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Her body lay motionless; unresponsive as my fingers trailed across the tender flesh of one small foot. There was no rise and fall of shallow breathing and I knew. My baby had died.

Grief and fear spilled onto my sleeping husband as I began shouting. She’s not breathing. She’s not breathing. Oh, God! Dave, you need to breathe for her. Thrusting innocence itself into her father’s hands, I desperately forced uncooperative fingers to dial the stiff buttons of the telephone.

Has the baby swallowed something? The calm, impersonal voice wasn’t listening.

I’d nodded off briefly as I shared a mother’s provision with my nursing infant. Alerted by nothing other than the grace of God, I was clear-headed and alert the moment I noticed my baby’s stillness. There were no sounds of satisfaction as newborn hunger abated. No twisting of small fingers in my hair or the steady tug and gulp of a private moment shared between mother and child.

Heather’s face shifted from the pale color of unblemished cream to a ghastly shade of blue. Releasing one gentle puff of air and then another into Heather’s premature lungs, my husband carefully and methodically followed the commands of the remote woman responding to a young mother’s call.

The minutes stretched toward eternity, thin and distant. Excruciating. Interminable. And we waited. One minute. Two. Three. Still, my husband breathed. Still, the baby lay motionless. Five minutes. And finally, her small chest expelled a haggard breath.

Martha and Mary felt the same despair. Their beloved brother had died–needlessly. Wasn’t Jesus able to save him? Hadn’t he restored sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf? Hadn’t he straightened crooked feet and healed outcasts from the curse of leprosy?

Mary and Martha felt the same despair.Wasn't Jesus able to save him?Why had Jesus ignored their plea?#youareheard#thereishope Click To Tweet

They knew the messenger had delivered the message. “Master, the one you love so very much is sick.” (John 11:3) But, their hopes had died the moment Lazarus took his final breath. Why had Jesus ignored their pleas?

If you’re at all like me, you’ve probably asked the same question. Why has Jesus ignored my pleas? Turned away from my prayers? Denied me hope in moments of desperation?

But, Christ was intentional in his slow response to Mary and Martha.

When Jesus got the message, he said, “This sickness is not fatal. It will become an occasion to show God’s glory by glorifying God’s Son.” (John 11:4)

After waiting for two long days, he finally set out for Judea–the home of his dear friends. But, death already owned Lazarus. Encased in a tomb and lost to his family for four days, hope seemed impossible.

When Jesus saw her (Mary) weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. (John 11: 33-34)

Then, holiness and grief met when Jesus wept. Not the sort of dramatic, wailing-for-hire of the professional mourners who were present nor the inconsolable cries of family members forever separated from a cherished one. Jesus’ tears burst forth silently, a testimony of love preparing a trail from heaven to the cross; from the holy intersection of I Am to the unmatchable sacrifice of the man of sorrows.

Holiness and grief met when Jesus wept, a testimony of love preparing a trail from heaven to the cross.#thisislove#sacrifice Click To Tweet

He shed tears because death, sin’s ruthless result, had ruled for too long and indignation swelled from within as wetness expressed the love of the Lamb.

At the shout of Life, Lazarus emerged from the tomb. Resurrected. Renewed. Restored.

In the same way, our prayers and petitions may seem to go unanswered; empty words piled around the heavenly throne. But, He hears even the desperate, silent groaning of our souls. Not one request, despairing cry, or silent tear goes unnoticed.

The disease that plagues you? The depression that haunts you? The death that vexes your heart? Not one circumstance or situation is beyond the reach of Christ, who is the Resurrection.

Lazarus' experience was the first of many; a precursor to the promise of life eternal. Life abundant. Life unexplainable.#theway#thetruth#thelife Click To Tweet

Friend, He has overcome all of it. Lazarus’ experience was the first of many; a precursor to the promise of life eternal. Life abundant. Life unexplainable. May you cling to this hope today, no matter what today holds.

