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It’s probably vanity that has me sitting here with Loreal atop my head before school begins.

Typing in rubber gloves is kind-of tricky, but multi-tasking seems to be one of my specialties anymore.

I caught a glimpse of myself in my rearview mirror the other night at Olivia’s golf match and realized my gray roots were more than peeking through. 

The sunlight hit the crown of my head in the most perfect way, and there was no hiding the massive amount of gray all through my hair.

That’s what happens when light hits impurities.

Things show up that are not always pretty.

Not that gray hair isn’t beautiful; but when gray mixes with brown hair the way it mixes with mine, it’s kind-of scary.

There’s nothing like a beautiful, sunny day to remind me of how badly my windows need a good cleaning as the rays pass through with no mercy, revealing bug spots and paper towel streaks from my last attempt at washing them.

There’s nothing like lights in a usually darkened room to reveal the layer of dust sitting on a shelf.

The same thing happens when we run straight into the light of God’s Word.

I remember the Bible pledge from my childhood,

“Thy Word is a lamp onto my feet, a light onto my path.  Its Words will hide in my heart that I might not sin against thee.”

But knowing this and even believing this still doesn’t seem to change me totally.

I still have gray roots that are revealed unexpectedly when the light shines just right.

For example, last night I was frustrated with Tim about something very silly and my ugly showed just as he was reading my blog post from yesterday.

My roots didn’t match match who I want to be.

Like my reflection in my rearview mirror mixed with bright sunlight, Tim’s face and words reminded me that I was not being the person I really wanted to be.

Humbling, yes.

Critical to helping me become fully the person I really, really want to be, YES!

In Jeremiah, the people did not want to listen to Jeremiah’s words.

They even looked at him and said, “We can do whatever we want.”

In the end, they found out that doing whatever you want leads to destruction.

My earthly self often wants to do whatever I want……..

With my words, my actions……….

But God calls me daily to a higher road.

A road that sometimes takes great effort to reach.

When I get there, though, it feels so good.

I don’t have to fear the rearview mirror because I know that whatever is coming out of me is from Him.

Whether it’s gray or medium brown or dark brown, it’s His when my roots are in Him.

Today, I want to be more than a “temporarily-colored” Christian.

I really do want to reflect Him from the time I get up until the time I go to bed.

I’m thankful for His mercy that covers my sins when they start peeking through.

And I’m thankful for His Light that never stops revealing the areas where I need improvement.

Being a Christian is more than a one-time decision.

It’s a continual journey closer and closer to His Heart.

Today, I’m hoping that even if my roots start showing, they won’t startle me by not matching who I’m trying to be.

Loreal and Jesus, thank you.

Jesus, thank you most of all.

Proverbs 15:33

The awe-filled respect of the Lord teaches us wisdom, and humility comes before honor.

Praying you’ll have a day filled with pleasant reflections of His love.

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Sometimes teachers choose to talk in a soft voice in order to get their students’ attention.

Rather than trying to raise their voice above the commotion they simply begin talking softly and eventually the students realize that if they are not quiet they are going to miss something critical in the day’s lesson.   Elijah was running from God when God decided to show up in a whispering voice.

There’s something about a whispering voice that is always true.

You have to be paying attention to hear it.

 

God’s Word is a lot like a whispering voice.

He doesn’t have His Words blaring at us through giant speakers all over our towns.

He doesn’t fill the air with banners covered with His promises.

He doesn’t force us to hear what He has to say.

 

No, God placed His promises in a book and then gave us the choice of either reading them or not.

They can stay quietly tucked away on a shelf and never bother us if we choose to leave them there.

Sometimes this seems easier.

 

No responsibility.

No conviction.

No guilt.

 

 

But, I am writing this morning to beg you to consider the power of hearing God’s whispers.

They are full of hope, joy, and promise.

 

God isn’t going to scream at you.

He will never force Himself into your world.

 

But, He never stops whispering your name.

Through nature, through life experiences, through His Word,

He is calling you.

