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HOPE Mental Illness.png

By my early-40’s I’d earned a few certificates and degrees, four children, two dogs–and the unenviable position of being diagnosed with several disorders. Anxiety. Depression. PTSD. PMDD. Even a penchant toward dissociation.

As a young woman, I’d been certain I could shed the shame of my childhood and embrace happiness. Peace. Living. But I didn’t realize that old, unhealed wounds fester and leach. That anxiety wasn’t something I could dust off like a farmer’s pair of worn cowboy boots.

I didn't realize that old, unhealed wounds fester and leach.That anxiety wasn't something I could dust off like a farmer's pair of worn cowboy boots.#mentalillness#hope#letsgetrealseries Click To Tweet

Time clicked by and, ever so gently, God nurtured and healed. Provided wise counsel and tools to help manage the tumult of soul-sucking pain. Gifted me with a husband who loved through it all. Sustained me when I wanted nothing more than to inhale the last of earth and the first of heaven.

Have you been there? Are you there now? Or, does a loved one bear the burden of mental illness?

I know the pain and I'm sorry you're hurting.#depression#ptsd#hope Click To Tweet

I know the pain and I’m sorry you’re hurting, friend. I’m sorry you don’t share openly because you fear being judged. I’m sorry you weep, cry, and grieve for the person you thought you’d become. I’m sorry that just getting out of bed or making it through one more day makes you feel as though you’re an overloaded cargo ship sinking beneath the weight of its cargo.

Whether you are the one desperate for relief, a mama longing to take her child’s struggle, or a wife desperate for the husband she once knew, you are not alone.

One in five adults understand.

One in five women with successful careers. One in five stay-at-home moms with dinners made by scratch and dessert in the oven. One in five grandmothers living the golden years. One in five women in every church pew on any given Sunday understand.

One in five women in every church pew on any given Sunday understand. #mentalillness#1in5#hope Click To Tweet

Not only are you surrounded by others who empathize, but there is something even better. It’s the four-letter word we forget in the midst of the hard.

Hope.

We have hope because of Christ, in Christ and through Christ.

We have hope because the end of our story was rewritten on the cross. Sin exchanged for restoration, tears for celebration, and death for liberation. Neither depression, anxiety, or any other illness can wrest these from your grasp because you are held tightly in His.

When you’re tempted to believe there is nothing better than what is right now, remind yourself of what you know to be true. There will be more to your story.

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 MSG)

 Peace and grace, Tammy

Mental Health Pain Hack Image

Mental Health Pain Hack Printable

https://kingsumo.com/js/embed.js

 

The photo captured my attitude. Sitting at the kitchen table while my three-year-old brother tore cheerful, striped wrapping paper from his gift, I looked as forlorn as any jealous preschooler might–my sulky expression conveying the thoughts I knew I had no right to express.

Why should he have that toy? I want it! I knew he was the favorite.

Fast forward through the decades and you’ll catch a glimpse of my continued struggle with envy.

As a teen? I envied the pretty girls with boyfriends and happy families. In my twenties? I coveted the relationship my sisters had with the father I didn’t have the opportunity to know as a little girl. In my thirties? Jealousy surged when I thought of other young moms who stayed at home while I struggled to balance my husband’s deployment schedule with four children, three square meals and one demanding job.

While the objects of envy seem to alter across life's timeline, I'm not yet immune to the pinprick of unmet expectations.#contentment#problemwithcomparison#letsgetrealseries Click To Tweet

While the objects of envy seem to alter across life’s timeline, I admit I’m not yet immune to the pinprick of unmet expectations.

I expected to be a stay-at-home mom with a plate of cookies and a glass of lemonade at the ready.

I expected to raise children in a home filled with Christ, certain they would know and love Him.

I expected to love my children so well that I could guarantee “normal” only to discover that depression, anxiety, and addiction don’t play favorites.

I expected to keep a spotless home without smudges on the front windows or furniture worn thin by impromptu fort-making.

In many ways, I expected God to come through. To present my longings and desires all wrapped up with a pretty bow as if they represent His love for me.

I expected God to come through.To present my longings and desires all wrapped up with a pretty bow as if they represent His love for me.#unmetexpectations#notSantaClaus#letsgetrealseries Click To Tweet

One of scriptures most beloved stories is that of the prodigal son. You may recall that the wayward son had returned home after realizing his desperate need for the Father. For forgiveness. For restoration. But, instead of rejoicing in his brother’s return, the older son was overcome with envy. Unrighteous comparison. Ungodly anger. Unholy resentment.

