Category Archives: devotionals

Ordinary is Good

I follow quite a few lifestyle, health and fashion bloggers on social media.  I do that because I love to be inspired and see what they come up with in terms of their content.  I like to learn from those who are running their online businesses well and providing value to those who follow them. As a woman with two online businesses, it is important for me to constantly be learning how I can provide the best value and the greatest content to those who choose to be a part of my online community and share with them what I have to offer.

But, if I can be honest with you, sometimes, I feel that sting of comparison.

I don’t have an extravagant budget to work with in terms of my closet, my photos, my travels.  My home isn’t the most beautiful and it isn’t often photographed to show off it’s amazing décor.

We don’t travel to all of these amazing places, like these influencers do.  I am a homebody. I love being at home.  I love relaxing at home with my family and watching a movie. If we do go anywhere, it is usually for family events/holidays/annual vacations or I am attending an annual work conference.

Or our weekly outing at church.

When I get down on myself about how I don’t have a big enough audience, or my photos aren’t glamorous enough, or I don’t attract enough likes, or I don’t travel to amazing places….it is then I need to be reminded by God why He has me doing what I am doing. What my most important role right now is.

“Please hear me, Girl: The world has enough who know how to do their hair. It needs women who know how to do hard and holy things.” Ann Voskamp

Hard and holy things. And perhaps, even a little ordinary.

It is hard to raise two human beings to love the Lord, and to serve Him and to follow Him all the days of their lives. Because as we know as parents, they will grow up with wings and minds of their own, and they may choose a way that breaks your mama heart.  I look at those two faces in that picture above and my heart aches.  I long so much for them to avoid the mistakes I made as a girl, but while I can guide and direct, someday I will have to let them make their choices.

The ordinary work of being a wife to my husband.  To support him, no matter how frustrated I may be with him. Whether in good times or hard times, being his partner and helpmate is vital and important and hard and holy. Our world glamorizes romance, the wedding and lust.  It does not value marriage and the hard and holy work that it is.

The ordinary is good.  I remember smiling on a late Thursday night, after my son’s final baseball game of the Fall season.  He was devastated because they lost and therefore they were eliminated from the tournament.  So my husband wanted to cheer him up with a dude hangout and grab some baseball cards.  We didn’t have hundreds of dollars to spend, but we had $30.  We didn’t travel to the World Series or even to Los Angeles to somewhere glamorous in order make our son smile.

It was at an ordinary Target in our hometown.  Then we went back to our ordinary home, on our ordinary couch, in our ordinary living room (that will never be featured in a magazine) and just spent time together.

I smiled because it was one of the best evenings.  It was simple.  My son was happy and he was now excited for baseball again in the Spring.

While I love reading my favorite blogs and seeing all those beautiful photos on social media, and as much as they inspire me to better myself as a business woman, I have to keep it in perspective that my ordinary life is good. It is good because God made it good.

He gave me a wonderful husband.  An amazing little home to take care of. Two awesome children who keep us busy and entertained and who love us and want to hang out with us.

I don’t need thousands of likes on a post to show I have influence. I use the words God gives me and the lessons He teaches me to share with all of you, in hopes that my humble attempts lead you closer to Him.

God is teaching me that there is nothing wrong with having a beautifully crafted Instagram page.  But, we must be willing to share the hard and the holy, and even the ordinary, because that is where most of us lie.

Most of us are not living these glamorous lives that we see plastered all over the blogospheres.  We are deep down in the dirt of the every day.  We are traveling to and from work or school, trying to get dinner on the table or make it to a practice or recital on time.

We are changing diapers or kissing our children goodbye as they head off to college.

We go to grocery stores that offer us the most bang for our buck so that we can feed our families well, and if it is organic and healthy, heck, it feels like a win.  We do our best with what we have.

We don’t always get to dress up.  Most of us live in active wear or leggings.

We read books on how we can be better mothers. Less angry wives.  Better listeners. Better leaders. Be less busy and more present. On how to choose joy. How to share the gospel with a friend.  All ordinary things, but good.

So Sister Friend, if you are looking at your Instagram page and feeling like you are too ordinary to make a difference, can I tell you that you are? That there is a fellow gal looking at your feed right now and thankful that your ordinary heart shared something extraordinary in her and encouraged her in some way.

