WHO YOU ARE!

There is a battle brewing in the world. Some would say it’s war against nations. Some would say it’s a battle in the workplace. Others say it is among familiies. According to our Pastor, Terry Crist, he says the REAL issue is the issue of identity. We all struggle with  the question, “WHO AM I?  WHO WAS I CREATED TO BE?”

It makes sense that the common man wants to belong and be important somehow.

WE have a choice: One can listen to how the world defines him/her or one can listen to how GOD defines him/her. This is the message I want Tatum to hear. Her identity, our identity, is what GOD says about her and us.

So, Tatum here it is:

YOU ARE LOVED BY GOD; that is your identity. You will struggle with wanting to be affirmed by people. This is natural! But do you know what? A mistaken identity will lead to wrong behavior. This comes from Proverbs 23:7, As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he!”

Honey, spend time on your inner man. Spend time nurturing your soul and getting to know God. Know that He loves you with All that He is. You must understand who GOD made you to be. (too many people spend time on their bodies and minds and relationships and although VERY IMPORTANT, they can’t define you.)

Sure, you have your hard work. Some will say, “She is such hard worker.” Awesome!IMG_0811 IMG_0812That may be true. But that is not WHO you are.

Others will say, “Oh, that Tatum…she is so smart and well read!” She keeps on the latest world news, reads the funnies, enjoys books.. Again, wonderful! But this is not WHO you are.IMG_0817 IMG_0816 IMG_0815 IMG_0814 IMG_0813And then others will try to define you by your relationships. You have many loved ones, and even in church, when others are running amok, you listen and are kind. IMG_0819This is all important and good. BUT your identity is being at the HEART of God and His HEART is Jesus, His gift to us. YOU are more than the identities the world gives you. Ephesians 1:11 says IN Christ, we found out who we are. As a follower of Jesus, your identity comes from your relationship with him. 2 Corinthians 5:15-17 “and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.…”

Tatum, you are a NEW creation. Not as a little beautiful girl (although true), but ONE LOVED AND ADORED BY GOD. He has GIVEN you Jesus. Jesus gave HIS life so you could not only have Him live in your heart but also to have a relationship with GOD!

1. It’s a complete transformation. AND now..We live with a GREAT expression of gratitude and great expectation. 1 Peter 1: 3-4″ Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” WE ARE IN HIM!

2.  We now live a resurrected life. HE CAME TO GIVE US LIFE! (A new one!) and He came to give us life abundant. You’re a new self, Tot. Colossians 3: 1-3 “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.…”

3. SO this world gets tough and the people in it may disappoint, but know that your citizenship is in heaven and you’re a new citizen with a REAL Father. Jesus is your LORD (God is your FATHER!) Phil 3:8-10: “More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;…”

Tatum, your identity is that of a child of THE Father. God. He gave us Jesus, His son, who died so that we may LIVE LIFE ABUNDANTLY and to HIS glory! Let’s do that. Let’s make the most of our life, loving others, being a light, leading others to the truth, and putting our FAITH in Jesus.

I love you darling, and may you always remember WHO YOU ARE.

 

 

Another resurrected dress

My mom told me I put it on backwards!
How could I have known since I wore this dress when I was 2. That was a wee bit long ago.
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She looks much better than I ever did…the little Tot.

A day with the MOMS!

And what a blessing it is. I’m part of a tremendous group called Mom’s of the City (MOTC). The joy of being part of this group last year as a SAHM enabled me to make a bunch of close mommy friends and friends for Tot. It’s also a group that believes that you just have to be REAL and show up. We all come twice a month for sharing, praying, encouraging, and laughing! Tot gets to be with her friends at the same time.

This next year, I have been asked to be a table leader. This means I’ll be loving on about 8 women as I help them build stronger bonds with not only each other but Jesus and His love. Being a part of the leadership also means I had to attend a meeting this Saturday all day. What was I to do with the Tot? Well, dear Janette had the same issue, so I brought Tatum over to play with her boy, Levi, and she hired a sitter, Jackie, for the whole day. They had a B..L..A..S..T!!! This calmed me and also made her so happy! 
IMG_0376Jackie mentioned she was so kind and polite the whole time. This also made me smile!

Of course we had to start the day with a devotion and quick story as usual. This starts the day out with a positive spin and a calm mind!

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The Father to the fatherless

That is who HE is.

