It's Time to Burn the Barbie Dream House

I've had one.

You've had one.

We all have built up a Barbie Dream House in our minds about what our lives should look like.

They are all a little different and yet somehow they are all the same. They are the the little picture perfect life that we want our lives to resemble.

We spend our time, money, and energy trying to achieve our Barbie Dream Houses. We believe that if we could just achieve it - we would have peace.

But it's a lie.

As Believers in Jesus Christ, our peace must come from Him alone.

If we gain peace because we have achieved a perceived circumstance in our lives, it is actually a false peace. And the Barbie Dream House has become an idol.

We cannot find our identity in our Barbie Dream Houses. We find our identity in Christ.

God will never allow us to be at peace apart from Him. He is the peace-giver...not some set of perfect circumstances.

Picking up our cross and following Him requires that we lay down our fleshly dreams and pick up His. We have better and lasting possessions in Heaven.

As Believers, we live for the reward we will receive in heaven, not the temporal one here on earth.

Burning down the expectations of your Barbie Dream House will be the greatest freedom you have ever known!

Let all of your kingdoms fall and surrender it all! Pick up your cross and follow Him...

He's got a better plan for you anyway!

The Most Important Thing a Parent Can Give Their Child

My family is in the midst of a seasonal change in life.  My eldest is spreading his wings and going his own way.  We had supper with him the other night before he left for his summer job which is 4.5 hours away. 

Even though I know my job as a mother is not finished, my role will be changing and it’s time to turn the page.

As we were driving to the restaurant, I posed a question to the Lord.  It was probably due to my melancholy state of mind as my first son was moving to a new phase. 

I said, “Lord what is the most important thing a parent could give their child?  And did I do it?”

I didn’t know what He would say.  Would the answer be helping him to know God’s voice or giving Him an understanding in His Word.  Was the most important thing humility or trusting that God’s will was always better than my son’s will?

I had so many things on my list of what the most important thing could be…

Father God’s answer to me was a bit of a surprise, “The most important thing you have given your sons was an identity rooted in Me.”

As I pondered God’s answer, it made a lot of sense to me.

If my sons have an identity rooted in their Heavenly Father, they will never be orphans.   If my husband or myself is taken from this world earlier in life – my sons will always have their Heavenly Father.

They know Who created them and that He has a purpose for them in this life, because they are rooted in the family of God.

My sons can have peace because they KNOW that they are perfectly loved by their Heavenly Father.  No matter who rejects them in this earthly life – their peace can never be taken from them because they know Whose opinion really matters.

They will never need to be worried about being provided for or protected.  Their Father in Heaven knows their every need, all they need to do is ask.

They have assurance that no matter what life brings them, they are sons of the Most High.  Their identity rests in the knowledge that they are co-heirs with Christ.

If their identity is truly rooted in the Heavenly Father – nothing will be impossible for them, nothing is ever truly lost, they will never be powerless, they will always have Someone watching over them to help them achieve greatness.

If you have not helped your children to understand that they have a great big Heavenly Daddy who loves them more than anything, then today is the day to give them the most important thing a parent can give them.

Tell them their Dad in Heaven is watching over them, that He is FOR them, and that nothing shall be impossible as long as they seek His will FIRST!

Prophecy: The Power of Kingdom Marriages Is About to Explode

For the Lord would say:

“Marriages have been under tremendous stress for several years.  The enemy knows that if He can break up the foundation of My Kingdom then He can create havoc with the lack of unity.  My earthly Kingdom was built on the marriage of Adam and Eve.  They were my first Power Couple. 

Before the fall, Adam and Eve were unified as one.  They experienced the power that comes with the two becoming ONE!  In their unity, I was able to dwell with them on the earth.  I used them to rule over the earth.  They were knit together as One person.  They both had authority and their word was the law on earth before the fall.

The enemy was able to destabilize the first marriage when Adam and Eve sinned.  Since then, overthrowing marriages has been a main focus of the Destroyer.  He has prowled around looking for whom he may devour.

Some of My people have suffered greatly in Satan’s attempt to undermine marriages.  Some marriages have died through divorce.  Some marriages are in paralysis because of offense and a lack of love.  Other marriages have been kept from advancing forward because of childhood trauma.  

Don’t underestimate the lengths that the Destroyer will go to in order to ruin the institution of Marriage.  He is taking a swipe at Me,” says the Lord.

“But don’t underestimate My grace either!  For even though I have remained silent for a period of time, I AM about to ROAR at the enemy concerning the restoration of Kingdom Marriages.  I have seen your suffering.  I have heard your prayers.  I have held you as you cried.  I have been with you every step of the way.  I will not let this suffering continue, for I am about to pour out my grace with such a liberality that it will stun not only the people on earth, it will stun all of hell.

The enemy thinks he is winning on the issue of marriage, but he has played right into My hands,” says the Lord.

“Marriages that seem too far gone and utterly irreparable will be restored in record time.  I can take a broken and wayward marriage and put it back together in one week’s time.  I going to show off and put some of the marriages that have been under years of great stress and put them back together in a day.

The enemy has gone too far.  I always remain silent and let him think he’s won – just before I rip out the rug from underneath him.

Marriages that are in a rut will suddenly find themselves with momentum.  Old feelings will be stirred and new life will spring up in the middle of dried up relationships that have been suffering from famine.  My grace will pour out on these stagnant marriages and they will find that seeds planted long ago will suddenly spring to life and adventure and excitement will replace the stagnation.

Others who have suffered the pain of unjust divorce will swiftly find their new Adam or Eve and I will bless their unions in a way they never thought possible.  I will give them beauty for ashes.  I will give them unity in place of their rejection.

Still, others who have been waiting for My hand to move in their lives and trusted Me to bring them a spouse have honored Me in such a noble way that when I bring them the spouse I have planned, I am going to grant a grace that leads to unity that has not been seen since before the fall.

I AM restoring the Power Couple marriage to this earth!  The enemy will be sorry that he tried to touch the institution of Marriage.  I am going to do something in these last days that will make up for the past thousands of years of broken marriages.  You are blessed to be able to witness the end time Power Couple marriages. You are blessed to be part of them.

I have need of Power Couples!  I have need of UNITY in the home!  I Am repairing and restoring the institution of Marriage.  My Power Couples will decree things into the earth and they will see it happen before their eyes.  They will pray and I will move mountains.  They will honor me with their Song of Solomon passion and the enemy will not be able to touch them.  My Power Couples will lead churches and businesses.  They will rule in government.  They will create new entertainment that will disciple the world through their stories.  Nothing shall be impossible for My Power Couples – they will bring heaven to earth.

Rejoice, My people!  I have saved the best for last!

Satan has gone too far and now he will suffer again like the day when I retrieved the keys to the gates of hell and death.

I AM RETRIEVING THE KEYS TO KINGDOM MARRIAGES FROM HELL!!

It is ALL in preparation for the coming Wedding!   The Wedding that will mark the end of the age.  The world as you know it will end with a Power Couple – the marriage of the Lamb and the Bride.

Receive these words and worship Me!  Praise Me!  I Am doing something new!  Trust in Me and begin decreeing over your own marriage as well as other people in your life that you have a Kingdom Marriage and that you are a Power Couple!”

Wives, Are You Worshiping Your Husband Instead of God?

Sometimes I write articles with the voice of a "lamb," and sometimes I write articles with the voice of a "lion."  This particular subject I believe that God is a "lion" about because it has to do with idolatry inside the home.  I have written about One Flesh Marriage before with the voice of a "lamb."  

You can read that by clicking HERE.

But this article I have written with the voice of a "lion" - proceed at your own risk. 😊

Wives, Are You Worshipping Your Husband Instead of God?

There is a troubling teaching that has permeated the Church regarding the relationship between husbands and wives.  It is a teaching which puts the husband on a throne in a home.  It’s a teaching about headship in which the husband ends up becoming the “King” of the home.

This teaching says that husbands have the “final say” over everything in the home.  It teaches that the word “submission” to a wife means that she has no power except what the husband will allow.

This destructive teaching has ruined so many marriages.  The twisted definition of two people becoming one flesh has come to mean that a wife must give up her own identity in order to fulfill the directives of the husband.  This is not one flesh.  This is a slave/master relationship.

God did not create the husband and wife relationship to be that of a slave and master.  When Jesus died on the cross, He rolled back the curse all the way back to the beginning.  His blood paid for the sin of both Adam and Eve.  In the garden, before the fall, they were equal.  In the garden, they were one flesh.  In the garden, they submitted to one another and focused on fulfilling the assignment of God to name the animals.

It wasn’t until after the fall that an imbalance came into the institution of marriage.

