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!”

Jesus Modeled How to Create Healthy Friendships

The idea of having a best friend in the modern generation has been largely shaped by television.  A Laverne needs a Shirley.  A Lucy needs an Ethel.  A Buck Rogers needs a Hawk.  Maverick needs a Goose.  A Will needs a Carlton.

Not all the time but sometimes having a “bestie” on earth can create complications.  It can create jealousy.  It can end up being a co-dependent relationship.  It can end up stealing from your relationship with Jesus.

Having ONE best friend is actually a very rare thing.  Some of the people that I’ve mentored over the years think they have failed because they have not truly ever found their “bestie.”  But I would say they have a wrong goal.  Finding a best friend on earth is not what we should be looking for – our best friend is Jesus.  He is always with us. He will never forsake us.  In the darkest of nights, He is with us, comforting us.  In the highest of heights, He rejoices with us.  As Believers, it is important that we pursue Jesus as our best Friend!  Putting our relationship with Him first will help all of the other ones fall into place.

Jesus also left a pattern about how to have true friends.

When Jesus was on earth, he had three closer friends.  Each of them connected to Jesus in a different way.  Peter, James, and John were always with Jesus.  They were always invited to the “intimate” meetings that they savior had.  They ended up each playing a huge part in planting Christianity after His ascension. Jesus took them in to witness a very important miracle when he raised Jairus’s daughter from the dead. (Luke 8:51)  Jesus let the three of them see Him transfigured in all of His glory. (Mark 9:2) And Jesus drew them close to Him as He was in anguish before the cross in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Matthew 26:37)

But Jesus also had nine other friends along with Peter, James, and John who He hung out with.  Jesus did life with twelve friends, His disciples.  They helped Him with His ministry.  They learned from Him.  They laughed together, celebrated together and they sacrificed for each other.  They were integral in spreading His story in their lifetime.

As a sidenote:  One of the twelve DID betray Jesus.  We can expect friendship betrayal as well.  If Jesus didn’t have a perfect group of friends – neither will you.  So no reason to have such lofty expectations.  If/When it happens – your BEST friend, Jesus, will be there to help you through!

Then Jesus had 70 other friends who helped him with the ministry as well. (Luke 10:1)  This would be our group of acquaintances that we do life with.  Maybe they are the group of friends at Bible Study or a service organization.  Maybe they are friends at work or someone you coach little league with.  This is more of your friends who are in your proximity because of where you live your life.

So that pattern for friendship that Jesus left us is three, twelve, seventy.

Jesus is your best friend.  After that, it is healthy to have three (or four) close friends who you can trust with your very intimate moments.  This is your inner circle. 

Your next circle of friends will be somewhere around twelve friends who you do life with.  They will be the people you enjoy, and you will help each other on the path of life. (If one betrays you – simply forgive them and move on.)

The final circle of friends measures about seventy.  Enjoy life with them.  Cheer for them.  Love them.  Help them when you can.  Even Jesus needed a community when He walked on this earth.

My prayer for each of you reading this is that you will find true friends in the pattern that Jesus laid out for us.  Always remembering that your best Friend is with you 24 hours a day 7 days a week!

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.

Guest Post: Growing Through the Empty Nest

My friend Donna Cronk is a beautiful person inside and out.  She is a reporter at our local paper and I have been thrilled to learn from her about writing and book publishing.  She is an encourager and she loves to use her writing to shine the light of Christ.

     Donna has been an empty nester for a few years now and I just love that God has opened so many doors for her.  

I always try to learn what I can from people who are a season ahead of me in life.  It can make the path of life much easier!

     Today we are swapping blog posts.  I asked her to write this blogpost about her testimony and I know it will encourage many of you who are approaching the empty nest season.  

Thanks Donna!

- Tisha

Growing Through the Empty Nest

By Donna Cronk

They say the Peace Corps is “the toughest job you’ll ever love.” I don’t know about that, but it’s what I’ve always thought about being a mom.

But it’s hard, this mom thing. Sam was born with a heart defect and we went through scary surgeries with him. Then came Ben, who cried nearly every waking moment his first year.

Yet life settled into a routine of normalcy and there were soaring moments: a grand-slam homerun here, a glowing health report there. There were pizza nights and family vacations, Colts games and supper on the stove. I loved raising our sons, and I couldn’t imagine my life once they fled the nest.

