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The last few weeks are unlike any I’ve experienced; I know you’re feeling the same way. We’ve adopted unfamiliar phrases like ‘social-distancing’ and ‘Covid-19’ into our vocabulary as reporters share the grim news of a relentless enemy decimating the lives of families across the world; forcing people behind doors as government leaders scramble to avoid economic collapse and healthcare workers deal with a shortage of ventilators and protective gear.

The Destroyer marched into the territory of our home; dark and frightening. But, my husband, son, and I knew the truth- “the One who is living in [us] is far greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4 TPT).

Just as the Coronavirus began ravaging the United States, my young adult son was in crisis. Another Enemy, one against whom we’d battled for years, threatened my boy’s life. The Destroyer marched into the territory of our home; dark and frightening. But, my husband, son, and I knew the truth- “the One who is living in [us] is far greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4 TPT).

As I spoke words of hope and life over my son, I prayed God would guide us to the right people. That He’d provide funding where none existed. That each impossible detail and insurmountable obstacle-distance, despair, international disease-would not hamper us as we trusted Him to pave a way where none existed before.

This must have been how the Israelites felt when they saw the Red Sea in front of them and Pharoah’s army advancing from behind.

But God never left His people unprotected. Unguarded. Unsecured.

God never left His people unprotected.Unguarded.Unsecured.#fightfear#spiritualbattle#hope Click To Tweet
While the people quaked in fear and even raised up in anger against Moses, God remained steadfast. He knew the plans of the wicked pursuer was to " to steal, slaughter, and destroy", (A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter,a]">[a] and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, b]">[b] more than you expectc]">[c]—life in its fullness until you overflow!) but the One who transforms impossible to possible and the vain to victorious would make Himself known in and through nature.

One week before our city shutdown, God placed my son in the care of people able to help him engage in the battle of his young life. God split the Red Sea, moving him across the other side to safety.

The Church stands at the edge of our own Red Sea; the sea of Faith.#equippedtostand #prayforothers Click To Tweet

I believe the Church stands at the edge of our own Red Sea; the sea of Faith.

Exodus 14: 13-16 reads-

But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving! Pick up your staff and raise your hand over the sea. Divide the water so the Israelites can walk through the middle of the sea on dry ground.

Fear lurks outside the door, but it isn’t from the Lord. Friends, fear is our Enemy and we know he has come to “steal, kill, and destroy”. While this assault is unexpected to us, God isn’t surprised. He’s equipped up through Christ to stand! Those in Christ who are weaker need us to stand. Those who don’t yet know Jesus need us to stand. Our children, nation, and a hurting world need us to stand.

Fear lurks outside the door, but it isn’t from the Lord. Friends, fear is our Enemy and we know he has come to “steal, kill, and destroy”. While this assault is unexpected to us, God isn’t surprised. He’s equipped up through Christ to stand! Those in Christ who are weaker need us to stand. Those who don’t yet know Jesus need us to stand. Our children, nation, and a hurting world need us to stand.

There are several important points we need to pull from the scripture above.

  • The Lord Will Rescue-We may not know how, but we know Who.
  • The Church Must Move-Pray for revival. Serve with love.
  • Be Faithful-Watch how the Lord will move.

Be encouraged, Friends. He will provide a way to the other side.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

Ladies, it’s an online get-together and you’re invited! I’m hosting a Zoom chat and prayer time on Tuesday, March 31st @ 5pm MST (7 pm EST,  4 pm PST) if you would like to join me. Just respond with your email to tammy.kennington@gmail.com and I’ll send you an invite. Feel free to forward this email to other women who might like to participate. (Ladies only, please. Thanks for understanding!)

Ladies, it's an online get-together and you're invited! I'm hosting a Zoom chat and prayer time on Tuesday, March 31st @ 5pm MST (7 pm EST,  4 pm PST) if you would like to join me. Just respond with your email to… Click To Tweet

Free Printable with Tips for You

5 ways to Manage Anxiety pdf

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,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee

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

 

Is not this laid up in store with me, sealed up in my treasuries?

