asurprisecalling

Following our calling to the Dominican Republic


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Sum of your mistakes

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“You are the sum of all of your past mistakes”.

This was a lie from satan that I believed about myself for so long.  It was truly something that had kept me in chains for so long.

Today, God spoke the exact same phrase to me, but in the form of a promise.

“Tamara, you are the sum of all of your past mistakes because that is where I grew you and molded you.”

I began to think about all of the biblical figures that messed up royally…and how God used these exact people for His glory.

Take David, for example. Man, what was he even thinking?  He had an affair with a married woman, and she became pregnant.  His solution?  Let’s have her husband killed and then she can come live with me. (Oh my word, how many times has our own best thinking gotten us in an even bigger mess???)

Yet….BECAUSE OF  ALL OF HIS MISTAKES…God continued to refer to him as “a man after my own heart”.  He redeemed him and made him king of Israel.  

Then, there was Gomer.  She was a prostitute.  God sent her a PROPHET for a husband.   She continued to return to her old ways over and over because they were known and comfortable. (Can you even imagine the church gossip that ensued?!)

YET…BECAUSE OF ALL OF HER MISTAKES…God sent Hosea to relentlessly and recklessly pursue her heart!  Because God is a faithful lover of our souls.  He did this as an example to all of us of His unconditional love and his ability to redeem even the most undeserving wanderers.

Then, there was Peter, who betrayed Jesus in His final hours of life.  Peter was part of Jesus’ posse. And, still, Peter denied even knowing Him THREE times the night before Jesus’ death.

YET…BECAUSE OF ALL OF HIS MISTAKES…when the angels descended, Jesus sent a message through them to “his disciples and Peter”.  He named Peter specifically, and continued to use Peter as a disciple to preach of the gospel after His crucifixion. 

I don’t know about any of you but this gives me great hope!

I also know that I don’t learn anything from the mountaintop, where things are good and mistake and problem free. The mountaintop has always been my resting place, where I rejuvenate for my next trek into the valley.  I am thankful that God loves me and sees value in me that He takes me to the valley.  There has never been a time that a mistake or hard time has not taught me a lesson that I would need for the next assignment that God has for me. He promises us this:

“Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” James 1:4

 

If God can use David, Gomer, and Peter BECAUSE OF their mistakes, then…

Yes, I am a sum of my past mistakes because they grew me to be the person that I am today.  

A person in which God sees worth and wants to use for His glory!

So, let go of that shame that you are holding onto for saying or doing the wrong thing.  Let go of those feelings of worthlessness because you, too, screwed up royally.  Let go of those hateful or judgmental words of others that play over and over in your head like a broken record. Yeah, you can stop beating yourself up.  (Seriously though, stop that crap!) God will use your mistakes, screw ups, and hard times to mature you and complete you so that you are not lacking anything! God created all of us with a purpose that only we can complete!  YOU were the one specifically created for that purpose that will glorify Him!

Gosh, THAT is some freedom that I can dance in.  Can I get an amen?


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A Wall of Warriors

warriorOne thing that I hope everyone knows about me is that I am real.  What you see on social media will be the same thing that you see in my “real life”.  You won’t hear spiritual platitudes coming from my mouth.  I won’t say things just to placate you.  That is both a blessing and a curse.

The reason that I am saying this is because I need all of you to know that.  I hope to show as much of the good, bad, and ugly of me that is socially acceptable.  (Let’s all face it…only your closest of friends see it all!) My hope is that by being honest and vulnerable that you can see God at work.  My hope is that through my own personal struggles and angst that you can see God working in and through me.  My hope is that this gives you hope and points you to the one that seeks your heart!

Yesterday, I posted a plea for prayer on FB.  Over the past month, we have been getting attacked from all sides in ways that we have not made public.  The same thing happened when we were entering the mission field.  We have been a bit shocked that it is happening as we are leaving the field to enter a season of rest and healing. We feel that we aren’t much of a threat right now and couldn’t understand why we were under siege.

Hermanas en Cristo has been doing the War Room bible study, and our recent Women’s Retreat’s theme was “This is War!”, with our focus on becoming Prayer Warriors.  For anyone that has not read Priscilla Shirer’s book, Fervent, she talks about how satan attacks us in all areas of our life to distract us so that we will lose our focus on God. He uses problems in our marriage, our relationships and our finances to distract us.  He wants to take away our passion and our energy so we won’t have the strength to fight.  He uses others to remind us of who we were in our past. Once he distracts and weakens us, then he goes in for the kill.

That is where I was yesterday…distracted and depleted!

