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Archive for February, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace and grace,

Tammy

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

 

 

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

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

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

Beauty from ashes.

[bctt tweet="I understand the suffering of letting go of a dream when you'd believed God had more for you than this.#hoperestored#dreamnewdreams"]

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

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

[bctt tweet="There are no easy answers to pain and suffering.But,there is a God who refashions broken lives.#hoperestored#beautyforashes"]

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

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

 

Father,

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

In Jesus’ powerful name,

Amen

 

Peace and grace,

Tammy

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

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

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

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

[bctt tweet="...in the collective pursuit of happiness, we seem to have lost hope.#Jeremiah29:11#hopeinChrist#thereismore"]

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

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

[bctt tweet=A settled sense of purpose intermingled with the intentioanl practice of both work and play...#managingstress#overscheduled#intentionalliving"]

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

Stop Striving

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

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

Live Intentionally Free

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

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

[bctt tweet="...being comfortable with doing less has the potential to allow us to do the most important.#beaMary#atthefeetofJesus#bestill"]

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

Practice Receiving Instead of Getting

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

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

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

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

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

 

Peace and grace,

Tammy

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

 

 

 

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Woman.png

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

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

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

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

Women who were bullied for their appearance or personality.

Women who experienced the pain of an absentee parent.

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

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

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

You’re never enough.

You should have done something.

You shouldn’t have done anything.

You aren’t worth being loved. 

[bctt tweet="Some of us tuck shame behind our smiles; the great pretenders#nomoreshame#soulhealing#youareworthloving."]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[bctt tweet="These were the stepping stones of faith that led to healing and wholeness.Relief and restoration.#nomoreshame#speaktruth#soulhealing"]

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace and grace,

Tammy

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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