Testimony Tuesday

I think a lot of new Christians who are stumbling through the Bible for the first time since their veil lifted seek out the characters they are most similar to. It is the supernatural way God keeps us focused. We find ourselves in Him.

DAWN BY THE SEA OF GALILEE

Then, quite unexpectedly, a figure can be discerned on the shore, just visible in that luminous violet-purple rose half-light which precedes dawn by the Sea of Galilee.  Silent, apart from the odd plop of a jumping fish – well away from the disciples’ boat.  This mysterious stranger on the shore asked these experienced Galilean fishermen the most insensitive question.  “Friends, have you caught any fish?”  The frostiness in the reply is palpable.  “No.”   Then this person – and what did He know about fishing? – told them to throw the net out on the right side and they would find plenty.  Strangely enough they obeyed.  There is something in the commands of Jesus which just must be obeyed, even if we don’t quite know why at the moment…  And they caught so many fish – 153 large ones – that they couldn’t pull in the net!  Finally, the penny dropped.  “It is the Lord!” “When Simon Peter heard it was the Lord, he…jumped into the water and swam ashore.” [John 21:5-7, NLT].  

I read the Bible prior to my salvation, but didn’t truly have the stories come alive with humans and real struggle and geographic places until I was saved in May of 2018.

Of course, I am a feminist. Not a third wave feminist who is looking for every reason under the sun to hate men and still be able to have babies, but the kind that understands where we have been as women and where we are as women. But even more importantly, where we are going as women. When I read stories about the women of the Bible, I always see a little of myself in them. That is the clever truth behind salvation and the word of God. It is meant to be applicable throughout all ages of mankind on this earth. I think I have came to the conclusion that I am more of a Simon Peter than I previously thought, I am stubborn in that I have grown lazy and slipped right back into an old way of doing things.

I’m in a pickle right now because the Lord has asked me to do something I’m not quite sure how to do. I want to be obedient. I want to grasp the tiny mustard seed hanging around my neck in a locket and jump! But jumping off the cliff into the abyss is seemingly more difficult than it was prior to being saved. My life is quite different than it was a year ago. And yet, the difficulties are still apparent and very much there. Is it my approach and reaction that simply needs to be tweaked?

I believe the answer lies in blind obedience and faith.

Standing over the cliff gives me butterflies.

Lord, guide as we soak ourselves in your simple and firm direction. Help us to hear you clearly. Help us to see you clearly. Give us courage to do so in a world that laughs at our crazy faith. Amen.

Live, love.

Tiffany

Advertisements

He Goes Before me

Death makes a person do things.

It tends to rule your thoughts and emotions, whether you know you are grieving or not. There was a time in my life, especially after I lost my uncle and cousin so close together that all I could think of was what it would be like when I got “there”. The proverbial “there” looms. I don’t know where I thought I was going, because I was not saved yet.

When death struck our family again last year, it shoved me down some sort of tunnel of despair and even today, I can’t seem to put one foot in front of the other, but I am trying. Really it’s our own reality that can sometimes halt us in our track. I’m struggling this week because of a decision that directly affected us in such a negative manner and I need to believe that He has gone before me and made it right and full of sense and purpose.

The Lord is gentle with us. The angry and delusional thoughts that seep through our mind are the enemy, and I know that. And so when it happens I am learning to lean in to him, although I am certainly not perfect at it. But He is kind and knows all and surely this won’t last forever. He will finish what He started.

2 Corinthians 12:9

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Pro-choice Social Liberal to Pro-life Social Conservative

How can that happen? How does someone who grew up believing in an all-accepting spirituality driven, God-rejecting and pro-choice lifestyle turn to the One who she thought she didn’t need? How does a feminist girl grow up to eventually change her entire belief system and start standing up for pro-lifers or the proverbial “bible-thumpers”? If you spend enough time in fluorescent lighting, in other words “fake” light, it can start to give you a headache. It’s a slow dull pain at first and then it explodes into a migraine. At the end of the day, after everything I had been through, I was empty. Not depressed empty, but heartbreak empty. And then the political war started. I had spent months vowing to never vote for Trump. Even going against my “never say never”.

