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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When satan is a punk, God shows off!

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This transition time is no joke! We are processing through so many different emotions right now. I woke up this morning overwhelmed with emotions that I was struggling to name.  Mostly, I was feeling empty and like a failure. I know that satan is using this time to try to steal my purpose and passion and also to tell me lies.  That’s who he is… he is a liar and a thief whose only purpose is to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).  He is such a punk!

Often, when I am empty, I allow satan to put blinders on me to show me all of the ways that I have failed, all of the times that I did not love well, all of the times that I allowed those rough, dark places in my heart to spill out from my mouth (Matthew 15:18).  Even though, I know better because…

GOD!

God is much more powerful than satan.  He is the strength when I am weak (2 Corinthians 12:10), He saved me and delights in me (Psalm 18:19), and He wants to fill me with joy (Psalm 16:11).  The thing is… I have to remember these things!  I have to readjust those blinders so they focus SOLELY ON HIM!

Also…God knows when we need a little push, a little encouragement, and little pep talk to say…”Nope, those lies are not MY truth about you. Allow me to show you”…

and He does because He is God.

THIS is how God encouraged me this morning:

Hermanas en Cristo has been given an amazing opportunity to share our story and sell our jewelry at a group market to support the empowerment of women.  Rosa and I will be attending and staying at a hotel in the Capital tomorrow night. This morning, I went to Rosa’s house to discuss the details of the next few days.

Before I started talking, Rosa said, “I want to tell you something.  Last night, I was laying in bed thinking how you have been an angel and a blessing in my life. The first time that I went to the beach, I went with you.  The first time that I will be staying in a hotel will be with you.  I am going to the university because of you. Most importantly, I have learned so much more about the Bible because of you.  God has used you as a blessing in my life.”

I was speechless.  All I could say was “thank you”!

As we all know, that was not me. That was GOD using ME in HER life…and vice versa!

I say all of this, not to show off, but, hopefully, to show how God can use us in such small ways that we may not see it ourselves.  You may be hearing lies in your own life that are telling you that you are just doing it all wrong.

But God knows better!!!

He created all of us with a purpose!  HIS PURPOSE!

If you are believing that punk satan and struggling to believe God’s truth about you, ask Him to show you!

He will…

Because…

He is so good like that!

 


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A joyful noise

“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.”  Psalm 98:4

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My neighbor and best friend here, Alexandria, asked me to go to a women’s event at the school with her.  This event would consist of women of the church sleeping at the school and praying all night.  When she told me what it was, I said that I might or might not go…

Because:

a) women’s events scare the begeebies out of me

b) women’s events in another language send me into a panic attack

c) I didn’t think that I could pray all night long (think ADD)

d) they were sleeping on the floor…which is concrete!

I had made up MY mind that I would not be going.  All week long, though, I kept feeling a pull at my heart to go.  Then I would give all of my reasons why I would not be going.  However, the pull just kept pulling.  GOD didn’t care that I had made up MY mind…He wanted me there!

I went back to Alexandria and said “Can I bring a mattress?”  She said that would be no problem that other women may bring one as well.

Without even telling Mo, I agreed to join.

I am really glad that I did because…

The women weren’t scary at all…IMG_7776

Many of them were my neighbors…IMG_7778

They were funny and kind and welcoming…

IMG_7777Some of them even brought their babies…

IMG_7781Some of them snored…IMG_7779

All of them had smiles on their faces…IMG_7780

All but about 3 of us were sleeping on a concrete floor with nothing more than a blanket and a pillow.  (I shared my twin mattress with Alexandria.)  I never heard anyone complain about it.  They were all so glad to be together to thank God for all that He has done for us.

As they started praying, I did also.  I prayed that God would fill that room, bridge the language gap, fill our hearts, hear our words, and help me to stay focused.  Yes, I really did pray the last part of the prayer…over and over…each time that my mind start drifting.

I wanted needed so badly to stay in that moment.  I wanted needed to feel God’s presence.

As the night wore on, the praying got louder and more intense.  They continued, also, to beckon God into our little room.  As some women were praying, others began singing…no one singing the same song.  As the intensity of the prayers grew, so did the volume level.  It felt as if everyone were in their own little world with God, yet we were all joined together as well.  They prayed for each one of us, for our families, for our health, for our church, for the school, and for our community.  They thanked God for His love and faithfulness.  They truly love one another and their community, but, most importantly, they truly love God!

I was able to stay engaged and presence.  God was in that room that night.  There was a warmth, security, and safety that was undeniable.  My friends were teaching me yet ANOTHER lesson.  Although there were many words that I could not understand, I completely understood the language of their hearts…

Remain faithful in prayer and do not forget to make a joyful noise!