Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Don't Cry!

Luke 7: 11-15
Soon afterward Jesus went with his disciples to the village of Nain, and a large crowd followed him. A funeral procession was coming out as he approached the village gate. The young man who had died was a widow’s only son, and a large crowd from the village was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. “Don’t cry!” he said. Then he walked over to the coffin and touched it, and the bearers stopped. “Young man,” he said, “I tell you, get up.” Then the dead boy sat up and began to talk! And Jesus gave him back to his mother.

In my last post, I asked for pray for my son, Ryan. Things have become a little less dark as I have been holding on to God’s promises through His Word and your prayers…Thank you.

My son’s life wasn’t surrounded by a white picket fence with a dad and mom who were happily married and God being in the center of their lives. We divorce when he was 4 years old and I remarried 2 months after my divorce was final, what a shock that must have been for a little boy. I won’t share all the details at this time, but I will say he’s had stuff piled on him from day one by my choices, his dad’s choices and his own choices.

Yesterday as I was spending time with God, he reminded me of Luke 7 and the mother from Nain, who was weeping the death of her son. After reading this section of scripture my eyes were drawn to these words…When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. “Don’t cry!” he said.
Don’t cry? How could He make such a statement? Here was a mother who was looking at death, overcome by hopelessness. Then I came to this understanding,Jesus knew what was about to happen…a miracle was about to take place.

I’m sure we have all heard those same words in our times of hopelessness. We may not have gone through a physical death, like this mother, but the death we might be experiencing could be; the sporadic phone calls or friends who take the place of our presence. Maybe it’s the drugs that have taken over or possibly someone who has offered to fill the emptiness with their so called love. Yet, Jesus is saying “don’t cry.” A miracle is about to take place.

As my visit with Ryan ended that evening, he kissed me on the cheek, stepped out of the car and closed the door behind him. It was then I heard these words from the enemy “he’s mine.” I could see the darkness closing in on him, ready at any moment to devour him. I could see the bondage that Satan has wrapped around him, the spiritual death that is slowly claiming his soul.

After dropping him off, I drove to our Wednesday night church service and as I stood in front of God praising and desperately pleading words of mercy for Ryan, I knew my tears were not hidden from Him and I heard “don’t cry.”

In Luke 7, there are two other important things that took place once Jesus arrived. First,he walked over to the coffin, where death had claimed its victim and he touched it. Second, “Young man" he said. "I tell you, get up.” After reading these words my heart became overwhelmed with the presence of God. I realize now, all that needs to take place for Ryan’s spiritual death to be awakened is the touch of Jesus and the sound of His commanding voice speaking these words “I tell you, get up” and the miracle will take place.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Prodigal Son

My son, Ryan, came over last night for a visit and had supper with us.

During our conversation, he started to talked about his struggles and how life has been unfair. As I sat there listening, I saw the pain in his eyes and the anger that's invaded his heart.

He was raised knowing God and received Christ into his life at the age of 19 but has since, chosen to live his way. He is broken. I fear his heart is slowly turning to stone.

My son needs...God. I know we all have busy lives but if God places his name on your heart...would you send up a prayer?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Yes To God On Tuesday

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32

Can you believe it; we’re at the last chapter of this book and what a journey it has been. I really didn’t think there was much for me to learn but I found out pride and vanity still existed in my life.

This last chapter put the icing on the cake. What a perfect title, LisaThe Truth Heals.

Oh, how I love this statement made by Lisa “Know this, my sisters and friends: Jesus is the only One who can truly heal our souls, from the inside out.”
Yes, Jesus is the Truth!
I lived in my own truth for years to fit my needs and wants. I listened to Satan as he would use the lies of the media, the voices of lust and the desires of becoming Ms. Perfection, Ms.Confidence, Ms. Happiness and Ms. Spirituality. By living that way I stepped right into the path of the enemy. Now, he didn’t ignore me, oh no, at first he was very encouraging, quite helpful and gave me logical insight. Living in his world, was leading me to destruction but then Truth stepped in and I was healed!

I’m grateful for the many prayers my mom prayed for me during those years, for standing in the gap fighting the enemy with words of praise. Thanking God in advance for drawing me to the foot of the cross. If I had one more day with my mother I would thank her for her faithfulness in praying for my salvation and talk about all the wonderful truths God has shown us.

