Monday, April 4, 2011


Days ago I had an inkling ... a slightly uncomfortable inkling.

that I would be put on a spot ...

now, I knew this particular spot would be necessary and beneficial but alas, I did not relish the idea of it one little bit!

Months ago I accepted the call to leadership within a bible study I attend. Conditional to leading is attending Monday morning leaders meeting. This is when all the group leaders gather together for a time of training and refinement. I have come to look forward to these mornings as they are always filled with praise, prayer, and pointed discussion.

Every little thing is purposeful. All of it geared towards helping us to be better listeners, loving shepherds and effective communicators of God's word. Each week I am in awe as I have the privilege to sit among so many godly women and glean from their wisdom. Some are fairly new and some have been leading for years. One thing is certain, God has brought a wonderful array of personalities together within this group and I am blessed to be among them.

Remember how I said we meet for training and refinement?  Merriam - Webster defines refine as follows;

 "to improve or perfect by pruning or polishing" also, "to become pure or perfected"

Part of the refining process in our meetings requires one of us to lead the group in discussion of our lesson in the same way that we train to lead our individual groups each week. Our group leader will normally call upon one of us to lead the group for the first few questions. Before the discussion is handed back to her there is a time of encouragement and also refinement as the group members offer their praise for that which was done well and critiques for the areas in need of improvement.

I have gained valuable insight from these teaching times. I knew that eventually I would be called upon to do the same. Somehow I had convinced myself that it probably wouldn't happen until next year. I am after all, the group "rookie". Certainly our wonderful leader wouldn't put ME on the spot!

 At some point after last weeks meeting I began to have an inkling that I might be the one she would call upon at the next meeting. As soon as the thought came I met it with a loud whiney "I don't wanna!!"

I decided that I would either A: ask if I could have a "pass" or B: approach my group leader beforehand and plead with her not to call on me. The funny thing is that I normally sit right next to her in group. Wouldn't you know it, today a friend asked me to sit next to her and then I became engrossed in a conversation with another friend to the point that I ran out of time for option B.

Just when I had comforted myself thinking of how relieved I would be when she called on someone else I heard her call my name "Tina would you lead us this morning?"

The first thought that came to mind was something akin to GAAAA!! Option A didn't really seem viable, and having chatted option B away beforehand I was left with just gutting it out.

I wish I could say I flew through leading the group effortlessly but I didn't. I was like a deer caught in headlights! Thankfully that is not how I feel when I lead my group each week, I usually enjoy it very much. The ladies I have are full of grace and are eager to share each week. It is much easier to lead when one is relaxed and not "on the spot".

Well, I managed to get through it. I even received wonderful compliments on several things I happened to do well. We all had a good laugh as I shared afterwards how the pointers whispered to me by the sweet gals to my left and right had the opposite effect and ended up causing me to be just a tad more bewildered. All in all it was a nerve wracking time but also a precious time as well for I felt such love and encouragement from each and every woman in the group.

I could not help but think of the contrast between the family of God and the world. In the world similar situations all too often becomes times of harsh criticism and self promotion. The sinful nature of man pushes us to advocate self at the expense of others. Today arrogance and pride are looked upon as strength and confidence while sensitivity is frowned upon in most if not all professional circles. I do believe I would be eaten up in today's corporate world.

Refinement is a process, one that can be awkward at times, painful at others but one that is oh so necessary as we seek to become better servants to our King. What a blessing this morning was to me! This awkward, scary process was so much easier because I was enveloped in the love of God through my sisters in Christ.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


So I didn't win the scholarship to "She Speaks" {tiny sigh}

It's all good though because I know that My big and wonderful Heavenly Father is in control of all things

Things big and small , things heavy and light .......

Whether I go this year or the next or even at all rests with Him.

I have a desire to go, to begin to learn how to tell this amazing story of His faithfulness, power, and grace as it has played out in my life over the last seven years. To tell it in such a way to point people to Him.  As I have prayed I've realized that it is more than just this one story.

There is a popular story told to illustrate spiritual gifts.

A group of people are assembled in the fellowship hall of a local church preparing for a celebration. A woman comes in carrying a large cake. As she enters the room she stumbles and falls, the cake tumbles down with her.

