The Road Home

Copyright Tammy Cardwell
Copyright Tammy Cardwell

Only a short distance from this bridge, over which I’ve passed numerous times through the years, lies the entrance to New Hope Cemetery. This is an old cemetery with a fascinating collection of aged headstones. This is a rustic cemetery and it holds the earthly remains of some of my nearest and dearest.

Too many times, we’ve followed a hearse over this bridge, taking a loved one to their final resting place. Several times, we’ve crossed the bridge to visit the graves of those we’ve not seen in so very long. The last time I was there–the day I took this picture–we were “visiting” Mother.

You’d think this bridge would represent loss to me, would inspire pain, but it doesn’t. Why?

The answer lies in the cemetery’s name–New Hope. Yes, we’ve laid our loved ones to rest here, but I know that in each and every case they were born again and destined for Heaven. For them, and those of us who expectantly wait to see them again, this place offers hope indeed–hope of that new life, true LIFE that will never end–eternal life in the very presence of God, surrounded by those we love so much…HOME.

So this picture shows a path of hope, a man-made construct that bridges the past and that glorious future as we follow the road home.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

An Appropriate Gift

At one time, I was very much into Victoriana. I read period fiction, collected ephemera and other items from that era, subscribed to Victoria magazine…

That was a long time ago, or so it seems. I’d already moved in other directions when we pretty much lost everything we owned in 2010. Since then, the busy-ness of life and the demands of life’s necessities have drawn me even further away from that time of my life. 

So it would seem inappropriate for one of my oldest and dearest friends to send me a copy of Victoria’s A Woman’s Christmas for my birthday. It would seem…

I picked it up and was instantly drawn in. I was… actually… transported. I suddenly found myself back in those days when our boys were young and Christmas was still a magical time for me, when I could hardly wait to put up the tree and spent months planning and shopping for just the right gifts. 

Those days are gone-hopefully not forever, but to be honest I’ve had a hard time finding the magic of late. So I am very grateful to my friend for empowering me to touch it again. Bless you, Marilyn, for sending me such an appropriate gift. 

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

Can’t Afford Not To

When I began actively serving God in August of 1980, it seemed perfectly natural to tithe. I’d been raised at least somewhat in church, so tithing wasn’t new to me, and my new pastor was wise enough to teach a little about tithing at every service. I also eventually discovered Malachi 3:8: “Will a man rob or defraud God? Yet you rob and defraud Me. But you say, In what way do we rob or defraud You? [You have withheld your] tithes and offerings.” [AMP] When I saw that we owe God not only our tithes, but our offerings, I actively began to make those offerings as well.

The man I married the next year believed as I did, so we continued to tithe and give offerings until we reached what I think of as our moment of stupidity. In looking at our budget, we decided we couldn’t afford to tithe, that we would continue to give to God as we could, but the 10% just wasn’t possible.

Within three months, all hell broke loose in our finances. Yes, money had been tight before, but we’d had no idea just how much God was blessing us until we started robbing Him and removed our right to that blessing. Three months after we stopped tithing, we admitted that we couldn’t afford not to tithe, repented, and got back to doing what we knew to do. Three months or so after that, things were back to “normal.”

It only took that one time for us to learn our lesson. We’ve tithed and given offerings ever since, and though there have been undeniably tight times God has always blessed us, making our money stretch to seemingly impossible lengths. Clearly, no matter how challenging our financial situation gets, we always know it could be a LOT worse.

No, we can’t afford not to tithe – and give offerings.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

We Lay Our Crowns

There is a line in a song we sing in church: “We bow down. We lay our crowns at the feet of Jesus.”

We sing this song in the present tense, and I recently realized the importance of doing this very thing. We may not wear literal crowns today, but most of us have areas in which we feel we rule, parts of our lives in which we take pride (often rightfully so), places where our “hat” is a crown.

When we lay everything else at Jesus’ feet–our burdens, our brokenness, our sickness, our pain–we should lay these crowns at His feet as well. In doing this, in submitting one’s whole life to Him, you see those strong places strengthened even more; also, when you recognize that no matter how much you “rule” in an area it is He who reigns supreme, you steer clear of the sin of pride.

It is far better to lay one’s crown down that to have it removed as a result of sin.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

The Past Comes Back

Several years ago, I was on a road trip and a comment was made about the leaves changing colors. I’d recently learned the science behind it and offered the information that the colors are there all the time; they’re just covered up by the green of the chlorophyll. Instantly, one of my companions said, “There she goes…correcting us again.”

I was stunned, and I was hurt. I explained that no, I just found the information fascinating and had thought they would too. She understood and apologized, and we were good, but the incident stands in my memory as a reminder that, no matter how hard you try to avoid it, your past will sometimes come back to haunt you.

You see, I used to be really bad about correcting people. I assumed everyone was like me, wanting to know how to use good grammar, properly pronounce words, use expressions correctly, etc. When this event occurred, however, I had been actively not correcting people for a long time.

It came about as a result of correcting a friend (with pure motives, I assure you) and offending her. On that day I decided that I would never again correct her in any way unless she asked for it. It didn’t take long for me to realize this was the best policy to use with everyone. I do still occasionally correct people, but when I do it’s a slip up and I try to apologize. I can’t stop the edits that go on in my brain, but I can keep them from passing my lips.

So by the time the “always correcting” comment was made it didn’t apply anymore, but she was so locked into the way I used to be that she didn’t even realize it.

I’m glad I remembered this incident today. It’s a good reminder, to me, to not judge people by what they used to be, to not be the one who brings their past back to haunt them, but rather to accept them as who they are today. Sometimes that may mean I have to really look at them, taking a fresh look and even getting to know them all over again in a sense.

