asurprisecalling

Following our calling to the Dominican Republic


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Sum of your mistakes

emoji ugh

“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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July Mission Team

IMG_6608Close to the end of the week with each mission team, we ask each person to think of one word to describe their time in the DR.  Last week we had an AmAzInG group of high school kids (and adults) spend a week pouring into this community.

My one word for this week would be: RESILIENCE!

The dictionary defines resilience as the ability to recover readily from illness or adversity.  It also states that resilience is the power or ability to return to the original form after being bent, compressed, or stretched.  For the most part, I agree that these definitions describe the team…except for one part.

Let me explain…

During this week, we had:  a chipped tooth, a 5.6 earthquake, torrential downpours that caused the upstairs (yes, upstairs) of the house to flood, a few power and water problems (typical for 3rd world living) and a retched stomach bug that periodically took about 5-6 people down at a time…with the final count being 23 people.

IN SPITE OF these things…this team kept rocking it!!!

At one point during the week, I looked at Mo and said:

“What is it about this group that is threatening satan so much?  He keeps attacking, and God’s power keeps prevailing!  Satan is just making a fool out of himself at this point!”

IN SPITE of all of these things, this team:

*Built a wall around our mission house AND Kristi & Keely’s mission house!!!

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*Painted the entire school

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*Built TWO goat corralsjuly goat

*Began construction on a shed to store construction supplies for future teamsjuly shed

*Held FOUR Kids’ Club activitiesjuly team kids club

*Held a ministry for the young women in the village and discussed purity and modestyIMG_6637

*Held a baseball game in which anyone that wanted to play was welcomedjuly softball

*EACH team member sat with members of the community and just talked, laughed, and cried about life and love…and GOD!IMG_6613

*EACH team member poured into, not only this community…but into each other as well!  THIS team rallied around each other with hands held tight and protected the GOOD that was happening!IMG_9617

*THIS team felt God’s presence and love wrapped tightly around each one of them, and they were blessed to truly understand God’s word in Galatians 6:9:

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

God never promises us that following him and doing HIS work will be easy but it will always glorify HIM.

…IN SPITE OF all of satan’s attacks, we welcomed a new sister into Christ!  Emma accepted Christ and was baptized in the ocean on our beach day!july emma

…IN SPITE OF all of satan’s attacks, this group was moved for Christ in ways that most could not understand.  Many stated that they are forever changed.  july mission team

When defining resilience, the part about “returning to the original form” cannot apply to THIS team!  See…satan was threatened because he KNOWS  that THIS group has been chosen to spread God’s word in ways that while rock this world…

…kind of like the earthquake that we felt!

Good job, team!

…and Good job, parents, for a job well done raising such AmAzInG children of God!!!