God, I ask that you would bless Lisa for her obedience in writing this book. God, bless Lelia for being a great host and friend. Touch them both and expand they territory, walk with them and keep them from the enemy.
Going through this study has brought me closer in my walk with the Lord and has given me a thirst to spend more time with my sweet Jesus.

Thank you to all who shared their stories and how God has taken you from glory to glory.
Thank you letting me be a part of your journey, my friends…may I call you friend?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Joining In

Over at Edie's Rich Gifts,the random question is "Wanna play tag?" So between her question and being tagged by Jennifer,I've decided to join in.

1. My mind goes blank when I’m asked to make a list about…me. I know, you’re thinking “really, you wouldn’t know that by reading your posts.”

2. I hate to iron and put it off until I can't avoid it any more. My husband was reading my answers and just informed with this comment..."I have a lot of empty hangers in my closet."

3. The thought of growing old scares me.

4. When I am getting ready to go some place I will try on up to 10 different pieces of clothing and still wonder if I made the right choice.

5. I love buying jewelry (costume) but when I get it home I never wear it! It doesn’t seem to look right on me, it just looks great on everyone else.

6. When everyone goes to bed, I become a night eater.

7. I’m addict to drinking Dr. Pepper and popcorn that is made on the stove with butter on the weekends.

8. When I talk to my children about my childhood I say…back in the olden days.

9. I am troubled by where the matching sock goes once it enters the dryer.

10. At times I can be controlling.

11. I used to hate the internet but since I’ve discover the blogging world; I’m on it too much!

12. I love shoes and I have tons of black shoes…a girl can’t have too many BLACK shoes.

13. I don’t like to have someone drop in for a visit…I need to clean my house, first.

14. During my childhood all my cats were named Kitty something or something kitty.

15. I never had a desired to write, so this is definitely a God thing! I'm loving it.

Tuesday, November 11, 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 wrote the book titled “Behind Those Eyes” so that we, as women would desire to go deeper in to our souls and not hide ‘behind those eyes.’

Highlighted in purple is from Lisa's book

I tried. I tried to let go of the awful memories. I remember asking God to forgive me that day I walked into the clinic, so I could continue on with my life. I laid there staring at the small white blocks on the ceiling, again whispering “God, please forgive me.” Walking out clinic and hearing the door close behind me, I wasn’t sure if this rebellious act I had just committed could ever be forgiven. (Read the whole story, here)

I walked around for years with this secret…my abortion. Even as a Christian, I thought my sin was too awful to really believe that God would forgive me. But God brought down the wall I had built to hide my secret; through a bible study called Forgiven and Set Free and with the help of someone who had been there. Yes, I was forgiven by God yet I still couldn’t forgive myself.

This chapter speaks about forgiveness… While Satan would love for you to believe that you are too flawed and too unworthy of forgiveness, Jesus wants you to know that nothing could be farther from truth. You see, there was nothing I could ever do to make Jesus not love me. Here was something else Lisa wrote…Jesus Christ loves and forgives you without conditions, Period.

So, what was the problem? Why was I struggling with depression, shame and the hatred towards my daughter?

Then one day as I was reading God’s Word, another piece of truth was set before me,
Proverbs 28:13 People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.

At first I didn’t understand, I told God that I had confessed my sin (sins) and I was truly sorry. He said “I know, but read on, what’s it say after the confession?” I read the verse again, but this time out loud and it was screaming out at me…turn from them!
God wanted me to know that I was the one going back to the cross where Jesus said "It is finished” and holding on to my sin that I had confessed. I was the one, who was allowing Satan too constantly bring up my past. I had to forsake them. At that moment,I realized I couldn’t forgive myself,God had never asked that of me. God had asked me to receive His forgiveness after my confession!

My sin had been removed and God wanted me to get on with the life He had planned for me. He remembered no more, Psalms 103:12 says…As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us."