Deuteronomy 32:34

 

The context of Deuteronomy 32 lets us know the “this” of verse 34 is God’s justice and judgement. Verse 35 says, “Vengeance is mine, …and their doom comes swiftly.” Although commentators have differing opinions of who God is saying he’ll judge, it will be upon Israelites’ enemies or the Israelites themselves. In effect, he is saying, “Don’t you understand judgment is stored up and will be released at the right time?” It may seem God is delaying or refusing to bring justice, yet here he declares he has not forgotten the actions of sinners because he is a just God.

Most of Deuteronomy 32 gives the reasons for judgment. Verse 32 gives us an interesting visual of one of those reasons.

For their vine comes from the vine of Sodom

and from the fields of Gomorrah;

their grapes are grapes of poison;

their clusters are bitter.

Some commentators have varying ideas about the “vine of Sodom” which the Bible refers to only this once. Over the years, many have tried to identify the exact plant God refers to. The most obvious are the grapes. Yet researchers have wondered if there is any other kind of what some call “apples of Sodom.”

The other fruit might be a candidate, appearing like a delicious, smooth, soft, yellow apple or orange. But when grabbed or bitten, the fruit disintegrates into a puff of air, a thin rind, and a few fibers. What seemed so fulfilling offers nothing of value.

That’s the point. God’s people are depending upon empty, ineffective, worthless things that become idols. Idol worship deserves judgment because the Israelites are putting their hope into a “puff of air.” The hollow “vine cluster” seems to give a tiny spiritual taste of satisfaction but doesn’t last.

Think of some of the ways we experience a spiritual “puff of air.”

A woman marries her Prince Charming, expecting he will always make her happy. But he expects her to always give him respect. When she expresses an opinion other than what he thinks, he gets angry, feeling weak.

Someone is finally promoted to their dream position, but the friend who is passed over now brings all sorts of troubles.

An infertile wife finally becomes pregnant expecting a delightful experience until her child seems to cry twenty-four hours a day.

Only God can offer long-lasting fulfillment, both here and for eternity. Click To Tweet

Every single person and experience on this imperfect earth will disappoint us at some point. Only God can offer long-lasting fulfillment, both here and for eternity. Of course, we still won’t receive everything we want, but God knows what is best and promises to meet our true needs (Philippians 4:19).

For any who seek fulfillment in earthly sources, God knows such vain worship turns them away from dependence upon him, the perfect source. No wonder our just God judges in order to motivate people to turn from unfulfilling sin.

  • What is your opinion about God being just and therefore responding in judgement?
  • When has it seemed God has delayed judging those who have harmed you? How have you dealt with that?

 

God of the Universe, I praise you for you are always motivated by being just.

Thank you for always judging rightly and thoroughly.

 

The Millers have been in ministry since 1978 as speakers, authors, and lay counselors. They married in 1970 and God empowered them to overcome the dysfunctional marriage and family they had developed early in their marriage. Larry is a retired police lieutenant from Huntington Beach Police Department. Both individually and as a couple, they have authored over 55 books and spoken in nine foreign countries. They live in Southern California and are parents and grandparents. Visit them at www.KathyCollardMiller.com

Kathy is making a copy of God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing God’s Nature available to the winner of a book drawing. Enter to win by Thursday, March 26th by leaving a comment below. The winner will be drawn on March 27th (US addresses only, please. Thank you for understanding.)

Media cover-GIQ-OT-RGB72

This guest blog is adapted from God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing God’s Nature

Order God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing God’s Nature at:

https://www.amazon.com/Gods-Intriguing-Questions-Testament-Devotions/dp/195197008X/

Connect with them at:

www.facebook.com/KathyCollardMillerAuthor and https://www.facebook.com/larry.miller.3532?

