A New Default for Problem-Solving

How often do you find yourself in a situation where you’re at a loss of what to do – or how to react?

Maybe you’ve already tried 6 ways of dealing with a specific child, and have run out of the energy and even the will to come up with one more thing that could solve their current problem. It seems that whatever group of children I have in my care, there is usually at least one who, for a season, makes me truly at a loss. So if I’m not conscious about its spiritual aspect, I will let it go on for days or even weeks – trying to come up with solutions using human logic and reasoning.

I forget sometimes, that I serve a God who solves problems all the time, and his solutions often bypass logic and reasoning. He was showing me this week that the road to discovering a divine solution (revelation) is paved with relationship. It is not in his nature to always come right out and tell us what the answer is, or see us trying different things and then suddenly download a wisdom file about the issue at hand. Instead, he waits for us to make the first move. Kind of like he did with Jeremiah:  “The Lord gave him this second message… ‘ask me and I will tell you some remarkable secrets about what is going to happen here’.” (33:1-3)

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This week, my challenge was to stop making my own ways of problem-solving – my default ways. And to make going to Him for his thoughts – my new default setting.  If there is emotional or relational chaos, frustration, anxiety, confusion, academic setbacks, depression, rage or other behavioral stress, He is reminding me that I can ask him what his solution is. And then wait. Expect him to answer. This is where I can go off-track too. I can pray…and even expect him to answer me, but then forget to listen for the answer.

Listening for an answer is a discipline that takes focus and intention. It takes turning down the noise of the everyday activities…and getting quiet. Last night, I prayed for a solution for a child, and the Lord literally woke me up at 2:30 with one. Even then, as I pondered it in bed, my natural first thought was not to thank him for doing this. It was, “Why am I thinking about this in the middle of the night? I should be sleeping!” And then it hit me. “Ohhh… that’s right. I prayed for this. God, this isn’t me, it’s you. You’re answering me. Thank you.”

See, this is the point where I have been deceived so often. The enemy has convinced me that it’s just my own voice, when God Himself has spoken. And sometimes because I don’t hear Him audibly, and all I get is that whisper still and small, the enemy comes in, lies to me saying it’s just me (minimizing or discrediting the voice of God like he did to Eve) and that’s all that I need to hear, to dismiss it – forgetting that the closer I grow with the Father, the more my voice sounds like His voice. For the Word of God through Paul says (“But we have the mind of Christ [to be guided by His thoughts and purposes].” –1 Corinthians 2:16).

Why did He reply to me in the night? It’s when I’m most at peace, and when it is most quiet in my home.

I believe the more we realize we can come to Him and ask “Can you tell me your thoughts about this?”, the more of a space it creates for intimacy to grow between us and the Father. And that intimate space is perfect for kingdom-secret-telling. It is a natural space that has actually been ours to share with Him since the day we said YES to following Jesus and everything in Him became our inheritance. We just don’t realize or utilize fully the access we’ve inherited. 

Here are some scriptures I found on getting closer with God and how He can hide and reveal wonderful things to his kids:


Daniel 2:22 (NKJV) says:  “He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him.”

In John 15:15 (NIV) Jesus talks about abiding in him (referring to ongoing connection and intimacy) and says the sweetest thing: “I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”  

So could this mean that what qualifies someone as a friend of Jesus, is the passing along of revelation He’s gotten from his Father? Solutions – new names – purposes – concepts – words of wisdom and knowledge – bold and creative ideas – He feels comfortable sharing these with us. And this three-way communication between Father, Son and us – His adopted and beloved, means we’re friends. How humbling this is to accept.

Proverbs 25:2 says “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.”  To me, this is referring to God – as the King of kings – and us being the lower-case kings. It’s saying he loves to bring glory to himself by keeping things from us for a season, because he knows that the experience we have in searching out his answers and finding them at just the right time – is a glorious adventure, for us!

Ephesians 1:9  “He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ”

Proverbs 4:18 “The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.”  What a vision that is. We are declared righteous…and our path in life – or perhaps in a season of life – is meant to grow lighter and more clear – like a pathway illuminates with the sunrise. I love this so much.

