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Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.

Ignoring conventional superstition, we prayed together beforehand; our hands clasped, heads bowed, and hearts beating in anticipation of what the future might hold. Folds of white silk and lace embraced the somber black of his suit as we offered our tender hopes and love for another to God, inviting Him to lead us deeper into devotion to one another.

Afternoon shadows stretched on the snowbanks outside until, finally, the strains of Pachabel’s Canon beckoned me toward the young man waiting beyond the rows of upholstered pews now draped with carefully crafted pink bows.

Fixing my gaze on the one I adored, I rejoiced. I’d waited for this moment. Prayed for it. Planned for it. Dreamed of it.

With reverence, I recited the vows…

I, Tammy, take thee, David, to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge myself to you.”

A hopeless romantic and head-in-the-clouds-idealist, I envisioned the stereotypical white picket fence sort of marriage. The kind of hardship-free-life that exists on old reruns of I Love Lucy or Family Ties. Life without messes–or at least messes tidily wrapped with a pretty bow and a carefree smile in less than thirty minutes of struggle and discomfort.

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Years later, I realized those vows were more than his and her towels or picnics on the beach. They represented more than shared holidays and long nights rocking babies to sleep.

The wedding vows weren’t merely a promise. They were words of sacrifice. The giving up of self. A precious gift requiring a daily choice.  Will I remain committed? Because despite love and laughter? Hard times came, too.

Choose Today Whom You Will Serve

As a little girl, I held my hand high when the Sunday School teacher asked if any of us wanted to know Jesus. I understood enough to realize His life had been given for me–a sacrifice offered on my behalf so that I might be with Him always.

Longing for the permanence of a daddy who always stayed, I knew my heavenly Father would care for me.

I couldn’t have known the cost of following Christ; the spiritual battles we’ve faced. The hours spent in tears crying out for newness of faith for a hurting prodigal or the countless prayers raised on behalf of a little one confused and fearful–dealing with Goliath-sized anxiety.

As I’ve grown in my faith, I’ve begun to grasp Hebrews 13:15, “Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.”

When sunshine splits the sky and all is well, praise flows from my lips. I thank God for His abundant gifts. But there are times my soul has been crushed beneath the weight of brokenness. Shattered relationships, health scares and hospital visits, depression, and lives on the brink of being lost.

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Sometimes my faith wanes as troubles mount and I lose sight of the truth because Truth doesn’t feel real.

Doubt casts its long, dark shadow and gratitude slips away somewhere. At times, its words manage to lodge in my throat–the Spirit urging mine to speak life. Once in a while, I respond and I’m grateful. And even if my mouth is unable to speak, my heart is encouraged because the Comforter is teaching and guiding despite and through the wilderness.

Much like marriage, holding to faith in Jesus requires sacrifice on the part of the Christ-follower. There is a giving up of something precious and beautiful. A recognition that there will be moments of joy and celebration along faith’s journey. But there will also be hard times.

The question is the same as it is in marriage. Will I remain committed? This day, whatever your situation, who will you choose? Self or Christ?

Because every day…He choose you.

For Personal Study

  • Read Joshua 24:1-28

For Consideration

  • List some of the ways this scripture recounts God’s faithfulness to the Israelites. Now, consider the last 5-10 years of your life. In just three minutes, record how you’ve seen God’s faithfulness to you during that time.

As You Reflect

  • What is one action step you can take to offer your life as a spiritual sacrifice today?

Please don’t hesitate to let me know how I can pray for you. Intercessory prayer is powerful!

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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Moonbeams give way to the bolder light of morning; shades of fuschia, mauve, and coral brightening the shadowy landscape with the promise of a new day. Change is inevitable.

Sometimes, we can see it peeking over the horizon and remain unsurprised. At other times, there is an unexpected unraveling of the known and in its stead, the doctor shares an unfavorable test result.

Last week, my family physician confirmed that I have an autoimmune disease. A chronic illness. In typical fashion, I dove into research papers, studies, and statistics. My nuclei are spattered like a modern work of art when they shouldn’t be.Some of you face similar challenges.