I have personally had to come out from under this teaching in order to fulfill my destiny.  I tried very hard to fit into the mold that I would be called a good, submissive wife by the Church.  But I never seemed to be able to please anyone no matter how low I went.  I was even told once by a woman in my church that I should quiet my personality to let my husband shine more.  Do you see the twisted thinking here?

I mentor many women who are still trying so hard to become good wives.  They keep trying so hard to submit to this teaching that they should treat their husbands as the kings of their home.  But it never works.  It never satisfies.  No matter how much women try to make our husbands the master of our homes – it will NEVER happen in a way that brings the Kingdom of God to earth.  Do you know why?

Because when we put our husbands on the throne and call him “master”  - we are giving him the throne where only God should sit.  Our husbands can never truly fulfill the role that we are expecting him to fulfill – because He is not God.

So many women that I mentor are disappointed in their husbands.  They are disappointed because their expectations are going unmet.  Somewhere along the way someone planted the ideal that a Super Christian Husband should be able to provide, he should be able to fix everything, he should feel manly and sexually virile at all times and if he doesn’t it’s the fault of his wife.  We are taught that our husbands should be ahead of us spiritually, so he can be the spiritual leader of our home and if the wives are more spiritually mature we are subjected to shame for our house being “out of order.”

We are putting WAY too much pressure on our husbands because we are looking to them to be the provider and fixer and spiritual leader – instead of looking to Father God to fulfill our needs.

The Bible NEVER calls the husbands to be any of these.  Husbands are simply called to love their wives and oversee the home.

Wives – we were never meant to put our husbands on a pedestal and worship him.  If we are doing so, we have put him up as an idol and we are grieving Father God.

Becoming one flesh or becoming equally yoked doesn’t mean one person is in charge and another person is subservient.

Being equally yoked meant that it took a team of two oxen to pull a cart.  They were a team.  If marriage is supposed to be an equally yoked team – then we both do the work together.  In a team of oxen, there is not just one person in the driver’s seat.

Some of this erroneous teaching comes from Ephesians 5.  We love to quote verse 22 where wives should submit to their husbands.  We love to quote verse 23 where it says the husbands should be the head of the wife but we never seem to start that passage with verse 21 – which proves my point about no one being the “King” of the home.

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

 Ephesians 5:21

Instead of thinking of marriage as the man holding the umbrella over the home.  We should be focused on God holding the umbrella while the husband and wife are wearing the same athletic team uniform.  Neither husband nor wife become the master over the other.  We both listen to God and He gives us our assignments.  We’re on the same side.  Both husband and wife play the game.  We both have a purpose to fulfill and we serve each other until those purposes are completed.  This is what becoming one flesh is all about!

(Read more here)

Facing an Uncomfortable Holiday with Family Because of Politics? Here’s Some Help.

Well America, we’re in a tough spot for sure!  Fifty percent of the nation is at odds with the other fifty percent about the direction of the United States.  This means that some of our families are divided as well.  I have some friends who are concerned about the upcoming holidays with family after such a bitter election.

There seems to be three different categories of how the division is playing out…

1.Some families are so sharply divided that they have already splintered over politics and the relationships are broken.

2. Some have figured out how to cope with differing political ideas while maintaining relationships.  They keep politics in a closet and call a truce during family get-togethers.

3. And some are hanging onto to the last thread of relationship wondering if a serious conflict is going to break loose at Thanksgiving or Christmas?

It’s OK to have differing political opinions.  It’s OK to communicate those opinions with passion.  It’s not OK to think that you are better than someone else because of your opinion…(even if you have a word from the Lord about your candidate).

Give to Caesar what is Caesars.  But give to God what is God’s. (Luke 20:25 paraphrase)

If we apply this verse to our current circumstances we need to let politics remain in the world, but as far as it relies on you, keep your family relationships in the hand of God.

I have four suggestions to help families who are politically divided to NOT cut off relationships but to love unconditionally.

Remain Humble

Let us not think we are better than anyone else because of our politics.  Let us remain humble as we attend our family functions this holiday season.  We are not going to convince one person to change their mind about politics by discussing it.

You can be passionate about what you believe – just let it remain outside the family function.  Talk about the things you have in common.  Talk about how the family has grown.  Talk about the World Series.  Enjoy football.  Trade recipes.

Shake Off Offense

It is offense that separates us from each other.  By getting offended at a Facebook post or mad because a family member is part of an opposing political party – we end up isolating ourselves... causing division.  Forgive any offense that you might have allowed during the past election season.  Love keeps no records of wrong.

Don’t Take the Bait

Don't take the bait to enter the conversation. You have nothing to defend. God doesn't need for you to defend your chosen candidate. And you can't argue with closed minds. He is more concerned with you practicing loving your enemies.

Wear Your Spiritual Armor

God will ask some of you to attend a family event that might possibly be a bit hostile.  This is because He is asking you to show unconditional, sacrificial love to your family.

A very helpful tool in the midst of a hostile environment is to wear the armor of God outlined in Ephesians 6:10-17.  When we go into a meeting where we know there are going major differences of opinions, we need to "pray on" our armor.

Go through each piece and deliberately in your spirit put them on.  The helmet of the hope of salvation protects our head from the "thoughts" of rejection and tormenting hurt.  In doing this the enemy's arrows cannot penetrate our mind.

Put on the breastplate of righteousness, so that we are sure to be in right standing with God.  Forgive your persecutors and then ask if we need God's forgiveness for anything – we need to be righteous in God's eyes.

Buckle the belt of truth around our waist.  Ask the Lord if there are any lies you’re believing and then ask Him for the truth to replace the lies.  Stand firm in the truth, but do not argue. 

Pray for "shoes of peace" on our feet.  If we are getting our peace from our circumstances we will not have peace.  Our peace comes from who is our ROCK!  If our feet are in the sand of man's approval then we will not be at peace.  Knowing His unconditional love for us and knowing that we are standing in TRUTH is where our peace lies.

Take up your shield of faith.  When the arrows of accusation come - or arrows of sarcasm or bullying come... simply lift up your shield of faith and knock them down.  There is no reason to answer those arrows unless the Lord really wants you to.

The last piece is the sword of the Spirit.  Take your sword and decree and declare that politics will not tear the family apart.  Tell every demon to leave the whole house.  Ask the Lord to help you to use the sword to speak exactly the right words at the right time.  

"A gentle answer turns away wrath." Prov. 15:1  

"A gentle tongue can break a bone."  Proverbs 25:15  

Remember that God said when you are brought before "authorities" He would give you exactly the right words to say.  "For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict."  Luke 21:15  

It will help us greatly to think on eternity and not the temporal when it comes to your relationships.  Treat your family as though they are sons and daughters of God, for that is what they are, or what they are going to become!

I Dreamed that Donald Trump Was My Father – But It’s Not What You Think

The Dream

I had a dream that it came to light that I was actually a child of Donald Trump.  There was a file of DNA records and a photo confirming that my biological father was Donald Trump.

When the evidence was presented to the Trump family. They welcomed me with open arms.  They were incredibly nice.  About six months of time passed by in the dream.  The family just loved me and accepted me as one of their own.

I was able to watch how he did business and watch how he did the election.  I felt safe.  He was a VERY good father.   He ALWAYS hugged me every time I saw him – he was very genuine. I got to be with “my father” every Saturday for breakfast.

One day I remember that I hadn’t seen him in a while.  The whole family was getting ready to have breakfast together.  Donald, his wife, kids, and grandkids. It was quite enjoyable and there was no sibling rivalry – just love. I remember that he and his wife didn’t hold anything back from the kids (even as adults) they didn’t leave the room to talk about anything private.  It was all out front.  Everything was done in the open.

There was a great sense of peace and safety.  I felt secure and I felt deeply loved.  He was flawed but he was a REAL father.  He received me simply for who I was – no glass ceiling.  No limits.  He was also a good coach and wouldn’t let me settle for less.  He told me if he thought I wasn’t performing to my potential.

I remember in the dream standing in the middle of Trump tower.  And it dawned on me that all of my dreams were going to come true.  Being the daughter of Donald Trump gave me great advantages.

I now had a familial foundation under me that was solid and generations thick.  I also had a structure over me that would help me to accomplish everything I had hoped to in my life.  I had help with finances, taxes or investments because of the structure that “my father” had built.  If I wanted to write a book or a song – “my father’s” structure would have exactly the people who could help me to accomplish it.  Nothing would be impossible for me or my children ever again.  END OF DREAM

My Dilemma

This Trump dream really wrecked me.  Because there is something in me that knows I will never have that kind of father.  I was abandoned by my birth father at 8 years old and I was adopted by an uncle who was a good provider but I was never close to him.

