Archive for the ‘My Faith’ Category

My Greatest Fear

Monday, August 1st, 2016

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

~Marianne Williamson in A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

My light does frighten me. I am afraid of center stage, where hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and pride can so easily take over. I am afraid to face those who would admire and look up to me simply because of what I do for a living. I am afraid to do too well, be too successful. I can deal with and accept my darkness. My flaws and failings are all too apparent, daily. Even hourly. There are glaring gaps in my character that scream at me to stay in a place of condemnation and false humility. I am more comfortable with my sins and flaws than I am with my strengths and giftings.

No more.

I am a midwife.

This is a truth I am trying with all my heart to embrace fully.

No, I have not achieved certification, and still have a ways to go before I do, but it is still the truth. A midwife is who I am. I say it not as a credential, but as an identifying characteristic, like being a wife and a mother.

I have played small up until now, deferring to others rather than stepping into the role for which I was created with confidence and humility.

No more.

From now on, I will serve the world. I will be brilliant. I choose to shine brightly and make manifest the glory of God, in whose image I am created.

I will do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God as a midwife. Confident. Able. Strong. All to reflect his glory and his Name.

I will liberate others to shine, and to walk in the strengths God has given them. Only then can I overcome this weakness of false humility and hypocrisy. I am a child of God, and I will conduct myself as such.

I am a midwife, and I will not play small to fear any longer, by the power of the God who created me, called me, and equipped me.

I will trust in Him. I will not be afraid.

And I will not hide anymore.

I See a Mountain Crumbling.

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

It is 3:05pm, and I am just having my first cup of coffee.

As many of you know, our family has had a rough six weeks of getting virus after virus. Levi is the only one who remained relatively unscathed, skidding through with nothing more than a sore throat and niggling cough. Until last night, when a tummy bug hit us all pretty hard, but was thankfully short-lived. Still, it hit at night. While we were supposed to be sleeping.

I didn’t do much of that. Instead, I spent half the night working with Levi to bathe two pukey kids, remove pukey sheets, and try to hunt down clean blankets to replace the puked-on ones.

We have an abundance of blankets in our house, but between getting hit by virus after virus for the past six weeks, and a cat with a tendency to pee on things, we’re fresh out.

I spent the rest of the night tossing and turning, trying to ignore the nauseous feeling in my stomach, and on pins and needles listening for any more vomit eruptions coming from the rooms next to us.

At least our two oldest make it to the toilet now – it’s only the two youngest who have yet to master that vital life skill. It’s so much easier to minister with nothing but a cool cloth and whispered assurances than to clean anything (let alone regurgitated dinner) in the bleary-eyed middle-of-the-night state I was in.

Am I really blogging about vomit?

Yes. Yes I am. I apologize.

It’s just that I am so very tired of being sick. Just as we all begin to really feel well, something else hits. It’s been like that for so many families of our acquaintance lately. I think everyone has had a rough winter where this is concerned. Everything we’ve had has gone around every circle I belong to. It’s gotten quite ridiculous. A few friends of mine have theorized that these viruses are being passed around via Facebook.

It’s incredibly hard to maintain any kind of godly, grateful attitude about any of it.

A few things dawned on me the last time I was sick. Things that I’m certain only apply to me, myself, and I, so don’t take this as me telling you how you should feel about whatever you’re handling at the moment. Also, pardon me for any rambling. I blame the late coffee.

God is sifting me, showing me some gaping holes in my walk.

God can use even microbes to reveal me to myself. That self is not entirely…mature about this whole thing. I have thrown more pity-parties in the past six weeks than I have in the past year, I think.

You may think I’m over-spiritualizing things, but I don’t think so. It’s hard to explain, unless you’ve been there. There’s never a doubt when God speaks. It’s like labor – you may have a few false alarms, but when the real thing starts, you KNOW.

Through these illnesses, I’ve been forced away from my mainstay of spiritual nourishment – my home church – and have found that I have left myself nothing else to stand on, whatsoever. Godly conviction is growing in my mind. Conviction I don’t really want to give full voice to, here on this blog, for fear that I will overstep my bounds and assume I know what God is asking me. I know the parameters. I know the first step. I just have to take it.

That abundance of blankets I spoke of earlier? They have created a veritable mountain of colorfully soft stinky-ness in my hallway. A mountain that will only be conquered one blanket at a time, probably for days, before it is diminished to nothing. I look at it and sigh, anticipating the length of time it’s going to take to make any visible progress.