 

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I often link up with the following: LMMLinkupPorch StoriesTea and Word Tuesday, Blogger Voices NetworkTea and Word Tuesdays, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Let’s Have Coffee, Soaring With Him, Purposeful Faith, Encouraging Word WednesdaySitting Among FriendsImparting Grace, Destination Inspiration, Tune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementFaith and Friends, Faith on Fire, anitaojeda, Dance with Jesushttps://www.rachelmarielee.com/ www.instaencouragements.comFresh Market Friday, Grace and Truth

 

 

 

 

 

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A habit of disobedience and rebellion led to forty years of aimless wandering in an inhospitable desert while the promised land lay only miles ahead. But under Joshua’s holy, ordained leadership the Israelites reignited their commitment to the God who had rescued them from four-hundred years of back-breaking labor, persecution, and poverty in Egypt.

Lingering in their pain and fearful of the unknown, the people refused to trust God.#heisforyour#donotbeafraid Click To Tweet

Lingering in their pain and fearful of the unknown, the people refused to trust God. Instead, they exchanged dry, dusty living for abundance. Anxiety for fear. Faith in the all-powerful God for empty trust in manufactured idols.

While it’d be easy to condemn the Israelites for their short-sighted, self-destructive choices, I admit I am more like the average wandering Hebrew than I am like the courageous Joshua.

Like Israel, I tend to question and complain. Why would God allow this in my life? Is faith in Him worth the hardship? (Exodus 14:11-12)

I weep and cry out, questioning God’s love or refusing to trust that the Promised Land is ahead. The giants in my life are too big for God to manage. And I fashion my image of the Creator into a small, incapable god.

Are you afraid to cross into the land of abundance because you know how to survive in the wilderness?#thrivenotsurvive#abundantlife. Click To Tweet

Have you, too, found yourself captured by the circumstances of an untenable situation? Are you afraid to cross into the land of abundance because you know how to survive in the discomfort of your wilderness? Do you question God’s good intentions and confine Him to the edges of your own understanding?

Oh, friend, can I encourage you to consider Joshua’s words of exhortation to a vulnerable people?

“…cling to the LORD your God.” (Joshua 23:8).

The word cling portrays the intimacy of a newly married couple cleaving to one another (Genesis 2:24). It is an expression of intimacy between spirits; a relationship of dependence and knowledge. An image of two people bound by love and joined in purpose.

What,then,is the expectation of the Husband of our souls?He longs for us to bind ourselves to Him...#thisisfaith#devotedtoGod Click To Tweet

What, then, is the expectation of the Husband of our souls? He longs for us to bind ourselves to Him with the passion and devotion of a woman devoted to her Lord. He desires to be known and to enter into relationship with His beloved.

Not because He lacks any good thing or is enthroned in loneliness, but because He longs to deliver those who are wandering in the barren places to a place of plenty and whisper words of comfort over those who tremble in fear.

It's time to trust the One to whom your heart clings.Time to ignore the distraction of doubt and fear.#fearnot#bestrongandcourageous Click To Tweet

It’s time to trust the one to whom your heart clings. Time to ignore the distraction of doubt and fear. Time to abandon the desert for a life overflowing with God’s goodness and grace. Time to loose the shackles of the past and embrace freedom in Christ.

This is your time to cling to Christ, dear one.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

Three Ways to Cling to God

  1. Practice Obedience  “..do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses” (Joshua 23:6). The New Testament tells us, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)
  2. Pursue Renewal “Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them.” (Joshua 23:7) What does this mean for us? “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.” (Romans 12:2)
  3. Place Your Trust in His Promises “…not one word has failed of all the good things that the LORD yourGod promised   concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed.” The Lord’s message to his people hasn’t changed. Jeremiah 29:11 assures every believer, “”I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you a hope and a future.”

 

I often link up with the following: LMMLinkupPorch StoriesTea and Word Tuesday, Blogger Voices NetworkTea and Word Tuesdays, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Let’s Have Coffee, Soaring With Him, Purposeful Faith, Encouraging Word WednesdaySitting Among FriendsImparting GraceDestination InspirationTune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementFaith and Friends, Faith on Fire, anitaojeda, Dance with Jesushttps://www.rachelmarielee.com/  www.instaencouragements.com, Fresh Market Friday, Grace and Truth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My world spun off its axis when a precious one revealed the trauma buried in his past. Pushing hard against the faith I’d clung to throughout my own embattled childhood and youth, I wrestled with God. I laid my heart bare, unflinchingly honest in my anger and despair.