I’ve always felt like an orphan.  I had a pretty deep wound of fatherlessness from my childhood.  God has been gracious to me and lovingly restored health to my heart.  I have come to the place that I know I can completely trust the heavenly Father.  I know I am loved unconditionally and that He takes care of me from heaven – watching over me and my family.  I know I am safe and have value because He created me.  However, it was obvious from my reaction to this dream that I had another layer of healing that was necessary.

When I woke up from this dream it felt so real that I was actually angry at God.  I felt that it was almost cruel, because He had shown me what it would be like to have a true family who for the most part “had it all together” and then I woke up to the reality that this was not true.  I believed it would be true in heaven. But Donald Trump was not my father on earth – so none of these advantages were available to me.

In my pain, I prayed for an interpretation to my dream.  It felt like God wanted to show me something but He was speaking a foreign language.  It felt like He wanted me to stop being self-reliant and learn to lean into Him more – but it just wasn’t resonating with me. 

So by faith, I repented from self-reliance and asked God to heal me.  But I could not fathom how God could meet my needs on earth.

God’s Answer

The next morning I woke up with a song in my heart and a revelation that absolutely changed my whole world.

As I awakened I could hear the Holy Spirit sing to me

♫ I’m no longer a slave to fear… I am a child of God. ♫

I heard Him say… “You know the feeling that you had in the dream about Donald Trump.  There was a structure over you and a foundation under you.  You felt safe.  You felt like all of your dreams would come true.  You would be challenged.  You would become all that you were meant to be…” 

“If Donald Trump, a mere man, can do that for his kids – why couldn’t I do that for you?  As your Heavenly Father, I have a better system set up than he does.  I’m not around only for breakfast on Saturdays – I’m constantly with you.  My structure and foundation are much better than his.  The feeling you had in the dream of being completely supported and protected are available by simply believing that you can have that with Me.”

“I have people to help you with your finances.  I can open the doors to the perfect book publisher or song artist.  I can give you better wisdom than any man on earth.  You must simply believe that you have full access to Me.  You must fully believe that you are a Child of God – then you will have nothing to fear and all of your dreams will come true."

Mind Blown!!!!!

I had this picture of standing outside of Trump Tower and then a picture of standing inside of Trump Tower.  Father God said, “This is the difference.  You’ve been standing outside of My Kingdom and shouting at me to fix your life instead of believing that you belong inside of My Kingdom (Trump Tower) and simply asking Me to help you with your life.”

That made sense to me.  I had just assumed that I would never have a real father again so there were several things that were not available to me – or I couldn’t comprehend how my Heavenly Father could take care of me in the natural.  It really comes down to faith... and BELIEVING that I belong in “Trump Tower” not outside of it.  In believing this truth, I have absolutely no fear... because I am a child of God.

I have a better Dad than Donald Trump.

A Dream About Why Marriages are Struggling and How We Can Fight

God gave me a dream several months ago about the Church of Satan and that it’s power was growing

(Read about this dream HERE)

In it, I saw a cookbook of spells.  The witches would pray these spells over people in order to curse them.  One of the recipe cards had a spell that would curse people to be outside of God’s timing and placement so that God’s promises would not come to pass.

A few weeks ago, I had another dream and this one was about curses that were over marriages in America.  In the dream, I saw a book “The Curse over Marriages in America” by Billye Brim. (She is a Christian minister who is a prayer warrior.)  I knew in my spirit that the curses were coming from the witches in the Church of Satan.  I knew they were casting spells over the marriages of God’s people.

Billye Brim has never written a book like this but God highlighted her name to me because she heavily impacted me when learning how to use the blood of Jesus in spiritual warfare.  The only book I own of hers is called

“The Blood and the Glory.”

God desires for us to understand our authority by using the blood of Jesus. I wrote previously about how to plead the blood HERE.

 We OVERCOME by the word of their testimony and the blood of the lamb. (Rev 12:11)

I believe the reason that God pointed out Billye Brim in my dream was a clue that the weapon we need to overcome these curses against our marriages is the blood of Jesus.

We need to be pleading the blood of Jesus over our marriages, over our homes, over our families, and over our minds.  Satan is doing all that he can to break up the family unit.  He puts veils over our minds – we want to give up and call it quits.  We begin to look at our marriage in selfish ways.  We allow the lies of the enemy to penetrate our minds and believe that there is just no saving our marriage.  We believe the lie that the grass has to be greener on the other side.  These are all lies intended to get us to quit and break up our marriages.

Listen, I have several friends whose marriages are under attack and I know firsthand how hard it is to come out from the FEELING that everything is hopeless.  That’s exactly what the enemy wants you to believe – that your marriage is hopeless.  But my friends it’s simply not true.  There is hope.  Jesus is bigger than you are letting him be.  He is your hope.  He is the Savior.  He is the One through whom all things are held together, even your marriage.

If you are struggling in your marriage right now, I want you to know that the lies that are coming against your mind are coming from an evil place.  It isn’t truly your heart.  It’s the power of suggestion that the enemy is shooting arrow after arrow in your mind. 

People full of darkness are literally praying that your marriage will fall apart.

We must fight!  When these doubts and offenses come… plead the blood of Jesus over your mind and your marriage.

Speak the word of God against the lies – no matter how much you feel like you want to quit.  Say it outloud:  Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate. Mark 10:9

Ask God to cover you with the blood of Jesus.  Resist what the devil is doing in your life!

There is hope.  It’s in Jesus and the power of His blood.

Let me pray for you…

God I come to you asking You to cut off these curses that have been sent against marriages.  I pray that You would forgive those who have prayed curses and that You would bring salvation to each and every person who is using witchcraft against marriages. 

I plead the blood of Jesus over marriages in America.  I plead the blood of Jesus over every marriage of the people reading this right now.  I pray that You would grant hope to these marriages.  I pray that You would encourage them that You are bigger than any mountain they are climbing right now.  I pray that You would give them clear thoughts and let the helmet of salvation protect their minds from the arrows of the evil one. 

I pray that Your mercies would be new every morning.  I pray that they would SET THEIR MINDS on You.  That they would have victory because they put their trust in You.  Thank You for the blood of Jesus in which we have the victory.  Thank You for giving Your people wisdom and understanding about how to fight against the onslaught.  I thank You Lord for completely reconciled and healthy marriage relationships!

We praise You for You are a good Father.  We praise You for the victory.  We praise You for caring so deeply for us.  Help us to overcome all of the power of the enemy, In the mighty name of Jesus. AMEN

To All of the Little Girls Who Never Had a Real Father…

I have a secret to share with all of the little girls who never had a real father.  Or maybe your dad was an absent dad and didn’t know how to give you what you needed.  Possibly your dad was a GREAT dad and he has died and is no longer around… I have a secret that you need to know!

Every little girl needs to be told she’s beautiful by her daddy.  Every little girl needs to feel protected and provided for by a father who is trustworthy.

The Kingdom of God was structured on the foundation of family.  When part of our foundation is missing, it causes us to feel insecure and inferior.

I felt like this.  I was insecure and inferior after my dad abandoned my brother and me.  I felt like I had no identity. 

Did you know that our identity is established by our fathers?  (Read more here)

I lived for many years with my feet on the sand.  I didn’t really know who I was and I didn’t feel safe.  I had no value.  It’s really hard to stand tall in shifting sand.  The enemy would whisper in my ear, and it would knock me off balance.  He would whisper, “God’s going to leave you at any moment.  God is cold and distant.  He’s too busy for you.”

These lies made me feel that God was not trustworthy.  He was not dependable.  But I was vulnerable to believing these lies because of the sins that my father committed against me.

You see, I found a secret.

The secret is this:  Our Heavenly Father is a much better father than our earthly one.

We must renounce all lies that Father God is like our earthly father… because He is not.  He is not cold and distant.  He is not harsh.  He will never leave us or forsake us.  He has unlimited money, unlimited time and He is the biggest dad on the block!

Even if you think your dad was perfect and gave you everything you need.  You still have a better Father in God.

Think of the most perfect father you can imagine.  A dad who loved you with every fiber of his being.  He was always around when you needed him.  He provided you with whatever you needed - money, a roof over your head, a shoulder to cry on, wise counsel to help with decisions.  He gave you verbal affirmation.  He called you beautiful and meant it.  The perfect father was always patient, and his love was unconditional, but he always insisted on you doing your best.

If you can imagine the perfect earthly father how much better can our perfect Heavenly Father be?