But as the election dragged on I found myself being disgusted with not only the Clinton policy but the way some women were behaving, as if, simply because they were women they were allowed to break laws and support countries that abused women or support women who were killing their unborn babies.

The proverbial political waters became murky for me. Drag queens dressed in scary costumes were reading books to children in libraries and parents were encouraging their children to take hormone replacement therapy, against the advice of therapists and doctors. My friends, friends of friends, wives of friends were all of a sudden baiting people in their circles and would then attack people with false narratives and fact-less links. All of a sudden it became more important to point out why someone was terrible because they didn’t support abortion, the organized race war or the heated gay agenda, than it was to simply disagree and realize that it didn’t equate to hate. Disagreement does not equate to hate.

I began to see the Democratic party and the Liberal followers in a very different light, and it gave me a headache. When I meditated I still felt empty. Before I met Jesus, I was empty. Buddha, Krishna, all of the “New Age” practices and belief systems left me empty and unfulfilled. My salvation was the beginning of sunlight for me. It was like a literal veil was lifted and I could see the false narrative even more brighter than before. The war on Christians that I had participated in was terrible. The war against civil, loving, good people was raging. And it is still raging and being perpetuated by an unjust and dishonest media system. But we allowed it to be created. My oldest friends know I would never have an abortion. But those in my circle who have had abortion know I love them the same, why? Because we can disagree and still love one another. That is the sign of a mature woman.

Having an “open” mind may not be such a great idea at all. It leads to moral corruption and a belief system that goes against the laws of nature. Being a Christian doesn’t make my sins better than yours, it means mine are forgiven. And if I choose to stand up and stand out for what I believe now and repent for what I once believed it doesn’t equate to hatred for me. It simply means I have chosen a different path. I would challenge a staunch feminist to engage in intelligent and fact-based conversation, while leaving the emotion out of it for a moment, and explain a few different things that I’ve struggled with:

  1. How can someone who believes in women SO much with such a whole heart encourage another women to abort her child, to play God, and choose to end a life that could be the next greatest and most amazing life-changing baby girl born?
  2. How can we justify having humane societies for animals and yet encourage the mass murder of unborn humans?
  3. How can we support a feminine agenda that is belittling and destroying our little boys, our sons, husbands, and brothers?
  4. How can we support a feminist political agenda that sends millions of dollars to countries that rape, murder, and cut the clitoris off of pubescent girls?
  5. How can we take all of the things we have accomplished and live in the greatest nation of the world and still have no heart for the homeless women, the drug addicted women, or those who are suffering from violent home situations and yet send money to other countries that commit the above atrocities?
  6. How, as feminists do we take an incredible, intelligent, beautiful, and moral woman like Sarah Sanders and annihilate her on national television for “ratings” and “clicks”. She doesn’t deserve it. She is amazing and SHE IS the woman we should be raising our girls to be like.
  7. How, as a nation of women, can we allow a media to encourage girls that sexuality and sexiness are weighted means of self worth, and turn around and complain about it? We do nothing. In fact, we do the opposite when we utilize the media to push anti-woman agendas of other nations.
  8. How can we beg for our leaders to allow the rush of the border because it is “women and children” and yet encourage the infanticide of our own nations children?

Those are just a few of my issues the last few years. We ignore core issues and move on to something we think is important while leaving the very one we claim to be standing up for, behind. That is how a pro-choice female becomes pro-life. It is when you see the world thought the eyes of Jesus, and you choose to stop playing God, that you see that there is a greater purpose for the greater good. But then again, maybe the greater good has become the minority.
Live love,Tiffany

