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The day we trusted Jesus, we were set free from bondage.

I didn’t know her, but the vulnerable thoughts she’d penned pierced my heart.

I realized where I was stuck. I was stuck in jealousy–wanting the childhood she had. Wanting. Wishing. But, not having.

She spoke of jealousy, but what I heard in those words? Grief. Yearning. Broken-hearted longing. If I had to guess? This woman, like so many, grew up in dysfunction.

She may have been raised in a home with an empty pantry and only harsh, angry words to nourish a girl’s hungry soul. Hers may have been the home other children politely refused to visit because they’d heard the shouting and cursing seeping from the walls in the dark of the night. Or, she might have been the child shivering beneath the covers because the heating bill had been neglected in favor of another bottle of her stepfather’s favorite whiskey.

If that is part of your story? I. Am. Sorry.

Something is terribly broken in a world where children grow up with hungry stomachs and hungrier hearts.

You can do something different, dear one.

And if we are honest, we all might admit the truth…

Even the best families are dysfunctional. While not everyone experienced a childhood without a father or cleaned up after an addicted parent, we all know this one thing.

Our. Parents. Were. Not. Perfect.

And, of course, neither are we.

[bcc tweet=”So how do dysfunctional, messed-up people break the chains of familial bondage? Is it even possible to rid ourselves of unwanted habits that have hitched a ride from one generation to the next?

Yes, but not our own power. Instead, we can turn to the one who is All-Powerful.”]

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners…(Isaiah 61:1)

But to begin moving in that direction? We need to recognize the hurts and habits that moved into our marriages and families uninvited. Call them out. Denounce their destructiveness and invite the Holy Spirit into the walls of our homes and hearts.

Unabated sarcasm? Angry outbursts? Shutting down? Shutting out? Whatever the sin. Name it, friend, and He will begin to unfasten the chains.

Invite His correction. Accept His instruction. Trust His direction.

There isn’t a stronghold that can stand when we invite the Helper into our sin-created, self-mandated cage. The walls of resistance are shaken, doors burst open and we step into the light of freedom the moment we admit our weakness. Click To Tweet

There may be times we wander into the dark den that once held us captive, but we don’t belong there. Remember,the day we trusted Jesus we were set free from bondage Click To Tweet. The door stands open. Let’s trust Him enough to step across the threshold.

In His love and grace,

Tammy

 

 

 

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.He put a new song in my mouth. Psalm 40_1,3.png

The high-pitched whirring of the car matched the acceleration of my heart, a rapid ta-tunk, ta-tunk, ta-tunk as I pressed the accelerator. Thoughts ricocheted in my mind, rapid-fire like a motorized, ball-pitching machine.

They’d be better off without me.

This hurting wasn’t part of my plan.

I don’t think God knew what He was doing when He gave me life.

The messages repeated again and again as I rounded the edge of a mountain. Temptation rose large, whispering its poison as I imagined what it might feel like to launch off the earth at 13,000 feet.

You can stop it all. Right here. Right now.

2 Corinthians 10:5 joined the panoply of others.

Take every thought captive. Take every thought captive. Take every thought captive.

And God’s word, sharper than a two-edged sword, guided me home. Safe. Settled. Soothed.

Still, depression held on.

Depression. Even the word sounds threatening, doesn’t it? Like so many others I’ve lived it. I’ve walked through depression with friends and family. And I’ve discovered that depression is no respecter of persons.

Age? Irrelevant. Gender? Immaterial. Status? Insignificant. Faith? Unrelated. Time? Inconsequential.

Depression disguises itself as disinterest. Detachment. Despair. It swallows hope in its black, gaping mouth and casts its shadow on even the happiest moments. You feel alone. Alone in the pain. Alone without purpose. Alone without… Click To Tweet

If you aren’t that woman, you know someone who is struggling right now. She may not tell you. She may not share the pain. But, you do know at least one dear soul who–in living with depression feels lifeless inside.

Oh, how the chains of depression drag and pull like a treacherous rip current at low tide. Its power seems overwhelming and the thought of catching a breath grows ever dimmer.

Is there any hope?