As much as I would love to have a beautiful insta page, I am thankful for the ordinary photos, because they are evidence of God’s work in my life.

Tiffany

How Does God Lead Us?

This past Sunday, at church, I really enjoyed the message that the Pastor shared with us in regards to listening to the voice of God.

I feel like it is a topic that regularly needs to be taught upon, because there seems to be a great deal of confusion as to the voice of God, what that looks like, sounds like, and there is a lot of noise.

And truthfully, if I can be honest Sister Friends, we seem to believe that our feelings align, when more often than not, our feelings can lead us astray and away from God’s perfect will for our lives. I loved this quote from Sunday:

“Sometimes we are so focused on seeing signs and the spectacular, that we miss the simplicity of God’s voice.”

YES!  Have you ever spoken to someone who constantly declares that they had a sign from God that they were supposed to go in a certain direction (even if that direction is sin) and give God the glory for it? Friends, God will not lead us in a way that is contrary to His word. He is not a God of confusion. But, they falsely believe that it was from God because their vision or feelings were so spectacular, they only assumed it was from God, not their own fleshly wants.

I want so badly to be a woman who is lead by God and can discern His voice in my life. These ways listed, I believe will help me and many of you!

Pastor Gary shared that there are 5 ways that God will lead us-and it isn’t always how we might think.

  1. God will lead us by our knowledge of right and wrong.  Doing what is right and allowing God to work out the details.
  2. By His Word. This seems to be a no brainer, and as a Christian woman, one would think that we are constantly in His word for guidance, peace, hope, direction. But too many instead seek wisdom from “Christian” bloggers and authors and social media accounts, instead of going to the source.  That source is the Bible! Psalm 119:105 . Do you believe God’s word is ALIVE? Because I do!
  3. Leads us by His peace.  Colossians 3:15 One of the reasons God puts peace in our hearts is to help us navigate the challenges in our lives. When the peace is destroyed, I need to get alone with God and find out WHY. Pastor Gary compared God’s peace to  like playing umpire in your life.  I loved that comparison, especially as a sports mama. Allowing God’s peace to play umpire in my life will help me see Balls and Strikes in my circumstances and the challenges.
  4. Through the Godly counsel of other people. Yes to all of this!!!!!  We don’t need to seek counsel from everyone, but we should be discerning enough to seek counsel from people who love the Lord. To dig deep and draw from that person, like a person drawing water from a well for living. When we don’t seek advice from others who love the Lord, especially when we need to seek advice, it is PRIDE. Don’t be prideful.  Draw it out!
  5. Lead us by His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was given to us upon our confession of faith.  It will be dropped into our spirit.  These are not your feelings, but a deep longing that is only stirred by God. The Holy Spirit will never disagree with the Word of God.

If you want some additional reading and studying on this topic of listening and being led by God, read 1 Kings 19:1-13.  Pay attention to how God leads and speaks and works in Elijah’s life and circumstance.

Dig deep into the well, sister friend.  There is living water there.

Be a Size You,

Tiffany

She Laughs at the Time to Come

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. Proverbs 31:25

We have a prayer board in our home, and a tiny tin bucket carrying random scraps of paper so that we can easily write out the requests laid on our hearts and for our friends and family.  It is on display where can see it regularly, to remind us to bring those very requests to God.

One particular prayer caught my eye.

It was written by my daughter Madi.

Most of you know that we are in a season of in between.  Waiting. Dan doing random jobs here and there but nothing consistent.  I, myself, am still working at home in order to contribute to providing for our family.  We say we are hopeful, but often times, I think I feel a little desperate and downright impatient.

On this particular day, I was really impatient. And angry. Anxious. Worried. Fretting over what is going to happen next month.  Striving to make things work, no matter how much God continued to provide for us.  I had been carrying this attitude of “if it is meant to be, it is up to me.”

I was living in deep fear and I was acting it out in all of my clawing and striving.

I glanced over at the prayer board and I saw a prayer written in bright green ink. All with misspelled words, but it didn’t matter at the moment.  My 11 year old wrote out a precious request to God for her Daddy.  To help him.  She didn’t care what the answer was. That God would just help him.

I am not usually a crier, but in my old age, that is rapidly changing. I cried because she did it right. She went to the only place she knew how in order to make things a little better.

