Category Archives: Faith Journal

#CTCMOMMYSTRONG

Don’t Show Off-Just Show Up tank from Cross Training Couture

I have entered a new season of parenting, and to be honest, while I was a little nervous…I wasn’t exactly terrified of the pre-teens.

I have been blessed with a daughter who is a true joy.  She is definitely coming into her own when it comes to her growing into who she is. And with every sweet precious girl, a little bit of sass is apparent (she is her mother’s daughter!)

But I can’t complain about her.  When she was a precious babe, I would hear from so many well meaning parents who would tell me to just wait until she became a teenager. Just wait. Then I would want to pull my hair out. Then I would agonize over having a daughter.

But, and perhaps this is me being naïve, I don’t think we are in for hard years with our daughter.  Our precious Madi.  I don’t mean that we are going to go through life bump free. But I don’t think that when she becomes a teenager, life will suddenly become terrible with her.

Being the momma of a daughter is special.  Some of us are blessed to have more than one daughter.  My daddy had three girls who looked up to him and thought the world of him. Our Daddy was our first knight in shining armor. He was our hero.  Madi looks at her daddy and sees a man who loves her unconditionally. The bar is set really high for the special young man who will one day love our daughter and marry her. I am praying for him specifically. I can’t wait for that young man to one day join our family.

But for now, our daughter is ours.  She is being raised in our household.  We are striving to teach her His word. To cling to what is good. To love others and to serve God with her whole heart and mind and body.

Madi is entering a stage and age groups where the need for attention is real. Showing off, being front and center, being noticed, wanting to be valued…those are real messages that will be vying for my daughter’s attention and for her heart.

So, as her momma, who understands the pull of the world and whose own heart has been pulled and affected, I want her to cling to this:

“That according to the riches of his glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith-that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19 ESV

I want her to know who she is and to WHO she belongs to.

My daughter is also an athlete. The shirt she is wearing tonight says “Don’t show off-Just Show Up.”

In the fitness world, it is easy to see how that applies.  We show up each day for our workouts.  We don’t show off our awesome muscles just because we want to look good. If it is a part of our life, we do it daily, regardless.

As we walk it out with Jesus, we need to show up daily.  Christianity is not a cool club to belong to.  My daughter will soon see from some of those who don’t share her beliefs that being a Christ follower isn’t so easy.  It takes showing up.

I want my daughter ultimately to realize that she doesn’t need to show off in order to gain anyone’s love or approval.  With so many things that will be vying for her attention and heart, I want her to instead focus on showing up in the things that matter.

*Show up in love and compassion for her friends that are in need of it, even if she is without words.

*Show up each day in His word, so that she may be empowered by His Holy Spirit and to be guided by Him when she faces decisions she is unsure about.

*Show up in offering grace, even when others withhold it, for God did not withhold His own son from us.

*Show up daily by offering hope found only in Jesus.

*Show up daily as a friend. As a Daughter. As a princess of the King.

She doesn’t need to compete or show off in order to prove how valuable she is. God loves my precious daughter.  He loves her more than I do.  He wants good for her, He wants to give good gifts to her more than I do.

My job is not to make her life pleasurable and happy. Happy is a by-product.  My job as her mother is to raise her to walk with the King and to love Him with her whole heart, mind and soul. That will take the rest of her life, and she will most definitely falter some moments. But grace upon grace and the willingness to run towards Him even in failure, she will learn and grow to fall more in love with Him and fulfill His will.

I can’t wait to see what God does in the life of my beautiful daughter.

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

Sweat and Freedom: An 8 Week Journey

I am so excited to announce my next virtual fitness accountability group, that is set to begin on September 11th.

It is called Sweat & Freedom: An 8 Week Fitness and Faith journey.

You will notice that this particular group will be a bit longer than most of my groups in the past.

That is because we will not just be working out together and drinking Shakeology and eating healthier to fuel our bodies. We will also be digging deep into His word together through an 8 book/study called The Wellness Revelation by Alisa Keeton, Founder of Revelation Wellness.