Perhaps your marriage relationship is teetering on the brink of divorce. A prodigal seems beyond your reach. A family member or friend has betrayed your trust…again. Maybe you’ve received a diagnosis of your own. Cancer. Multiple sclerosis. Lupus.

Growth leads to a final, determined struggle...a new creation.#hope#beauty#newness Click To Tweet

While a caterpillar is encased within its chrysalis, its growth leads to an incredible transformation until one glorious day it emerges with a final, determined struggle…a new creation.

Our bodies may malfunction, our relationships struggle, our hearts ache. But in the midst of the worst, we can choose to look to the One whose own suffering led to ultimate healing. The Redeemer of all shattered dreams, dashed hopes, and lost years is not unaware of the struggle nor is he immune to your pain. Press into Him, dear one. Allow Him to wrap you in arms of comfort and grace as His word does an eternal work in heart and mind. Pray. Trust. Believe.

One day, you and I will be gloriously and completely transformed–shaped by our response to both the good and bad circumstances in our lives.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

Today’s Verse for Reflection-And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

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 LinkupFresh Market Fridays

 

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You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,

 

Grandpa smelled of comfort; the rich, warm scents of coffee and Aqua Velva. Quiet and witty, his brown eyes glinted when I’d beg him to play. Just one more time, pleeease. We’d construct palaces of red, yellow, and blue rectangles or clutch our stomachs as my words garbled together in earnest attempts to recite old-fashioned tongue twisters.

But, my favorite pastime with Grandpa was dancing.

Sliding my feet atop my grandfather’s, I’d gaze upward with confidence.  Whether my world was gliding by slowly or I was dizzied by the tilting and twirling of sudden dips and turns, I knew there was safety in Grandpa’s arms.

This sweet memory caused me to wonder…What if Jesus wants me to dance with him with the same sort of childlike faith?

There are human-rooted reasons for my not having been as trusting with Him as I once was with my earthly grandfather. But, Abba Father is patient and those tender, hurting places somehow grow light as I lean into Jesus. His all-encompassing strength calms my anxious heart and I gaze toward heaven.

This is what it means to be treasured and loved.

I can almost imagine a smile of pleasure splitting His face because I'm learning to follow His lead more and more.#dancingwithjesus#restoringhope#nomoreanxiety Click To Tweet

When laughter abounds and praise flows with ease, I slip into the presence of Christ. We dip and turn; I can almost imagine a smile of pleasure splitting His face because I’m learning to follow His lead more and more.

I Am the one who will guide you. 

During the dark times when I'm sure dancing is done? He wraps me in His arms and enfolds me in mercy.#theloveofjesus#mercylikethis#nomorefear. Click To Tweet

During the dark times when I’m sure dancing is done? I don’t slide my feet atop His. Instead, He wraps me in His arms and enfolds me in mercy. The frenetic whirling stills. The blur of decisions, fear, and circumstances grows small when my God–the King of the dance–is greater than any of it. 

He turns mourning into joy (Jeremiah. 31:13) and the dirge into dancing. 

Dancing with Jesus…it’s become a favorite new activity.

He’s there for you, too, friend. Slide your feet on top of His and let him lead you step by step through this life. The Father’s heart is to love and protect His beloved daughter and in the circle of His arms, you’ll discover a place of safety and security. Won’t you join the dance?

 

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 LinkupFresh Market Fridays

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As soon as the words slipped off of my tongue, my son raised a brow. “You’re not ‘just one Christian woman’. Mom, you’re a powerful woman of God. You are a warrior.” Surprised by his assessment, I paused and then felt a prompting from within. You are a warrior. 

Tucking the thought away, I only returned to it when I burrowed into Tina Yeager’s book, Beautiful Warrior, a few days later. Brimming with rich stories and therapeutic exercises for women and older teen girls who struggle with their worth and value, this book is one I wish I’d had when I spent a long, dry season in the wilderness convinced I had nothing of value to offer my husband, family, or friends. Walking through depression and isolated by loneliness, I felt trapped and alone even in the midst of a Sunday church crowd. 

Acknowledging a toxic pattern is the first step toward removing barriers to a victorious life of purpose and blessings

Author Tina Yeager, a licensed mental health counselor, reveals her personal struggles with identity and shares openly about her struggles with comparison, self-loathing, and seeking approval from others.