Twitter: @KathyCMiller and @LarryMiller

Pinterest/Kathyspeak

 

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,

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

 

 

The frustration ran deep and the journey was long. Decades of caring for anyone with a need left me collapsed on heaven’s doorstep. Lord, I’ve been serving a long time. When do I get to enjoy that abundant life I keep hearing about?

Don’t get me wrong. I saw glimpses and enjoyed seasons of fulfillment. Raising my daughters as a homeschool mom was a sacrifice rich in joyful memories. Befriending women in the church in various settings blessed me with delightful relationships. In spite of the good times, somehow along the way, I lost my bearings.

Why

Women are prone to that process. We tend to focus our empathy and compassion outward, doing our best to contribute to everyone else’s happily ever after. And there’s a reason for that. We live in a fallen world where mankind’s vertical connection with our Creator is broken, and horizontal relationships take precedent.

Eve may not have grasped the significance of God’s words when He explained the security of her divine friendship with Him was replaced with the uncertainty of a human bond. But she surely sensed the trauma triad of fear, shame, and panic when she and Adam were sent from the Garden, the only home she’d ever known.

 

What

Like Eve, the trauma triad grabbed hold of me. Violence and denial turned my childhood home into a fight-for-survival environment. Hypervigilance became my coping skill of choice as I worked to de-escalate the atmosphere. As a result, the people-pleasing habit plowed deep furrows across my path right into adulthood.

The people-pleasing habit plowed deep furrows across my path right into adulthood.#habits Click To Tweet

When I heard life would be grand if I trusted Jesus, I was ready for grand and walked the aisle. My immature reasoning latched on to what the Christian community taught. If I wanted to please Jesus, which I did, all I needed to do was become a servant. And everybody knows a good servant pleases the one they serve.

Family, friends, and fellow church members were already on my list of responsibilities when neighbors were added. Since God describes our neighbor as any needy soul with whom we interact, in order to please Him, I would need to please everyone around me. The vertical-horizontal effects of the Fall overwhelmed me.

 

Who

Collapse is a good description of the moment I realized I was twisted into a shape I didn’t recognize. My dedication to reach out to others to satisfy God led me to abandon the unique me He designed with a purpose. Worse still, my efforts to secure the Eden intimacy I craved with Him brought little more than a nodding acquaintance.

In mute despair, I looked to Jesus. His response was gentle and compassionate.

Jesus invited me to rest in His presence and His Word. As I responded, He reminded me how precious I am because I am His, that His promises of protection and provision are for me. He taught me that I need to set my focus on Him because what fills my thoughts becomes the object of my worship.

...What fills my thoughts becomes the object of my worship.#worship #rightthoughts Click To Tweet

In confession and repentance, by God’s mercy and grace, my view is clearing. His call to love others is based on our loving Him with complete abandon, to include a healthy dose of awareness and love for ourselves as His creation. With this relationship, we become divine conduits for His love to flow at His will.

Worship is my new weapon against trauma or anything that threatens my peace.#prayalways Click To Tweet

Worship is my new weapon against trauma or anything that threatens my peace. Scripture, prayer, music, change of scenery . . . whatever it takes to rip my focus away from the struggle and set it back on the One who made and cherishes me. The peace and joy that fill me are the best description of the abundant life I can imagine.

You turned my wailing into dancing;

you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.

that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.

Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

Psalm 30:11-12 NIV

 

BIO

 

Sandra Allen Lovelace has been walking beside women cross-culturally for more than 40 years. She’s a popular speaker and biblical teacher known for her warm authenticity and practical approach. She’s also an author with an award-winning blog, two titles in print, and a third book in process.

By experience and training in the journey, Sandra informs, affirms, and inspires women as they heal from the impact of trauma. In her role as mentor and coach, she delights in watching fellow Wallflower Women step into and enjoy their God-given design and purpose. Sandra’s easy to reach.

SandraAllenLovelace@gmail.com

FB/SandraAllenLovelace

IG/SandraAllenLovelace

 

 

Thank you Sandra, for sharing part of your story with us. I see myself in what you’ve written and appreciate your wisdom and encouragement. Friends, please hop over to Sandra’s wonderful blog or meet up with her online. I know you’ll be blessed!

