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It isn't about how fast you live. It's about how well you live. -Rick Warren.pngOur lives may be off-balance, out of balance or even hang in the balance. We may be overworked, overwrought, and overcommited. Still we slide into the pew on Sunday, paste on our best imitation-of-an-I’ve-got-it-together-grin and pretend everything about our lives is just as it should be.

Never mind that our calendar is overloaded by children’s activities. Regardless of whether or not the door into our home seems more like a turnstile than a gateway to a welcoming environment. No matter the debt threatening to overwhelm the last of the savings, the constant demand of technology to work off-hours and all hours, or the level of information vying for our attention, increasing worry and eliciting stress.

Perhaps we are known as the human race because we refuse to slow down. We take on the next project, person, or problem without considering the limiting measures in each of our lives--time and… Click To Tweet

Perhaps we are known as the human race because we refuse to slow down. We take on the next project, person, or problem without considering two significant limiting measures in each of our lives.

Time and talent.

Limited by Time

Scripture reminds us, “A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.” (Job 14:5 NIV)

And, “…let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.” (Romans 12:5 MSG)

Why the limits when we strive, strain and struggle to be productive? To do ministry. To serve, supply and support.

God knows our hearts are vulnerable. After all, how many of us have bought into the lie that doing equates living? That accomplishing equates worth? That production equates … Click To Tweet

Because God knows our hearts are vulnerable. After all, how many of us have bought into the lie that doing equates living? That accomplishing equates worth? That production equates perfection?

When our calendars lack white space, our time and resources are given over by default to that which might be good, but may not be the best. What is it that we’ve inadvertently exchanged for involvement in the pursuit of online connection, appearances, or the-ever-challenging-issue-of-pleasing-others?

Perhaps we neglect our physical health. We allow ourselves less sleep, work longer hours and eat breakfast leftovers from our toddler’s high chair tray.

Some of us shrug off the state of our emotions–certain we’ll address those inconvenient needs when its necessary. Meanwhile we’re bombarded by Pinterest perfection and false Facebook connections. The news assaults us with its relentless reports of terrorism and trafficking, disaster and death. We begin to wonder if the next generation of people will be able to change anything.

Others of us struggle to maintain our spiritual health. Church becomes another necessary activity that crowds a full week. Prayer becomes more penance than priority. Time in His presence suggests our absence in another area of life and worry wedges its way into our thoughts despite best efforts.

Limited by Talent

As a young college woman, I enrolled in Introductory Art. Though I made multiple attempts at creating a still life art piece with chalk, I failed miserably. Despite my best efforts to sketch a self-portrait, I drew instead something akin to The Scream. A diligent student, I lacked any talent for sketching–despite my optimistic outlook and my professors patient coaching.

The Father did not create each of us to possess the same skills or talents. We are designed to be people who need.People who need each other.People who need a Helper.People who need… Click To Tweet

The Father did not create each of us to possess the same skills or talents. We are designed to be people who need.

People who need each other.

People who need a Helper.

People who need Jesus.

In being incomplete, unable or ill-equipped we begin to perceive the importance of the Church. Of the Holy Spirit. Of Jesus’ perfect love, peace and mercy.

Friends, we will never be the perfect wife, mother, or woman. He has limited our natural abilities in order that we might rely on Him–the Almighty who is the “one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all.” (Ephesians 4:6 MSG)

Can I share a personal struggle? Maintaining balance is a challenge for me. It may be difficult for you, too. But the truth is that an over-the-top, out-of-balance life is not just unhealthy, it is unholy. Psalm 127:2 explains, “It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves?”

Our time and talents may limit us, but He is limitless. We can rely on Him to meet the needs of our dear ones. To attend to the smallest detail of our lives. To pour Himself out for us when we have nothing left to give. And because of His inexhaustible power, we can rest in peace.Let's choose the best rather than the extraneous and living instead of busyness.#noteverythingisprofitable#choosethebest#notjustbusyness Click To Tweet

Can we agree to set aside our burdens today? To meet with the Master? To prioritize and analyze? Let’s choose the best rather than the extraneous and living instead of busyness.

Grace and peace,

Tammy

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Hello friends,

I’m thrilled to introduce you to my new friend Kelly Balarie, author of  Battle Ready-Train Your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt, and Live Victoriously. If you’re looking for a great summer read that is both thought-provoking and hope-evoking, one that encourages women to put on the mind of Christ by cultivating a warrior mindset, this may be your new favorite.

