Sunday, July 3, 2016

God's Way

I would like to say that I consistently take each day in stride and handle whatever comes my way with grace, positivity and faith.  It would be sweet to say that regardless of the obstacles in my life, I simply press on and smile my way through it all, without a care in the world.  My family and friends sometimes thank me for being supportive of them, and helping them through tough times in their life.  The truth is, it’s not me that has the power to influence and change anything; it is the Lord.

I wish I had answers to all of the issues in my life right now.  Trying to juggle being a great wife, mother, sibling, friend, employee and Christian woman is hard for me at the moment. My outward mood may say “woo hoo, life is great” (which honestly it is!), but inside I sometimes feel like I am crumbling apart like a stale piece of bread.  I know that these struggles are temporary and that enables me to keep moving forward, because what awaits me is far better that any stress I am currently experiencing!

When my adult sons call me to talk about travel plans, housing needs or how to manage school, work and life in general I point them to the Lord.  I remind them that He has plans for them, to prosper them and not harm them, to give them hope and a future.  I want them both to build their trust in Him because ultimately His ways are the best for each of them.  I offer my support and advice, however it is always sprinkled generously with a helping of the Word!  It is wonderful to see the fruits of my children’s labor developing in their lives, and that they glorify Him through it all.

Conversations between my teenage daughter and I are often filled with laughter, jokes and goofiness.  We have a fun-loving, close relationship and can talk about anything. Of course there are times that the discussions cover serious topics that cause fear, uncertainty and doubt. When a friendship is changing, relationships are beginning or ending, or a decision has to be made about trying out for a High School sports team, I will listen empathetically, praying with and for her as she seeks guidance from the Lord in her attempt at choosing what she will do.  I hope she will learn that praying for God's will to be done allows Him to bring her His best, without needing to rely on the worldly pressures that often surround the current high schooler's life.  That way, she will have the tools and knowledge that God will always provide whatever she needs to make it through each day.

Lately my prayer has been for there to be peace in the midst of the trials that I, and my family and friends, encounter.  Thankfully, I have received that.  It helps me be able to trust that even thought I am not in control (very hard for me) He is, and it gives me hope!  What was meant to harm or hurt me, will instead be for good because God promises that to those who love Him!  His Word is filled with reminders of the fact that when we walk by faith, we will be equipped to handle whatever comes our way!  All we need to do is spend time with Him and read the beautiful gift of the Bible  for guidance and godly answers. What a blessing…

Monday, February 15, 2016

Knowing God's voice

Honestly, trying to decipher between knowing whether God is speaking directly to me vs. hearing what I want to hear is one of the most challenging aspects of being a Christian woman.  I've sought several methods of input on how to know the difference, and this weekend I finally got clarification on the subject!  I'm so excited and blessed and just wanted to share what I found out with you.

I was listening to Pastor John K. Jenkins, Sr. and his sermon on determining with clarity if God is speaking to you. He broke it down in a way that really touched me and gave me scriptural evidence to know when it indeed is from the Lord.

1. God's voice rules by peace.  Sometimes we find ourselves in a storm, even though we are in the will of God.  He will give us His perfect peace in the midst of our struggles and trying times.  You can trust that you will feel peaceful in your heart even though the situation you're in is causing you to feel upheaval in your mind.  Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

2. God does not use fear when He speaks. You can face fear directly, even run to it, because you know without a doubt that God is right there with you.  You will Face Everything And Rise with God by your side! 2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

3. God does not operate by quick deadlines. He is not governed by time. The devil wants you to hurry up and make rash decisions based on fear, instead of taking your time to pray and seek God's direction.  
Isaiah 52:12 You will not leave in a hurry, running for your lives. For the LORD will go ahead of you; yes, the God of Israel will protect you from behind.

4. God speaks good things. He talks in a positive way, even when the things He is telling you are difficult to hear.  He clearly spells out what you need to do.  Philippians 4:8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

5. God speaks in harmony with the scriptures.  He won't ever tell you to do something that goes against what He has commanded. His will always lines up with His Word. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

I hope this gives some understanding to you of how to discern the voice of God over the worlds chatter. I plan to review it often to remind myself that God is before me, within me, and beside me at all times, directing me and showing me exactly the best way to go - His way!  Through pray and taking time to really listen for God's response, I am confident that I will be able to discern His will for my life much better than before.

