Monthly Archives: September 2010

Have You Ever Had One Of Those Days?

The kind of days where you experience giddiness, shock, wonder and encouragement that things will actually be okay?  That good things do happen to you?  That life isn't all bad?  

Tuesday was that day.  

My day started off normally.  I got Madi ready for school and then it was just me and Sean until about 12:30.

But I went to the mail box and found a few surprises that made me so thankful and so happy and so surprised.

*God provided financially. Like literally when I wasn't sure what we were going to do, He provided. I experienced His faithfulness.

*I received two letters from my sweet Compassion child in India.  Tears sprung to my eyes as I read her little heartfelt letter to our family.  Her desiring to meet us and telling us all about her favorite things to do and her favorite colors and games.  I experienced a precious gift from God.

*I got a phone call from one of my favorite natural parenting stores, Belly Sprout, telling me that I had won a raffle prize for attending an event on Saturday.  While this was purely a material and fun surprise I was still thankful to experience God's goodness in allowing small little treasures in my life to bright my day.

*I won a giveaway over at Sarah Mae's blog Like A Warm Cup Of Coffee.  I won a copy of the book The Boy Who Changed The World. I have heard amazing things about this book and I am so thankful to have won it so I can read it to my precious babes.  

I don't tell you this to brag. To be perfectly honest, things like this do not happen to me. Especially in one day! LOL!  I was completely floored and shocked.  

I hope it encourages you that there will be days that goodness and provision will rain on you.  That not all days are bad.  I am so thankful for the days when good things poor in because I am often reminded that they don't always happen. Not because God doesn't provide, but because that is the nature of our sinful world.  But when they do come, they provide a little spring in my step.  That even though the days may come may not be as full of good things as today, I can keep walking and praising my God.  Because Tuesday He provided just exactly what I needed and then some.  

And I am not going to lie. I totally did a little happy jig in my living room.  

How has God surprised you recently?  

Tiff~

Mommy Knows Best

Madi

"Mommy, let's go outside and get some fresh air."  

I have to laugh at her attempt to speak like a grown up.  I am not surprised she speaks so well actually.  She began speaking in 3 word sentences at 15 months old.  My daughter has always been an extremely verbal individual.  

And she is also very emotional.  When I tweet that I have a migraine you now know why ;). 

She quickly got dressed as she had been in her pajamas  most of the day due to having a fever and a cold that was quickly taking over.  Not one to let a little runny nose ruin her day, she has been up and about, talking about school, Miss Dawn (her Sunday School teacher) and clothes.  

She put together the first outfit she could think of with confidence and exuberance.  She didn't care that it was warm outside and that fur-lined boots and a winter hat didn't make sense to the world.  It made sense to her.  She wasn't deterred when I asked her about her fashion choices and if she wanted to wear shoes that wouldn't make her feet so hot and a hat that wouldn't cause her to feel uncomfortable.  

She was confident in the choice she made. She created her own sense of style in five minutes and was happy with her choices.  

In looking at this picture, I am reminded of how many times I make choices in this life because I am confident in them or because I believe I know best.  But when God gives me gentle instruction or wants me to change them, I don't listen.

Because I believe I know best.  

I watched Madi play outside with her shovel, and I could tell she was getting tired and hot.  She was trying to hold out as long as she could.  Finally she came to me and said….

"Mommy, it's too hot."  

I felt bad for her, because I know she doesn't feel good and that some of the attire she was wearing didn't make it easier on her. (Had the weather not been 90 plus degrees I don't think it would have mattered too much. And she was also sick.)

She learned a small lesson that mommy knows best sometimes.  She learned that mommy wants her to be creative and an individual and to have fun, but sometimes certain things aren't appropriate at certain times.  

I learned a lesson too. That God doesn't correct me or guide me to different places and directions because He wants to keep me from being creative, spirited and from having fun.  It is because His desire is for me to become more like Him in this process called Sanctification. Set apart for Him and His purposes.  That yielding to His Spirit and acting in obedience is actually more freeing than going in my own direction.  At times it doesn't feel that way.  We think we are caged and cornered with no other way to move.  

