Tuesday, July 31, 2012


It is a normal thing to experience loneliness from time to time.
You may wonder how a woman with three children at home could possibly feel lonely, but this is a frequent feeling for stay-at-home moms. Especially if their immediate family members are not close by.

There is a desire to interact socially with people who are not dependent on you-people that simply enjoy your company rather than needing your caretaking. You give each other energy with your very presence. A mutual understanding of life and all that we experience as humans.

So, I spent some time looking at my Facebook page and flipping through comments and other peoples' photos. I spent some time reading news articles.
Conclusion was: the computer held no satisfaction for me. Any "notifications" on my facebook page were like feeding cotton candy to a refugee who hasn't eaten in days. Brief joy followed by sincere disappointment and longing for something fulfilling.

I left the computer, did the dishes when the youngest was napping, and then while the older two watched a movie, I read a book that I'd been meaning to get back to. What a difference.

The book is titled "The Pursuit of God". I'd ordered it online after reading a couple chapters from a library copy. It's not a novel and it's not a quick read. Each chapter takes digestion, contemplation, and a good week to really comprehend and apply. So, chapter 3 was here and waiting for me.
A.W. Tozer wrote this book in the early half of the 20th century and his books are on the intellectual level of other authors like C.S. Lewis.

The words and thoughts as well as verses were food for my starving soul. This, this was what I had been missing! I was lonely, yes, but lonely for the Spirit of God. That He would reach out and touch me and bring life. Here is a short excerpt:
"Similarly, the presence of God is the central fact of Christianity. At the heart of the Christian message is God Himself waiting for His redeemed children to push in to conscious awareness of His presence." He then mentions Frederick Faber who wrote many songs and sermons. One was, "I love Thee, Lord, I know not how  My transports to control; Thy love is like a burning fire Within my very soul."

The main theme in this book is to set aside our self-whatever it is that we think we're here to do, and instead just focus on God. What He has purposed us to be is a follower of Him. The tasks we complete are secondary to our purpose of just keeping our eyes on Him.

Even though I greatly enjoy the company of others and try to plan social interactions with other people and their children, there is something great and marvelous that I often miss if I'm planning my time away.
The girls will always remember Mommy and where she spent her free time. Was it at the computer? With her nose in a book? In the kitchen? Bent over picking up toys? Texting on my cell phone?
I hope that someday I'll be passing on a remembrance of a Mom who had a gentle, quiet spirit. A Mom who could take time just to be with her Savior, reading her Bible.

In the meantime, if I am feeling lonely, I don't think I'll be getting on the computer. God may be everywhere but that's not where I've been finding Him. :) And no, I don't think He's on Facebook right now.

Monday, July 30, 2012

"What if I stumble, what if I fall?"

Sunday, January 22, 2012 at 8:31pm

Those of you who were born in the '80s and remember your childhood as the '90s plus will recognize those lyrics from a D.C. Talk song. Today I was musing my own version-What if I grumble and what if I bawl?
You see, it is easy to complain. In fact, with social media we are better able to bellyache about our life than we ever were before instant messenger (AOL/AIM-8th grade-1995). From texting to twitter, we share more about ourselves than sometimes our own family (living with us) is aware of. My husband will come across a "note" I wrote on Facebook or on my blog that only has two entries and ask me later, "You wrote a blog?"I am not a quiet, meek person. After 3 deliveries, my husband can attest to this. I have strived to be in some phases of my life, but I've realized that God wants to use me as I am-as He created me. Still, I yearn for the gentle and quiet spirit referenced in I Peter 3:5-6. I love to do public speaking, performing, and just talking to people. Lately I've wondered about my witness. Not a guilt trip, but a conscience check. Am I effective with my words and with my life? Or do I seem like everybody else?