Sweet friend, Jesus can shatter the chains of depression. He'll walk through the deep valley with you now--shoulder to shoulder--and lead you to an open space where you inhale deeply of life and laugh in delight. Click To Tweet

In the Bible, our Father provides examples of other people who loved Him and struggled with depression.  Job. David. Solomon. Elijah. Naomi. Most of these people were spiritual giants, yet they experienced hopelessness. They also provide us with insight as we take up our scriptural sledge hammer and prepare to destroy depression.

Depression and Spiritual Warfare

As with Job, depression can be a result of trauma and grief. After all, the enemy knows our vulnerabilities and, while restricted, he seeks to steal, kill and destroy anything of promise in our lives.

Job’s story (Job 1-3; 38-42) teaches us:

  • that the Enemy targets those who love the Lord and live out their faith.
  • God was with Job–even when Job was angry and accusatory.

Depression and the Importance of Community

Naomi’s husband and two sons died, leaving her a penniless, bitter refugee. Still, her daughter-in-law, Ruth, remained a faithful companion.

Naomi’s story teaches us:

  • even when we feel as if God has abandoned us, He remains near.
  • not to isolate ourselves. We all need a ‘Ruth’ to speak words of truth and encouragement.

 

Depression and the Challenge of Ministry

Regardless of our circle of influence, we are vessels through which God’s love is meant to flow. But, ministry–whether to our husband, children, colleagues, or women’s group–is challenging. Elijah was depleted and depressed because his ministry seemed ineffective and there was a price on his head.

Elijah’s story teaches us:

  • we must care for the needs of our body by resting and eating well.
  • that we are never alone. It’s important to seek community and trust in His faithfulness despite circumstances.

Depression and the Importance of Prayer and Thanksgiving

David might have been a man after God’s own heart, but he understood the suffering of betrayal and the heartache of losing a child. Honest and vulnerable, David’s prayers typically end in praise and thanksgiving.

David’s story teaches us:

  • God doesn’t expect us to recite pithy, sanitized prayers. We can be honest about our situation. Honest about how we are feeling. Honest about the pain.
  • praising and thanking God reminds us of the truths we know about His goodness and love.

 

These scriptures provide us with wonderful, encouraging truths. However, depression is a form of illness. If you struggle with depression, you need support and treatment for that sickness just as you would any other. Beyond addressing your spiritual needs, please seek help for your depression in other important ways. Click To Tweet

These include meeting with a counselor or therapist, sharing your struggle with a few trustworthy friends who can pray for and minister to you, caring for your body with a healthy diet and exercise, and possibly considering the use of medication for a time.

If you or someone you know is struggling with self-destructive thoughts as I had been, seek help immediately. Call a hotline or go to the hospital.

The enemy is a great deceiver and he is adept at convincing us life will never get better. He is lying. Jesus came that we might have life and live it abundantly. Click To Tweet

With prayers for peace and holy strength,

Tammy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My son’s pint-sized body huddled beneath the bed covers as if the thin cotton cover could shield him from any enemy. Since his father had deployed to Afghanistan, Seth’s fear had transformed into something destructive. An ever-growing-never-contained-despair rooted in the darkest anxiety.

The merest whisper of sound in the deep of the night trigged a near-panic response. Every stranger striding across the neighborhood’s suburban sidewalk? A possible adversary. My sweet boy was immersed in a world of imagined threats: kidnappings, fire, never-ending darkness.

Oh. My. Heart.

Despite his past experiences and regardless of my reassurances, Seth was convinced. Surely unknown, unseen enemies lurked beneath the child-sized bed along with half-assembled Lego sets and miniature race cars.

My words seemed not to penetrate. To reach the core of my child’s fear.

Trust me. I’ll take care of you. Don’t be afraid.

The Israelites carried that same inconsolable, impenetrable fear through the desert thousands of years ago. Having been plucked from slavery and delivered safely through standing walls of water, an entire people stood overlooking the bounty and beauty of a land God had promised them.

At the Father’s instruction, twelve leading men were commissioned to explore the uncharted land of Canaan–to survey its cities,  peruse its people and weigh its wealth.

