Thursday, January 26, 2017

Interceding for those who hate you

Whoa. Heavy title, no?

I've been in a Bible study on James since September. Francis Chan's study is refreshing and in depth and last night, the Holy Spirit brought conviction and clarity to my heart.

Have you ever had people who you just cannot seem to please? The more you try to make things right, the more they find wrong?? It will happen at least once in your life. Some professions will give you more opportunities than others.
(Insert IRS joke here)

When people don't know you well, they don't understand where you are coming from and perceive you through a different lens. What you say as a joke to a stranger may come across as an unkind criticism with a grin.

More than once, when in a situation I just couldn't fix, I have gone to God with my hurts and received healing from Him, but last night He gave me more insight.

Sometimes, perhaps, that person is in your life because you ARE faithful. Because you DO pray. And because THEY NEED YOU.

I'll give you a minute to get up off the floor.

It is said bless those who curse you. I have been praying blessing on people who hurt me, but last night God took it further. What if I am not just to pray blessing and hope that they'll give me a peaceful day, but what if I'm to intentionally make war on their behalf?

What if the God of Heaven is asking me to unleash His armies on their enemies? And that it is BECAUSE of my faith in Him that He trusts me to be in prayer for them and to ask Him to forgive them for what they don't know they're doing???

What if God is going to work through me to bring them closer to Him?

I have asked God "why" before, but it was the wrong "why".

Don't ask, "Why God? What did I do to deserve this?"
Instead, ask, "Why God? What are You doing? What mission do you have for me in the midst of this? My humanity is totally blind to Your Hand in this situation. Please give me Your eyes. I am willing to be used."

I tell you, this just changed my life and rocked my world last night. And at first? It stung.

Conviction rolled me over as I realized how selfishly I had been approaching this. And now? It's not overwhelming me. I've got my guns aimed at the REAL target instead of in a defensive position, trying to brace for another attack. I'm full-blaze aiming at the enemy that I share with all humans. The one who hates all that God has made. Yep. I see him now, cowering behind the smoke and mirrors.

Thank you, Lord. You are SO Good.
And, here's some of my music for the day. Enjoy! (What a Beautiful Name-Hillsong)


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Refine: Five Minute Friday

This week's Five Minute Friday linkup is like every week. We write with a timer and publish our rough draft as a final offering. We then link up and comment on the person before us. Every time, I am blessed and encouraged by what others write on the same word. Sometimes it's a rhyme, sometimes it's free-form poetry, sometimes it's a beautiful anecdote, and sometimes it's a raw, vulnerable snapshot of life in its fullest.
The community is faith-based and we bond over one word a week. Join us, won't you? Here's Kate's link.

This week's word?



For many of us, the thought of refining does not conjure up comfort. And in seasons of refining, it's dually unpleasant. Not only are you being held in fire hotter than you can physically stand, (You are a molten puddle instead of a solid object) but you are also seeing impurities float to the surface before they're removed.

Not many things are uglier than your own sins that you'd just as rather not face. Yet, God has bigger dreams for us than we can fathom. The sign of full refining is that the silver is so clean and clear that the refiner can see His own reflection in the metal. That analogy, or metaphor? Not wasted on us word-lovers.

Can people see Jesus reflected in me? What needs to be refined and removed so that it's not about Tammy anymore?

Today is January 21. I have been through a MONTH of refining and recovering and more refining and more recovering. My heart has been broken twice and my blood pressure has been from Mount Everest to the Dead Sea and back, I think.

And yet, I am being allowed to see that it's not about me and it never has been.

We miss so often the point of refining. It's so that GOD can be GLORIFIED. What credit is it to God if we're perfect humans preaching the gospel to imperfect sinners? None.
But, if He saves imperfect humans and they spread that hope and good news to other imperfect humans? And we're redeemed but not fully perfected and we constantly need Him and mistakes are proof we are trying? And He's all about that grace, that grace...
(sorry. I abhor that pop song but my mind wandered for a second)

And, time's up.

And the end of the story? I am in a job that refines you constantly and challenges you, and I was sent an encourager who reassured me "You're doing great!" And another encourager that said she had the same experience in a challenge that I'd had and she was just as surprised. God is allowing me to be edified in the midst of this. He brought me to this to bring me through this, and it is for His credit and glory that I should pray even harder and embrace the fact that I'm enough of a threat to the enemy that he's sending attacks my way.