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I sometimes link-up with these 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

I’ve read several books in the last couple of months and have been looking forward to sharing them with you. While the list of books I hope to read continues to grow, I never seem to find quite as much time as I’d like to indulge my favorite habit. Can anyone relate?

 

Platinum Faith: Live Brilliant, Be Resilient, and Know Your Worth written by power team, Michelle Medlock Adams and Bethany Jett, grabbed me from the first paragraph. Heart-touching stories written for every woman who ever wondered if she’s worth the fight or believed Jesus might have died for her pretty, put-together-best-friend but really didn’t intend to forgive her hot mess of a life is the book you want to buy now if you need Biblical encouragement from two woman who wrap you in a hug with authenticity. Discussion questions that work well for personal reflection or small-group study are included at the end of each chapter.

Sharing their thoughts throughout the book, Bethany and Michelle alternate as the voice behind each chapter. Sidebars highlighting helpful insights are also included.

This book is Biblically sound and rich with encouragement. It’s a wonderful book and worth buying a few extra copies to share with the women in your life. I cannot wait for these two ladies to collaborate on their next book.

 

 

Stay: Discovering Grace, Freedom, and Wholeness Where You never Imagined Looking by Anjuli Paschall is a prose-like narrative of different events throughout Anjuli’s life. She addresses everything from self-hatred and loneliness to the excruciating pain of spiritual brokenness and the simple, mundane moments of marriage and family life.

Crafting each chapter like a scene in a play, Paschall draws back the curtain and invites readers to examine the messy areas of her heart. It is in the mire she discovered God’s grace and, ultimately, where the reader will find Him-if one is willing.

If you’re looking for practical tips or action steps, this isn’t the book for you. However, if you enjoy beautiful, lilting prose and want to sit across the table from your best girlfriend discussing vulnerable, raw moments of living for Christ Stay may be the book you’ve been waiting to read.

Available for pre-order. https://www.amazon.com/Stay-Discovering-Freedom-Wholeness-Imagined

 

 

I chose to read Eyewitness to Crucifixion: The Romans, the Cross, and the Sacrifice of Jesus by Stephen Miller because my husband have planned to visit Rome this summer. While our plans may change depending upon the current state of the coronavirus, I did enjoy reading this book. While I felt Mr. Miller’s writing was dry and sometimes disjointed, his research was and supporting documents were topnotch. If you can overlook the writing and enjoy either art or western history, then you’ll be amazed by the research Miller must have done to piece together Eyewitness.

Although I don’t intend to read another of Miller’s books, I’ve passed the book along to my husband who earned an undergraduate degree in history. This might be a good fit for a seminarian or something to read with your teens at Easter as you consider Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

 

I’d love to know what books you’re reading right now. Add to my list! There can never be enough books tucked beneath my reading table.

 

Peace and grace,

Tammy

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

 

 

 

 

 

The year is 1995. Being a self-employed counselor is a real challenge. From time to time I say to my God, “Is this really what you want me to do?” Deep inside from around the region of my heart, I hear the answer, “Hang on.”

Sometimes God is a person of few words.#faith #perseverance Click To Tweet

Sometimes God is a person of a few words. I keep questioning, “Should I be doing something else?” Sometimes I feel like a failure and now I am overwhelmed with shame at having to ask for help. I stare at the phone in my hand. You can do this Evelyn, do not give up, do not back down, do not lose faith. Do not worry about what people think?

It’s been a hard winter. My business has dwindled to almost nothing, partly because of the weather and partly because I don’t feel equal to the trauma and pain I see in front of me. Money is tight. My fear is that homelessness is imminent.

My friend in Oklahoma City tells me about an organization that is coming to the clinic where she works to do some free trauma training that can help untold numbers of hurting people. But it’s just for Oklahoma counselors. I live in South Dakota.

“Can I come?” I ask. She says “no” on three different phone calls,

“Just ask them,” I say. “Please just ask?”

