September 29, 2010

The Practicality of Life~~The L.O.L.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.  II Tim. 2:15 (NIV)

Just wanted to touch base with everyone, since....yes, I'm still "out here."  LOL    The Lord helped me to survive my first "anatomy" lecture test and lab "practical."  Not only did I "survive," I passed--with A's!  Hold on while I pinch myselfOUCH!   That hurt!   Ha!  I don't need to pinch myself to "believe it," because I feel the exhaustion from all the studying just about every moment of the day. . . that's "all the reminder" I need.  HA

Anyway....of course, I do a lot of thinking on my way "to and fro" school.   Wondering about this "phase" of life that I'm in..  Almost 40 well, um, "much older than your average college student" and in school again?  Really?  Well, it's more about "what's the deeper purpose in all of this, Lord?"  (because I know that there's SOMETHING ELSE He's wanting to teach me~~in addition to "Anatomy and the other classes," of course.) 

Guess what happens "in between school" ???  Give up?  Life!  That happens.  Duties of "being me."  Duty Calls.  Not sure about you, but sometimes I feel like taking this old flesh of mine and throwing it away. 
Allow me to explain:  (HA  that sounds so fancy!)  LOL

In Anatomy we not only have Lecture, but we also have a nearly three hour Lab class each week.  The tests in Lab are called "Practicals."  That's basically where we "see who really knows (*and can apply) what they've learned from the text book."  Some of us students prefer the lecture, whereas others like the "hands-on" approach of Lab.  Isn't it ironic that the Lab tests are actually called PRACTICALS??  
Do you have a "Hands-On Approach" to learning??
That's what LIFE IS for us, y'all.  We go to church, we listen to messages, take notes, do devotions, write journals, study the Word, dig deeper, and then guess what happens...we put the Bible down, close the devotions, strap on our "boots" and head out the door---into the big test of life~~ THE Practical!   It's early morning, and "unbeknownst" to me, I'm at the "first station in the Practical of Life,"  where I find--the car in the garage...I've got my keys in hand...and yet, where are the two children I am "to transfer from home to school?  Why are they not yet in the car??  Were they not just behind me?? Where art they!??   Hmmm.  What to do--What to do?!  Well, do I "APPLY my knowledge" from my earlier "moms-need-more-patience, and-here's-how-to-get-it" devotional???  ~~OR~~ do I flunk this first "station" in the Practical of Life and just completely blow my cool....Honking the horn, flashing the lights, etc?  "Okay, gather your cool, here come the two children...Lord, forgive me....okay...Let's shake this off and go to school."

Time flies whether we're
"having fun" or NOT! 

Head out the driveway, down the street and on towards Lab Practical Station #2 the main road..."Who let the floodgates open??   Where is all this traffic coming from? We'll never make it to school if I can't get out of this neighborhood~~What am I saying?  I have to get MYSELF to class!!"  What's that~~Could that be my blood pressure rising??   I look back to find the kids are biting their nails, tightly grasping their backpacks!  Wait...their backpacks are STILL ON THEIR BACKS, yes, while they're strapped in by their seat belts~~they must've been rushed to get in the car and "strapped in!"  ("Oh man, that's gotta be uncomfortable!")    Meanwhile---Time's tickin' away. (did I mention Lab practicals are TIMED!??)

"Barely scraping through that station," we get to school, they hop out of the car...."have a nice day y'all....I've got to run..I leave for classes in an hour!!"    Whew!   Arriving home, grabbing my backpack and a snack for later, what do I see on the dining room table?   My daughter's homework--the one she worked tirelessly on til "way past her bedtime" the night before!  OH NO!  Without realizing it, I've just proceeded to Lab Practical "Station #3!"    Now, the correct answer to this "problem" is to "not panic" and take the assignment to school (which happens to be a few minutes away..."No biggie," I thought.)   Well, I enter the garage~~keys, backpack AND daughter's assignment in hand (forget the snack-who has time to eat??)...I open the garage door, only to find...IT'S POURING DOWN RAIN!  . . . "Where's my umbrella?!"   (in the house!)   Entering Station #4.   (or could it be I never REALLY left "Station 1"  ????)  LOL 

