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Happiness. Joy. Blessedness. It all begins and ends in our relationship with Jesus..pngIt’s the American dream. The subject of Time magazine’s recent expose’. And Hollywood’s driving force lived out loud in a string of movie star marriages, breakups, and over-the-top living.

We pine for it in the same way a widow longs to be reunited with her spouse. The here-and-then-gone-again feeling of happiness. We search for it like we might a treasure buried in the sand, hoping the next marriage, new house, or upgraded tax bracket will soothe the cry of our hearts for something more. Searching for a salve to soothe the realities of the divorce papers strewn across the countertop, the prescription medicines filling our cabinets, or the anxiety skulking in the corners of our minds. We yearn for it and hold out our cup of need, “Just a little bit of happiness please. Fill it up.”

...the joy we’re searching for isn’t discovered in the pursuit of more toys, more money, or more indulgence.  Click To Tweet

Friends, the joy we’re searching for isn’t discovered in the pursuit of more toys, more money, or more indulgence. It won’t be found at the bottom of an empty bottle, a scorched credit card and pretty things, or in promotions and accolades.

Happiness. Joy. Blessedness. It all begins and ends in our relationship with Jesus.  Click To Tweet

Happiness. Joy. Blessedness. It all begins and ends in our relationship with Jesus. We may walk through the fire, wander in the desert, or stumble around the darkest valley and still hold to an abiding sense of blessing regardless of circumstance.

I kind of feel like life is like that 'whack-a-mole' game. I think I can catch my breath after some life jag and then something else pops up. Click To Tweet

A woman once commented, “I kind of feel like life is like that ‘whack-a-mole’ game. I think I can catch my breath after some life jag and then something else pops up.”

Have you ever felt the same way; as though a reprieve from all of the challenges and set-backs lies just beyond the horizon only to realize another fear inducing obstacle is poised to pounce in the distance between here and there? Desperately attempting to manage, you aim wildly at the hurt or heartache, hazard or hardship.

Once in a while, your dodging and parrying succeeds. A nuisance is eliminated. A potential problem avoided. But, most of the time? The issues resurface or something new thrusts itself onto life’s landscape.

Where is happiness in these situations? Is happiness even possible?

During the next several weeks, we’ll explore several keys to fostering joy and discovering happiness that extends beyond circumstance. Will you join me, friend? In the meantime, may I pray for you?

Father, we live in a world that would steal all of our joy if it could. We long for a taste of hope and know that you are the answer. Would you fill my sisters’ cup of need today with your love and faithfulness? Prepare her heart for today’s challenges and open her eyes to the beautiful gifts that surround her. Help us to seek you above all else and to exchange our burdens for Christ’s blessings. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen

 

 

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We are more than overcomers because of our faith.-Suzie Eller (1).png

I lay in the shared room, my teeth clicking uncontrollably as waves of pain radiated throughout my postpartum body . The anesthesia wore off as quickly as it was injected and now, with my son safely swaddled and tucked in the neonatal unit, I begged for relief. The sure precision of the doctor’s blade had etched a wide path across my stomach and broad, grey staples spanned what represented my infant’s gateway into the world just minutes before.

Certain the new mother was exaggerating her discomfort, nurses only responded to my husband’s swift intervention. Finally, a blessed dose of Something Wonderful delivered relief from the throbbing ache.

A faint line still tracks across my lower stomach, testimony to the excruciating pain I once endured. A symbol of both suffering and triumph.

Pain of any sort holds to a set of laws.

Law #1 Pain is Prominent

Whether pain’s root is physical or emotional, it raps loudly on the door of self-awareness and announces its presence–each pound of the fist a reminder of its determination.

An unwelcome guest, pain is a loud, unrelenting tenant who penetrates a heart, mind or body like a tick imbedded in tender flesh.

Jesus, who chose pain on our behalf, never denied or romanticized its existence. Instead, he confirmed what we already know. “In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration”…

If he’d stopped there? Oh, the hopelessness! But, friend, keep reading.

“but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.] (John 16:32-33 Amplified Bible)

Because of Christ's death, love has already proclaimed the victory. Click To Tweet

Because of Christ’s death, love has already proclaimed the victory. The moment we move into eternity, we’ll exchange our robes of hurt, sadness and living-on-earth for those of joy, peace and Jesus-in-heaven.