This conviction I carry is like that. I look at it and think, “Why bother? I’m only going to fail again”. Then, I realize that God is not asking me for forever. He’s only asking me for today.

Just today.

Still, even today is hard. Even today feels mountainous all by itself. A mountain that will only be conquered one step, one prayer, one simple act of faith at a time, until it is diminished to nothing in the day I finally stand face-to-face with the God who held me the whole way.

I praise God that it is He who is working in me. It is He who has allowed us to be laid out in sickness, for His good purpose. I don’t claim to know the whole purpose, but I know enough to see that part of it lies in His desire to see me grow, to become more like Him. To see me take action on a conviction that has been growing in me for a year. To reassure me that He’s not finished with me.

He’s not asking anything of me that He hasn’t asked of each of his children before:

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. …May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, 23-24 (NIV – emphasis mine)

I’m so glad I serve a faithful God, who loves me enough to discipline me and get my attention (even if said discipline pretty much sucked). Who loves me enough to remind me of what His will is for me. Who loves me enough to ask all this of me, then pours out His grace by telling me that He will take on the largest part of the burden, and do His will in me and through me. All I have to do is choose joy, prayer, and gratitude.

I can manage that. After all, the Holy Spirit lives within me, and with God, nothing is impossible.

I see a mountain crumbling.

What is God teaching you lately? What mountains are you facing? How can I pray for you?

~Tiffany

Day 22: My Favorite Book

Thursday, March 10th, 2011


If I take this Book of Books out of the equation as the obvious answer, I could no more choose a favorite book than I could choose a favorite among my children. It’s not possible for me. One day, Anne of Green Gables is my favorite, the next, it’s The Lord of the Rings.

Above and behind it all, though, is my First Love. The Word of God. Nothing has the transformative power the Bible does.

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” ~Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)

It holds the power of rebirth.

“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” ~1 Peter 1:23 (NIV)

It’s applicable now, in my daily walk.

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” ~2 Timothy 3:14-17 (NIV)

It brings comfort.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” ~Psalm 23:4 (NIV)

It holds precious promises I can look to when I need encouragement to keep going.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:6,7 (NIV)

It helps me find my way.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” ~Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

It tells me that I matter. That on this dirt speck of a planet in the midst of a nearly infinite cosmos, God’s eye is on me. His heart loves me, and He made me for Something.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

It tells me of God’s deep love.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” ~John 3:16,17 (NIV)

Most importantly, it leads to salvation.

“That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” ~Romans 10:9-11 (NIV-emphasis mine)

And there is so much more. There is always something new to glean. Some new conviction, encouragement, knowledge, comfort, or blessing to be found. It gets deeper and richer every time I open it, and I don’t open it enough!

How could it not be my favorite?

Do you have a favorite book? How about a favorite passage of Scripture in the Bible? Have you read the Bible at all? Why or why not? Any questions about where to start? Feel free to ask!

May God speak to your heart today.

~Tiffany

Petty and Small

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

I am petty and small.
Good at making mountains out of mole hills.
Being childish when it suits my purpose,
giving way unnecessarily to emotions.

I can’t be as clear-headed as I think I am.
I can’t be logical more than rarely.

I am a woman undone.

Raw and wounded.

A monsoon of my chaotic thoughts stirs up everything within me,
yet I take it out on the faultless?

I make no sense.

Because I am petty and small.

I have blinded myself to the blessings around me,
discontented with the small and daily.

I grope and stumble around, looking for solutions,
wishing for a big sister to just come and tell me what to do.

I’ve forgotten how to pray in the middle of storms.

“Please God, help.” is all I can get out.

I don’t know what I need.
Do I want to know what I need?

What if it’s hard?
What if it’s too hard, and I fail again?

See?

I am petty and small.
Not as good as everyone seems to think I am.

“Compromise is calling.
What if I stumble, what if I fall?
What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all?
Will the love continue, when my walk becomes a crawl?”

I am petty and small.

But God wants more.

“Everyone’s got to crawl when they’re up against a wall.”

I am up against a wall now.

I’ve Lost the Plot

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Please, watch this first, all the way through. I’ll wait.

Did you watch it? Good. Now you can read.

By far, this is the best song the Newsboys ever wrote. It never fails to convict me. It came to mind just now, as I was sharing a scripture with a friend, in the hopes of encouraging her. Yet, I’ve ceased to live that scripture myself in the past several weeks.