How can we fight against that?  Through prayer and scripture!!!

I heard God say, “Ask for help!  Surround your family with a Wall of Prayer Warriors!”.

I needed to “practice what I preach”.

As I reached out on FB, I was nervous for laying it out there for all to see.  I was weak, vulnerable, and sinking! I was nervous about being judged for “being weak in my faith” (<—don’t get me started on that! That is for another day, another post).

We were overwhelmed by love and support! We received so many private messages and words of encouragement, and so many people began praying for us. It did feel like we had a Wall of Prayer Warriors all around us.  It gave us strength to refocus on Him.

There are going to be times in our lives where we don’t have strength to fight alone.  God is always with us and always faithful.  I believe that is why He also provides us with Prayer Warriors to surround us and protect us as we refocus on Him.  God also uses these times to grow and mold us.  He will never let our pain occur in vain.  He always uses that for His good.  God is teaching me to be vulnerable, bold, and to live without fear of judgment. He is teaching me not to listen to what others say about who I am, but to believe who He says I am.  He is showing me that I am not the sum of all of my past mistakes and failures. I hope that my moments of weakness can serve as a testament for Him.  I hope that you can see that no one is perfect in their walk with Christ.  Yes, I definitely hope that you do not see a “perfect Christian”, but that you see a broken person that NEEDS Jesus! I hope that you can see the new story that God is beginning to weave into our lives. I hope to continue to focus and rest in Him.  I hope that you can see that He will always turn something beautiful from the ashes to glorify His name!


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Hermanas en Cristo

Hermanas en Cristo is a group of women that love Jesus, and also make jewelry.

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This group is actually a combination of two groups that I have been working with while living here.  I had a group of women that made crafts once a week, and a small group that we formed about 2 years ago to study the bible.  We finally joined the two together for convenience.  What started with about 10 women is up to 32 now.

God has been working in this group in amazing ways!  We have women that are not (yet) Christ followers, who are now reading their Bibles regularly.  We have women who were not Christ followers before, but are now.  They attend church and are growing their relationship with God daily.  We have women who accepted Christ as young women who are reading the Bible with new eyes, have a new found excitement for His word, and are sharing it with the next generation.  It has been a true blessing and joy to experience all of this with them.  Some of the concepts/books that we have studied over the past year are: fruits of the spirit, the book of Hosea, the book of Ruth, and we are currently studying the book of Esther. It is a delight to see them enthusiastic about studying the Bible and excited as they see the Word come alive. When I am in conversation with them about their life, and they reference a theme or a lesson that they learned in one of our studies, my heart leaps.  To see them applying God’s truths to their lives is incredible!

We often talk about how our ladies are special and are held to a higher standard by being part of our group.  We talk about how we are examples to everyone about what God’s love looks like in walking, human form, and that it is a blessing and a responsibility.  These women have taught me more about love than I could ever teach them, and I KNOW that they have taught this community the same thing!

hec-specialtyThe ladies also work together to make insanely beautiful jewelry from paper!  It is so wonderful to see the pride they take in their work. The money that they make from their jewelry is used to help support their families, provide money for medical care, help purchase building supplies for their homes, and so many other uses. They are not receiving a handout.  They are a self-supported group, and they take great ownership and pride in that. Because they feel empowered, their confidence and self-esteem has soared.  I, seriously, cannot believe how God has used paper beads to teach SO much.

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I am proud to announce that their paper bead jewelry will now be used to offer scholarships to the women and their daughters in the group.  The World Bank did a study in which they learned that the way to break the cycle of poverty is through the women in a community.  Men, in poverty, will use their money on other things, such as cars, drugs, alcohol, or other women.  Women, on the other hand, will put 90% of their income back into their families. By educating women, you are empowering them to make better choices for their family and their community, and they will teach their children to do better as well.

So, that is what we are going to do with our little group of God loving women and our paper bead jewelry …

WE ARE GOING TO BREAK THE CYCLE OF POVERTY IN OUR COMMUNITY!

10% of all sales go into a university scholarship funds!!!

AND…

We will have a few of our first candidates starting college in JANUARY!!!

If you would like to support these ladies in their endeavor to change their community and bring the gospel to others, you can purchase their jewelry from our Facebook page, Hermanas en Cristo, or Instagram at hermanas_en_cristo.

Coming soon: Hermanas en Cristo etsy shop!!!

If you would like to make a tax-free donation to our scholarship fund, you can do so by clicking the donate button to the right of the page —->

Over the next few months, I want to introduce you to the faces of Hermanas en Cristo…