Beautiful Warrior helps women move beyond the futility of comparison, approval seeking, and attacking oneself with lies of the worst kind by moving into the truth of God’s love and embracing the uniqueness of being “fearfully and wonderfully made” as His beloved daughter.

The honest vulnerability Tina  weaves throughout Beautiful Warrior invites the reader to examine her own heart and experience with as much raw openness–as if speaking with a trusted companion.

But, this book isn’t one that leads the reader down a path of simple platitudes. It’s rich with scripture and includes a set of questions and action steps at the end of each chapter to encourage and guide her as she steps out of the ill-fitting garb of shame, self-hatred and lies and suits up in the armor of Christ.

If you’ve ever struggled with your value, ever doubted you matter, ever slandered your own existence then Beautiful Warrior is a book you won’t be able to put down.  In a world in which perfection is airbrushed and value seems unattainable, when women long for relationship but fear rejection, Tina Yeager’s book is sorely needed.

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Copy of courgeJust a few years ago, fear and depression nearly took him from me. Threatened to steal the world of his mischievous smile, the one that tilts the right corner of his mouth like the crescent moon on its axis. But, as I rejoice over his presence and delight in the strides he’s made toward healing, I’m reminded of the loss and tragedy dear childhood friends have had to brave.

Instead of delighting in healing? They have lived with the aftermath of a momentary decision too permanent to undo the pain of a mother’s heart. They have felt the emptiness of a home once filled with the laughter of a young one on the edge of adulthood.

People toss out platitudes and church-appropriate responses. This is all part of God’s plan. God never gives us more than we can handle. But, the words are misleading. Perhaps untruthful.

God is never the author of evil and while His will ultimately triumphs, man’s enemy is at work. Wreaking havoc. Whispering lies. Sowing destruction.

And boys on the cusp of manhood lose hope.

Brokenness is not God's plan. Depression. Chronic illness. Abuse. Suicide. We weren't meant to know of or experience any of these.#courage#hope#more of Jesus. Click To Tweet

Brokenness is not God’s plan. Depression. Chronic illness. Abuse. Suicide. Cancer. Stillborn death. We weren’t meant to know of or experience any of these. The Father who ushered breath into lungs of clay and called his creation good designed us for more.

He knows our condition, dear friend. Scripture refers to courage over one hundred times because in this world we will bear more than we can handle.

We need fortitude. Courage. Above all, we need to rely on Christ.

Why does God stay his hand in some situations and intervene in others? When two mothers kneels with all humility and beg the Father to spare their children the pain of abuse, why does he answer yes to one and no the other?

When cancer is the diagnosis and prayer warriors converge on a friend’s behalf they cannot know whether the Father will heal on this side of heaven or the next. But, the Healer is at work regardless and we are called to love and pray faithfully.

Life can feel unfair. As though we’ve been treated less than someone else. That because God won’t bend to our will He isn’t good. But, our relationship with God isn’t about what we squeeze out of him. We cannot manipulate Him through pray, or fasting, or looking good as we show up faithfully at church.

One glorious, beautiful day all things will be restored and set right. Instead of death? Delight. In place of mourning? Celebration. Rather than injustice? More of Jesus.#praise#thankful#hope. Click To Tweet

We trust Him knowing that one glorious, beautiful day all things will be restored and set right. Instead of death? Delight. In place of mourning? Celebration. Rather than injustice? More of Jesus.

Hang on, friend. The waiting won’t be long.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda ,Mandy and Michele, Kingdom Bloggers

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

Wednesdays   Recharge 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, Fresh Market Fridays

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promo photo Kathy C Miller

 

You most likely know the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Our mothers may have said that to us to try to relieve the emotional pain we encountered by our peers, but to believe that lie is to ignore the power of words which God created to communicate with us. He also intended His creatures to give blessings through words, not wound others. Jesus, “the Word” (John 1:1), spoke words to create our world and all the galaxies. That’s power!

No wonder God caused Solomon to refer frequently in Proverbs to the influence, damage, or blessing of our spoken and written language. We can grow in our ability to use words to bless others and glorify God by studying Proverbs.

Death & Life_words--from Kathy Collard Miller (1)

Solomon wrote through God’s enabling, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (Proverbs 18:21). God’s words are a warning that we should be careful and wise with every word we speak. Jesus would later state in Matthew 12:36, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.” If Jesus speaks of such judgment, we can be sure our words make a huge impact.

We may feel compelled to believe everything said to us as if those words are always life.#guardyourheart#proverbs4:23#heartwisdom Click To Tweet

The truth of Proverbs 18:21 offers two important perspectives—the perspective of those who hear the words of others and secondly, who speak words to others. First, Solomon is saying there are words of death and words of life, but when we hear the words of others, we often don’t recognize which is which. We may feel compelled to believe everything said to us as if those words are always life. But Proverbs gives us the other part of wisdom: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (4:23).

I recently shared these truths at a women’s retreat and a woman pulled me aside during the break explaining she was confused because her mentor had said some things that confused her. She felt like she needed to do everything this woman told her including the right time in each day to do her housework. I tried not to be shocked because it was such an extreme example. Yet I’ve heard similar stories of those who feel controlled by someone who believes they know what is best for every aspect of another person’s life. We must be so careful to not be controlled by the words of others and thus make others our God rather than seeking God’s wisdom and discernment.

On the other side of the coin for every one of us who teaches, leads, or mentors others, we must use our words to encourage another woman to seek God as her primary source. And we can also be aware of the wisdom of Proverbs 15:4: “The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” Is the person we are guiding closer to God and living a more fruitful, abundant life? Or do they seem overwhelmed? Are we talking too much? Are we listening carefully? Do we “hear” the heart or only pounce on the behavior?

Often, we aren’t using wise words because of our motives. We might think our friend’s reactions are a reflection of us and we must control them for our own reputation. Or we believe we should be the only influence. Or she cannot fail. We must trust God enough to allow our friend to make mistakes and have a different opinion.

People may throw the sticks and stones, but we don't have to accept them as true.#dontpickthemup#wordsarepowerful#powerofwords. Click To Tweet

Yes, our words are powerful yet God’s work within a person’s heart through His Holy Spirit’s power is even more effective. We can give, share, and offer wisdom, but only the Holy Spirit can make a heart change within another.

And if we are the one who has heard unwise or hurtful words, we can ask and trust God to heal our wounded hearts. He can reveal His perspective of us as valuable and important to Him. People may throw the sticks and stones, but we don’t have to accept them as true.

promo photo Kathy C Miller

Kathy Collard Miller almost took her life over 40 years ago because she knew her words toward her toddler daughter were destructive. God revealed the solutions for Kathy’s abusive anger and she tells her story in: No More Anger: Hope for an Out-of-Control Mom (Elk Lake Publishing, Inc.). She has over 50 other published books including Heart Wisdom: a women’s Bible study on Proverbs. Kathy has spoken in over 35 states and 8 foreign countries. She and her husband, Larry, have been married 49 years and live in Southern California. www.KathyCollardMiller.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/KathyCollardMillerAuthor

Instagram: KathyCollardMiller

Twitter: www.twitter.com/KathyCMiller

 

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda ,Mandy and Michele, Kingdom Bloggers

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

Wednesdays   Recharge 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 , Embracing the Unexpected, Fresh Market Fridays

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Women yearn to know, Do I make a difference_ Does my life really matter_ You matter in every area and during each season of every ordinary day. (1).png

Seventy-five pages populated the Amazon queue after I filled in the search box, “books about God and purpose.”

Women yearn to know, Do I make a difference? Does my life really matter? How can changing diapers, or shuttling children from one event to another, or moving out of active mothering and into an empty nest change lives?

Books line self-help sections of libraries and hit best-seller lists in the Christian market as eager buyers scramble to discover their purpose. But, the Father has scribed his purpose for us in his love letters and in the palms of his son’s hands

Remember Our Position

Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (MSG)

The verses above are a key component to the Christian’s calling. They almost serve as a checklist in my own life.

