Monthly Archives: April 2010

So Long Insecurity

On Saturday I had the opportunity to attend Beth Moore’s So Long Insecurity Simulcast at my church. It was amazing and so inspiring to be in a room worshipping before the throne of God with over 200 hundred women…as well as thousands more across the country!!

I have to be honest though. I was a tad, unsure, when I attended the conference. You see, I am really shy. Those that know me may laugh because I appear outgoing. But it is totally forced and I have to make myself approach someone.

Would you believe that I hid in the bathroom for a little bit during lunch? Lol!

The following is from my journal which I wrote while waiting for session two of the conference to begin:

How ironic. I am shy and insecure at an insecurity seminar. I actually contemplated staying in the bathroom until the second session began.

Enough. Like it is stated in the scriptures, what have I learned. What was the truth that I was taught?

Get rid of the old self. The self that tells me I am not goof enough. That I am not a good person, a good wife, a good mother, a good Christian or for crying out loud a good Pastor’s wife. Those are lies from the pit of hell, meant to tear me away from Jesus.

Renew the spirit of my mind. Glean from the riches that are imprinted in this text. Open it and open your ears and hear God speak.

What does it say about the grace of God? About Jesus? Jess did not die on the cross so that I could continue lying in fear of myself. To go inward and become so obsessed with myself that I drown out the Holy Spirit. I need to shut up those voices in my head and return my attention…all of my attention to He who saved me.

Put on my new self. Putting on Christ each day. Putting on the brand new girl that does not dwell in her insecurity, that shaky ground she used to tread on, knowing she should get off, but not entirely sure how to. The new girl who stands firm in who she is in Christ. I may have ugly hair, ugly teeth. I may yell at my kids and neglect my husband…those are things that I can and will change. But I can’t change the girl God designed me to be.”

I realize my journaling is a little sporadic. But I was inspired by the scripture shared at the simulcast. Ephesians 4:17-24. I did not learn Christ so that I could be insecure. I did not learn Christ so that I could remain in darkness. No! I learned that I was to put off my old self, renew my mind to the truth that is in Christ Jesus and put on my new self….the one saved by Grace.

At the end of the Simulcast all the women uttered a commissioning statement. If you want to read it, head over to the Living Proof Ministries blog.

Have a great Wednesday friends. Say goodbye to insecurity!!

Tiff~

Catalyst West

Last week Dan and I had the awesome priviledge of volunteering at Catalyst West in Orange County California. We got to meet some wonderful people who work in ministry, as well as those who have indirectly ministered to our lives from afar either through reading their books or viewing their messages through the Internet. Catalyst refreshed our spirits and helped is view ministry through a different pair of eyes as this time, instead of just being attendees at a conference, we served. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

A huge highlight for me was the opportunity to attend a Pastor’s Wives luncheon hosted by Lori Wilhite at Leading and Loving It. Kay Warren, wife of Rick Warren of Saddleback church and amazing author, answered questions that we had about community, ministry and adoption/social justice. I have greatly admired Kay Warren and been inspired in many ways to get involved in the the things that I am passionate about. If you have not read her book Dangerous Surrender, you must. I promise that your outlook on the evils of this world will be radically challenged and you will not be able to sit and do nothing.

Lori has posted a video that shows a small portion of Kay’s talk. Head over to http://leadingandlovingit.com. You won’t be sorry.

I pray your Monday is full of grace and opportunity to tell others about Jesus.

Tiff~

All About Him

First, I want to thank those of you who read this story of mine. To those who commented and gave encouragement. Even to those who lurked. Thank you for taking a moment to read this blog of mine.

I realize it was a lot about my life. Who I was as a young girl is far from the woman I am today.

But I am still growing. Still trying to let the Creator of the universe mold me into a woman after His own heart. To be like Jesus in every breath of my being.

It is a lifelong process. A process that will not be completed until I see His face either when He returns or when He calls me home.

So for those who may not have a relationship with this God of mine, know that I don’t have it all figured out. That my life is not made complete with roses, sunshine and rainbows.