Kelly leads us through 12 life-shaping mindsets–from possibility to positivity, identity to eternity–that will help prepare us for the battle that often wages within. Gird up, girl!  Cinch on the belt of truth, grab the shield of faith. Let’s be battle ready today!

Peace and grace,

Tammy

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If a baby bird never moves out of the nest, she’ll never fly. If a toddler never takes that one inch forward, fearing falling, she’ll never walk. If a woman never takes a small step, she’ll continually stay, nowhere.

A small step out of move-out faith is mission-critical.

Why? Faith brings to life what we cannot see, but desperately hope for.

Where do you stand on the faith-scale? 1-10?

Do you see new life arising from your hopes, hunger, and hardships, or are you simply staying stuck, where you are?

You know, my life has been lived as a big struggle. I’ve gone through an eating disorder, depression, a health scare that threatened to take my walking legs, financial debt struggles, heart-breaking, joy-stealing relational problems, companies going under self-doubt. The list goes on-and-on…

Nearly every time, in these situations, I thought:

There’s no way out. This is impossible. I don’t know what to do.

I am going under. I don’t have the (time, ability, resources or wisdom) to get through this.

God won’t really be there for me; He’s got better things to do.

I am stupid for letting this happen.

No one understands.

I’m all alone.

If faith is hope in what we cannot see, I’ve lived hopelessness. If it’s “impossible to please God without faith,” no wonder I felt so displeased with myself. If God says, “everything is possible for those who believe”, I suppose I haven’t believed.

The inclination here is to be angry at myself saying, You always mess up. You always fall short. You never do anything, right.

But this is not how God speaks to me. This is not being Battle Ready.

Instead, God restores me by saying, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

Knowing this prepares my mind to walk into fearlessness, boldness, and purpose.

God’s grace welcomes in new faith. This is a vital, becausefaith is our greatest battle weapon. It takes us places, it tames our trials and it forges us ahead, like doubt never can. Click To TweetSo, how do you walk out life-changing faith? Here are a couple of tips from my vast arsenal of faith-building, doubt-reducing, and life-changing thought-strategies I’ve discovered on my many battlefields of hardship…

5 Small Steps To Building Battle Ready Faith

1. Envision Jesus one step ahead of you. If you know God is at the place you’re afraid of, how much more can you trust He’s preparing it for your arrival?

2. Hear in your mind, continually: God really cares for me. The more we believe God sees us, the more we’ll believe He’ll see us through.

3. Taste His victory history. If you remember how you felt when God came through last time, you can almost taste him doing the same thing again. Let your mouth water for His “new thing.”

4. Inhale the reality, God is with you. Sure, there may be bumps in the boat. This doesn’t mean Jesus is sleeping. He’s fully aware of all your going through, the path He has you on, and your perfect escape with Him.

5. Hold a light schedule. If you clear way in your schedule, you’ll make room to experience God’s Word in such a way where it can begin to dwell in you.

Pick up your shield of faith. When the enemy throws an arrow at you, like a random email that makes you feel sad, a rejection from a friend that leaves you disappointed, remember: God is with you, for you and He is on your side.He is working out something in you and for you, that's even better than you expected. Click To Tweet

You can become battle ready and live victoriously.

You can prepare in advance rather than emotionally responding and reacting to the hardships that you face.

God will give you peace as you learn His wisdom and strategies.

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About Battle Ready : Train Your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt & Live Victoriously

“The best time to be strengthened against the Enemy’s tactics of doubt, disappointment, and devastation is before he makes his first move toward us.  We all desperately need the biblical guidance and preparation found in Battle Ready!” Lysa TerKeurst, New York Times bestselling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries

Battle Ready is a hands-on scriptural plan that teaches you twelve easy-to-implement, confidence-building mind-sets designed to transform your thoughts and, therefore, your life. You’ll gain practical wisdom, like how to

· make new habits stick in just five steps

· disarm the seven most common attacks that plague women

· exchange self-limiting thoughts for purpose-driven, love-releasing thoughts

· implement thirty-second mind-lifters that deliver peace

· create boundaries so you live life full of what matters

Buy Battle Ready here:

https://amzn.to/2l5qQrw

To get Battle Ready freebies – printables, devotional reminders, a customizable daily Battle Plan and the “Find Your Battle Style”quiz, visit:

www.iambattleready.com

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To order the companion Battle Ready Daily Prayer Journal that will help you practically change your thoughts, then your life, visit:

