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Archive for January, 2020

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.

There were signs, but my husband and I didn’t recognize them. One by one the pieces melded together, shifting and moving until they were still enough for us to realize our son had been living with a nightmarish truth. The depression. The fear. The midnight phone call and a sterile hospital room. It all made sense.

Now, I grapple with the unknown. The anger. The grief. The loss.

How can a loving mother forgive someone for changing the course of her child’s life? For stealing his joy? For loading him with crippling soul-pain that can only be healed by God’s mercy over time?

The problem of forgiveness was much easier to manage when I faced my own demons.#metoo #csa #parenting Click To Tweet

The problem of forgiveness was much easier to manage when I faced my own demons. But, now?

A dear one I love is hurting and there are no simple steps toward healing. I don’t want to forgive.

Confronting the bitterness in my heart, I’m reminded that God understands. He knows the grief of watching his child suffer. He realizes there are times when even a heavenly Father must allow his precious Child to struggle.

The command to forgive doesn't include a clause releasing mothers from its charge.#forgive#mercy#faith. Click To Tweet

But understanding doesn’t equate to acquiescence; the command to forgive doesn’t include a clause releasing angry, protective mothers from its charge. Instead, the words of scripture pierce my conscience in the same way my boy’s heartache cuts to the core of my soul.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32 (NIV)

How many of these acceptable sins am I tucking behind an agreeable “I’m fine” while I play tug-of-war with Jesus? Lord, I give this to you. Wait. I don’t like how you’re handling this. I’m taking it back.

Now I hear God whispering, “If you love me, you will obey. I know the beginning from the end. I know how to bring hope and healing. I know these things. Do you?”

My bleeding heart bends its will to the Father as I step onto the path of perseverance-the intentional, purposeful pursuit of faith through the power of the Holy Spirit.

You, too, may be persevering on life’s rocky road. For some, the path is strewn with broken marriage relationships or estrangement from beloved children. Others know the pain of losing a loved one to suicide. Many are walking the journey of cancer while others are recovering from years of abuse.

Continuing on will lead us to our final destinantion-the one who is the Way.#persevere#faithfulness#intentional. Click To Tweet

No matter the debris littered along the way, continuing on will lead us to our final destination–the one who is the Way.

It won’t be easy.

We’ll be called to put down the burdens we’re bearing and release them into His care.

When we reach the end of the road, our true beginning, perhaps we’ll survey the old path with new eyes. We’ll notice bits and fragments scattered here and there. Were those fractured pieces the burdens we once bore? Now they seem so small. 

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory… 2 Corinthians 4:17 (NKJV)

 

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link-up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/Porch Stories

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Networ

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I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Perseverance has become a focal point in my life. For nearly two weeks I prayed over, tussled with, and returned again and again to the throne room.  Are you sure that’s the word you have for me this year, Lord? 

It is. 

Regardless of the call, the Lord equips His people.#hoperestored #pursuingpeace #perseverance Click To Tweet

But, I know the Father has only good things in store for His children. I know His promises are true. Regardless of the call, the Lord equips His people.

The Lord filled praying Hannah’s empty womb, delivered grumbling Israel from the evils of slavery, provided a kinsman-redeemer for a young-widow and her embittered mother-in-law, raised an obscure orphan girl to a position of rank in order to save His people, and embraced the weakness of flesh only to die and overcome death within three days as a means to reach the lost ones of a world in need.

If a loving God will do all of that and more, then my heart responds, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:38 NKJ)

I realize perseverance conjures up images of trials, temptations, and hardships, but doesn’t the world place them directly at our feet? Christ once told His disciples, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV) Jesus wasn’t a misguided prophet who believed everything in the world was good, right, and true. 

He offered something much better. Jesus offered Himself-the way to peace with God.

In the same way, perseverance is the way to something better. It is the way to maturity for the Christian. But, often, we’ve gone amiss in seeking after perseverance. We’ve attempted to secure it in our own strength.

But perseverance is not a checklist. It’s not a convenient downloadable or a Holy Spirit app we can tap on the i-phone when trials or anxiety overwhelms us. It’s not a self-help book or something we put on with a determined smile like a tube of shiny red lipstick or an I’ve-got-this-Sunday-best-facade.

Perseverance can only be dressed up for a short time in the flesh before everything falls apart and the cracks begin to show. Christian, we aren’t meant to do this alone. We’ve gotten mixed up in the mess of be-all-you-can-be when we need to fall on our faces before God asking Him to show us the way. 

I believe the living, breathing word of God points us in the right direction to being a testimony for Him in the strange mix of beauty and adversity, joy and sorrow.