In this book and study, she will be challenging us to not only get fit, but to also get fit with God and experience true freedom. It is designed to help you change the way you see yourself and the way you live.  I am so excited by this book and I am excited to offer it as part of my virtual groups in the coming months. Because this is eight weeks long, here are some new details for this specific group.

*This group will run for 8 weeks beginning on September 11th.  No exceptions to the start date.  I want us all to start at the same time, which is why I am announcing it now to give you ample time to prepare (both body and heart!) So with that being said, the final day you will be able to sign up and join us will be on September 6th.

*This will require investment and action from you. What that means is, you must be willing to invest in purchasing this study and/or your fitness plan* so that you can not only study, but put all that you are learning into ACTION.  My job is to help you reach those health goals, and if you aren’t willing to take action steps, it will be very hard to reach them.

*Those that purchase a Fitness pack from me (that includes a fitness program, All Access Beachbody on Demand, Shakeology, or Beachbody Performance) will have their book paid for in the form of an Amazon gift card. If you are willing to invest in yourself, I will invest in you. I believe in you.

*This will be via Facebook groups.  I will be doing Live videos/workouts/inspiration and going over the material that we read with you.  Due to unique nature of this group, I want us to be as connected as possible. I want to chat with you. I want us to connect and grow and learn together.

I would love to have as many women as possible join us in this journey.  I think it will be huge because God is doing a NEW thing.  Fitness and health doesn’t have to look like what the media tells us it should. We can be health and whole and pursue Jesus with our whole being. Let’s worship Him together as we strengthen our bodies and strengthen our faith. Let’s Dig in.

To apply and be considered for the group, please go here. Again, please do not delay, as we start soon and I want us all to start together.

*You do not have to purchase a Beachbody program to be in this group with me. I am making this a one time exception. However, you must have a plan and be willing to do it and be willing to buy your book. I realize that many of us have different plans we enjoy following. The point of this specific group is to experience true freedom. There is no one size fits all in health and fitness, except Jesus. He is for everyone!*

**You also must not be a coach or already be working with a coach.  I really want this to be a resource and a group for those that are my people and are really wanting to transform.

Be a Size You,

Tiffany

 

Some Words Don’t Need to be Repeated

My husband and I are very different in how we respond to criticism and doubt in regards to our dreams and abilities.

I am completely stubborn. I don’t respond to the words “You Can’t” very easily. I don’t like hearing about how limited I am in my education, abilities, or resources.

I respond 95% of the time with the attitude of watch me. I will literally stare you in the face as you tell me I can’t do something, and smile at you.

That sounds passive aggressive, I know, and I don’t mean for it to be. It is just that those hurtful and critical words are used as fuel for me.

Not so for my husband.

He is far more sensitive than I. He chooses words carefully. When he was younger, he had a learning disability and struggled in school. He had a high school counselor tell him that he probably wouldn’t excel in college. (Between you and me, that absolutely ticks me off and I would so have words with her.) Those words wounded him. So much so that he figured he would just go into the military.

And then my husband became a pastor. A kid who struggled to read and hated speaking up in class, would speak on stage week after week to college age kids and services at church. And he was amazing at it.

Today, I realized again how different we are in how we respond to those who doubt our abilities.

I repeated something that I shouldn’t have to him. Not that I was supposed to keep it a secret. Someone expressed their doubts about his ability to do something, and me, being offended for him and having my “We’ll show you attitude” I repeated the words and declared that this will only fuel us.

Only, it didn’t fuel him.

It broke him.

I started to walk away confident and determined, and instead, I watched my strong, handsome, and compassionate husband begin to cry.

Have you ever seen a man cry? It is the most heartbreaking thing in the world.

His spirit was broken because I chose to repeat something that really shouldn’t have been repeated. He did not respond the way I do to hurtful criticism.

It breaks his spirit instead.

And that breaks my heart.

I absolutely believe God made me a strong woman, especially mentally. My stubbornness that many take as a weakness, can used for good.

God made my husband a tender warrior. He listens far better than I do, and he is far more compassionate than I am.

He is a far better leader than I am.