This land belonged to Israel in the same way that Israel belonged to the Father. It was gift-wrapped; held  in the open palm of the Father’s hand like a cluster of grapes hanging heavy in expectation of the harvest.

Trust me. I’ll take care of you. Don’t be afraid.

Ignoring the certainty of their circumstances, God’s children allowed fear to dictate their decisions.

Huddling behind logic, the Israelites discounted Yahweh’s words, “Canaan [is] the land I am giving to the Israelites.” Numbers 13:2

He must not understand the presence. The power. The prowess of these people.

Hiding behind half-truths, the Chosen focus on fear until it rises a behemoth–ever greater, sending tentacles of untruth snaking through every tribe and leaving His men and women in mass hysteria.

Begging to return to bondage. Bad-mouthing their rescuers. Blind to their belief.

I see my face in the crowd. I’ve been that woman. The one for whom the imagined giants of Crisis and Complication ascend larger than any of His promises. Despite the Father’s faithfulness, I allow fear to command my choices and master my mind.

But, I long to be the Caleb in the crowd. Don’t you?

In opposition to a near-rebellion, Caleb admonishes, “Let’s go and take up the land–now. We can do it.” (Numbers 13:30 MSG)

Caleb doesn’t hesitate. There is no quavering in his voice nor quaking of the knees. Caleb knows his God and, grabbing hold of holy confidence, girds himself to join God on the journey.

I want to be the woman exhorting and encouraging, “Trust Him. He’ll take care of us. Don’t be afraid.”

Friend, fear only maintains power when we give it permission. But, when we grab hold of holy confidence and rely on Him for strength, our giants are reduced to rubble and we can move forward into the land of promise. Click To Tweet

In His grace and peace,                                                      Tammy

Action Step: Step out of fear and into the promises God has for you today. Download and complete this printable and use it to prompt you to remember His faithfulness when your spiritual knees are knocking. Click to access this resource. Fearnot

february

 

Linking up at:

#porch stories,  https://www.crystalstorms.me/category/heart-encouragement/, and

 

Choose to believe He is faithful.

Delicately crafted cards line the aisles of every Hallmark store and images of women smiling wide as their children present them with breakfast flash across the grey screens in living room corners. There is joy in the celebration of mothering and don’t we all yearn to be loved so beautifully?

But for some, Mother’s Day is like the scratching of a tree branch across an aging windowpane: a needle-tipped reminder of the celebrations you once knew or the celebrations you longed to experience. A perceptible poking and pricking at heart-wounds old or new.

This may be the first season of your life without your own mother and you long to hear her laugh or ask her about living life well. How did you do it? I miss you. 

Perhaps this is the holiday that pains you because you never felt enough, became enough, proved enough.  And your mother? The woman you emulated? She handed those messages to you wrapped in critical words and disdainful glances.

Or, like the others before it, this holiday sits like a broken promise–dreams turned to dust before your eyes. The mother you needed was unavailable. Inaccessible. Unaware. Still, you carry the child you were in your heart and hope that one day someone will fill that empty longing in the way you wish your mother had done.

For some, Mother’s Day is a lonely salute to infertility, a memorial to the dreams you had for your prodigal or the child who took his own life. One more year of unfair circumstances. Unanswered prayers. Unsolvable situations.

If you are one of the hurting ones, can I tell you how sorry I am? I am sorry for the pain. The loss. The grief. I’m sorry you feel alone, unnoticed, or unloved.

Sweet friend, whether this Mother’s Day is one of resignation or celebration, distress or delight–would you allow me to encourage you?

Your heavenly Father is more than able to fill the empty spaces. He longs to embrace you in unmatched, unimaginable love. To invite you deeper into His mercy. His beauty. His abundance. And there? You’ll discover overflowing blessings that quench the needs of your soul.

For now, each of us must choose.

Choose gratitude for the mother whose life was spent loving her children.

Choose forgiveness for the mother who failed to love well.

Choose to trust Him when arms are empty and the pleasure of mothering has been stolen.

Choose to believe He is faithful. And as we move from earth’s shadow into heaven’s light, we’ll discover the fullness of being loved (and loving others) beautifully.