 

One night, about a week after Nick died, I was lying in bed.

Full of anger and extreme confusion, I tossed and turned and felt as if my heart were going to explode.

To make matters worse, Tim was snoring loudly.

Sleeping through my despair.

How could he?

My anger was overtaking my mind.

And in the dark of the night, I heard a real, out loud, whisper,

“Tammy.”

Just my name.

Nothing more.

I turned to Tim and whispered back, “What?”

And then realized he was still snoring.

Then I heard the whisper again,

“Tammy.”

I have never been one to claim that I heard God say anything.

I have been reluctant to ever even share that experience on my blog,

but today I feel that it is time to say,

“I heard God’s voice whisper my name.”

After I heard my name the second time, I knew that He was saying, “Calm down, Tammy.”

I knew that He was saying, “I am here in your anger and despair.”

I wish I would have said, “Yes, Lord.”

I wish I would have said, “What, Lord?”

I’ve always wondered if He had more to say that night, but I think He just wanted me to let go of my fury, my feeling of being cheated, my deep agony.

So, I just relaxed and fell to sleep, knowing He was near me.

Today, you may be dealing with something  scary or overwhelming.

You may feel like God has let you down.

 

I want you to know today that God is there.
He’s right there with you.

You may not hear His voice.

I’ve never heard it before or again since that night.

But I believe He still whispers to me through pennies and heart-shaped rocks and all kinds of different things.

And I especially believe He whispers to me through His Word.

 

Open it today and ask God to whisper Hope into your soul.

Start with Romans 15:13 if you don’t know where to begin.

 

I am praying that verse over you all this morning.

 

“May the God of Hope fill you with

all joy and peace,

as you trust in Him,

so that you may overflow with Hope

by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

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golgotha

There’s nothing spectacular about this little hill in Jerusalem other than the face you can see in the side of it if you look at it just right.

That’s where it gets its name,

“Golgotha, The Place of the Skull.” (Matt. 27:33)

It’s just a little, rocky hill in a country far away from the one in which I live.

Just one of thousands, probably millions, of hills I’ll never see in my lifetime.

Even though I’d like to see it. 

I’d like to climb to the top and see the view.

Why does this hill mean so much to me and obviously to so many others in the world?

In human terms, it’s just a place called Golgotha, but to many it is a popular tourist location.

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WHY?

Why has a rocky hill in a tiny country continued to draw crowds for years and years and years?

I think I know why.

I think deep inside every human heart there is the longing to know and believe that something happened on that hill that made

every unfair life experience,

every unanswerable question,

every doubt,

every fear,

every unanswered prayer………

become bearable.

On that hill, our Savior died.

And three days later rose again.

And even those who don’t believe are drawn here just to see this place.

Just to witness the location that Christians claim and history points to as the very spot where Jesus willingly died for me and for you.

 

I’ve struggled lately with unanswered prayers from the past.

I’ve questioned why God doesn’t give everyone a miracle when they need one.

I’ve felt a little blue and a little guilty at the same time.

 

And last night as I was at worship at KCU, the song leader was sharing about the unbelievable power of the Creator of the Universe and something flooded over me.

I saw Jesus on the cross and for the first time I realized just how difficult it must have been for God to withhold His Hand from those who were killing His Son.

To have all the power of the universe at your disposal and choose to watch Your Son die for many who would reject Him.

WHY? Why would God do this?

I asked myself this question in my head over and over last night as I stood in worship and I finally received the answer.

God KNEW that this was the only way to open the door to Heaven and forgiveness and life with Him eternally once and for all.

God knew this was the only way to conquer death.

He saw the other side.

He saw Sunday while we saw Friday.

He saw glorious resurrection while we saw painful agony.

 

And then I saw Nick in my mind.

Nick, weak and so beaten down by cancer.

Nick, frail to the point of needing help to painfully move from his wheelchair to the couch.

Nick, no longer able to use his arm and hand.

Nick, no longer able to smile.

 

And I saw God looking down and holding back the power to heal.

