Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Yes to God on Tuesdys

Thank you for dropping by and joining me with our host Lelia, who is leading us through an online bible study. The author Lisa Whittle wrote “Behind Those Eyes” so that we, as women would desire to go deeper in to our souls and come out of hiding. All questions or statements are put purple from Lisa’s book.

As I was reading chapter two, in my head I was saying “Yep, that’s me” as I periodically glance at my perfectly painted toenails. Then I saw it, as if it was in neon lights flashing to get my attention…When I think of Ms. Perfection, I feel so tired.

As I sat there looking at those words, they started too press against my heart, was God about to tell me something,again? Would I be willing to listen?

I guess you could say I have been Ms. Perfection for a very long time. I have always felt the need to have everyone’s approval, whether it is from my friends, my family and anyone else who laid eyes on me. Up until about five years ago I never gave Ms. Perfection much thought, it was just a way of life, but now I couldn’t stop thinking about her.

You see, I’m tired of putting on 6 or 7 outfits, making sure my clothes look just right before I walk out the door. I’m tried of fighting the natural aging process by combing the universe for that PERFECT cream. I’m tired of trying to make my body take the shape of those fitness models, which have too much time on their hands, to look that way. I'm getting tired, so tried, in trying to be that perfect package… I so secretly desired.

Ms. Perfection
, she has taken so much from me and not once has she offered anything in return. Many times she has whisper in my ear telling how beautiful I am and then in the next breath laughing at my imperfections. She has stolen my time, my money, my self-worth and almost ran away with my soul. I’ve come to learn that Ms. Perfection doesn’t care about anything or anyone but herself. I’ve started to realize that everywhere I go she’s only two step behind, yelling at me to fix my hair, to pull in my stomach and make eye contact to see if THEY…all approve. Just as Lisa stated…When I think of Ms. Perfection, I feel so tired.

So, in the last several weeks I’ve been having a conversation with God about Ms. Perfection. I have told Him, I’m not really crazy about this woman anymore and I want her to stop dropping by. I asked God “To search my heart and to show me what my stumbling block is? I want to be approachable, I want to be real.

This weekend we had a women convention in our area and yes, you guessed it, between reading this book,the convention and the conversation I’ve been having with God, He gave me…my answer.

The whole weekend was about choices we make. Every choice brings forth a seed and every seed brings forth fruit. Ok, just like you, I know about the whole sowing and reaping thing but it was the illustration she gave that brought truth to my heart. She was talking about being fiercely faith to God and to our spouses…I thought to myself, I’m there, no problem!

Then she started to tell about this woman who she was watching across the room one day, she said the woman was attractive and appeared to be about 50 years of age...Hummm,I'm 50. As the woman stood there waiting, every time a man would walk by she would look in his direction until they made eye contact. As soon as she received his approval through a nod or smile, she then would turn away (bashfully) only to repeat the game, again. Within a few minutes the person she was waiting for had arrived…her husband.

That’s when the Lord said “Tammy, she talking about you.” At first, I tried to ignore what I had just heard because I hadn’t been unfaithful to my husband in years. But God wouldn’t leave me alone, until I confess that I had not been fiercely faith to Him or my husband. I realized at that very moment I needed to make a choice. Was I going to choose to deny the truth, that in fact for years I had been looking for approval from others? Or would I stand in front of God, completely naked, with all my imperfections and allow Him to cover me with His approval?

On that day I realized truth doesn’t come in a gentle or quiet way. Lisa’s right…it does hurt. My heart ached with grief because I knew God had exposed something I had kept secret. Later on that evening I went to my husband, told him what had happened and asked for his forgiveness. He told me he knew about the game I had played for so many years and then he put his arms around me and said “You’re forgiven”… just as my Heavenly Father did earlier that day.

In Lisa’s book, she gives us a list of how Ms. Perfection disguises herself, in many ways… as a perfect wife, perfect mother, perfect relationship or a perfect package. So,when perfection takes root in our minds, it's then we look to others for nod or a smile.

The truth is, I will never be perfect looking into someone else’s eyes…only His.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Yes to God on Tuesday

Thank you for dropping by and joining me with our host Lelia, who is leading us through an online bible study. The author Lisa Whittle whose book we are using is titled “Behind Those Eyes” so that we, as women would desire to go deeper in to our souls and not hide ‘behind those eyes.’ I put whatever I have taken from the book in purple.

