Shut Up Already

I remember my very first writing assignment in first grade. I had a cutout of a girl, who I had to color and decorate to look like me. Her body served as the place I would write a few paragraphs all about me–the things I liked to eat, the places I liked to go. Since then, I have been hooked on the 26 letters that can form new thoughts and ideas. Simple words that can make people laugh and bring people to tears.

I've been asked the question: If you could do anything in the whole world you wanted to and not have to worry about money what would it be?

Of course, for me, the answer is writing.

I have prayed over this desire of my heart. I have began three different novels, or maybe four. I have a notebook full of ideas–some I have seen written already by other authors. And God has blessed me with the opportunity…and now, for the first time ever, the motivation.

He gave me an idea…then His word to back it up.

Then during my fast…he slammed me over the head. Like for real. Like when you are playing with one of those bouncy soft, big summer balls with the kids outside. Somehow your son gets sidetracked and starts staring off into oblivion. You call his name, you call his name again. And then you realize you have the ball in your hand so you chunk it at his head to get his attention? No. That's just me?

So Jesus slammed me over the head with the ball, because I just haven't been pay attention. I may have been playing around with this writing dream, but I haven't really engaged in it.

In the midst of me fasting and praying–crying out to Jesus to give me a true purpose. And he did. My focus on writing was all wrong, it was about me, what I could offer and what I can write. When truly everything I do is about Jesus, and is simply an overflow of all he has done for me.

In my journal, I wrote these questions:

IS THERE WONDER & AWE AT WHAT JESUS HAS DONE?

ARE YOU ABSOLUTELY OVERWHELMED AT WHAT JESUS HAS DONE FOR YOU?

When Peter and John went before the Council in Acts 4, their goal was to shut up the Spirit led men so the message of Jesus couldn't go any further. Peter and John were warned–keep your mouth shut. This was there response:

“We cannot stop telling about the wonderful things we have seen and heard.”

I can just see them responding in the same way I tell my kids:

“I hear you. I hear what you are saying, but No, it's just not going to happen.”

Calmly, respectfully.

It's like what the council was asking was impossible for them. It's like they were saying:

Have you seen what Jesus has done? Do you have any clue how he has changed me, redeemed me, used me? There is no way I can shut my mouth about that, even if I tried.

And that is how I am trying to live my life. This is how I am planning on writing, with an overwhelming amount of compelling of the Spirit to tell all that Jesus has done for me. I pray that you can do the same. You will have an overwhelming sense of gratefulness of what Christ has done for you, and you just won't be able to shut up about it. Not to your kids, your family, friends, neighbors, people in line at the grocery store. If you know me at all, you know that I don't really shut up anyway–so this should be easy for me.

Do you need a word from God? Do you need Him to show you something? FAST WITH US!

JULY 1

JULY 2

JULY 3

He speaks when we empty ourselves. Comment and commit. Then invite 3 people you know to fast with us!

Ever felt like you just can't shut up already about Jesus? Comment and share! I want to know!

 

How To Live Recklessly: Lessons From A 3 Year Old

Anyone who knows me knows that I love me some kids. Adults can get on my nerves, with their well thought out opinions, thinking they know what they are talking about. Kids, most of the time, actually do know what they are talking about. Kids are so much better.

Yesterday I spent the day in the Fiesta Texas water park with my youngest and two nephews. For hours, me and this little were BFF’s.

Fearlessly, he ran through water, climbed up rope ladders and swam deeper and deeper. We walked into the pool, that gradually got deeper as you walked into it. With every step, his little heart raced, becoming more and more excited at the adventure that lied ahead. I wised up pretty quickly and rummaged through to find a small enough life vest. He moved his little arms and legs as fast as possible, not knowing that it was me who actually propelled him forward.

He was swimming.

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. ”

As we reached the shallower areas, he would just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. I would say, “Blake, put your feet down.”

He realized he could touch the bottom.

He would jump, jump, jump, letting his vest bob him along the shoreline.

Then off he would swim.

When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified, “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

After three hours in this pool we trekked to the wave pool–and for anyone who has been at Fiesta Texas and pushed a stroller from the bucket play area to the wave pool know the trek I’m talking about. Oh, my friend, I’m thankful to not have to use a stroller any more.

The waves encouraged a whole entirely new level of courage in that little person. He bobbed along, jumping, allowing the waves to push him in and out, up and down. The waves would get the best of him, and he found himself under the water. I would say, “Blake, you have to hold my hands.”

His little fingers would grasp tightly around mine, rebuilding his trust in himself, knowing I would not let him go.

The water would come crashing, forcing out giggles and wonder.

One little hand would surrender.

Then the other.

Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.”

He would bob along, and closely I stood, as he was determined to master the pool himself. The water would come crashing…and again I would gently remind him, “Blake, You have to hold my hands.”

Come,” he said.

Then he would see “the Guys” splashing and playing several feet away.

“Guys! Guys!” he would yell, quickly letting go of me, his safety, and “swimming” as fast as he could toward the big guys, ignoring the crashing of the waves that threatened to fall upon him.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.