Law #2 Pain is Passing

Even though pain may seem unbearable...the ache we feel today..will one day cease. Click To Tweet

Even though pain may seem unbearable and despite its unfavorable ability to create one shockwave after another, the ache we feel today or tomorrow or even next year will one day cease.

It may continue–for now–but we can tattoo God’s word on our hearts. Impress it in our minds. Immerse our souls in hope.

Scripture reassures, “Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They’re his people, he’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone.” (Revelation 21:4-5 MSG).

Law #3 Pain is Productive

Like a woman in childbirth, pain produces an end result. This, though, is something in which we a choice. We can determine how we’ll respond to our experience.

Will our endurance result in bitterness or compassion? Antipathy or faith?

Romans 5:35 (NIV) explains, “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.”

The Comforter dwells in us. When we invite him to minister to the needs of our spirit, the spirit within becomes apparent. Click To Tweet

The Comforter dwells in us. When we invite him to minister to the needs of our spirit, the Spirit within becomes apparent. He’ll guide us when we stumble. Intercede in prayer when we lack words. And, provide hope when we feel hopeless.

We can’t avoid the thrust of the proverbial knife in our lives, but our patient perseverance will lead us to a new life birthed in eternity. As teacher and author Beth Moore notes, “You can’t quit now. Your almost Home! Our time lines are an inch long against the backdrop of eternity. we can do this thing for the five minutes we’re here.”

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You are more than enough to Him..png

Less than six puts you at risk. At risk for disease and diminished returns at work, home and play. At risk for depression, hypertension and inattention. At risk for a long list of unsavory outcomes and issues.

They are the one in three. Are you? Am I?

Have we joined the I-can’t-sleep-there’s-too-much-to-do party? Paced ourselves against the clock as if it’s an enemy rather than a friend. Enslaved ourselves to perfection, production, or performance.

During my college years I strode from one building to the next bearing an invisible backpack crammed with the weighty effects of self-doubt, unworthiness, and inability. Over and over, I’d shove those burdens deep within the confines of that imperceptible pouch.

Fearing Someone or Anyone would notice, I forced myself to achieve. To prove that I could accomplish. To justify my worth.

Motivated by the overwhelming fear of not being enough, I allowed for recovery only after rigorous, compelling dedication to study.  Sleep and rest were optional and I had the ulcer to prove it.

If the clock is your master, friend, have you considered what might be driving your desire for unattainable faultlessness? Unreachable achievement? Matchless efficiency?

Some may placate their incessant need for control through industry. Others might feel worth notice only through accomplishment–whether it’s a perfectly polished home or an unfading smile that refuses to allow vulnerability with friends or family.

If you are the woman driven by the need to be enought, can I remind you that you are more than enough to Him? Click To Tweet

If you are the woman driven by the need to be enough, can I remind you that you are more than enough to Him? You were more than enough for the heavenly king to lay aside His crown and exchange it for flesh. You were more than enough for an innocent Sovereign to endure every insult and accusation at a mockery of a trial. You were more than enough for the Lamb to sacrifice all in order that he might claim you as part of the fold. You were more than enough, Daughter, for the Father to rise triumphant–living proof that death has no hold on either Him or you.

When we deny the accusatory whipping boy of perfection or set aside the relentless  burden of responsibility and invite God to take it upon himself, then we’ll step into the rest he has promised.

Will you move into the place of holy peace today, friend? Jesus is calling. Click To Tweet

Will you move into the place of holy peace today, friend?

Jesus is calling.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:29-30 MSG)

 

 

A heart overwhelmed by anxiety loses sight of the beauty in the everyday and forfeits soul rest,.png

I am a worrier. In fact, worry consumes more of my time than it should and traipses after me day and night. When my loved ones travel cross country? I fret. Will a careless driver hit the car somewhere between Colorado and California? When I drop my children at school in the morning? I worry. Will a madman introduce terror to young children and their teachers? When my college student discusses his plans to serve and share Jesus in far off countries rife with persecution? I chafe inwardly. Will my son be safe pursuing His call?