And that was to her precious Lord.

In all of my stomping and whining and complaining and prideful striving, I didn’t pray nearly as earnest as her sweet prayer on a tiny white sheet of paper.  It was simple, to the point, and honest.  She clothed herself with armor and she activated it with prayer (read Ephesians 6:10-18)

My daughter taught me that while I was doing a good way (working to provide) I was not doing it the best way. I did not always go first to make my requests knows to God.  Or I would be so angry about the wait and so impatient while waiting for answers that I would skip it all together, as if that would show Him.

How gracious is He to remind me that His ways are better. And that he used an 11 year old to remind me? And that it was sweet and precious and gentle?  Sometimes our lessons as we walk it out with Him aren’t that sweet. They can be painful, but this one was not.

I showed a friend of mine Madi’s prayer, and she encouraged me, knowing the season we are in. Her words:

“I can’t help but think of how He used the last tough season to grow you, and I know this one will be the same.”

It was the encouragement I needed that moment to take me back to remember what He, the Lord has done in my life and in the life of my family.  Every season has its peaks and valleys, but He always uses it to grow us closer to Him and mold us to be more like Him. We will always be changed.

Will you clothe yourself in the strength and dignity of the Lord, knowing that He alone is bigger than whatever circumstance, wait, adventure you may find yourself in, and laugh at what is to come.

It may not be what you expected or even requested, but we can have faith that His promises are true and they are sure and we do not have to fear the future, even if it all looks bleak, your bank account is in the negative, no opportunities appearing on the horizon. He is bigger than all of it.

Be a Size You,

Tiffany

Give Thanks for He is Good


One of the most treasured gifts I have received from a friend was this prayer journal. 

When I first became a Christian, I would journal every thought, prayer, hope, conflict, and dream on fresh pages of notebook paper, or wherever I could find a blank space. I doodled and dreamed as I poured my heart out to the One I was so in love with.

By the time I met Dan, my husband, I had already filled several journals with my thoughts and prayers. A few years ago, I had the chance to revisit them and my eyes nearly rolled out of my head as I read each page. Some of my “needs” were very self centered and centered on relationships with boys. I am embarrassed to admit that, but hey, it is the truth! Ha! (I bet some of you gals can relate. If not, you are fortunate!)

I had shared with you about our family prayer board that we got a few weeks ago, but this little journal pictured above is my favorite. It is all mine. After I spend time in His word, I get to writing. I get to praying. I pray for my husband. I pray for my kids. I pray for the needs of my friends. And it all goes down on paper, along with the iced coffee stains. 

After reading Psalm 136 one morning, I quickly got to work on writing my own Psalm of praise.  Have you ever done that? Have you ever just taken a moment to write out exactly what God has done for you in your life? Yes, we reflect on Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection, but share more. Write out how He:

*Provided for your family in your time of need.

*When a family member came to know Jesus after years of praying.

*A loved one healed of disease or overcoming addiction or pain.

*A marriage being restored.

*Children who were prodigals returning home.

Shouting to the world what the Lord has done for you….our stories are all different. Yet God has met each and every one of us where we are and shown His mercy and grace and incredible power.

Can I challenge you, next time you pray, to recount ALL that He has done for you. We see it over and over again in the Psalms the recalling of God and His might and power and what He had done for the children of Israel.

Now, let us do the same.

Be a Size You,
Tiffany 

Beauty in the Weeds

When my son was a toddler, he would constantly pluck these yellow “flowers” and give them to me. He thought they were pretty.

He wanted to bless his momma with them. 

They would often come to me crumbled in his chubby hands, but I cherished them regardless.

Because even though most considered them to weeds and most of the time we wouldn’t pay much attention to them, my son did. He noticed them. He stopped to pick them for me and give them to the person he loved. They were pretty to him, even though they may be ugly to the rest of us.

Our family has been through several seasons of wading through the weeds. Whether it be through job transition, parenting struggles, marriage struggles, it is what it is. Being down in the weeds is hard and it can be difficult to find beauty during that time.

I remember one point when Dan had lost his job. We had no income to speak of coming in, except for my very small business which wasn’t making enough to cover rent or really anything else, and constantly stressed about how we would pay the bills and survive. What about our kids? How would we feed them? How do we nurture them when our world felt like it was crumbling all around us.