And suddenly I knew that God had to make the choice NOT to heal Nick and that it must have been so difficult.

And He must have wanted to so badly, but didn’t.

 

And as I cried in my heart and still begged, “WHY!?!?!”

I knew the truth.

It’s not that He didn’t hear our prayers.

He did.

It’s not that He didn’t want to heal Nick.

I think He did heal Nick.

God saw the other side.

God still saw Sunday while we saw Friday.

He saw glorious resurrection while we saw painful agony.

 

And I believe that God knew that through Nick’s death many other grieving moms would find life and hope.

 

My prayer today is that I can come to grips with my grief daily and that Nick’s death will continue to be a light to so many who do not get a miracle.

I cling to verses like this one,

 

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Romans 8:18

I cling to the Hope of Heaven.

I miss Nick so much.

I could not take another step in this world if I did not believe with all my heart that I am walking on the road to Golgotha daily.

The high, but painful road.

On this road I am promised that these present sufferings cannot compare to the glory we will one day see.

Thank you, Lord, for this promise!

I love you all so much!

Have a day filled with the promise of eternity ever on your heart!

If you get your miracle, praise God.

If you don’t get your miracle, praise Him too.

 

Emmanuel.

God is with you.

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Breathe………..

August 23rd, 2012

 

If you find yourself running from one responsibility to the next, don’t forget to stop and breathe along the way.

Not just the normal in and out of air that keeps your oxygen level balanced,

but the kind of breathing that makes you stop and notice just how great it feels to expand your lungs to their full potential.

The kind of breath that makes everything else go “on hold” for a minute while you take in the wonder of that one moment.

And then exhale slowly.

Something happens to your body’s stress level when you breathe deeply.

I don’t understand the science behind it, but I know it works.

And one or two slow, deep breaths followed by a couple slow exhales can take an otherwise insane experience and transform it immediately.

Try it now.

Breathe in and slowly count to 10.

Now breathe out and do the same.

Do this twice.

Do you feel better?

No?

Then maybe you need one more try, or maybe you need to get up and take a walk away from whatever is getting to you.

Try not to lose your perspective in this life.

I know it’s easy to do.

But try this.

Look up.  Literally, look up.

You may see a ceiling above you, but truly what’s above that?

Him.

Eternity.

The reason we’re here.

All that really matters.

We’ve made life awfully complicated, haven’t we?

I’m doing my best to stay focused on the One Who set all things in motion.

When I do, it’s so much easier to handle my job, a house that needs cleaned, laundry that needs washed, dishes that need scrubbed, children I miss that have moved away, children here who still have struggles with life and friends, and all the other things one day can hold.

Today, instead of complaining, instead of fretting, instead of seeing the dark side of life,

why not take a minute to just praise God for the gift of breathing.

I love that the Bible records God breathing life into man in the book of Genesis and then records the final breath of Jesus.

The Bible is the only book that is inspired, which means, “God – breathed.”

What would happen if all around the world, people would simply stop, breathe deeply, and thank God for the gift of life?

I’m praying for you all today as I venture out into the world of work.

Soak up special moments every chance you can.

And thank God for them.

Let everything that has breath

praise the Lord.

Psalm 150:6

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Have you ever had a muffin with a glob of butter on top?

That one bite is loaded with unmistakable buttery flavor.

Life is kind-of like a muffin……

And the things we do in life become our butter.

When we do one or two things really well, there’s no mistaking our flavor.

But when we do a hundred things, the butter is spread so thin that no one really knows what we’re all about.

I’ve been a muffin with a thin layer of butter time and time again in my life,

and I’m thinking lots of you have too.

When Nick was sick, my world stopped.

“No” was an easy answer to any question set before me.

I knew my life was all about saving Nick.

And it felt good in a way to be so laser-focused in my life purpose.

Today, I’m back to being a little more spread out in my purposes and if I let myself, I can easily become overwhelmed.

BUT…………

I’m not taking life as seriously as I used to,

and I’ve decided my butter is WHO I am not WHAT I’m doing.