Let’s trust that He’s never ever stumped – He knows with omniscient wisdom the solution to every single problem we face – at school, in relationships, at home – everywhere! He’s just waiting for us to switch our default setting to “ASK…LISTEN…WAIT…and TRUST”. So lean in. He will speak to you, passing on what you need from the Father – because believe it or not, he calls you His friend.

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Just Ask for the Milk

I was recently at the closest grocery store to my house – the one I go to for all the convenient things we eat or need – Grocery Outlet. I love that place…I just make sure I look at the expiration dates on dairy before I put it in my cart, but I love it there because they really do have what we need – all except “lactose-free” milk. I’ve been shopping there for years now, and every time, I just felt as if I had to make two separate trips – an additional one to Fred Meyer, JUST for our lactose-free milk. It’s so annoying! But I’ve just always done it.

Then it dawned on me to ask if it’s possible to get it there. Yeah… after almost 5 years, I thought to ask. The checker got a manager, and she walked up, and I asked her if I could ask for an item that I continue to not see -one that our family uses all the time. She turned me down right away, “Sorry, the way we work is that we get items delivered to our main warehouse from other stores, and if it’s not there, it’s just not there.” So I replied, “Oh, so it’s not possible to make a request for an item?” “Hmm… No, not really. No. Sorry.”

I normally would have just thanked her for her time and left, but that day I thought, why not let her know what it is. Not that it would change the policy or how they work, but why not. So I looked down, and then up at her again, this time, specific, “…it’s lactose-free milk. Not soy, almond, cashew, or coconut milk. Lactose-free.” She repeated it back to me and then said, I can ask our warehouse guy that does our orders to see if he can look for it next time he pulls he does one. Do you mind waiting here for a few minutes?”

“Not at all”, I said, surprised. And a few minutes later she returned.  “He said he’d add it to the order Thursday, and it can be here Friday. Homogenized or 2%?”

“2%.”

“Is $2.57 ok?”

“Yep! Thank you.”

What just happened? She went from saying they don’t “do requests for certain items” to “we can order that item for you this week”! What’s the difference?

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As I walked away, I heard her yell back to me, “2%, right?” I yelled back, “Yes. Thanks!”

And this might seem like the silliest analogy because it’s about milk of all things, but I really do feel like God was telling me as I drove home,

“Be specific when you ask for what you need of me. Even if it feels like the odds are against you. Even if you’ve not experienced it yet. Just ask. You never know.
I might say, Yes. I can do that.” This was a “wink from God” that really encouraged and empowered me.

Voicing Praise Will Shake the Faulty Foundation of Lies

One night, it was around midnight, on the other side of the planet, two guys were thrown in prison – wrongfully. But their prayer and praise and hymn singing resulted in earth and soul-shaking miracles.

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The very foundations of the prison were shaken. This was literal. Today, we do not find ourselves in literal prisons – but rather, demonic strongholds, or fortresses. These strongholds also have foundations. What would be the foundation of addiction, for example? The foundation of depression? The foundation of pride? I would venture to suggest that the foundation for most if not all demonic strongholds – that which all outward symptoms are built upon, is deceit. Lies.

When we see our prison-like circumstance as an opportunity to lift up the name of Jesus (in prayer and praise), the very foundation upon which demons have been stationed – becomes powerfully shaken! The core of their arsenal, their “Big Guns”, Lies, are dismantled. Rendered impotent.

And as a result, every time, there is a releasing. There is a spiritual opening of doors, and breaking of chains! 😳

There is a supernatural freedom that accompanies the proclamation of Truth.

But notice – the last 4 words of this passage. “Everyone’s chains were unfastened.”

Freedom did not just come to Paul and to Silas. But when they used their voices in the midst of their utter agony, sitting in their pools of blood, to give praise to Jesus, and lift up expectant prayers…everyone around them who was held captive became free! Paul and Silas’s decision to praise in the prison directly resulted in not just their own release, but the release of everyone else in that dungeon.

Our praise in duress. Our fervent, expectant prayer. Our singing – can do the same. Make it loud. Our God will shake the enemy to his core. He will open doors that were sealed and locked before. He will unfasten tight chains that were once the source of pain.

When have you encountered immediate freedom from bondage after deciding to sing, praise and pray to Jesus?

To be Remembered as Your Preschool Teacher

Sometimes I wonder how much of a difference I’m making in the lives of the preschoolers I teach. I wonder why I’m throwing so much of myself into this.