He actually knows what we need before we need it.  He is a better provider than any earthly provider.  He is unconditional in His love for us but also disciplines us when we need it.  He is more patient than any earthly father could be.  He knows you inside and out because He created you.  He knows your past, and He knows your future.  He knows exactly what makes you tick!

Your Heavenly Father is available to you 24 hours a day 7 days a week!  No earthly father can compete with that.

When I started to turn my eyes towards my Heavenly Father to meet my every need, there was a deep hole in my soul that began to be filled.  When I needed a hug, I would ask Him for one.  God would answer that prayer by sometimes having another person unexpectedly give me a hug – or sometimes He would fulfill my request by letting me feel the heaviness of His presence.

When I began to turn toward my Heavenly Father for my identity instead of looking elsewhere for it, I began to feel more secure.  He told me I was beautiful.  He said that He was pleased.  He told me that I had great value to Him and that He wanted me to obey Him so that I could complete the story He had written for my life.  He told me that no one could take away my identity unless I allowed them to.

When I turned toward my Heavenly Father for provision, I started to feel a much deeper peace because my GREAT BIG God was in charge of my finances.  He sees everything and knows what I need and what I want.  He is a generous Father and wants to spoil me sometimes.

When I stopped believing the lies that the enemy was whispering in my ears and started believing that my Heavenly Father could be a better dad to me than my earthly one, it was then that my feet were planted on the Rock.

When my feet were on the sand, I was a slave to fear and anxiety.  There is no need to feel this fear because I am a child of God and He is the Rock.

When my foundation is secure in this truth, I can straighten my crown and BELIEVE that my Dad is the King and I am His Princess!

Steps to Wholeness:

1)  Forgive your earthly father for everything you can think of.  Specifically forgive him for not giving you identity, provision, or protection.

2)  Then renounce this lie:  I renounce the lie that You Father God are like my earthly father.

3)  Pray:  Father God are there any lies I’m believing about You?  (listen quietly for the voice of the Lord.)

4)  Renounce the lie by saying out loud:  I renounce the lie that ________.

For example:

“I renounce the lie that You Father God are cold and distant.”

5)  Ask: Father God what is Your truth?

6)  Declare the truth out loud.

For example:

 I declare the truth that You love me and want to hold me like a father holds his child.

7)  Repeat steps 3 through 6 until there are no more lies you are believing.

RECORD this conversation on paper so that you can go back and review it later.  After getting a revelation of the truth you’ll need to go back and begin renewing your mind with this new truth! 

Guest Post: Surviving My Abusive Marriage - What I Am Most Thankful For

I'd like to introduce you to my friend Jessica Devine. She has survived one of the most horrific stories of marital abuse I have ever heard.  God reached down into her pit and pulled her and her three girls out of it.  He continues to restore them.  He continues to pour out His revelation about His goodness and His grace to her.  Enjoy some of Jessica's wisdom as she writes from the other side of the pit.

“Every choice you make has an end result.” -Zig Ziglar

I never thought I would be in a place where someone cared about what I had to say.  I’m not sure that I ever really thought I would get the chance to actually say it. But that’s the thing with God…He surprises you.  He takes you farther than you ever dreamed possible.

I was asked to write about the thing I am most thankful for after surviving an abusive marriage. What a hard thing to write about. How can I make that choice?

But that’s just it…I am most thankful for the freedom of choice.

I remember being alone on my couch thinking of ways to kill myself. I wanted to die so badly and be free of the life I was living. I thought of ways to kill my husband. I wanted a normal life.  I remember lying on the floor with my Bible, crying because I couldn’t survive another day, praying God would hear me.  He did.  He took me to Joel 2:25-27.  

“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—

the great locust and the young locust…You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,

and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you;

never again will my people be shamed…. Then you will know that I am in Israel,  

that I am the Lord your God,

…so I chose to believe.

When I left my marriage after many years of abuse, I was terrified.  I was alone with 3 little girls to take care of, but I wasn’t in any shape to take care of myself.  I was so dependent on Him, not because He actually took care of me, but because I was convinced I couldn’t take care of myself.  My self-esteem was so low that I looked to any man to make me feel loved, which never worked. I was drowning in depression with no way out…

…so I chose Jesus

Finding out what my husband had done to my girls was the hardest thing I have ever had to hear.  

Hatred, anger, and guilt filled my entire being. I couldn’t sleep.  I cried all day long. I felt so many different emotions all at once and had no idea what to do with them.  While sitting in church one Sunday morning, I felt the Lord telling me what to do. I argued with Him as I walked down the aisle to the front of the church. I did not want to do this. My ex-husband definitely did not deserve it, but I had to obey.

…so I chose to forgive.

Every day I have to wake up and make a choice. I will not let what happened to me negatively affect my future any longer and you don’t have to either!  God’s Word is full of promises and full of hope. We just have to choose to believe what it says.  Jesus is greater than our circumstances and more powerful than any army that rises up against us. We can live in confidence knowing that God is always fighting for us. With him by our side, we will not be shaken (Psalm 16:8)! 

I could have given up when things got bad, and they were very bad, but I didn’t. I chose to fight. I chose to chase after victory with everything that I had and I’m still chasing it! Don’t believe the lie that says God has abandoned you or the lie that says you are stuck where you are (Daniel 3:17).

Before there was freedom, I had to choose to live. Before there was victory, I had to choose to fight. Before there was love, I had to choose to forgive.  Nothing was possible without first making a choice. 

Jessica Devine

is a survivor of an abusive marriage.  She wants to be a light to hurting women and men in this world. Her story is one of great pain, but also great hope. The Lord's restoring power is helping her to reclaim the years that were eaten up by abuse.  After her divorce, she is now married to Joe, a wonderful, Godly husband.  She and her husband and three girls live in New Castle, Indiana. Jessica shares her story of restoration on her blog “Restoring the Years.” 

Follow her on Facebook HERE.

Follow her blog “Restoring the Years” HERE.

Learning From My Parenting Screw-Ups

When my kids were little I used to look for the exact right parenting formula.  I listened to others talk about parenting.  I read books.  I searched the internet.  And what I found was that a bunch of people had a bunch of differing opinions about parenting.  Opinions about discipline, media time, dinner at the table, family devotions… it was all overwhelming.  I soon felt like I must make a list of what our family should be doing in order to follow the right formula.

Truth be told… I was looking for a parenting formula out of fear.  I did not understand that I had the perfect teacher in the Holy Spirit, who could teach me about parenting. (1 John 2:27)

I have two boys ages 18 and almost 14.  They are good kids… in spite of our parenting screw-ups!

Of course, as soon as my husband and I realized the mistakes we were making we would change course and ask the Holy Spirit for correction and direction.

But if I can impart some wisdom from some of our screw-ups to you and help keep you from making the same mistakes… I will gladly share what we did wrong and how God gave us wisdom to follow His path more closely as parents.

Screw-Up #1:  We want to be parents just like Bob and Susie!

Nope.  Won’t work.  You are not Bob and Susie.  You do not have Bob and Susie’s kids.  Your parenting style and the personality of your children are different than anyone else on the planet.  The dynamics of your home should NEVER conform to someone else’s dynamics.

God gave you the responsibility of being a parent and He gives you wisdom to carry out your responsibility. 

Instead of seeking the kingdom of Bob and Susie first… we need to seek God’s kingdom first.  You avoid this screw up by asking God what He wants your family dynamics to look like.  And then rest in the fact that you do not have to look like anyone else.  Please God.  Not people.

Screw Up #2: We want to raise our kids to be good (popular, good looking, talented) so they won’t embarrass us.

Again.  Won’t happen.  Your kids are not meant to bring you any kind of glory in public.  There will always be times that your children will embarrass you.  They’ll throw a fit in public.  They’ll miss a last second soccer goal.  They’ll get acne.  As you know, popularity is fluid and changes by the second in school. 

Your kids might be ‘weird’ or they might be super artistic.  Maybe they have strange OCD tendencies or they are ADHD.  There is no “normal” kid.  

All of them.  And I mean ALL of our children are created uniquely by God.  The word “normal” when referring to our children needs to be defined as

happy and healthy and spiritually growing

… not publicly acceptable.

Instead of needing for your child to “fit in” in order for others to think well of you… lay down your pride and ask the Holy Spirit for His opinion of how your child is doing.  Then stick with pleasing Him and not other people.

Screw Up #3: One size fits all discipline.

We tried several “programs” of discipline taught by our church.  But we could just not see good fruit from what we had been taught.  The same kind of discipline did not work for both kids.  I remember laying all of the rules and regulations we had been taught before the Lord and saying “God these aren’t working for our kids – I need for You to teach me what will work for my children.”