Apparently, all it takes to knock my faith down a peg or two is a virus. All it takes to get me to start grumbling and complaining is a physical, fleshly complaint.

All it takes to get me to forget that Jesus is coming back soon, and people around me are dying without Him, is a stinking microscopic germ.

Pathetic.

The battle of the flesh has proven that I need to keep building my foundation, brick by brick. That I need to not only keep my eyes on the end of the story, but on the plot going on around me. The plot I’m at the center of. The daily grind that should be daily worship.

Have I lost my first love? Did I forget what He forgave?

I hate to face these questions, but I need to, daily. Busy or not. Sick or not. How dare I neglect the One I claim to love the most? Indeed, my spirit is so very willing, but my flesh is ridiculously weak.

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?”

~Romans 7:15-24 (NIV)

This describes me perfectly. What I want to do (what is right and good), I do not do often enough, if at all. What I don’t want to do (give in to my flesh or temptations to sin) I do far too often. And what’s sad is that I know where my weak spot is. I don’t meet God face-to-face each day. I’ve come to realize that, while I cannot beat myself up for not being perfect; there is no excuse for me not to try. He gave his very life for me. His very blood. And I can’t even find a few minutes to just talk to him?

I seem to find plenty of time to do almost anything else I desire to do. *coughbloggingcough*

I may have lost the plot these past weeks, but I have found it again. I am so glad I serve the God of mercy and grace.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” ~1 John 1:9 (NIV)

Here’s to new starts, and the wonderful Grace that allows them!

Day 17: Deep Impact

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Today’s topic in the photo challenge is to share a picture of something that has made a big impact on me recently. While my pastor and his wife are not “things,” they are what came to mind immediately. Technically, if I want to be precise, it’s the Word of God that has made the impact. However, it’s the Word of God spoken through the mouths and lives of this couple that has impacted me deeply lately.

I won’t go into detail, as the Holy Spirit and I are still hammering those out between us – and by that I mean “He’s speaking, and I’m trying to get the house quiet enough for me to hear what He’s saying”.

These two walk the talk. They practice what they preach.

Pastor Jim’s words challenge me simply because he speaks the Truth. No varnish, whatsoever. And sometimes, it galls and hurts and makes me uncomfortable. Then, when I let go, and listen, I find that I am set free by that uncomfortable Truth. And when Kathy speaks into my life, I can see in her face that she’s been where I am. That she gets it. That she knows that what she’s saying to me shakes me to my core, but she says it anyway, because she loves me too much not to.

My pastor and his wife know my name, but not much beyond that, but it is obvious that they love me. And that their love for me (and everyone else in their little flock) is the foundation of everything they say and do.

It’s hard NOT to be majorly impacted by that fierce combination of Love and Truth, tempered with Grace and Humility.

I thank God for them. Pastor – if you get a chance to read this, I want you to know that God is using you. I don’t know how often you get to hear that your words and what you teach from the pulpit matters. So I’m saying it now. Kathy, your life and walk matter to this young housewife. I love you both dearly, and only wish I could know you better.

I pray for this dear couple as often as I can. They are so good at what they do, that I cannot believe the Enemy will just let them alone. They carry so much, and I hope I can lessen their load, even a little, by my small prayers.

What or who impacts you?

~Tiffany

I just need a moment.

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

I just need a moment to breathe.

To sleep.

I’m very much finished with this week, thought it’s not really over.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~Mathew 11:28-30 (NIV)

I just need a moment to lay down my burdens.

And take up His instead.

Day 5: So THIS is how much He loves me!

Saturday, February 5th, 2011


The birth of my firstborn.

I will never forget that moment.

The moment I felt the weight of him in my arms instead of my belly.

Before his cord was cut or the placenta was birthed.

Before I even saw his face.

I finally knew.

That I could never give him up for anyone’s sake.

Ever.

And I thought to myself, “So this is how much You love me!”

And I wept.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” ~John 15:13 (NIV)

This was day 5 in the 30-day Photo Challenge, and I was to share a picture of my favorite memory. I couldn’t think of a better memory than this. Today, anyway.

What is your favorite memory?

~Tiffany

Double Post! Thankful Thursday + Photo Challenge Day 3

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

First of all, I just wanted to update everyone on my dad. He had his latest MRI yesterday, and we have some mixed news to report. Three of the four tumors they killed a couple of months ago have shrunk in size. One of them stayed the same. That fourth one will be watched carefully, and Dad is still not allowed to drive. It may be incurable, but there’s still a chance of it going into remission, as a good friend reminded me.