I am a child of God.

I am a daughter of the King.

I am separate for His purposes.

I am chosen.

I am loved by the Almighty.

I am called.

I am choosing thankfulness.

I am choosing joy.

That means that everything I do is now neatly swept under a glob of butter labeled “HIS.”

Who you are determines how you’ll handle what you do, and I’m praying today that if you are HIS you will allow that to shine through all the things in life that seem to spread you too thin.

I know you’re stressed.  I am too.

I know you’re sad sometimes.  I am too.

I know you’re overwhelmed.  I am too.

I know you’re discouraged at times.  I am too.

We have to remember WHOSE we are as we face each new day and give EVERYTHING to Him.

Take refuge under the butter of HIM and let the world taste His love in you and through you.

Psalm 34:8

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

Stress seems to be a key emotion these days in so many of our lives.

And I’m wondering what the pioneers would say.

We have dishwashers, microwaves, washers, dryers (Mine is working again. Smile )

We have cell phones, computers, DVRs, and on and on and on……

And yet somehow we’ve managed to pack each day so full that we find it more and more difficult to breathe.

So, I’m just thinking that when we reach a point where we think we can’t take “one more thing,”

We have to be honest.

We have to tell someone.

We have to let something go.

We have to say, “ENOUGH!!”

We have to speak up for ourselves and for everyone around us.

And then we have to walk away from everything that is screaming for our time and just BE.

Be with Him.

Be still.

Be quiet.

Be aware.

Be fully present.

Be ourselves.

Be alone.

Be with a friend.

Be at a picnic.

Be whatever it is that we are longing to be……..but can’t seem to find a way to “be.”

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT????

Because God says so.

 

He says, “Come to me….I will give you rest.” 

He says, “Be still and know that I am God.”

He says, “When you are weak, I am strong.”

He says, “My burden is easy.  My yoke is light.”

He says, “I came to give abundant life.”

He says, “Find rest in me.  I am your Rock and your fortress.”

He says, “Wait patiently for me.  I will lift you up.”

 

I don’t know what you’re facing today, but I do know what I’m facing and I cannot face everything in my life alone.

I need Him beside me.

I need Him holding me.

I need Him every minute of every day.

 

And I believe you need Him too.

 

So, wherever you are, whatever you’re facing, know that you are being prayed for, you are loved, and you are not alone.

EVER.

Have a happy Monday,

A few weeks ago, I went to King’s Island as a sponsor on a high school youth group trip.

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We had such a fun day, and I loved the kids who rode in the van I was driving.

(Other than being forced to listen to country music, we had a perfectly wonderful trip to and from Cincinnati.)

When we first entered the park, Olivia noticed the huge metal poles that were part of the “skydiving” ride.

Having no fear, she said, “I’m going to do that before we leave.”

The whole day passed by and as we neared the end of the day, we found ourselves near this ride.

Once again, Olivia mentioned wanting to give it a try.

Of course there was a 50% off special on the day we were there, so anyone could experience the thrill of falling from an incredibly high elevation for only $10.

Who wouldn’t want to free-fall from a point higher than almost every roller coaster in the park with only a cable to support you at such a great price? 

(I’m joking)

Olivia managed to find two friends from our youth group  who were willing to take the plunge, and we all stayed to witness their insanity.

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After being dropped, screaming the whole way down, and surviving the ordeal, they wanted to watch the video of their experience on the monitor beside the ride.

As we were standing and waiting for their video to be placed on a DVD, a woman was watching the video of her husband and son.

The King’s Island employee paused on the picture below, and the mom loved it so much I offered to take a picture and text it to her.

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When I got home and looked through my photos, this picture kept catching my eye.

I texted the family again and asked for permission to share it on my blog.

It shows such a beautiful picture of how life can feel when we know God is with us……..even in the free fall moments – the terrifying, unbelievably scary times in life, we are safe.

Look at the boy’s face.

Look at his dad’s face.