Then came the “flowers.” My son’s flowers. During that time when he would pick those little yellow buds from overgrown grass, it was at the time when Dan and I were uncertain if the lights would stay on. If we would lose our apartment. If we would have to move in with family (we did, eventually), if Dan would find another job (he did, praise God!). If our marriage would survive (obviously, we are going on almost 13 years of marriage!)

God opened my eyes to see that beauty and His hope is found everywhere. In all of my worry and anxiety and fear, I forgot to cling to hope. I was afraid we wouldn’t be provided for. And yet we were. He provides for us in our need, not necessarily our wants. We had to sacrifice, to be sure. We had to say goodbye to the things we had grown accustomed to. We couldn’t do as many fun things as we had liked or wished. 

But He still provided. And we are still together as a family. We still had each other. God mended our brokenness and brought us closer together so that while our time was hard, we still had our family. We still had love. And that made us fight harder to see beauty in the weeds.

I don’t know where you are today. Struggle seems to be all around my friends lately. I am lifting you up today. 

Can I encourage you, as you wander through overgrown fields of worry, anxiety, fear, uncertainty and more, that you look for beauty. You look for hope. And remember that the God of the universe cares for you? 

For even the flowers are cared for. They have no need to worry about what the day will bring or how to dress. God has taken care of it. 

And He, more so, will take care of you. Is that easier said than done? Sure. But believe anyway. 

“And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” Matthew 6:28-30

Be a Size You,

Tiffany 

Ready for Harvest

Whenever I think of Autumn, I think of the words in John 4:34-35:

“Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work…..Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.” 

After summer, Fall is my next favorite season.  Here in California, we don’t really experience seasons.  Unless you live in more northern parts of our state, it generally stays the same temperature with some variances in heat. But not too much. For instance, last week? We were hitting 90 plus degree temps.

Yeah, Fall doesn’t feel like fall quite yet.

But that is okay.  I think the fields are still ripe and ready.

Especially the fields in your own home, and in your communities, and in the hearts of those you love.

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Our family got to take a break from the mundane and school, and went to our local apple farm in Julian, CA to pluck from the trees that were ready to share their abundance with us.  This is the kind of stuff I live for.  Julian is this perfect little town and it is so cute and I wish that I could visit it all the time!

We got to go with friends from church and can I say that we as a family really needed this. We needed to go on an adventure together. Yes, to most, it was simply apple picking. But to me, to this mama heart, we have been so busy rushing from one activity to the next, our schedules are full and it feels like we are on a hamster wheel. So the fact that we got to bend the rules a bit and get away as a family together to do something fun meant the world to me.

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The Fields are ready for harvest in my own home.  No one else is going to spend as much time as Dan or me to teach my children about Jesus or spend time with them.  It is the will of God who created me and made me a mother to raise up these little humans.   It is my job. It is my main ministry.  I have a heart for women and I am actively pursuing women’s ministry, but my first role is wife and mama.  Family.

It is why going to the apple farm with the kids and Dan meant so much to me.  It was a chance to create a memory that we could talk about together.

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I am also reminded that I am to love other people, especially when their hearts are ripe and ready to hear a message that can be transforming to their lives.  I will let God do all of the heart transforming work. I will simply open my mouth and be available to those who need to hear powerful truth.

Being on social media tends to be a popularity contest of sorts.  I don’t want to post so that I can become more popular or gain more likes. I want to post words that will inspire and point back to Him.  My hope is that each person who visits my small corner of the internet, they will be moved to learn more about their Creator and to fully submit to His goodness.

When I take my children out and we go on adventures, my heart isn’t that they will see how much money we spent or all the cool places we get to go.  My heart is that they will see that I love them and desire to spend time with them and to have fun with them and create memories together. Right now, I need to be nurturing and caring towards their little hearts so that as they grow older and one day have families of their own, they will spend the time harvesting in the hearts of their children, as Dan and I tried to do with them.

Often when a lot of read scripture and we see the callings that Jesus placed on the disciples to share and witness, we think of traveling all over the world, or going on missions trips or running non profits.  But God has shown me over and over again that I have my own little field right in front of me that needs attention.

