To Those Who Have Lost Everything

I cannot even wrap my head around the number of families who have lost everything to Harvey’s onslaught. I am surrounded by devastation as I sit in my minimally-affected apartment. To all of you, I want to say…

* I have been you.

* It will get better.

* Good can come out of the sorrow.

I clearly remember the day we moved into our new apartment with almost no belongings and exactly one piece of furniture. We’d lost pretty much everything and spent our first night lying on a blanket on the floor of an apartment with no electricity.

But we were both alive. We were together. We were going to make it.

I won’t lie to you. Every time I turned around in those early months I thought of yet another thing I would never see again and I’d hurt. I’d spend precious money on something I ought not have to be buying, and I’d get resentful. Christmas came around and I only got a tree and decorations because my boss pushed me to; I was glad I did.

But it did get better. As time went on, I discovered that my attitude was changing. I shifted from sternly telling myself, “Tammy, they’re only things!” to saying in wonder, “They really are only things!”

I’m not sure how to explain it, but at some point, maybe the next year, a day came when I realized I’d begun to feel positively liberated. As strange as it sounds, I’d been bound by stuff and had no idea. True, many of the things we lost represented memories, but a representative is not the memory itself-and the memories are still there.

Yes, I actually reached a place, after that forced downsizing, where I could feel grateful even for the loss. I… I can only explain it by saying I felt like I could breathe again-though I’d not known I was being suffocated at all.

When something similar happened a few years later, I walked down the same path again – hurt, anger, acceptance, forgiveness… This process has taught me that, as sure as we’ll one day cast aside our mortal bodies and not look back, we can have everything taken away from us here and come out better. I have – twice.

Well, I should qualify. With God, with Jesus, with the Holy Spirit, I have come out better. Without them, I don’t know what would have happened, but with them all things are truly possible.

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

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What You Have


You can tell I wasn’t preparing to share this, because my handwriting is terrible, but I HAD to share. See, SEE what God is telling Gideon in Judges 6:14 (NLT)

Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!”

The emphasis, of course, is mine. 

How many times do we want to ignore God’s call because we’re not good enough, talented enough, outgoing enough, strong enough…? We feel like someone else would be better because THEY have what’s needed. But that’s not the way God does things. 

He wants us to bring Him what WE have. Yes, the strength Gideon had was minimal, but his strength wasn’t the point – God’s was. It was Gideon’s weakness that made room for God’s glory. 

Go. Go with the strength YOU have!

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

What is Memorial Day?

In yesterday’s Bible reading, I came across Joshua 4:6 and its timeliness struck me. 

We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, “What do these stones mean?”

This particular memorial served two purposes. 

1.  It was to remind those who experienced that amazing, dry-ground walk through the Jordan River, so that they would always remember God’s power and how He’d moved on their behalf. 

2. It was a tool that would help them teach their children about God and their relationship with Him. 

What is Memorial Day?

1. It is a time to remember the truth that freedom ISN’T free, and that we owe a debt to those who ensured our freedom to live as we do today. At the very least, our debt is to remember. 

2. It is a tool, a time we should take advantage of to really educate our children, to help them understand more about this nation we live in and why we have it. It is our opportunity to introduce them to some who survived, and let their stories introduce our children – and us – to many who did not. Our children can’t remember, but we can tell them rather than letting them assume Memorial Day is nothing but a day for family reunions and hotdogs. 

Someone (George Santayana?) once said that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” 

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

Sacrifice of Praise

The worship service can be a challenge for me. At times I try to enter in, only to have my mind wander rabbit trails like an undisciplined animal. Today, as I faced this challenge yet again, I heard God say, “Lay it on the altar.”

“It” was the train of thought that currently demanded my attention. Rather than giving it space in my thoughts, God was calling me to sacrifice my right to pursue it; He was calling me to lay it on the altar. This, I suddenly realized, is a big part of the sacrifice of praise. 

Be they random thoughts, fears, plans, hurts… when we lay them before God, turning them over completely to Him, we make a sacrifice. We give up the right, at least for a time, to feel fear, to make plans, to indulge in hurts… For what is really a brief time, we sacrifice them to Him, giving Him all of our attention and praises instead. It’s not easy, but true sacrifices never are. 

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

A Satisfied Soul

There are two times I particularly don’t want to go grocery shopping – when I’m hungry and when I’m overly full. When I’m hungry, it seems like everything tries to jump in the cart. When I’m overly full, nothing looks good and I don’t buy it unless it’s already on the list (which often isn’t complete). 

This is a simple illustration of what Proverbs 27:7 is saying. When my soul is satisfied IN HIM, even the seemingly sweet things of the world lose their appeal. When I’ve not been spending time with Him, when my soul is unsatisfied because I’ve slipped away from eating at His table, even the bitter things of the world start looking good. 

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

It’s All Connected

I’m dealing with Plantars Fasciitis, and this is proving to be an educational experience. Truly. 

See, the pain is in my heel, so I assumed that was where the problem was. I was wrong; the root of the problem is in the arch of my foot. But get this; that problem is made worse when my calf muscle is too tight. You see, it’s all connected. 

So is pretty much everything else in life. Just like a too-tight calf muscle can cause problems in my seemingly unrelated heel, someone who is “too tight” in life can cause problems in and for other people. Whoever said that no man is an island spoke truly. Like it or not, we are connected to others, and the decisions we make-even those that supposedly affect only ourselves-can trigger definite consequences in the lives of those around us. It’s a fact we would do well to remember. 

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

Store My Commands

“Store my commands,” he says, and “Write them deep in your heart.”

God’s Word isn’t just a book meant to sit on a shelf between church services. It is the very Word of God, words from God that He gave us for a reason. We aren’t just to look at them, or simply read them. We are to learn them, to interact with them, to use them. Yes, we are to KNOW them, to have them be so truly part of who we are that it is as if they were physically written in our hearts. 

God’s Word is THAT important. 

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C