(...."Ah...there they are, again!")
Y'all get the idea don't you!?    Life is just one big "Lab Practical" after another.  How well are we doing?  We may have the BOOK knowledge....but how well are we applying what we've learned "in the real world."  ?   ?   ?   (okay..where's my steel toes from last time?  HA)

Of course, some of these above-mentioned situations "may or may NOT" have been "added to for fictional purposes," but I have been thinking about this aspect of life. . . Surely we're fearfully and wonderfully made--as I've been  learning about all the microscopic details that we humans are composed of. . . but I'm also learning that whenever my feet hit the floor in the morning, I've just entered the "L.O.L."  Lab of Life.  And sometimes it "aint so funny!"  (Can I get a witness!?)   :o)  And the difference between the LOL (Lab of Life) and Lab in Anatomy is----in Anatomy, I'M the one who's looking into the microscope, deciding what specific tissue or cell I'm looking at. HOWEVER--in the "L.O.L." it's not MY eyes that are looking through the's the LORD'S eyes. . . thing is----what's He seeing?    Am I squirming and/or complaining on the "microscopic stage" of life??   How do OTHERS see me?  How am I "Handling the Word?"   Life is hard, and sometimes it's literally hard to breathe under the weight of these burdens... sometimes "trying to live the life" becomes a burden in itself---which is DEAD WRONG!  Our Heavenly Father KNOWS we can not do this!!  He wants us to depend totally on HIM to live HIS LIFE through us...all He wants is for us to be a CHANNEL for HIS STRENGTH and power to flow, and therefore "pass with flying colors" in the "Lab of Life."

Happy news is.....when we're His children we're covered in His Son's righteousness.  So, when He sees us, He's seeing perfection~~POSITIONALLY, not practically, of course.  Does this mean I am to continue on in my sinful, fleshly ways?  Nope.  I'm to stay under His wing, dependant totally ON HIS STRENGTH and fully obedient TO HIS WORD to get me through these "not-so-practical" times in life.  And that's a lot to LOL about!    Rejoice in the Lord!!

Okay..that's it from me until next time.    In an email, I teased a fellow blogging sister, Karen at Hallelujah Anyhow--who's taking a short BB (Bloggin' Break)...I mentioned how I'd missed her...anyway, when I signed off, I said, "H.U.N.T.  Hugs Until Next Time. . .no, we're not sending out a search party to hunt for you!"  LOL    So...y'all don't have to send out a search party for me. . I'm here. . . .But here you go:  Happy HUNTing--Hugs Until Next Time.  :)  Oh, and BTW, Kay (at Nana's Nuggets) I nearly "cracked up" LOL'ing when I got your latest comment!  Thanks for checking in!  (And whew, you didn't have to send out a "search party" for me...not yet anyhow!)   :)  HUGS!

Like a crane [or] a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove: mine eyes fail [with looking] upward: O LORD, I am oppressed; undertake for me.  Isaiah 38:14 (KJV)

Thank You, Father, for Your never-ending patience, and for being the most tolerant, loving, generous, helpful, patient Instructor I've ever known!  Help me, us ALL as we enter the LOL---and make sure that we are filled with YOUR JOY, so that instead of feeling "under the microscope," we can really do some LOL'ing---rejoicing in Your presence!  In Jesus' Name...Amen.

September 16, 2010

Oversized Load

Are you carrying an Oversized Load?  Can OTHERS see YOU coming "a mile away?"