If you’re a worrier, you understand. It’s a battle to maintain balanced thinking in a wildly-out-of-control society. Still, scripture urges us not to “worry about tomorrow” because “each day has enough of its own troubles”. (Matthew 6:34)

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. Click To Tweet

The Message reads like this, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

A neatly packaged three point mini-sermon, this verse outlines three habits that eliminate worry.

Focus on God What is He doing in our lives today? In this moment? Is there a lesson for us to learn? A calling to fulfill? A blessing to be noticed?

A heart overwhelmed by anxiety loses sight of the beauty in the everyday and forfeits soul rest, peace and joy. Click To Tweet

A heart overwhelmed by anxiety loses sight of the beauty in the everyday and forfeits soul rest, peace and joy. But we are face-to-face with a Father who longs to remove our burdens and take them upon Himself. He is equipped to carry each concern. To do the heavy lifting. To be God.

Forgo Fear Dwelling on the what-ifs shifts our focus from the possibilities of today to a mindset mangled by fear and opens the door to the Enemy’s wily ways of deceit. When fear takes hold we forget the greatness of God. We reduce Him to the size of our problems rather than comparing our troubles to the immensity of His power and perfect love.

When fear takes hold we forget the greatness of God. We reduce Him to the size of our problems rather than comparing our troubles to the immensity of His power and perfect love. Click To Tweet

Because “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18), we can rest in His love. We loosen our grip on the idea of control, immerse our minds in the Word of life, and practice being in His presence. He is able, friend, to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)

Find Strength in Him Worry draws us inward rather than upward. But, our answers aren’t discovered within. There, we experience anxiety. Discouragement. Even despair. Instead, our sure solutions are found in the One whose strength is displayed in our weakness. The One who forges paths in places where none existed before, brightens the darkness with Light, and presents mercies anew each day.

He is the Almighty God, friend. The Messiah who overcame death is more than able to manage our worries.

 

Action Steps

  1. List the 3 areas of your life that cause you to worry the most.
  2. Ask God to reveal His heart for these three areas. Write down the specific ways He wants to enter into your situation and concerns.
  3. Post Bible verses that remind you of God’s strength around your home or carry them in your bag. I’ve listed a few of my favorites below.
  • Romans 16:25 (MSG) All of our praise rises to the One who is strong enough to          make you strong, exactly as preached in Jesus Christ…
  •  Isaiah 33:2 (NIV) Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every       morning, our salvation in time of distress.
  • Psalm 55:22 (NIV) Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will        never let the righteous be shaken.

Grace and peace,

Tammy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It isn't about how fast you live. It's about how well you live. -Rick Warren.pngOur lives may be off-balance, out of balance or even hang in the balance. We may be overworked, overwrought, and overcommited. Still we slide into the pew on Sunday, paste on our best imitation-of-an-I’ve-got-it-together-grin and pretend everything about our lives is just as it should be.

Never mind that our calendar is overloaded by children’s activities. Regardless of whether or not the door into our home seems more like a turnstile than a gateway to a welcoming environment. No matter the debt threatening to overwhelm the last of the savings, the constant demand of technology to work off-hours and all hours, or the level of information vying for our attention, increasing worry and eliciting stress.

Perhaps we are known as the human race because we refuse to slow down. We take on the next project, person, or problem without considering the limiting measures in each of our lives--time and… Click To Tweet

Perhaps we are known as the human race because we refuse to slow down. We take on the next project, person, or problem without considering two significant limiting measures in each of our lives.

Time and talent.

Limited by Time

Scripture reminds us, “A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.” (Job 14:5 NIV)

And, “…let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.” (Romans 12:5 MSG)

Why the limits when we strive, strain and struggle to be productive? To do ministry. To serve, supply and support.

God knows our hearts are vulnerable. After all, how many of us have bought into the lie that doing equates living? That accomplishing equates worth? That production equates … Click To Tweet

Because God knows our hearts are vulnerable. After all, how many of us have bought into the lie that doing equates living? That accomplishing equates worth? That production equates perfection?

When our calendars lack white space, our time and resources are given over by default to that which might be good, but may not be the best. What is it that we’ve inadvertently exchanged for involvement in the pursuit of online connection, appearances, or the-ever-challenging-issue-of-pleasing-others?