Seeing we are dealing with being authentic which means not being a counterfeit, I have to make a confession. I know what you’re thinking…already? Yes, I have struggled for the last two days trying to write and rewrite something profound but every time I'd put it on paper, it just didn’t seem right. Now here my confession, I read many wonderful, creative blog sites and each time I shut down the computer my desire is to write just like the authors. There I said it. You all write so beautifully and your words just flow together. I wasn’t at the top of my English class and up until about year ago I never had a desire to write even a thank you note. After going to bed I started my nightly conversation with God, telling him I was frustrated and wondered if once again,was I pretending to be someone else. Did I join this online bible study because there need's to be another dose of truth spoken to me or did I just want to be popular...again.

So, this morning I got up early and opened up Lisa’s book hoping something would jump out at me, all the while seeking God to speak to my heart and to my surprise, He did. Why are we always surprise when God does something? Anyway, I know I had read this sentence before there on page 16, at the end of the first paragraph Judas pretended to love Jesus, but in fact, he loved no one but himself. Here’s what I started to ponder…Did Judas start out that way? Maybe at first he really wanted to be in ministry with Jesus or was he just pretending? When did he take is eyes off from Jesus and looked towards the world?

Let me say this right up front,I don't ever want to be like Judas,again.

I want my story to be…God’s story. My life up until about 10 years ago was one big make- believe, pretending to be someone else.
I was even a pretender in my childhood not because I lived in a bad situation, absolutely not. As a matter of fact I felt very special because I was adopted by a great couple, but I always wanted to be popular. I always needed to have the name-brand jeans, shoes and anything else that had to do with fashion. I never gave it much thought that my dad worked hard, from paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet. All I wanted was people to think I was someone else so they would be my friend. Pretending became a normal part of my life. So normal, that it followed me into my adulthood and I became known as Miss Tammy. It's a title given to you when you become an instructor in the world of dance from your students. I played the part quite well. Trying to be who I thought I should be instead of who God wanted me to be was draining me of my self-worth, pretending was destroying my marriage. I was spending money I didn’t have, my son from my first marriage, yes I was a pretender there too, was being forgotten because I only had time for those I wanted to be my friend..you know, the important people. I had no room for another child so I made a choice that would haunt me for years. Toward the end of my make-believe world I was being drawn into Satan's trap, just like Judas.

I don’t want to be a pretender; I have lived in the world of make-believe and pretended to be someone I wasn’t but now my eyes are on Jesus,I want to be real, authentic and live His truth from the inside out. After reading the first chapter, I still feel pretty comfortable with myself but my prayer is that feeling of comfort won’t last long. I want to have everything that is preventing God from using me far beyond what I could ever image to be removed. I want the truth to be spoken by Him and if my blogging friends have something to say, I want that too.

I know God has chosen once again, at this appointed time, to reveal to me the truth. Lord, I’m ready...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

God's Voice

I love visiting Edie’s blog and on fridays she comes up with a question that gets your thinker work'in known as the…The Random Question. So, this week her question is…“How do you recognize when God speaks to you?”
She also asked us to tell about a specific time when you heard Him, two very good questions.

I heard God's voice shortly after I had rededicated my life to Him in my early 30’s. Even though I was raised knowing God, I really didn’t KNOW God. So, after many years of going through life and calling on Him only when I needed my desires filled, I was now ready to start hearing His desires.

The first time I heard the voice of God was on a cold fall night not to long after I had surrender my life to Christ. I decided to sleep in the spare bedroom because I had developed a bad cough from a cold that I just couldn’t seem to shake, I figured that way I wouldn’t be keeping my husband up all night and at least one of us would get a good night sleep.

I have to admit at the time I was a little scared of sleeping alone, even though he was just across the hall from where I was. So there I laid with the covers pull up to my chin, my head propped on two pillows with my eyes tightly shut determined to make this work. It seemed like hours as I laid there trying to fall a sleep, which I’m sure was only minutes,when I remembered my mom telling if ever I was afraid to just pray. As I started to pray I began to thank God for all the wonderful things He had given me and how He had protected me during my time of…life is about me syndrome. But some how I went from thanksgiving to questions of doubt. I started asking Him “Why is it so hard to believe?" “Why don’t you speak to us now...today?” “You spoke back in the days of Noah or what about Moses, You sent him a burning bush plus on top of that you spoke to him.” " Could You maybe, give me a little sign of something?"
I think at this point I was getting a little frustrated so I just stopped talking when all of a sudden I heard “Tammy.” Thinking it was my husband, I answered back but with no response. So, I got out of bed and went across the hall, opened the bedroom door only to find him sound to sleep.