On Monday morning I was headed to school, which takes about 20 minutes (on good "traffic" days.)  As soon as I "hopped on" the freeway, I saw one of these trucks....flags on each side of the front, lights flashing, with a rather large sign "advertising" OVERSIZED LOAD.   At first, I thought nothing much about it, only feeling prompted to take a "mental note" that I had seen one.   Low and behold, a few minutes later, there was ANOTHER ONE!   I began to think, "Hmmm...I wonder if God is trying to tell me something this morning??"  (see, lately I had been telling Him how I felt this heavy burden, and couldn't seem to "get rid of it."   Hmmm...."This could be more than a coincidence," I began to think.  So...that got my thoughts rolling.  And here's a few "mental notations" that were going through my mind as I was on my way to school:

Whenever we're feeling heavy-hearted, or extremely burdened, how do others see us?  Do we make it a POINT for others TO see us?  Or do we "quietly wait on the Lord?"  Do they see us with our faces drooped, lips rolled out, shoulders hung forward?  Do they hear us sighing from all the pressure?  Can they "see us coming a mile away?"  What signals are we giving off?  Do we scream, "OVERSIZED LOAD" wherever we go?  Hmmm.  I felt my toes beginning to crunch up in my shoes at this point (and I was wishin' I had me some steel toes on---'cuz they "was 'bout to get stepped on." Can I get a "witness??") LOL

Why is it that we DO FIND ourselves carrying this oversized load in the first place?  Did we just go over to that big old "pile of burdens" and pick it up gladly?   Probably not.  Maybe someone placed it on us, and we're having to deal with feeling *bitterness or resentment* towards that person.  (*Those are "a-whole-nother" type of heavy burdens that not only weigh us down, but also eat us up from the inside-out.)   Maybe we picked up this burden, without ever realizing it WAS going to BECOME a burden to us in the first place.  And here we are, carrying that OVERSIZED LOAD.  Ugh.

Wow!  We THOUGHT we needed tires!  But NOT THAT BIG!!! 
Now, what ARE we going to DO WITH THESE ANYWAY!?  Oh boy!

Could it be that the Lord has placed this burden upon us?  "Wait a minute, Tam!  God doesn't WANT us to be weighed down with burdens, right?  So why would HE place a burden on us?"  Well, remember:  He had to TELL US to "Come to me, all you who are weary and what??   Um.. BURDENED!   And I will give you what?    REST!"  He had to TELL US THAT, basically REMIND US, because HE KNOWS it's not our nature to just go to someone and say, "I can't do this anymore."  We tend to be independent, and just keep on trudging along, under the enormous weight.   After all, "what will others think if I cave in?  Will I be viewed as 'weak'?"   Jesus had to tell us to come to Him, because He knows it's just not in our nature to do that.  Thank God that HE seeks US OUT!  
"He has come to seek and to save that which was lost."  Luke 19:10

Since He may have placed the burden upon us to TEACH US TO COME TO HIM and trade our burden for HIS yoke, maybe this experience will teach us to TRUST HIM.  He will prove Himself to be All-Sufficient.  "Jesus is Amply Sufficient."  (I've been saying that this week, when things get to be "too much.")  Besides, another reason He "may" have placed this burden (or ALLOWED IT) is to teach us to trust in HIS strength and NOT OUR OWN!

"...My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength
is made perfect in weakness."   2 Cor. 12:9

He wants us to LEARN how to rejoice in EVERYTHING.. So if we're carrying these huge "warning flags" around with a big "sign" saying, "OVERSIZED LOAD," others will not see the VICTORIOUS LIFE that Jesus has already GIVEN US. ok...I can't feel my toes now! sigh

"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart!
I have overcome the world."  John 16:33

So, by this time, all these thoughts were going through my mind, and before I knew it, I was at the stop light getting ready to turn onto the road where the campus is.  You won't believe this, but when I came to my senses and looked ahead of me, there, sitting in front of me at the stoplight was yet ANOTHER big ole truck saying none other than:  "OVERSIZED LOAD!"   Yep.  That was definitely Divinely Orchestrated~~and when something is Divinely Orchestrated, it's to teach me a lesson---BUT---it's up to ME to DO something about it.  God was trying to GET MY ATTENTION!  "Tammi, quit carrying that oversized load!   No more Oversized Load.  Go ahead and trade it in for the Pure SON-shine-made OJ---being OverJoyed!"   
"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me;
 yet not my will, but yours be done."  Luke 22:42
"Okay, Father, I got the message.  Now, I'm in all the flags, warning lights, and big signs.  I'm afraid that some of the "warning flags" and "oversized signs" that are attached to me have already rusted. . so it's not easy for ME to remove them.  Please apply the annointing oil of Your Holy Spirit to smoothly remove things in my life that advertise an unvictorious and burdened life.  I'm not sure what You'll give me in return---except a joyful heart, and a SpRiNg in my step!   Thank You so much for allowing me to see these truths, even in all the construction around here!  And before I forget, thank You, Jesus, for bearing the heaviest burden~~one BIG burden that mankind doesn't have to bear, if only we trust in YOU.  That burden is SIN.  Thank YOU for bearing that one all the way to the cross for us!  We love and appreciate You.  In Jesus' Name, Amen."