If God was looking for a “somebody”, he wouldn’t have chosen me. I was a premature baby born to teen parents following a shotgun wedding. After a few short years of marriage, they divorced and life swung from one chaotic, abusive event to the next under the hand of my stepfather. But, God? He wiped it all clean. Gave me a fresh start through the wounds that pierced his own son’s flesh. And, now, because of Him I remember my position and humbly bow at the foot of the cross shouting, “Amen! You have rescued me, Jesus.

When you called my name, I heard you. May I remember the beauty and joy of my humble position.” Can you relate to these verses, as well? How do you see yourself in them?

Remain Faithful

“My Child is an Honor Roll Student” stickers adorn bumpers, Christmas letters share the latest news about elaborate trips and accomplishments, and we splash reality as we’d like others to perceive it on social media. Pride can be difficult to defend against, but it is our enemy. Perhaps that is one reason we’re to remember our humble position. Not only that, but scripture exhorts us not to chase after more. More doing. More being. More proving.

Instead, 1 Corinthians 7:20-24 exhorts us to remain faithful.

“Yes, each of you should remain as you were when God called you. Are you a slave? Don’t let that worry you—but if you get a chance to be free, take it. And remember, if you were a slave when the Lord called you, you are now free in the Lord. And if you were free when the Lord called you, you are now a slave of Christ. God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world. Each of you, dear brothers and sisters, should remain as you were when God first called you.” (NLT)

Remain.

In today’s high-paced, look-out-for-number-one, keep-up-with-the-rat-race-society, not many of us do well with just, well, remaining. But, remaining doesn’t mean “not doing”. It means continuing to be faithful in all situations–no matter the task. Whether we’re cooking one more casserole or scrubbing another dirty dish. Whether we’re driving to work again in rush hour traffic with a fussy toddler in the car seat. Whether we’re leaning across the table at the retirement home wiping our father’s chin as he asks once more, “Now, who are you?”

Remaining faithful to the calling to love God and to love others is more difficult than it seems.

Receive Power Through Prayer

Paul, Silas, and Timothy passionately addressed the Thessalonians about the power of prayer and its impact on their lives. Consider these words, “So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with him. This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

Calling is not solely about an avocation, although it may involve one’s job. But, it is about the acts of service we are prompted to do for others. It the quickening of our spirit in response to God’s; when we sense him moving our hearts to respond to a hurt, a need, a situation. When we’re burdened to pray, give, weep, love. Those are the moments we become and live more like Christ—glorifying Him. Only through the power of prayer can we accomplish his work and fulfill his calling.

While Amazon may list seventy-pages of books about God’s purpose for our lives, the Bible outlines his purpose for all people. He sent Christ that all might be saved! But, we already know him and are meant to love the world as Christ. We are the workers, scattering seeds of hope in every area and during each season of our ordinary lives.

God will use each of his beloved daughters if we hold to the three truths about God’s calling on our lives.

1) Remember our Position

2) Remain Faithful

3) Receive Power Through Prayer

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays  Sunday Thoughts / InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda Mandy and Michele

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

Wednesdays   Recharge 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 , Embracing the Unexpected, Fresh Market Fridays

 

Tammy Kennington is a writer, speaker, and woman who believes there is hope for healing from the most difficult situations.

Familiar with the impact of trauma, mental illness, and parenting in the hard places, Tammy hopes to lead women toward a deeper understanding of themselves and their relationship with the God who loves them. Her work has been featured by MOPS, Thriving Family, The Upper Room, Light from the Word, and several other publications. You can meet regularly with Tammy online at her blog

tammykennington.wordpress.com or get a free copy of her e-book Moving From Pain to Peace: A Journey Toward Hope When the Past Holds You Captive

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There is only one thing worth being concerned about ...It will not be taken from her.In a world of selfies and Pinterest-perfect images, it’s easy to succumb to the pressures of who we should be.

Maybe you feel the pressure to be that stay at home mom--every floor spotless,each child neatly combed and perfectly dressed. But, instead? You haven't had time to look at your own reflection since… Click To Tweet

Maybe you feel the pressure to be that stay at home mom–every floor spotless, each child neatly combed and perfectly dressed. But, instead? The dog left a trail of wet paw prints across the family room carpet and you haven’t had time to look at your own reflection since yesterday.