Thy Will Be Done

When I opened my computer today, this is what Erica had changed the background to. Oh, the irony in this photo. This is how I’ve felt the last 11 months. It’s how all the teenagers I know have felt, it’s how some parents involved have felt, and it is how many in addiction prevention have felt I guess. We have been barely hanging on to reality. I am barely hanging on. I also took my spirituality test on Sunday, the gift of “apostleship, exhortation, and mercy” is what I scored highest on. Imagine that. God smiled, I am sure. Last year on Thanksgiving, I wasn’t aware that I would spend many, MANY future nights begging God to send me a message that a boy was in heaven. That message came from his mother. I wasn’t aware of the brewing storm on the horizon. What I have also failed to share lately is that I have spent a majority of my days and nights in a very deep, almost spiritual depression since last December, I suppose. I cry in the shower with grief. I cry in the car with thankfulness I have my kids, and then I cry because of guilt again. I cry on the way from the grocery. I cry at work. I cry all the time. Ugly crying. I was blaming myself. I was blaming our society. I was blaming the drug company and the crumbling education system and pressure on children and parents. But mostly, I have been trying to carry the burden. It was my fault. I missed signs. I missed something along the way. I wasn’t a good enough mother. God must be punishing me. Very few understand the burden some of us are carrying. Even fewer, truly care. This week, I finally gave it to God. He took it in His hands, He took it right away from me in the most loving way he could, and it was because I asked Him to. Last week, at a very heated meeting in community drug prevention, I felt like God sent a messenger to instruct me to read a passage. Someone in our meeting kept repeating the importance of Acts 10:38, only when I got to that scripture, it didn’t say what he thought it said. Acts 10:38 “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” I didn’t understand the importance of this. I don’t think recovery and treatment will stick without a connection with God. Then on Sunday, a voice, in my head. “Thy will be done”.Then it was cemented when the song kept repeating on my station. Thy will be done. They will be done. Thy will be done. Thy will and free will. The two crossed paths in my heart, mind, and soul. Over and over again.There isn’t anything any of us could have done to change the outcome. Not one of us could have prevented the will of God. Before you get enraged and scream at me, “But Tiffany! God WILLED Alex to die? What kind of God would do that!” The first sin gave us free will. God’s will was to live without sin. We created sin. Free will leads us to sin, not God’s will. God’s will leads us out of sin and into a life of righteousness. God’s will is what comforts us when something so profoundly human happens and crushes us, we could not have prevented His will, nor can we prevent the free will of another human. We can only seek comfort and grace, and we can only offer comfort and grace into another persons situation. Alex is one of God’s many lambs. I believe that. If you do too, then live like that. I will thank God every day for Alex bringing me to Christ, and also, my family. Because we are better than we were before. I am opening up my heart to more. I am trying to see, more. I tell you this because to understand salvation is to understand that even the worst of tragedy can cause us to be so angry with God. Or blame ourselves,our children, or our spouses. But it isn’t our responsibility to foretell sin or travesty and prevent it, it is to lead people to God, before God’s will plays out. It is to love people so fiercely that they know God through your heart. I should love people and when they ask me how I do it, then I tell Alex’s story. Even through your human moments, they know you are Gods love and mercy. It lies in forgiveness and mercy on your own heart, because that is what God gives us. Just the way I give mercy to my own children. When God speaks of the proverbial rod, he isn’t saying punish your child, he is saying discipline your child in and with love. Show your child mercy and grace, don’t ever stop loving your child. Never. Because if God can forgive you, he will forgive them. For all those who cry out to him will receive his reign of grace. It isn’t up to you to determine someone else’s worth. To be honest I don’t know that I am capable of working in prevention at all. Not knowing what God has now shown me. Not knowing the truth, that the only true way to live free is truly through the heart of Jesus, I can’t prevent anything from happening. I can only love those through it and wait for the day that I am standing in heaven with those who are waiting for us. But I can start a ministry, I don’t know how, but I believe that no one can stay sober without God. I believe that conviction is what leads to a safe, happy, and loving life. I believe that we have robbed many of our children of conviction so that we may continue living the life we want, as opposed to the life God wants us to lead. It’s self harm at the deepest level.Some of you, (you “kids”, our “kids”, you know who you are) are blaming yourself. You are just wallowing in grief. I want you to know that I truly mean it when I say I love you all. I know how painful it is. A couple of you have been chosen by God to walk a path that may be difficult, but in the end, rewarding. *cough,cough, JD, *cough. You can stay sober with God. People cannot keep you sober. Medication cannot keep you sober. Nothing we did could have changed the outcome. God doesn’t want you to feel that way anymore. That place of guilt doesn’t come from God. Oh how He loves us, even as His will is done. Give thanks. Love people. #livelove