My hope has not died. My faith has not left. Thank you so much for praying – please don’t stop! I am so uplifted, convicted, and encouraged by your prayers. Encouraged to live in repentance, and to press in closer to my Abba Father. After all:

“In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” ~Job 12:10 (NIV)

What have I to really worry about? Nothing.

Today, I am thankful that my dad’s tumors are mostly shrinking. I am thankful that there are no new ones to report. I am thankful for the prayers and support of so many people, I couldn’t begin to name them all. I am thankful for people who are willing to drop everything and just pray with me over the phone. I am thankful that God the Creator will not take his hand away from those who love him.

I’m thankful for the 30 Day Photo Challenge. It’s given me something fun to do, and easy. (Nice segway, right?) I am thankful for good entertainment, that lets me laugh and enjoy someone else’s God-given creativity:

30 Day Photo Challenge, Day 3: A Picture of the Cast From Your Favorite TV Show

Levi and I haven’t watched TV regularly since the series finale of the show which shall not be named. We were turned on to this series awhile back, by I forget who. (Was it you?)

I am thankful for Firefly. The only show in history to get canceled, then have a movie made of it! Joss Whedon created something amazing here. Kind of a western-meets-Star Wars. Only, it’s way better than Star Wars. (No offense.) It’s that good, people.

And the movie? Oh! That’s called Serenity, and it ties up all the wide-open loose ends the show wasn’t able to.

If you don’t like brilliant writing, great action, plot twists, or characters with quirky depth, then don’t bother. If you do like all those things, then pop yourself some popcorn and let yourself be amazed.

Shiny!

This month’s host for Thankful Thursday is Iris at Grace Alone. Link up with the other participants there.

What are you thankful for this week? What’s your favorite show?

Thanks again for all your prayers. I’m truly blessed to know you.

~Tiffany

Incurable.

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

A word I had a hard time facing, in black-and-white today. I already knew it, somewhere in the back of my mind, for awhile now. To see it typed out in Times New Roman in an email was too much for me this morning. So, I reached out, on Facebook, for encouragement and prayer. I received them, in abundance. Once again proving that I have better friends than I could ever have earned.

I am blessed.

Still, the word is there. Looming in the background. Ugly. Scary. Final.

Incurable.

My father’s melanoma is incurable, because it took up residence in his brain.

Several four-letter words come to mind when I think of cancer. Then, when I reached out, another four-letter word blasted the others to smithereens:

LOVE.

My dad may have incurable cancer, but cancer doesn’t know that LOVE NEVER FAILS. Cancer doesn’t know that though it may take my dad’s body; through the Cross, the taking of his body is, in fact, ultimate healing. Cancer doesn’t know that Jesus bought victory over cancer, death, and the grave with his very blood.

Cancer doesn’t know that Love has a face.

His name is Jesus.

And cancer doesn’t know that it cannot isolate us. That we are never alone.

Cancer doesn’t know that it is beaten.

Incurable?

Cancer has obviously never heard of Heaven.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” ~1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV)

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” ~Revelation 21:4 (NIV)

“Incurable” is in the eye of the beholder. I choose to behold true healing – whether in this life or the next is entirely up to Jehovah Rapha – God my Healer.

Thanks, Erica, for sharing the following song today. I desperately needed the inspiration and comfort. (The lyrics are HERE.) Thank you, Sara, for giving me permission to break stuff if I need to. Not only are you my ass-kicking fairy, you are my verbal hug fairy. Thank you to every one of you who reached out to comfort and encourage me today.

“How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?” ~1 Thessalonians 3:9 (NIV)

And I mean that.

Incurable. A lie from the pit of hell.

This post is dedicated, first and foremost, to my mom. Her faith – as weak as she thinks it is – is the faith of giants. She inspires me like no other woman I know. Period.

I, here and now, rise up and call my mother “Blessed.” She is my blessing, my friend, my confidante, my dearest of mothers. Her worth is, indeed, far above rubies. And I want the world to know it. Words are not enough, though I have plenty of them, to express my love and admiration for so stalwart a woman. She believes she is weak – but we all know that means that she is, indeed, strong. I love you, Mom.

I am counting this as Day 2 for the Photo Challenge as well – a picture of someone I’ve been closest with the longest. My parents certainly fit the bill. They’ve known me longer than I’ve been earth-side, love me, accept me, and we’ve always been pretty darn close.

I appreciate each of you who are reading this, my friends. Always.

~Tiffany