For those fields are white for harvest.

Be a Size You,

Tiff

Are You Called or Capable?

Quote from "Let it Go"
Quote from “Let it Go”

How often do we say no to something because we don’t truly feel we are capable of doing the task, even though we feel we may be called to do it?

I bet a lot of us would be raising our hands. Capability is the big elephant in the room when it comes to fulfilling God’s will for our lives.  I would wager that some of the things we feel God is calling us to is bigger than we pictured or conjured up in our dreams, so when it falls before us, we instantly tell ourselves and everyone around us, “I am not capable.”

But if we are called, and it is God doing the calling, not just your neighbor or pushy friend, then shouldn’t our answer be YES, regardless of our capabilities? Doesn’t God equip those He has called according to His purposes?

My husband has been a pastor for the last 13 years.  He does not have a masters degree in Theology (although that is on his to do list. We both agree he should pursue one). He struggled with a learning disability for most of his educational career. He would be the first to tell you that he does not “feel” capable to do the job of shepherding God’s children and sharing God’s word most of the time. But he knows that he has been given the capabilities to do this because God called him to minister to the local church.  It is the one thing that when Dan goes to sleep at night, and when he wakes up, he is sure of what he is to do.  It is his calling. Anything else he would do would simply be done because he could, but not because he was called.  That probably doesn’t make any sense, but as I watch my man doing what he loves, and knowing that God provided all of this for us, it makes me giddy and I could just cry! And I don’t cry often!

 

Then there is the flipside. We will say yes to things simply because we know we can do them. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but often times we say yes all the time to those things! And then we wonder why we are stretched thin, exhausted, frustrated, impatient, and lack joy. Friends, just because we are “capable” of doing something does not mean we should do it. Perhaps, we should set aside the control freak in us, and allow the person who is called to complete that task you are capable of doing, do it.  It will relieve you of excess pressure and you will be able to breathe!

When it comes to “callings”, don’t stress out too much about what that will look like. God has given each of us gifts and talents that were meant to be used for His glory and to serve His kingdom purposes. Use them. Pray over them and ask God how He would want you to use those gifts.  And don’t say yes to everything just because you can do it. Ask yourself if this very thing that is requested of you is something God is moving you to do, or are you wanting to do it simply because you can. You can do anything, but you cannot do everything.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 ESV

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a Spirit of power.” 2 Timothy 1:7

What do you feel you are called to do today, but you are not saying yes because you don’t feel capable? Or, what have you said yes to that you really should not be doing?

Be a Size You,

Tiff

 

Walk Worthy

I received the best devotional last night via email and I thought that I should definitely share this with all of you.

This was from Joyce Clasen and she has a devotional book out called Joyfully Joyce. This devotional that I received from her through email was such a breath of fresh air and I so needed to hear it. I hope that it encourages you as well:

 

                                                                            WALK WORTHY

 

            Have you considered your walking style lately?  Is it fast and determined, or is it slow and steady?  How you walk says something about your attitude and how you feel about your life.  Your walk as a Christian has an impact on those around you. 

 

            The Bible indicates several times in the New Testament that you should make it your goal to walk worthy of the Lord.  To walk worthy means that you honor the sacrifice that Jesus made to bring you to the point of salvation.  To walk worthy means that you  choose not to do anything to bring disgrace to the name of Christ.  To walk worthy means that you do all you can to share the Good News of grace and mercy through Jesus Christ. 

 

            Your walk is a decision of the will.  It also means that you should study the Word of God to learn what is asked of you as a follower of Christ.  You can learn about how to respond to the love of God in all your ways.  Your walk is a demonstration of what you believe.  The more you study about God and His love for the world, you learn how to walk in a way that will draw others to Him. 

 

Your walk becomes an imitation of Christ.  Christ walked in humility.  Christ walked in love.  Christ walked in the Spirit. 

 

Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the  lust of the flesh.  Galatians 5:16 

 

 Walk in love as Christ also has loved us and

  given Himself for us…  Ephesians 5:2

 

…walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him,

being fruitful in every good work, and increasing

in the knowledge of God.   Colossians 1:10

 

 Determine to walk worthy of the Lord!

 

  Joyfully,

Joyce

P.S. If you would like to purchase her devotional, you can pick one up at Amazon