Welcome Home

I’ve answered several private messages today regarding James River Church and their stance on yoga. It wasn’t until someone sent me a screen shot of the News-Leader story that dropped that I understood the hub-bub surrounding it and why suddenly people were asking me about Church. As a matter of fact, I felt like a few were either trying to point out all my sins and hypocrisy or others wanted to insult my intelligence (and my belief in Christ) by suggesting that I had been brainwashed by some sort of cult. I’d like to think for many of you who know me, that I, 1. Have no issue eating crow when I am wrong and 2. I am still the same hot mess of independence and intelligence that I was prior to giving my life to Christ. I just live a little differently. My veil has indeed been torn and I can’t just put it back on and pretend that God hasn’t spoken to me. My life is very different than it was a year ago and I love that. I will fall at the feet of God every single day and thank him for saving my son and our family. It’s no secret that I gave my life to Christ this year and that my family has been attending the Church. I have a deep love for the Church now and I also have much respect for the many people who give their life to serve on a weekly basis. We encountered a lot in the last year that drove me to “come to Jesus” and hand it all over to Him. I don’t want to go to hell. I want to go to Heaven. I mean, that’s kind of the end. I want to be with Jesus and I want to see those who are waiting for me. I was so tired of trying to carry everything spiritually alone. My heart is changed. It was from the inside out and it isn’t temporary. It’s also no secret that I’ve written paranormal fiction, that I’ve practiced yoga and meditation, I ran a ghost-hunting group and was very involved in the paranormal community. What I found during those times was instant gratification and I was still left with a deep longing for something permanent to take up in my heart and relieve a lot of years’ worth of pain and self-destruction that finds many of us the last decade or so. (longest run on sentence-evs’) But what I can also tell you is that true evil exists. Satan does in fact exist on Earth. I could quote scripture or tell you that you need to find Christ, but you already know that. What I would ask is that before you decide to condemn an incredible messenger of the word of God and his family and our Church that you take the time to truly understand the word of God and Jesus’ love for you. I would ask you to attend a service without a bad attitude and open your life to experience the presence of God that fills our building every single week. We have a prayer service on Wednesday evenings and we have 3 different services on Sunday. I would ask you to watch as our alter fills and people are healed and redeemed of their sin. Come see for yourself. You can sit with me. These are good people. It is an awesome church. For goodness sake leave well enough alone. The truth is that Jesus is the Son of God, he died for our sins, and that if you listen, he is calling for you.

Dear Mattel,

Dear Mattel, 

Ruth Handler is probably rolling over in her grave.

I can’t believe you buckled under such pressure to conform.  By conforming you are in fact condoning the lessons that our society is shoving down children’s throat.  You have stood up for nothing.  All for the profit of a buck.  The feminist women who hate Barbie are going to hate Barbie anyway, while they’re combing nappy dreadlocks, refusing to shave their armpit hair and placing electrical tape over their nipples in some sort of weird feminist movement.  #freethenipple

That isn’t even Barbie.  Barbie took a shower.

They’re looking for someone to blame their lack of self worth on. Extreme feminist are just as bad as extreme religious freaks and the people who are building underground bunkers waiting for a live action “Walking Dead” to start.  Yep, I said it.

My family has countless pictures of the children growing up playing with our toys.  We were 80’s children you see.   That was quite possibly the best era and most imaginative one for toys…EVER.

When I held that very first She-Ra doll with her shiny cape, I swooned over the knee high boots and that feeling was one of my favorites.  It launched me in to collecting the dolls for years, even as an adult.  She-Ra was bad a.  She was hot.  She was smart.  And she was tough.
I STILL deal in toys today, my kids covet their vintage throwbacks.

My siblings and our cousins would jump through the backyard sustaining multiple knee-scratches and bruises kicking major ass like those green turtles.  Hasbro rocked it out.  We had Barbies, He-Man’s, TMNT, wrestlers and much more to play with.  All courtesy of adults who created so that children could create.  There was no bullshit political agenda.

Do you know what we didn’t do?