What helps you know when God is speaking to you?  How are you able to follow His will and His ways?

Saturday, October 10, 2015

All of it.

It’s hard, isn’t it, trying to do it all? It’s so challenging to balance this thing called life. There are so many needs and seemingly not enough of you to go around. I feel your ache. I understand your pain.

You desire to be that wife, who is able to juggle all her responsibilities with ease. I see you. You’re trying so hard, and you want it all to work out and go well. Wanting to be enough for your husband while your heart is silently breaking in two...

That situation with your kids? I know. You long to make their lives better, and their heartaches and struggles minimal. You want to be a part of every single moment and event in their lives to soak up each experience, but in reality you simply can’t. You want to make sure they comprehend just how much you’ve prayed for them; and the tears shed by you could float a ship. Inside you are wrestling with how to allow them to grow and work things out on their own, while still offering guidance along the way. Maybe you really want to decide for them, and do the hard tasks to make it easier, but instead you put on a strong, resilient face, enabling them to face their own circumstances with grace and courage.

At times I feel exactly like you may be feeling right now. I want to crawl into a quiet spot and just stop All.Of.The.Things. I don’t want to think, decide, predict, figure out, plan, console, serve or care. Decision making is not on my list of fun things to do today. Or any day!

Are you feeling empty, like a box of cereal that’s been dumped out onto the floor? Some days there truly is just nothing left to give. You are running on empty, yet somehow, you find a way to do what is necessary to get things done. How to you find the strength to do it?
 think positive

For me, I rise early in the morning before anyone else is awake. I begin by thanking God for another day. I make a cup of tea, read my devotions and pray for my family and friends. I choose to set my mind in a grateful, thankful mode for the day before the many distracting tasks take over. If you’re anything like me, you have no less than 1,037 things scrolling through your mind at any given moment. I’ve got to take my thoughts captive and not allow any worries or stressors to take over in order to make the best of each day!

With so many people needing me, it can be challenging not to get caught up in being exhausted and a little resentful. Making the time to reflect on my blessings helps me refocus. It humbles me, filling me with happiness to be surrounded by loving people in my life. All that I face and experience is part of my life’s plan, so I know there is a purpose behind every struggle, joy, victory and defeat.
When you can take a moment to think about what is good in your life, the difficulties tend to diminish, allowing you to stand tall and face whatever comes your way. I’m cheering you on, and want you to be encouraged to keep moving forward. This too shall pass, and for each difficult moment, there are dozens of blessed events just waiting for you to enjoy!

Sunday, October 5, 2014


How do you know?  I mean, really know for sure? 

When you're waiting on an answer, or a clear direction from God, how do you know when it comes?

I've been able to be still more often this past week than I have in a long time.  I've prayed and waited, and actually just been patient to see how God will move in the areas I have lifted up to Him.  I know without a doubt that He is with me and that He is faithful, so my questions don't involve whether I think I will hear from Him.  I already know that I will. They are just questions about how I am supposed to know that it is truly from Him, and not just the first thing that happens to come up in my mind...

In the past, I've based decisions on several things when waiting to hear from the Lord.  I first see how the situation lines up with God's Word. Then I pay attention to the peace I feel within me when an answer comes. I know He is not a God of confusion, so if it seems completely off base from anything He would ask me to do, I know without a doubt that it isn't from Him.

So tonight I'm just wondering why I'm having a hard time seeing His will for me right now.  Maybe I'm being selfish.  Could it be that I am so stubborn I just can't see past a calling to do that which is a challenge to me?  Or possibly I am learning how to be strong in my faith and stand for what I know to be true and worthy of the Lord's leading.  Why is this such a struggle for me?

I will continue to pray, seek, wait, listen and pay close attention to the way God is speaking to me.  The more I am able to release control and place my focus on what God desires for me, the nearer I will be to my answer.  Until I am sure it comes, my journal will keep filling up, my Bible will stay open and I will remain steadfast in my willingness to faithfully follow my Savior.

In your life, what confirms that you have heard from God in situations you've asked Him about?  

Jeremiah 33:3  Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.

Psalm 37:7  Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.

Psalm 37:23-24 The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Soul searching...