Even as a believer I have experienced the pain of loneliness, loss and desperation. But admisy all of that I am able to come to one conclusion and it givese peace. It gives my spirit hope.

He is enough.

It is hard to say that in the darkest of nights. When all you want to do is cry, scream and ask why over and over again until your throat is raw and there are no more tears to shed.

But I believe it. And I cling to it.

You see, my story isn’t really my story.

It is His story.

A story of how a loving heavenly Father saw and loved a broken and lost little girl, and intervened in ways that only He can.

Hoe can you explain the longing I felt to be near Him when I walked into that church. The desire for Him?

That doesn’t happen on accident.

All of us have a tale of how we met Christ. Whether we were mere babies or much older in life, He has interwoven our journey so that when we look back and retell it to others we always come face to face with the cross.

With our Savior.

God is good.

No, He is GREAT.

If you feel as if you are on a journey right now, please keep going. Ask those questions and let God lead. Let Him grab ahold of your heart. Cling to Him.

Your life will never be the same.

Tiff

P.S. If you have your own story, please share. I love hearing of how people came to mee this wonderful God we serve. No story is insignificant.

Finally Free

On December 17th I found myself on my knees in my bedroom, pleading to God for forgiveness and begging Him to take over my heart. My life.

But how did I end up here?

After a couple of months of hemming and hawing about whether or not to return to the church that brought a few moments of light….I went back.

This time by myself.

The idea of going back was really scary. But at the same time I desperately needed it. I can’t entirely explain it, but it was literally like a moth to a flame. I had to be there. Wil horses could no longer keep me away.

And again, I heard life giving words. From a book I never so much as even glanced at. Years ago you wouldn’t really catch me dead reading a bible in public.

I considered myself a spiritual person, but just no religious. I sound so silly thinking back.

I went every Sunday night and Thursday night for the next few months. I found a local Christian book store and found a cheap little bible to bring so I wouldn’t look like out of place. Ha! I studied Christianity on the Internet, asked myself and God a million questions.

Until I got to the point where I couldn’t deny it anymore. I needed Him. I wanted Him. I wanted to know Him.

Not just believe in Him. I wanted Him to be the very essence of who I was. To save me from the destruction of porn, insecurity and the web of self hate I had created for myself.

I wanted a new life and I wanted Him to fill the big empty hole that had beenthere for so long.

So on Sunday night when the pastor gave the alter call, I prayed. But I didn’t go forward.

Next Sunday night I did the same thing. But I didn’t go forward.

I think I prayed that prayer a total of seven times. I just wouldn’t go forward.

Then one night, I had a few too many drinks and made some poor choices with those around me. I drove home (still intoxicated) and I am just thanking God that I didn’t kill anyone because of my stupidity.

When I got home I cries and cried and cried. I swore that I would change.

That next night is where you find the scene I started this post with.

There was no bright shining light bursting through my bedroom that night. I didn’t hear angels sing.

But I had peace. I was saved by the power of Jesus.

I was finally free.

Inside The Church Walls

I’m not gonna lie. I was scared to walk into church. I thought for sure the walls would cave in or I would just be bored to tears because nothing the pastor said would inspire me.

And that I would embarrass my friend by saying something completely unchristian.

But I was hugely surprised. People were friendly. They gave me a hug (which kind of startled me at first because I am not really a hug on the first introduction kind of gal). The music was actually modern. I didn’t know churches could have a band that sounded good. And that the singers could sing.

But the biggest part that surprised me? The message. The passion of the pastor as he spoke of Jesus and His love for me.

His grace. His sacrifice. For ME.

I left church that night in a daze, unsure how to process all that I had heard.

I told my friend I wanted to go back.

But I stayed away for a couple of months.

And went back to my life of loneliness, staying up late and clicking on all the wrong sites on the computer. Staying out and partying with my friends. Dying inside.

The words from the Bible that the pastor spoke from gave me life for a few brief moments. But I refused to go back and take it all in.

Because I knew I would have to make a decision.

And that part scared me.

Pardon Me For The Interruption

I will continue with my story on Monday. I promise.