We never once built our self worth on a doll.  The point of toys is to launch a child in to an imaginative world where they can do whatever they want, where they can BE whoever they want. We never once took a doll and used that to judge another child.  We played with whomever we wanted and didn’t notice any of the things the new line of dolls so blatantly points out.  Do you know why?

Because children are un-touched.  They embrace all humans until adults teach them otherwise.

My sister and I both have daughters.  What I can tell you is that diversity is taught.  Children notice a difference in skin color, sure.  Curly hair and straight hair, freckles vs. none…but the true separating diversity is taught to them by adults.  Sexism, racism, and judgement is taught. By things like this.

For years Barbie has given little girls the ability to believe she can be ANYTHING.  My Little Pony, Rainbow Brite, and the Disney princesses…they all fulfilled the goal of imagination and empowerment.  The characters blended masculine and feminine.

Not only have you taken diversity and plunged it in to the spotlight for the countless girls who were oblivious to it, but you’ve taught them sexism.  When you come out with “Moobs” Ken, we’ll talk.

Sincerely,

A mom who’s taught her daughter that she will be bad a.
Period.

@tiffluv
#twitter
#instagram
Facebook #amwriting

"Did I Shave My Legs For This?"

I know.  It’s a silly play on a great country album that Deana Carter produced.  But it was an AWESOME album.

I love music.  And I mean, LOVE it.  It is one of those things in life that literally can alter your mood.  It’s like natural Prozac.  It helps people through the best and worst of times. It’s played at funerals and weddings, it is the greatest form of poetry that we have.

When MB surprised me with tickets to the “We Were Here” tour on Christmas I was ecstatic.  I was also really excited because my sister and I bought my mother tickets to see Brad Paisley in February.  That meant two concerts in a row!  For music lovers it’s the next best thing aside from getting backstage.  I squealed with excitement as I went through the photo album he had made from printed pictures off of the internet.  They had funny captions and in the end he asked me to go with him.  A close second to my “ugly cry” gift.

I’m far from an old lady.  But raising 5 kids doesn’t really allow for the itch I get when I want to go to a show, get scratched.

You see, I’ve been going to concerts since I was very young.  We would all head to the fair or scrape our hard-earned teenage money together to afford whatever seats we could.  When I was 15 I bought 3 tickets to George Strait and me and my two best friends at the time went.  They were nosebleed tickets.  High in the risers.  We always managed to either make it to the floor, or at times even the stage.  We would rock out for hours.  I attended a Tracy Byrd concert one time, and was right on the stage.  He even took my hand and gave me his guitar pick.  I went home, and for four days straight I couldn’t hear.  I know…I know…that’s the worst on hearing, but it was one kick ass show.  I loved it. Every deafening minute of it.

So now that I’m done reminiscing over all of the amazing shows I’ve been to, let’s get back to the Jason Aldean tour.

The concert was last night.  We had nosebleeds.  Section AA, row 11.  I sat patiently, (or impatiently I suppose) waiting for the show to start.  I’m a mover.  I’m the one who goes home with sweat pouring off of my body and my tediously applied makeup running.  I love it.  I want to feel it, I want to hear it, I want to experience it.  Jesus Christ, we only have ONE life!  ONE.

I love social media.  It’s great, don’t get me wrong.  But NEVER in my life have I sat at a show and watched all of the people around me stick their faces in their giant phones DURING a performance.

How miserable!

Phones, and selfies…
The man next to me brought his 10 year old, know what they did?  Instead of singing and dancing and getting over the moon excited?  They simply passed the phone back and forth.  One taking video (which we all know blows) and the other checking his email.  Really?  That’s living?  Hell to the no.  You bring your kid to a music show, you GET UP!  You take their little hands and you live the hell outta that moment!  It’s fun and it’s exciting!! These performers are incredible and the shows are so good!!! Why should I have to be blinded by your giant phone screen?

I sat.  I wanted to get up.  I wanted to scream and dance and have fun!  Poor MB could feel my body opposing to all of the BORING and quiet clapping.  I want to go home with NO VOICE!!! Even the smallest shows I’ve attended with no name cover bands have left me with some of the best moments in my life!!! Show these musicians some LOVE!