It didn’t take long at all for the Lord to train me about how to discipline my children.  When we ask for wisdom he promises to give it.

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.  James 1:5-7

Instead of following rules and regulations given to you by others, we must each follow the Holy Spirit.  He is big enough to give wisdom to each one of us concerning the dynamics of what He intended for our families.

One of the pieces of wisdom that He gave us regarding our own sons is that we needed to “threaten” the discipline that would work on each one.  There was no use in using a consequence that didn’t create change in them.

The wisdom the Lord gave us was to pay attention to which consequence our sons hated the most.  One son HATED to be spanked.  So when he needed discipline we threatened to spank him and he straightened right up.  The other son would be fine to be spanked… didn’t matter to him at all.  But if you threatened to put him in time-out somehow it would affect him like we were sending him to prison and he hated it!  So we threatened him with time-out and he too would straighten up!

Lay down your own opinion and seek God’s wisdom for how to discipline your children.

Lessons Learned

Honestly, I guess you could say… all of our screw-ups come down to this:  we were trying to fit into a man-made box of what we thought parents and their children should look like.

My husband and I have both come to a place that we can say…  We don’t mind if others judge our family dynamics – it works for us and we feel the Lord is pleased.

Your family shouldn’t look like anyone else’s.  God created your family to have its own dynamic.  Your only goal should be to seek His Kingdom first and to please only God.

A Testimony of Victory Over Attention Deficit Disorder!

In two days, my oldest son will graduate from high school.  I’m not really flipping out about it.  I’m actually excited for him to go and fulfill the purpose God has laid out for him.  I’ve done my part, now it is time for him to spread his wings and learn what his destiny in God’s kingdom will be.

I’ve shed a few tears, but not for the reason you might think.  My tears have been tears of joy at what God has done for my son over the past 10 years.

It became apparent in second grade that Josiah was having trouble focusing.   He couldn’t comprehend what he was reading.  When he was called upon to answer a question – he couldn’t give the answers because he was in another world.  The teacher would find him staring out the window when he was supposed to be doing his work.  It was like there were five train tracks of thought in his mind and he could not stay focused on one of them.  His mind just jumped from track to track and he had no control.

The teacher asked if we could have him tested for ADD and we agreed.  It was obvious something was wrong and my heart was broken for him because he was lagging further and further behind his classmates.

He was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder.  We prayed and prayed about an answer from the Lord.  We discussed Josiah’s dilemma with many people and finally we felt at peace with having him try medicine for Attention-Deficit.  Not everyone in our circle of friends and family were happy with our decision – but we had a peace that this was the answer for Josiah.

So we started medicine and didn’t tell the teacher.  She contacted me the same day and said she could tell an immediate difference.  She was even surprised at the positive difference that ADD medicine made for him.

It wasn’t a magic pill.  It didn’t automatically fix everything.  In fact, we still had a very long road to go.

Josiah also had trouble taking tests.  He had trouble recalling all that he had learned while studying.  I decided one time when he was in fourth grade that we simply weren’t trying hard enough and we studied one night for three hours for a social studies test.

Later the next day I had to be at his school for another reason and I asked the teacher how he did on the test.  She just shook her head no and showed me that he had gotten a “D.”  I walked out of that room so defeated but I immediately heard a song playing in my head as I stepped into the hallway.  I knew God was speaking these words to me about Josiah and his ADD condition. 

Resting in His promise, I carry no shame.

God was saying to me, “I have a plan and a purpose for your son.  There is no need to be ashamed that he cannot process school the same way as other kids.  Nothing can stand in the way of what I have for him.”  It was at this point that I laid down my expectations of having an A/B Honor Roll student and simply let God be God.

ADD didn’t have to define Josiah if I didn’t let it.  We didn’t let him make excuses.  We insisted that if he had to study longer that he was simply going to have to do it.  He had to read books twice in order pass the computer test.  He had to let go of the shame of having his tests read to him.  He had to learn to ask for extra help if he needed it.  It was very hard.  And there seemed little reward for our efforts.

Josiah did make the honor roll for two quarters his entire elementary career.  That was quite a feat for us!

When our second son began school it was a breeze to him.  Everything came easy. He loved to read. He hardly ever studied for spelling tests.  It was at this point that the perseverance that God was building inside of Josiah became very real to me.

You see, Josiah had to climb a mountain every day just to be on the same level as the other kids.  School came easy to the kids who didn’t have ADD.  But Josiah had to exert twice the effort to just be “average.”

However, one day the Lord spoke to me concerning Josiah’s “average” school journey and He said, “Josiah climbs a mountain every day to be on the same level with the other kids.  There will be a day when he will outgrow his ADD and he will have something the other kids don’t… He will have mountain climbing muscles.”

Cue my tears!

After all of these years of climbing the school mountain every day, Josiah has perseverance, strength, diligence, and he is VERY conscientious and this young man is ALWAYS happy!  He really does have mountain climbing muscles.

As a senior, I can say to you that I see the fog lifting from over my son.  God is revealing my son as the man I always knew he could be right in front of my eyes and I will tell you that it is glorious after all of these years of struggle!

He made it through high school and I could hardly believe it when I pulled his final grades up the other day… in his final quarter as a senior, his grade point average was 3.889 for the quarter!  I cannot tell you how that also makes me want to tear up.  This little boy who could not keep his mind focused on one of the five tracks in his head conquered his senior year with a bang.

All of you moms and dads out there with children who have ADD or ADHD – if you focus on climbing the mountain every day and not let yourself or your child feel sorry for themselves… there is something that Attention Deficit can actually enhance in your child. 

We also glory in our sufferings (Attention-Deficit), because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

  Romans 5:3-5

Use the “suffering” of ADD and ADHD to produce perseverance, character and hope in your child.  They WILL outgrow it or learn to cope and God WILL make a way for them to accomplish His purpose!

Rest in His promise and carry no shame.

A Letter to My 20-Year-Old Self

This article was originally printed in 'her' magazine, which is a publication of The Courier Times, New Castle, Indiana.


Dear Twenty Year Old Self,

Hello you innocent newlywed! I know how excited you are right now to begin this great big beautiful adventure.  I write to you from twenty three years in the future and I have some advice I’d like to offer.

First off, I want to tell you that from where I stand on our timeline - everything turns out fine – there are little bumps here and there but you’ll be pleased.  There are events that seem huge at the time that they happen, but they all work themselves out.  So STOP worrying!

I want to tell you to be more careful with your time. There is no need to try to be Super Woman.  It will simply wear you out.  There is no need to try to be an expert at everything.  The Proverbs 31 woman isn’t meant to be a checklist for you to fulfill.  It’s meant to be an encouragement to set you free not put shackles of expectation on you. Just do what you do best and be content with it.

Remember that if you accept the applause of men, you are required to also accept their rejection.  Therefore neither one will do you any good.  Just please your Maker and that is enough.  Not one person will be standing alongside you on Judgment Day.  Instead of looking around so much for approval, look up for it.

Floss your teeth a little more often, cavities are sneaky little things!

Keep on taking pictures, you’ll be glad you did.

You’re going to be tempted to go on diets… lots of them!  Just FYI – none of them work, and some of them backfire.  So don’t do it.  Just find the balance, listen to your body, and possibly we could end up in a better place.  (Enjoy dessert once in a while without feeling guilty.)

Speaking of listening to your body…  When you are tired – SIT!  When you need a break – TAKE IT!  When the kids go off to school – GO BACK TO BED once in a while!  You don’t have to be Martha Stewart.  You don’t have to be Oprah.  You don’t have to be Becky Homecky.  Honestly, we’ve suffered some adrenal fatigue with our “over achiever” personality.  So cool it!

Learn what it means to take a Sabbath.

Be a little more patient, especially with yourself. 

Your husband will end up surprising you.  Lay down your expectations and let your relationship grow with the help of God.  Just pray.  And remain humble.

The valleys become worth it so be careful not to pout.

Careful with the credit cards – Did you hear me?  CAREFUL WITH THE CREDIT CARDS!!

Do NOT buy the grey Chrysler Stratus!  You will be sorry!

We are going to be in our house WAY longer than you think… so a 5 and 1 arm on your mortgage is NOT a good deal.

The kids are fine.  Attention Deficit Disorder will try to steal your peace – but he’ll outgrow it.  Just roll with the punches.

Friends will come and friends will go.  Some are perennial friends others are annuals. Whatever happens is for the best.  Don’t take offense when the annual friends don’t come back the next year.

If you could plant a few fruit trees in the back yard – I would REALLY appreciate it.  Remember, we’re going to be living in the house longer than you think.

