9 Lessons Learned in the First 90 Days of Marriage

Christian Marriage

Today marks three months of marriage for my husband and I. There are days marriage is so easy I think everybody should do it, and there are days it’s so hard I wonder why anybody does it. On February 26, 2017 I wheeled my two suitcases and two carry on bags into DFW airport to begin a departure to a relatively unknown life. I felt this gnawing growing inside my core reminding me life as I’ve known it would never be the same. With a parade of thoughts swirling in my mind, I resolutely boarded the plane to take me halfway around the world to a different home. Some days I sensed I was hitting the ground running in Uganda, other days I felt like flattened roadkill plastered on the hot pavement wanting desperately for someone to scrape me off the ground. I’m thankful for a husband that constantly helps me navigate the new world I am in, extends grace when I am cranky, practices patience during my culture shock spasms and loves me without faltering. I am no expert in marriage, but I am an expert in learning and have compiled nine essential lessons I’ve learned in the first 90 days […]

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A Daughter Who Loves Her Dads

Father's Day

I sat down in my sturdy chair and flipped open the pages of the week’s recovery lesson. “How has the view of your earthly father impacted the view of your heavenly father and how has that view shaped your life?”  With a quizzical expression plastered on my face,  I questioned how the two could possibly be related.  I struggled with this for a while allowing God to use this question to probe and sift through the clutter in my heart. After wrestling through tough questions, acknowledging the pain divorce and distance can cause, and expressing my true, messy feelings God brought my heart and mind to a new place. As God replaced my heart of stone with a heart of flesh, this freshly beating heart began to birth something beautiful from the ashes of my life. I  discovered I have a perfect father in heaven and any father on earth will always fall short despite their deepest efforts. I came to a moment of revelation – God has blessed me with two dads on earth. Before encountering God’s grace, that is not something I would have said or believed, but God revealed to me that my dads have always loved me […]

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What the Traffic Officer Taught Me After Getting Pulled Over in Uganda

Kampala definitely fits the description of the city that never sleeps. The stores are buzzing with people and the roads are busy carrying hard-workers home at all hours of the night. Ashiram and I were driving home late one evening from across town with tired bodies and sleepy eyes. As we approached an intersection, the light turned yellow. I caught myself from raising the alarm thinking I might have the traffic light system wrong here. The light shifted to red as we coasted through the intersection. Immediately, I saw a traffic officer standing tall in his black boots and white uniform signaling to pull over. I looked at Ashiram and gently mumbled, “We ran a red light.” I’ve heard the stories of frustration that involved Mzungos (the term used when referring to white people) encountering traffic officers. The traffic officers would wave them down and point out an unusual issue with their vehicle after the routine inspection. Usually, the Mzungo offered some sort of bribe or food in their car to be released. I silently prepared for a similar experience where the color of my skin would falsely indicate to the officer the amount of money in my wallet. The […]

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Acclimating to Africa: My Multiple Meltdowns

I knew it was inevitable – culture shock.   I naively hoped my transition would be as smooth as gliding down a water slide on a hot, Texas summer day. Kind of like this.       I downplayed the fast-approaching drastic life change. Not only was I being transplanted to a new continent and culture, but I was also getting engaged and married within a month of landing. That’s a lot of life change condensed into a short window of time, but I couldn’t argue that God had been steadily preparing me the past six months for the life-altering move. In fact, most people in the bible where often called to live in foreign lands. God is an expert in this territory and I knew I couldn’t be in better hands. He wouldn’t lead me somewhere He hasn’t already been. That fact alone brought me comfort on the days I battled culture shock and turbulent emotions.   I arrived in Uganda and the chaotic, hazardous driving that once gave even my anxiety anxiety did not rattle me. I beamed on the inside thinking to myself, “I must have mastered culture shock! Tiffany 1, Culture Shock 0.” The tide quickly […]

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Better Is The End

“Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” Ecclesiastes 7:8   I started laboriously paying off my student loans over a year ago. I took a good, hard look at how much interest I would pay over ten years and that made me cringe to the point  I became aggressive in paying off my massive debt. The end of paying off my student loans was infinitely better than the day I sent the first payment. Better is the end of a thing that its beginning.   It’s one thing to enroll in college, it’s another feat to dedicate four years to earning a degree. The extended nights studying, the countless papers written, and the numerous hours spent in the classroom. Adrenaline rushes through us at the beginning of a new adventure, but that fire fades as we settle into the mundane activities it takes to patiently endure to the end. Adrenaline can cause acceleration, but doesn’t always give you an advantage over adversity. “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” Proverbs 24:10. Better is the end of a thing that its […]