It’s worth the effort. Friendship is that important.
Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

Nobody’s Perfect

It is interesting, how we expect people to be perfect. Non-Christians despise Christians because of their imperfections. Christians leave churches because of other Christians’ weaknesses. We cannot seem to get past the fact that man, even Christian man, makes mistakes – sometimes horrible mistakes. Why? Where did we get this idea that Christians are perfect? That any man is even capable of perfection?

Look closely at well-known Bible stories and you quickly discover just how imperfect our heroes really were. Moses, my personal favorite, had such a temper that it caused him to first flee Egypt and then lose the right to enter the Promised Land. Abraham walked in fear where his wife was concerned and practiced deceit as a result. So did Isaac. Jacob deceived his own father. David gave in to base lust, then murdered a man. Solomon… Wow.

From our earliest days, man has been imperfect. This is exactly why we needed a Savior, the Perfect Lamb. Having accepted His sacrifice, His great love that takes me – imperfect as I am – and makes me His own, I do not have the right to hold other Christians’ imperfections again them.

As was true in the past, it is true today. Nobody’s perfect.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

If It Were My Funeral

I swiped the idea for this post from one I once posted to a blog I shut down ages ago. That post was prompted by hearing a minister say, at a funeral, “If _____ were here right now, he would say…”

Why, I wondered, should things I would say wait until my funeral to be said? So, if this were my funeral, I would say…

I hope you miss me, because that will mean I’ve touched your life, but you have no need to mourn. Finally, at last, I am where I’ve longed to be for so very long. I love you, and I’ve loved the life we’ve shared, but I love my God so much – so very much – more. Sometimes, especially in recent years, the homesickness for Heaven has been almost painful.

“I knew you before you were in your mother’s womb,” He says. I’ve believed this for years, and believed that I knew Him that early as well, that I was with Him in Heaven before ever being sent to Earth – and I’ve longed to go back. Paul said, “For me to die is gain.” YES! For the longest time, I’ve totally gotten what he meant by those words!

Loss is hard, and I get that too. “Losing” Mother was painful, but it helped when a friend pointed out that in reality she’d only moved away to a place I couldn’t go yet, that though we would be separated for a while I’d see her again when I made the same move. I’ve really been looking forward to seeing her again, and Daddy, and Granny and Grandaddy, and Mema and Pepa, and…

Now I ask you, please prepare to come meet us again too. If you’ve never accepted Jesus as your Savior, don’t know Him as your Lord, accept Him today. I look forward to visiting you in your mansion.

If it were my funeral, I think that’s pretty much what I would say.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

One in a Million

Christian, born-again one, think about how precious you are to God.

Consider a loving earthly father. He values all of his children, would give his life for any one of them. If all but one walks away, however, the one who remains becomes especially precious.

Since God created man, most of His creation has turned away from Him. If you count all those who were destroyed in the flood, it may well be that only one in a million has been true to Him.

You may well be one in a million, and that makes you VERY precious to your heavenly Father.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Hallowed be Thy Name

When you put a bumper sticker on your car, people associate you with whatever that bumper sticker represents. Did you cut them off in traffic? They’re probably disparaging your preferred university. Even worse if you’re a Christian, when they see you behaving badly while driving a car that labels you as a Christian or a member of a certain church, they are quite possibly using your behavior as an excuse to judge God and your church.

You think I’m kidding? I know someone who will not put one of her church’s bumper stickers on her car because she’s heard, too many times, “Those ______ drivers are some of the worst on the road!” She doesn’t want to risk her driving reflecting badly on her church, so she won’t advertise where she goes.

I think of this sort of thing often as I pray the Lord’s Prayer. I wear the label “Christian” and, whether or not anyone around me sees that label (And they do!), I know there is a multitude of other witnesses both angelic and demonic that do. Even more so, God does. God’s name is holy, and my desire is to always, even in the privacy of my own thoughts, reflect His holiness, not giving the devil or man any reason at all to judge God poorly based on ME.

As I pray “hallowed be Thy name,” I renew my commitment to keep His name holy, to do nothing to sully or stain it. I remind myself that every little thing I do and don’t do DOES matter, and that even a moment of giving in to the flesh can have a terribly negative impact on people around me, putting a wedge between them and my God and, yes, between them and my church if they know where I go. What if my church is the one God has been calling them to and my actions make them turn away? God has said in His Word that He holds me accountable for such things!

I’m human, and I fight my battles with flesh in all its forms just like every other human does. I fail Him and the people around me all too often, but when I realize I have I hit my knees, repent, and get back up even more determined to get it right the next time.

I do it because His name is holy and I am well aware that I have a responsibility, that my part as a Christian is to always do my best to respect His holiness.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

What if you knew?

Copyright Barry Hatch Copyright Barry Hatch

What if you knew that yes, there will be a Rapture of the Church?
What if you knew exactly when it would be?

(I know… “No man knows the day or the hour.” Just roll with me on this.)

How would that affect your life?

How would it change the decisions you make every day?

What if you knew it would happen next year? Next month? Next week?

If you knew it would be next year, would you slack off in certain areas, comfortable in the knowledge that you “have plenty of time”?

If you knew it would be next month, would you get more serious about your relationship with God because you’ve suddenly realized, “I have hardly any time at all to prepare for the next phase of life!”?

If you knew He was coming back in a few weeks, how would you spend your money today? Would you buy that new pair of shoes you’ve been wanting, or would you give that money to missions in hopes of more people coming to know Jesus before it’s too late?

If you knew He was coming back next week, how would you spend your time? Would you be out watching movies, or would you be getting deeper into His Word, sharing Jesus with everyone you could, and hitting your knees in prayer?

If you knew He was coming back tomorrow…

It’s a fact: No man knows the day or the hour.
We sure can judge the seasons, though, and from the looks of things…

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C