Perhaps you bear the weight of living up to the impossible image of the wife and mother who manages it all...all the while nimbly weaving throughout the day in a pair of kitten heels and a sleek pencil… Click To Tweet

Perhaps you bear the weight of living up to the impossible image of the wife and mother who manages it all. Working the nine-to-five job; carpooling children from one soccer lesson to the next; high-fiving your husband on the way out the door—all the while nimbly weaving throughout the day in a pair of kitten heels and a sleek pencil skirt.

It could be you long for less of busy and a lot more of Jesus.#fewersocialexpectations#fewerchurchobligations#balance#noisnotabadword Click To Tweet

It could be that you long for less of busy and a lot more of Jesus. While goals can be wonderful, they often seem misleading. Misdirected. Misinformed. Instead of taking me deeper into relationship with Christ, they pull me away from Him. Rather than guiding me toward connection with the Father, they pull at from every side. Social expectations. Church obligations. Family needs.

Before long, I'm struggling to find Jesus at the bottom of the pile. I know he's there; waiting patiently.#choosethebetterpart#restinhim Click To Tweet

Before long, I’m struggling to find Jesus at the bottom of the pile. I know he’s there; waiting patiently to push a bedraggled strand of hair from my face. I can almost see him smiling as I kneel at his feet, my head leaning against his knee as I sigh. The sort of sigh you can’t help letting go of once you acknowledge how weary you’ve become.

“You’ve finally chosen the better part.” I know the words. I’ve read them before, but today they’re meant for me. Do you hear his gentle voice speaking to you, as well?

“Choose the better part. Come to me…and I will give you rest. The Lord doesn’t see things the way people see them.” (Lk. 10:42, Matthew 11:28-30, 1 Sam. 16:7)

Take a moment, daughter of Christ. Pause. Breathe. There is no pressure with him. No person you must be or become. He loved you long before you existed and will love you far beyond the day time expires. The pressures of this world will soon pass away, but the promise of His holy presence will fill our hearts forever.

 

Challenge of the Week- This week, I’m inviting you to join me in a challenge! Spend 20 minutes (more or less) every day with Jesus. You might prayer walk, enjoy a praise and worship time, write in a prayer journal, or read the Bible. Whatever it is, I’d love to know how this practice impacts the pressure you feel to perform or be the “perfect” mom or wife. Send me an email at tammy.kennington@gmail.com or respond in the comments below to let me know.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays  Sunday Thoughts / InstaEncouragements/ Anita Ojeda Mandy and Michele

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

Wednesdays   Recharge 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 , Embracing the Unexpected

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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.

Grief strikes at the heart like a viper; striking the revealed, vulnerable areas belonging to its unsuspecting victim–sometimes providing only the slightest of advance warnings. Then, a sudden sting, until the ache begins to settle low. Heavy. Burdensome.

Those of us who’ve impressed a footprint on Earth’s soil have either felt grief’s sharp pang or we will. And, while we assume grief is our enemy, it is really one of the clearest reminders to needing, bleeding, aching hearts that the world wasn’t meant to be this way.

Grief is one of the clearest reminders to needing,bleeding,aching hearts that the world wasn't meant to be this way.#grief#loss#notheendofhope Click To Tweet

We weren’t meant to know the grief of an unwelcome diagnosis.

Innocent children weren’t created to be bought and sold into lives of slavery vacant of love.

Death. Addiction. Depression. None of these were intended for God’s people.

Created as Paradise, this world has borne sin’s twisted power since the rich, sweet taste of what had been forbidden unfurled on the tongues and in the hearts of our first parents.

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In our grief, we know there is an unacknowledged reality far more powerful than that which is seen. We’re reminded of the grief the heavenly father experienced when his gift to men hung on a tree; bruised and battered as if he were refuse rather than Rescuer. And, because of his incomprehensible loss we receive a promise in process–not fully realized but as certain as the resurrection.

We catch a glimpse of the holy Shepherd's heartache when he wept.#Jesuswept#holygrief Click To Tweet

So we grieve our losses, but not in hopelessness. We are reviled by injustice, but rely on the Judge. We catch a glimpse of the holy Shepherd’s heartache when he wept, but know the victory has already been won.