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The Untold Christmas Story

Christmas Story Jesus Savior Lord Baby in Manger

When the Christmas story is told, we mainly hear about Mary and baby Jesus born in a manger. Now, don’t get me wrong, nothing means more to me than the birth of my Lord and Savior, but as people across the world flock to churches to hear the story of Jesus’ birth and celebrate his coming to earth I want to talk about another person tucked away in the crevices of the Christmas story. You see there’s another “J” man who may have been overlooked as the wise men were onlookers at the nativity scene. That man is Joseph. I understand Jesus is the focus and Mary is magnificent for offering her life to carry the one who would bring eternal life to the world, but Joseph’s character deserves some credit in the story. Joseph lives more by faith and less by logic Mary was legally pledged to marry Joseph, but they hadn’t done the thing husband and wife do. Apparently, there was a child (the Savior of the world to be exact) growing inside Mary that Joseph played no role in creating. Let’s say I was engaged and then said, “Hey, Honey-Darling-Love-Of-My-Life I am pregnant. I can explain though. […]

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Hand Me Downs

Christian Mothers

I am the youngest of three girls in a family that usually housed seven people. My mom worked part-time as a secretary at a church and my step-dad worked full-time to provide for his growing family. As you can imagine, we didn’t have extra cash to spend on frivolous items or impulse purchases. I grew up with a mom who cut coupons and knew how to stretch a penny until it screamed. As a kid, I found myself wanting to spend the night with my best friend, an only child, and never wanting to be in my crowded, generic-brand buying house. I didn’t understand why my friend Brittany got $5 dollars from the tooth fairy and I only got one dollar. I didn’t understand how she could have sodas on any day and I could only have soda on Saturday night when we ate pizza. I didn’t understand fully why her family could always eat out and we had to always eat in. I didn’t understand why she had cable and could watch Cartoon Network and Disney Channel while I settled for Saturday morning cartoons on regular TV. It makes me laugh now, but one time I got the nerve […]

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Are You Called To Be A Catalyst?

Catalyst: A person or event that quickly causes change or action   Billy Graham is known as an evangelistic preacher that has shared the gospel with millions of people in over 185 countries. When I see a man that has been exalted by the Lord I often ask, “How did he get his start?” After doing some research, I found out two catalytic events in Billy Graham’s life:   1) A person’s pivotal prayer 2) A man’s faithfulness to respond to God’s call   Vernon’s Pivotal Prayer   Billy Graham was a small-town farm boy. According to the Billy Graham website, one day there was a prayer meeting being held in the pasture of his family’s farm. Little did Billy know that day a man named Vernon Patterson prayed that God would raise up someone from Charlotte to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth. An earnest prayer preceded Billy Graham’s encounter with Jesus.   Mordecai’s Call To Be a Catalyst   A few months later Mordecai Ham, a traveling evangelist, preached an 11-week revival where Billy, on a whim, attended. Not many people know Mordecai Ham’s name, but many are familiar with Billy Graham’s legacy. Mordecai was […]

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Why I Never Want To Fall In Love

It’s apparently all the rage to fall in love.  I hear a range of people claiming they’ve fallen in love, from close friends to celebrities prancing around on the red carpet. But when I look at that phrase “falling in love” it doesn’t sound remotely like it would climb to the top of my to-do list. Falling in love sounds disorienting and debilitating. Falling in love reminds me of falling as a kid and the height of the fall correlated with the extent of the damage. I would fall while walking and scrape my knees on the gravel road, which still stung from the rocks piercing my delicate skin, but the damage was relatively manageable with peroxide (which I’m convinced Satan created himself), Neosporin and a Band-Aid. My sister however, was standing on a chair when she fell and ended up breaking her arm. We both fell, but one resulted in more severe damage. If falling regularly relates to detrimental experiences is there even a sliver of hope for our infatuated, fantasy-land-living generation? In the Bible, references to “fallen” are rarely good things. For starters, in Luke it says, “I saw satan fall from Heaven like lightening from Heaven.” We have the […]

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What the Dentist Taught Me About Mercy and Grace

Twice a year I get a text message reminder, or what I like to refer to as a text message warning, that says, “Tiffany you have a dentist appointment next week. Please reply YES to confirm.” Fortunately, I love my dentist, but unfortunately my freak out starts to flare up realizing I have spent 6 months absolutely averse to flossing and now have to condense 6 months of negligence into one week of nurturing every nook and cranny between my teeth. More often than not, I realize it’s a waste of my effort and I just brush my teeth four times the day of my appointment unequivocally convinced that will erase any signs of neglect over the past six months of forgetting to floss. I cram my dental hygiene routine into my one-day remedy hoping to compensate for what should have been maintained daily. I saunter up to the dental chair, lay down under the fluorescent light that doubles as an interrogation lamp and confess, “I have braced myself for a lecture. I know my teeth are going to fall out, and I will end up looking like my grandpa Bingo who is only capable of eating soft, cod with […]

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