So now, when I meet with someone who is struggling with their sin of abortion or an act of sin that has been done to them and they say “I know God has forgiven me but I can’t forgive myself”. I tell them your right, you can’t forgive yourself, God only ask that you forgive the person who has wronged you and receive His forgiveness toward your sin. It was His Son who was crucified for your transgressions. It’s the blood of Jesus who can only cover our sins and make them as white as snow. Your job is to confess, lay them at the cross, walk away and receive God’s mercy.

As coordinator of our abortion recovery program at the center, we always have memorial service, for the women to be able to grieve their loss at the end of the bible study. I would like to share a poem with you that we use as part of our memorial and I think says it all.

A Pre-born Child’s Conversation with His Heavenly Father

Father God, when is my mommy going to be here?
Soon, my child, soon.
Can you tell me how long?
There is no measure of time with me, my child. She is busy right now doing the work I’ve given her to do. When all that is done, she’ll be here.Is she going to know me when she gets here?
Yes, she will, my child. I’ll let her know.What does she look like, Father God?
Why, she looks a lot like you, my child. The same color hair, the same eyes, the same nose; you resemble her a lot.
What do you think she’s going to do when she sees me?
She will run to you, take you in her arms, and love you just as any other loving Mother would do.
Father God, why has she never held me in her arms before?
She never had the chance to do so, my child.Why did she never have the chance, Father God?
I don’t remember, my child. (Della Baker Hutto-March 1994)

Did you catch what He said?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

In God's Spotlight

In an earlier post, I mentioned a desire that God has placed in my heart, acting. Of course, I used it to accomplish the all about 'ME' syndrome. I wanted to become a famous Broadway actress and live in the Trump Towers.

But God had other plans with my love,to be in the spotlight. After turning my life over to Him, I gave up the dream and submitted my desires to His will. Since then I have been in the church plays, some with leading roles and about 4 years ago was asked to portray, Sarah, for a women's bible study at our church. From that point on I knew God had brought me back on stage not for my glory but for His Glory! I now have the privilege to share in character, women of the bible with others.

So, the reason I have shared all of this with you, my dear friends, is some of my blogging friends wanted me to display my talent through pictures and video. Well, last night I had the opportunity to perform for the local Aglow Ministry and with my girlfriends, Dorothy and Terry’s help you are about to see...the woman at the well.

Sorry, no video, haven't learned that one...yet. The pictures for this blog was with the help of my dear husband and wonderful daughter. I think they got a little frustrated with all the questions. :)

L to R: Me, Dorothy and Terry

The Woman at the Well

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes to God on Tuesdays

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 the book titled “Behind Those Eyes” so that we, as women would desire to go deeper in to our souls and not hide ‘behind those eyes.’

anything in purple is from Lisa's book
If I told you I’ve never felt loved, I would be lying. The truth is I have always felt loved (take note of the word felt)…from my parents, the world, and especially the men in my life. Knowing if God loved me never seemed to be issue but accepting it, now that's a whole different ballgame.

Lisa’s says “The reality is that many of us have known about God’s love for a long, long time. She then mentions the verse that most of us have learned from birth, John 3:16. She goes on to say…“the difference in the way we see that verse now is the difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge.”
What is the difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge? I would never say that I’m an expert on the love factor because as you ladies know, I’ve searched for love in all the wrong places. But I do know what it means to belong, to be accepted and adopted in to a family.

You see, my biological mom, found out she was pregnant at the age of 15 by a young man with empty promises. It was just two weeks before her 16th birthday when she gave birth to a baby girl…me. She tried her best to raise me and provide a good life, which most would say “we just existed.” It was about 2 years after my grand arrival, along with my baby sister; she did something that was inconceivable to most. She put our needs before her feelings and allowed a couple to adopt us.

At the time, this couple should’ve been considering how they were going to spend all their free time together. Their children were grown, the house was paid in full and they still had a lot of life to live, yet they choose us.

Even though we didn’t look like them, nor have the same blood type, they accepted us. My sister and I were always reminded on how much they loved us through their sacrifices. Belonging to this family was easy but being their children, to share in their lives and to be called daughter, was sometimes hard to comprehend.

There was a time in my life when knowing the love of my father became a permanent thumb print on my heart.

I had spent most of the day shopping with mom and her friend that summer afternoon, when I decided at the mature age of 11 it was time to have my first experience with cigarettes.

