Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Promise

Re * deem:

1. to free from what distresses or harms. 2. to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental. 3. to change for the better.
~ Webster's Dictionary

This is an extra special word near and dear to me. I have faced redemption in the face. Many times. Isn't it true that we stare it in the face throughout our lives? There are many loved ones in my personal life that are staring at redemption right now, but the chains are choking them. I pray for these people constantly and I know that someday, in God's perfect timing, they will allow themselves to be redeemed... set free of the pain that harms them every day.

I experienced pain in a way that I never expected about 16 years ago. J and I lost our first born son to premature birth. About a year later, we lost our second born son to premature birth. I fell into a depression that I never thought I'd find my way out of. The world looked different to me than it had. Life almost seemed impossible to live. I couldn't understand why this desire that was so strong in my heart was being crushed. The only thing I had ever wanted to be was a mother, and I felt like God had "stolen" that away from me.

We let ourselves heal for about a year before trying to become parents again. This time... test after test.... month after month... the results were negative. Once again, I experienced anger and frustration in a way that changed who I was. I wanted to be in control. I wanted to have some sort of say over my future. We all know that's not the way God wants it though, and that was what He was trying to prove. After many months (18 to be factual) of taking drugs, experiencing some WILD mood swings, and having some pretty nasty times in my marriage.... a light bulb went on.

It wasn't about me or my wants. It was about God wanting to change things in me... for the better. He knew my heart. He knew I needed redemption from things that were harming me BEFORE I became a mother. My father used to remind me during this time that God doesn't put desires in our hearts and leave them unfulfilled. He does fulfill. He DOES redeem.

Soon after this light bulb went on, J and I were baptized together and within a month, we were pregnant with our third born son, Lucas. He is our oldest here on earth and his name means 'The Light'. In my heart, he is visual proof of God's redemption. He is proof of what happens when we let go of the chains and let God do what He wants to do with us.

I honestly believe with all my heart that the things that are put in our hearts by God will not be unfulfilled. There's no such thing as settling for "It's never going to happen... This is just life". These people that I pray for... these are the words (i.e.chains) that choke them every day.

It's a choice though.

For I have learned that when we place these shattered portions of our lives before our King, He will fulfill. He will change us for the better. He will use these times to grow us and show us what He is capable of doing. He works miracles. He continues to prove this to me time and time again as I experience His grace.

I will continue to pray for these people I love. I pray that they will see that there is another option. I pray that they will see God's face in the areas of their lives that need redemption. I will pray that they are set free and that they will be changed for the better.

It's what God promises to do.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Stay tuned...

God has put a big word on my heart this week. Stay tuned for more... just waiting for the time to jot down the words.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Beach Therapy

We spent this past weekend in therapy... BEACH THERAPY!

It couldn't have been any better. The weather was spectacular... the company was fabulous... the food was unbelievable... the time away was more than I could have even wished for.

It was truly a gift. ~

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you've probably read about how I've felt God moving in me and directing me to new places. I've posted my thoughts about "the unknowns" for awhile. I have shared that I didn't know what direction He was taking me, but that I could just feel that there were new things ahead. I have also shared my frustrations over not knowing WHAT He had planned. I'm not known for my patience...

All along I've never felt like being a wife and mom isn't enough for me. It is the only thing I've ever truly desired to be, and I'm SO grateful that God fulfills my heart in these ways. Over the past few years though, I've read several books about living outside of my "box". These books have changed me, and encouraged me to think in ways I've never been challenged to before. For me, being a follower has a different meaning than it used to.

This morning I met with my pastor and friend. Towards the end of our meeting, that almost dreaded question came up...

"Besides being a wife and mom, Tami, what would you say your passion is?"

So... it's a great question. One that comes to mind a lot when you're trying to get to know someone better. It's a question that I've always known the answer to and never had a problem with... until recently. Recently like just these past few months as I've been waiting to hear SOMETHING from God about this new "adventure" I've been praying about. So, I answered the question as best as I could... sounding like a confused, rambling teenager. At the end of the answer to the question, I looked at my pastor and said, "Does that make any sense?"

Yeah... sure. Uh-huh.

As I got into my car and went about my day, doing the weekly grocery shopping and other errands, I had that unsettled feeling once again. I was in that place where I was wanting to DEMAND God to tell me NOW what He has in store for me. I AM DONE WAITING, LORD. PLEASE, PLEASE... NO MORE WAITING. The next person that asks me that question, well... I want to be able to confidently tell them the answer!