But by God's grace and mercy He continues to use us even despite our attempts at breaking away.  That He gives us glimpses of Himself when He teaches us lessons through life, friends and His creation.  

He teaches me often through the everyday activities and antics of my children.   Through my marriage with Dan. Through ministry at Illuminate.  

Madi's little fashion lesson taught me that God truly knows best.

Tiff~

 

She Does Him Good

"She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life." Proverbs 31:12

We have such a vague idea of what a good wife looks like.  According to the media, internet and a zillion other sources we could do our research, a good wife is loving, honest, cleans the house, cooks for her husband, loves the children and doesn't yell at them (there goes about 85% of us..ha!).

But I believe God's word gives us a better view of what a good wife looks like.  

Because I desperately want to be God's beautiful wife.  

I loved this concept from Elizabeth George's book Beautiful in God's eyes: that "God's beautiful wife is intent on lavishing good, every possible good on her husband. She lives to love him and she does him good at every opportunity."

But where does it come from?  How does a woman, in a selfish, self absorbed world, lavish such goodness on the man she is called to be one with for the rest of her life.  How does she offer goodness and care to him when sometimes he flat out annoys her!

Colossians 3:23 "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men."

If we look at the Fruit of the Spirit, one of the characteristics is "Goodness". When we remain in Christ, continue to walk in obedience with Him and are in His word daily so that we may know Him better and we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us, then the Fruit of the (Holy) Spirit is what will spring forth.

Ladies, we must be walking in obedience to God.  If we truly want to be wellsprings of life to our husbands, remaining in Christ is so essential.  Elizabeth George says it best when she explains that a wife does not show goodness to her husband because she has to, but "because she desires to obey Her Heavenly Lord as well as her earthly Lord."

That to me is powerful.

I want to obey God.  So by obeying Him, I will be good to my husband. I will obey  my husband because God commands me to in Ephesians 5:22.

I will be my husband's biggest cheerleader, support and backbone.  While he is out slaying dragons for our little family so that we can have a roof over our head and food to eat, I will root for him. Pray for him. Provide a safe and quiet home for him.  I will not withhold it just because he makes me angry and disappoints me. 

When two sinful people are joined together, disappointment is inevitable!

Ladies, we are the one person who can truly be there for our man.  When he is out in the world trying to take care of us, there will be folks who will try to tear him down, rip him to shreds, emasculate him and say he is not worth anything.  Will you be the one person in his life that he knows has his back?  

Because you may be the only person. 

Nothing is more painful than seeing a man who is beaten up and defeated.  Will you put your big girl panties on when times are tough and encourage him.  Give him everything he needs to succeed? Sacrifice your own wants at the time to make sure he can do what God calls him to do? This isn't easy.  Trust me, I know this!  We aren't always going to want to do good to those who sometimes hurt us.  But if we are living by the Holy Spirit and we desire to obey God….then we will. 

"The wisest of women builds her house, 

But folly with her own hands tears it down."

Proverbs 14:1

The Familiar Places

Diamond Bar

Sometimes you long for the familiar.  

I experienced that today as I headed out to my hometown, Diamond Bar, for a baby shower of a good friend.  Seeing the trees and the streets and the places where I used to play brought back a flood of memories for me. 

While there are moments in my past that I wish I could erase, not all of it was bad.  

My family still lives here. It is my old stomping grounds.

I spent many evenings at Diamond Bar High School rehearsing for show choir competitions.

I was crowned Miss Diamond Bar in 2003.

My best friends, whom I still talk to today, are from here.

Sometimes the familiar is just what you need to remember all that you have been given.  The familiar reminds you of where you have come from.  

And it reminds you of where you are now.  

We shouldn't dwell in the past.  I choose not to dwell on everything that  I have ever been through.  But I do like to look back not because I want to revisit for pleasure,  but because I want to  see the beauty of God where I couldn't see it before.  To see how God's hand nurtured and pursued me in the moments when I felt so lost and alone.  

I was a different girl in Diamond Bar.  

But driving through my old hometown I realized that I am still that different girl. 

Just a redeemed one.

Tiff~

 

Just A Bunch of Randomness

*The E key on my keyboard is not working so well right now. I am just slightly frustrated. And it probably will make typing this post very difficult.  Ha!