Colossians 1:10-12 reads, We (Paul and Timothy) continually ask God to fill you (believers) with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,  and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 

Did you notice in whom the power of perseverance resides? God does the filling. God does the strengthening. We cannot persevere in our own strength, Friend. We must seek His knowledge, power, and will. We must seek Him more each day and give thanks to the one who has given us life. What freedom we have knowing perseverance doesn’t depend upon our own weakness, but it comes from the immeasurable, immutable power of God.

Persevering in the day to day moments is the place we begin with Him. Trusting Him to lead and guide us because when the hard-edged times of fear or uncertainty press in on all sides, we’ll know where to turn. We’ll be practiced in the disciplines of faith to which Paul refers.

Prayer. Pressing in. Praising.

These are simple places to begin seeking Him as He grows us in perseverance toward mature believers.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link-up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/Porch Stories

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup,best-of-the-weekend Fresh Market Fridays

 

 

 

 

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Perseverance

Perseverance.

Men and women trek across desolate terrain; their bodies indiscernible beneath layers of boots and coats while muscles scream in rebellion at the lack of oxygen. Fingers grow numb with cold and fatigue pulls on every limb, but the peak’s lofty silhouette propels each climber forward-one aching step at a time.

Perseverance.

A cousin, friend, or sister wakens before the sun. Even her pores pulse with the pain of the illness; as though her body weeps silently in understanding. She whispers her one-word prayer again and again. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.

Perseverance.

No longer a young mother, she’s weathered more than her share. Loss, grief, and shattered dreams pile up like old, forgotten toys in a second-hand store. She, too, feels like a throw-away-bit-of-rubbish, but her family needs her. Certain of the one who is always with her, she invites God to lead her through the rest of the day.

Perseverance.

It’s a challenging word; a word which means “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition” (Merriam-Webster).

I'd hoped God would reveal something lovely like peace, faith, or love. Those words were beautiful. Inviting. Soothing.Instead, the Lord gave me perseverance.If I'm honest, I don't like the idea of… Click To Tweet

When I began praying about my new word for 2020, I’d hoped God would reveal something lovely like peace, faith, or love. Those words are beautiful. Inviting. Soothing.

Instead, the Lord gave me perseverance. Slow to accept the word, He presented it through faith-related articles and books. Finally, while beginning a personal study on the book of James, I read this passage:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4 NIV)

If I'm honest, I don't like the idea of perseverance.I''d like things to be easier than they have been.I don't enjoy trials, but I must grow up.#onbeingchildish#growingup#choosingjoy. Click To Tweet

If I’m honest, I don’t like the idea of perseverance. I’d like things to be easier than they have been. I want to run up mountain trails-not trudge. I long for my body to dance and spin with sprightly ease-not ache muscle deep. I want to recapture youthful dreams and watch them blossom into reality-not drift away with time.

Perhaps you do, too.

On Being Childish, Growing Up, and Choosing Joy

I don’t enjoy trials and the Father knows that in some ways I prefer to remain childish, but I long for more of Him every day. His personhood. His gifts. His blessings. I want to become more like Jesus; shedding the old, tattered bits of me and putting on the newness of Christ. I must grow up.

Perseverance.

I am choosing joy because perseverance isn't something I must acquire in my own strength. Instead, I can rely upon God.#equipped#endurance#patience. Click To Tweet

The last decade was one rife with trials and I almost dread being called to a year of perseverance. But, because the Father exhorts me to consider it pure joy I am choosing joy because perseverance isn’t something I must acquire in my own strength.

  • Instead, I can rely upon God. He is the one who equips each of us to persevere. Scripture reminds us:

We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience…         (Colossians 1:9-11 NIV)

Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us,  set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22 NIV)

  • We can trust that God notices our trials.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12 NIV)

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

  • We can look to our Lord and Savior, “the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (Romans 8:29) as our example.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Christ persevered even to the point of death on the cross. Surely, I can persevere one year to give Him glory.Three hundred sixty-five days to share His love with others.#oneword#NewYearsresolutions#@tammykennington. Click To Tweet

Christ persevered even to the point of death on the cross. Surely, I can persevere one year to give Him glory. Three hundred sixty-five days to share His love with others. Twelve unused calendar pages to offer the Father a sacrifice of perseverance “through my continued effort to do or achieve something for His glory despite difficulties, failure, or opposition by the power of the Holy Spirit in accordance with His will” (adapted definition).

I’m praying you will choose joy as you persevere in the faith this year, friend.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link-up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/Porch Stories

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup,best-of-the-weekend Fresh Market Fridays

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