When Healing Hurts

I am going to talk about something that I don’t usually mention on my blog.

Health.

It all started with a cat.  Well, that’s what caused me to notice the beginnings of being unwell.  A dear friend of mine had a cat and I began to be allergic to it.  I had a cat of my own and I wasn’t allergic to it.  Just the one cat.  My eyes got all itchy and I would sneeze like crazy whenever I was near that cat.  Within a few years I was allergic to all cats, including my beloved Moe B.  Then extreme fatigue came.  I’m not talking tired.  I’m talking “close my eyes at red lights” kind of fatigue.   I’d ask my passenger to tell me when the light turned green and firmly put my foot on the break and close my eyes during the red light.  Eventually I went to a doctor and he said I had chronic tonsilitis.  He said my tonsils had to go.  So perhaps it was being perpetually sick that caused my fatigue.  He said I’d be up and around in two weeks.  I wasn’t.  Two months later I could still barely walk down the street.  Six months later I still spent days in bed.  Relationships suffered.  Some people assumed my absence from their life was a choice and feeling rejected they faded away.  Other friendships were built solely on my endeavors to maintain the relationship, and unable to continue my constant care and attention of them, they too faded away.  Time passed.  Pain joined fatigue in it’s assault on my life.  Simple tasks like washing dishes and doing laundry became impossible at times.  For a few years I had a couple days in the span of weeks that I was able to be up and around.  It’s been six years since that surgery and now I am happy to say I spend less days in bed than I do up and around.  I tend to have a bad week in the midst of three and I am getting stronger and stronger.

My son bought me a vintage bike for Mother’s Day.  I hadn’t been able to ride a bike in years but having gotten stronger I decided to give it a go.  I rode about 2 miles.  I was so thankful that I was able to do something that for years I hadn’t been able to enjoy.  And I must say, I used to really love riding a bike!  I’ve taken that bike out a few times since and one day a couple of weeks ago I was riding downhill through a tunnel.  I tried to switch gears and pedal fast to harness the downhill motion for the up hill to come.  As I did so my foot slipped off of the pedal and the pedal ate at my ankle.  It was quite painful.  I didn’t fall (my angels kept me up for sure.) The wound was bleeding badly but being on the boney part of my ankle the center of the wound quit bleeding pretty fast as I applied pressure hoping to not get blood on my white skirt.  (I know what you’re thinking, ” who wears a long white skirt on a bike ride?”)  The inner inch circumference of the cut was without blood and the outer rim was bleeding and my happy little platelets were doing their work.  The next day I found that I had a scab on the rim but no scab in the center.  I paid no attention and went about my life.  About three or four days later my ankle began to really hurt.  Walking hurt a lot.  Almost like when you’ve got a bad sprain.  I actually found myself limping.  Upon inspecting my ankle several times daily I noticed that the scabbed rim was pulling the wound shut.  No doubt this was what was giving me pain.

Sometimes I am tempted to feel discouraged by the bouts of pain and fatigue that come.  I feel a bit conflicted knowing that The Lord wants me to be well and that I am going to be well while I am forced to go to bed early and cancel engagements because of not feeling well.  So I am very thankful for the wound I got on my ankle.  It is a beautiful example that sometimes pain is proof of healing.  My body is healing.  I know it like I know the sky is blue.  So much good has come of this season of sickness.  It’s birthed a humility in me that I have never known before.  It’s produced patience and mercy and a trust in My Lord.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  I know that it’s outlived it’s usefulness, it’s time.  Now when I have pain and fatigue I will remember that it’s not a reminder of sickness but a hallmark of the healing process.

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Little Ones to Him Belong

Recently Chris Tomlin came out with a song called Jesus Loves Me.  Instantly the song became something that I felt I needed to learn.  It wasn’t that I fell in love with it, I just felt sort of pulled to learn it.

So I began putting all my time into it.

 I learned it on the piano and found a key that I could sing it in.  I practiced it over and over again.  Then, on one spring day as I played it on the piano I did something different.   Instead of singing the words I spoke them.  As I spoke them

they resonated with my soul and

I began to weep.