Blessings,

Tammy

   

              

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God waits for you to communicate with him. He has made himself available to you at all times. -Wesley L. Duewel

It flourished once in the Garden, the flawless connection between people and their Maker. Man and woman. Human and creature. When God strolled in a paradise shaped by His hand and invited the two to meet with Him in the cool of the evening.

Relationship.

Loved perfectly day after day, the man and woman communed with God. They knew Him intimately, rejoicing at the sound of His voice.

This first couple was designed to love unconditionally. Serving and giving without reservation or selfish inclination. Chosen for one another, the couple delighted in life. The feel of heart clasped to heart. The sweet taste of honey sliding down the back of the throat. The sound of Heaven’s footstep touching earth.

Beasts of all shapes and sizes roamed the Paradise, unafraid. Powerful lions brushed affectionately against the legs of man while birds lit on trees to sing over the two lovers.

But, sin.

That first betrayal of human soul casting off eternal hope for a singular moment of grainy sweetness on tongue shattered pure, beautiful relationship. Stripped the man and woman of innocence. Produced a chasm between the Creator and his earthly children. Corrupted a holy, God-ordained marriage with self. Self-interest. Self-seeking. Self-gratification. And, introduced death and difficulty into the lives of untold generations.

One can almost hear the mutual intake of breath as the heavenly host watch Eve’s teeth puncture the tender flesh of the fruit; its wetness dripping sticky sweet on her chin. Perhaps the heavenly messengers moan aloud as Adam, too, lifts the Forbidden to his mouth. Its scent, coupled with the invitation of his wife’s eye, dare him to indulge.

Just. One. Bite.

Then, God.

There was no surprise in the insurrection. No thwarted plan. With a nod, the Godhead agrees. The first Adam will not be the last and Holy blood will one day make man innocent again. Relationship will be restored.

Because, Jesus.

His sandaled feet strolled in another Garden nearly 2,000 years ago. For three years, he’d called men and women to Him. Healing the sick. The desperate. The dying. Freeing those bound by chains of discouragement. Desperation. Despondence.  And, now? He knelt in prayer before being lifted high on the tree–the final, complete sacrifice of innocence  that man and woman might again exist in relationship with the Maker.

Unbroken. Eternal. Abiding.

Before the beginning He chose relationship with us. We do not follow a list of do’s and don’t that lead us to heaven. No jot nor tittle of prescribed religion offers sanctification or eternal life. It is only in relationship with Jesus that men and women discover the beauty of Paradise promised.

Someday, heaven.

Blessings,

Tammy

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (John 17:3)

A Holy Relationship Resource for You

In the business of living out our roles as women, it can be challenging to make space for the most important relationship of all–our Father-daughter relationship. Friends, I’m not always the most successful at prioritizing Jesus in my life, but I long to walk alongside Him in this life and on the other side of heaven.

Click here for fatherdaughterprintable for a graphic of 5 Ways to Make Your (Heavenly) Father-daughter Relationship a Priority.  Post it on your bathroom mirror, tuck it in a diaper bag, or clip it to your car’s visor. Read it when you need a bit of encouragement to spend time with Jesus.

fatherdaughtergraphic

Also linking up at Imparting Grace (here).

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my delivere.png

A mass of sandstone loomed above the rush of cold mountain water as my son, limber with youth and filled with the daring outlook of boy-conquers-world, scrambled up one slippery side. White-knuckled, he groped his way along water-slicked edges and scaled the massive river rock. Pounding his chest with boyhood bravado, a whoop of jubilation burst from pubescent lungs.

From boulders to jutting cliffs and larger-than-life mountains, standing stones protrude in adult lives, as well. Deep. Entrenched. Impassable.

The Great Unmovable varies, but we recognize it. For some it takes the shape of anxiety. Infertility. Abandonment. Or, perhaps, cancer. Death. Depression.

My Great Unmovable? Fear.

Fear of missing the mark in motherhood. In loving my husband. Fear of failing to see the needs of family and friends. Fear of being less than capable of staving off danger, hardship, or self-sabotage in the lives of dear ones.