What kind of God allows children to be devoured by this world? Could I even trust Him? Even more than that–did I want to?

Typically Polly Anna-esque , I almost felt my heart grow cold and hard. Hope drained from my life like color from an old photograph and everywhere I looked I saw the potential for loss, pain, and suffering.

It could be that doubt has swallowed hope; even your faith seems as though it may be distinguished.#hoperestored#Christredeemsthepain#novictoryfortheenemey Click To Tweet

Maybe you’re in a situation that has raised similar questions in your own mind. It could be that doubt has swallowed hope and you’re just existing moment to moment; bitterness twisting your thoughts until even your faith seems as though it might be distinguished.

Will you choose truth or be deceived into despondency?#havecourage#battleready Click To Tweet

This is the point at which you must make a decision. Will you choose truth or be deceived into despondency by this corrupt world? Will you invite Christ to redeem your pain or allow the “thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy” to derail your faith?

For months I wavered between one choice and the other. I struggled, wept, and screamed in anger; alternately searching scripture for words of comfort and then refusing to attend church.

I decided I wouldn't allow the deceiver an easy victory.#Jesuswins#hopeinChrist Click To Tweet

Finally, I decided. I decided I wouldn’t allow the deceiver an easy victory.

Turning to the truth bound up in the pages of my Bible, I poured over its promises and was reminded again and again of God’s faithfulness. While this world hasn’t been set right yet, it will be. Jesus’ return is sure and His justice and mercy will prevail. And, even more, we have the eternal hope of heaven; a place free of tear and trials and overflowing with the laughter and celebration of the restored and redeemed.

He is with us each step of the way; penning hope throughout until we reach our eternal happily ever after.#weknowtheendofthestory#thesetroublesaremomentary#heknowstheplansforus Click To Tweet

If you are in the midst of a battle and flanked by disillusionment and doubt, can I encourage you to turn to Christ? He won’t condemn you for your doubt, but will gather you in His arms as your tears spill like prayers in His presence. He’s waiting already, pleading and praying on your behalf.

“Who then is left to condemn us? Certainly not Jesus, the Anointed One! For he gave his life for us, and even more than that, he has conquered death and is now risen, exalted, and enthroned by God at his right hand. So how could he possibly condemn us since he is continually praying for our triumph?” (Romans 8:34 TPB)

Oh, friend, trust that He has more for you than what you’re experiencing right now. Jesus never claimed our lives would be easy, but as we move page by page through the story of our lives He is with us each step of the way; penning hope throughout until we reach our eternal happily ever after.

 

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following: LMMLinkupPorch StoriesTea and Word Tuesday, Blogger Voices NetworkTea and Word Tuesdays, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Let’s Have Coffee, Soaring With Him, Purposeful Faith, Encouraging Word WednesdaySitting Among FriendsImparting GraceDestination InspirationTune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementFaith and Friends, Faith on Fire, anitaojeda, Dance with Jesushttps://www.rachelmarielee.com/  www.instaencouragements.com, Fresh Market Friday, Grace and Truth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love is when

My pastor calls it the Great Exchange; the way God gave everything in order that you and I might gain from His loss. As I read the scripture about Christ and the thief on the cross, I’m struck by the truth of the Great Exchange and the scandalous love God has for people.

For sinful, hell-bent, hurting people. For the blind, the bleeding, and the broken. For the promiscuous, the pompous, and the prideful. For the self-proclaimed righteous and the down-in-the-dregs criminal.

Christ exchanged his existence in the presence of the Divine for exposure to the depraved because of His overwhelming love for people in need of mercy.#hope#salvation#mercy Click To Tweet

Christ exchanged His existence in the presence of the Divine for exposure to the depraved because of His overwhelming love for people in need of mercy. His riches for poverty. His home for homelessness. His robes of righteousness for our redemption. His unblemished life for our salvation.

Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me inParadise.” (Luke 23:42-43)

In His last moments on the cross, the mercy of Christ's salvations ushered a repentant man into the arms of heaven.#thegreatexchange#mercy Click To Tweet

In His last moments on the cross, the mercy of Christ’s salvation ushered a repentant man into the arms of heaven. Oh, the beauty of this ultimate exchange! Christ’s own final, holy breath for the eternal redemption of a thief.

It was not by accident the criminal hung in agony by the Christ. There was a plan for his salvation from eternity past and it was death on a cross that brought him close to the heart of his Father.

The Great Exchange of more than 2,000 years ago fulfilled God’s design to invite you and me into the Kingdom, too. But, there are others. Others who are waiting to hear the name of Jesus in far off lands. Others who are familiar with His name, but only as a curse word. Others behind bars or self-made prisons of sin and sensual living.

The world is in need of hope, friends, and we must be the ones to share Him.

He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?

(Micah 6:8)

 

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I often link up with the following: LMMLinkupPorch StoriesTea and Word Tuesday, Blogger Voices NetworkTea and Word TuesdaysWorth Beyond Rubies WednesdayLet’s Have CoffeeSoaring With HimPurposeful Faith, Encouraging Word WednesdaySitting Among FriendsImparting GraceDestination InspirationTune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementFaith and FriendsFaith on Fire, anitaojeda, Dance with Jesushttps://www.rachelmarielee.com/  www.instaencouragements.com, Fresh Market Friday

 

 

 

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Two hundred twelve people wedged carry on bags into the overhead storage space, bumping and jostling others in the narrow confines of the jet’s interior. Boasting tickets marked with their final destination, Kuala Lumpur, and convinced of the pilot’s knowledge and abilities, men, women, and children settled into stiff, narrow seats; anticipating the weather or thinking of family and friends they’d see again within a few hours.

Imagine their surprise when the flight attendant announced, “Welcome to Sydney (Australia). We hope you fly with Air Asia again.”

What?

On March 10th, 2015 the pilot incorrectly entered flight coordinates into the system which resulted in a “detour” of almost 7,000 miles. Ignoring “several message alerts and sounds”, the jet vaulted into the sky with its nose pointed in the wrong direction.

Eventually, the crew recognized the error. Sweating and cursing, they attempted to alter the course of the flight, but the navigation systems began to fail. Suddenly, what should have been a simple flight from Point A to Point B had become high risk.

“Requesting a return to Sydney.”                                                                                            “Negative. We have a low ceiling and thunderstorms.”

Unable to divert the flight or alter its course, the jet finally landed without incident in Melbourne.

Hopefully, none of us will ever be on such a wayward flight, but how many of us have ever felt as though we’re drifting through life just as directionless and misguided? Almost convinced our situation is unrecoverable or beyond God’s ability to make something of the mess in which we find ourselves?

Oh, the discomfort of feeling as though nothing is within our control. (Or, is this a just a personal issue?)  It’s been a process and I still struggle, but I’ve discovered comfort in living an “out-of-control” life.

I’ve slowly begun to understand that even when my plans fail to flourish, God is unsurprised. When my day or week or year takes an unexpected turn and life veers off course, He is the one who “gives light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). When I fail to heed the Father’s word or listen for His voice, He patiently redirects me (Psalm 23) and “plans my steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

Living an “out-of-control” life is all about surrendering to Him. It’s about inviting Christ to lead us in the direction He desires, listening for the warning signals the Holy Spirit prompts within, and finding joy in unexpected places while we’re on the journey.

Kualu Lumpur may never be on your itinerary, but God has a better destination in mind and He will ensure you arrive safely.

Please enjoy the pretty printable Bible verses found below if you need daily reminders that you are in His care.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

Reassurance Verses PDF

 

 

I often link up with the following: LMMLinkupPorch StoriesTea and Word Tuesday, Blogger Voices NetworkTea and Word TuesdaysWorth Beyond Rubies WednesdayLet’s Have CoffeeSoaring With HimPurposeful Faith, Encouraging Word WednesdaySitting Among FriendsImparting GraceDestination InspirationTune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementFaith and FriendsFaith on Fire, anitaojeda, Dance with Jesushttps://www.rachelmarielee.com/  www.instaencouragements.com, Fresh Market Friday

 

 

 

Neither the difficulties or joys of our todays can compare with what we'll experience on the other side of heaven..png

The man at the park glared at me, his expression communicating judgement. What kind of parent are you? Do something about your son’s behavior. Bending low to speak with his granddaughter face to face, he said, “You’re a good girl. You never behave like that little boy.”

Tempted to shout something in my preschooler’s defense, I scooped my son up in my arms to guard him from scrutiny and rushed away feeling helpless; shame and mama-guilt rubbing salt in the wound of unmet hopes and dreams.

I’d known something caused my little one to struggle. To hurt. To fear. And, after several years and a slew of visits to doctors, experts, and interventionists my precious one was diagnosed with both anxiety and a mood disorder.

My heart grieved–and still does–for what might have been.

Years later, a youth pastor addressed a concern with my husband. “I don’t think your boy should spend much time with Sara. She has bipolar disorder.”

The pastor’s response to mental illness stunned us. Fearful of the stigma attached to mental health issues, we hadn’t shared with anyone at church about the struggles our family faced. We’d been right to keep the information to ourselves. Our son had been protected from being ostracized by the people who should have demonstrated love and empathy. By those who could have opened the doors of communication and offered hope and help.

The man behind the pulpit communicated judgement. Mental illness makes someone unworthy and unsafe.

You, too, may understand the burden of watching a loved one suffer. Perhaps your heart aches as my heart does, wondering how God will transform the struggle into something that brings Him glory.

You may have felt judged in area of your life. You might carry a burden of shame you can’t seem to escape. Maybe the dreams you’d had for a relationship or a loved one have been crushed beneath the weight of difficult circumstances.

Oh, friend, the Enemy wants us to be paralyzed by our doubts and destroyed dreams. But, God promises us a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Neither the difficulties or joys of our todays can compare with what we’ll experience on the other side of heaven. Complete restoration of lives and relationships. Hopes and dreams surpassed.

1 Peter 5:10-11 (MSG) encourages us with these words,

You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.

He has eternal and glorious plans for you, for me, and for those we love. And He, who is the Word, gets the last word.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following: LMMLinkupPorch StoriesTea and Word Tuesday, Blogger Voices NetworkTea and Word TuesdaysWorth Beyond Rubies WednesdayLet’s Have CoffeeSoaring With HimPurposeful Faith, Encouraging Word WednesdaySitting Among FriendsImparting GraceDestination InspirationTune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementFaith and FriendsFaith on Fire, anitaojeda, Dance with Jesushttps://www.rachelmarielee.com/  www.instaencouragements.com, Fresh Market Friday

 

 

BeautyStrangely warped containers and melted relics of what had been lay bent and twisted among cinder blocks stained by purple tongues of angry fire. Only the brick fireplace stood tall and unchanged, a lonely reminder of what had transpired there.

Like the remains of the house, my grief lay in an ashen heap and I wondered how people survive circumstances that devour every hope. Just fifteen, I’d experienced the loss of a home that represented comfort and stability. A home that my grandparents had built on the eastern Montana plains. A symbol of two people forging a good life in a land of harsh winters and summers with days as deep and wide as the blue sky.

Over time, the prairie took back what had once belonged to it and nature unfurled life from the midst of what seemed dead. Stalks of tall grass and wildflowers dotted the landscape; the gnarled willow tree that stood at the corner of the driveway loosed its branches and grew ever larger.

Beauty from ashes.

I understand the suffering of letting go of a dream when you'd believed God had more for you than this.#hoperestored#dreamnewdreams Click To Tweet

While few of us have experienced the loss of a home to fire, all of us live with loss. I don’t know what loss you may be facing, but I know you hurt. I know the doubt you feel. I understand the suffering of letting go of a dream when you’d believed God had more for you than this.

Perhaps your a mama who’d dreamed big things for your child, but now the one  you’d crooned to and prayed over has cut all ties or lives a prodigal life. Maybe the man you’d vowed to love for life has forgotten his promise to love only you. It could be your hopes for restored relationships with your mother or father have only fostered the false truths that your aren’t worth loving.

There are no easy answers to pain and suffering.But,there is a God who refashions broken lives.#hoperestored#beautyforashes Click To Tweet

There are no easy answers to pain and suffering. No get-fixed-quick self-help plans that erase the ache of a broken heart. But, there is a God who refashions broken lives. There is a God who renews our hope because He is also the one who revives what was dead. There is a God who accepted a life of loss and suffering in order for us to experience resurrected living now and into eternity.

Wherever these words find you today and whatever situation, take heart. Be encouraged. Your Father will grow beauty from the ashes.

 

Father,

Would you whisper tender words of renewed hope to your Daughter today? You know her pain. You know her loss. None of her tears have escaped your notice and you long to wrap her in holy arms of strength and peace. Be her rock when faith is shaken, her fortress when she needs shelter, and her hiding place when she is overwhelmed. We trust you to restore the years that have been stolen; to guide her on straight paths and along quiet waters until, one day, she’ll look back and see the way you worked faithfully to give her beauty for ashes. 

In Jesus’ powerful name,

Amen

 

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following: LMMLinkupPorch StoriesTea and Word Tuesday, Blogger Voices NetworkTea and Word TuesdaysWorth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Let’s Have Coffee, Soaring With HimPurposeful Faith, Encouraging Word WednesdaySitting Among FriendsImparting GraceDestination InspirationTune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementFaith and FriendsFaith on Fire, anitaojeda, Dance with Jesushttps://www.rachelmarielee.com/ https://www.instaencouragements.com

Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside of you that is greater than any obstacle..png

It’s the American dream; a core belief inscribed in looping ink upon the face of the  constitution and passed from one to generation to the next. We are “endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Yet, this modern time has been termed “the age of anxiety”, depression is at a near-epidemic level, and suicide rates rank as one of the leading causes of death from the ages of 10-54.

...in the collective pursuit of happiness, we seem to have lost hope.#Jeremiah29:11#hopeinChrist#thereismore Click To Tweet

In our unending desire for life? We’ve exchanged the constraint of quiet for high-reaching, go-getting, prove-myself ambitions. In  pursuit of personal freedom? We’ve subjected ourselves to the poverty of busyness. And in the collective pursuit of happiness? We seem to have lost hope.

Like most women, I struggle to discover balance. A settled sense of purpose intermingled with the intentional practice of both work and play. A confidence in saying”yes” to the best while determining that “no” is also an acceptable answer.

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In this world of high-stakes and high-demands, how can we live fully without being frazzled? Scripture points us toward a permanent, soul-satisfying pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness in just a few simple steps.

Stop Striving

Scripture reassures, “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” Jeremiah 29:11 (MSG)

If our striving and ambition are driven by fear or a need to prove ourselves worthy, then our goals are misguided. We may plan our way, but “the Lord determines our steps”. (Proverbs 16:9) We can rely on Him to guide and lead us.

Live Intentionally Free

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:3)

While this verse addresses the problem of being chained to more ‘traditionally accepted’ sins once we’ve been loosed by Christ’s love, I believe we can also give our freedom in Him up to the idol of busyness.

...being comfortable with doing less has the potential to allow us to do the most important.#beaMary#atthefeetofJesus#bestill Click To Tweet

As women, being comfortable with doing less even when others might expect more has the potential to allow us to do that which is most important, spending time at the feet of Jesus. Intentionally choosing to be a Mary in our Martha-amazed world.

Practice Receiving Instead of Getting

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” (Matthew 6:33)

Paul reveals that God understands our needs. He knows each of us intimately and personally and, like any Father, will look to our concerns. But, He longs for us to inhale a deep, soul-filling breath of Jesus; to recognize the reality of the unseen Eternal. Our joy is in Him, not in the passing pleasures of today.

Altering our perspective of real and lasting life, liberty, and happiness transforms our ability to move from frazzled to refreshed. From empty to energized. From burned-out to blessed.

If you feel frazzled, why not begin implementing the three steps above by doing the following:

  • Make a list of everything on your to-do list for the next week. Categorize each item in three categories: Imperative, Important, Unimportant. Is there anything in the third category you can eliminate from your list?
  • Do you feel guilty when you say “no” to a request? Journal for a few minutes and ask God to reveal what lies at the core of your discomfort (i.e. a desire to please others, ministry opportunity). If you’re uncertain about whether to respond “yes” or “no” in to response to a request for your time, ask for some time to pray about it ask the Holy Spirit to provide insight.
  • Spend 5 minutes being still in the Father’s presence. Now, thank Him for three blessings you’ve received from Him today.

 

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following: LMMLinkupPorch StoriesTea and Word Tuesday, Blogger Voices NetworkTea and Word TuesdaysWorth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Let’s Have Coffee, Soaring With HimPurposeful Faith, Encouraging Word WednesdaySitting Among FriendsImparting GraceDestination InspirationTune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementFaith and FriendsFaith on Fire, anitaojeda, Dance with Jesus

 

 

 

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It is the terror that if our dark soul is discovered, we will never be enjoyed, nor desired, nor pursued by anyone. (Dan Allender)

Shame is that inner tormentor that whispers lies and accusations. It is the silent, insidious voice of self-contempt for one’s own need for love, relationship, and acceptance and is the seat of fear and rejection for the woman who bears its burden.

Introduced into my life at the intersection between my parent’s divorce, a stepfather, and a little girl’s desperate longing for love, I’ve been acquainted with shame since before my fifth birthday. I couldn’t have known that my new daddy’s affection and attention were the seeds he’d scattered in my life to engender trust in a lonely child’s heart. But once the abuse began, shame grew from those seeds–unloosing  self-loathing and self-disdain; always asking, What if I hadn’t? or What if I had?

Shame, though, doesn’t limit itself to only those who are abuse survivors. It invades the lives of women who were the first in their family to experience divorce.

Women who were bullied for their appearance or personality.

Women who experienced the pain of an absentee parent.

Women whose husbands indulge in pornography or flit from one affair to the next.

Women living with the trauma of a child’s death.

Do you, too, know the voice of illegitimate shame? Has its poison poured into the soil of your heart, assaulting you with cruel falsehoods?

You’re never enough.

You should have done something.

You shouldn’t have done anything.

You aren’t worth being loved. 

Some of us tuck shame behind our smiles; the great pretenders#nomoreshame#soulhealing#youareworthloving. Click To Tweet

Some of us tuck shame behind ours smiles; the great pretenders. Others of us hide behind success and performance, unhealthy relationships, food or alcohol consumption, or even closed hearts–certain we’re safer not being known at all.

Two thousand years ago, another woman lived with the shame of bloody discharge.

In the crowd that day there was a woman who for twelve years had been afflicted with hemorrhages. She had spent every penny she had on doctors but not one had been able to help her. She slipped in from behind and touched the edge of Jesus’ robe. At that very moment her hemorrhaging stopped. Jesus said, “Who touched me?”

When no one stepped forward, Peter said, “But Master, we’ve got crowds of people on our hands. Dozens have touched you.”

Jesus insisted, “Someone touched me. I felt power discharging from me.”

When the woman realized that she couldn’t remain hidden, she knelt trembling before him. In front of all the people, she blurted out her story—why she touched him and how at that same moment she was healed.

Jesus said, “Daughter, you took a risk trusting me, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed!” (Luke 8:43-48)

Imagine this women’s desperation. For twelve years she’d lived on the fringe of society as an outcast. The communities societal pollutant. Demoralized and destitute, the woman hid in the midst of the crowd–gathering courage.

Despite the possibility of ridicule or rejection, the woman pressed through her fear as trembling fingers feathered lightly against rough fabric. And in the moment she trusted the Healer, her shame was destroyed.

If shame is part of your struggle, God’s heart is for you to discover freedom from its lies that you, too, might “live well, live blessed.” But, how?

Let’s consider the example of the healed woman who tried to hide from Christ. She pushed beyond her pain, pressed into Jesus, and proclaimed the truth of her situation. These were the stepping-stones of faith that led to healing and wholeness. Relief and restoration.