I remember learning the children’s song “Jesus Loves Me” when I was very little.  It was under slightly disturbing circumstances so I will spare you the details but I remember little me….about 4 years old or so….little me marveled at the words “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so, little ones to Him belong they are weak but He is strong.”  I didn’t really know who this guy Jesus was but I loved the thought that He loved me.  I knew I was little and since the song said little ones to Him belong I didn’t want to get bigger.  I wanted to belong to someone who loved me.  I have often thought on this time in my life and the beauty of Jesus’ quiet presence in it~~

 I did get big too.  As all children do, I grew up.  I think somehow the belief that once I got big I wouldn’t be acceptable to Him anymore stuck deep.  Deeper than I could ever begin to realize.  Until recently.  I wrote on the realization of sibling hurt and how I have attached that to Jesus in my last blog.

It seems a helpless thing that I got big.

How could I not?

Tomlin’s song Jesus Loves Me became a grown up version of that song as I spoke it on that spring day.  In the midst of tears and missed piano keys it hit me.  John the Baptist once said “He must increase, I must decrease.”  Little in body wasn’t what that children’s song was necessarily referring to.

Jesus said in Matthew 18:3 “Except ye be converted and become as little children you shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.”  

Little children know they are little, just as I once did.  Even though my body grew up, that didn’t mean the rest of me needed to get bigger.

It happens though.

We get bigger and we make the mistake of thinking we are something big.

In the light and presence of Jesus Christ, we are all quite small.  

This is such good news to me.

I am little.

I do belong to Him.

He loves me.

SDG

~tj

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What’s Your Hook?

Jesus.

People ask us to remember the hook that got us saved.  For me it was the promise of a loving Father.  I took that and believed it and the rest is history.  My story has been unfolding for years.  The day of salvation came for me and that very day I had a Father.  I just was in no condition to know Him or experience Him.  He has spent every resource of heaven healing the wounds that kept me afraid of Him and forgiving the sins that brought me shame and guilt hindering me from even entertaining the thought of entering His presence.  He has worked tirelessly to bring me to the point where His Son Jesus could receive the full reward for His suffering — that I would have intimacy with Him.  It has been quite an adventure.

I thought that by now it would’ve come but it hasn’t manifested yet.  I believe it is here but this is an exercise of faith.  The other day as I worshipped at church they played a song.  As the words were put up on the screen I looked at the name of Jesus and something happened.  He became just a bit more personal as I gazed upon His name and I realized something.  I have had a lot of sibling hurt.  Not just in blood relation but I have had a very hard time even with sibling “types” where I feel like such an outsider and just very unwanted.  I realized in that moment as I gazed upon the name of Jesus that I have passed this on to Him.  I assume that just as the earthly siblings haven’t wanted me He doesn’t really either. It’s funny how you can have a belief and not even be aware of it.  I didn’t think I had any “Jesus problems.”  I’m so thankful that this has been revealed to me.  I know that exciting things are going to keep happening as I continue to walk through the fires of this season on into the season of fruitfulness and abundance my Father has for me.  I am excited that I get to have a Father and a Brother.  And yes…..I haven’t forgotten that I have a Savior.  What a Savior!  Hallelujah!

What was your hook?

SDG

~tj

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An Orphan No More

The following is a transcript of a voice memo I recorded on one of the darkest nights of my life.  Leonard Ravenhill once said “you can’t say Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you’ve got.”  I lived this statement that night.  Never did I feel more illegitimate than that night when all that God had promised me seemed to pass right over me without even noticing me.   There was no one there for me that night except for the quiet presence of a Father longing to be noticed by His daughter as she fought the distraction of an open heart searing with pain, struggling to not regret having opened it in the first place.  Little did I know that in facing that trial I would be able to bear a greater one to come.

Begin Transcript:

Family

Family is a subject that I cannot say that I am an expert in.

I haven’t been a member of a family, a real family – ever.

                                                                                                Wow.

Saying that is very validating.

                                   What does it mean to be part of a family?

What is the definition of family?

What makes one a family member?

I can look up the definition in the dictionary but what if I were to look in the word of God?  You see the straight forward family:

mother 

father 

                              children

relation

             bloodline,

you see that.

That is one description of family.

                       Some of us have never really experienced family in that sense.

True, we are all biologically related to someone but we don’t know them or we haven’t had fellowship with them or maybe they died, whatever it is we haven’t enjoyed family.

 Then there’s others of us that have had family but the family was incredibly dysfunctional, and so we haven’t had a good sense of family.                                                                              We learned that family means pain that family means selfishness.  We learned that you better get what you can get because if you don’t somebody else is going to take it.

