into one another’s hearts and use us to facilitate healing in each other’s lives and make us feel that we were on the same page. WE were in this thing together!
Whenever you choose to share hearts, and it should become a regular endeavor, you may begin with prayer and just ask the Father to give you His love and understanding into the other.
Decide you want to truly KNOW the other’s heart, as well as sharing your own.
Then one of you completely speaks your heart and mind on one subject, while the other truly listens. Then person 2 shares, and gives their honest feedback. It really helps if you can stick to one subject before going on. Make notes as you go if need be, so as not to forget the things you want to come back to or rabbit trails you need to pursue at the end of this present discussion. Talk until you cover it all – as much as possible in one conversation, or taking weeks to get through it all or even months, since it took a long time to get here.
IT IS WORTH TALKING THROUGH EVERYTHING. If it matters to either one of you, than it matters to the both of you!
Go into each “session” with each other honestly wanting to understand and get on each other’s page, more than you ever have. I promise it is so fulfilling and empowers you both and feels so good and right.
Your biggest goal here is to understand each other’s hearts, feeling and perspectives. There is joy in this journey. Every time you get in a mode of defensiveness and self preservation – YOU WILL NOT LIKE WHAT HAPPENS. Step back, take a time out and come back into the ring with humility – to learn of the other and from the Holy Spirit.
Hear each other out completely without interrupting. And then give the other time to fully respond. Rememmber – to choose not to forgive is like taking poison and thinking it will kill the other person. If you want to be truly free, you choose love, forgiveness and understanding. Pray continually for the Father to show you His heart toward the other. You will love what He gives you, I promise.
For you see………God is never looking at either of you and shaking His head and wondering “when will he/she get their stuff together??” He gets you. He knows you and He is crazy about each of you and just the unique ways HE made you both. And He already knows all the dynamics of you two as a team and how you can complement each other and become only good for each other. And He is more than willing to give you that, if you are only willing to learn from Him.
God has told me He can do whatever miracles are ever needed to make any relationship new and beautiful, where BOTH people are willing to learn and grow. I promise………it is soo worth it. Give each other a chance, start over, become each other’s friend and closest confidant and watch the deep fulfillment and joy He will bring.
And laugh together as much as you can!!!
I have heard the health of a marriage can be measured by how much fun and laughter is shared between 2 people. Learn to laugh at yourselves and delight in one another. Even things that tend to irritate you about each other. Start just accepting as you laugh together.
Today, my heart sings and rejoices over the work of God in my children’s lives, so deep and intimate. My boys becoming such amazing men. Thank you Father for your promise “Great peace shall my children have, for they shall be taught of the Lord.”! Thank you for being the Ultimate Father and teaching my children yourself and making up for the difference in all the areas we fail or lack.
I want to share with you one of the most encouraging chats the Father and I had many years ago, about parenting. Out of nowhere, He asked me “Do you have any idea how big a decision it was for me to trust parenting to the human race?” Before I could even answer, He laughed and said, “No, you have NO idea. Even the most perfect parents, with the most perfect hearts, can only be perfect for a few days at a time, without blowing something. And every human has weaknesses and blind spots, they do not even know they have. (Yippee, right?) But the beauty of My plan, is that where ever I am invited into make up the differences, I love to do just that! “
WHAT FREEDOM! And relief from the myth of being a perfect parent. Soo, knowing how “human” we are, David and I fully embraced this offer and invitation and believed it with all of our hearts. I don’t think anyone, who cares, could use this as a cop out. Because every caring, loving parent truly wants to do all they can possibly do for their kids, and yet we all know how much we fall short of perfection. Right???
“Sit with that” as my dear Yvonne always says. Ask the Lord to even reveal more to you of the Magnificence of His offer here and get it deep in your heart. You are not at this parenting thing alone!!! He has promised to make up for all your lack and differences – where you don’t “meet the mark”. What great confidence and security this can bring to us, when we get a hold of this Truth in our life! What peace!!
And what a beautiful work we get to behold as the Father works in our children’s hearts and lives, completely separate from us. It is a daily occurrence in my life, having all these children to watch, and it still amazes me every time. I stand in awe of God and the difference He makes in my children’s life.
The ways He pursues them, draws them to Himself, challenges them, inspires them, corrects them and tells them sweet secrets is incredible to me.
Now, I do know - that He is doing that – even if you have not asked Him to. But it is HIS GREAT PLEASURE TO JOIN YOU, ON YOUR PARENTING TEAM, AND BE INVITED TO LITERALLY MAKE UP FOR YOUR DIFFERENCES OR LACK. I believe the more we ask, the more involved He becomes. And I know a little bit, of how MUCH we all need HIM.
There is a scripture that says, “God perfects all that concerns us.” Get real honest with Him today and let Him know all your concerns. Submit them to Him and invite Him in – to make all the differences only He can make – but that He is sooo good at making! And then….Go your way….Listening (in case He gives you something new for them), Trusting and literally Rejoicing!
