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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DIY: Flush Your Fears. Post Your Prayers.

I am an avid Pinterest peruser. It’s one of my favorite social channels mainly because creativity overflows and negativity is absent. If you want to remind yourself there’s a sliver of hope for humanity, look at Pinterest. The gifts people possess are given away to the world. I mean it amazes me that someone used their creative juices to conjure up Unicorn Poop Slime. I can’t even make this stuff up. If that’s not creativity at its finest, I don’t know what is. The DIY I have in mind, isn’t as mystical or magical, but it proved helpful for me and is just the right mix of silly and serious. Have you ever had worry wash up in your heart, felt frozen by fear, or constantly focused on “flaws?” Me too! In fact, a severe feeling of inadequacy for ministry, marriage and motherhood swept over be again recently. In the past few months, these feelings of inadequacy have bubbled up, but now it’s an equivalent of a 8 on the Richter scale of emotional earthquakes.  In similar meltdowns,  I’ve heard a popular saying that exclaims, “Get your act together,” but what I want to say is, “Get your faith together, sister. It’s […]

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8 Simple Life Lessons I Learned From My Mom

As children, our parents become one of the biggest influences in our lives, for better or worse. We inherit their mannerisms, thought-patterns and their beliefs often become intricately woven into us. Although, according to health care laws, I am officially an “adult” I still call my mom to ask her what aisle to find pesto on at the grocery store. I frantically call her for the Netflix password or I find myself relying on her for severe weather updates. Bottom line? This girl still needs her mommy. And I hope I always do. Over the years, my mom has taught me simple life lessons that I continue to carry with me. 1. Unleash  Creativity From handmade halloween costumes to song writing my mom could give you a run for your money in the creative department. But her creative juices don’t stop flowing there. For example, let’s take the least fun thing you can possibly do as a kid – CHORES –  but not just chores, chores on a Saturday. She would create a melting pot of necessary chores like ‘clean the bathtub’ and ‘vacuum the living room’ and mix them with exciting items like ‘let’s see how many marshmallows you can […]

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What Easter means to me: A tale of two Tiffanys

It hurts me even to look at the picture on the left. It’s one of those sharp-inhale-hold-my-breath kind of hurts.  I close my eyes and cry for that lost girl, but my tears also flow from a place of fervent gratefulness that the lost girl can triumphantly say, “ I WAS lost, but NOW I’ve been found. Who I was is not who I am in Christ today.” The girl on the left was completely intoxicated. The girl on the left had just offered lap dances in exchange for dollar bills. The girl on the left was groped to the point her dress is practically falling off her. The girl on the left used alcohol to attempt to poison the pain inside of her. Yet the girl on the left is smiling. That’s the most agonizing part of the picture is the sorrow that can often remain a secret behind a smile. The happiness we can project even when we are up to our eyeballs in hurt and havoc. I often think of Saul/Paul, the man who wrote the majority of the New Testament and endured jail, multiple beatings and shipwrecks for Christ. Before Paul’s conversion he was killing christians. He […]

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Yielding To You

Yield.  This was my lesson in Leviticus. No, there’s not some big message on yielding in Leviticus the passage simply mentions the land yielding a harvest (25:6 and 25:21). But I hear, “Yield, Tiffany. Yield.” And it’s been resonating with my spirit ever since. Leviticus’ message of the land yielding a harvest spoke to me in two different ways.  The harvest that’s yielded in life hinges on yielding to the Holy Spirit in your life. What does it mean to yield? Well, I begin to think in terms of traffic signs which I know well. When I see a “Yield” sign while driving that means I look towards oncoming traffic and pause to allow the oncoming traffic to pass BEFORE I proceed on my route. Yielding means I give the person with the right away the actual RIGHT AWAY. We have a problem here. If God is telling me to yield that most likely means I am currently NOT yielding. That means I am not following His leading. That means I am not following Him. That means somehow I’ve gotten a head of myself and if you don’t yield to oncoming traffic that can cause quite a collision, frantic honking, or […]

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Praising in Your Prison

I get caught up in boasting in the Lord after bailing me out of a situation instead of praising him before a breakthrough.  After reading a story about two Godly guys named Paul and Silas in Acts, I’m learning firm faith is not created in those warm-fuzzy God moments. Fortified faith is created when the world’s been hard on you, but you believe God still has hope for you. Paul and Silas created quite the ruckus wherever they went. They were troublemakers and turned the world upside down. I admire their boldness and courage. If I just had an ounce of their faith would I turn the world upside down too? These holy hoodlums really ticked the town off in one particular scene and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. After they were severely flogged, they were thrown into prison. I know not the sugar-coated spiritual story people want to hear, but Paul and Silas taught me about what it looks like to exchange a warm-fuzzy faith for a real-deal faith.  They made me propose the question, “Is it possible to praise God in your present prison?” Like my friend Akon would say, Paul and Silas are LOCKED UP. […]

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My Goal Is To Get a Grip in 2016

My goal is to get a grip in 2016. When I was a kid I took gymnastic lessons both in Texas and Illinois. Honestly, jumping in the big foam pit was always the highlight of my lesson. So, basically, my parents shelled out big bucks for their daughter to take a leap and get swallowed up in a giant foam pit. Thanks, Mom and Dad! Although I threw in the towel somewhere between clumsy cartwheels and flimsy flip flops I still hold a fascination for talented gymnasts especially ones that compete on the always-intimidating uneven bars. Now, it was entirely evident I was no Gabby Douglas in the making, I couldn’t even generate enough momentum and grip to traverse the monkey bars on the playground at school. I would hang like a limp noodle as my limbs dangled above the gravel ground that awaited my return upon allowing gravity to triumph over Tiffany. But can you picture those professional gymnasts who conquer the uneven bars with poise and power? What a beautiful representation of the life I live. It seems like I am constantly twisting, turning, leaping and at times completely airborne wondering if I’ll stick my landing or wind […]

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