I have to tell you from twenty three years in your future – all in all we’re doing pretty good. Take it easy.  Lay down your worry.  Enjoy the ride. 

Everything is going to be ALL right!

Your future self,
Me

P.S.  Remember Credit Cards and Fruit Trees!

Marching to Your Flesh? Or Dancing With God? (Guest Post by Tom Sledd)

Several years ago, when my two boys were younger, we spent the 4th of July weekend with family at a lake house in Tennessee. We had a couple of hours to kill before dinner so I decided to take my boys fishing. This was something that I had planned in the back of my mind since before the trip. I was looking forward to this. It was going to be fun and relaxing. I can see it all play out in my mind, just like I remembered from my childhood.

I’m not a big fisherman but I do enjoy it. I have a lot of good memories growing up fishing with my dad and grandpas. I can remember quietly sitting in a chair or on a log with my line cast out into the water watching and waiting for the bobber to move. I can remember the sights, sounds and smells of the lake and its surroundings. I can remember the excitement of seeing the bobber go under and scrambling to grab the pole and reel in my catch. I knew that my boys will have just as much fun as I did. It will be great, just like my childhood (you know - stuff of lasting memories).

As we were getting ready my brother-in-law asked if he and his 2 boys could go with us. I thought it was a good idea because that meant we would double our chances of catching fish and besides, we were there to spend quality family time together. So after about 45 minutes of prep time, which should have taken 15, we started to head out. I led the way with my tackle box followed by my boys carrying their own poles, my nephews carrying their bags of supplies, and then my brother-in-law carrying their poles.

Now the fishing spot we were heading to was a little cove not far from the house. It was close enough that you can see it from the house and you can see the house from the cove. It wasn’t a long walk but it was downhill through the neighbor’s yard, across the street to a roughly made stairway of railroad ties that led to a trail that cut through a small patch of woods (a short walk but not an easy one).

Just as we approached the stairs my nephews decided that they wanted to carry their fishing poles instead of their bags. So after a short break of deciding who got to carry what pole, we started down the stairs and made our way through the woods. Now I was taught early that when you carry a fishing pole into the woods you point it down away from the trees to avoid getting your pole caught on branches. I must have not told my boys this because half way through the patch of woods my youngest snagged a branch and started to pull on it. Before I can turn around to help he hit the release button and pulled about 60 feet of fishing line out (okay minor setback- frustrating but easily fixed).

We come out into the cove and I set my boys up in their fishing spots. My youngest is a little more serious about fishing so I placed him first facing the lake. My oldest was next followed by my 2 nephews. Between the 4 of them we had the entire side of the cove covered (no fish was going to get by us). I started to think in my mind that we may have to make two trips back to the house because of all the fish we were going to catch.

No more than 10 minutes into it my nephews asked if they could have a water and a snack from their bags. So they stopped fishing and found a nice shady spot to eat (down 2 fishermen already). About this time my oldest son’s ADD kicked in and he became bored with fishing. I guess I understand, fishing takes patience and can be boring at times (now down to one fisherman). I asked him what he wanted to do and he looked around and decided that he wanted to throw rocks into the water. Okay. So he started throwing rocks. The more he threw the closer he got to his brother’s fishing spot scaring away any potential catch. Now my nephews were done with their snack and wanted to join in with the rock throwing. So there were 3 boys throwing rocks into the water while I had 1 boy fishing for dinner (maybe one trip back is all we will need after all). I’m starting to feel a little frustrated at this point.

After about 10 minutes of rock throwing into the water, someone discovered that big rocks will crush little rocks if you throw them down hard enough. So rock throwing gave way to rock smashing. Meanwhile my lone fisherman has had zero success and I could tell he was starting to lose his patience. After a few minutes of dodging rock shrapnel, my brother-in-law decided that maybe swimming would be fun. That was when my youngest gave up on fishing and joined the other boys as they tried to swim.

I say tried to swim because as you wadded out into the water you discovered that there were plenty of rocks to stand on but in between them was mud that acted like quicksand. If you stepped off of a rock into the mud you got stuck. And if you were able to get your foot out your shoe or sandal stayed behind (fishing those out of the mud was not what I had in mind). So swimming was out and my frustration grew.

I started to gather all of the poles together as the boys started to play tag. As they started to chase each other over rocks and logs (like boys do) the inevitable happens- crash and burn! My youngest nephew fell into the rocks and scrapped up his knees. At this time I could see that our fishing excursion is falling apart. The fish aren’t biting, supplies are low and we now have an injured boy. It was time to head back (no fresh fish for dinner, I guess we’ll have to have hotdogs).

As we began to head out, my nephew decided he wanted to be carried back because of his injuries. So my brother-in-law carried him, I took my tackle box and my nephews’ poles and my other nephew carried their supply bags. My boys wanted to hang on to their poles and carry them back (but only after a short lesson on how to carry them through the woods). We got through the woods okay and started to head up the railroad tie stairs (not an easy climb). As soon as we got to the top someone called out for a water break (really? can it wait? we are literally 50 yards from the house). By this time I’m frustrated beyond caring and continued on my own. This was not the fishing experience I had wanted for my boys. I think maybe there was a total of 30 minutes of actual fishing between 4 boys (my youngest claiming 20 of those 30 minutes). I was not happy. That wasn’t fishing! That was not how I wanted it to go.

Later at dinner I discovered something about that afternoon- the boys all had a great time. They all had a lot of fun and I missed out because things did not go as planned. They talked about smashing rocks and laughed at losing shoes in the mud, even comments on wanting to go “fishing” again tomorrow. I realized the boys really enjoyed themselves (I was the only one who was disappointed). By convincing myself that in order for this fishing experience to be perfect for everyone, it had to go exactly how I had it planned in my head (just like my childhood fishing trips). Instead of dancing with the circumstances (going with the flow) and trusting God to lead the excursion I believed the only way that experience was going to be successful was if it went exactly the way my self-imposed marching orders said it should go.

This is something that I struggled with most of my life (just ask my wife). My day would start with a set of marching orders that had to be followed or it would be wasted wallowing in frustration and anger. Because it wasn’t going the way I wanted it to I would pout or sulk. Something would happen (hot water tank goes out, friends call needing help, or issues with our cars) and my marching orders were obsolete and my day spun out of my control. Instead of trusting God to guide my day (doing the dance) and allowing Him to use me where He needed me, I would become rigid and fight through the day trying to follow the march.

It all came down to a change in my heart that allowed me to trust God with my day to day life. Proverbs 3: 5-6 says,

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”

By dying to myself and allowing God to lead in the dance and trust Him with my day, it ends up less frustrating. I still have things that I want or need to get done but my world doesn’t end if these things aren’t completed. If I trust in God’s dance and go where He leads me, all things will work out for His good (even things on my list).

I have numerous stories from my life where I trusted in God’s lead and was there to help a stranger change a tire, or I ran into someone at work who has just lost their mother or bump into someone at the store going through a divorce. I also have stories where I know opportunities to shed His light were missed because I didn’t want to waver from my preplanned march. By dancing with God, I have been able to be His light for people in a way that my marching orders could at times never provide. Jeremiah 29: 11 says,

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I now start the day with a “Good morning Lord, where are we dancing to today? What do you have planned?”

How My Husband and I Are Hitting Our Stride as One Flesh

My husband and I will celebrate 23 years of marriage in a few months.  It seems crazy that our SILVER wedding anniversary is around the corner.  (Isn’t that for old people?)

I was teasing him the other day when the Holy Spirit dropped a revelation in my spirit.

I had been working for a couple of hours on his webcomic

Punchline And Enoch (click here)

.  Tom comes up with the comic story and draws the panels and then I plug them into the computer and do whatever graphic design is necessary.  He’s the artist.  I’m the technical media specialist.  Sometimes he runs his storylines by me to make sure they make sense.  I also proofread for spelling errors… (no comment.)

But I had been working for about 2 hours on Tom’s stuff and we were just about done when I teasingly said, “Enough of your dream – I need to go work on my own!”

It was at that moment the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart.  “This is what being One Flesh is about.  You are helping your husband to complete his purpose and he is helping you to complete yours.  You are both ruling over the earth by invading it with LIGHT!”

You see Tom has always been intimately involved in Tisha Sledd Ministries.  He’s been a true servant and partner as we have obeyed the Lord together bringing light to our community.

I have been working on writing a book lately.  I often read to him the paragraphs I write.  He gives me great feedback and sands my words off to help them be more polished.  He is designing the cover of my book.

Even more than helping me with the book – Tom often will take care of dinner as I write.  He’ll run kids wherever they need to go.  Not only am I his helper.  He is mine.