Truth is I dreaded the empty nest with a passion. What would I

do

with my evenings without baseball and band, soccer and Scouts? How would I sleep wondering if the 

boys were in bed, safe and sound? How long would I go without hearing from them?

And worse, I wanted a do-over. I wanted to take back the occasional harsh word, be more

spiritual

, for all of us to attend Sunday-school classes instead of sleeping in, be less critical, smile more, read to them more. Be less tired. I could do better. Why

hadn’t

I done better?

I also berated myself because I thought I should be more prepared for, not undone by, the inevitable empty nest.

But long before I was ready, they were raised. On a single, late-August day, they

both

moved out: one to a city apartment, the other into a college dorm. My husband, Brian and I moved them both that day and by midnight back home, our house felt haunted by their absence. Neither boy would be coming home. I was overcome by sadness, the silence so loud it was deafening.

“God, what could You possibly have for me now? What could be half as engaging as raising those boys?”

I pouted. For a long time. I’m not proud of that.

I had gone from a full house to an empty nest in one day. Ben would still return summers and for a time after college graduation. But life had shifted on that August day to our post-kid era.

I did several things that autumn. I joined a Monday-night Bible study. Tuesday mornings I arrived ultra-early in the town where I work for a community-leadership course.

Walking past my older son’s room, which he had stripped of furnishings for his new digs, I felt pain. On his closet floor appeared a stray Batman cape from a childhood action figure. Bits and pieces of his youth remained, shed like old skin he no longer needed. My husband urged me to redecorate his room. Get a new bed, paint, the works. 

So I did.

I was busier than I had

ever

been, trying to push back sadness with study and activity. Brian, on the other hand, had a new pep in

his

step. “This is what you raise them for!” he boasted, not understanding my state. “Would you rather they stay on the couch all day, not go to school or work?”

Well, no.

One day during all of this Brian made a seemingly unrelated comment that somehow unleashed my imagination. He said, “When we retire, I can’t think of any place I’d rather live than Liberty, Indiana.”

Now this was a surprise. Liberty is a little farm town of no particular pedigree. It’s my hometown, and where we met when Brian arrived as a new teacher. My parents have passed away but I still have family there.

I don’t know if we will ever

really

return, but the idea of starting over back home, of returning to the comfort of our roots got me thinking that my life wasn’t over just because the boys were grown.

Maybe God had something new for me:

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” – Philippians 1:6.

Somewhere during all of this, I began writing a fictional tale about a woman who has a series of losses - her husband, her job, the hands-on mothering of her sons – so she returns to

her

hometown and opens a bed and breakfast.

But the move didn’t solve her problems. It brought new ones. She had to decide that whatever happened  – if she lost her inn, if loved ones didn’t support her, if her finances went belly up, if life in her hometown didn’t work out  – if she believed that the Lord was at her side through it all, and she leaned into Him, it would all be okay; she would have what (Who) she needed.

And I had to make that decision too. I am a Christian and I believe that God gave me this fictional story to work through my empty-nest angst. He showed me that He doesn’t want us to be so attached to any particular age or stage or place or people that we can’t move forward to what he has for us next. He knows what we need:

“I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!” -  Isaiah 65:24.

But not only did He have a message, He had new plans! He was creating this new thing for and in me – that of a Christian-fiction author. Before long, I had written not just a story, but a book! And if you have a book, there’s no need for it if you aren’t going to share it. I decided to take this huge risk and encourage others to read it. 

Sweetland of Liberty Bed & Breakfast

was published.

(Click HERE to read the first chapter.)

This spring, I published a sequel,

That Sweet Place: At Home in the Heartland

. This time the message resonated that we are to bloom where we are planted. My characters had to make some big decisions about where they would allow God to plant them.  

(Click HERE to read the first chapter of "That Sweet Place")

But wherever it turned out to be, the message is good news for us all: that God can and does use us everywhere, anywhere, and even right where we are to accomplish His purposes.

I don’t know what He’s got for me once this book-related journey ends. But it will be whatever He wants me to do. I’m all ears:

“Sing a new song to the LORD! Let the whole earth sing to the LORD! Sing to the LORD; praise his name. Each day proclaim the good news that he saves. Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.” – Psalm 96:1-3.

I still miss having my boys around, but just as it was time for them to grow up, it’s time for

me

to grow up too.