This Great Unmovable has loomed large for several years as I’ve navigated life’s twists and turns. Sometimes it shrinks in the distance and blends into the shadow of memory while there are moments–even weeks and months–when it rises like an ill-conceived monolith. Masking victory. Concealing hope. Obscuring joy.

Yet in that weakness, I discover strength. Not a strength born of grit or                                self-determination, but a soul-fortitude birthed in the One who is faithful and true. Only when clinging to the unchanging Rock and the Cornerstone of eternal confidence am I able to loose my grip on the Great Unmovable. Because of the matchless Father, I am lifted high, my feet planted firmly on the top of the great unmovable–a conqueror in Christ.

And, I beat my chest in celebration as a shout erupts from inside out. I know, Friend, that every rise, rampart, or range dissolves at the command of the Immutable. When I stand here? I capture a glimpse. An impression. The endless promise.

Jesus. 

There may be a few more ridges to climb, but by His grace we’ll scale each one only to discover so much more than we ever imagined.

Question for Reflection–What Great Unmovable looms large in your life? He is able to overcome, Friend.

Verse of Encouragement–Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. (Psalm 71:3)

Blessings,                                                                                                                                        Tammy

 

Woman to Woman Ministries

 


I know that you can do all things- no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

It’s been a year of quiet and I’m reminded of the calm that hovers over the earth after the winds of a mid-summer hurricane. I heave a deep spirit-sigh, breathing out stored up soul poison; releasing fear and bitterness. God-directed anger and doubt. I inhale God’s truth scribed by man, but formed by the mind of I Am.

I will restore the years the locusts have eaten.

My heart responds in rhythmic worship. Thank you, Lord. I believe.

Yet, a few years ago the howling winds sent me reeling. Loosing me in dark storms of despair, hopelessness, and helplessness. I questioned the Maker. Why, how, and when cluttered my heart and left little room for praise.

One evening, overwhelmed by the struggle, I knelt in prayer and begged God for the slightest hope of restoration. In that moment, His presence grew thick around me like a blanket just pulled from the warmth of a dryer. Comforted, my weeping slowed and then stopped.

I will restore the years the locusts have eaten.

The words weren’t audible, but my spirit understood. He saw me.

In that moment, my faith was forever altered. I surrendered the pain. Surrendered the broken bits of my heart. Surrendered those I most loved into His care. Surrendered the woman I’d been for the one He was re-shaping to more clearly reflect His redemption, restoration, and reformation.

Opening arms wide to receive the fullness of grace, I cried out for more and waited expectantly. There were no sudden changes in the converging of difficult circumstances, great revelations of knowledge, or immediate answers to pray. But, God was working in the midst all along.

Through the challenge of it all, I thought often of Job–a man whose suffering is renowned. Everything Job ever esteemed or cared about was ripped from his life. Beloved children. Prosperity. Health. Until finally, Job sits in a pile of ashes, scraping boils from his flesh with sharp-edged pottery as his wife mocks his faith.

Job’s circumstances aren’t mine, but I do understand what it is to lose hope. To live with heartache and sadness. To question Him.

Why? When? How?

In the midst of those recent, painful years, I looked to Job for encouragement. While my faith danced on the edge of a thread, the man called ‘blameless’ turned from his overwhelming reality to humble submission and his relationship with the Father stretched larger than Job’s restored fortune.

Then Job replied to the LORD: I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. (Job 42:1)

You, too, may be living Job moments. If so, I’m truly sorry for your hurt and struggle, Friend. My own experience has taught me that God is in the business of restoration.

Won’t you surrender your brokenness to Him today?

You may not know why. 

When may seem too long.

How may be unexpected.

But, our Who is greater than all of it and He is faithful to His children, true to His promises, and with you from beginning to end.

 

Spiritual Strategy to Help Navigate Through Job Moments

  1. Stop asking ‘why’, ‘when’, and ‘how’. You and I will likely never know the answers this side of heaven. This fallen world lends itself to heartache, but God is actively restoring now and will one day restore all.
  2. Turn to God when the enemy slings his fiery arrows your direction. Our emotions, doubts, and pain have a way of narrowing our perception and threatening that which we know to be true. Copy favorite Bible verses on notecards and hang them around your house where you’ll see them frequently (i.e. bathroom mirrors, refrigerator, etc.)
  3. Pray with expectation. Keep a journal of prayer requests and mark off those God has answered. This practice will remind us of His faithfulness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shame has no place in lives covered by His grace.