Look at the boy’s arms securely wrapped around the dad’s right arm.

Who is in control?

In life, we often find ourselves overwhelmed, scared, and unsure about what to do next.

THE ONLY WAY WE CAN TRULY SURVIVE THESE TIMES WITH PEACE AND CONFIDENCE IN LIFE IS BY HOLDING ON TIGHT TO THE ARM OF HIM WHO CREATED US.

Even when we don’t feel like it’s true, God has our lives “under control.”

He is always working.

He has a plan.

Today, I challenge you to regain your grip on our Father’s arm and enjoy the ride even when you’re terrified!

Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.

Psalm 73:23-24

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As I hung clothes from this….

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and that……..

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and this………

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and that………

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and as I realized that the whole world could see………

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I thought to myself,

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Having a broken dryer is a lot like having a blog.

Your laundry isn’t a private thing anymore.

Neither is your life.

Now, I have run a few loads to my neighbors from time to time (Thank you, Donna and Topsy) and sometimes in life you have to share things more privately,

but when you blog, your transparency level is very high.

And sometimes that’s tricky for me as a mom, wife, friend, and school employee.

So, today, as I look at these photos, I am reminded that with blogging comes a lot of responsibility.

And today I’m thankful for all of you who share in the laundry I hang out to dry.

My grief.

My life as a mom, wife, friend, and teacher.

I thank you for coming back to my blog even when I have dry spells in my writing.

But most of all, I thank you for loving me no matter what and for longing to have a relationship with God that is deep and meaningful.

I miss you in very personal ways.

I have thought of so many of you by name in the past week, and I’ve longed to hear from you.

Send me an email, write a comment, or leave me a message on Facebook.

I want to know how you’re doing, so I can pray for you and all your “laundry!”

Love you!

Happy Wednesday!

and

Happy Anniversary to my mom and dad!

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I have signs all through my house that say things like, “Believe,” “Faith is not believing God can but knowing that He will,” and on and on……

But truly, I can read these signs and then worry.

I can read these signs and then doubt.

As I was reading this morning in Jeremiah, I realized there is only one place that I can place God’s Words or thoughts about God that are going to change me from the inside out.

Jeremiah 31:33 says,

“I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their heart.  I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

As a mom, I want my kids to remember things I’ve taught them all through their life.

More than that, I want my kids to remember things they learned from church, church camp, youth group, mission trips, and all the other places they went where God’s Words were taught.

Today, I’m praying that God’s instructions are being written deeply in the hearts of all of my children.

And I’m praying they are being written daily on my own heart and on yours.

The only way this happens is if we choose to read His Word and hide it in our hearts.

“His Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Him.”

I remember saying this at VBS as a young girl every single night in opening services.

Little did I know as a small child just how powerful those words would be even today at the age of 47.

I am so thankful for God’s Words, and I’m praying fervently today that the Words I have hidden from it will continually change me into the person God wants me to be.

And I’m praying the same for my children and for all of you.

Have a happy Tuesday,

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How to Overcome……….

August 13th, 2012

 

We’re studying the book of Revelation in Sunday school right now using Beth Moore’s DVD series.

If you want to get excited about the end times, I highly recommend ordering this study and doing it at home or with some friends.

Yesterday, we were reading in Revelation 12, and I was brought to tears as Beth talked about verse 11.

How do we overcome Satan?

Listen to this:

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony;

they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.

Beth talked in great detail about how the devil’s biggest weapon is death.

If he can make us fear it or overtake us by the loss of someone through it, then he has one a huge battle.

So, when we can take death and turn it around by the word of our testimony because of what Jesus did on the cross, then we have overcome him!

I don’t know about you, but that’s all I needed to hear yesterday to feel a great victory in my heart!

Not that I’m not sad in my mommy heart.

Not that I don’t feel down sometimes.

But I do know this!

Nick was healed through death and he is waiting for us in Heaven!

And there is nothing the devil can do to keep me from loving God even in my grief.

I love you all so much!

Have a great Monday!