P.S.  Another thing He reminded me on Monday, that I completely forgot to mention when I wrote this last night~~Whenever one of those "oversized load" trucks are on the interstate, it tends to hold up traffic behind it---because NO ONE can PASS IT~~~There's just not enough space...and if we DO try to pass it, it's always with "fear and trembling."  Hmmm.  When we're feeling overloaded and complain about our burdens, that could cause a "hold up" in another brother or sister's life---they may not be able to get past something in their lives.  Whatever WE DO affects others somehow.'s up to US to D.O. something about this "Divinely Orchestrated" lesson, OK?  :o)

September 10, 2010

S.O.S.~~ Our Source Of Strength

He tends his flock like a shepherd:   He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.  
Isaiah 40:11

It's been a while, but I wanted to give an update on how things are going....Today is my only "day off"---even though it will be spent mostly studying and catching up on housework.  It's certainly not been an easy adjustment going back to school, and the pressure of having to "get an A" in this one class (Anatomy & Physiology) is weighing me down.  (that class seems like it should be taken ALONE, instead of with other classes, due to the enormous amt. of material.) 

I recently read in My Utmost for His Highest (by Oswald Chambers) something along these lines:  When God gives us a blessing, and we keep that blessing to ourselves, the river of life stops flowing, and we basically become stagnant, even bitter.  Each blessing He pours into our lives is meant to be SHARED in order to keep that river of LIFE flowing.   When I've read that very devotion in the past, I felt like He was encouraging me to be sure to share the musical gift He has given me with others, and not "keep it to myself."  So as He's opened doors to share the music, I'd go through them--sometimes eagerly, and sometimes timidly (like when He opened the door to record the CD last year.) 

This is Alysa & Chase in 2008
Many times over the past few weeks on my way to school (a rather long drive) I've prayed, wondering about things, being reassured that He is still here with as the lump in my throat would well up at the thought of "letting go" of our two children and releasing my ever-so-tight grip on them (I've been homeschooling them) He reminded me of that very devotion again.  They are a blessing--a gift from God.  Could it be that I've been holding on to them so tightly, (trying to protect them from the wolves world) that the river of Life has stopped flowing; had the running water come to a temporary obstacle?   Does He want to use them to be a blessing, and me holding on tightly, keeping them here, is actually me "not sharing" the GIFTS He's given me??? 

Well, let me tell you in a nutshell---I pretty much hit rock bottom when I went to the Open House last Friday.  It was a rough weekend for me, emotionally---the storm was raging "something fierce."  But isn't that what usually happens before the rainbow of promise appears?    As my physical strength was drying up, and I've had to keep going to the Source of Strength for Him to carry me this week, the Great Physician gave me a few shots in the "spiritual arm" to boost me.   And I'll pass them along for you too:

This is Chase a few years ago.
After football practice earlier this week, the father of one of "Pancake's" team mates approached us to thank Chase At first I wondered "What did Chase do?"  That's when the father proceeded to tell me that he appreciated Chase sharing his faith with his son on the football field!  He said that they are Christians too and it meant so much to him for his son to come home from football practice and talk about Chase sharing his faith.  I heard a little "whisper" from above---"Don't you see why the enemy is fighting you and your family so much?  Can't you see the potential?  Do not give up!"   I thanked that father for letting me know and let him know that was just what I needed to hear....He said, "Don't give up..whatever you're doing, it's working."   Mostly what I've been doing is sobbing on the floor, in my "prayer closet" begging God for help.