These were the stepping stones of faith that led to healing and wholeness.Relief and restoration.#nomoreshame#speaktruth#soulhealing Click To Tweet

Oh, friend, this woman’s experience can be mine. Her experience can be yours!

Will you consider taking on a challenge? Starting today, I encourage you to stand up against shame by engaging in the following three activities until you begin to notice a heart change:

  • Push beyond your pain. Write an honest, raw letter or prayer to Jesus about the pain of your shame. What has shame told you? What words or actions have other people taken that have caused you to feel ashamed?
    Step out from hiding and reveal your heart to Him.He will never forsake you. Click To Tweet

    Step out from hiding and reveal your heart to Him. He will never forsake you.

  • Press into Jesus. Reach for the hem of his garment by seeking Him in scripture. Saturate your mind with the Word and replace words of shame with the Living Word that assures you of your identity and worth.
  • Proclaim the truth. Record God’s words of love and place them where you’ll frequently see them. Read them aloud, turn them into prayers, and claim them for yourself because God’s promises are for those who put their faith in Him. Consider inviting a friend, counselor or mentor into the places you need healing from shame. Or, message me and I’ll pray for you.

May you, too, “live well, live blessed.”

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following: Porch StoriesTea and Word Tuesday, Literary Musing MondaysTea and Word TuesdaysWorth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Let’s Have Coffee, Soaring With HimPurposeful Faith, Encouraging Word WednesdaySitting Among FriendsImparting GraceDestination InspirationTune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementFaith and FriendsFaith on Fire, anitaojeda, Dance with Jesus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kata-Kata Gaul (1).pngFour hundred fifty-eight; the number of Bible verses containing a version of the word “faith”. Scrolling down the list, I notice three action verbs reappear consistently. Walk. Serve. Obey.

Walk faithfully. Serve faithfully. Obey faithfully.

Simple words, but not as simply lived. Sometimes the pressures of work and family life seem to squeeze out time for faithful living. We race from one event to the next, our children strapped in car seats during the shuffle between dance lessons, team events and church obligations. Bending our heads for an obligatory dinnertime prayer will need to suffice for  today’s time of quiet rest in His presence. Or, maybe for the week.

Walk faithfully. Serve faithfully. Obey faithfully.

Our holy resumes gathers titles and accomplishments...but we lose we sight of the One we're serving.#seekfirst#loveGod#loveothers Click To Tweet

We feel compelled to join committees, causes, and councils. Our holy resume gathers titles and accomplishments, but how often do we lose sight of the One we’re serving in the midst of all the doing?

Instead of filling up on Christ, we moan about overcrowded schedules as our spiritual wells run as dry as the desert during a drought. All along, the life-giving Fountain waits to flow in us and through us; our bodies weary of frenzy and our souls aching for the refreshing nourishment He provides.

Instead of filling up on God...our spiritual wells run dry.#fountainoflife#noneedtothirst Click To Tweet

The Psalmist understood. He penned these words about his own experience.

You, God, are my God,
    earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
    my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
    where there is no water.

-Psalm 63:1 (NIV)

 

This world, this culture, this high-demand-you-can-do-it-all system will lead us into the wilderness places if we allow frenzied living. I’ve been there. Have you?

I don’t believe this is God’s best for us.

...when we settle into His heavenly company, He will bless our surrendered hearts.#faithfulliving#intentionalliving#lovingGod Click To Tweet

While we attempt to check off  today’s to-do list, the Father invites us to into His presence. And when we settle into His heavenly company,  He will equip us for our assignments and bless our surrendered hearts. In Him and through Him, our thirst will be quenched and our spirits renewed.

Today, may you and I walk faithfully. Serve faithfully. Obey faithfully.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following: Porch StoriesTea and Word Tuesday, Literary Musing MondaysTea and Word TuesdaysWorth Beyond Rubies WednesdayLet’s Have CoffeePurposeful Faith, Encouraging Word WednesdaySitting Among FriendsImparting GraceDestination InspirationTune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementFaith and FriendsFaith on Fire, anitaojedaDance with Jesus

 

 

 

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