I felt so bad for the words I repeated. Even though they were not what I thought were the truth, I was offended for him, my repeating them was just as hurtful. I have to own that part.

Ladies, we are so different from our spouses. We have to remember that just because someone else says it, does not mean we need to repeat it.

Let’s use our words when talking to our husband’s to encourage and uplift. Some things don’t need to be repeated. If others don’t believe in your spouse, please don’t add to the noise. Fight for him. Edify with your words. Show him love and support by actively serving him and meeting his needs. Be selfless, not selfish.

It was a hard, but good lesson for me today as to how different Dan and I are. But it is good that we are a little different. The more we mess up together, the more we can see what each other really needs.

Be a Size You,

Tiffany

Hope In Front Of Me

Lately, I have been having heart breaking conversations with friends and those I have connected with via social media. 

Loss, marriage struggles, job loss, financial struggle, parenting, and so much more.

It seems walking out our faith takes a lot out of us. It is hard some days.

And for a lot of us, it may feel like those days are never going to come to an end.

Music has always been an encourager in my life. I know I have mentioned before, but when a song comes on with just the right words that match what my heart is feeling, it is like I am strengthened or moved to action. It is like God allows powerful words into my life that will remind me of the hope I have.

We were cleaning the house today, and the song by Danny Gokey “Hope In Front of Me” came on.
I was touched by these words:

There’s hope in front of me

There’s a light, I still see it

There’s a hand still holding me

Even when I don’t believe it

I might be down but I’m not dead

There’s brighter days still up ahead

Even after all I’ve seen

There’s hope in front me

Danny Gokey “Hope In Front of Me” 2014

You might be down, but girlfriend…you are not dead!

The same God who created the heavens and earth sees you and loves you.

The same God who can raise the dead to life can raise you from whatever valley you find yourself in. As painful as it is and hurt as you may be feeling right, God absolutely 100% hears your cries for help. It may not come in the time you wish, but He has not left you alone. 

I remember those long nights when my heart was so broken, I was so unsure of what tomorrow would bring. I wasn’t sure I could take much more. But sister, that is the point. We cannot rely on our own strength in hard times. It is in His strength and power that we are able to overcome. He did not call us to be wonder women. He called us to be His. 

And when we allow our brokenness and pain to be laid bare at Him who can heal, you see the glory of who He is and just what He is capable of doing in the lives and hearts of His precious daughters. 

So you are not dead. There is hope for those of us in Christ.

Be a Size You,

Tiffany 

When Opportunities Arise, Do We Pray Boldly?

Mug from CrossTraining Couture

The morning I took this picture, it was after a pretty exciting night of opportunity for my family.  Let’s just say, if God so wills, it could be a pretty amazing thing for Dan and for our calling into ministry.

I woke up excited, slightly anxious (I hate the waiting and the unknown).  I texted a few soul sisters of mine who I could count on for their prayers and encouragement.

I prayed boldly. I have been praying boldly. When you pray, do you pray bold prayers?

I know so often, we pray generic prayers like

“Lord, if it is your will, then let it be done.”

Which is true. We should be praying in all things for it to be God’s will. That it is because what we are praying for is for Kingdom glory and not for our own. But get specific. It is okay to ask for something specifically.

When Dan decided to leave the Ranch, and he had not job in sight at the time, we prayed boldly together for the opportunity to get back into the local church. That is where our heart was and that is where we wanted to be.  I have always believed that God has specifically called Dan to local church ministry.  He has had his fair share of tossing around other career ideas, but you can’t burn out the flame of God’s call on your life.

Ministry is Dan’s calling.  It won’t die out until God says it is time to be done.

During that time, while in my In Laws home, I created a prayer door.  I would use post it notes and place my prayers on that door. I prayed for my kids while they attended school. For our transition into ministry. For provision.  I prayed for Dan’s call into ministry.

I prayed for my team.

When Dan got the job at Cornerstone Church, I prayed for a place for us to live. I was even specific about what we would love to live in.  I prayed for the education choice I was going to have to make for my kids.

I didn’t get everything I wanted. But I got everything I needed.