Maybe you are grieving today. I know it’s painful, Friend, and I’m sorry.

Without minimizing the hurt in your heart, can I gently remind you that He understands? He will be with you whether you walk through fire or travel through the darkest valley. You may not feel as though it’s true, but He will never leave your side. One day soon, this world’s grief will be forgotten and replaced with joy unimaginable as we soak in the glory of Christ with all things renewed. Restored. Reestablished.

I’ve collected a few of my favorite Bible verses to pray over when your heart is hurting. Just click on the link below.

5 Printable Bible Verses for a Hurting Heart

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays  Sunday Thoughts / InstaEncouragements/ Anita Ojeda Mandy and Michele

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

Wednesdays   Recharge 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 , Embracing the Unexpected

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I don't know, but He does. I can't fix it, but He can. I can't rescue anyone, but He already has.

I can’t sleep. Anxiety wakes me before dawn and I feel it’s vice-like grip wrapping around my stomach, pressing hard on my chest.  Thoughts roil and spin as my pulse quickens. Bile rises in the back of my throat as one silent message after another ticks across the screen of my mind like the captions of a silent movie.

Help me, Lord!I don't utter the words aloud, but they pour from my soul thick with worry and fear.#overcomingfear#anxiety#worry Click To Tweet

Help me, Lord! I don’t utter the words aloud, but they pour from my soul thick with worry and fear.

I know I’m meant to pray and I resort to intercession for the dear ones on my heart. I can’t imagine a good outcome. How could anything worthy or beautiful come from an ugly, sin-ridden situation like this one? How can God possibly bring something beautiful from the rubble?

So I continue whispering my prayers and sending them to the heart of the Father. I’m still restless throughout the day, even preoccupied at times. But the sensation of a weight sitting on my chest is gone. In it’s place? I’m reminded again and again of His faithfulness to His children.

When Naomi lost hope, God gave her Ruth.

When Mary heard of Christ’s impending birth, God sent her to Elizabeth.

When David faced the sword of the king, He offered protection through Jonathan.

When Shadrack, Meshack, and Abendego walked through the fire, the Lord stood with them.

When the waves washed over Peter, Jesus pulled him from the depths.

When the enemy laughed because He’d thought he’d overcome, Christ rose from the grave.

I am not the only one to experience both joy and sorrow, celebration and grief, or delight and despair. Because we live in a world designed by God but polluted by the enemy, time will oscillate between glimpses of heaven and encounters with hell.

For. A. Time.

Then Christ will scoop each of His children up in the arms of eternity. The sorrow? Destroyed. The grief? Overcome. The despair? Decimated. Instead, we will only know and remember the love, mercy, and grace of the God who brought us through it all.

I long for the timelessness of all that is good and beautiful, don’t you? In the meantime, our wrestling with worry, anxiety and fear can take a back seat to the faithfulness of God.

If He extended grace before the cross, what will He do for you now? You are safe beneath His wings.#loved#treasured#saved. Click To Tweet

If He extended grace before the cross, what will He do for you now? Oh, Friend, you are safe beneath His wings.

Perhaps you’re struggling this week in the same way I have. Why not recite these words of hope as a proclamation of God’s love for you. Complete the __________ with your name as a reminder that you are beloved by Him.

When _______________ lost hope, God gave her Jesus.

When ________________ knew of impending trials or accusations, God sent her Jesus.

When ________________ faced the sword of the king, He offered protection through Jesus.

When ________________ walked through the fire, the Lord stood with her.

When the waves washed over _________________, Jesus pulled her from the depths.

When the enemy laughed because He’d thought he’d overcome __________________ , Christ rose from the grave.

Then, print off this list of verses to pray over and recite when the enemy comes at you with fear and anxiety. You can print them here.

10 Bible Verses to Help You When You Fear the Future (1)

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays  Sunday Thoughts / InstaEncouragements/ Anita Ojeda Mandy and Michele

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

Wednesdays   Recharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/ Porch Stories

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

Fridays Dance With Jesus / Faith N Friends / Fresh Market Friday / Grace and Truth / Faith on Fire / Blogger Voices Network/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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