He gave me my answer.


Available. That is my new passion.

It is so easy for me to see now. God has been telling me for months! He has been teaching me how to be available. It's something that I haven't always been able to do with three young children at home. This year is the first time since becoming a mom almost 13 years ago that I've been able to be available more. And that is what I have been. That is where God has me, and that is outside of my "box".

I have been available for quiet, undistracted prayer with friends over the phone and in person.
I have been available to cook meals for people in need.
I have been available to house a dozen or so boys at my house for an afternoon of ball playing.
I have been available to help in ministries at my church, as well as be a part of starting new ministries at my church.
I have been available to be a better wife, mom and friend.

So... this unsettled feeling that I've felt for so long is gone now. I can say (with confidence) that next to being a wife and mom, my passion in life is to be available for people. I know that this doesn't mean this is the end. God isn't done with me. There will be more challenges ahead... more opportunities for me to practice patience as I wait on Him. But for now, available is the challenge I face. It is the adventure I've waited for, and it IS my passion.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Keepin' It Real

It has never been my intention for anyone to get the idea, simply by reading this blog, that my life is perfect. Don't get me wrong, the smiles that you see in the pictures that appear are genuine. We have tons of fun around here too, BUT...

Perfect, my life is not.

That's just the way god wants it to be though, isn't it? If it were perfect, then I probably wouldn't be "on the line" with him throughout my days. It's sad, but isn't it true? When things are going well, we usually do stop and say "Thanks"... but isn't it most often a pretty quick thanks? I know it is for me.

However, when things are far from perfect, God hears a lot from me. He hears me night and day. He hears my anger and frustrations... He hears my tears and sorrow. He hears ALL of me!

So... in keepin' things real here, I thought I'd journal a few of my recent cries.

When it was really decided FOR us that we would have three children instead of the four that WE had thought we'd have, I heard plenty of people tell me, "Oh, but if you stop at three, you will have a middle child". Like I said, this wasn't really a decision that we had completely come up with all on our own. Because of medical reasons, we NEEDED to stop at three. Therefore, I rationalized in my own head regarding the whole "middle child theory". I told myself that it really wasn't an issue. It had everything to do with how you raised your children. If you did your best to treat them all equally, then none of them (including the middle one) would feel any differently from the rest. Well... I'm here today to tell you...

I was wrong.

My middle son struggles a lot. He has a very strong personality. He severely dislikes submitting to authority (especially the authority of his big brother) and he absolutely LOVES telling his little brother what to do, and HOW to do it. This makes for a very bad combo. He is ten, but he thinks he's fifty. I love him so much, and my prayer for him is that God will use his strengths in a positive way and that He will continue to point out and refine Colby's weak spots. The problem is... the whole submission thing. In order to start the refining process, you have to first admit that there are weaknesses and acknowledge where they are. We're not there yet, but for the past couple of months, God has had us all in this fire-y place. Most weeks are packed with heart to heart talks, punishments over making bad decisions, lots of tears and words that make a mother's heart ache.

The words aren't unkind words. The words are from his heart and they are words that tell me that he just doesn't think God can make him any different than he is. I assure him that we all feel this way at times, and that God CAN and WILL change what needs to be changed, but first we have to COMPLETELY submit to His authority in order for that change to happen. God never gives up on us... even when we have.

This boy of mine has such a sweet spirit. His teacher at school even tells me that all the girls' eyes are on him, and it's not solely his looks... it's his spirit. He loves to make himself available to help people. He has been called "charming" on many occasions, and I agree. During these past weeks I've been praying specific prayers for him and for us, that we would know how to handle these situations, and be completely directed by God. That we would choose the correct words, even in moments of frustration, so that we wouldn't damage that spirit. Today I heard this song (as I've heard it a million times before) and it spoke to me differently. It became a prayer too. It is my prayer that Colby will hear these words whispered in his little ears over and over, and that he will believe that God wants all of him. For, more than anything... God loves him. God loves Colby more than even I can fathom.... and I KNOW that God has big purpose for this middle son of mine.

** In order to hear this song I'm speaking of, make sure to have your volume turned up. I know I often can't read and listen at the same time, but it's worth it to hear these incredible words! **