Finally, she says with a deep sigh, “I will give you the number and you can ask.”

I’ve wanted this training for a couple of years. I have heard of the extraordinary healing it produces—but the cost is beyond my reach. I’ve been praying for guidance for months, hanging on, believing God when He says, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear”. (Luke 12:22.) Waking up stressed and fearful in the middle of the night, I repeat this verse over and over, desperately trying to drown out the negative messages rattling around my brain. The messages telling me: “Give up, send your clients to someone who can really help them. Stop humiliating yourself by being persistent. Go find a job. Why would anyone want to help you anyway?”

Now it’s 8:00 am on a cloudy Monday morning. Sitting with the phone in my hand, I have prayed all night for a “yes” answer or the faith to endure a “no.” Taking a deep breath, I dial the number; it rings five times before the man on the other end says “Good morning. Bright Counseling, Joe speaking.”

My heart is in my throat. “This is Evelyn Leite. I am a friend of Barbara’s—I understand that the EMDR corporation is doing a free counselor training in Oklahoma City, because of the bombing of the Federal building. I hear my breathless voice coming out fast and force myself to slow down.

“Joe, I am a counselor in South Dakota. Do you think it might be possible for me to attend the training coming up at your clinic next week?” A long moment of silence follows (I’m holding my breath) then he says “I don’t see any reason why you can’t.” Geared up for a “no”, my “thank you” comes out in an emotional squeak. Joe takes my name and phone number and promises to see me there. I’m in!

Overwhelmed with gratitude, I say prayers of praise and swing into action. Using frequent flyer miles and with ten dollars in my pocket, my amazed friend will meet me at the airport and I will stay with her. I will be only the second counselor in SD to have this training-my business booms and people are helped. God is Good!

 

 

Evelyn M. Leite MHR, LPC  

Evelyn Leite has been in the addiction and mental health profession for 35 years and has a private practice called Living With Solutions.  She also founded a non-profit corporation called A Center For Training And Restoration.  She is the author of 14 books and she holds workshops nationwide that are devoted to teaching individuals and families about mental health and addiction. Evelyn does a lot of trauma-related work with men and women who have been abused.  Because her work as a humanitarian has been widely recognized, she was installed in the SD Hall of Fame in 2008.  Her work has included founding a youth center in Ft Pierre, SD, helping establish a women’s shelter in Pierre, SD, and helping to establish the Hope Center, a day shelter for the homeless in Rapid City, SD.  Most of her work for the last 15 years has taken place on Indian Reservations.  She released a new book in December 2019, A Fix For The Family Rift Caused By Addiction. Evelyn Leite has been in the addiction and mental health profession for 35 years and has a private practice called Living With Solutions.

https://evelynleite.com/

 

P.S. Hello, friends. I’m so glad you stopped by today. Evelyn and other counselors who do the hard and important work of helping people heal from their trauma wounds are such a blessing. Evelyn and I have never met personally and she is unaware of my background, but EMDR was one of the tools God used to bring hope and healing into my own life as a survivor of child abuse. If you have any questions about EMDR or other aspects of healing from trauma (i.e. C-PTSD, domestic violence, sexual assault, etc.), please know you aren’t alone. Reach out to one of us or another safe person in your life. God is in the business of “restoring the years the locusts have eaten”.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I sometimes link-up with these 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

 

I like my life drama-free. My first marriage had enough turmoil to last me a lifetime. I’m very comfortable with our quiet, boring routine.

Our home and schedule change drastically when my daughter and granddaughters visit. Those are the changes we love. The rooms seem to get smaller as we bring out the toys and baby furniture. The walls get dirty, stickers appear in random places, dust bunnies collect, and the dog gets bigger from snacks sneaked and food dropped.

Yes, our seemingly mundane life turns chaotic when the family comes to visit, but we really don’t mind at all.