Oh I want to be like Blake, like the child Jesus wants me to remain.

I want to move my arms and legs as fast as I can, knowing Jesus is guiding me forward, closer to him, closer to fulfilling all he has for me.

I want to run as fast as I can, not even knowing I can put my feet down to walk.

I want to jump out of the boat when I hear the voice of Jesus, letting go of all I know that I know is safe, ignoring the crashing of the waves, recklessly ignoring what my mind would see as treacherous.

Everyday, I want to pursue Him so fiercely that I am completely exhausted from the joy of being in his presence.

Kids are so much better. Live Reckless. -Tiff

How to REALLY Fight For Your Kids

I caught her expression out of the corner of my eye. I was rushing to pile stuff on tables, and convince every person that my stuff was worth the $5 bucks I was selling it for. We were moving to Texas–suddenly. My three kids were in shock, but with some happiness. Except my daughter.

She would be leaving behind her friends.

She wouldn't be a varsity cheerleader anymore.

She sat there, in the chair, huddled with her friends, on her 16th birthday, watching me sell our stuff.

I will never, ever forget the look on her face. I tried my hardest to be positive. I had conversations with God and told him that I trusted him. But inside, as a mom, I was dying. I felt like a failure. I felt the worse sense of shame that somehow I was causing harm to my kids. I hated myself.

From that moment forward I hated everything about life and everything about how utterly helpless I was to change our circumstances. We moved to Texas and did our best to settle, temporarily at my brother's and then soon after into our own place. No matter what I have done, being in San Antonio just hasn't felt like home. I hated this place. And I convinced myself that if I chose to like it, then I chose my daughter's pain, and I couldn't own up to that.

Her depression was ruining her. Daily tears, hating her school, feeling utterly alone, feeling like she just didn't fit in. Our pain was unified, she hurt, and I hurt…I hated and she hated. I couldn't take it anymore. What happened to my independent,sassy, life-loving, joy-filled, fisher of men? She was slowly fading, with every tweet: I hate school, I hate my life, I hate people.

I told her counseling was inevitable, she was stuck without perspective and I could only encourage her so much. She refused, with all the stubbornness inside her. It only made sense to fast for her. I had to.

As a mom, I have certain control over my children's spiritual life. She is flesh of my flesh, and I have every right to approach the throne on her behalf. I have every authority over the principalities of darkness to fight on her behalf. And I did!

With every bite I denied myself, every Coke I passed up, my prayer was this: My daughter needs freedom more than I need this piece of bread. The pangs in my stomach are my spirit crying to you Lord to free my daughter and give her vision for her life.

And He did.

Her depression is lifted.

She can be sad about missing her friends without it controlling her life.

God has given her a clear vision for her immediate future. And she has been favored already as she starts her own business and blog. She no longer cries everyday. She no longer hates people. (However, she still very much hates her school).

She is seeking God's word, and has once again embraced her desire to conquer the world.

Although nothing has changed, everything has changed.

As parents we must go head to head with the enemy, refusing to allow anything to overcome our children. God entrusted them to us and it is our job to protect them, not just physically, but emotionally and especially spiritually.

A group of us are fasting

JULY 1

JULY 2

JULY 3

Join us if you have a child who:

  • Is overcome with depression
  • Needs a relationship with Christ
  • Is lost or alone
  • Is being bullied
  • Struggles with Addiction
  • Has a broken relationship with you
  • Just needs some breakthrough.

FAST WITH US!

FIGHT FOR THEM!

A leader of the local synagogue, who name was Jairus, came and fell down before him, pleading with him to heal his little daughter. “She is about to die,” he said in desperation. “Please come and place your hands on her; heal her so she can live.” Mark 5:22-23

Right away a woman came to him whose little girl was possessed by an evil spirit. She had heard about jesus, and now she came and fell at his feet. She begged him to release her child from the demon's control. Mark 7:25-26

One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my son for you to heal him…” Mark 9:17

One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch them and bless them….He said to them, “Let the children come to me.” Mark 10:13&14

Parents! Bring your children to Jesus…they will be blessed and healed, And you will have a grateful heart, an overwhelming spirit of thankfulness whenever you look at our child. You will have evidence of God's present day miracles in the eyes of your very own child!

Comment your YES! and stay tuned as we prepare our hearts!

Share this with 3 people who can fast with you!

And for those of you who are already committed, I am praying for you!!

LIVE RECKLESS

 

 

HOW TO DO SOMETHING DRASTIC FOR CHANGE

A fast can defeat you before you even begin. I wrestled with the idea of not having pasta and bread three nights a week, what it would feel like to not have my morning caffeine and all the other reasons I just couldn’t for months before I committed to it. God would prompt me, I would say, “Yes, LORD!” But then every time I would think about what I had to sacrifice or what “events” were going to “get in the way.” I would talk myself out of it. I just couldn’t do it.

My commitment to fast was strictly out of obedience. Jesus fasted. If Jesus did it, we are not above it. I also was in a place where the pain of my circumstances outweighed the fear of the sacrifice, or the change that would become of it.

