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Things are a bit scary right now. Not just for Texans and Floridians. We’ve all been touched by the reminder that this life is very temporary, and also very fragile.

There seem to be too many questions. Too many uncertainties. The hows and whys and whens of what in this world could God possibly be doing? But in the midst of this chaotic atmosphere of nuclear threats, civil unrest, and catastrophic storms, there has been an overriding simplicity of what I DO know about Father God, and His heart.

1. His plans are that He would draw all people to Himself.

2. Those plans are always higher than mine, and His goals and purposes are infinitely more important that what I dare to perceive my dreams and desires to be.

3. He is always trustworthy, and He doesn’t lie.

4. Difficulty, pain, and struggle is meant to do something to our souls. It draws our eyes away from vain, selfish pursuits and stirs us to focus on that which really matters –> God, eternity, His plan in and through the pain, and how we can serve others in our knowledge of that.

5. The world does not revolve around my good and genius plans. Sometimes we are brought to a place where we see how insignificant we are in light of how huge the suffering in this world is —> which always brings me back to a place of awe and wonder that He knows the ever-changing number of hairs on my head, and that His thoughts for me are more in number than the storm-ravaged sand by the sea. Humbling.

6. When the dust settles aka when the hurricane stops… when the sun breaks through the clouds and we are finally able to assess the aching situation… all that really matters in that moment is where we stand with God, and in turn, how we can then love and serve others.

Brothers and sisters, God is not asleep. He is not off on a weekend holiday because He needs a break from us and our problems.

He is sitting upright on His mighty throne, alert and in complete control of all things…with ear tipped and heart open to the sound of our prayers.

God, may Your Kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…

“I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

   

I was journaling this morning, and felt compelled to write out some of the “small” victories I’ve had in areas where I’ve struggled lately. What I noticed, as I wrote, was a common theme. My victories, as a whole, were first preceded by failure. Across the board, I had first lived in a state of defeat before I began to see light breaking through in my circumstances. 
That being said…
Every great victor was FIRST at war with something. They saw defeat as a great threat, strapped on their armor, picked up their weapons, and began to fight. 
Some advice I needed this morning before picking up my pen:
Wherever you are, whatever it is that you are struggling with; if there is a place in your life you feel you are making a habit out of failure… realize it is not God’s purpose or design for you to stay there. Don’t allow your failures to define you. That job is much better served if it belongs to Jesus.

As I take a step back, humbly take into account the MANY areas where I need to grow and improve & continue to surrender to Jesus… I’m realizing there is such a thing as failing forward. Realize my sin, repent of it, be encouraged that-through the blood of Jesus-living there is not my destiny. Praise Jesus, it’s not yours either 💛 

   

fixer upper

As I was making my tea this morning, a few of my Magnolia purchases had me thinking on Chip & Joanna Gaines. Call me silly, but the Lord uses ordinary things to remind me of the call He has on our lives.

Chip & JoJo have taken what many would call “non-traditional ministry gifts” and turned what WE think of as ministry on it’s head. They influence millions on a daily basis simply because she has great style, and he knows how to wield a hammer. And WHOA do they shine.

It’s Monday. We’re all starting our week… Maybe headed back to work, or at home with our kids, & perhaps you’re feeling a bit exhausted with going through the motions. And the question begs “am I really making a difference?”

My friend… God has given you specific gifts for a reason, and can use them to encourage, bless and give LIFE to others in such a way that can end up leaving you baffled. I’m sure Chip & Joanna are still scratching their heads over a few things  🙂  Ecclesiastes 9:10 says “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all of your might”… So whatever gifts God has blessed you with, whatever passion He has placed within your heart, don’t discount them because they may not look a bit differently than other people’s gifts.

God has placed you here for a reason & your life is meant to make a difference in people’s lives, whatever it’s shape or size.

So go ALL IN. Don’t shy away from your purpose. Don’t discount it’s importance. And most of all, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone for fear that you may fail. Realize who is on your side, and my friend…go SHINE.

And P.S. Be patient with yourself… We’re all a #fixerupper 😉

   

All my single ladies… I feel like you and me need to have a little talk.