Seven years ago our daughter and granddaughters spent five weeks with us while they got their paperwork in order to live in my son-in-law’s home town in England. At that time Fiona was four years old and Eleanor was eight months old. They had previously lived in Hungary and their annual visits were precious. Those weeks were sublime!

As usual, I hated the quiet after they left and immediately started the post-visit routine. I put away the toys and furniture so I wouldn’t get depressed. I washed walls, scrubbed floors, and regained control of my environment. I cried around the house on and off for days, longing for them to video chat with me. However, I knew they were busy settling into their new home in the UK.

Again, my heart was broken. “This doesn’t get easier,” I told a friend. Then something happened that helped put it in perspective.

A friend from church lost a baby grandson. We know he is in the arms of Jesus, but that doesn’t take the pain away.

My heart may be broken when my family goes back home, but I know I’ll see them again on our next visit. We’ll video chat with them regularly. I’ll hold them again here on earth. My friend cannot.

How do others see God working in your everyday life and mine? Click To Tweet

It put my woes in proper perspective as I watched my friend’s family exude God’s peace while He heals their hearts. God used the faith shown by the grieving family to minister to those around them. We see God working in their everyday lives.

Philippians 4:4-9 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Now, several years later, I learn that my family can’t visit this spring. I’ve come to expect them in April and, once again, my heart is broken. Once again, I have to concentrate on “whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable” – those things that are praiseworthy and excellent. Sadly, as always, it’s easier said than done. I feel it’s time to get busy helping others and put my woes in the proper perspective.

Pour out onto those around us like water through a broken vase.#loveothers #pourout Click To Tweet

When we remain teachable and keep our eyes on Christ, He will help us see those hurting around us. If we reach out to others in their need, we won’t be caught up in our own hurts, concerns, and problems. It helps. It really does. Keeping our minds on what is pure and lovely will help us realize that God’s peace is with us. I pray we keep our hearts open to learn from God and to put what we’ve learned into practice, allowing His love to pour out onto those around us like water through a broken vase.

To those who have lost a child, I pray God's love overwhelms you...He is near. Click To Tweet

To those who have lost a child, I pray God’s love overwhelms you and fills you with His perfect peace each day as you learn to carry on. He will show you. He will guide you. He is near.

 

Kelly J. Stigliano enjoys life in Orange Park, FL with her husband, Jerry. A blended family, they have five grown children, a son-in-law, and two granddaughters – spread across the globe! She has contributed to thirteen anthologies, written hundreds of articles, and recently released her memoir, Praying for Murder, Receiving Mercy. Documenting eight years of her life, it is written in two parts with photographs in the middle. Kelly travels as a speaker, making people laugh and cry as she shares her heart. To learn more about Kelly’s ministry, her speaking topics, and books, please visit http://www.kellystigliano.com.

 

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I sometimes link-up with these 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

Pleading for Us

The hard edges of time haven’t yet lined his face, but the young man knows suffering. He’s grown accustomed to fear biting at his heels; chasing him from one day to the next. Calling on God, he prays and fasts-beseeching the Lord for breakthrough. Relief from the brokenness. Healing for a hurting heart that refuses to release the tears bottled there for too long.

And his mother approaches the throne of grace; a modern-day Hannah with earnest words whispered and desperate on behalf of the man who is her son. Capturing a glimpse of the child behind his sad smile, she lifts her face to heaven.

Oh, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
If you’ll take a good, hard look at (his) pain,
If you’ll quit neglecting (him) and go into action for (him)…
I’ll give him completely, unreservedly to you.
I’ll set him apart for a life of holy discipline. (1 Samuel 1:11 MSG)

Like the grieving woman whose arms longed to feel the weight of a newborn, I make a holy vow of my own.  No holding back. No standing in the way. No talking him out of what the mighty God has planned. But, Lord, free him up to live and live abundantly-not this numb-to-the-pain and numb-to-the-joy existence. Allow beauty to move him to such depths that joy erupts from his spirit and spills wet as liquid down dampened cheeks. Let sadness wring his soul with enough strength that the melancholy pours from within; unleashing the ache and inviting the flow of God’s healing touch. Move into the empty spaces and clear out those the imposter has planted a “no vacancy” sign.