*Had an amazing dinner with Dan's family at Northwood's Inn to celebrate Dan's birthday (which is on October 5th)

*Digging some loveliness over at Ruche right now.  I wish my clothing budget was just slightly larger, but hey it's all good.

*Have you all been reading Ann Voskamp's blog?  If you have never heard of her, please run to her site.  I promise you won't be disappointed. 

*Had my first experience at Goodwill today.  I loved it, except for the fact that it was their grand opening in that location and it was CROWDED! Oh my gosh.  Note to self: don't take two small babes into Goodwill grand openings.  They might get crushed by the crazies with their carts. 

*Going to a baby shower for a friend tomorrow. I can't wait to see her and her sweet belly.  

*By the way I totally have baby fever.  Hoping to convince the hubby to try for another one next year ;).

Want to share your random thoughts with me?

Tiff~

P.S. And of course as I am finishing this post up the E key is now working properly.  Such is life ;).

To Change The World

I know yesterday's post was a little off kilter for me.  I try not to post reactive blogs about things that I read on the internet.  If it bothers me I usually just tell myself that it is their blog and they can write whatever they feel fits their audience.  If I don't like it, then I shouldn't read it.

Right?

But I just couldn't stop the overflow that came from my emotions as I read the words on the screen.  Especially since the past couple of weeks I have been reading emotionally charged blog posts from Lisa Jo, Amanda, Ann and Lindsey.  These gals traveled with Shaun Groves and Compassion International to the slums of Guatemala.  To touch the beautiful faces of children. To look hope in the eyes and see that there can be a future for children in the dump. 

That is when I stop my own accusations.  That is when I stop pointing the finger at those who don't do ministry correctly (or as I think they should) and realize that God is moving. And God wants to show me a ripe field ready for harvest.  

If I just stop talking.  

If I move my feet and use my hands more, I just may see more fruit.  The fruit of saved souls. And that I see that it isn't about me. It's about Him.

Not all of us can go with an organization like Compassion to make a difference.  Not all of us will have that kind of opportunity to travel around the world in order to change it.  But we do have hands. We do have feet.  We have resources. We have blogs.  We have hearts. 

We have God.

Whether we seek to meet the needs of those who live in foreign countries, or try to reach those in our very own backyards, my hope is that I start reading more everyday about lives being changed.

Hope that was once considered impossible to obtain by the hopeless can be grasped and clung to. That those who were hanging by a thread in this life due to addictions, abuse, hatred, insecurity can be released by the healing power of Jesus Christ.  

I want to read more posts on twitter about baptisms, those coming to Christ.  I get excited by those posts.  I don't care if it is just one person. That is one person who has been saved from the pit of hell. That is changing the world.  

We can choose to sit on the sidelines and watch what God is doing, or we can allow ourselves to be used by God in what He is doing.

The choice is ours.

Tiff~

Forgive Me If I Sound Heated

I am just a little weary and angry.

Not at anyone in particular. Not at life or at my husband or my children.

I am, though, a little weary and angry at all the talk going on about certain methods of ministry. Who’s wrong and right. Who is operating biblically and who isn’t. (according to whom is the question I want to ask). I have done my best to hold my tongue, share my voice with my husband and God about how I feel.

I am just tired of the pettiness between people and those who think they know all about ministry and what they believe is the right way to reach others for Christ.

Actually, I am not reading much about those trying to reach the lost. It is mostly about the inside of the church walls. How they can make their churches more appealing to their families. Forget about those on the outside. Does that seem harsh? Abrasive? Please forgive me. I don’t want to sound that way. But lately that is the idea I am getting from some of these blogs.

We all talk a big game about reaching those who don’t know Christ. We want to change the world. We talk about inviting those who are “unsaved” into our homes and ministering to them there. But I don’t read about that happening in those blogs. I read a lot about their idea of the right way to do ministry, we like to throw out scripture that is sometimes taken out of context in order to fit our ideas of what the church should look like.

I actually have been reading more about those who literally keep themselves and their children away from all things that doesn’t fit their idea of Christianity. Should we protect our children? Yes. But to constantly ostracize them….I just don’t know. (I am not talking about those who homeschool by the way.)