Paul writes to the Philippians in Chapter 2, verses 14 and 15, "Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.wow. everything. I'm not sure I've been doing that. Now, this is not a charge for us to do of our own doing. He also states in Romans 7:15 "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."Yes, that's it! That passage is longer and very wordy, so I recommend a newer translation such as New Living to clarify his thoughts. I don't want to complain. I have so much I'm thankful for! In fact, when I'm praying at night before bed, my thankful thoughts far outweigh my requests.Still, when I speak to others about my children, too much of me is self-reliant. I really think that God made me to handle the challenges of motherhood and then just left me to do it. Ha!Why is it so difficult for us to "know" in our head what to do and yet "not know what to do?!" Please pray with me on this journey that as I learn to yield control to Him, learn to rely on His strength for the challenges I daily face with two darling but strong-willed girls (and a still-sweet little infant girl). His grace is made sufficient in my weakness and that is why if I must grumble, I must grumble only to the one who can do something about it.

What is difficult for me is a breeze for others, and some things I can readily handle that leave others wiped out. Instead of focusing on the things that need fixing, my perspective needs to be "what is the purpose of today?" Why am I being given another day on this Earth? What can I do to highlight God's hand in this dark world? It should not be about Tammy, but about our most wonderful hope-at the end of 2012 or 2112 or 21,112, God will still be God. Gas prices raise and lower (mostly raise), and kingdoms rise and fall (always fall), and He was and is and is to come. In light of that, what does it matter if I can't control the social behavior of my children the way I think I should be able to? God didn't ask me to control them-He asked me to guide them to Him. After all, self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. The best I can do is model it myself and take time away when I'm losing control and let His Spirit refresh me.May you be encouraged on our journey together. I hope I'm lifting up someone else today with this-God has certainly been lifting me through the prayer and encouragement of friends. Thank you!

Faith and Flowers

Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 9:32am

I was spending some time with God this week and thinking about my children. I was praying about his purpose for me and my life. Sometimes as a stay at home Mom, it's easy to lose perspective. What is my ministry? What does God want me to do today? Who does he want me to speak to?I had an image in my mind of a garden. God has given me three beautiful daughters. Each of them are gardens with fresh soil. He can cause the magic of growth, but He has tasked me with cultivating the soil, nurturing the planting with seeds, lots of water, and making sure the garden is constantly exposed to his Son. It is up to me to be diligent as I look for weeds. The longer I let them grow, the deeper the roots and the higher risk that they will choke out the healthy growth.

The water? I must be filled up myself so that it overflows into the garden. Without daily time with God, I don't have enough for myself so the negative comes out and harms the plants. Am I speaking with fertilizer or pesticide?

It is important not to put the seedlings out into the harsh spring until they have strength to weather a dip in temperatures. For now, they are still inside the house on the kitchen table or by the window.

I hope this will encourage someone else that our daily lives are meaningful-and that if we are listening we might have a chance to do some really great gardening this year!

Dave and the girls planting seeds in our garden last summer

Obedience and Talents

I'm re-posting this from my facebook page as not everyone in my reading circle is on facebook. I'll be posting two other "notes" today that I'd blogged. :)
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at 3:20pm ·

We have a radiant floor heater in the bathroom-it is programmable and in the winter keeps our tile warm under our feet. In the summertime, we have the floor turned off. So, yesterday morning, Dave (my husband) asked if I had turned it on. "No." *sigh from Dave*Our almost-5 year old is very curious about how things work and is tall enough to reach the control-and has been reprimanded in the past for playing with the buttons. Our 3 year old is now tall enough to reach the control, and we knew it had happened the night before, but we knew not who had done it.

As I lay in bed waiting to fall back asleep in that sweet quiet time between his departure and the kids' voices greeting me, I had some moments of clarity.Why was it that we wanted so much for our children to obey us? Did it really matter if they turned on the radiant heat? Other than a little higher electricity bill, no. So what was the big deal?I realized that-at home, the environment is relatively safe. The kids know what they can and cannot do, and within those constraints, they exercise their free will (our children more strongly than others). But, when we are away from home, the girls do not know what is and is not safe. If I tell them not to touch something and they disobey at home, we pay for a warm floor. Away from home? The possibilities can be much more serious.