You, too, may be a modern-day Hannah with a loved one whose heart needs healing. Some days, it feels as though the prayers will never be answered and I grow impatient. I want Him to answer now. Doesn’t He see the need? The pain? The ache?

I would be the rescuer. The savior. But, my titles are all lowercase.#perseverance#faith Click To Tweet

Honestly, if I could exchange the burden with my precious one I would. I would be the rescuer. The savior. But, my titles are all lowercase and I’m ill-equipped to do anything but persevere in my faith. If I give up, the enemy will celebrate a victory. I refuse to yield my child’s life so easily.

What about you? Are you battling right now? Are you, too, pounding on heaven’s gates on behalf of a loved one? Maybe your on bended knee as a result of a dear one’s anxiety, depression, or addiction. It could be your precious one is consumed by self-contempt, brokenness, or fear.

Perhaps, you are the one in need of prayer.

Dear modern-day Hannah, remain steadfast. Jesus intercedes on your behalf.#holyprayers#remembered Click To Tweet

Dear modern-day Hannah, remain steadfast. Raise your eyes heavenward. Your heavenly priest, Jesus, intercedes on your behalf. Persevere as this woman of scripture once did and there will be a day of rejoicing. Just as the Lord remembered Hannah, He will remember you.

 

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I sometimes link-up with these 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

 

 

 

Pray

Worn journals, stacked in a basket near my bedside table, reveal promises kept. I’ll pray for you. When the words rolled off my tongue, I’d meant them. Some are difficult to read as if an unexpected bit of water rained down from above. Anguished prayers wrought from the soul for the friend who hurt so deeply or the loved one with wounds that descended as deep as the devil’s domain. 

All are a reminder to continue.

Glancing at the left margin of each page, I notice the name of each person listed. The year and the date are recorded along with the plea I raised heavenward. Next to some names, I’d placed a simple checkmark a page or two later. The petition had been heard and answered.

Many other names remain unmarked. They are the dear ones living without margin; the ones seeking answers Elsewhere. They live for smaller gods searching for fulfillment in something, anything, or anyone that will give them joy. Purpose. Meaning.

They live for smaller gods searching for fulfillment.#purpose #meaning #God Click To Tweet

A few of their names boast a triumphant checkmark near the left margin while others continue from one journal until the next; year after year. Why do I continue praying? Because God loves a tearstained journal filled with the names of people ushered into the kingdom.

Why Persevere in Prayer?

The prayers I’ve journaled or spoken aloud are nothing special of their own accord. They can neither impress God with their beauty nor cause Him to turn away because they lack in some way. God is interested in my heart and yours. From the beginning, the Father invited His children to commune with Him. To walk with Him. To know and be known by Him.

Through prayer, our spirits engage in communion with the Creator.#prayer #whypray Click To Tweet

Through prayer, our spirits engage in communion with the Creator.

Scripture affirms that prayer is:

  • powerful-“Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.” (2 Peter 3:9 MSG)

and,

God is:

  • patient-“Don’t overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.” (2 Peter 3:9 MSG).

We cannot tire a limitless God nor burden the omnipotent Master.#prayer#reconciled Click To Tweet

We cannot tire a limitless God nor burden the omnipotent Master. Instead, He invites us to participate in the work of reconciling the world to its rightful place and position under His care through our poorly uttered prayers and petitions in the quiet places of our homes, in the cozy nooks of coffee shops, or the full pew on a mid-week service.

Even Jesus said:

  • persevere-“Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.” (Luke 18:1 NRSV)

 

The Names in the Margin

When the names in the margin remain year after year, the ink sometimes blurs. Skepticism steps inside eternity’s doorway and pushes hope aside. But, the names in the margin need us more than ever.

God is patient. Prayer is powerful. And, living in the margin diminishes day by day.

Persevering in prayer is a call to live a life of love.

 

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

 

 

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

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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