It began after church today.  Sometimes it follows a conversation, other times it just happens because I am thinking about a profound topic.  Either that, or I'm once again tossing thoughts around in my head.  I get that feeling of wanting to be still and really take time to reflect on my blessings.  The place I wanted to go was crystal clear to me...

For me, there is something truly special about being near the water.  As soon as I get there, I am transported to a quiet place in my mind.  I gaze out across the expanse and feel my cares just leave me.  I realized today how much it means to me to have time to think and ponder where I am and where I am going. 

Right now, today, there are things about me that I am happy with, and then there are others that make me cringe.  Especially since today is Sunday, and I was in church this morning, it resonates deep within me just how far I still need to go to get right with God, and with how He intends for me to live.

I still question too much.  Why are things like they are?  How come the same emotions still slam into me like an unexpected wave would when my back is turned?  What sense does it make that I can encourage others and pray for them, giving scripture and advice, yet I sometimes struggle to apply that to my own life?  How long will I feel completely full of the Lord and His strength one moment, only to buckle at the first sign of conflict, bad news,  or a challenging life situation the next?

I love how God knows my deepest feelings and thoughts.  Right when I need some reassurance, He provides it through a word, a person, or a situation which shows me that His timing is perfect.  Today, a great blue heron flew across the water, right in front of where I was sitting.  I instantly felt calm and smiled because my mom loved those birds and whenever I see one, I think of her.  It may seem silly to you, but for me it was a beautiful blessing from God.  A reminder, if you will, of where I've been and what He has brought me through.

I know God's promises are true and real.  I know, without a doubt, that He is Almighty and that He loves me unconditionally.  Therefore, I have reassurance from the most vital place - from my Father.  I cannot find completeness anywhere else.  I've tried.  Numerous times!  It is when I surrender my fears, doubts, anger, frustration, control and worries to Him that I am able to finally release it all and walk faithfully forward, ready for life and all the experiences that come my way.

This is a process.  We have to be willing to let go and let God, literally, so we don't miss what He has for us.  I am just so thankful for His patience with me!  Now if only I could be that patient with myself...

Anyone else find quiet time to be helpful?  What is your favorite way to relax and refresh when you have a lot on your mind?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Off to Oberlin...

So here I am, preparing my heart and mind to take my son to college tomorrow.  This day snuck up on me!  I thought I was ready, but whew, it arrived so fast...

I remember when I gave birth to Cory.  He arrived in this world only 17 minutes after I was admitted to the hospital!  I worried then that I wouldn't have enough love to give him after already having one child.  Cory brought spunk and excitement to our lives, and seeing him interact and grow with us was wonderful! God was working on my heart then, just as He is now, showing me that indeed He is with me and will provide all I need to get through this moment. 

The fact that Cory is heading to Oberlin Conservatory to study opera makes perfect sense.  When he was a baby, he often screeched at the top of his lungs for seemingly no apparent reason. Now I feel like it was so he could develop his lungs to carry him right to this place in his life. :)

My emotions are flowing from panic to joy, and from sadness to nervousness.  Did I do enough to prepare him?  Have I shown him what is really important in life?  Is he ready?  Am I?  I know it's selfish of me to want him to stay here, but part of me does!

It is when I get caught up in worry that I hear God's voice.  "Be still, Tammy," He tells me.  "I've got this!"  Of course you do, Lord! It's not about me, it's about him.  I know without a doubt that God loves my kids much more than I every could hope to.  He will watch over them always, and provide for their needs as only He can.

Lord, thank You so much for encouraging me and  reminding me that Cory is in Your hands.  He is ready for this adventure, and I can trust You to go before him, and me, as we walk this journey together.  You are faithful, Lord, and it is amazes me to know that my kids know You and love You.  I am grateful for the assurance that all is well as long as I keep focused on You and Your promises.  I look forward eagerly to hear about his fabulous first year in college. 

Tomorrow I take my son to pursue his dreams, and that is a wonderful thing!  He is becoming an incredible man, and I am truly blessed!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Jen Hatmaker - Interrupted

I am currently reading Jen Hatmaker's book, Interrupted.  It is opening my eyes to some new ways of thinking about what it really means to walk this life as a Christian.  I encourage you to check it out! 

What would you struggle to give up if Jesus wanted to use your life to make a difference in the world?

Here is a link to take advantage of a 20% discount on the book, good through July 31st.  Enjoy!