Yet in my sadness, I had forgotten this: just because they have flown the nest doesn’t mean a mother’s influence is finished. I’m still their mom! I can still share what I think and believe and the ways to do that are easier than ever through texting, social media and when I’m lucky, in person.

God’s not done with my story! He’s got a new chapter for me to write – and to live. He’s not done with your story, either.

Donna Cronk is a newspaper journalist in New Castle, Indiana. It’s her delight through writing and speaking engagements to encourage women in living their dreams and blooming where they’re planted. Her novels are:  Sweetland of Liberty Bed & Breakfast

and

That Sweet Place: At Home in the Heartland. Both are available on Amazon and from the author. Visit her website:

www.donnacronk.com

or email:

newsgirl.1958@gmail.com

.

What Is Your Level of Maturity in Christ When it Comes to Money?

Maturity Level One

“I'm the owner - my will be done.”

Before we begin our relationship with God we have full ownership of our own lives.  We do our best to see that our own will is accomplished.  We are pretty self-centered at this stage and every choice that we make tends to revolve around what will bring us the most peace and happiness.

“I’m the owner of my money and I am in control of how it is spent.”

The choices we make with money are choices that we believe will benefit us the most.  We usually are very self-centered even when it comes to giving.  We may be generous but it is always based upon what kind of giving would make us FEEL the best. 

If we get stuck at this level, we will never truly know God as the Provider nor the Prosperer.  If we are to become fully mature in the Lord we must come to the point of fully giving God control of our finances as well.

Maturity Level Two

“I'm the owner – but Your will be done.”

A lot of people get stuck on this level.  We want God’s will for our lives – finances included.  But we still believe the lie that we are the owners of our money.  We might pray more about it with the attitude that we want to do God’s will with the money that we have… but in truthfulness we are still the owners and do not trust the Lord with our money.

“I’m the owner of the money but I want you to tell me what to do with my money Lord.”

This attitude is not complete surrender.  It is not a place of complete trust in the Lord. 

The Lord gives a truth about how we should be fearing Him when it comes to money through the prophet Haggai 2:

6“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7 I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. 8 ‘

The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty

. 9 ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

Plain and simple:  God owns it all. 

If you are stuck on this level there is probably a fear that God is going to make you live in poverty or make you do something with the money that you have that will cause you pain.  But this couldn’t be further from the truth.  God is the best financial advisor you can have.  Handing over your bank accounts will cause great prosperity.  When you give Him complete control of your money, you are saying “You are the owner, not me.”

Maturity Level Three

“You are the owner - Your will be done.”

When we come to this level of maturity we are able to completely surrender our finances to Him because we completely trust Him to guide, provide and prosper us.  We are His children and just like He prospered Abraham.  He wants to prosper us.

Proverbs 28:25 A greedy man stirs up dissension, but he who trusts in the LORD will prosper.

But if we do not let Him be the owner of our money – He cannot help us to prosper.  If we prosper outside of letting Him own our money, we do so because we have trusted in Babylon.  Everything built on a Babylonian foundation will fall.

God is the owner of the earth and everything in it. 

He gave us free will.  We can choose to give him full control of our lives or not.  But to reach Maturity in Christ, we’ll have to let Him be the owner of everything in it… including our money.

Steps to Wholeness:

Lord I no longer want to be the owner of my money!  I give it over to You this day.  I want to do Your will with Your money.  Help me to know Your will in Jesus Name! AMEN

If you have difficulty with “control” and this is a hard concept to hand over your finances to the Lord.  You may be dealing with a generational sin.  Use the following prayer to break off the sin of “control” and the sin of “the love of money.”  This should help!

Breaking Generational Sin Tool

Repent:

“God I ask your forgiveness for the sin of ___________ .

I forgive my parents and every past generation for the sin of ___________.

I ask You, Father God, to forgive every past generation for the sin of ____________ .

Rebuke:

I apply the blood of Jesus and break it off of my generational lines both maternal and paternal all the way back down to Adam.

Replace:

I replace this sin with LIFE and a generational blessing of ____________ (opposite of curse) In Jesus Name!

Release:

I pray for the release of every generational blessing that has been held up because of these sins.  May they fall upon me and every future generation.

What Are Spiritual Parents? And Are You Called to Be One?

Spiritual parents are men and women in the Body of Christ that help other believers grow spiritually.  They nurture, teach, train and discipline the members of the Body to be mature in the Kingdom of God.

They are the disciplers who have a mother or father’s heart toward another person.  Their goal is to connect this person with God and help them to fulfill their purpose in His kingdom.

