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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Hands Tell Stories

It’s been a year without my grandma. But I’m also a year closer to meeting her again. With the holiday season in full swing, the thoughts of empty chairs around the dinner table are on my mind. I wanted to share what I posted last year as a way for my grandma’s legacy to live on. Hands tell stories. When I think of the scars on Jesus’ hands they bring to my mind sacrifice and a deep, unfathomable love. His hands tell a story of grace. When I think of my grandma’s hands they represent years of working relentlessly on the farm. They represent the hands that held three amazing children after they were brought into this world. They represent seasons of working and nurturing growth in her garden. They represent years of baking countless cookies and flawless cakes. They represent serving her family breakfast, lunch and dinner and when her grand kids visited serving them their favorite meal of sweet-and-sour meatballs. They represent playing numerous games of chicken track that would last well into the night. They represent memories of toting my sister and I to the park in a metal wagon. They represent the quilts she labored over to […]

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Stranger Danger

Spiritual stranger danger is a real thing, y’all. I can’t get past a specific verse. It’s been on a post-it note above my bed for months because I deeply desire the verse to be a reflected in my life. Parents often tell their children, “Don’t talk to strangers.” They say this as a warning to protect their children from potential harm. Jesus sends us the same message. Be careful who you allow to speak into your life. Be careful who you give your microphone to. John 10:4-5 “…and his sheep follow him because they KNOW his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”  I want to be so dialed into God that when a stranger comes calling I send them to voicemail automatically. Better yet,  I just go ahead and block their calls. As a person who possesses a people pleasing spirit deflecting what others say to listen to what God says is no easy task. I literally die a little inside disappointing people, but a greater death would occur if I dismiss the only voice that matters. Strangers distract you from the […]

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Attitude of Gratitude 

I’ve given Thanksgiving a second-place trophy for best holiday of the year. First place going to Halloween. The reason Halloween ranks number one in my book is a blog for another day. Why is Thanksgiving runner up on my list? When thanksgiving approaches people tend to reflect more on what they are grateful for in their life and champion an attitude of gratitude. I mean who doesn’t love more sincere thank yous? A couple years ago I made turkey construction paper cut-outs using the outline of my hand and wrote on the hand what I appreciated most about each family member. Super elementary, I know, but don’t you dare judge me! Naturally, I thought everybody else was riding my thankfulness train, so I suggested over Thanksgiving dinner that we should go around the table and say one thing we were thankful for. And that was the last year I was invited to family Thanksgiving. Kidding. I tried to to do it earlier this year because all the siblings were in the same place for the first time in FOREVER and they exasperatedly said, “UGH, not this again. It’s not even Thanksgiving YET.” You have been warned… just in case you ever want me to be your dinner guest. Christmas dinner I kick it […]

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Anger: A How To

Anger has perplexed me in my now-loving Jesus days. Tiffany the ticking time bomb became explosively angry. When I started faithfully following Jesus, I was filled with such love I thought I would never be angry again. How could I with such warm-fuzzy feelings from my father in heaven? Adios, Anger! It’s been real. It’s been fun, but it hasn’t been really fun. He obviously removed my anger and replaced it with awesomeness. Or so I thought. But after people asking me deep questions on how I express anger nowadays, I came to the conclusion I am afraid to be angry. PETRIFIED. I have my “No trespassing. That means you, Anger” sign on display. I never want to act like the old Tiffany, so I learned it’s better to suppress or be passive aggressive in anger instead of potentially becoming an aggressive anger avalanche again. So, I went from one end of the spectrum to the other. For a while I ignored my anger, but then I ended up in a group that convinced me it was in my best interest to acknowledge and feel ALL the feelings, but of course not allow them to be the boss of me. I mean we even had […]

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Am I in an abusive relationship?

Being in an abusive relationship is often alternating between fear and love.

I remember a night cowering in the corner as my boyfriend at the time lifted his fist to hit me. He never followed through, but I remember thinking in my mind, “Please, not this again.” I had just gotten out of an abusive relationship and by “gotten out” I mean this person went to jail and that seemed like the opportune time to make my getaway. My past is not pretty. I was reckless in relationships and allowed people to control and manipulate me. I struggle with codependency and people-pleasing which is pretty much a recipe for disaster unless I am aware of these characteristics and make a conscious effort to run in the opposite direction of them. I find a sick fulfillment in emptying myself out to “fix” a person. Maybe this is a healthy quality in some situations,  but when it comes to your significant other it will only lead to destruction and result in wrong relationship repetition.  Like a dog to its vomit, so a fool repeats her folly. I was a fool. In order to break a stronghold, you must first recognize it as one. It’s that one thing you can’t seem to shake. The one thing that snaps you […]

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It Does Get Better

I can recall a vivid scene from Sophomore year in college. My roommate and I would occasionally run at our apartment gym to make room for ice cream. On one particular night we were leaving the gym and decided to check our mail before heading back home. We walked around the corner and were met by a girl with her head bowed down, hair covering her face while slitting her wrist. My eyes locked in on the bright, red blood dripping to the ground. As what was unfolding clicked in my mind, I walked around to the other side of the building out of sight and ear shot to call 911. While I called 911, my roommate went back to the gym to get paper towels. We wanted this girl to know we saw her and we were there for her, but we didn’t want her to run away in fear. I remember the bright ambulance lights and the screech of the sirens as she was whisked away. I stood stunned. This night rocked my world. I rushed home to call a dear friend of mine. I knew at one point in time, she gravitated toward self-infliction.  I couldn’t stop crying and between […]

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The Mess before The Miracle

I think if I had to pick a verse that represented my journey the past seven months it would be John 9:6-9. “After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes.“Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?”  Some claimed that he was. Others said, “No, he only looks like him.” But he himself insisted, ‘I am the man.’” In this scene Jesus is healing a man blind since birth. What’s crazy is we are all born blind. We are stuck with a perpetual blindfold over our eyes until Jesus reveals himself to us. In that moment, the mask that’s been covering our eyes vanishes and we have a choice to walk with Jesus or to walk away. I did my fair share of walking away. Some days it felt more like sprinting away. Although I wasn’t physically blind, I was blind to the pain in my past. I was […]

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I’ve Had Enough!

For some peculiar reason I feel like I need to think long and hard about the idea of “enough.” I have no idea why, but have an inkling it might be preparing me for something in the future if I’m being made to contemplate now with no reasonable evidence on why.  Forrest Gump is a classic movie. It’s chock-full of little nuggets of wisdom. When this topic of enough popped in my mind, I immediately thought of the scene in Forrest Gump when Forrest quits running. At this point in the movie, Forrest has been running for three years, two months, 14 days and 6 hours. He stops, turns around to his followers and says, “I’m pretty tired. I think I’ll go home now.” As the crowd parts for him to go home, one follower shouts, “Now, what are we supposed to do?”  I don’t want to be like Forrest Gump. I don’t want to end up dog-tired with a beard spanning the length of my belly when I defeatedly say. “I’m pretty tired. I think I’ll go home now.” The problem I see in today’s world is we live in the continual mentality that we need more. Lines get blurred and there’s no […]

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