          In this case Family means:

                                      insecurity,

family means

lack

                                                       and

                                                                                             unworthiness. 

Family doesn’t have a good definition. 

But family, as described in the word of God talks of love and how loving another meant to view that person as a gift. If you loved somebody you didn’t look at them and think, well I really like the way they look or I really like what they do or how good they are, how they make me feel or something like that. 

You just simply

                                                                                          look at them          and

                raise your hands in praise             and

          caught your breath at the wonder of what God had just given you.

That’s love.

…..then you have a whole lot of examples in the Bible of people doing it wrong.

                   Jacob

 Esau                                   the prodigal son

                        Mary

                                            Martha

                                                                          the elder brother         the 12 sons of Jacob

 cain & abel      

In the Word you see a lot of sibling rivalry… and in the New Testament we can read about family.   We read about rules about how to treat our family.  We learn that we must honor our father and mother (Eph 6:1) and not exasperate our children (Eph 6:4.)  I don’t suppose there is a lot of instruction as far on being a good sibling.   I think being a good sibling as read in the New Testament simply has to do with being a good child.  The Lord said that we are to love one another, that if we love one another then everyone will know we belong to the Lord (John 13:34-35.)  If we love one another.  I think about pure brotherly love that is selfless and compassionate, kind and generous and patient and honestly,  I don’t really know what that is.  It’s usually riddled with insecurities.  I mean have you ever noticed families and noticed how there is always a child who is insecure in his position and how the other children seem to pick up on it and reinforce it in them and then there is just all this rivalry.  I suppose there are some families where there is no rivalry.   It’s a rarity of course but I imagine there are a few families with no rivalry.  I like to believe it’s true.   I digress.

I think about John the apostle and the book of John and how he always referred to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved.

And I don’t know what that’s all about.  I really don’t think he was trying to say “Jesus loves you but He likes me better” I mean, I really don’t.  I don’t think that was the end of his gospel.  I think his gospel was “Jesus loves you, I know He really loves me, and upon this knowledge I can assure you that I know He loves you and I know that you too can know that He really loves you.”  I think that was his gospel.  And he was convincing.  Why?  Because he was convinced himself.

 The best example of brotherly love is Jesus.

                                            He left the splendor of heaven.               He left the halls of glory, the heavenly host, and He took on Him the form of man.                                                        And He did it for a lot of reasons.  There are so many aspects to why He did it.  He did it because He was obedient to His father.  We talk about how God loved us so much that He sent His only Son. that we would be saved. And that’s true, I mean it’s in the Bible and stuff so it’s really true. But Jesus came, He willingly came. He knew what He was doing.  Not just the suffering, He knew that in His suffering and in His victory we would have full access to His full inheritance.  He knew that.  I mean can you see another sibling anywhere… do you know another sibling anywhere that would sacrifice…. not just sacrifice for your life, that’s one thing– but to sacrifice themselves in order to give you everything they have?  Everything they prize?  Even the fulness of their parent’s  love?

Would you choose to do that?

Jesus Did!

Everything.  It’s a very interesting thought and I cannot even full grasp it.