We are One Flesh ruling over the earth like Jesus told Adam and Eve to do.

There aren’t many fights anymore.  We both have allowed God to purge our dross.  And now after 23 years… we have hit our stride as One Flesh.

It is a really nice place to be.

A few weeks back I had a friend ask me a question that I had never been asked before so I did not have a ready answer.

She asked, “After 22 years of marriage, what’s your secret?”

Without thinking I said,  “Mutual submission and a healthy fear of the Lord.”

Submit to one another in the fear of God. Eph 5:21 (NKJV)

I submit to him - he dies for me.  We both do this because we respect the Lord and have each other's best interests at heart.  We are both powerful.  Neither one of us is subservient.  We are one.  If I succeed - he succeeds.  If he succeeds - I succeed.  We are one.  One heart. One mind. One purpose - to BE LIGHT.

I pray that God will give you a download about how a one flesh marriage can work in your life.

“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’

‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,

and the two will become one flesh.’

So they are no longer two, but one flesh.

Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

  Mark 10:6-9

Salvation for Loved Ones: Don't Lose Heart

My mother died when I was four.  I so look forward to being with her again.  I know that she had faith in Jesus and loved Him and served Him while she was on earth.  I’m happy that she is already enjoying her heavenly home and with every passing day I am taking another step closer to her. 

Being with my mother is not the only reason I yearn for heaven…I yearn to be in the home that is being prepared for me.  I long to be with Jesus in His presence forever.

For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.  Hebrews 13:14

To be with Jesus forever is our promised land.  Our mansion is being prepared.  He will wipe away every tear from our eyes and we will be together with the Lord.  We get a glimpse of God’s promise to us in Revelation 21:3-5

I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!"

Oh what a fabulous promise!  Eternally living with God in the midst of His glory and peace.  A new life with no more suffering and pain.  Oh what a Happy Day!

There are many of us who are crying out to the Lord for our loved ones to come to know Him personally. We want them to take the forgiveness of sins and free gift of salvation that Christ offered through His blood.  We are looking forward to the next life and desperately want our family and friends to join us there. 

Sometimes we lose heart.  It feels like it is taking too long.  We let fear slip in and believe the lie that our loved ones will NEVER soften their hearts to the wooing of the Holy Spirit.  But please listen to my plea…

God works in mysterious ways.  He desires that your loved ones make it to heaven MORE than you!  They are His creation and His desire is to bring them home to heaven.  NEVER doubt that God has a greater desire than you do for the salvation of your loved ones.

He is patient.  He is kind.  It may seem like it is taking forever, but He is a master at extending an invitation for a closer relationship.

Believe God!  Remember to look at the BIG Picture!

I want to stir your faith to continue to pray for the salvation of your loved ones.  There is HOPE!  There is enough time!  No matter how far away they are right now from the Lord.

When the Lord spoke to Ezekiel about the dry bones in Ezekiel 37 He asked him… “Can these bones live?”

The answer is YES!  These bones CAN live!  The Lord can take the driest bones and take them step by step through restoration until those bones become a great army.

There may be family members or loved ones who are bitter and angry at the Lord – they are dry bones.  But nothing is impossible with God.

We simply need to not give up praying.  Because to God – our prayer is fuel for His works.  Our prayers enable Him to move mountains and to bring dry bones back to life.  He partners with humans to bring His kingdom to earth.

Pray, Prophesy

and walk in

Faith

for your loved ones.  There is nothing that would tick off the devil more than you being at perfect peace while you pray and believe for our Good Father to bring His will to pass.

Steps to Wholeness:

If you feel powerless and are struggling to believe God will save your loved ones walk through this tool:

Renounce the lie out loud:

  I renounce the lie that my loved ones will never choose to serve the Lord.  Father God what is Your truth?  (Listen quietly for the Lord to speak His truth to you)

Declare out loud the

truth that the Holy Spirit gives you… then hold onto that truth in your heart!

Pray Ephesians 1:3-11 over your loved ones and insert their names.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed ______ in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose _________ in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined ___________ to be adopted as his son through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-- 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him _______________has redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 And he made known to _______________ the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment--to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. 11 In him ______________ was also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,

Prophesy over your loved ones

that their dry bones WILL live and they will become and exceedingly great army!

You aren't powerless about your loved ones.  Pray and Believe!

Dads: Give Your Kids Identity! - Guest Post by Tom Sledd

Tom is the husband of Tisha and co-founder of Tisha Sledd Ministries. Enjoy this guest post about the importance of dads giving their children identity.

i·den·ti·ty 

noun :  the fact of being who or what a person or thing is.

God has given each and every person an identity.  The creator defines the identity of His creation. The devil is going to do all he can to twist and pervert it.

When I was young, I had a birthday party at which I received some toys that I was extremely excited about. My friends and I were playing in the yard next to the garage when my father came out for some air.  I grabbed my new toys and came up to him excited to show him what I'd got.

I stood there with the toys in my hands as he looked down, never said a word, slightly shook his head "no" and went back into the garage. At that time i didn't think anything of it and went back to playing.

Little did I know that the enemy stepped in and planted a seed that would grow into a weed that would affect my identity for years.  I grew up loving the "geek" world.  Comics, toys, movies, sci fi, cartoons - all of it, but I always felt that it was "childish" or that I needed to "grow" up.

I had a genuine heart for all things geek but because the enemy twisted my perception of my dad's approval, my identity started down a different path.  The path was not God's.

It wasn't my dad's fault, he had just come out of the garage - probably frustrated at his current project and more than likely didn't even see what I had.  But the enemy stepped in and got a seed planted.  I spent the remainder of my childhood years growing up pursuing other identities - not the one God intended.  It wasn't until my adulthood that I became free of this lie and began to come into God's identity for me.

The lie I believed was that being a "geek" was childish.  God's truth is that He created me to enjoy all things geek and even wanted me to use my comic art to glorify Him.  Since becoming free I have started my own web-comic and I enjoy a closer relationship with my boys because we share the geek/superhero world together.

As the father of two boys,  I understand how speaking identity, more importantly God's identity, over them and help and guide them as they grow and mature.  If you think that speaking over your children won't work because they don't listen or they don't care, you are wrong.

A few years ago, my wife and I gave each of our boys a Valentine's Day card.  My wife wrote some words of encouragement and I wrote some words of identity - calling each of my boys "warriors."  After getting the cards in the morning and spending the day at school getting other cards and gifts they came home and could not recall what their mother had said but easily recalled what I had written to them.  It stuck with them for the entire day.  Those words were establishing their identity.

As a dad, there is power in speaking God's identity over your children, Identity is crucial for their development.

1. Jacob stole Esau's identity from his father. (Genesis 27)

2. Joseph's identity came to him in dreams, was confirmed by his father and drove his brother's crazy. (Genesis 37)

3. David's identity was established when he was a boy tending sheep by a "spiritual father." (1 Samuel 16)

4. John the Baptist knew his identity while in the womb. (Luke 1)

5. Jesus' ministry did not start in full until His Father gave Him His identity after baptism. (Mark 1)

Pray and ask God to share with you the identity He has for your children.  Pray it and speak it over your children.  Establish the identity God wants for your children and constantly remind them of it. Encourage them to pursue it.  God has a plan for each child and your job as father is to help establish and cultivate it.

Call them "good."  Call them "brave."  Call them "enough."  Call them "strong."  Call your daughters

"beautiful."  Call your sons "warriors."  Your words are important!

Be mindful of what you say in carelessness.  The enemy can take what you think is insignificant and plant a seed that will twist and pervert the truth.

Your children have been entrusted to you by God.  Establish His identity in them.

Who Is Your Rescuer?




   I have a plausible theory.   I think Adam and Eve were co-dependent.

Let me lay the ground work.  Codependency is relying on something or someone other than God as
your source of value and identity.   Since the fall in the Garden we all have the innate desperate need of a savior.  We instinctively know that our souls are ‘naked’ and every human being has to deal with the same lies that the enemy told Eve.  You are not safe and you do not have value.  When Eve believed those lies she was duped into believing that we must ‘save’ ourselves.  This is why she ate from the tree that was forbidden. She believed the lie that God was not a trustworthy Savior.

Of course they realized their error right away.  For as soon as they had turned to ‘self-sufficiency’ as their savior, their world came tumbling down.  This beautiful paradise could no longer be their home.  The deep abiding peace they had lived in was slowly
engulfed in fear and hardship.  God had a plan to redeem them but He would have to cut them off from the Garden of Eden so they would not partake of the Tree of Life and thereby living eternally in a state of fallenness.