Perhaps we neglect our physical health. We allow ourselves less sleep, work longer hours and eat breakfast leftovers from our toddler’s high chair tray.

Some of us shrug off the state of our emotions–certain we’ll address those inconvenient needs when its necessary. Meanwhile we’re bombarded by Pinterest perfection and false Facebook connections. The news assaults us with its relentless reports of terrorism and trafficking, disaster and death. We begin to wonder if the next generation of people will be able to change anything.

Others of us struggle to maintain our spiritual health. Church becomes another necessary activity that crowds a full week. Prayer becomes more penance than priority. Time in His presence suggests our absence in another area of life and worry wedges its way into our thoughts despite best efforts.

Limited by Talent

As a young college woman, I enrolled in Introductory Art. Though I made multiple attempts at creating a still life art piece with chalk, I failed miserably. Despite my best efforts to sketch a self-portrait, I drew instead something akin to The Scream. A diligent student, I lacked any talent for sketching–despite my optimistic outlook and my professors patient coaching.

The Father did not create each of us to possess the same skills or talents. We are designed to be people who need.People who need each other.People who need a Helper.People who need… Click To Tweet

The Father did not create each of us to possess the same skills or talents. We are designed to be people who need.

People who need each other.

People who need a Helper.

People who need Jesus.

In being incomplete, unable or ill-equipped we begin to perceive the importance of the Church. Of the Holy Spirit. Of Jesus’ perfect love, peace and mercy.

Friends, we will never be the perfect wife, mother, or woman. He has limited our natural abilities in order that we might rely on Him–the Almighty who is the “one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all.” (Ephesians 4:6 MSG)

Can I share a personal struggle? Maintaining balance is a challenge for me. It may be difficult for you, too. But the truth is that an over-the-top, out-of-balance life is not just unhealthy, it is unholy. Psalm 127:2 explains, “It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves?”

Our time and talents may limit us, but He is limitless. We can rely on Him to meet the needs of our dear ones. To attend to the smallest detail of our lives. To pour Himself out for us when we have nothing left to give. And because of His inexhaustible power, we can rest in peace.Let's choose the best rather than the extraneous and living instead of busyness.#noteverythingisprofitable#choosethebest#notjustbusyness Click To Tweet

Can we agree to set aside our burdens today? To meet with the Master? To prioritize and analyze? Let’s choose the best rather than the extraneous and living instead of busyness.

Grace and peace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hello friends,

I’m thrilled to introduce you to my new friend Kelly Balarie, author of  Battle Ready-Train Your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt, and Live Victoriously. If you’re looking for a great summer read that is both thought-provoking and hope-evoking, one that encourages women to put on the mind of Christ by cultivating a warrior mindset, this may be your new favorite.

Kelly leads us through 12 life-shaping mindsets–from possibility to positivity, identity to eternity–that will help prepare us for the battle that often wages within. Gird up, girl!  Cinch on the belt of truth, grab the shield of faith. Let’s be battle ready today!

Peace and grace,

Tammy

KellyBalarieImage.png

If a baby bird never moves out of the nest, she’ll never fly. If a toddler never takes that one inch forward, fearing falling, she’ll never walk. If a woman never takes a small step, she’ll continually stay, nowhere.

A small step out of move-out faith is mission-critical.

Why? Faith brings to life what we cannot see, but desperately hope for.

Where do you stand on the faith-scale? 1-10?

Do you see new life arising from your hopes, hunger, and hardships, or are you simply staying stuck, where you are?

You know, my life has been lived as a big struggle. I’ve gone through an eating disorder, depression, a health scare that threatened to take my walking legs, financial debt struggles, heart-breaking, joy-stealing relational problems, companies going under self-doubt. The list goes on-and-on…

Nearly every time, in these situations, I thought:

There’s no way out. This is impossible. I don’t know what to do.

I am going under. I don’t have the (time, ability, resources or wisdom) to get through this.

God won’t really be there for me; He’s got better things to do.

I am stupid for letting this happen.

No one understands.

I’m all alone.