I’ve been the ‘older brother’ and just as the father did with his offended child, God patiently reminds me. “‘Daughter, you don’t understand. You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours.” (Luke 15:31)

Let that word, everything, resonate deep in your heart. Friend, He isn’t holding back or holding out. He doesn’t match up, size up, or stack us up against another. Our incomprehensible inheritance will outlive, overwhelm and surpass every unmet desire or expectation. It will extend beyond that which we can imagine for eternity.

He isn't holding back of holding out.He doesn't match up, size up, or stack us up against another.Our inheritance will outlive, overwhelm and surpass every unmet desire or epxectation.#godsbiglove#holyinheritance#nomoreenvy Click To Tweet

What, then, does the Father’s everything include?

  • His name. (2 Corinthians 6:18)
  • His position. (Ephesians 2:6)
  • His spirit. (Ephesians 1:14)
  • His home. (John 14:2-4)
  •  His life. (1 John 5:11)
  • His blessing. (Ephesians 1:3)

Oh, how the beauty of everything casts its shadow across the temporary of today’s envy. May we be reminded of our heavenly inheritance when envy attempts to squelch our contentment.

I’ve created this beautiful “Resentment to Contentment” downloadable for you. Just print and display, tuck in your Bible, or share with a friend.

Resentment to Contentment Social Media GraphicResentment to Contentment Downloadable PDF

Peace and grace, Tammy

 

The Lord will fight for you. Just stay calm.

Fear tracks my steps like a hunter. It knows my habits, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities. Fear launches arrows of trepidation and dread when I linger too long in the wasteland of what-if-outcomes and this-seems-impossible probability.

Fear launches arrows of trepidation and dread when I linger too long in the wasteland of what-if-outcomes.#fightingfear#letsgetrealseries#donotbeafraid Click To Tweet

Like any predator, fear longs to cripple its prey, rendering her useless. Spent. Afraid to take action. As its presence draws close, it grows ever larger; assuming power over thought and imagination. Casting its shadow over hope, possibility, and a truth-based view of God’s matchless love and strength.

Fear leads to worry and worry, when coddled, leads to anxiety.#fightingfear#letsgetrealseries#donotbeafraid Click To Tweet

Fear leads to worry and worry, when coddled, leads to anxiety.  Right now? I’m precariously balanced on the line between worry and anxiety. Perhaps you are, as well. You, too, may feel as though any circumstance that confirms your fear will catapult you into the hunter’s trap and once there, you’ll live out that which you’d dreaded in the first place. Every fear realized. Every dream obliterated.

An opportunist, fear resides in different areas of your life and mine. Some of us fear abandonment, loss of security, or being unloved and unseen. Others of us struggle with the fear of never being enough, failing as a wife or mother, or being without purpose. Still others fear what might become of a loved one who struggles with prodigal living, mental illness, or addiction.

God knows our hearts tremble and quake.He understands that our knees knock in the face of real situation.Maybe the reason He sprinkled the phrase 'do not be afraid' in scripture 70 times is because He knows us so… Click To Tweet

Friend, God knows our hearts tremble and quake. He understands that our knees knock in the face of real situations or circumstances and that our imaginations run wild with what-if scenarios and I-can’t-imagine-anything-good-coming-of-this myopia.

Maybe the reason He sprinkled the phrase “do not be afraid” in scripture 70 times (along with abundant variations) is because He knows us so well. He realizes we need to be reminded again and again and again of His power, strength and faithfulness because we lose sight of who He is.

We forget His promises.

We flounder in our faith and mistake it for abandonment.

We presume that our weakness equates to a similar weakness in God and we become discouraged or distraught.

But, we can engage fear and overcome it when we wage the battle on our knees and in our minds. The steps I’ve listed below are those that have proven most to helpful to me as I’ve managed my own fear fighting. I pray they encourage your heart as you stand up against fear in your own life.

