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Posts Tagged ‘hope’

Psalm 46:1

Before color kissed the sky, I awakened-already weary from a series of imagined twilight horrors. Matching the tempo of my husband’s rhythmic breathing, releasing the fear trapped inside. His arm, heavy with sleep, draped across my waist like a rope strung between a boat and its mooring.

This has become my Holy Spirit hour; a time of communing, listening, interceding, rejoicing, and weeping. Five weeks of pre-dawn wakefulness coupled with a knowing within-this is part of my calling, my equipping, my serving.

The terror of the night seeks to invade from within but loses its battle when whispered words of truth penetrate the inky space. Click To Tweet

The terror of the night seeks to invade from within but loses its battle when whispered words of truth penetrate the inky space between physical and spiritual. The enemy is shrewd, his bloodlust an open cavity for the unprepared. Palms open and eyes closed, I release the anxieties that lead my thoughts directly toward fear and utter, “Lord, help my unbelief.”

I meditate on Psalm 46, the familiar words of the Psalmist reminding me of my position. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

God is my refuge. 

He is my refuge from inner turmoil. He is a refuge from the haunting memories of childhood. He is my refuge from the silent illness crafted by my own body.

He is your refuge, too. 

Only six letters, the word seems simple. Benign. And maybe I’ve just read or heard the words too often to allow them to penetrate deep. Refuge.

To the Psalmist, a refuge would have been a watchtower, a pillar of stones positioned on a hill above the fields of a town or in the mids of ripening vineyards. From his vantage point, the watchman guarded the livelihood of his people from marauders and animals scavenging for food. Gathering family to live within the safety of the fortress; the sentry stood watch-his dear ones far from threats of impending danger.

God is our refuge.

An unshakeable pillar, God who is our strength is the one to whom we can flee. In Him, we are raised to a position of strength and encircled by safety.

The refuge stands, unmoving and Almighty. Click To Tweet

The enemy may rattle his saber and destruction may batter the stronghold, but their roar is useless. The refuge stands, unmoving and Almighty. Neither the abuses of men nor the sword that pierced His side defeated the Rock and we, cradled in heaven’s watchtower, discover the love and security of our rescuer.

God is your refuge. 

Are you distressed? Brimming with worry as Death travels where it will? Has isolation brought you to the end of hope? Do you long for relief from the world’s trials? Seek Him, Friend. Move into the security of your Salvation and rest. He’ll watch over you, nourish you with His strength, and shelter you until time fades into eternity.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

P.S. I’d love to have you join me tonight as we meet to discuss and consider how to be set free from fear. I hope to see you online!

Refresh

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

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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

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2-corinthians-3-18

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

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

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

Beauty from ashes.

I understand the suffering of letting go of a dream when you'd believed God had more for you than this.#hoperestored#dreamnewdreams Click To Tweet

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

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

There are no easy answers to pain and suffering.But,there is a God who refashions broken lives.#hoperestored#beautyforashes Click To Tweet

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

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

 

Father,

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

In Jesus’ powerful name,

Amen

 

Peace and grace,

Tammy

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

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Hewillbeourfather.png

The elderly man posted mournful adoption ads and flyers in bus stops and places about town.

“Lonely old man in his 80s. Strong-bodied. Can shop, cook and take care of himself. No chronic illness. I retired from a scientific research institute in Tianjin, with a monthly pension of 6,000 RMB (USD1344) a month. I won’t go to a nursing home. My hope is that a kindhearted person or family will adopt me, nourish me through old age and bury my body when I’m dead.”

Struck by the man’s plight, I wondered how many of us can relate to this man and his heart’s cry.

I’m worth something. I’m willing to work for love and acceptance. I’ll give all that I have for just a crumb of kindness. An ounce of approval. Won’t someone love me? Just a little?

 Have you, too, experienced loneliness? Felt isolated?

Most of us recognize the sense of abandonment that invades a needy soul during such times. Once in a while, these are the difficult feelings that remind us of our need for others. The importance of connection rather than Facebook pretension. The value of friendship rather than selfish ambition.

At other times, the Father may lead us to a lonely place where we’ll be reminded of the One who extends beyond the human longing for relationship and leads us toward spiritual fulfillment. Away from loneliness into the arms of a loving Father. Out from under the shadow of rejection into the everlasting promise of holy adoption.

Consider these words from scripture,

I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughter to me, says the Lord Almighty. Click To Tweet

“I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18) Oh, the relief and joy of total acceptance and complete love!

Sometimes, though, instead of clinging to the words of scripture, we settle into our emotions and hide in the shadows. Messages birthed by the Enemy are given shape in our darkest imagination.

You are unwanted. Unworthy. Unlovable.