Where am I going with this?  Well what I’m thinking of is, I’ve thought a lot about family because I haven’t had one.  What is family?  It’s something I’ve always longed for.  Family.  A Father, a mother, and siblings.  I have longed for that nucleus family.  And in my longings and yearnings in my pilgrimage upon this earth I have experienced more than once dedications of adoption and people just see you and feel that you have no family and they think they can pick you up like a stray cat.  I have experienced this time and again.  I have experienced friends who take me in, call me sister, and profess to share their parent with me.  I have experienced this and well, what I have learnt is it’s not the fulness, not like Jesus.  He came that I could fully know sonship with His father in the same way He knows it.   No, it was never like that.  And then I have been adopted by other people, usually some sweet woman that sees me and usually they’ve lost a child in infancy or something like that, and they take me in.  I have been a willing participant in these things and it was never that full inheritance.  They didn’t give that full inheritance and their children certainly didn’t want to share it.  Then I’ve been in situations where I have been taken in and the children didn’t want me to be part of the family.  And so it would never work.  These situations only ever brought me pain.  So why the platform.  What is this about?  I think that there are more orphans in this world than we realize.  I think that an orphan has little to do with having physical parents or not.  An orphan is a condition of the heart.  One where you are riddled with insecurity and you need a parent to ground you, to tell you that you’re worthy, that you’re good.  And I think that as parents, sometimes we don’t know that.  We don’t understand the fulness of it and we don’t give it to our children like we ought to and we end up raising orphans.  You can spot an orphan because there’s sibling rivalry within.  I was an orphan.  And I’m not now.  I have found myself in situations where physicallly legitimate children behave like orphans fighting for their position, marking their territory and it breeds this orphan climate.   As an orphan I used to take what I could get, everything I could get, anything I could get.  Being in this climate provokes me, it reminds me that I have been an orphan.  But I am an orphan no longer and I must, I must behave legitimately.  I must not behave like the bastard child even though I feel it when put in these situations, and boy do I feel it.  I must behave legitimate,  I must behave as one who belongs to a family.  Because Jesus did everything there was to be done so that I could have a Father and that means I am part of a family because my Father has many many many children and whether they recognize me or not as their sister I am their sister and I must behave legitimate.  Legitimate means to behave like Jesus, who did, He gave up everything and He couldn’t do it without knowing that He was loved by His Father, He couldn’t do it.  And that’s why this season is so important in my life.  I must know, so that I don’t fight anymore for place or position.  I must know.  I begged God to never put me in a situation ever again to be taken in by anyone unless it would be really real.  And He has given me the opportunity to choose His will over mine and I am blessed with the best flesh could give me in a situation where I was not born of flesh.  But it does not make me part of a family in that the children receive me as their own.  So either I am not part of a family or I must behave as though I am and prefer them over myself because I know something they don’t.

End of Transcript

When The Lord led me to listen to this voice memo I was desperately disappointed that I didn’t say what it was that I knew.  I felt like it was the worlds worst cliff hanger ever.  He is a good Father.  I know the answer now.  Knowing my Father loves me is what empowers me to behave legitimate.  I am new to this.  Trying to walk it out.   Baby steps.

~SDG

tj

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Martha, Mary, and Jesus… or, Does God Love You?

This question popped into my head today as I thought of the multitude of ministries and eager to encourage christians out there.

Control that knee jerk reaction for a minute and humor me for a minute.

Does Jesus Love You?

How does He love you?

Does He love you like you love the unknown faces you see in the newspaper?  Or does He love you like you love your kids?  Now, don’t give me the answer you THINK I want to hear.  Don’t give me the answer you THINK is the right one.

Um, yes….I’m talking to YOU.

Song of Solomon 2:4 “He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love.” KJV

When you go to the grocery store and you see those apples with a sign over them that says “$1.29 lb,”  that means that those apples are worth $1.29 per pound.  That verse in Song of Solomon is saying that the God of the universe says that I am sized up by Him and he put a value to me.   He put value to YOU.  That value?  Love.  What does love mean anyway?  The ancient hebrew idea here is that when you love something it’s like  you see it, throw your hands up in the air and gasp in amazement at the wonderful gift it is.  Parents sometimes love that way.  Sometimes they don’t.  For those that didn’t let me just say, I am profoundly sorry.  For all the parents out there let me give you the only bit of advice that matters:  Trust/Obey God, and teach your children what it feels like to be valued….oh and, it’s NEVER too late!

I know that some of you out there are thinking “yeah, yeah, Jesus loves me…I get it!  He died for me!  Yes, I know!”  You are the ones who feel secret jealousy towards those who enjoy His favor.  You are the ones striving to “do” the right things, trying to “be” good hoping to experience that favor without admitting you don’t.  You are running around trying to tell the world that Jesus loves them but nobody believes you because you don’t believe it for yourself.   To the world you can come off quite self righteous and judgmental.  I, too have spent much of my christian walk in this way.  This is the Martha way.

There are also those who are reading this with beaming smile and sparkling eyes.  You are thinking, “YES!  Jesus LOVES me!  Oh, YES!  I know He loves me!  Isn’t it wonderful!?”  Some of you are even dancing about in your heart as you think those words in sing song fashion.  You aren’t running around trying to tell the world that Jesus loves them, you are just enjoying that love.  For you, any sort of offended or insecure behavior is always interpreted by the Marthas of this world as rejection from the Lord… You are, after all His favorite.  This is the Mary way.