Fighting Fear Power Plan

  • Prepare for Battle Read, recite and record Bible verses that address fear. These  are a few of my favorites and serve as a starting point. (Isaiah 41:13, Joshua 1:9, Psalm 34:4) As you consider the Father’s words, notice how He is personally involved in the struggle against fear.
  • Dress for Battle Fear fighting encompasses mind and spirit, therefore, we must be clothed accordingly or we’ll be vulnerable to the assaults of the enemy. Ephesians 6:10-18 provides the strategy for us to put on God’s holy power and strength.
  • Engage in Battle Pray. Get real with God about your fear and allow Him to work in your heart and situation. Journal your prayers and pray scripture back to God. You might start with Psalm 27 ,David’s response to fear.

 

Peace and grace,                                                                                                                                      Tammy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve experienced this struggle often enough and long enough to realize this is a battle won on two fronts–in my mind and on my knees.

 

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience..png

After having read a number of reviews about a recently published Christian self-help book, I was struck by the number of readers desiring more authenticity. Honest sharing rather than humble brags. Heart-soothing truths realized and lived-out in the struggles to which every woman can relate. Action steps leading somewhere instead of basic, common sense fillers.

This next series, then, will be entitled “Let’s Get Real”. I don’t mind going deep if you’re willing to go with me. It’s time for those of us in the church and those who aren’t even sure about the church to allow the light of Christ to penetrate the hurting, fragile places of our hearts, souls, and mind.

During the next couple of months, we’ll delve past the surface and dive into the challenges we face or those that have followed us from the past into today. We’ll get real about fear. Abuse. Unrealized dreams. Purpose. Mental health.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. What burdens your heart? What keeps you up at night? How can I pray for you?

Feel free to share your struggles and, together, we’ll meet up to realize hope exists, healing is real, and restoration is possible.

Blessings,

Tammy

Top Five 2018 Blog Posts Roundup

When You’re Not Happy and You Know It-The Struggle with Loneliness and Depressionhttps://tammykennington.com/2018/09/06/when-youre-not-happy-and-you-know-it-the-struggle-with-loneliness-and-depression-and-a-free-ebook

When You’re Not Happy and You Know It https://tammykennington.com/2018/08/09/if-youre-not-happy-and-you-know-it-day-1/

Living a Balanced Life in an Unbalanced World https://tammykennington.com/2018/07/12/living-a-balanced-life-in-an-unbalanced-world-day-2

Sitting in a Pile of Ashes? Finding Hope in Your Job Moments https://tammykennington.com/2018/03/20/sitting-in-a-pile-of-ashes-finding-hope-in-your-job-moments

When Anxiety Threatens Your Personal Peace

https://tammykennington.com/2018/02/05/when-anxiety-threatens-your-personal-peace

 

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When I was crossing a corner as I prayerwalked in our small town in the Sierra Valley, I remembered the gist of a passage from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount about not praying on the street corners to be seen by men. Instead, we are to pray privately behind closed doors.

That moment led me down a twenty-year path of studying the Bible for teachings on prayer—focusing a lot on the prayer life of Jesus. Only secondary to his teachings on eternal life, his teachings on prayer provide much direction as we strive to live a prayer-focused life.

  • Pray simple prayers. The purpose of the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) was to teach us to pray simply. Jesus prefaced the prayer by telling the listeners not to babble on and on (Matthew 6:7-8). As a former journalist, I find this refreshing and reassuring, because I believe in short and simple. Jesus taught us that we do not need elaborate vocabulary. We cannot impress God with the number of our words. After all, he knows our heart already. The simple fact that we go to him is a prayerful act already.
The simple fact that we go to him is a prayerful act already. Click To Tweet
  • Pray with a clear conscience. Forgiveness seems to be crucial to answered prayer. Jesus said that if we do not forgive others, our Father will not forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15). He also said we should be reconciled with others before making an offering (Matthew 5:23-24). I know that if I’m harboring ill feelings toward someone, I’m focused on myself—not God. So forgiveness shifts me from my single viewpoint to God’s bigger one. If we want the Father to forgive us, we need to forgive others’ offenses toward us, but we also need to be proactive in seeking others’ forgiveness when we have hurt them.
...if I'm harboring ill feelings toward someone, I'm focused on myself-not God. Click To Tweet
  • Be persistent. In Luke 18 Jesus told a parable about a woman who kept bugging a judge to make a decision in her favor. Because she was persistent, that unjust judge granted her request. Jesus said, “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?” (Luke 18:7). The Father wants our hearts to bend to him—persistence in prayer makes that happen. No matter how bleak a situation looks, our Father wants us to continue to take our heart cries to him.
No matter how bleak a situation looks, our Father wants us to continue to take our heart cries to him. Click To Tweet
  • Pray boldly. God also wants us to pray beyond our reach. Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). Big, bold prayers are statements of our big, bold faith in our God who can do the impossible (Matthew 19:26). Last year I had a HUGE prayer need relating to the restoration of a relationship. Things looked bleak, and I had about resigned myself to a negative outcome. But then one day I saw a wooden sign that said “pray big.” So I bought that sign and kept approaching God boldly with my prayers. A couple months later in a series of the miraculous, the relationship was restored. Don’t pray small: pray big.Don't pray small_ pray big..png
Don't pray small: pray big. Click To Tweet
  • Pray with faith. When Jesus healed a boy from demons after the disciples had failed, he said that we can move mountains if we have faith as small as a mustard seed (Matthew 17:14-21). Faith is belief and trust in a God who has created and sustained all living things. We need not trust in the miracle; we simply have to believe God can do the miracle. One of my life verses is Matthew 19:26: “With man this is impossible, but all things are possible with God.” We simply need to believe that God can move that mountain.
We need not trust in the miracle; we simply have to believe God can do the miracle. Click To Tweet