Kelly Balarie, an author and national speaker, is on a mission to encourage others not to give up. Through times of extreme testing, Kelly believes there is hope for every woman, every battle and in every circumstance. She shares this hope on her blog, Purposeful Faith, and on many writing publications such as Relevant, Crosswalk, and Today’s Christian Woman. Kelly’s work has been featured on The Today Show, 700 Club Interactive, Moody Radio and other television and radio broadcasts. When Kelly is not writing, she is chilling at the beach with her husband, a latte,  and 2 toddlers who rightfully demand she build them awesome castles.

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save the date.pngAs a little girl, I was enthralled by tight rope walkers. The thrum, thrum, thrum in my ears nearly matched the staccato of the drum roll as the circus performer scampered with seeming ease from one end of the wire other to the other.

There, a woman climbed upon the man’s shoulders and then stood–her sequined costume winking beneath the spotlights. Fixing his gaze on what lay ahead, the man’s slippered feet danced deftly across the cable until both he and his passenger were safely delivered to the opposing platform.

Like the tightrope walker, there have been times when I’ve felt as if my life has balanced precariously on a thread. When obligations, expectations and unwelcome revelations continued to pile themselves one atop the other until I began listing from side to side, my attention wandering from the Point of it all to the distraction of that day or month or year.

In a world crowded by to-do lists and text messages, Facebook feeds and Pinterest perfection, parenting guilt and I've-got-this-grit, many of us stumble across the tight rope wondering when we'll lose our footing. Click To Tweet

In a world crowded by to-do lists and text messages, Facebook feeds and Pinterest perfection, parenting guilt and I’ve-got-this-grit, many of us stumble across the tight rope wondering when we’ll lose our footing. Slip off the side. Drop that something or someone who relies on us to keep moving forward.

And our lives become unsettled. Unsteady. Unbalanced.

With all of the demands of the family, church and world how can we possibly maintain healthy balance?

Like the man on the wire, we must keep our eyes fixed on the One who guides us from point to point Click To Tweet.

Like the man on the wire, we must keep our eyes fixed on the One who guides us from point to point. The Shepherd who leads us through the dark valley to the mountaintop. The Light who illuminates the way when we’ve lost the ability to go on in our own strength and realize the depth of our need for Him.

It isn’t easy. Our world is one of unending needs and unmet demands, but unless and until our lives spill over with Christ will we be able to offer our lives as a willing sacrifice for His glory.

Then, we will begin to realize that some burdens are His alone, others are gifts meant to be shouldered with Christ, and many aren’t intended for us at all.

Finding balance in an unbalanced world is all about fixing our eyes on Jesus. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! (MSG)

My prayer for today? May we each put Him first as we step forward in faith. Amen

Blessings,

Tammy

P.S. I’ve created a sweet little bookmark to remind us of the most important part of living a balanced life–seeking Him. You can download it here. Monochrome Leaves Coloring Bookmark

Monochrome Leaves Coloring BookmarkMonochrome Leaves Coloring Bookmark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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She is the elderly woman in the polyester suit sitting alone in the church pew week after week or the frazzled young mother in the grocery aisle juggling a wailing infant and impatient toddler. She might be the middle-aged divorcee’ who envies every couple in a restaurant with their heads bent close in intimate conversation. She could be the friend who looks as if her world is perfect. The one who hides the reality of her pain behind a ready smile or encouraging word—wishing someone would reach out, speak up, welcome in.

These are the unseen ones. The women who live in loneliness, believing they are unworthy of being loved. That no one cares. That they are friendless. Forgotten. Forsaken.

Are you, too, chained to loneliness? Are you convinced you are unnoticed and unseen? I understand. I lived in loneliness for years hoping my husband or attainment or education might relieve the cry of my heart.

See me. Choose me. Love me.

But, neither nuptials nor knowledge are meant to satisfy the longings of our soul. That role belongs to El Roi, the one who sees the need of his beloved daughters. To the Shepherd, the one who never leaves us nor forsakes us. To the Helper, who guides us into truth.

Loneliness thrives when we nurture it with lies. But, God scripted His truth for us that we might receive it. Click To Tweet

Loneliness thrives when we nurture it with lies. But, God scripted His truth for us that we might receive it. Learn it. Live it. Friend, when we soak our hope-hungry hearts in His word we’re reminded of our position and His forever-faithfulness.

Today’s Challenge

If loneliness is your unwelcome side-kick, take action. Invite Jesus into your isolation. Pray. Listen. Combat the lies you’ve believed with the words of the One in whose power you’ve been raised. Then, allow your struggle in the now to motivate you toward investing in someone’s tomorrow? Just take one simple step–invite a neighbor for coffee, ring up an old friend, plan a date night with your husband. Ask the Helper to replace your false identity as the Unseen with a new capacity to see the needs of others.

Lie-I am unseen.

Truth-God sees and knows you.

Scripture-Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7

With peace and love,

Tammy

(This post was first published at Faithfully Following Ministries, faithfullyfollowing.com)

 

 

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Faithful

The sleek feel of wood pressed against my knees as unintelligible words spilled haphazard and desperate from a shattered heart. Miniature puddles dotted the floor’s surface–a testimony of tears pock-marking shiny laminate.

I’d been wandering in the wilderness, but it seemed the entry and exit points were blocked. I was alone in the shadowy places with no hope of rescue.

I knew He was there. I knew He promised to be with me. I knew He’d shown up strong and powerful before. But my withering soul felt as dry as the high desert and the wasteland stretched wide in every direction–parched and lifeless– while I stumbled about calling out for God.

Have you been there?  Have you, too, 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. Perhaps you've believed Shame's lies. The untruths that spin and swarm in your mind--growing ever louder and more incessant. You deserve this. You haven't done enough. Been enough. And you struggle to hear His voice above the… Click To Tweet

It feels frightening. Disheartening. Discouraging. Did you catch the keyword?

It feels frightening.

Sometimes the untruths swarm and spin in our minds like spiritual propaganda, obscuring the reality with incessant cat-calls. God has abandoned you. Jesus’ resurrection is a lie. You have no hope.

If you’re in the midst of the wilderness? If the lies seem greater than God? Living out your faith may need to be very intentional for a time. Feed on His promises and cry out to Him in your need even when you are wrung out. Gather truth in the same way a child on the beach gathers seashells. Remind yourself of His words and He will multiply them in your life.

And whether this difficult season ends tomorrow or the day we cross heaven’s threshold, one day we will echo Jesus’ words, “It is finished” and we’ll see that He walked with us each step of the way.

With love and peace,

Tammy

P.S. If I can pray for you as you walk through the wilderness, please let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

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Forgive.pngMy heart didn’t want to believe the painful truth of the words he spoke. Not my child. Not this unbearable, unthinkable trespassing of an innocent soul.

I felt rage swelling in my chest against the one who had caused all of this—a malevolent, murderous rage born of maternal instinct and sin-sick imperfection. He was responsible for the lost years. Years steeped in misdirected anger, self-soothing sabotage and grief disguised as defiance. He deserved a punishment unlike any other. If he had been standing in my living room that day? I would have gladly been the one to execute the sentence.

It’s frightening to confess the depth of my brokeneness. Admit to the ugliness. Disclose the depravity.

But, is it possible that you can relate to the desperation of a mother rising up fierce and unforgiving to protect her child? Perhaps you are the precious one who has lived through the fire of something that seared your soul? A pain now so raw you doubt your ability to forgive?

Friend, you and I are incapable of forgiving in our own strength. Only through the healing, hope-giving power of Jesus will we discover the ability to release the burden of our heart.

Choosing forgiveness is an act of obedience. Jesus didn’t suggest that we forgive; He commanded it.

Love your enemies.

One simple, beautiful phrase that evokes ‘Amen’s’ and head nods when those offenses we’re asked to forgive are small or insignificant. But, when the wound is as deep as a well in the desert? When the pain pulses and pounds like a jackhammer tearing at flesh? Are we expected to forgive those hurts?

Love your enemies.

Jesus didn’t tell us to love our enemies when it was convenient or easy. He didn’t pencil in a provisional clause; an if-then statement that alleviates us of the responsibility to forgive.

Love your enemies.

 And, I imagine myself in the crowd surrounding the tree while the sinless Christ pours forgiveness from His soul like the blood spilling from His wounds.

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

 Love your enemies.