We are lacking spiritual parents in God’s kingdom today!  We may have people who teach and guide – but not many who are willing to invest and become spiritual parents.  Paul had the same problem with the Corinthian church.

I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 1 Corinthians 4:14-15

Spiritual parents not only encourage, uplift and empower their spiritual children, they are the ones who risk relationship by asking the hard questions.  They ask questions like, “Why did you react like that?  I am seeing some pride in you.  Is there still some bitterness and unforgiveness in your heart?”

Guides simply give the teaching of Christ.

Parents invest and become involved in a way that empowers the spiritual children to be transformed into the likeness of Christ.  We are in desperate need of spiritual mothers and fathers.  Has God called you to be one?

Here is the biblical structural pattern for becoming a spiritual parent:

Love

A teacher can teach.  But a parent loves.  

Love requires time, patience, prayer and sometimes heartache.  A spiritual parent is concerned with the heart of their spiritual child.  Their main goal is to help purify the heart of the child so they can fully become a child of the King.

This requires spending quality time with a spiritual child.  It requires praying for them and their family.  It demands patience.  And when dealing with broken and hurting hearts – sometimes it requires us to endure great pain. 

Our goal is to love our spiritual children like our Heavenly Father does.  He is patient and kind, but He also corrects and disciplines us.  A spiritual parent must seek to have the heart of the Heavenly Father toward those they disciple and obey the Lord as He guides the spiritual parent to mold and shape the spiritual children.

Humility

Being a spiritual parent requires that you seek FIRST the Kingdom of God for your spiritual child.  We must be led by the Holy Spirit.  If you allow your own ideas and desires get in the way of your spiritual parenting – you can do more harm than good. 

Always seek God first.  Always have your spiritual child seek God first.

On judgment day, they will not be judged for how well they followed you.  They will be judged for how well they obeyed God. 

It is the same with spiritual parents.  On judgment day, you will not be judged by how many spiritual children you had - but you will be judged by how closely you followed the Holy Spirit and not your own will for them. 

Just like your attitude would be for your own natural children, your only desire for them is to see them walking with God.  As spiritual parents AND children we must seek His Kingdom first in ALL things.

It is important that spiritual children hear from God for themselves and not always rely on the spiritual parent to hear from God for them.

Servanthood

Taking on the nature of a servant, the goal of a spiritual mother or father is to raise up a spiritual son or daughter to surpass them in knowledge, understanding and spiritual strength.  Becoming a servant of your spiritual children is the pattern that Christ left for us. 

Even though Jesus did play the role of a spiritual father to His disciples, He never called any of his disciples his spiritual sons.  His goal was always connect them to the Heavenly Father.  When His disciples reached a certain point of maturity He called them brothers. 

As spiritual mothers and fathers are NEVER to become “the boss” or “the master” over our spiritual children.  They are free to follow or not – just as the disciples were free to follow Jesus or not.

It is the job of the spiritual parent to serve the spiritual children.  It should always be the goal to raise up your spiritual children to the point that you can call them friend.

After you call them friend – you should always hope that they surpass you in every way and that one day you could learn from them.  This is what I hope for from my natural children.  I hope they can stand on my shoulders and learn more about the Kingdom of God than I can teach them.  I want them to return and teach me what I have not yet learned.

Jesus knew there were greater things for His disciples to do.  He even told them that they would do greater things that He did.  (John 14:12)  Our attitude toward our spiritual children should be the same… that they would do greater things that we’ve done.

Jesus even taught that we should call no man on earth our ‘father’ in Matthew 23.

But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.  Matthew 23:8-12

Answering the Call

If you feel a desire to be a spiritual parent,  I want to encourage you to let that desire become fully awake.  We have great need in the Body of Christ for spiritual parents.

Begin to pray to ask God to fully prepare you for being a spiritual parent.  And when He gives you the “all clear” sign begin to pray that God will bring you the spiritual sons or daughters that He is entrusting to you.

Just remember – your spiritual sons and daughters are never supposed to bring you glory.  You are to raise them up to bring glory to God.

Spiritual parents continually point to Christ.  Are you called?

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.

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

Money: Is God a Benefactor or a Provider to You?

God has been convicting me lately that when it comes to financial provision I treat Him like a Benefactor and not a Provider.

He has been showing me how a Benefactor is someone who gives you things with strings attached.  Somehow "control" is involved when expecting a Benefactor to meet your needs.  The lie is this: If I behave correctly, I will be provided for.

But a Provider is different.  A Provider simply provides without expecting anything back.  A Provider provides no matter if I "perform" or not.  There are no strings attached when God provides.  He is a good, good Father!

This revelation REALLY made a veil fall from my mind when the Holy Spirit said this to me: 

The Israelites were used to being slaves to their Benefactor, the Pharaoh, in Egypt.  When they worked for the Pharaoh - they were provided for.  The Israelites had to work for their provisions.  But in the wilderness I wanted them to know Me as a Father not a Benefactor.  I wanted to become their Provider.  I gave them manna every single day whether they "deserved it" or not.  They did not have to obey for Me to provide manna.  I gave it every day and I would not allow them to hoard it.  I wanted them to learn to trust Me.  Morning by morning I did not fail to show them I was not like Pharaoh the Benefactor.

God has been challenging me to stop coming to Him as my Benefactor.  I do not have to perform to be provided for.  I simply need to trust Him for manna every single day.  Ask Him in faith (without complaining) when I want meat.

Maybe some of you already have this part of God’s character figured out, but maybe some of you don’t.  Are you trusting Him to daily meet your needs?  Just like you feed your children whether they are good or not -- your Heavenly Father provides for you.  Simply trust Him.  He is a good, good Father!

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

 Matthew 6:25-34

Mean What You Say the First Time!

As we come into maturity to become like Christ, we must come to a place where we mean our words.  I had to grow significantly in this area.  I always gave myself an abundance of grace when it came to keeping my word.

I would tell someone I would be at a place at a specific time for a meeting but show up 10 minutes late and not really think anything about it.  I would say I was going to call someone but never do it.  I would tell someone I would pray for them but would never do it.  I would tell my children to be quiet but I didn’t really mean what I was saying so they would go right on being loud.

I was quite careless with my words.

Matthew 12:36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give an account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.

Ouch!  Yeah that hurts!

I have had to ask forgiveness for a lot of empty words I have spoken.

Your words only have power if you believe them.  As the Lord was sanding me off in this area He challenged me to listen to the words that I was speaking and hold myself and my character to those words.  It was a painful time of necessary sanding that has smoothed out my rough edges and unknowingly increased my authority.

You see it was sloppy of me to give my word and then not keep it.  It was not Christ-like for me to say I would do something and then not follow through.

So many people in the Church are untrustworthy because they say they will do something but DO NOT follow through.  This is quite sad because God’s people should be the most trustworthy people on earth.

I want people to be able to trust me.  I want to be known as a person of my word… no matter how much it hurts.  There were a few times during my “word discipline” season that keeping my word was PAINFUL!

But the word says in Matthew 5:37 

“Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”

“Honesty is making your words conform to reality. Integrity is making reality conform to your words.” – Stephen Covey

In the Kingdom, increasing your integrity – increases your authority.

Jesus knew His authority.  He meant His words.  The devil knew Jesus meant His words because He used very few words when commanding demons.  In fact, He never had to tell a demon to come out of a person twice.  In Matthew 8:32, Jesus spoke one word “GO!” to a legion of demons and they fled.

One way that God taught me to believe my words was through disciplining my children.  He taught me to not threaten anything that I was not willing to follow through on.  If I was going to threaten a spanking then I needed to follow through.  If I threatened a time-out I needed to be willing to stop whatever I was doing to carry out the time-out.

When I told my children they could not have candy at the store or bedtime was at 9 ---- I KEPT MY WORD!!  No matter how much they complained or how much it cost me.

You see, after a while of keeping my word to my children – they knew that I meant it.  They knew if I said, “Be quiet or there would be a consequence,” that I meant what I said the first time. 

YOUR CHILDREN KNOW ON WHAT TIME YOU MEAN YOUR WORDS.

How many times do you tell your children to stop?  What time do you mean it?  The third or fourth time?  Friends that is not keeping your word.  Mean your words the first time.  It will be one of the best  disciplines that you develop as you climb the mountain of maturity.

The more you keep your word, the more your authority will increase.  If you speak to your family and mean your words… they will listen!  If you speak to the world and mean your words… they will take notice. If you speak to the mountain and mean your words… it will MOVE! 

Want to become like Christ?   LEARN TO MEAN YOUR WORDS THE FIRST TIME!