I do not pray aloud on street corners in my little town; I pray silently for whatever God puts within my eyesight. And I’ve been privileged to see marriages saved, sick people healed, and hearts moved to faith. Jesus prayed, so I do, too.

Janet gold at rock wall.jpg

Janet Holm McHenry is a speaker and the author of 23 books, including the best-selling PrayerWalk and her newest book, The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus: What He Prayed and How It Will Change Your Life Today (Bethany House, June 5 release). A former educator, she lives in the Sierra Valley in northeastern California, where she prayerwalks for her town and where she taught high school English. Featured in Health, Family Circle and First magazines for her prayerwalking, Janet is convinced that prayer is the best problem-solving strategy.

 The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus is the only comprehensive guide to the prayer life of Jesus. It is an engaging, vivid journey through Jesus’ prayers, as well as his teachings on prayer and his prayer practices. With reflection questions for small groups, it is available at local bookstores and online sources.

https://www.facebook.com/JanetMcHenryAuthor/

He will give you strength to endure this moment. This hour. This day.

The elderly man posted mournful adoption ads and flyers in bus stops and places about town.

“Lonely old man in his 80s. Strong-bodied. Can shop, cook and take care of himself. No chronic illness. I retired from a scientific research institute in Tianjin, with a monthly pension of 6,000 RMB (USD1344) a month. I won’t go to a nursing home. My hope is that a kindhearted person or family will adopt me, nourish me through old age and bury my body when I’m dead.”

Struck by the man’s plight, I wondered how many of us can relate to this man and his heart’s cry.

I’m worth something. I’m willing to work for love and acceptance. I’ll give all that I have for just a crumb of kindness. An ounce of approval. Won’t someone love me? Just a little?

 Have you, too, experienced loneliness? Felt isolated?

Most of us recognize the sense of abandonment that invades a needy soul during such times. Once in a while, these are the difficult feelings that remind us of our need for others. The importance of connection rather than Facebook pretension. The value of friendship rather than selfish ambition.

At other times, the Father may lead us to a lonely place where we’ll be reminded of the One who extends beyond the human longing for relationship and leads us toward spiritual fulfillment. Away from loneliness into the arms of a loving Father. Out from under the shadow of rejection into the everlasting promise of holy adoption.

Consider these words from scripture,

I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughter to me, says the Lord Almighty. Click To Tweet

“I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18) Oh, the relief and joy of total acceptance and complete love!

Sometimes, though, instead of clinging to the words of scripture, we settle into our emotions and hide in the shadows. Messages birthed by the Enemy are given shape in our darkest imagination.

You are unwanted. Unworthy. Unlovable.

 Rather than guiding us toward hope, the taunts of the Deceiver grow ever larger—filling the space once occupied by living. Laughter. Love. And we begin to despair as depression assumes headship.

Like the pounding of a hammer against a nail, the thought rings loud, “Isn’t there more than this hurt? This grief? This aching, incessant pain?” And we scoff at the familiar Sunday school song, ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It’, doubting happiness even exists.

 If you are hiding in the shadows, Friend, convinced that life is purposeless and that pain is your lot, please know:

You are loved. (Psalm 86:5)

You are seen. (Genesis 16:7-12)

You are heard. (1 Peter 3:12)

 

You are chosen. (Col. 3:12)

You are treasured. (Duet. 7:6)

You are a delight to God. (Zeph. 3:17)

Loneliness has a cruel habit of cloaking truth while depression obscures hope.  Click To Tweet

Loneliness has a cruel habit of cloaking truth while depression obscures hope. This is the position in which the Liar of old wants us to reside. Unlike our Eternal Hope, he comes to “kill, steal, and destroy”.

Raise your hands to heaven, dear one, and cry out to the God who bends low to hear even unuttered prayers. He will give you strength to endure this moment. This hour. This day.

Loneliness is a silent soul killer and depression crouches next door. If you struggle with depression and its neighbor, I encourage you to take the If You're (Not) Happy and You Know It Challenge.  Click To Tweet

 

If You’re (Not) Happy and You Know It Challenge-Day 4                                          Loneliness is a silent soul killer and depression crouches next door. If you struggle with depression and its neighbor, I encourage you to take the If You’re (Not) Happy and You Know It Challenge.

  1. Reach out to a trusted friend, family member, pastor or counselor. Clinical depression requires a network of people who will provide support and prayer.
  2. Schedule one or two proactive, depression busting activities each day. For example, set and hold to a regular sleep schedule, exercise regimen, or healthy eating cycle. Add one more positive habit to your “to-do” list every few days to aid in eliminating unhealthy choices (i.e. not eating enough, eating too much, spending hours in front of the screen, avoiding interaction with others).
  3. Volunteer Offering to help others boosts the feel-good centers in our brains and boosts our ability to meaningfully connect with others.
  4. Seek medical assistance. If you’re consumed with thoughts of self-harm or have a plan to hurt yourself, call the suicide hotline at 1 (800) 273-8255. Give yourself the opportunity to rediscover happiness. You are worth it!

Download or share my gift to you, an ebook (also available on Kindle), Moving From Pain to Peace–A Journey Toward Hope.

Moving from Pain to Peace-A Journey toward Hope1From Pain to Peace-Journey Toward Hope

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

 

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

From the time we rise until the moment we exhale sleep’s first breath, nearly 50,000 thoughts will have tracked through our minds. Of those rapid-fire notions, 80% are negative. Repetitive. Even bordering on obsessive.

Our minds are landmines pockmarked with negativity and habitual skepticism–self-sabotaging sink holes that entrap us in an unhealthy, joy inhibiting mindset that blocks blessedness and hinders happiness.

We tumble into the black hole of comparison, worrying whether we’ll ever be as smart, put-together, or beautiful as the woman in the mini-sized yoga pants at the gym or the young mother whose makeup is as perfect as her smile.

Clambering from one hollow only to trip into the next, we desperately seek love and approval like a small child lost in a department store searches for her mother. Our efforts to earn the notice of others, though, fails to satisfy. Instead, they clutter our minds with silent recriminations.

If I’m successful she’ll tell me I’m important to her. Why doesn’t he love me? I must not be good enough.

I know. I’m a self-confessed-personal-critic and reforming people pleaser. You, too? Perhaps Martha was one of us. Consider these passages.

“As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”

 The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.” (Luke 10:38-42 MSG)

How many of us effectively set aside our plans, problems or performance? With 50,000 thoughts cluttering our minds with to-do's-and-haven't-done's, a woman like Mary is relatable. Understandable. Confined by her view of performance… Click To Tweet

While we may all wish to be the Mary in the story, how many of us effectively set aside our plans, problems or performance? With 50,000 thoughts cluttering our minds with to-do’s-and-haven’t-done’s, a woman like Mary is relatable. Understandable. Confined by her view of performance comparison, she’s overwhelmed by the day’s demands and longs to be worthy of love and approval.

Flustered and frustrated, Mary prods Christ, perhaps hoping for praise or recognition of her efforts to serve him. Yet Jesus reassured, “Only one thing is essential.”

Serving Christ and others? Important. Futile worry? Unnecessary. Embracing the Word? Essential. Click To Tweet

Serving Christ and others? Important. Futile worry? Unnecessary. Embracing the Word? Essential.

Our happiness, Friend, resides in Christ–the Word eternal who was present in the beginning and who has no end. We can forgo all of the non-essentials from the One thing–a relationship with Jesus.

 

Let's cleanse our negativity with his truth. Capture our thoughts and transform them to reflect his promises. Invite the joy of relationship with the risen God into our hearts . Click To Tweet

Let’s cleanse our negativity with his truth. Capture our thoughts and transform them to reflect his promises. Invite the joy of relationship with the risen God into our hearts that we might begin to grasp the happiness we can begin to experience even now–without concerns about comparison or earning love and approval.

We already know that when the Father rest his gaze upon us, He sees Jesus’ beauty and incomparable perfection. Because of him, we are loved and accepted into heavenly arms.

As Philippians 4:8 (MSG) exhorts, “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me [Paul], what you heard and saw and realized.”

 

Mind Over Negative Chatter Challenge 

1. Record 3 positive occurrences, circumstances and thoughts you had each day this week. Consider sharing them in the comments section or on my Facebook page, Tammy L. Kennington.

2. Share 9-10 meaningful photos throughout the week. Photos could include anything that brings you joy–family, favorite places, mementos.

3. At the end of the week, reflect on the ways in which the positive, recorded thoughts and/or images impacted your happiness and life experience.

4. Share this challenge with friends and family!

 

 

 

Hello, friends! Welcome to this Thursday’s post. I’m taking a short break from our current series, ‘If You’re Not Happy and You Know It’ to introduce you to my friend, author Debbie Kitterman.

The Gift of Prophetic Encouragement, Debbie’s newest book, stretched and stirred both my faith and understanding of the Holy Spirit.  Whether you’re a conservative evangelical Christian longing to know more about the transforming power of the Holy Spirit or a Foursquare Christ follower already certain that prophecy exists for the church today, Debbie will invite you into a deeper relationship with Jesus. 

To be entered in a drawing for a complimentary signed copy of Debbie’s book, please share a comment with the group.

Peace and grace,                                                                                                                                      Tammy 

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 The evening teaching session had ended when the women’s ministry leader asked if I would spend a little time doing ministry.  As I was looking out into the audience this young girl caught my attention.  When I looked at her, I saw a picture of her standing at volleyball net. So, I asked her if she played volleyball.

Immediately, she snapped “NO! I don’t play volleyball.”

“Are you sure,” I asked?  I went on to explain, “when I looked at you I saw a picture of you standing at a volleyball net.”

“Nope, I don’t play volleyball, you’ve got the wrong person.” She responded as she folded her arms across her chest.

“Oh, ok. “Well, I guess that picture wasn’t for you. Do you mind if I still pray for you?” I asked.

She responded by shaking her head no and I moved on to minister to the next person.  I didn’t have time to really process it during the moment, because I still needed to minister to others. Later that night, I went to bed thinking about the young girl and the clear picture I had seen.

The next morning at breakfast, a group of ladies asked me to sit with them. Upon sitting down, one of them leaned in and whispered, “The girl last night – the one you asked if she played volleyball.  She plays every Friday night.”

What?!? I wanted to shout but instead, I turned my head, so I could look her in the eye and asked, “How do you know this?”  The lady went on to explain in a whisper that she was the young girl’s mother and she wanted to apologize for her daughter. She was sorry she had lied about playing volleyball.  She went on to explain her daughter was afraid and embarrassed to admit playing volleyball because she wasn’t sure what else I might “know.” I asked where her daughter was and if she would be willing to talk to me.  I assured her I didn’t know anything other than she played volleyball.  I explained, it was one of the ways God likes to encourage others. God wanted the daughter to know He was real and He knew exactly who she was.

This is why I wrote the book, The Gift of Prophetic Encouragement.

PE What Authentic Relationship Is

There is a lot of misunderstanding around the gift of prophetic encouragement and because of that it scares people or makes them uncomfortable. I get it.  There has also been some misuse of this gift too.  However, the spiritual gift of prophecy is to be approachable!  Jesus was approachable, and we are to be approachable too. Everyone needs encouragement.

The daughter agreed to talk with me and as I sat with her and her mom, I explained that God was only trying to encourage her.  Because she later let me pray over her, I know why God showed me the picture of volleyball.  He really did want her to know He knew her.  Why?  Because she doubted that anyone saw her.  She felt overlooked and inconsequential.  However, God wanted her to know that was not the case.  There are several Scriptures that spoke truth straight to the lies she was believing.  God had me share them with her that day and I challenged her to find more truths in God’s Word.  One promise I shared say was:

“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go…” (Genesis 28:15a NIV) 

The message to her that day, and to all of us is: “God Sees You!” Paul talks about the gift of prophetic encouragement is in 1 Corinthians 14:  It’s purpose is clear.  To encourage, comfort, and strengthen those who hear and receive it. And, it’s for ALL!  This is a gift, that Paul tells us to eagerly desire.  It is a necessary gift.  It is a gift that can change the world and atmosphere around us.

Buy “The Gift of Prophetic Encouragement” here: https://amzn.to/2N3wcPO

To get Pre-order Bonuses go here: http://debbiekitterman.com/gift-of-prophetic-encouragement/

About The Gift of Prophetic Encouragement: Hearing the Words of God for Others

“The gift of prophetic encouragement is a necessary gift, one that the Church is in great need of during these last days.”—from the foreword by Wayne Cordeiro, president, New Hope Christian College; author, The Divine Mentor

The book clears away the confusion about the prophetic gift today, pastor and ministry leader Debbie Kitterman reveals the good news about the gift of prophecy in this practical, powerful book: We are all prophetic because we all have direct access to God. Prophecy is an ordinary part of the Christian life. In fact, it is God’s way for us to encourage and strengthen the Body of Christ.

So, open your ears to hear God and break out of your comfort zone to deliver His messages to those who need them most. Act now—His words can’t wait!

Prophetic Encouragement is Full of powerful testimonies and practical application, this book will help you break out of your comfort zone and embrace a lifestyle of encouraging others–just as Jesus did. You will learn how to deepen your relationship with God, open a direct line of communication with him, and share his words with others.

 The Gift of Prophetic Encouragement  is completely unique in challenging believers to be the gift of encouragement others need today.  This book is written to give an interactive experience. Here are the book’s features:

  • Teaching on the gift of prophetic encouragement
  • Activation Prayers and Activation Exercises to take you deeper.
  • Testimonies that will build your faith and increase your boldness.
  • A profound foreword by Wayne Corderio
  • Chapter questions for personal study or discussion

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Debbie Kitterman is a natural born encourager who is on fire for God. She is passionate about equipping individuals, so they can go deeper in the relationship with God, reach their God-potential and claim their Kingdom inheritance. Debbie is a wife, mother, author, pastor, speaker and the founder of “Dare 2 Hear,” a ministry that trains individuals to hear the voice of God. She travels to churches internationally and is the founder and teacher of d2htraining.com, an online course designed to equip the believer in releasing God’s heart. Her writing and teachings inspire faith and build bridges for people to believe and expect the impossible. She is also an ordained Foursquare pastor, currently serving with her husband, John, as senior pastor of Restoration Church in Lacey, Washington. Learn more at: www.debbiekitterman.com

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Loneliness kills. It’s as powerful as smoking or alcoholism.  -Waldinger

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.png

In a world of being ‘friended’ and ‘unfriended’, acceptance and belonging have been reduced to photos, Tweets and images of the best of our lives. Vacation spots and smiling faces. Highlights of proud moments, but little of what floods our hearts with everything that makes us human.

Yet loneliness and social isolation are heralded as the new international health epidemic, reducing life expectancy up to 29% for those in its grasp. Why? A multitude of reasons exist. The propensity to live crazy busy. Fear of being truly known. Failing marriages and even fewer heart-level friendships.

Made in the image of God, we are designed for relationship. For community. For sharing our deepest hurts and greatest joys with one another. For laughter shared over a cup tea and tears of companionship in times of loss.

Loneliness invites herself into their lives and ours... Click To Tweet

Married women. Single women. Women with homes filled with children and women with empty wombs. Women of every age, color and status. Loneliness invites herself into their lives and ours and embeds unhealthy thoughts and habits in vulnerable hearts and minds.

For some, sharp-tipped words prick our souls as we wonder. Will I ever be enough? Will I ever belong? Will I ever matter? Others of us battle depression or allow the demands of a full schedule to rise above the need for community.

You are a woman worth knowing.You are enough and you do matter.#nomoreloneliness#John3:16#toknowafriendbeafriend Click To Tweet

Friend, loneliness is a joy-stealing, heart-wrenching, life-altering burden. If she is your unwelcome companion, can I challenge you to take action? Step out of her shadow today and invite someone else to take her place. Call a friend you’d once known well and reconnect. Call, text or message that woman you’ve wanted to get to know.

You are a woman worth knowing. You are enough and you do matter.

Praying for you today,

Tammy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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