My sins alone would have nailed Christ to the cross. If I had been the only woman to have sinned, He still would have born my stripes. Chosen death that I could live. Offered himself for the enemy.

If Jesus loves me that much? Gave that much? How can I refuse to forgive another?

And you, Friend? Are you willing to set aside the millstone of unforgiveness for freedom today? Trust Jesus. He’ll do the heavy lifting.

Three ACTion Steps to Help Move from Unforgiveness to Mercy

Admit to the bitterness and anger hidden in your heart. (1 John 1:9)

Choose obedience. Deciding to do otherwise only leads to division in  relationship with Christ. (Matthew 6:14)

Trust the Father. He is both loving and just. (Romans 12:19)

 

Peace and blessings,

Tammy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The day we trusted Jesus, we were set free from bondage.

I didn’t know her, but the vulnerable thoughts she’d penned pierced my heart.

I realized where I was stuck. I was stuck in jealousy–wanting the childhood she had. Wanting. Wishing. But, not having.

She spoke of jealousy, but what I heard in those words? Grief. Yearning. Broken-hearted longing. If I had to guess? This woman, like so many, grew up in dysfunction.

She may have been raised in a home with an empty pantry and only harsh, angry words to nourish a girl’s hungry soul. Hers may have been the home other children politely refused to visit because they’d heard the shouting and cursing seeping from the walls in the dark of the night. Or, she might have been the child shivering beneath the covers because the heating bill had been neglected in favor of another bottle of her stepfather’s favorite whiskey.

If that is part of your story? I. Am. Sorry.

Something is terribly broken in a world where children grow up with hungry stomachs and hungrier hearts.

You can do something different, dear one.

And if we are honest, we all might admit the truth…

Even the best families are dysfunctional. While not everyone experienced a childhood without a father or cleaned up after an addicted parent, we all know this one thing.

Our. Parents. Were. Not. Perfect.

And, of course, neither are we.

[bcc tweet=”So how do dysfunctional, messed-up people break the chains of familial bondage? Is it even possible to rid ourselves of unwanted habits that have hitched a ride from one generation to the next?

Yes, but not our own power. Instead, we can turn to the one who is All-Powerful.”]

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners…(Isaiah 61:1)

But to begin moving in that direction? We need to recognize the hurts and habits that moved into our marriages and families uninvited. Call them out. Denounce their destructiveness and invite the Holy Spirit into the walls of our homes and hearts.

Unabated sarcasm? Angry outbursts? Shutting down? Shutting out? Whatever the sin. Name it, friend, and He will begin to unfasten the chains.

Invite His correction. Accept His instruction. Trust His direction.

There isn’t a stronghold that can stand when we invite the Helper into our sin-created, self-mandated cage. The walls of resistance are shaken, doors burst open and we step into the light of freedom the moment we admit our weakness. Click To Tweet

There may be times we wander into the dark den that once held us captive, but we don’t belong there. Remember,the day we trusted Jesus we were set free from bondage Click To Tweet. The door stands open. Let’s trust Him enough to step across the threshold.

In His love and grace,

Tammy

 

 

 

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I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.He put a new song in my mouth. Psalm 40_1,3.png

The high-pitched whirring of the car matched the acceleration of my heart, a rapid ta-tunk, ta-tunk, ta-tunk as I pressed the accelerator. Thoughts ricocheted in my mind, rapid-fire like a motorized, ball-pitching machine.

They’d be better off without me.

This hurting wasn’t part of my plan.

I don’t think God knew what He was doing when He gave me life.

The messages repeated again and again as I rounded the edge of a mountain. Temptation rose large, whispering its poison as I imagined what it might feel like to launch off the earth at 13,000 feet.

You can stop it all. Right here. Right now.

2 Corinthians 10:5 joined the panoply of others.

Take every thought captive. Take every thought captive. Take every thought captive.

And God’s word, sharper than a two-edged sword, guided me home. Safe. Settled. Soothed.

Still, depression held on.

Depression. Even the word sounds threatening, doesn’t it? Like so many others I’ve lived it. I’ve walked through depression with friends and family. And I’ve discovered that depression is no respecter of persons.

Age? Irrelevant. Gender? Immaterial. Status? Insignificant. Faith? Unrelated. Time? Inconsequential.