In order to keep them safe, we need them to obey us in the little areas so that they are trained to immediately obey us in the big areas.I then got a "click" moment from God. The parable of the many talents where the servants were given something and some multiplied them and then were given more. I've always heard it taught about money or talents. This time, it struck me that obedience is a talent. If I am faithful to God in little areas with not much consequence (getting up earlier to spend time with Him, praying instead of scrolling through the Facebook yard sale page because I'm trying to fill time, spending money on others instead of selfishly when I get a couple extra dollars-focusing on what He cares about instead of myself, etc), then He will give me a chance to be faithful in big areas.

When Abraham was led to the desert to sacrifice Isaac, it was not his first encounter with trusting God.
God first asked him to leave his home and go where God led him. Abram obeyed, faltered at Pharaoh's house, but kept trying, and with continued proven obedience and trust, earned the privilege of the ultimate test. What comes from these tests and trials? A deeper faith, a closer relationship with God, a heightened connection and fulfillment from following Him, and a satisfaction in our very souls.If I will choose to be obedient to God in little areas where it doesn't seem to matter one way or the other if I obey, then my obedience multiplies and He can ask me to be obedient in large areas where it matters more and affects more people-thus showing His glory. It is our purpose to direct others to Him, not to get credit for ourselves.

All of this from a little programmable thermostat in our bathroom. Best part? I spoke to the girls when they were awake and said, "Girls I have to talk to you about something. Somebody broke the rules and pushed buttons in the bathroom." Right away, our almost-5 year old piped up and said, "It was me, Mom.""Thank you for telling the truth, Rachel."
If we can teach our children at this stage, cannot God also teach us no matter what age we are? :)

Prayer and Fasting

I can't believe I haven't had a post on here since September of last year-and yet, I can. I didn't really think anyone was reading what I posted here so I was content to post the occasional thought as a "note" on my Facebook page.

My daughter, Naomi just turned one. I am no longer nursing her, and that is where this post begins.

You see, fasting is a complex challenge posed to Christians. While still pregnant and during her first year of life, I'd heard multiple pastors/teachers speak on fasting. "It doesn't have to be food" was the most popular phrase. "Fast something that costs you and take the time you would use to spend praying and drawing close to God."

I fasted from Facebook, I fasted desserts, did lots of different things, but none of them really resounded with that depth in my heart that I'd had in the past when I fasted actual meals.

A friend of ours was seriously hurt and the day we found out, I felt strongly that I should fast that day until dinner, and be in constant prayer for this friend. It was amazing what happened. The early part of the day I would pray whenever I thought of him, but as the day progressed and my three girls interacted with myself and each other, I wasn't thinking of him at all. Then, I had a hunger pang. And when I say pang-it was a real pain in my stomach saying "Why haven't you fed me yet?"

At that point, I remembered our friend and began praying again. This happened throughout the day. At the end of the day, I was famished and broke the fast at dinner, but it was a breakthrough in my mind of why the Bible speaks of fasting. Specifically food.

There is a physical consequence that goes beyond our selfish desire to only care for ourselves-and that is where intercession takes place. If I fast something that is outside my body-it may not be a true need. I may dearly miss it, but if it's just a want, it is not the life-giving sacrifice that shapes my heart.

As you read this, perhaps it is a completely different experience for you. Fasting is not dieting. That is the number one reason why I wouldn't recommend fasting for long periods of time. Fasting is for us, but really it shouldn't be about you at all. This was specific and I was able as I wasn't pregnant or nursing (for the first time in almost six years!)-and I knew it was for a short period of time. There was a pressing urgency on me-it wasn't an idea I came up with myself.

I am still in prayer for our friend and hope you can be too. "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. -Romans 12:12"