God is Good.

(p.s. please include your linkup number or URL in your comment so I can be sure to find your post as well!)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Connect: Five Minute Friday

Writing for the Five Minute Friday linkup tonight. Over at Kate Motaung's website, we have one word we write on for five minutes every Friday. You don't edit or scrutinize. You simply write and place your offering amongst the other ones, then read other posts and comment and create community. It's delightful!


Funny how my mind often works. When I see a word, I think of its antonym. Tonight, when thinking of writing on 'connect', I instead thought of 'disconnect'.

And, perhaps it's because I've been feeling disconnected and longing to connect again. Every Christian will go through seasons and cycles and I don't need to add to the beautiful writings out there to detail it for you. But in my current season, it's been easy to be busy and difficult to connect in real life.

I LOVE my Five Minute Friday community and even here, I have been able, at best, to only contribute twice a month, though I will read and comment on other posts that I follow.

In our small group, we are a landing point for new couples. We get them established, plugged in, they begin to serve, and then we have to let them go. It's a little difficult to always have new people that move forward, because we just want somebody steady sometimes. We used to have that, but God showed us that the group had become stagnant and newcomers didn't have the chance to break in and be a part, so we had to disconnect.

It was awful. All the couples we had weekly updates with were still meeting and we were in a new group with people we cared for but they'd all had many memories together without us. Now WE were the new people.

It made us more sensitive both how we received and how we extended fellowship.
Truly,  sometimes you need to disconnect before you can fully connect. This is also true in our daily lives. If our devotions become a mechanical routine, a mark on the checklist, then what connection have we truly made?

"But to walk justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God."
This is where connection happens. When we focus on three little things that are really quite large, and then God connects us to Himself in depths unfathomable.

Tears, anger, joy, these are all legitimate reactions. (Read the Psalms if you don't believe me)
He embraces you through all of them. For me it's been tears lately, when I haven't felt desert dry and parched for connection, I've been weeping through my time with Him. I've been growing. And I don't have a nice setting for that. It's ugly cry every time it's hard. It was hard to learn to walk, hard to learn to drive stick shift (I couldn't have the radio on or anyone talking. Oh man, my poor husband!) and through it all, those who love me stick by my noisy huffing and puffing as I work through it and get on the other side.

Thank you for connecting with me, even tonight. I am so blessed to have your eyes on these words, affirming that I'm not the only one who feels this way.

{P.S. Please leave your linkup # or your url so I can read and comment back for you!}

Monday, January 2, 2017

Courage: My One Word for 2017

It's funny if you're attending school, or if you're teaching school. When you refer to "this year", you have a calendar that runs approximately September through June. And, in line with that timeline, my 2016 word, 'humble', was given to me in September 2015. I had to walk through a lot of humbling, but God is so good and has been teaching me much in that word. In July 2016, I was helping with our Vacation Bible School when a young woman in our church asked to pray with me. She believed she should pray the word Courage over me and also blew a shofar.

So, though my word began in 2016, I will carry it as best I can through 2017 as well.
This year I am a full-time teacher, and last year was my first year as a staff member instead of a substitute teacher. It was a humbling experience to be sure. And to be teaching full-time is a balancing act that requires a lot of strength. If my strength is not in the Lord (as I'm often reminded), my strength is quickly sapped and I'm left with a lot of opportunities to fail and learn.

This summer I painted Courage. He is a lion and the main character in the chapel stories I am teaching to my students on Wednesday mornings.

Now in this painting I am showing you I printed out the lion's head and used mod podge to affix it to the canvas. But during the summer, I projected that lion head onto the wall at our school and painted the mural. That lion is our mascot. I had no idea that I would be using him as my personal emblem of courage!
Our old logo



new gray background

projection for tracing

the paper is 8.5 x 11 (to give perspective)

all traced and with part of the painting begun

most of the painting filled in-first coat

My blessed teacher friend, Jessica, who helped me finish the second coat in every place that needed it

Our God is the Lion, the Lion of Judah.

As you enter 2017, perhaps you are feeling lowly or lacking in fervor. Let me share with you the first verse of courage he shared with me yesterday.

Jeremiah 20:11
"But the LORD is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten." (NIV)

As I walk this year in courage, I also feel the word strength flowing through it. Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord! (

His humble servant,