The girl’s comment penetrated deep. My eyes darted to and fro as I shoved my large, 1980’s glasses up the bridge of my nose. Brushing a loose strand of my Dorothy Hamill wedge into place, I turned away from the knowing looks of the other children and heat burned the tips of my ears.

Your parents had to get married.

Lifting unsteady fingers, I gnawed at an already uneven nail and dipped my head in the presence of the other children. The lunch line seemed dauntingly long as the other little girl snorted and turned back to her tittering group of friends.

I wore embarrassment and shame as much as I did the pair of yellow gaberdine slacks with grass-stained knees and turtleneck shirt the rest of the day. How did people know I was the unplanned result of teenaged impulse? 

Later, mother assured me, “You were never a mistake.” Still, I couldn’t help but wonder what  others thought. I imagined parents of my childhood friends murmuring…judging…accusing. Schoolmates poking fun at the child who forced a shotgun wedding.

I felt responsible. Embarrassed. Almost apologetic. Why? Because I existed. I breathed air that might have belonged to another, worthier person. The heaviness of guilt settled large and unmoving–a burden too heavy for an unequipped child.

I carried the unnecessary weight of shame for years, keeping it hidden as I moved into young adulthood where I hid behind laughter and educational attainment. Carefully put together outfits and a confident stride.

Still, shame resided in the hidden corners of my heart. Mocking. Accusing. Indicting.

You’re still just a girl with a broken past. If only they knew the truth about you; who you really are.

Scripture tells of a woman who knew the pain of shame. For twelve long years she’d lived as a social outcast, desperately seeking a cure from the hemorrhaging that tore up her insides as effectively as it did her reputation. Women were considered unclean when they bled and she couldn’t help cringing at the whispered comments and dismissive glances.

This woman must be a terrible sinner for God to have cursed her this way. It’s her fault. Women like her are worth less than nothing.

But, she’d heard of the man they called Jesus. His miracles. His compassion. His love. Could he possibly set her free from the burden of her shame? They said he’d be returning by boat to Galilee today. Gathering her things, the woman hurried out the door before she changed her mind.

Not far from home, she noticed a crowd of men, women, and children jostling one another in their attempts to get closer to the man near the front, the one they called Rabbi. Slipping into the fray, she stretched out a shaking hand–certain that just touching the Nazarene would make her whole again.

It was a mere whisper of a touch; the fabric of his cloak barely skimming the tips of her fingers, but Jesus stopped short. “Who touched me?” he questioned. For so long she’d tried to go unnoticed. To hide behind her timidity. This moment, though, required more.

Kneeling at his feet, she confessed to touching him. To trusting him for healing. To the pain she’d suffered and the hope she now had. Her shame was gone. Because of him it had been eradicated. Eternally terminated.

Perhaps you, too, struggle with the burden of shame. Some may tuck it carefully behind their introversion or extroversion while others hide behind parenting accomplishments and bumper stickers proclaiming their child a straight-A student. More than a few of us hide behind happy, shiny Facebook posts, successful careers, or the right house in the right neighborhood.

But, Friend, God’s daughters can come out of hiding and step into his presence. We can claim the promises of scripture, knowing that his death and resurrection have cleansed us. Freed us. Healed us.

[Tweet “Shame has no place in lives covered by his grace.#powerofgrace#freedominChrist”].

 

Blessings,                                                                                                                                          Tammy

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Sharing hope when people need it most

Like many of you, I’ve been captured by the horror of Valentine’s Day, 2018. Normally associated with candy hearts and sentimental cards, this day became a sickening host to the worst kind of inhumanity and suffering.

I’ve watched the news casts and read columns entrenched in anger and “it’s your fault” rhetoric and I wonder, when will the politicians stop lashing out at one another? Blame shifting. Politicizing tragedy with messages about gun control. When will the media stop frightening people with oversimplified views of those who struggle with mental health? Pointing fingers. Accusing one agency or another.