I wonder what these people would do if they visited our college/young adult group. Where we have many young men and women who are tatooed, have been abused sexually and emotionally. Who have a history of drug and alcohol abuse. That we sometimes have visitors who wear clothing that can be inappropriate.

I bet they would freak out. I wonder how much exposure some of these individuals have with those who didn’t grow up in the church.

But they talk a lot about saving the lost.

Listen carefully. Stop all the yapping about the right way, wrong way to do ministry. What I want to read on your blogs is not how to make church better for those on the inside. I want to know about those from the outside going in are coming out changed. I want to read that those who did not know our Lord and Savior found hope in Him within your walls, and that they are being baptized in the name of the Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit. Should the church meet the needs of the congregation. Certainly, yes. But it should not stay there. The flock needs to be taught and trained to go out into the world and share the gospel with those around them.

Let’s stop attacking mega churches, smaller churches, whether they have youth groups or not…..if that church is a BIBLE believing and teaching church, then let’s pray that God is moving and blessing those ministries and that His Kingdom is growing.

And if we really want to change the world, then let’s really do it and stop talking about it.

Tiff~

All The Single Ladies

I am loving our Women's Community at Illuminate.  I have met some amazing gals who have decided to become more invested in the group and dig deeper in to God's word with other women.

It is what I am praying for and more for these gals.  I can't wait to see what else comes our way.  All I can say is bring it!

Last night, Dan spoke on what the gals should look for in a future spouse.  When I was single, I had a list of about 40 to 50 things that I wanted my future husband to be.  Some were non negotiable (like not marrying someone in ministry *ahem*) and some were superficial, things I knew that could change.  What I learned was that God was ultimately in control of my list and that I needed to allow Him the ability to take away and add to my list as He saw fit.  To place things in or out of my life in order that His will would be done for it.  It isn't an easy thing to do.  Hence, when I was dating Dan and he said he was going into ministry…..HELLO! 

But I have no regrets about that. I love being in ministry with Dan.  

In meeting with the girls last night, I tried to stress the importance of being a woman worth pursuing. A Godly woman.  So often we create a list for the characteristics and qualities that we believe someone else should have, yet when we get down to the nitty gritty  we can see we don't exactly possess godly characteristics ourselves. We fall short but expect the other person to have it together.  

I want to encourage you girls, if you are single, it starts now.

Be a single woman who pursues God with her whole heart, soul and mind. Who loves Him more than anything. Serves Him and desires to obey Him.  Trust me when I say that men who love the Lord will notice a woman who loves the Lord.  

I asked Dan to say specifically what he loved about me.  He told me it was my love for God and that I spent time in His Word and serving His Kingdom. His answer reminded of how important it is to nurture and appreciate singleness.  To not waste the time pining away for a boyfriend.    To spend those quality moments at the feet of God and know Him through His word.  To be serving in the church.  To be head over heels in love with our Savior. 

In Proverbs 31:30 it says "Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."  We may be good looking and charming and smart and all of those things the world values.  But God says that a woman who loves the Lord is far more beautiful and praiseworthy.  

My prayer is that you single girls, while it is okay to desire a husband, seek first the Kingdom.  

Blessings,

Tiff~

Dan’s New Love

Don't worry.  I can take Dan giving affection to this:

IMG_0076-1

My Daniel has a love for bibles. Specifically, Calf Skin Bibles.  

It is kind of a long story, but this is the second Calf Skin Bible Dan has purchased.  Before we start accusing us of not being good stewards, I can say that the second one was part of a gift.  The first one Dan gave to me. 😉

And oh how I love my new bible. So thank you Daniel!

Anyway, Dan ordered this online and he waited oh so not patiently for it.  He followed the tracking to see when it would arrive to his office and as soon as it did…he sent me a text in ALL CAPS telling me it had arrived.   

Uh, yes he was excited about his bible. 

And yes that is the picture he sent to my phone to provide proof of its arrival.  I am sure this picture was taken after he smelled it. (Those of you who own a calfskin or know someone who does will understand what I mean).

Some of you might think it is a little weird, but I find it adorable. 

Love you hubby!

Tiff~