I know I’m there to demonstrate love, first, to nurture and teach them their ABC’s, bend down and coach them on how to write their first name, and give them room to explore and play like tiny civil humans. I know I do so much more than that, too. Like… give them tips on pencil-holding, nose-blowing, turn-taking, Bible verse-remembering, and germ-containing.

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Curious…but Content

Tonight we were called “downstairs” for a little meeting with our landlords, to discuss some changes in the future. We kinda knew what this meant… a move is upon us. There are many, many good things about this, including the fact that they’re giving us 5+ months notice!

As I lay down next to Angel and Braylon individually when it was time for bed, and asked them both to pray, they both did. And they both thanked God genuinely for the time we’ve had here at 1528 Hess Creek Ct. in Newberg. By the time we move, around July 1, I assume, it will be 5 years in this gorgeous home and quaint little town together.

I wrapped up each of their prayers with a declaration of faith and thanksgiving, to God, for preparing the way ahead for us. And as we delight in Him, and seek His Kingdom, our desires will be met ~ and even more. This is not a hope or a hunch. It is a promise.

And I am curious… but content.

To Let Out the Great Power

At the preschool where I work, during “nap time”, I sat by one of my little students who had a rough morning. As I draped my fingers lightly down her face and rubbed her blanket covered tummy until she fell asleep, my eyes wandered to another little one 2 nap mats away.
This one is special to me as I believe her mom is struggling with addiction and/or relapses since a rehab experience in September. 2 months ago, as nap time approached, this little girl would say repeatedly in a state of absolute panic,

“Will I wake up?!”

But this day, just a few days ago, she was wired. Not necessarily anxious that I could tell, just flopping around like a fish out of water, trying all kinds of positions to get comfortable. 


I got up as I sensed the Lord nudging me her way. As I began to walk,

I envisioned myself

blessing her with peace, with my hand on her forehead…& her just falling right to sleep.

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Simple. But highly improbable. Here’s the thing. I had nothing to lose. Some thoughts are our own. Some are straight from the enemy of our soul. And some are from God’s Spirit. I do not believe that thought, or vision was my own.

It was the Lord’s thought in MY mind.

Imagine! It’s got to happen so much more than we realize. For the Word of God says:

We have the mind of Christ himself. We have boldness and access to the Father.

So I walked over and did just what I (He) thought to do. I bent down, pressed my hand against her head and said, I bless you with peace in the Name of Jesus. May you have peace and comfort not just here and now, but at home as well. May you sleep …”
and even before I finished this declaration, she laid flat on her back, of her own volition, positioned both arms by her sides, and closed her eyes.  This was just as encouraging as it was surprising to me. As I continued for just a bit longer, I watched her face. She was completely motionless. Relaxed. Not even her eyelids were moving. Within those maybe 2 short minutes of declaring, her body came under submission to the words of God.

I believe it, because I saw it. She was out. I am believing still, for more peace to manifest in her home.

We have a Great Power at work within us.

How incredible and humbling this is. Ephesians 3:20 gives us this promise.

We have it…at work…already within us. My next question then would be,

What if we let it out more?

Lord Jesus, keep speaking – we want to hear your voice, we want to recognize it as YOURS, and see your beloved ones as you see them. Treat them as you treat them.

Love them as you love them.

AngeLingo – Prayer for a Friend’s Leg

Tonight she randomly broke the silence on the couch and told me that her close friend, Katia has had pain in her leg all week. She even had to wear a special kind of sock that compresses her muscle – and she was walking stiff-legged up until yesterday. Then Angel said she prayed for her. She didn’t want Katia going on vacation to Hawaii (today) with so much pain and discomfort in her leg. So she said that she prayed – from across the gym – as Katia was talking with Lila.

And today, she came to school with no compression sock, and she was better! Her leg was healed.

I love that she used the terms better and healed.

I love that she prayed…even if from across the gym, and I love that she told us about it, excitedly.   It seems so small…but just that little story showed us her heart of compassion. The heart of God for his children, for their restoration and health. Even if it’s to be able to enjoy a vacation! Love wants the best.

I’m so proud of you, Angel. Keep praying for people. No matter what happens. Keep praying.