Depression disguises itself as disinterest. Detachment. Despair. It swallows hope in its black, gaping mouth and casts its shadow on even the happiest moments. You feel alone. Alone in the pain. Alone without purpose. Alone without… Click To Tweet

If you aren’t that woman, you know someone who is struggling right now. She may not tell you. She may not share the pain. But, you do know at least one dear soul who–in living with depression feels lifeless inside.

Oh, how the chains of depression drag and pull like a treacherous rip current at low tide. Its power seems overwhelming and the thought of catching a breath grows ever dimmer.

Is there any hope?

Sweet friend, Jesus can shatter the chains of depression. He'll walk through the deep valley with you now--shoulder to shoulder--and lead you to an open space where you inhale deeply of life and laugh in delight. Click To Tweet

In the Bible, our Father provides examples of other people who loved Him and struggled with depression.  Job. David. Solomon. Elijah. Naomi. Most of these people were spiritual giants, yet they experienced hopelessness. They also provide us with insight as we take up our scriptural sledge hammer and prepare to destroy depression.

Depression and Spiritual Warfare

As with Job, depression can be a result of trauma and grief. After all, the enemy knows our vulnerabilities and, while restricted, he seeks to steal, kill and destroy anything of promise in our lives.

Job’s story (Job 1-3; 38-42) teaches us:

  • that the Enemy targets those who love the Lord and live out their faith.
  • God was with Job–even when Job was angry and accusatory.

Depression and the Importance of Community

Naomi’s husband and two sons died, leaving her a penniless, bitter refugee. Still, her daughter-in-law, Ruth, remained a faithful companion.

Naomi’s story teaches us:

  • even when we feel as if God has abandoned us, He remains near.
  • not to isolate ourselves. We all need a ‘Ruth’ to speak words of truth and encouragement.

 

Depression and the Challenge of Ministry

Regardless of our circle of influence, we are vessels through which God’s love is meant to flow. But, ministry–whether to our husband, children, colleagues, or women’s group–is challenging. Elijah was depleted and depressed because his ministry seemed ineffective and there was a price on his head.

Elijah’s story teaches us:

  • we must care for the needs of our body by resting and eating well.
  • that we are never alone. It’s important to seek community and trust in His faithfulness despite circumstances.

Depression and the Importance of Prayer and Thanksgiving

David might have been a man after God’s own heart, but he understood the suffering of betrayal and the heartache of losing a child. Honest and vulnerable, David’s prayers typically end in praise and thanksgiving.

David’s story teaches us:

  • God doesn’t expect us to recite pithy, sanitized prayers. We can be honest about our situation. Honest about how we are feeling. Honest about the pain.
  • praising and thanking God reminds us of the truths we know about His goodness and love.

 

These scriptures provide us with wonderful, encouraging truths. However, depression is a form of illness. If you struggle with depression, you need support and treatment for that sickness just as you would any other. Beyond addressing your spiritual needs, please seek help for your depression in other important ways. Click To Tweet

These include meeting with a counselor or therapist, sharing your struggle with a few trustworthy friends who can pray for and minister to you, caring for your body with a healthy diet and exercise, and possibly considering the use of medication for a time.

If you or someone you know is struggling with self-destructive thoughts as I had been, seek help immediately. Call a hotline or go to the hospital.

The enemy is a great deceiver and he is adept at convincing us life will never get better. He is lying. Jesus came that we might have life and live it abundantly. Click To Tweet

With prayers for peace and holy strength,

Tammy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My son’s pint-sized body huddled beneath the bed covers as if the thin cotton cover could shield him from any enemy. Since his father had deployed to Afghanistan, Seth’s fear had transformed into something destructive. An ever-growing-never-contained-despair rooted in the darkest anxiety.

The merest whisper of sound in the deep of the night trigged a near-panic response. Every stranger striding across the neighborhood’s suburban sidewalk? A possible adversary. My sweet boy was immersed in a world of imagined threats: kidnappings, fire, never-ending darkness.

Oh. My. Heart.

Despite his past experiences and regardless of my reassurances, Seth was convinced. Surely unknown, unseen enemies lurked beneath the child-sized bed along with half-assembled Lego sets and miniature race cars.

My words seemed not to penetrate. To reach the core of my child’s fear.

Trust me. I’ll take care of you. Don’t be afraid.