That is what prayer does.  It is our way of communicating with our Heavenly Father who sees what we need and even sees what we want.  We get to lay it all out in front of Him. And in His goodness, like a loving daddy who desires to give good gifts to his children, that is what our Heavenly Father does. We don’t get everything we want, but we get everything we need.

I see too often women who love Jesus afraid to pray bold prayers because they think that if they do, then it won’t happen. No, sweet sister. Pray your bold prayers! Get on your knees before Him and share those heartfelt desires of yours. What are those needs? What are your dreams?

Do you get excited about the opportunities that come your way? Do you pray boldly for them? Can I challenge you to do that?

Let’s get excited about the possibilities God places in front us to serve His people. Love God. Love His people.  Whether they are job opportunities, ministry opportunities, or just the chance coffee date with a new gal pal, get excited about it.

You may not get everything you want. But you will get everything you need.

I am constantly encouraged when I read in Matthew 21:13

“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

I am also encouraged to pray boldly when in Psalm 37:4 calls us to:

“Delight yourselves in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Delight in my heavenly Father. When I spend time kneeling before Him and pouring out my heart to Him and digging into His precious Word so that I can be more and more like Him, the more my prayers are molded to reflect His heart. I don’t spend time with Him or delight in Him because I want to get what I want.

I delight in Him because I know, like with any good father, that I may not get everything I want.

But I will get everything I need.

And He is faithful always with what we present before Him.

Pray boldly,

Tiffany

Loving Our Neighbors

Photo by Suzy Collins via She Works His Way
Photo by Suzy Collins via She Works His Way

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7 ESV

“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” 1 John 3:16 ESV

Have you ever felt, that perhaps as Christians, we are more known for the things we are against, than we are about our love for Jesus and for God’s people?

Have you been getting that sense?

When I watch the news at home, or when I am perusing social media, I see a lot of adjectives that describe those who follow Christ, and they aren’t pretty. The fruit of the Spirit is not evident in the eyes of public opinion.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5: 22-23 ESV

It is more evident about what we are against than what we are for during the political seasons in our country. It is the truth. More and more Christians will stand up with their Bibles blazing and their cherry picked verses to share why America is going in a terrible direction. We will share Memes that are passive aggressive in nature to let those who are not believers (without calling them out by name) why they are wrong.

I even read a comment on IG from a Christian woman that said if she were to be at a location where there was drinking or a bar, even if she were not participating in drinking, and she was with her friends who were drinking,  it would still be a sin and it would ruin HER Christian testimony.

What?

Sisters, there is a time to hold onto convictions. There are certain things I choose not to do because I know people are watching and I never want to make a new believer or even a person who is searching confused. I am not saying that we should not live above reproach. If you read the passages above Galatians 5:22-23, it lays out the Spirit of the flesh. (Context matters!)

Yet, when I look back on ministry of Jesus, He hung with sinners. He hung with tax collectors, fishermen, even a liar who would betray Him. Yet He loved, and He served them, and He prayed over them.

He broke bread with them. He wept over them.

Isn’t Jesus the example?  What does it serve us, truly, to mock others? To be angry? The direction of our country may not be ideal, very true, but I still believe GOD is in control.

If we see a fellow sister in Christ who may be acting or behaving or making choices that are dangerous or even sinful, social media is not the place for correction. Speaking the truth and reprimands should always be done in love and with a desire to restore a believer. It should never be done to condemn. We are not perfect people.  I can easily list off my own sins.

My point is this, sisters, we need to LOVE more. We need exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit. We need to pray for the Holy Spirit to fill us daily because cannot exhibit His love, His peace, His kindness, His gentleness, patience, goodness, self-control, faithfulness, joy on our own. It is impossible.

May we use our public testimonies not to tell those who do not follow Him what we are against, but what we are for. We cannot expect those who do not know Him to believe in Him or to behave like Christians. But, we can pray. We can love them.

We are for His kingdom. We are for love. We are for joy. They will know that we follow Him when we exhibit His standard of righteousness and love.

Be a Size You,

Tiffany