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Archive for March, 2018


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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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