I immediately ran back to bed with thoughts of we must have a ghost in the house and began to sing hymns I knew as a child, hoping to chase the ghost away until I finally fell a sleep. The next morning when I got up I went out to the kitchen to have my morning coffee and as I was sitting there thinking about moving from this haunted apartment, my husband came out to join me. Noticing that something was troubling me he asked “What’s wrong with you, you seem upset.” I told him about the whole experience from the night before insisting that we needed to move but when I was done he simply said “Well, you did ask God for proof, didn’t you?” I replied with a surprised look on my face“Yes, do you really think that He spoke to me?” He shook his head,yes and laughing he said..."Did you want Him to hit you over the head with a baseball bat?”

It has been almost 20 years since the first time I heard the voice of God.

Yes, He has spoken to me and continues to speak to me not like He did that night in an audible voice but through His Word, through people and life experiences. Whether my heart is troubled or I'm seeking to know what His plans are for my life, He speaks. There are times when I try to avoid the truth and in those times His voice is like a whisper to my heart. I think it's easier for Him to get my attention that way...but I never get tired of hearing His Voice.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Just Do It

To follow this story start with: My Secret Sin 5/08/08

I would like to thank all of you who have visited my blog and for coming back over the last several months to read my story (God’s Story)…My Secret Sin. I didn’t share my story to shock anyone but my intention was to show God’s grace and how we can trust in His Word.

There are days I still visit my past, not so I will walk around with my eyes looking at the ground full of shame…oh no! But just like Joseph, I’m reminded how God took this awful experience and is now using it to His glory. What Satan meant for evil, God is using it for good; I give God all the glory!

Since I have begun telling my story, whether it be at the hairdresser’s or at a speaking event, God has saturated me with His love and has given me the courage to speak about this difficult subject. My heart goes out to women who at one time in their lives felt abortion was the only answer. I know what it’s like to hide a secret and to be afraid to tell anyone, in fear of judgment. I must admit every time I would push the button to publish my post I could hear the voice of the enemy, whispering to me that no one would care to read about my secret and I would be hurting my daughter by sharing my thoughts of hatred towards her, that I once had. I want to assure you before I even started to share; I had a heart to heart talk with her and she gave me her blessing.

Talking with her about her brother isn’t easy but it is healing. We’ve even planted a Japanese Cherry tree in our flower garden and placed a statute of a little boy reading a book while seating on a bench in memory of Christian Daniel. A little over year ago I went to a memorial for about four women who went through our abortion recovery bible study at the center, where I volunteer. I, myself had already been to a memorial for children lost through an abortion, miscarriage or stillbirths, this part of the program is very healing. But I needed to be there for this one because of my involvement with the bible study, so this time I invited my husband and daughter to participate and they did. The service was held at my church and my pastor spoke at the memorial. Many tears were shed that day; many hearts for the first time spoke the name of their child (children) and my family, it was the first time we as a family mourned for Christian…publicly.

You may not have had an abortion, but I’m sure something has touched your life to the point of drawing you closer to God or maybe it's kept you at a distance. It may not be the time for you to share your secret but when it is…God will let you know.

I’m not sure what God has planned next for me with this new found way of communicating…blogging,but whatever it is I promise to step out in faith and just do it!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Wow...another award!

What a blessing and a surprise to have received an award from blogging friend, Nancy at http://oliveleafministries.blogspot.com/
Nancy is a wife,mother, speaker, author and teacher of God's Word and has a weekly devotion on Monday that is a true blessing! Thank you,Nancy!

Here are the rules: 1. Mention the blog that gave it to you.2. Publish these rules.3. Share six values that are important to you and six things you do not support. 4.Grant the prize to six people.

What I value:
Our Creator... God
God's Word
My Best Friend...Lisa
My little doggies...Boudie& Sadie

What I do not support:
Avoiding God's Truth
Living together...unmarried

I pass this award on to: