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Archive for October, 2018

He will direct your steps and lead you to a new land of promise..png

Three years of loss, heartache, and impossible circumstances dropped me in the middle of a wasteland experience. The questions we ask when we’re distraught, grieving and disillusioned scrawled across tear-stained journal pages and erupted from the depths of my soul when I prayed.

 If God is sovereign, how can this have happened? Didn’t he hear my prayers? Why didn’t He do something?

More frightening to me than any of my doubts about God’s power and faithfulness was the on-going, internal battle that waged in my mind.

I felt as though my faith had faded into the nothingness of the wasteland in which I wandered and, oh, how I longed for an oasis.Just one drink to quench my need for Living Water.#wildernessliving#hope#letsgetrealseries Click To Tweet

I felt as though my faith had faded into the nothingness of the wasteland in which I wandered and, oh, how I longed for an oasis. Just one drink to quench my need for Living Water. One drop of hope to lead me through the dry and dusty no-man’s land into the arms of heaven.

Unusually cynical, I only attended church at my husband’s coaxing. My prayers ranged from desperate pleas for deliverance to angry, honest diatribes and scripture seemed as barren as my spirit.

Can you relate? Have you ever been lost in your own wilderness, certain of nothing but your own unbelief?  Have you trekked aimlessly through the badlands of Fear or Doubt? Wandered in the wilds of Trial or Tribulation?

You might be in that place now, blaming your lack of faith for failing to feel God’s presence. Almost certain the Hope Giver has turned away from your prayers or grown weary of your petitions.

If He can guide and provide for a nation of people wandering for forty years, He will direct your steps and lead you to a new land of promise.#keepthefaith#choosehope#letsgetrealseries Click To Tweet

But, your wilderness days will end just as mine did. Cling to that hope, Friend. If He can guide and provide for a nation of people wandering aimlessly for forty years in the Negev desert, He will direct your steps and lead you to a new land of promise where you’ll hear his voice. Feel His presence. Remember His great love for you.

One day soon, you’ll look back on the days when you’d thought faith had died and realize He’d nurtured it instead. You’ll rejoice, claiming Hosea 13:5 as your own. “He cared for me in the wilderness, in the land of drought.”

Mint Save the Date Wedding Postcard

Promised Land Prayer Card Printable

 

Blessings, Tammy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

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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

 

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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.

 

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