If faith is hope in what we cannot see, I’ve lived hopelessness. If it’s “impossible to please God without faith,” no wonder I felt so displeased with myself. If God says, “everything is possible for those who believe”, I suppose I haven’t believed.

The inclination here is to be angry at myself saying, You always mess up. You always fall short. You never do anything, right.

But this is not how God speaks to me. This is not being Battle Ready.

Instead, God restores me by saying, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

Knowing this prepares my mind to walk into fearlessness, boldness, and purpose.

God’s grace welcomes in new faith. This is a vital, becausefaith is our greatest battle weapon. It takes us places, it tames our trials and it forges us ahead, like doubt never can. Click To TweetSo, how do you walk out life-changing faith? Here are a couple of tips from my vast arsenal of faith-building, doubt-reducing, and life-changing thought-strategies I’ve discovered on my many battlefields of hardship…

5 Small Steps To Building Battle Ready Faith

1. Envision Jesus one step ahead of you. If you know God is at the place you’re afraid of, how much more can you trust He’s preparing it for your arrival?

2. Hear in your mind, continually: God really cares for me. The more we believe God sees us, the more we’ll believe He’ll see us through.

3. Taste His victory history. If you remember how you felt when God came through last time, you can almost taste him doing the same thing again. Let your mouth water for His “new thing.”

4. Inhale the reality, God is with you. Sure, there may be bumps in the boat. This doesn’t mean Jesus is sleeping. He’s fully aware of all your going through, the path He has you on, and your perfect escape with Him.

5. Hold a light schedule. If you clear way in your schedule, you’ll make room to experience God’s Word in such a way where it can begin to dwell in you.

Pick up your shield of faith. When the enemy throws an arrow at you, like a random email that makes you feel sad, a rejection from a friend that leaves you disappointed, remember: God is with you, for you and He is on your side.He is working out something in you and for you, that's even better than you expected. Click To Tweet

You can become battle ready and live victoriously.

You can prepare in advance rather than emotionally responding and reacting to the hardships that you face.

God will give you peace as you learn His wisdom and strategies.

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About Battle Ready : Train Your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt & Live Victoriously

“The best time to be strengthened against the Enemy’s tactics of doubt, disappointment, and devastation is before he makes his first move toward us.  We all desperately need the biblical guidance and preparation found in Battle Ready!” Lysa TerKeurst, New York Times bestselling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries

Battle Ready is a hands-on scriptural plan that teaches you twelve easy-to-implement, confidence-building mind-sets designed to transform your thoughts and, therefore, your life. You’ll gain practical wisdom, like how to

· make new habits stick in just five steps

· disarm the seven most common attacks that plague women

· exchange self-limiting thoughts for purpose-driven, love-releasing thoughts

· implement thirty-second mind-lifters that deliver peace

· create boundaries so you live life full of what matters

Buy Battle Ready here:

https://amzn.to/2l5qQrw

To get Battle Ready freebies – printables, devotional reminders, a customizable daily Battle Plan and the “Find Your Battle Style”quiz, visit:

www.iambattleready.com

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To order the companion Battle Ready Daily Prayer Journal that will help you practically change your thoughts, then your life, visit:

Kelly Balarie, an author and national speaker, is on a mission to encourage others not to give up. Through times of extreme testing, Kelly believes there is hope for every woman, every battle and in every circumstance. She shares this hope on her blog, Purposeful Faith, and on many writing publications such as Relevant, Crosswalk, and Today’s Christian Woman. Kelly’s work has been featured on The Today Show, 700 Club Interactive, Moody Radio and other television and radio broadcasts. When Kelly is not writing, she is chilling at the beach with her husband, a latte,  and 2 toddlers who rightfully demand she build them awesome castles.

save the date.pngAs a little girl, I was enthralled by tight rope walkers. The thrum, thrum, thrum in my ears nearly matched the staccato of the drum roll as the circus performer scampered with seeming ease from one end of the wire other to the other.

There, a woman climbed upon the man’s shoulders and then stood–her sequined costume winking beneath the spotlights. Fixing his gaze on what lay ahead, the man’s slippered feet danced deftly across the cable until both he and his passenger were safely delivered to the opposing platform.

Like the tightrope walker, there have been times when I’ve felt as if my life has balanced precariously on a thread. When obligations, expectations and unwelcome revelations continued to pile themselves one atop the other until I began listing from side to side, my attention wandering from the Point of it all to the distraction of that day or month or year.

In a world crowded by to-do lists and text messages, Facebook feeds and Pinterest perfection, parenting guilt and I've-got-this-grit, many of us stumble across the tight rope wondering when we'll lose our footing. Click To Tweet

In a world crowded by to-do lists and text messages, Facebook feeds and Pinterest perfection, parenting guilt and I’ve-got-this-grit, many of us stumble across the tight rope wondering when we’ll lose our footing. Slip off the side. Drop that something or someone who relies on us to keep moving forward.

And our lives become unsettled. Unsteady. Unbalanced.

With all of the demands of the family, church and world how can we possibly maintain healthy balance?

Like the man on the wire, we must keep our eyes fixed on the One who guides us from point to point Click To Tweet.

Like the man on the wire, we must keep our eyes fixed on the One who guides us from point to point. The Shepherd who leads us through the dark valley to the mountaintop. The Light who illuminates the way when we’ve lost the ability to go on in our own strength and realize the depth of our need for Him.

It isn’t easy. Our world is one of unending needs and unmet demands, but unless and until our lives spill over with Christ will we be able to offer our lives as a willing sacrifice for His glory.

Then, we will begin to realize that some burdens are His alone, others are gifts meant to be shouldered with Christ, and many aren’t intended for us at all.

Finding balance in an unbalanced world is all about fixing our eyes on Jesus. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! (MSG)

My prayer for today? May we each put Him first as we step forward in faith. Amen

Blessings,

Tammy

P.S. I’ve created a sweet little bookmark to remind us of the most important part of living a balanced life–seeking Him. You can download it here. Monochrome Leaves Coloring Bookmark

Monochrome Leaves Coloring BookmarkMonochrome Leaves Coloring Bookmark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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She is the elderly woman in the polyester suit sitting alone in the church pew week after week or the frazzled young mother in the grocery aisle juggling a wailing infant and impatient toddler. She might be the middle-aged divorcee’ who envies every couple in a restaurant with their heads bent close in intimate conversation. She could be the friend who looks as if her world is perfect. The one who hides the reality of her pain behind a ready smile or encouraging word—wishing someone would reach out, speak up, welcome in.

These are the unseen ones. The women who live in loneliness, believing they are unworthy of being loved. That no one cares. That they are friendless. Forgotten. Forsaken.

Are you, too, chained to loneliness? Are you convinced you are unnoticed and unseen? I understand. I lived in loneliness for years hoping my husband or attainment or education might relieve the cry of my heart.

See me. Choose me. Love me.

But, neither nuptials nor knowledge are meant to satisfy the longings of our soul. That role belongs to El Roi, the one who sees the need of his beloved daughters. To the Shepherd, the one who never leaves us nor forsakes us. To the Helper, who guides us into truth.

Loneliness thrives when we nurture it with lies. But, God scripted His truth for us that we might receive it. Click To Tweet

Loneliness thrives when we nurture it with lies. But, God scripted His truth for us that we might receive it. Learn it. Live it. Friend, when we soak our hope-hungry hearts in His word we’re reminded of our position and His forever-faithfulness.

Today’s Challenge

If loneliness is your unwelcome side-kick, take action. Invite Jesus into your isolation. Pray. Listen. Combat the lies you’ve believed with the words of the One in whose power you’ve been raised. Then, allow your struggle in the now to motivate you toward investing in someone’s tomorrow? Just take one simple step–invite a neighbor for coffee, ring up an old friend, plan a date night with your husband. Ask the Helper to replace your false identity as the Unseen with a new capacity to see the needs of others.

Lie-I am unseen.

Truth-God sees and knows you.

Scripture-Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7

With peace and love,

Tammy

(This post was first published at Faithfully Following Ministries, faithfullyfollowing.com)

 

 

Faithful

The sleek feel of wood pressed against my knees as unintelligible words spilled haphazard and desperate from a shattered heart. Miniature puddles dotted the floor’s surface–a testimony of tears pock-marking shiny laminate.

I’d been wandering in the wilderness, but it seemed the entry and exit points were blocked. I was alone in the shadowy places with no hope of rescue.

I knew He was there. I knew He promised to be with me. I knew He’d shown up strong and powerful before. But my withering soul felt as dry as the high desert and the wasteland stretched wide in every direction–parched and lifeless– while I stumbled about calling out for God.

Have you been there?  Have you, too, trekked aimlessly through the badlands of Fear or Doubt? Wandered in the wilds of Trial or Tribulation? You might be in that place now, blaming your lack of faith for failing to feel God’s presence. Almost certain the Hope Giver has turned away from your prayers or grown weary of your petitions. Perhaps you've believed Shame's lies. The untruths that spin and swarm in your mind--growing ever louder and more incessant. You deserve this. You haven't done enough. Been enough. And you struggle to hear His voice above the… Click To Tweet

It feels frightening. Disheartening. Discouraging. Did you catch the keyword?

It feels frightening.

Sometimes the untruths swarm and spin in our minds like spiritual propaganda, obscuring the reality with incessant cat-calls. God has abandoned you. Jesus’ resurrection is a lie. You have no hope.

If you’re in the midst of the wilderness? If the lies seem greater than God? Living out your faith may need to be very intentional for a time. Feed on His promises and cry out to Him in your need even when you are wrung out. Gather truth in the same way a child on the beach gathers seashells. Remind yourself of His words and He will multiply them in your life.

And whether this difficult season ends tomorrow or the day we cross heaven’s threshold, one day we will echo Jesus’ words, “It is finished” and we’ll see that He walked with us each step of the way.

With love and peace,

Tammy

P.S. If I can pray for you as you walk through the wilderness, please let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

Forgive.pngMy heart didn’t want to believe the painful truth of the words he spoke. Not my child. Not this unbearable, unthinkable trespassing of an innocent soul.

I felt rage swelling in my chest against the one who had caused all of this—a malevolent, murderous rage born of maternal instinct and sin-sick imperfection. He was responsible for the lost years. Years steeped in misdirected anger, self-soothing sabotage and grief disguised as defiance. He deserved a punishment unlike any other. If he had been standing in my living room that day? I would have gladly been the one to execute the sentence.

It’s frightening to confess the depth of my brokeneness. Admit to the ugliness. Disclose the depravity.

But, is it possible that you can relate to the desperation of a mother rising up fierce and unforgiving to protect her child? Perhaps you are the precious one who has lived through the fire of something that seared your soul? A pain now so raw you doubt your ability to forgive?

Friend, you and I are incapable of forgiving in our own strength. Only through the healing, hope-giving power of Jesus will we discover the ability to release the burden of our heart.

Choosing forgiveness is an act of obedience. Jesus didn’t suggest that we forgive; He commanded it.

Love your enemies.

One simple, beautiful phrase that evokes ‘Amen’s’ and head nods when those offenses we’re asked to forgive are small or insignificant. But, when the wound is as deep as a well in the desert? When the pain pulses and pounds like a jackhammer tearing at flesh? Are we expected to forgive those hurts?

Love your enemies.

Jesus didn’t tell us to love our enemies when it was convenient or easy. He didn’t pencil in a provisional clause; an if-then statement that alleviates us of the responsibility to forgive.

Love your enemies.

 And, I imagine myself in the crowd surrounding the tree while the sinless Christ pours forgiveness from His soul like the blood spilling from His wounds.

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

 Love your enemies.

My sins alone would have nailed Christ to the cross. If I had been the only woman to have sinned, He still would have born my stripes. Chosen death that I could live. Offered himself for the enemy.

If Jesus loves me that much? Gave that much? How can I refuse to forgive another?

And you, Friend? Are you willing to set aside the millstone of unforgiveness for freedom today? Trust Jesus. He’ll do the heavy lifting.

Three ACTion Steps to Help Move from Unforgiveness to Mercy

Admit to the bitterness and anger hidden in your heart. (1 John 1:9)

Choose obedience. Deciding to do otherwise only leads to division in  relationship with Christ. (Matthew 6:14)

Trust the Father. He is both loving and just. (Romans 12:19)

 

Peace and blessings,

Tammy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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