I can’t say if everyone has a turn at being both Martha and Mary in life, I can only speak for myself.  As Martha, I had to learn to lay everything down and trust that I wouldn’t be turned away from the seat at the feet of Jesus.  This is my occupation right now.  Just sit and trust.

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Coming Back!

I’ve been gone for quite a while.  I’ve been walking through some things that I just haven’t had words for.  There have been a couple of times that I have drafted a post but I just couldn’t bring myself to hit “publish.”  

It’s time for me to get back in the saddle.  

I’m coming back to the blogosphere…. 

A bit nervous about it but I know the time is right and so here goes!

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The Reminding Business

For the first time in a long time The Lord has asked me to do very hard and inconvenient things.  When I knew what I was to do, my insides melted.  I remembered the days when I would have laughed at these hard things and done something even harder or more “pious.”   I would’ve stood tall and been ruthless with everything for the sake of doing the hard thing.  And I did.  I did very hard things.  That was before I gave up self righteousness.  In my self righteousness I could do all the right things no matter how hard but the one that mattered – trust God.

Then I had this moment where I began to think, “if I could just have a little of that discipline I had before I could do these hard things more successfully.”  Then as I was reading through one of the gospels I began noticing the pharisees’ and their independence.  They were so unwilling to see their need for The Savior.  They were filled with such unbelief.  Not just unbelief of Jesus, but also unbelief of their spiritual bankruptcy.

And then I remembered.

I remembered a blog post I wrote a couple years ago.  Click this link. to read it.

Yes, it could be true.  If I had a tenth of the self righteousness I once had I would look like a more spiritual person.  But honestly, I’d rather stumble and fall, slip and slide and look like an idiot while trusting Jesus.  I’m thankful that He is in the reminding business.  And as for doing hard things, He is going to do it.  All I’ve got to do is keep showing up! 

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Confidence in Asking

My daughter asked for an ocarina for Christmas this year. She made me a list of other gift ideas but the one thing she really wanted was a ceramic ocarina. If you are wondering what an ocarina is, it’s sort … Continue reading

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Something New Happened

Disappointment came to my door the other day but I didn’t hear it’s knock for I was busy celebrating with Expectation and Hope.🎀

-Tammy Jo

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Two Roads Become One….

Denial.  Realization.  Destruction.  Agony.  Grief. 

The two roads have been destroyed.  The dust hasn’t quite settled yet.  This far my blog has been revelation after revelation of what’s in me, what hinders me.  This is something that I am just realizing.  I thought that as I wrote each blog and had each epiphany it all meant I was done with those things.  In reality, I tried to be done with those things by talking myself out of them.  Truth be told, I have gone as far as I can go with self talk.

My last blog was a fine example of my self talk.  I could talk myself out of feeling anything bad.  The truth is there was only one road.  I was on the orphan road.  Yes, I was on the orphan road trying to think happy thoughts until I got to heaven.  I was still Martha thinking myself into believing I trusted Jesus.  I was still the Elder Brother, biting my tongue, longing for love but not wanting to be an inconvenience, unsure of my right to it with Mr. Prodigal Son needing so much attention. 

Flickers of truth lit up my mind like a fluorescent bulb about to go out… I am an orphan no longer.    But there was a disconnect.  Finally one day it was revealed, an undiscovered corner in my soul.  It was hidden from me because I had built a great wall to hide what was in there.  It was pain.  Great agony.  Unimaginable loss.  Grief of a severest nature.

I always talked myself out of it.  Each minute I spent monologuing added a brick to that wall.  The wall had to go.  Every device of self preservation had to go.  It’s gone now and while I’d love to say that everything is super awesome now, and that I am absolutely comfortably confident in my daughterhood it’s not been as easy as all that. 

I’m trying to wear royal garments while everything in this royal life triggers that agony and grief.  That’s where I am at right now.  Walking through old pain. 

I’ve trusted the Lord to chastise me, I’ve trusted His judgement to prefer others while I waited my turn, I’ve called bad good trusting that He meant good for me.  Now I find myself in the hardest test of my life.  Will I trust Him to comfort me?  Will I trust His judgement to prefer me, that now is my turn?  Will I bring Him the bad and admit that I don’t understand it, that it hurts deeply, and that I need His touch desperately?

SDG

tj

“Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  Matthew 5:4

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