As I asked them all their thoughts on this matter, Sam responded with a quote his friend Joel told him that his dad says (Our pastor Roger). “Rules and Regulations, WITHOUT RELATIONSHIP, causes rebellion.” We have always cared far more about their hearts than their behaviors. So, in that process, they have learned how to “behave” beautifully and be a blessing to their worlds – from their own hearts. Make sense?
Unfortunately, most parents go about this backwards. If a child trespasses, in any area, the parents deals with the trespass. But our higher concern, has always been what is going on in their hearts? What are they thinking and feeling?? The Lord Himself has taught David and I both to always run to Him in complete honesty with whatever we are thinking, rather than running away. He has always “validated” our hearts and thoughts and helped us then to grow from that point of honesty. So, that is what we do with our kids. We never attempt to “shame” them for anything they feel or struggle with. We acknowledge their humanness. We talk about the difference the Lord wants to make and that He can make in their situations, and understandings and inclinations. We all acknowledge together, our desperate need for Him. We are very comfortable with our humanness and theirs. We KNOW that we only rise above our humanness, to any point of strength, as we submit our weaknesses for Him to perfect His strength in.
Anytime, any of our kids are struggling in any area, this is what we want to get to the core of….what is going on in their hearts. For as the heart comes into alignment, so do our actions. It would behoove us all to remember how much God Himself talks about looking at the heart of every matter, and every person, far more than He is concerned with the superficial reflections thereof.
(Back in July of 09, I wrote a post called “I am Ashamed” that may also bring further insight on this subject.)
My son Daniel is an RA at Oral Roberts University. Recently, he had to deal with a couple of boys caught for repeated marijuana usage. I reminded him to attempt to find out what was going on in their hearts and lives that propagated the action, even more importantly than disciplining them for it immediately. He smiled and responded, “I know Mom, that is what I am doing.”
When your kids believe that you care about their actual struggles and feelings and thoughts, they are much more inclined to want to listen to your input and opinions. I want to share a story from my college days… A situation I had with my Daddy. There was a period of time that I dated a few of the black basketball players on our ORU team. (Never mattered to me what color anyone is.) My Dad was always trying to convince me that this was wrong, according to scripture. So one day, on the phone, while he was home in Houston and I was in Tulsa, we got in this huge wonderful debate. (Fight). I made him present to me every scripture he could to support his case, and basically refuted each one, based on context, etc.
At the end, he conceded and admitted that it may not be wrong scripturally, but that it was a huge struggle culturally. And that marriage was hard enough, when you came from all the same backgrounds in common and understood each other’s roots completely. Since my Dad felt so strongly about it, I realized then that The Lord probably had a white man in mind for me and I could avoid a lot of needless heartbreak by honoring my Daddy. So I did. And he was right, about my life.
But I will tell you, if any of my children chose anyone of a different race or color, it would not be an issue with me in the least.
I honored my Dad because He was willing to hear my heart and express his heart to me.
Kids need to know what we think and believe. That is why our kids were given to us (specifically). But it is not our duty or right to tell them how they must live. WE give them all that we can, and then trust the Spirit of God to move in their lives. I will go so far as to say….if you forbid anything, it is almost interpreted to them as an invitation, as soon as they can get away with it. Is that not what Father God dealt with in the garden with His very first kids?? Selah
I have just never seen forbidding work, as a successful parenting tool.
I hope I don’t step on too many toes here, or offend your senses, but I want to share something very honestly, to maybe spare you the pain of children who leave your home and then “freak out”, or go over the edge.
This is simply a great illustration of the whole principle I am talking about. Let’s talk about drinking alcohol.
IF you have alcoholism in your family blood line, it is probably not a wise thing to have it in your home for everyone to freely consume. Or if you are in a some position of leadership that you have chosen to never drink, because you don’t want to cause anyone to stumble, then that is all good. It is important for you to share all these thoughts and convictions with your children. But let them discuss things with you and ask you questions, without “threatening” your authority. And you should be honest enough with them to let them know they will not go to hell if they consume alcohol, or any other such behavior that you do not support.
American Christians seem to be more hung up on this than anyone worldwide. Jesus wasn’t. There is no valid “excuse” for his very first “Miracle”. WE all know what that miracle was.
May I share with you some of my real history here? I was raised in a very Godly home. The Lord was the center and focus of all that we did and lived for. I began having a glass of wine with dinner, with my Dad, around the age of 16. Legal age at that time in TX was 18. He told me not to drink outside of the house. And when I was on ORU Honor Code I did not drink.
But I have maintained a glass, early in the evening, for 3-4 nights a week my entire life. To this day, and I am 50 years old, I have never been close to drunk or even tipsy. When our kids turn 18, we allow them to have wine with us. No one ever drinks more than a glass. And I have many Christian friends who share our belief system here, and our wine, and I have yet to ever see one person, family or friend anywhere close to tipsy here.
WE teach our children that you never need more than one drink of anything really, but water. One glass of wine, one glass of milk or juice, one soda, etc., and then water. All you want of it! And so my whole family is quite comfortable with moderation and does not feel any need to go beyond our home to try anything more.