My mom’s friend made it very clear on the way home from our shopping spree; she was going to quit smoking. I watched as she twisted the half emptied pack of cigarettes between her two hands and placed them back into her purse. Within a few minutes we pulled into our driveway and with a determined look on her face, she handed me the pack of cigarettes and asked me to throw them away for her. So, with no hesitation and a smile on my face I said “Sure!”

I quickly ran into the house and carefully placed them in the garbage knowing in my heart that I would return at a later time. After a few hours, I made my way back to where I had placed the twisted cigarettes among the trash. Not wanting to touch anything that was lying around them, I cautiously picked them up and stuffed them in my pant’s pocket.

I proceeded to walk out the front door and went around to the back side of the old lilac tree. I thought, now this will be a good place to start my new adventure. The tree was fairly big and in full blossom. My hope was that the smell of the flowers would help disguise the smell of my actions. I must have lost track of time because the next thing I knew, I looked down and saw millions of cigarette butts lying on the grass. But still in a daze of pleasure, I continued on.

Then I heard his voice…“Tammy, where are you, it’s time for supper.”

I thought how was I going to explain this to my dad? My heart began to pound and I could feel a lump rising in my throat. I knew I was about to be a big disappointment and I just wanted to hide.

Thinking I could cover-up my secret, I began to scoop up, as fast as I could, the cigarettes butts that I so carelessly dropped on the ground. But within seconds my eyes were drawn to two large feet and there would be no denying it… those were the tips of my dad’s boots. I knew at that very moment I was caught. Tears started running down my cheeks as I slowly lifted my head upwards, within moments my eyes meet his and I could see the disappointment taking place his face.

I thought for sure he was going to punish me right then and there. But all he said was…“Why?” I was so ashamed. I told him I was sorry and that I would never do it, again. That is when he put out his hands and gently pulling me to his side. He said “I wished I had never started smoking.” “Tammy, it’s a very bad habit to get into and I don’t want you to make the same mistake I did.” “Let’s go in for supper, we’ll talk later.”

Then as we were walking towards the front door, he said “I want you to know, I love you no matter what.”

That day I knew I belonged, I was family.

It doesn’t matter where I have come from, what I have done or who I might have belonged to before I was chosen. But what does matter is I KNOW I’m completely loved and accepted completely by my Heavenly Father.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Are You Seeking ?

Our random question from Edie’s blog, Rich Gifts is: When did you seek God with all of your heart and what did finding Him look like? Here is the verse that not only tells us how to seek Him but what happens when you do.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)

I,along with my sister was adopted by a wonderful couple, our mom was a Christian but dad was not a believer. So, as a result I became exposed to, two different worlds.

I didn’t wholeheartedly start looking for God until 1999 when my second marriage was about to end. Although I did go to church, read my bible and prayed, I was known as one of those gals who talked the talk but didn’t walk the walk. Our marriage was a mess and if a miracle didn’t take place another child’s life was about to be destroy through divorce.

My husband and I had finally come to the edge of the cliff in our marriage and there were only two choices. The first choice was we could turn around together and make this marriage work. The second choice was we could jump off the cliff (together) and have our lives break into a million pieces. We chose to turn around to give it one more try and on November 22, 1999 we met with a pastor who didn’t beat around the bush but spoke truth into our hearts.

After our meeting, I began to seek God to show me His plan for our marriage. As I prayed, I would ask Him to do amazing things in my husband life like…change him. Several weeks had gone by and things were going pretty smooth.

About a month had passed when our promise to God to make this marriage work was tested. I will spare you the unpleasant details but what took place was very familiar. At the end of our argument, he stormed off as I stood in the kitchen crying. Over and over I kept telling God, I was tried. I didn’t want our marriage to go backwards and He needed to do something to change my husband. It was then I heard God say “I am going through you to get to him.” I couldn’t believe what I had just heard, so I said “God,is that you?” and He quickly repeated.

I knew what God was getting at…I was the one He wanted to change.

My husband began to see the changes in me and God kept His promise, within a few months I could see my husband starting to change,too. We have been married for 21 years and our daughter knows her parents are together until death do us part.

Ever since that day, I have continued to seek God and He continues to show me His faithfulness.