Thursday, October 31, 2013

How to Keep Believing

In the same theme as the others in this series on "Making Me Believe", I am going to talk about my favorite tool that help me connect with the Lord and His opinions about me. It is no easy thing to begin to believe what the Lord says about you.

For years I had read the scriptures and heard sermons preached on our identity in Christ. I thought I believed it, but in a lot of ways I didn't live like I believed it. So now, is that really belief? If you really believe something, you should have the guts to live like you actually believe it!

That was the Lord's challenge to me! How can you walk in your God-given authority if you don't really know who you are? What if I say I know who I am, but I don't act like it 90% of the time? Do I really understand who I am then?

Read some scriptures that talk about who each of us is in Christ.

Psalm 139:13-16 - the one about being "fearfully and wonderfully made" by the Lord. How many of us actually live like that! Do we really believe it? Or do we constantly criticize the way we look? Do we focus on our weaknesses and failures?

1 Peter 2:9 - the one about being "set apart, a royal priesthood, a holy nation". Do we really live like that? I'm not talking about our nation right now, but do we live this as individuals? Or do we go with the flow of culture and allow our hearts and minds to be defiled by everything around us?

Jeremiah 29:11 - the one about the Lord has "plans to prosper you and not to harm you....". Do we live like that? Do we see the Lord that way? Or do we see Him as an angry God with a big fly swatter just waiting to hit us again if we get out of line?

There are lots and lots more. I pulled these few from this website that lists even more, check it out if you have time. Be honest with yourself too. We've all read these scriptures lots of times, but do we really live like they are true about US!

I include myself in the challenge.  Believing the Lord is more than being able to recite these scriptures by heart, it is about living them with confidence before all men.

One of the ways you take the head knowledge (knowing the scriptures) and get it written on your heart (experiential knowledge?), is to fill your life with the truth that the Lord is highlighting to you right now!

I do that with songs.

To sing the truth over myself. It gets in me like nothing else can and touches something deep inside of me, helping me to believe that thing that I want to learn to believe. I can sing it over and over, as many times as I want and as I do it over a period of time, I find it gets easier and easier to believe the thing I've been singing about.

Think about it this way. God is a God who calls those things which do not exist as though they did (Romans 4:17). When the Lord highlights an area of your life and invites you to grow in that area, He already sees the fruit of the journey that you haven't yet begun. He doesn't just see the potential in you, He sees the perfected end product.

We do not see that end product in ourselves, but singing songs about what the Lord sees in you, is very prophetic and an active step of faith in the right direction. We are essentially calling forth those things inside of us that do not yet exist, as though they did. You are partnering with the Lord when you speak/sing over yourself things, qualities, and gifts that you don't feel you yet possess, as if you did possess them.

So ask the Lord for a song to sing to yourself in your current season. My songs in certain seasons change as often as every day, or I will sing 2-3 songs interchangeable for a few weeks, etc. Some of you have probably been experiencing this unconsciously for years.

You are in a hard season maybe? You hear a song that speaks to your heart on the radio, and you find yourself singing it all the time. It is just as powerful when you sing it in the shower, off key, as when you first sang it in the car. It is because the words have life for your current season, and singing them over yourself is a way to connect with the Lord in your current season.

Make sense? I hope so, because this is a powerful tool in changing attitudes, mindsets, or strongholds and also growing fruit and gifts.

Beware however, because songs work in the opposite spirit too. Feeling depressed? Feeling drawn to depressing/moody music? The words you sing have the power to bring both life and death (Proverbs 18:21). What we say and sing has power in the spiritual realm. If you are not singing words that bring life and connection with the Holy spirit, then what spirit are you connecting with, feeding, encouraging, or agreeing with?

I am not exaggerating.

So what you are singing? Sing words over yourself that bring life, but you can also sing words over your family and situations you are encountering. It is all so powerful in the Spirit!


What song are you singing in your heart today? Take a look at what song has been on loop/stuck in your head. If you like what you hear yourself singing. Good job! Keep singing it. Don't like what you are singing. Ask the Lord for a new song in your mouth (Psalm 40:3).

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Making Me Believe pt 2

In my first post about the Lord Making Me Believe, I talked about how the Lord had begun to give me boldness to speak out in a corporate prayer meeting and how out of that place, I began to have a bit more confidence in my True identity before Him. You can't believe your True identity, until the lies you have been believing about yourself have been exposed.

It was the beginning of a journey with Him to learn how to truly believe what He says about me, and to therefore have confidence in the gifts He has given me. One gift I began to desire in that time was for an increase in boldness and Spiritual authority in my home.

Another way to say that is, I wanted to be a true door keeper in my home. It means I wanted to take active control in what came into my home, both physically and spiritually. As a mother, it was a priority to me to be able to hold the fort down defensively when Ken was out doing ministry. So I knew I needed discernment to see what the threats were, and weapons training so I could defend my home and those in my care.

How many of you know when your husband is in ministry or being effective in his calling, the enemy will often make a counterattack on the home front!?! I don't want to be defenseless when the battle is raging (one of my favorite songs)! I don't want to have to rely on my husband's discernment and spiritual authority alone. I need to be his partner in the battle, an armor bearer, a rear guard to what he is doing, with my own individual discernment and spiritual authority.

You might say I became aware of my lack of training in that time. You can't ask for something you think you already have. Although I believe the Lord does a good deal of protecting us in our immaturity, it is not His desire that we should remain immature forever, or rely always on others for our entire covering.

I will never forget a friend of mine who lived in the MorningStar building who told me that she could tell when there was a conference coming up at MorningStar. She said the chaos and disruption in her home increased on the front end, and during the days, of the conference being put on by MorningStar Ministries. She began to recognize when things seemed to be getting out of hand, she would look at the calendar and see it was a conference week, and begin to pray against the spiritual attack.

Then she would see the tide shift in her favor. Things would calm down and she could see a significant change in the atmosphere of her home just from her prayer. Nothing else had really changed, just her praying against spiritual attack.

That was an eye opening conversation I never forgot. This woman wasn't even going to the conferences, just her proximity to the location of the gathering was enough to make her a target. I was suddenly on alert. My husband was going to most of those conferences, and we are both intercessors. How much of a target were we making of ourselves and how much had I been walking around without my guard up, getting clobbered by, what I thought were, random circumstances?

So I began to desire Spiritual authority. I began to take seriously the idea that I could be as formidable a defense as my husband, and therefore I knew I needed training in my weapons of warfare.

Stay tuned for more of "Making Me Believe".

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Whine is Flowing

In the process of moving, our children handled the stress of it very well this time. I remember very well the crazy that was my life in the months leading up to the move from Kansas City to Charlotte. This move however, from Charlotte to Dallas, was much more tame to be sure.

What was the difference? Well, my oldest was older, and she was able to grasp the move and share in the excitement more. My excitement and her excitement seemed to have a contagious effect on the two younger ones. 

I've also learned a lot more self control in the last year or so. To keep my kids calm and happy I had to find creative ways to keep myself calm and happy in the midst of transition. That is no small thing, people!

Third, we had a lot of notice about this move. Knowing a year in advance that you are going to make a cross country move is great for preparing mentally, physically and emotionally. 

So this time was better in a lot of ways.

One side effect of the move, however, seems to be the letting down of a few of our standards in the time of transition and discovering how hard it has been to re-raise those standards once things have settled down. 

One of our expectations for our children is that they will not harass us with whining.

Don't get me wrong. I don't mind them asking me for things, but not continually and not with an obnoxious voice or a negative attitude. Still, who am I kidding. We've never had great adherence to this standard in the past. Never 100% to be sure, or even close to 80%. 

During the move, the percentage of whining skyrocketed, and I tried to have a lot of grace on my kids. They are young, they are in transition, and they just don't know what to do with themselves. So I had grace......during the move.

Now that we have arrived in Texas and settled in though, I realize that the whine is flowing a little too freely still. What I excused for so long as anxiety about the move, well, they just don't have the same excuses now.

So what is the deal?!? What is up with all the whining?!? What do I do now?

I was baffled on what to do, but I've been reading a book about homeschool, and it covers a lot of other great family training ideas not related to formal education. One of the things it strongly suggests (unrelated to the whining issue we are facing) is making your children a part of the chores that go on in the house, and making regular, one on one time with each of your children as individuals.

As a mom I have always heard those things taught as essentials, but never really known how to kick start it in my every day routine. Also, as a child I was never required to do chores, so I feel guilty, for some reason, to expect it from my own children. This book however gives such great practical ideas and makes it seem such a very realistic goal. Now suddenly, I want to start instituting these ideas into our lives. I want to make one-on-one time with my kids, and I want to teach them how to be more involved in the workings of our home.  What I was unsure of how to do with one child, suddenly I am about to attempt with three children? Really, but I felt inspired to at least try it.

Ah, but the power of numbers! With each child I grow more and more confident, as a mother, to step out and try new things, trusting that the Lord has lead me well thus far, and will continue to do so. He gives me the confidence to make the changes that need to be made, and He gives grace to overcome the obstacles I encounter.

So just yesterday He gave me wisdom on how to incorporate both chore training and one-on-one time with my children, all with the goal of quenching the whine. For real, a three for one idea!

The plan. 

Whenever one of my children comes to me with some whininess, I will immediately ask them to help me with whatever I am doing, or I give them something to do. Examples: If I am cooking dinner, suddenly they are helping me cook dinner. If I am sweeping the floor, suddenly they are picking things up for me to sweep under, etc. If I am playing on facebook, suddenly they will be assign a different, constructive task, and then I will help them do it (I can see I will not be on facebook much for a while, they love to whine when I'm on facebook).

At first I was like, "what a second Lord, they are gonna like that idea! They like working with me, so that won't be punishment for whining."

The Lord simply said, "it isn't meant to be a punishment, it is meant to be a redirection, and in the process, perhaps they will stop whining because a deeper need is being met by having that one on one time with you."

"Lord, you mean the whine might be a need for more of my attention in their day."

I felt the Lord smile. Then I realized, not only did the Lord just show me how to meet a deep heart need in my children, but I am training them in chores, and giving them quality one on one time, all while helping to curb the whine. It sounds good, it feels realistic for my schedule. Sure, it might be a pain to give up my facebook to show them how to scrub a toilet. Sure, I could probably cook dinner faster without their help, but building their self-worth and personal sense of responsibility in the family just might be worth the extra effort. A bit of extra investment today will be a big payoff later too. These are life skills, and alas, facebook can wait.

I love the way the Lord brings simple, and yet mind-blowing wisdom into the every day kinds of questions I have about mothering.

Be encouraged, He has an answer for your questions today too!

Side Note: I have only slightly started this new idea. Three days, seriously.  I will post again on this subject in a few weeks. Hopefully to say it is going great and my kids are not whining and we are having lots of quality conversations while they help me around the house....or, I will say I've fallen off the wagon and admit to how things are really going with the plan. Either way, my plan is to be honest, and open about this process. New ideas are always a process, and there is always some tweaking to do. So I'll keep you posted. I am NOT supermom. I have bad days, and a period, and a dirty house, and sometimes I have all three at the same time. Just keeping it real.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Making Me Believe

My first 60 degree day here in Arlington Texas. It was a wonderful surprise to wake up to. After a fun morning with the family though, all I wanted to do was come home, curl up and take a nap (after 90's and higher, 60's feel cold). Alas, though, it is a challenging thing to get the whole house quiet on a Saturday afternoon.

So, I heard Ken downstairs making coffee and thought a good cup of tea would do my heart good too.

What goes better with a warm cup of tea than writing a blog where I expose the things that have been burning on my heart to......the world.

Well, at least the small part of the world who reads my blog.

Lately I have been thinking about the transformation that I have been going through in the last year or so. I guess the transformation started somewhere around Harvest Fest (a big conference at MorningStar Ministries) last year, 2012. I had recently had a new baby, and with the burden of pregnancy behind me, I was eager to press into the Lord again. 

So that is just what I did, and I joined a women's intercession group at MorningStar to kick start my personal prayer times again. It was an intercession group of ladies who prayed about the women of MorningStar as well as the world.

In that place of corporate intercession with these ladies, quite quickly in fact, I began to feel stirred up by the Lord to pray out in the meetings. That was huge for me. I DO NOT LIKE praying in groups out loud. Yet, I would feel the Spirit so strongly on me, it was like I felt like I would explode if I didn't pray it out. Lines of a prayer would cycle through my mind over and over until I finally would pray it out loud. When I finally did open my mouth, the Lord would give me more. It would pour forth out of me like a river of thoughts and passionate cries. 

When I would be obedient and pray out, I would tremble and pray and when I finally finished and would sit back down, I would feel the Spirit just wash over and over me again and again, like waves, calming my nerves and soothing my fears. Sometimes I would 'tremble' under the Spirit for the entire meeting. Don't be weirded out by that like I was at first, it really is Biblical. 

Anyhow, I was always afraid to pray out loud. Terrified, in fact. And as soon as I was done, I would second guess everything I had just prayed. In those early months though, the Lord began to do something in my heart. He made me yearn for boldness, for authority, in prayer as well as in the rest of my life.

How many of you know when you feel yourself yearning for something so big, and so strong, and so crazy, and so seemingly far out of your reach (that is also a Biblical desire), it is often an invitation from the Lord to go on a journey with Him to get that thing for yourself?

That was the beginning of the journey. Praying out in the meetings, conquering a fear I had. What was the fear? Fear of man was probably a small part of it. It wasn't really that I was afraid to look stupid, though. 

It was more about not knowing who I was. I did not feel worthy to pray out loud in front of other "more seasoned" intercessors. Who was I to take up their time with my words, with what my heart was feeling. My heart cries were powerful to me, and the Lord, but I didn't think I had anything to offer anyone else. I was convinced that my offerings, in more areas than just this, were far too small and insignificant to offer openly in the corporate body of Christ.

I can see now what a lie that was! 

Learning that I have a voice, and that because I am a child of the Most High God, and He speaks to me, therefore I am qualified to have an opinion and I should have confidence to share that when I feel the Lord leading me to. That is where I started, and what began my journey to seeking out a God-given boldness, so that when I feel the Spirit moving, I can act on it with courage and confidence.

How many of you would like to operate in the body of Christ with some boldness? How many of you would like to believe the words the Lord says about you?

Boldness is a product of True identity.

I can see now, in hindsight, that the journey I have been on, was less about finding boldness in my public speaking skills, and more about learning who I truly am in the Lord. If we really know who we are, then we will move in the gifts that He has given to us with boldness and confidence.

I want to share with you some of those steps in my journey. Not as one who has attained it all and is now showing you the way, but as one who is still in the trenches of learning, but is further along than I was a year ago. I want to share it while it is still fresh, so I can paint as real of a picture as possible.

So stay tuned.....more coming on "Making Me Believe".

Photo by Biography Online