Yes, we firmly believe you should share with your children all your beliefs and convictions. And then as they come of age, let them be their own people. God does. He accepts and adores everyone of us – where ever we are on our journeys. Allow your children the precious gift of being able to talk to you about anything that matters to them, even encouraging them to “think out loud” and process with them. You will probably be fascinated with your children’s minds and souls and their abilities to think for themselves. Cultivate that! Do not stifle it.
I am sorry if any of this offends you, or rubs you wrong. I felt a huge need for honesty here, since most parents I know are struggling significantly – over these very points. I will tell you most genuinely….all 10 of my children have very authentic and thriving relationships with the Lord themselves. None of us come close to perfect, but Jesus is truly the focus and Lord of each one of our hearts and lives.
IF YOU WILL MAKE KNOWING AND UNDERSTANDING THE HEARTS OF YOUR CHILDREN A HIGHER PRIORITY THAN POLICING ALL OF THEIR ACTIONS, YOU WILL FIND, AS WILL YOUR CHILDREN, THERE IS NOTHING TO REBEL AGAINST.
(A word from my son Caleb.) Hey there, this is Caleb – 17 year old son of David and Toni Fowler. My mom asked me to read this blog to give her feedback and correction, if she needed it. She also gave me permission to add a comment. I happily accepted!
So before I say my piece, I’d like to make a quick disclaimer here: I may not be quite as polite with my wording as my mother is, I strongly believe in everything my mom just said, and everything I’m about to say. That being said, if I offend you with this, then I apologize. However, I’m going to say it anyway because I believe that it needs to be said. So if I do offend any of you, and you happen to live in our area, well then by all means please confront me about it to let me know how many “toes I stepped on.” I will be more than willing to converse individually with anyone who wants.
Though everything my mom blogs on are things that her and my dad have taught all us kids our entire life, I always get something out of them. This particular subject however has a certain significance to me. Just in the last couple years of my life, I’ve really come to realize just how special my parents are. I couldn’t be more thankful for the way that they have raised me, and a large majority of it happens to be about this topic right here.
When you’re told not to do something, what does that make you want to do? Parents have to realize that us kids, we’re people too. I want you to think about the last person that you met. Were they nice? Respectable? Did they give you a firm handshake or make eye contact? Did they make you feel like you matter and are important? Or perhaps they blew you off, failed to even ask your name, etc. How did that make you feel? Did you feel dis-respected? Maybe you felt because they didn’t show you any respect, why should you show them any?
That right there, is the thought process that kids have, toward their parents. Though it may sound crazy, parents have to first teach respect by giving respect to their kids, and then trust me, it will be returned. In the days we live in now, kids around my age are beginning to search for who they are. And for most parents, that is inconveniently the age that we get our drivers license. If you have a kid who’s about to get his/her license, and that worries you more than it should, then I think it’s time to check your parenting. As parents, it’s your job to make sure that your kids are confident in who they are in Christ. That is far more significant than any rule you could ever give us.
It is because I have been given respect by my parents, and because I know who I am in Christ, that I’ve never had the need to go out and party or get drunk. Parents, you guys have to realize that to us, a drivers license is freedom. So when most kids hit the age of 16 and acquire their license, if we don’t know who we are, we’re going to go searching in places that we shouldn’t.
My parents have always shown us love, and acceptance, and respect. It’s out of this love that we want to honor them, kind of like how our relationship with God should be.
Please, take it from me, a 17 year-old kid. If you truly respect your children, and will raise them this way, they will respect you in return.
PS. Caleb is going on missions this summer to Panama and Costa Rica. He is raising those funds now for his trip. He works 2 jobs along with being a full time student and is doing really well at all of it! If you would like to donate any money to help him you may make checks out to “One to the Other” Ministries”, with his name in the memo. Our mailing address is 8177 S. Harvard, # 711, Tulsa, Ok. 74137. Thank you!
Over the years, I have come to progressively realize how much less I need to tell the Lord all that I think and feel and how much more I simply need to absorb HIM! I have shared with you some of this journey, especially in my post “Be still and Know that I am God”.
I am currently reading this wonderful book by Henri Nouwen, called “Spiritual Direction – Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith” that is tremendous. It is about our very real journeys in building real relationships with the Lord.
Nouwen outlines this one “meditation”, that is so complete, and covers everything. I believe it could sustain a beautiful growing relationship with the Lord for a very long time.
He recommends “For the first ten minutes or so, you repeat the following words slowly and fervently “JESUS, YOU ARE THE BELOVED.” Allow you heart and mind to fill with Praise, as you let this Truth permeate your being.
For the next 10 minutes or so, you repeat and ponder, “JESUS, I AM THE BELOVED.” IF you would let that sink in to every cell and fiber of your being, that conviction alone could change your life.
And the final affirmation to meditate on, and it is a biggee :), is “JESUS, WE ARE ALL THE BELOVED.” Let that settle into your heart and enable you to have compassion and forgiveness for the people and situations that have undone you.
I have realized that anytime you have angst in your heart, you may probably relieve it by focusing your heart and attention on one of these affirmations.
May they soften and free your soul as you access the very heart of God, through these 3 most important Truths.
Jesus is the Beloved!
You are the Beloved!
And we are all the Beloved!!
That is enough to change your day, and your life, if you really allow it. SELAH