Following our calling to the Dominican Republic


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?


An update

By Tamara

It’s been awhile since we have posted pictures.  We wanted to update everyone on some of the projects and events that have been going on in our little world.  Enjoy!

IMG_5808Sandy is getting bigger, and suddenly grew these ginormous ears!  We have enjoyed adding her to our family and really hope that she doesn’t get much bigger.  Because of all of her inbreding, she is slightly crazy but we love that about her!

DR tabby's visitMy sister, Tabatha, and my nephew, Brennan, came to visit for a week.  We had a great time introducing them to our neighbors and our crazy life here in the DR.  My sister fell in love with the hearts of the people, and my nephew loved just being able to run around and carry a machete.  This is definitely a boy’s dream playground!  There is something to do and explore all the time!

DR braceletsMy friend, Julia, is moving to Santo Domingo in July to teach school for a year.  Her mother, Carol, and she came for a visit while my sister was here.  They brought crafts for the ladies in the village to do.  Everyone had a wonderful time and were able to walk away with several beautiful crafts.

IMG_5812Also, while my sister and nephew were visiting, my friend, Nacho, who lives in Santo Domingo, had a friend from the states visiting.  They came to La Represa, and we went on a long hike up the river.  There is an area about 45 minutes upstream with 2 large pools of clean water.  We had lunch, swam, and sunned there a bit before heading home.  The walk is really good exercise.  Who needs Crossfit? LOL!

Photo on 3-27-13 at 2.51 PMWe were gifted a bunny from one of our neighbors but had to decline the offer for several reasons.  1) We don’t need another pet! 2) Bunnies are not food…they are pets!  We simply have to draw the line somewhere!  I am sure that my kids would never look at Mo or I the same if we ate Peter Cottontail!

IMG_5823I introduced everyone to this beautiful lady, Dominga,  HERE after her house burned.  Mo and Chicho were able to get her house fixed.  While they were working, I was able to sit and chat with her.  I would like to write another blog post about her because she is such a precious person.  Here’s the thing though…Dominga is not her real name.  It’s Eugenia (pronounced Oo-Heen-e-a).  I can’t wait for you to get to know her better also!

IMG_5833This is the finished product…no more hole in her house!  Also, while they were working, we figured out that there were termites eating away at the rafters holding her roof in place.  Mo and Chicho fixed that while they were at it too.

DR church ladiesI have been working with the ladies at the church on Friday afternoons doing crafts.  They seem to really enjoy it.  In this picture, we painted placques for their homes.  It is always nice just sitting and chatting with them.  Well, mostly, I listen while they chat and try to figure out what the mess they are saying.  I am slllllooowwwwlly understanding more and more.

DR Special ProgramThis is the Special Program kids that Lauren, Lexie, and I work with 2 times a week.  This particular week, we made Prayer Journals.  We are going to learn a bible verse a week.  With the help of Bersey (who is the girl in the yellow and brown shirt in the front), I explained that these books were a diary between God and them.  My hope is that they write down the things that God places on their hearts.

DR quinceaneraLauren and Lexie attended their first Quinceanera this past weekend.  They were both invited to be participants.  However, Lexie declined when she found out that she would have to dance with a boy.  A quinceanera is a huge party that is thrown for girls when they turn 15.  This party was for Cristal, Pastor Thomas and Sonja’s daughter.  It was a very neat experience and very beautiful.DR lauren dance party

This is Lauren’s dance partner, Gabriel.  He seems like a nice guy.  I think that he developed a bit of a crush on her.  However, she continued to remind him “It’s just one dance!”.  Please, Lord, let her continue to feel this way about boys until she is 30!DR chicho

Many of you may be wondering how Chicho’s wife, Sonja, is doing.  Well, see for yourself!  She is doing very well.  She ended up needing 5 pints of blood total.  She is home now so that she can love on her babies and heal up.  DR baby

Seriously…how precious is this baby!  I held her today and did not want to put her down.  Several of the ladies in the village are starting to have their babies.  I am in heaven!  I LOVE other people’s babies!!!  They are the best kind because I can love all over them, and still get to sleep through the night.

Anyway, I don’t know if I praised my husband enough the other day.  I am so proud of him for listening to what God was asking of him.  His ability to surrender himself to God’s Will has amazed and inspired me!  Chicho came by the next morning and told me that his wife would not be alive if it were not for Mo that day.  The doctor told Mo that she was 2-3 hours from death.  God is soooooo good!!!