This is Alysa last fall.

The Next Boost:   Last night, at practice, another mom began to talk to me... and somehow she began to share her faith, which opened the door for us to just talk about the Lord...and that was so refreshing!  I've been missing THIS aspect of "life" so very much.  After practice, another "mom" asked me, "Are you Alysa's mom?"  I said, "Yes."  She then told me how "precious Alysa is"...and how she "enjoyed Alysa's bubbly personality at the scrimmage the other weekend."  Here I've been, "couped up" all weekend studying, feeling like "this is not where I need to be..." (missing games, etc) and yet God is wanting to remove ME from the picture to let THE BLESSINGS He's given me SHINE for Him.  Whoah.   That's all I can say is "Whoah...I didn't see that coming!"   Humbling isn't it?

So..that's the latest from this tired, leaky vessel.  One more thing:  I am SO thankful that our Gracious God understands our condition---that we are living in such a difficult world---being battered and bombarded by the enemy, sometimes even when WE don't even realize that we're not wrestling with flesh and blood--but with the enemy!  I'm so glad that when I can no longer lift my head from my pillow, all I have to do is lift my voice, even faintly, and cry out, "carry me, for I can no longer go on"---and He does just that.   He hears us, y'all.  Even though we can reach the "end of our rope and feel like sending out an SOS," all we have to do is go to THE S.O.S. (Source of Strength) and He'll carry us.  He sent some encouraging words to me & I'll pass this on too:  "Keep up My Work, for it is GOOD."   And today, He's carrying this little lamb.

Have a great weekend y'all!  Love and miss you lots and lots

September 1, 2010

What to do in the D.O.G. Days. . .

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."  So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" 
Hebrews 13:5, 6 (NIV)

According to Wikipedia, "Dog Days" (Latin: diēs caniculārēs) are "the hottest, most sultry days of summer. In the northern hemisphere, they usually fall between early July and early September. . .Dog Days can also define a time period or event that is very hot or stagnant, or marked by dull lack of progress."

We could certainly classify these days as the "Dog Days" of summer.  The summer's heat (of 97 degrees today) coupled with the stagnant economy seem to define DOG Days, for sure.  Seems to be an ecomonic "lack of progress" for sure.   Lots of people ask, "Will America's economy ever bounce back?"  

It's good to keep in mind our verses...."Keep your lives free from the love of money...just be content with what you have."   It's tough to not think of money and the effects of "not having enough" to get by, I know.  Bills may be stacking up on your counter. . . your children may need new school clothes or supplies, or shoes.  Be; be satisfied.  Does that mean to actually be satisfied if you're having trouble paying for shoes for your children, or buying school clothes~~be content in THAT struggle?  Well, I think it means be content in the fact that we have GOD.  Even in these D.O.G. days, we can Depend On God!  Depend on GOD!  He has promised us so many things!  Just a few are:  never to leave us; to be OUR Helper; to provide for our every need. . . all He asks is for us to be content in whatever state we're in...even if it's in a "state of emergency," like Virginia and NC are right now.

Depend on God.   Even when things don't seem to be progressing the way WE want them to~~even if everything is going "backwards" from the way you originally planned it to go.  Backwards is NO BIG DEAL, because even in the dog days, spell DOG backwards---and we've still got GOD.   YES!! We can DEPEND On GOD!  

Yes, Father, I depend on You. . .even though things are going backwards...even though things may be tough. . I can be content in this situation, because in the center of this situation is YOU.  (Zeph. 3:17) And I can rest contently in YOU.   As I take a deep breath right now, I'm breathing in the very omnipresence of YOU.  This brings such relief to my soul.  I pray for all of my dear friends out there who are experiencing these DOG Days.  May we all be careful to remember that NO MATTER the stagnant situation, or HEAT from the Fiery Furnace---We can Depend On God---You, our Heavenly Father!  In Jesus' Name, Amen.