But right now I just want to say how excited I am for today because we are having baptism services at Knott and Illuminate.

If you are a believer and have not been baptized, and you are local to Knott Avenue please come and make a declaration before the Lord and others of your committment to following Christ!

Services for Knott are at 8:00, 10:00 and 11:30. Illuminate kicks off at 5:30 pm.

I hope to see you there!!

Tiff~

Somebody To Love

In high school I kept myself really busy. I participated in Cross Country my freshman and sophomore year, performed in show choir and community musical theater, had a part time job working at Everything But Water at the mall and spent as much time with my friends as I could.

Being busy was the best way for me to distract myself from the loneliness I felt.

It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy those things. I really did. My passion is music and theater so throwing myself into these activities actually helped in finding myself and learning about who I was as a person and what direction I wanted to go in life.

I participated in a beauty pageant to help kick up my self esteem. It is funny…for a little while I felt like I was one of those beautiful girls that all the boys adored in school. Just by strutting my stuff on stage.

My boyfriend and I were off and on. I could tell that while we cared for each other, he didn’t really want to be with me and I didn’t really want to be with him. And a lot of me wanted to just start life over, away from everyone else, and pursue my dreams.

So I auditioned for a performing arts school located in New York.

And I made it.

In fact I was all set to pack my bags and jump on that plane. To head towards a city that doesn’t sleep. To become a performer. But it still wasn’t going to cure my loneliness. My desire to find somebody to love. Somebody who loved me.

Would I still feel worthless while I was thousands of miles away from family?

During my senior year I met a guy who became one of my closest friends. He was a Christian. Let me tell you that I wasn’t exactly fond of Christians. I thought they were hypocritical, self righteous, legalistic and lacking compassion for the rest of the world. I had yet to meet a “Jesus follower” I liked.

But he was so different. He didn’t smoke, drink, or even cuss. He was way different than a lot of my friends. Oh and he talked about Jesus a lot and knew scripture.

And he was nice to me. He didn’t judge me. He even invited me to church a few times but I would turn him down. I wasn’t quite ready to be within two feet of a church. Surely after all I had done and who I was the church would cave in on me. Smite me oh mighty smiter!! (Name that movie).

The summer I turned 19 my boyfriend and I broke up (again) and this time I took my friend up on his invitation.

My life would never be the same.

No Longer On Steady Ground

Life can sometimes come at you fast. When I entered junior high my seemingly normal and stable little world shifted into something I no longer recognized.

My poor dad who worked so hard for us lost his job not once, not twice but nearly 5 times while I was growing up. And on top of financial pressures comes marital stress. My parents, like many other families, couldn’t seem to deal with the stress without lashing out at each other. It was as if life forced them to work against each other instead of with each other. As a kid it was hard to watch the two people you love the most yell and scream at one another.

My self confidence began to take a nose dive as well. Beginning in fifth grade I began to experience the ruthlessness that can come in the form of young girls. Lies would be spread about me. I would be called ugly, stupid, untalented. I began to believe what I heard….no matter how much I tried to tune them out. I threw myself into activities such as softball and musical theater. It was where I thrived and was able to drown out the noise around me.

This next part is hard for me to write. It is one thing to share this in church. It is quite another to share it on the Internet…where tons of folks can read this.

At the age of 13 I was introduced to porn.

It wasn’t because I was looking for sex. To be honest, I didn’t really know much about sex except for the basics. And I didn’t really have any desire to partake in it either.

But those girls in the pictures looked prettier and happier than I did. I believed I was ugly. I wanted a boyfriend. I wanted to be the hot girl in school. Was this the way to get their attention? To be like them?

It was an off and on pattern through jr. high and high school. It got worse my senior year. I grew up too fast that year too. I lost my virginity to a boy I didn’t end up marrying. Though I loved him…I shouldn’t have been with him. I regret it to this day. But in the midst of my desire to be beautiful and loved I thought I was doing what I was supposed to.

But then I met someone who changed my perspective and helped lead me to the One who would change my life.