The Israelites carried that same inconsolable, impenetrable fear through the desert thousands of years ago. Having been plucked from slavery and delivered safely through standing walls of water, an entire people stood overlooking the bounty and beauty of a land God had promised them.

At the Father’s instruction, twelve leading men were commissioned to explore the uncharted land of Canaan–to survey its cities,  peruse its people and weigh its wealth.

This land belonged to Israel in the same way that Israel belonged to the Father. It was gift-wrapped; held  in the open palm of the Father’s hand like a cluster of grapes hanging heavy in expectation of the harvest.

Trust me. I’ll take care of you. Don’t be afraid.

Ignoring the certainty of their circumstances, God’s children allowed fear to dictate their decisions.

Huddling behind logic, the Israelites discounted Yahweh’s words, “Canaan [is] the land I am giving to the Israelites.” Numbers 13:2

He must not understand the presence. The power. The prowess of these people.

Hiding behind half-truths, the Chosen focus on fear until it rises a behemoth–ever greater, sending tentacles of untruth snaking through every tribe and leaving His men and women in mass hysteria.

Begging to return to bondage. Bad-mouthing their rescuers. Blind to their belief.

I see my face in the crowd. I’ve been that woman. The one for whom the imagined giants of Crisis and Complication ascend larger than any of His promises. Despite the Father’s faithfulness, I allow fear to command my choices and master my mind.

But, I long to be the Caleb in the crowd. Don’t you?

In opposition to a near-rebellion, Caleb admonishes, “Let’s go and take up the land–now. We can do it.” (Numbers 13:30 MSG)

Caleb doesn’t hesitate. There is no quavering in his voice nor quaking of the knees. Caleb knows his God and, grabbing hold of holy confidence, girds himself to join God on the journey.

I want to be the woman exhorting and encouraging, “Trust Him. He’ll take care of us. Don’t be afraid.”

Friend, fear only maintains power when we give it permission. But, when we grab hold of holy confidence and rely on Him for strength, our giants are reduced to rubble and we can move forward into the land of promise. Click To Tweet

In His grace and peace,                                                      Tammy

Action Step: Step out of fear and into the promises God has for you today. Download and complete this printable and use it to prompt you to remember His faithfulness when your spiritual knees are knocking. Click to access this resource. Fearnot

february

 

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Choose to believe He is faithful.

Delicately crafted cards line the aisles of every Hallmark store and images of women smiling wide as their children present them with breakfast flash across the grey screens in living room corners. There is joy in the celebration of mothering and don’t we all yearn to be loved so beautifully?

But for some, Mother’s Day is like the scratching of a tree branch across an aging windowpane: a needle-tipped reminder of the celebrations you once knew or the celebrations you longed to experience. A perceptible poking and pricking at heart-wounds old or new.

This may be the first season of your life without your own mother and you long to hear her laugh or ask her about living life well. How did you do it? I miss you. 

Perhaps this is the holiday that pains you because you never felt enough, became enough, proved enough.  And your mother? The woman you emulated? She handed those messages to you wrapped in critical words and disdainful glances.

Or, like the others before it, this holiday sits like a broken promise–dreams turned to dust before your eyes. The mother you needed was unavailable. Inaccessible. Unaware. Still, you carry the child you were in your heart and hope that one day someone will fill that empty longing in the way you wish your mother had done.

For some, Mother’s Day is a lonely salute to infertility, a memorial to the dreams you had for your prodigal or the child who took his own life. One more year of unfair circumstances. Unanswered prayers. Unsolvable situations.

If you are one of the hurting ones, can I tell you how sorry I am? I am sorry for the pain. The loss. The grief. I’m sorry you feel alone, unnoticed, or unloved.

Sweet friend, whether this Mother’s Day is one of resignation or celebration, distress or delight–would you allow me to encourage you?

Your heavenly Father is more than able to fill the empty spaces. He longs to embrace you in unmatched, unimaginable love. To invite you deeper into His mercy. His beauty. His abundance. And there? You’ll discover overflowing blessings that quench the needs of your soul.

For now, each of us must choose.

Choose gratitude for the mother whose life was spent loving her children.

Choose forgiveness for the mother who failed to love well.

Choose to trust Him when arms are empty and the pleasure of mothering has been stolen.

Choose to believe He is faithful. And as we move from earth’s shadow into heaven’s light, we’ll discover the fullness of being loved (and loving others) beautifully.

Blessings,

Tammy

   

              

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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