I just know that you’ve been scrolling through your feed… Seeing the flowers. The chocolates. The date nights. The candidly captured kissing moments. The exceedingly sweet acts of love. I know your eyes have witnessed it because it’s exactly what I’ve been seeing too. The celebration of love. Strange thing is… You’re not much in the celebrating mood.

And my heart feels heavy.

Valentine

It’s not because I wish it was me.
And it’s not because my man has yet to show up.
And it’s not even because I feel like my biological clock is ticking. 😐

(Okay, okay. That was comical relief, guys.)

My heart feels heavy… Because it aches for you. And when I say “you”… What I really mean is “us”. I hurt because on this day, I know how YOU feel. On a day which is filled with joy for so many, it often leaves the rest of us feeling forgotten. Empty. Dismissed.

It reminds us of people we once loved, and somehow lost. It reminds us of broken dreams. Of shattered moments. It brings to mind the truth that we sometimes CAN ignore, but on a day like today… can’t seem to shake off.

We’re alone.

You guys. I KNOW. And for some crazy reason… Right now… I feel like I need to validate you. That you aren’t dismissed. That you aren’t forgotten. That you aren’t alone. That you are most definitely, most assuredly, all-consumingly LOVED.

Someone out there needs to know tonight that when God says He loves you… It isn’t conditional. It is not performance based. You cannot WIN or KEEP His love by being more fit, more beautiful, or by being the best in your class. You can’t make Him love you more by your successes, or any less because of your mistakes. He doesn’t give you empty promises of love for you one day, and then is walking out your front door the next. Because when He says He loves you–there are no strings attached.

Beautiful… He just loves you because.

So my sweet, extraordinary, single friend… You ARE loved. In fact… He loved you, Beloved, before you even knew His name.

So let these words calm the ache in your heart tonight. You are SO not alone. 💕

   
  • Jennifer Laymon Guy - April 15, 2016 - 12:35 pm

    Thanks, Tiff, I’m so thankful to read this right now. Glory to God for your obedience. I can’t tell you how often, “look Jenny, if Tiffany can do this faithful, single, honor God thing, and work crazy hours serving needy people, then so can YOU, in Jesus Name!” goes through my mind. ….and the enemy has tried to make it be about me comparing myself to you, But, NO, I, like Jesus, turn around and say, “It is written! , that those who compare themselves among themselves ARE NOT WISE (Paul in II Cor.10) so ,in Jesus Name, I will be encouraged by her faithfulness! ” You, PapaGod, are THE SAME, yesterday, today and forever. YOU are NO RESPECTER of persons and what YOU’VE done for one, you’ll do for another. …..Hallelujah! I am a DOER of The Word of God! 🙂 🙂 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Tiffany - April 15, 2016 - 12:55 pm

      Isn’t that just like the enemy? He’s just so rotten. So thankful for your testimony… It encourages me!! I love you and am thankful to be in such a place where we can encourage and sharpen one another… Love you!ReplyCancel



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So thankful tonight that God remembers me by name. By detail. That he couldn’t forget me if He tried. He has not passed me over for something better. He hasn’t dismissed my first-world, superficial hurts. He hasn’t brushed past my seasons of deep loneliness. In fact, He leans in to listen during those empty moments when it feels like no one can hear me.

I don’t want cliché sayings that bounce off the hard walls of our hearts because we’ve heard them a hundred times. Jesus isn’t just a name. He is calm for the afflicted soul. Rest for the frantic. Peace for the devastated. Hope for those with shattered dreams. I am LIVING these words tonight. FEELING them in the deepest part of me. He has restored my life in the realest ways possible, given me beautiful treasures for my ashes, and turned thousands of shed tears into experiences worth more that this world’s most brilliant gems. I mean every word of that. Life hurts. But my desperation for an often impossible healing brings me to One who knows how to fix the aches and pains of my hemorrhaging soul. His love in my life cannot be replaced, and will not be outdone.

If you have breath in your lungs, my friend, you’re Jesus’ type. You may have forgotten Him, but believe me, He has NOT forgotten you.



 

   
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