 Rather than guiding us toward hope, the taunts of the Deceiver grow ever larger—filling the space once occupied by living. Laughter. Love. And we begin to despair as depression assumes headship.

Like the pounding of a hammer against a nail, the thought rings loud, “Isn’t there more than this hurt? This grief? This aching, incessant pain?” And we scoff at the familiar Sunday school song, ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It’, doubting happiness even exists.

 If you are hiding in the shadows, Friend, convinced that life is purposeless and that pain is your lot, please know:

You are loved. (Psalm 86:5)

You are seen. (Genesis 16:7-12)

You are heard. (1 Peter 3:12)

 

You are chosen. (Col. 3:12)

You are treasured. (Duet. 7:6)

You are a delight to God. (Zeph. 3:17)

Loneliness has a cruel habit of cloaking truth while depression obscures hope.  Click To Tweet

Loneliness has a cruel habit of cloaking truth while depression obscures hope. This is the position in which the Liar of old wants us to reside. Unlike our Eternal Hope, he comes to “kill, steal, and destroy”.

Raise your hands to heaven, dear one, and cry out to the God who bends low to hear even unuttered prayers. He will give you strength to endure this moment. This hour. This day.

Loneliness is a silent soul killer and depression crouches next door. If you struggle with depression and its neighbor, I encourage you to take the If You're (Not) Happy and You Know It Challenge.  Click To Tweet

 

If You’re (Not) Happy and You Know It Challenge-Day 4                                          Loneliness is a silent soul killer and depression crouches next door. If you struggle with depression and its neighbor, I encourage you to take the If You’re (Not) Happy and You Know It Challenge.

  1. Reach out to a trusted friend, family member, pastor or counselor. Clinical depression requires a network of people who will provide support and prayer.
  2. Schedule one or two proactive, depression busting activities each day. For example, set and hold to a regular sleep schedule, exercise regimen, or healthy eating cycle. Add one more positive habit to your “to-do” list every few days to aid in eliminating unhealthy choices (i.e. not eating enough, eating too much, spending hours in front of the screen, avoiding interaction with others).
  3. Volunteer Offering to help others boosts the feel-good centers in our brains and boosts our ability to meaningfully connect with others.
  4. Seek medical assistance. If you’re consumed with thoughts of self-harm or have a plan to hurt yourself, call the suicide hotline at 1 (800) 273-8255. Give yourself the opportunity to rediscover happiness. You are worth it!

Download or share my gift to you, an ebook (also available on Kindle), Moving From Pain to Peace–A Journey Toward Hope.

Moving from Pain to Peace-A Journey toward Hope1From Pain to Peace-Journey Toward Hope

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

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Loneliness kills. It’s as powerful as smoking or alcoholism.  -Waldinger

We do not follow a list of do’s and don’t that lead us to heaven. No jot nor tittle of prescribed religion offers sanctification or eternal life.png

In a world of being ‘friended’ and ‘unfriended’, acceptance and belonging have been reduced to photos, Tweets and images of the best of our lives. Vacation spots and smiling faces. Highlights of proud moments, but little of what floods our hearts with everything that makes us human.

Yet loneliness and social isolation are heralded as the new international health epidemic, reducing life expectancy up to 29% for those in its grasp. Why? A multitude of reasons exist. The propensity to live crazy busy. Fear of being truly known. Failing marriages and even fewer heart-level friendships.

Made in the image of God, we are designed for relationship. For community. For sharing our deepest hurts and greatest joys with one another. For laughter shared over a cup tea and tears of companionship in times of loss.

Loneliness invites herself into their lives and ours... Click To Tweet

Married women. Single women. Women with homes filled with children and women with empty wombs. Women of every age, color and status. Loneliness invites herself into their lives and ours and embeds unhealthy thoughts and habits in vulnerable hearts and minds.

For some, sharp-tipped words prick our souls as we wonder. Will I ever be enough? Will I ever belong? Will I ever matter? Others of us battle depression or allow the demands of a full schedule to rise above the need for community.

You are a woman worth knowing.You are enough and you do matter.#nomoreloneliness#John3:16#toknowafriendbeafriend Click To Tweet

Friend, loneliness is a joy-stealing, heart-wrenching, life-altering burden. If she is your unwelcome companion, can I challenge you to take action? Step out of her shadow today and invite someone else to take her place. Call a friend you’d once known well and reconnect. Call, text or message that woman you’ve wanted to get to know.

You are a woman worth knowing. You are enough and you do matter.

Praying for you today,

Tammy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happiness. Joy. Blessedness. It all begins and ends in our relationship with Jesus..pngIt’s the American dream. The subject of Time magazine’s recent expose’. And Hollywood’s driving force lived out loud in a string of movie star marriages, breakups, and over-the-top living.

We pine for it in the same way a widow longs to be reunited with her spouse. The here-and-then-gone-again feeling of happiness. We search for it like we might a treasure buried in the sand, hoping the next marriage, new house, or upgraded tax bracket will soothe the cry of our hearts for something more. Searching for a salve to soothe the realities of the divorce papers strewn across the countertop, the prescription medicines filling our cabinets, or the anxiety skulking in the corners of our minds. We yearn for it and hold out our cup of need, “Just a little bit of happiness please. Fill it up.”

...the joy we’re searching for isn’t discovered in the pursuit of more toys, more money, or more indulgence.  Click To Tweet

Friends, the joy we’re searching for isn’t discovered in the pursuit of more toys, more money, or more indulgence. It won’t be found at the bottom of an empty bottle, a scorched credit card and pretty things, or in promotions and accolades.

Happiness. Joy. Blessedness. It all begins and ends in our relationship with Jesus.  Click To Tweet

Happiness. Joy. Blessedness. It all begins and ends in our relationship with Jesus. We may walk through the fire, wander in the desert, or stumble around the darkest valley and still hold to an abiding sense of blessing regardless of circumstance.

I kind of feel like life is like that 'whack-a-mole' game. I think I can catch my breath after some life jag and then something else pops up. Click To Tweet

A woman once commented, “I kind of feel like life is like that ‘whack-a-mole’ game. I think I can catch my breath after some life jag and then something else pops up.”

Have you ever felt the same way; as though a reprieve from all of the challenges and set-backs lies just beyond the horizon only to realize another fear inducing obstacle is poised to pounce in the distance between here and there? Desperately attempting to manage, you aim wildly at the hurt or heartache, hazard or hardship.

Once in a while, your dodging and parrying succeeds. A nuisance is eliminated. A potential problem avoided. But, most of the time? The issues resurface or something new thrusts itself onto life’s landscape.

Where is happiness in these situations? Is happiness even possible?

During the next several weeks, we’ll explore several keys to fostering joy and discovering happiness that extends beyond circumstance. Will you join me, friend? In the meantime, may I pray for you?

Father, we live in a world that would steal all of our joy if it could. We long for a taste of hope and know that you are the answer. Would you fill my sisters’ cup of need today with your love and faithfulness? Prepare her heart for today’s challenges and open her eyes to the beautiful gifts that surround her. Help us to seek you above all else and to exchange our burdens for Christ’s blessings. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen

 

 

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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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Sharing hope when people need it most

Like many of you, I’ve been captured by the horror of Valentine’s Day, 2018. Normally associated with candy hearts and sentimental cards, this day became a sickening host to the worst kind of inhumanity and suffering.

I’ve watched the news casts and read columns entrenched in anger and “it’s your fault” rhetoric and I wonder, when will the politicians stop lashing out at one another? Blame shifting. Politicizing tragedy with messages about gun control. When will the media stop frightening people with oversimplified views of those who struggle with mental health? Pointing fingers. Accusing one agency or another.

Because the fact remains that this morning well over a dozen beds lay empty and mothers and fathers weep at the graveside of a child gone too soon. The answer to these tragedies goes far beyond laws about weaponry or pat answers for people who live with depression. We can banter, argue and get nowhere. Or, we Christians can step into our calling and love others well, proclaim Hope, and set prisoners free.

We know the truth.

Our fight is not against human beings. It is against the rulers, the authorities and the powers of this dark world. It is against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly world. Ephesians 6:12 (NIRV)

We live in enemy territory and tragedies like these are reality because people are captive to his propaganda. They believe the lies.

Nobody loves you. You are nothing. There is no hope. 

Desperate, they embrace the unimaginable and transfer their hatred of self onto the innocent around them. Shattering lives. Destroying families. Stealing hope.

We know the truth.

Jesus came to set people free. To release men, women, boys and girls from the tyranny of self that He might deliver them to a place of soul-fulfillment. Lavishing love. Healing heart-wounds. Restoring joy.

You are loved. You are treasured. I Am hope.

We know the truth and in a world desperate for something more, Friend, you and I must live our faith out loud. The times of passively sitting in a church pew without taking action are past. If you and I profess Christ, aren’t we bound to share His love? To be a friend to the lonely? To uphold the cause of the weak? To come alongside the hurting and broken to offer the eternal answer to life’s challenges and concerns?

Jesus is the answer to the needs of broken boys. He is the cure for a shattered society calling out for justice. And, Friend, we are the ones He has called because we know the truth.

 

Then you will know the truth. And the truth will set you free. John 8:32

 

Lord, help us to bravely step into our calling that we might love and live as if we believe the truth. Lead us into the lives of the broken and needy, Jesus, and transform their hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Blessings,

Tammy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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