Because the fact remains that this morning well over a dozen beds lay empty and mothers and fathers weep at the graveside of a child gone too soon. The answer to these tragedies goes far beyond laws about weaponry or pat answers for people who live with depression. We can banter, argue and get nowhere. Or, we Christians can step into our calling and love others well, proclaim Hope, and set prisoners free.

We know the truth.

Our fight is not against human beings. It is against the rulers, the authorities and the powers of this dark world. It is against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly world. Ephesians 6:12 (NIRV)

We live in enemy territory and tragedies like these are reality because people are captive to his propaganda. They believe the lies.

Nobody loves you. You are nothing. There is no hope. 

Desperate, they embrace the unimaginable and transfer their hatred of self onto the innocent around them. Shattering lives. Destroying families. Stealing hope.

We know the truth.

Jesus came to set people free. To release men, women, boys and girls from the tyranny of self that He might deliver them to a place of soul-fulfillment. Lavishing love. Healing heart-wounds. Restoring joy.

You are loved. You are treasured. I Am hope.

We know the truth and in a world desperate for something more, Friend, you and I must live our faith out loud. The times of passively sitting in a church pew without taking action are past. If you and I profess Christ, aren’t we bound to share His love? To be a friend to the lonely? To uphold the cause of the weak? To come alongside the hurting and broken to offer the eternal answer to life’s challenges and concerns?

Jesus is the answer to the needs of broken boys. He is the cure for a shattered society calling out for justice. And, Friend, we are the ones He has called because we know the truth.

 

Then you will know the truth. And the truth will set you free. John 8:32

 

Lord, help us to bravely step into our calling that we might love and live as if we believe the truth. Lead us into the lives of the broken and needy, Jesus, and transform their hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Blessings,

Tammy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.

It waits in the shadow of thoughts; sitting real and large on my chest like a rock pressing sharp edges into earth’s soft soil. Settling into tender places until the pressure builds and the corners of my heart fracture enough to allow tears to seep through and thin shocks of electricity shoot down my arms into the tips of each finger–seeking release.

I’ve been managing anxiety well for years, but its risen from dormancy the last several weeks. I’m not terribly surprised. For a short time, my husband was hospitalized. A colleague threatened suicide. A dear one is battling against the stronghold of depression. And the only evidence now of a long-time canine companion is a small pink collar and unused dog dish.

Unwelcome, apprehension greets me in the morning and whispers in my ear as I lay my head on the pillow at night.

You should have done something for her today. Why didn’t you call him? What if he doesn’t know how important he is to you? To God? 

I gather the thoughts and then release them in prayers.


This sort of battle resides in the mind, but is as real as any visible enemy. For some, its roots may have sprung from a biological bent toward mental illness. A lack of feel-good chemical production. Others may have suffered trauma or loss. Perhaps a loss so overwhelming that is seems to grow uncontrolled and ever-larger–like a nightmarish beanstalk in a child’s fairy tale.

Friend, when we feel impossibly small as we hack away at anxiety–burdened by the hard of circumstance or overwhelmed by worry, remember that Christ conquered every power. Every principality. Every plot to separate us from Him. In His name we can stand against the lies of the enemy, denying satan the right to shift worship from Christ to concern.

Pray against worry. Pronounce Christ’s truth over yourself. And, cling to His promises.

Blessings,  

Tammy

Action Steps to Help When You are Anxious

  • P-When assaulted by an anxious thought, immediately pray against it. Renounce it as powerless in the name of Christ. (John 14:13)
  • RRemind yourself of God’s promises. Memorize scriptures you can pray back to Him when you’re struggling. (James 4:8)
  • AAsk others to pray with and for you.  (James 5:16)
  • I-Develop intentional habits to help ward off anxiety.  These might include daily Bible reading and meditation, regular exercise, and eating well. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
  • S-If anxiety becomes part of your day-to-day struggle, seek help from a counselor or doctor. (Proverbs 12:15)
  • E-Press into God, enduring with patience and hope for He will bless you. (James 1:12)

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