Immediately a man rushes to her side "are you ok? Here, let me help you up"

Another pipes up and begins organizing and directing others. "Mary, get the first aid kit." "Bob, could you go and get a mop?" "Nancy, please see if we can get another cake."

A woman cannot help herself but to say "Oh my if you had been looking where you were going this wouldn't have happened"

A fourth man begins to regale the woman with a tale of a time when he found himself in a similar embarrassing situation

The first time I heard this story I realized "that's me!"

The woman who stumbled and fell    ha ha ............ No

It struck me that I would be the one with the overwhelming urge to comfort and encourage the one who was on her face. Possibly in pain, most likely embarrassed.

The first guy probably has the gift of service or helps .... first on the scene to get to work

The second guy obviously a leader begins to delegate

Third gal, most likely a prophet, regardless of feelings is compelled to point out the truth of the situation.

Then there is the fourth guy, or me! The one who wants to comfort and encourage.

Scripture tells me it is how God has wired me ...

Romans 12:6
"We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."

Recently a leadership role in a ladies bible study was offered to me and I accepted. I have received some very valuable training and encouragement from a host of godly women. I am blessed to be part of such a wonderful ministry. I know that it is part of God's sovereign hand in my life, leading, guiding, preparing me for future ministry.

So, for now I will continue on the path He has set before me, and I will try my best to encourage whomever He brings my way.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

She Speaks

I've been praying off and on for awhile about possibly attending the She Speaks christian women's conference this summer in Concord North Carolina. Yesterday I visited a blog that has been a huge source of encouragement for me, WRITE FROM THE HEART . Lelia, (the blog author) posted a blog about winning a scholarship to this year's conference. Since the deadline is today I thought it quite providential that I happened to visit just in time. So here's my entry .....

I first began my blog back in 2007 as a way of reconnecting with parts of myself that had for years been set aside as I was busy with the duties of motherhood. I had always enjoyed creative writing when I was a girl, and with a bit of encouragement from a dear friend I ventured in.

 ... if you look at my archives you'll see that I didn't exactly start off running. In 2007 I had a grand total of 12 posts and 2008 only 7. 

 The dear friend who had encouraged me to start the blog was the one who had found Lelia's blog. She had participated in a  Yes to God Tuesdays study and told me how much she enjoyed it so I decided to jump in. It was just a week after beginning the study that everything changed. 

This blog along with the Tuesdays study turned into a lifeline. in 2009 I made 56 posts. The reason for most, if not all of the posts that year is that in January I discovered that my oldest son was a heroin addict. This discovery rocked me to my very core. It began a three week roller coaster of gut wrenching tough love which included a home detox, much prayer, and sadly a trip to the police department to file charges in hopes of forcing him into rehab. That trip was made by my husband the day my son walked away from our loving home and offers of help. We were as powerless over the drugs as he. He later told me how utterly defeated he was, resigned to a life as an addict. It was all he thought he would ever be. I was too distraught and could not stop crying so my husband went to the precinct without me. Two weeks later I found myself speaking to my son in the visiting room of our local jail. Separated by glass with only fifteen minutes to talk. I begged him to go to the cross. I had done all I could do. 

But that wasn't exactly true. I continued to pray. I prayed as I had been for five years already. "Lord, please break the hold drugs has on Brett ... Lord please turn him back to you .... Lord, bring strong christian fellowship into his life ....."

I prayed, I blogged and God worked. Oh our God is so big so mighty!!! His fingerprints are all over this story. Just three days after he was arrested our Mighty God smashed the grip  that drugs held on Brett. I will never forget that phone call. "Momma, I'm good" He shared his testimony with me. One that I hope some day God will use along with mine. He also told me about a dream that he had where he and I were speaking to a large group of people telling them our story. I remember telling him then that I hoped the dream would come true some day. Back then we didn't know what we were facing. It ended up being 18 months of incarceration that included several transfers two local jails and two penitentiary's.

What the enemy meant for evil God has turned around for good. This story has God's fingerprints all over it. I hope to offer encouragement to other families who have found themselves trapped in the grips of drug addiction. The  She Speaks  scholarship would be a step in the journey to tell this wonderful story of love, mercy and endless grace.