A Thousand Horses played first.  Let me just say, what an in-effing-credible show!  I mean it was like Kid Rock meets Lynrd Skynrd meets 2016!!! HOLY smokes they blew me away!!!! Again….sitting.  Boring clapping.  I could feel my body starting to hate me. I looked around.   Nothing.  The energy was suffocating for a person like me. People slurping their beer and texting and logging in to Facebook and emails.

Thomas Rhett was up next….and OH MY GOD!!!! The show was soooooooooooooo good!  I mean again…in-effing-credible!!!!

Now I realize we are in the nosebleeds.  But you can stand up, scream, dance…just have a great time!  I’ve never, in my life, been at a concert where people just sat slurping beer and clapping as if they would rather be somewhere else.

Back to Thomas Rhett…a few start to stand up.  They are the ones I salute.  You people, are my kindred spirits.  You sat through A Thousand Horses who were so amazing..you fought to sit still for Thomas Rhett..until you just couldn’t take it any longer…You are the people I adore and have a serious life crush on.  You and me are WHY these musicians do what we love so much!

Dear 20-somethings a few rows down from us, 

You probably had a flask in your handbag.  Hell the guys in front of you were sloshing beer around, standing up and screaming when Jason Aldean came out!  You are awesome.  You didn’t care.  You stood up!  You screamed!  You woke up this morning with no voice and a hangover, but YOU my friends had a kick ass time.

Dear 15 year old-somethings, 

I know you were on the back wall.  The highest possible seats in the house.  Oh how I hope my sweet Erica is like you. I hope she goes to the shows and I hope she screams and yells and comes home with weeks worth of memories with her girlfriends.  You, I am proud of.  You let loose. You learned exactly what it’s like to see awesome musicians play awesome music and you lived EVERY SINGLE INCREDIBLE MOMENT that last night had to offer!  YOU…go girls.  You live your life exactly as you did last night!  Those memories will last a lifetime.  See as many shows as you can!  Go to small shows and huge shows and everything in between!!

Dear 30-something who was two rows behind us and the fella directly behind us who tapped on MB’s shoulders to shout in the most despicable old man voice EVER,

“I can’t see!” 

“Hey…hey…he can’t see!” 

We are both still really confused why you kept “showing” us your beer cup.  I guess out of intimidation?  I’ll have to say that when MB hollered back for YOU to stand up and enjoy yourself, I snickered.  You are a tiny man, sir.

I hope you both had the beer shits this morning.  I hope when you went home your girls…rolled over to their side of the bed to snore, LOUDLY…and I hope they had the beer farts.  ALL.NIGHT.LONG.  You deserve nothing more than the nastiest smelling beer farts in the entire world.

Next time stand up.  Next time maybe detach from your miserable existence and live in the moment.  Life is good. And I mean…really, really, really good!  I’m not sorry you couldn’t see.  I fought hard the first two performances to stay in my seat.  To “behave”.  But never in my 25 years of loving music have I ever sat in a venue and sat in my seat and simply clapped while slurping beer in misery.

 It was like being at a Branson old person’s show.  (No offense to the seniors or Branson, I’m just not ready for that in my life…) What.the.f…

Dear Facebook and Smart Phone Addicts, 

I get it, I do.  I love my phone.  I love social media.  But there is this great BIG world out there that is so much better if you put the phone down and just live.  You missed a great show!  I hope your botched and boring and muffled recordings were great this morning!  Actually, I hope they sucked.  #sorrynotsorry

Dear Jason Aldean, 

I’m sorry, but we left five songs in.  I couldn’t SIT still.  I was excited.  MB and I work hard to buy things like this!  I was so excited to see you perform but thanks to the dick behind us, I just couldn’t conform any longer.  But, I will tell you this, on the way home I vowed to take my kids to their first concerts and let them scream and holler and come home with no voice and buzzing ear drums.  Because…I’ll be damned if I don’t teach them how to live and love music like yours.

And to those boys you roll with (Thomas Rhett and A Thousand Horses) man…what an incredible opening performance they have! Thanks for making it hard to make my body be still and to “behave”.


Live, love.

Tiffany