Comfort. The word of the day is COMFORT. I’m not only comforted by this truth, but TOT is comforted. How do I know? Psalm 68:5 “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.”

Psalm 10: 14 “to you the helpless commits himself;  you have been the helper of the fatherless…..17 O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed.”

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Knowing that Tatum may face fear in her life…or persecution…or struggle, I am comforted that she is to be covered with God’s protection. And….so are the 150 million orphans around the world. Step up. Do something.

IMG_6460I love you Tatum. Thank you Father God for being her Father and loving her beyond what any human
can comprehend. Your future is bright my darling.
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It is good. Very good.

Good? Friday. No, there is no question after that word. It is good. Very good.

I was just reading a post (Put it to Rest) I wrote last year, and I was reminded of how death can be such a beautiful thing. It has no sting if it is recognized as a chance for a new beginning.

1 Cor 15: 55-57:  “Death is swallowed up in victory.”; O death, where is your victory?; O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

That “sting” can be the part you put to rest and say, “NO MORE!!!” The rest (double entendre here..) is victory. What I put to rest, that is victorious because I can say goodbye to something and know that it will be redeemed for GOOD. What is leftover, the rest, is God’s beautiful redemption. A new creation. The rest may rest, but is redeemed.

Is your head spinning?

Yes, I overthink it, but truly, this is all about LETTING GO (sssssssubmitting) of whatever you want to control or HAVE and say, “I can no longer make all the balls in the air dance. I want to let them fall and know that you have them dancing without my hands in the way.”

Here is my list of the balls I have in the air. Let HIM make them dance.

Tatum (her future)

Dating and what the future holds for a cohesive family

My friendships

My career (whatever that may look like)

My finances

My health.

There’s probably more, but that is enough balls for one post.

I give them to you Jesus. I have no fear because you just took it ALL on the cross for me. YOU did it FOR ME. Your yolk is so heavy and mine can be so light. All I can do is all I can do.

Thank you for these three days to ponder the depth, breadth, height and weight of your love for me, Father. That you would give your son, YOU in a bod, up, knowing that we will be reunited with YOU through HIM.

 

 

 

O’s and staying power

Cheerios have a great purpose. They keep Tatum focused through the sermon, and she really does listen! Those little O’s should be marketed as a cereal with staying power. Plus, they fit on her little fingers.

Really, an abundant life is illustrated by a simple Cheerio.

First, they are round. Round things just feel good to hold;

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there are no sharp edges and they are complete. Our lives can be complete if we let them. Why is it so hard to just be OK with the “not there yet” mentality. That circle does not seem to close in our lives because of something not quite right at the moment. Yet, Paul points out that God said, ““My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Cor 12:9). Sure, it can sound cliche, but honestly, we need grace. Why? Because we will ALWAYS feel incomplete; even when we THINK we have it all together. That circle only closes when we throw up our arms and just say DONE…I’m done trying to make everything so perfect!

Second, they are easy to clean up.

You can spill Cheerios everywhere, but a few sweeps, and poof! All clean. No fuss no muss.

IMG_5551I know when I mess up, I can make it messier than it was in the first place. Usually because of an unforgiving spirit, unmet expectations, or just plain selfishness. How hard is it to take a broom and just sweep it clean? “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” Ps 103:8 He sweeps things away pretty fast if we are repentant. We need to do the same (for ourselves too!) Life is messy! Why? Because we are messed up people relating to other messed up people. I must look in the mirror first and get cleaned up with some simple sweeps from Jesus. He will clean me up. (Then I pray for others)

Finally, Cheerios are not too sweet; they are just right. The Bible even warns about too much of a good thing: “If you have found honey, eat only enough for you, lest you have your fill of it and vomit it.” (Prov 25:6)

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This analogy convinces me that as I progress in this life as Tatum’s mommy and in my own endeavors, it’s easy to get imbalanced in one area. Being or having “too much” of anything is not healthy. Listening to the Holy Spirit prompt me when I have anxiety gives me a glimpse into my imbalanced moments. Being reflective I often find when my focus is on Jesus, my anxiety wanes. (and my “Cheerio: becomes complete).

The way Tatum adores her babies is how Jesus feels about US. She is jubilant to see them, she embraces them with tenderness, and she helps them feel secure.

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 Who knew that a little O could illustrate the staying power that we all need in this life.

Now, I think I’ll go have a handful (unsweetened original of course!) 🙂