BREAKTHROUGH CAN HAPPEN WHEN PAIN OUTWEIGHS FEAR

I needed something different and I needed more of Jesus because I was just too much. Even for myself to deal with. And when you can’t even deal with yourself, friend, you better do something drastic. I still stand with an abandoned heart needing Jesus to seep into certain areas of my life.

Do you need Jesus to seep?

Into your marriage?

Into your husband’s heart?

Into your child’s life, so they can be free from that addiction?

Into your bank account?

Into your daily self-doubts?

Into your health?

I implore you–do something drastic with me. Commit to fasting with me –and dozens of others–on

July 1, July 2 and July 3.

As you begin to prepare, here are some things that are true about fasting:

  1. You can always talk yourself out of a fast or doing anything that requires any level of self-discipline.
  2. Events, holidays, birthdays are always right there. You might have to forge through.
  3. You can’t think about what you have to sacrifice, you must focus on what you will gain
  4. You really can’t do it. If you can give that food up on your own, you need to consider sacrificing something more difficult.
  5. Fasting is about sacrificing FOOD.
  6. FASTING is a form of deep prayer. If you give up food and don’t pray you are simply starving yourself.
  7. Fasting is NOT a diet or a means to lose weight.
  8. Your dietary sacrifice can be anything that is challenging to you. You don’t have to go all out and not eat at all. (Especially if you haven’t been cleared by a doctor.)
  9. You must begin praying NOW about what your fasting commitment should be.
  10. You must be specific in what you are going to pray for.

Can you do it?

Yes

Because…

We don’t do anything alone.

We do life together.

Jesus commits to being there, to helping, to loving, to listening, to bringing freedom.

 

Let me know if you are IN by commenting. And then share this and challenge 3 friends to fast with us!

To our lives changing, because they will, my friend, they will.

Tiff

HOW I BECAME A CRIMINAL

It’s true. All of it, I confess. I went before the judge made my plea:

Judge: Do you understand the charges against you?

Me: Yes, ma’am

Judge: What do you plead?

Me: No Contest

Charges against me?! I now, officially, have a criminal record.

All the illegal stuff I did in my youth. The drinking and driving. The fake ID’s the drugs, the stealing….and NOW, as a mother of five….NOW, as I wife….NOW, as a someone who loves me some Jesus…NOW I am an official criminal.

And it’s not even a cool story. Everyone is expecting a cool story from me. But I got nothing for you…

It’s just as simple as this:

When Cody was sick, I sent in parent notes instead of doctor’s notes.

So because the school didn’t have their preferred excuse, me and my fourteen year old son had charges brought against us. And we had a court appointed time in the Municipal building with a judge. And we wasted a whole lotta tax payer’s dollars. To be told:

You are on probation until October 27th. Cody don’t have any unexcused absences, and Mom, make sure you monitor his attendance.

Yup. That happened… giving me a criminal record

I get there are kids who don’t go to school but these Texans take this truancy thing super seriously.

As I watched these other moms, I wondered how difficult it was for them to be there. How many of them had to take off work? How many of them have cried over their wayward child? How many have dreaded that phone call from the school saying their child wasn’t at there, and every tear was a different worry about something being horribly wrong?

My BIGGEST fear going into this whole court ordeal was that I didn’t want anyone to think I was a bad mom. I wasn’t afraid of jail, after all I’ve seen ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK. But people thinking I’m a bad mom would be worse than death.  In fact, the whole BIKINI DISCUSSION really boils down to this–moms wanting to make the right decision. We want to all say it’s for the sole benefit of our child, but, really, is it? I think as moms we want to impress other moms. We want to make the more noble decision. We want our kids to come out of their messed up childhood with flying colors. And if they don’t, then maybe we didn’t give them enough attention. Maybe we let them wear a bikini…maybe we turned in the wrong kind of note.

At one time, maybe those moms felt the insecurity of being sub-par. But as I looked around the courtroom, most of them were courtroom veterans. One mom told the prosecutor she just didn’t know what to do anymore, and she has a younger daughter who hated school, and life, just like the older one who was ready to drop out and get her GED. One mom hired an attorney. The other moms could care less about their criminal record, they just needed someone to help them figure out how to help their children.

How petty of us to be concerned about what other people think of our mothering?! In mothering we extend each other the least amount of grace. Even when we are sympathetic to that mom who has a struggling, rebellious child, we have those secret questions wondering to ourselves,… never out loud….where that mom went wrong.

If a child is doing well, we assume he has a great mom. If a child is failing, then it’s for sure the moms fault.

This entire situation taught me a few things:

  • I didn’t choose the thug life, the thug life chose me .
  • We judge ourselves so harshly, and sometimes even hope to come across another mom that is worse at parenting than us, just to make us feel better.
  • Moms of truly hurting kids don’t give a crap about how you parent. They are way too absorbed in their own troubles to care about your failures.
  • We are all humans in need of grace and mercy.
  • Truancy judges are bound to be bored out of their minds.

How do you handle your parenting failures? Do you give yourself grace or feel like you’ve messed up your child forever? What have been your eye opening experiences?

I really want to know…. Comment and SHARE!

LG|LP – Tiff