Thursday, June 16, 2016
From one season to the next our life flows. We hardly get to catch our breath and we are in a new season with a new struggle. We have to catch ourselves and make ourselves stop and rest. To see that we have reason to praise God. We are here, now. We are breathing. We can eat a meal. We can sing a song. We can go for a walk. We can listen to music and draw or paint or write a note. We can pick up the phone and call someone we love. We can speak happy, encouraging words. We can make new friends and cultivate old ones. Life has so many challenging times that we have to stop and just be thankful. Truly thankful for the little things we have right in front of us. A home, a family, a dog, a dining table. As our hearts and minds are filled with thankfulness it lifts us out of our hard times and gives us a new perspective. We can move from season to season in life with grace because of thankfulnes.
Sunday, June 12, 2016
"Lord, help this broken person minister to other broken people". I don't know how many times I have prayed this prayer or wrote it in my journal and yet I am still surprised when life breaks me and I ask "why?". As I ran across this prayer as I thumbed through my old journal the other day, I was suddenly struck with The Lords faithfulness. I recognized his hand in my pain in a whole new way. I stopped dead in my tracks and said audibly, "I asked for this?"!
You see, The Lord knows our hearts desires and He knows what we are created for and He writes our story with this in perfect view. We on the other hand, often don't even know what we have prayed for over and over again. We have desires that we are not aware are deeply imbedded in our very design. Often, these answers to prayer come in the form of pain, rejection, cancer, betrayal, death.....
This song by switch foot speaks to me of the contradiction we often see in life. http://youtu.be/s_Lv8z9RuPA
The chorus says:
I know that there's a meaning to it all
A little resurrection every time I fall
You got your babies, I got my hearses
Every blessing comes with a set of curses
I got my vices, I got my vice verses
These are my vice verses
These are my vice verses
Things are not always as they appear. So often I look at the difficulty I'm going through and don't recognize the greater purpose behind the pain; The resurrection that the Lord is bringing out of the very thing we felt would be our demise. He is desiring to give us the desires of our heart and often this is accomplished through experiences we don't want to experience. What I see as rejection, God sees the other way around. He sees the acceptance that another human will experience because of my rejection. When I see death, He sees the life that is realized through that death.
As I sat this week with someone who was broken and at the bottom, I was able to tell her that I have been there too and I don't judge her. She believed me. She cried. She shared her pain and I cried with her. Only because of my own pain, was I able to understand hers. The lord knew this and so has let me reach the bottom many times in my life. He did it for love. Love for me and love for those He knows I will be able to reach because of my own brokenness.
If you find yourself at a place in life where you don't understand why it looks so wrong....why it isn't what you pictured your life to turn out to be, remember things are not always as they appear. Lean into the pain and allow it to mold you into the vessel God has prepared you to be. And remember above all that He loves you!
Thursday, May 26, 2016
These two cuties are my Grandmas. My Dad's Mom is on the left and my Mom's Mom is on the right, Mary Ann and Elaine. There is so much for me to say about these amazing women, but what I want to focus on for this blog post is how women are the heart of the family.
The function of the heart in the physical body is to pump the oxygen-rich blood to all the parts of the body. That is an extremely important task, it's life or death. The heart needs to constantly work or else the body dies. The heart is central to the body.
Like a physical heart, the woman in a family is central to whether that home thrives or dies or barely survives. Like a heart that pumps blood for the body, the woman is the heart of the home. She speaks words of encouragement, hope, and guidance to her family members, bringing them life and vision for their lives. She prays for her husband and children bringing them Jesus, who is the source of all life. She feeds them real food, three meals a day, to bring them the nutrients they need to thrive in their own bodies. When a member of her family is hurting or injured she rushes to that person and helps them get back on their feet, like the heart rushes blood to an injury. A woman feels deeply, loves lavishly and bring life and beauty to her family and friends. A woman's place in the home is something to be celebrated and protected. Her place as the heart of the home is so extremely important, her family's wellbeing depend on it.
My Grandmas exemplified this principle. They both were the warm, nurturing presence in their homes and thus in my life. Both my Grandmas would love to feed me food that I liked. They would wrap me up in tight, tight hugs and kiss my cheeks. They would let me stay the night at their houses and be interested and involved in my life when I was there. So special!!
This beautiful woman is my Mom and she is the life blood of our family. She brings us together in love, she gives us a place to belong and a place to launch off from. She prays, gives, loves, cooks and cares for her daughters and grandchildren all with a heart full of love. She was and is the heart of our family, selflessly caring and serving for all of us.
What a wonderful purpose we have as women. We bring heart to the family and it is a role that is irreplaceable. Our families need us to be the heart and to do it well, with everything we've got, their health depends on it. What a privilege and responsibility it is to have people depend on us to be attentive and nurturing and loving and caring. I love that thought. It brings me such vision and purpose in my own life.
Be a woman, be the heart of the family and do it well! Full of health and zest and Jesus!
Thursday, May 19, 2016
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
This is a woman who I've watched since I was in junior high, go through difficulties in life victoriously. I've watched her go through betrayal of a husband which resulted in divorce and becoming a single mom. I watched her raise her kids with very little financially. She learned to trust again and remarried once when her kids were young, and learned what it felt like to be abused by a husband. He had a heart attack and passed on making her a widow for many years. She learned to trust yet again, a man she was married to for 15 years. He became her best friend until he passed away, leaving her a widow once again in her senior years. This is a woman who has a rich history of walking the broken road with Jesus by her side. She carries the marks of suffering with dignity and beauty. I admire her and love her.
As we worked in the garden, she pointed out every flower I have in my new garden and told me its name; she reminded me that we all are known by our maker. I listened intently to the story of her life as a gardening master and how it paralleled her own brokenness and redemption. I watched her laugh through the pain of the memories with a tear in her eye. And I marveled at the faithfulness of The Lord that has brought this beautiful human to my home to share her life with me.
As she climbed into her car to leave she gave me one last piece of herself, while looking on my mound of flowers in the front yard. "Tammy, just like those flowers that have filled that space, multiplied and over crowded it, some times our lives are like that. You get in that flower bed and pull all the flowers up so you can get to the dirt. Amend the dirt and make it rich. Then, replant only the flowers needed to make the space organized and beautiful. The lord does that with our lives. He is the master designer and he knows that not everything that's in us and around us is good for us. So sometimes he uproots it all so He can make our lives more beautiful. He gets to the foundation and amends us and makes us rich so that He is more glorified by our lives. Accept this as part of life."
With that word, my sweet friend drove away into the dusk of the late evening. I stood a long time breathing in the cool air of the evening and trying to absorb the beauty that she left behind. The beauty of one life that has lived through much pain and struggle leaning on her Jesus. The Love that would come and share her life and her gifts with another, revealing His glory to a hurting world one person at a time. And I am encouraged to push through my own pain to love with his love and to share the gifts He's given me.
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
If you are truly going to live life and open yourself up to Love, you WILL experience pain. You will fail. You will experience loss. You will come to crossroads and question whether it's worth it. You will want to give up the fight.
Jesus would tell you, through example, it is worth it. You were worth it. He was mocked, questioned, abandoned, rejected, denied....but he stuck with the fight until the very end when he said, "it is finished". He did that for you, He did that for me.
Unlike Jesus, we make mistakes when we step out. We try and our best isn't good enough. We fail.
THEN we get back up and try again and risk one more time. Risk to love. To reach out. To step out. Maybe we risk all and fall over and over. The Lord says get back up and do it again. Take what you've learned and fail forward. With each failure, you move forward, one more step closer to the life He has prepared for you.
I think of a baby learning to walk and they fall over and over. They take a step and stumble and get back up to take another. This process continues for hours and days. What are mom and dad doing through the process? They're cheering baby on and anticipating what they know is coming. They know their baby will walk someday. They're enjoying the process and helping them through the falls.
The Lord too is watching us, cheering us on and interceding for us to get back up. To make ourselves vulnerable again and risk it all to follow after Him in His plan for our lives. Why? Because he knows what he has planned for you to do and He knows you will do it. He isn't affraid of your failures and falls. So don't be affraid of whatever holds you back from being who He created You to be. The only real defeat is in failing to get back up. Take the risk.
Sunday, April 24, 2016
This truth has really spoken to me lately. There is something so heroic and brave about the idea of someone making the most of where they find themselves in life.
To me that is the definition of a hero: someone that finds their life to be difficult or to have circumstances happen to them that they wouldn't have chosen, and yet they make the best of it.
The person that chooses joy, faith and hope in the midst of a storm is a HERO.
Every single human has difficulties in their life. Each of us are made to face things in life that we don't want to. Choosing to press on, bloom wherever you find yourself and thriving in the midst of a storm, those are the people that make a difference in the lives of others and those are the people that have joy.
Like the flowers we see all around us right now in Spring, just bloom and bless those around you.