Adam and Eve heard God’s plan for redemption when he cursed the serpent.  He said, “And I will put enmity (or animosity) between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

The offspring that God was referring to foreshadowed Christ coming to earth as a human to be crucified and crushing sin and death in the process.  The fulfillment of His words didn’t happen for 4000 years.  That is a very LONG time to see a prophecy come forth!

Adam nor Eve could have conceived of the coming of Christ.  My theory, based on the fruit of the first family, is that they believed it would be their first born son, Cain (their offspring) that would crush the head of the serpent so that they could return to their beautiful Garden and the deep peacefulness of close fellowship with God.

I further believe that they raised their son Cain to also think that he was the savior.  You have seen families in your lifetime who have lifted up one of the family members to be the rescuer.  The star athlete gives the rest of the family an identity.  Or the eldest in a family is counted on for their protection or provision.  When we get our identity, protection or provision from anyone or anything but God we are using a false idol to be our savior. 

I believe Adam and Eve put Cain on a pedestal as the savior, and Cain believed them. You can see his arrogance in his fruit.  In Genesis 4, God chastises Cain and rebukes him for not ‘doing what is right.’  God further warns Cain that sin is crouching at his door and must master it.  Cain did not humble himself after this, instead he lured his brother to a field and murdered him.  

Instead of God being on the throne of Cain’s heart, Cain was sitting on the throne in his own heart and in the hearts of his parents.  This is the simple definition of co-dependency, someone or something other than God being on the throne.
OK – hard truth coming! 

The Church in many ways is co-dependent.  We count on our pastor to rescue us.  Or we put a fantasy life picture on the throne and say “If I could only live that life, I would be rescued.”   We look to our spouse to give us value.  We look to food or money to comfort us.  These are all false idols on the thrones in our heart.  They will never satisfy.  They will only lead to heartache as it did in the first family.
Steps to Wholeness
If you recognize that you have a rescuer other than Jesus your first step to wholeness is simply confessing it to the Lord.  Maybe you ARE the person trying to be a rescuer, you also need to repent.

1) Confess to God that you have a false idol on the throne.  
2) Command the idol (mountain) to be cast into the sea. (Sometimes I picture kicking the pedestal out from underneath the idol.)
3) Ask Jesus to sit on the throne of your heart in every area.

Keep Jesus on the throne by asking the Lord for conviction whenever you look to something or someone else to be your rescuer.

Co-Dependency may be generational.  Click here to pray over generational sins of co-dependency.
If you do a really deep work of dethroning idols - it is probably a good idea to pray the Sealing Up Prayer (found here)  when you are done.


Completely Surrendering Your Kids to God

My oldest son was diagnosed with ADD in second grade.  I am not sure you can actually diagnose ADD but Attention Deficit was definitely part of some educational issues he was having.  He was not able to pay attention for long period of time.  His mind would wander in the middle of class.  He would be looking out the window while he was supposed to be doing his work.  It was as though there were 5 trains of thought going in his mind at all times and you never knew when he might skip over to a different train of thought.

We sought the Lord for an answer, and after much prayer decided that the best decision for Josiah was medicine.  The medicine helped to calm him down.  He was able to at least finish his work and homework did not take 3 hours every night.  It was not a miracle drug.  But it seemed like his train of thought was reduced to three tracks instead of five.

I had to keep close watch on his school work all the way through elementary school.  I was in frequent conversation with his teachers.  He had an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) which gave him some extra help along the way, like someone reading

test questions to him, or an extra day to finish work if he needed it.

I always had wonderful teachers to work with.  They were quite accommodating and wanted Josiah to succeed - I saw his elementary teachers as my “partners.”

BUT THEN….

The GREAT BIG POND of Seventh Grade was looking me in the face.  It was a REALLY big pond.  My son was going from 25 kids in his classroom to 500 kids in the Junior High School.

I was so fearful that my little fish would get lost in that GREAT BIG POND, especially with his ADD.  I also would have 7 teachers to contact not just one.  I decided that I was ready to give up everything and lay down my life so I could homeschool him and make sure that his needs were met.

I got on my knees for several weeks and said, “God I will lay it all down to protect him from the GREAT BIG POND!”

The still small voice of the Holy Spirit responded to my prayer one day and said, “I have other things for you to do, you cannot give up your assignment to homeschool your son.  Pray for a ‘pocket of protection’ over him instead and I will take care of him.

Well I knew I had my answer and with a trembling heart I did what the Holy Spirit said, I prayed every day for a ‘pocket of protection’ over him.  I had the image of God putting my kids in the pocket of His robe…. As far as I am concerned what could be safer than God’s robe?

By the end of his Seventh Grade year, this son of mine had blossomed in a confident young man who “owned” the school.  Little did I know that getting up every hour and changing rooms and teachers was the exact thing that my Attention Deficit son needed!  It reset his concentration to have to go from room to room and to change subjects and teachers.  This GREAT BIG POND was exactly what my son needed to mature.

I hate to say it but the truth was I had way more faith in the devil to wreck my son in the pond than I had in God to protect him in the pond.

My faith in God has soared over the last few years when it comes to light being stronger than the darkness.  The GREAT BIG POND needs my son!  The pond needs more light.

I recently had girl tell me in 7

th

grade that Josiah turned around to her in a classroom and said, “You know what Katie, I pray every day for my future wife.”  She said she will NEVER forget him saying that. There are teachers that tell me he comes to their room simply to say hi.  Another student told me that Josiah says hello to everyone at school no matter who they are.

"No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.” Luke 11:33

If I had continued to walk in fear about throwing my little fish into a GREAT BIG POND, I would have put Josiah’s lamp under a bowl, and no one would see his light. By trusting God with my children I put them on a stand for the world to see. 

Don’t let fear keep your children from being a light in the darkness, God is MUCH BIGGER than the pond.

Domesticating men! (But not taming them.)

The following article was published in "her" magazine on July 19, 2015.

As a mother, I am a firm believer that we need to get back to raising up boys to be masculine men!

I believe that boys should get dirty.  I believe that they should wrestle.  They should play in the rain puddles and shoot BB guns.   There is a wildness in boys that we as parents should nurture.  We should not be turning boys into girls by demanding that they sit at a table and color quietly if they don't want to.

God created boys to be wild and free. We should accommodate their wildness while at the same time

domesticating them for their roles in the world.

My husband sees the decline of masculinity and the absence of fathers in our generation.  He feels a sense of calling to see this trend reversed.  He says, "We are raising kings in a fallen kingdom."

I feel quite fortunate that my husband is wide awake to the needs of raising sons. He wisely and purposefully teaches them manly things.  I call them 'Man-Lessons': How to mow the lawn, how to change the oil, how to build something from wood, cleaning out gutters, how to make supper, how to serve widows, how to serve a wife... etc.

We each have our roles in parenting our boys and have learned to flow seamlessly back and forth between those roles. My husband gives our children protection, provision and identity, while I comfort, nurture and teach them.

Some seasons have required more of a commitment and oversight from mom.  Other seasons have required that I step out of the way and let their lives be all about dad.  I remember a point in time when my eldest was about 15 years old that I had a 'knowing' in my heart that the apron strings needed to be cut and that it was imperative to his growth into a man that his dad should more important parental figure in his life.  So I stepped back into shadows and deferred most of the decisions being made about our boys to my husband.

Now don't get me wrong, mothers still have an incredibly important role even in the season of being in the shadows.  It is our job to teach them the proper time to be wild and the proper time to be gentlemen.

In fact, as my boys have now reached the ages of 17 and 12 - I have decided that God gave the world mothers in order to domesticate boys into gentlemen. This world would be full of cavemen if mothers did not tell their boys...

1) Keep your mouth closed when you chew your food.

2) Don't eat your boogers.

3) Don't wipe your nose with your sleeve.

4) Did you comb your hair?

5) Did you look in the mirror before school?

6) Please pop your zits.

7) Stop quoting the number of Pi to girls!

8) Don't use a fork for cereal - wash a spoon next time!

9) No you can't wear your underwear AGAIN!

10) deodorant? teeth brushed? acne medicine?

11) When is the last time you took a shower?

12) Why didn't you start your homework before 9pm?

13) No you cannot call the combination of Pepsi and Sierra Mist - Pist.

14) Do not eat an entire box of oreos again!

15) Do you 'THINK' those shorts go with that shirt?

16) Please put down your Nintendo DS and look at the mountain scenery!

17) No, I will not accept the answer "It was good" when I ask you about your day. Try again

There is a healthy balance in raising boys. Let us be careful not to tame our boys. Let us instead refine them to be masculine gentlemen instead.  "And please put the seat down on the toilet!!"