I hate getting dirty! And having dirty feet drives me insane! As much as I love flip flops and camp, the two do not go together well. But I think lately God has been calling me to get dirty in Jesus’ name. And today He confirmed that call to dirty feet. I was at a women’s bible study this morning and a lady came in late… I really don’t know how to describe her other than to say that she wasn’t the typical “church lady”. It was easy to tell that she had experienced a tough life and in need of some help. She apologized for being late and then explained she had to walk over a mile to get to church and just underestimated how long it would take. She shared how she was out of work, out of money, and just trying to get by. As I sat there, I wondered if the shoe was on the other foot, would I be willing to walk over a mile in the brutal Oklahoma summer heat for a ladies bible study? Sadly I don’t think I would. As she was leaving, I chased her down to give her my number so that next time, I could give her a ride. In my efforts to catch her before she left, I ran through a mud puddle in the parking lot. I am proud to say my pretty pink flip flops are now a bit brown and dirty. But I also made a new friend who will be coming with me to church tomorrow morning!
Somehow over the years, I have molded our awesome God into a more comfortable god. Living in obedience for Him is not supposed to be comfortable at all. It is going to require me to get out of my comfort zone and break a sweat moving mountains. I am going to have to be willing to get dirty and befriend people who are a lot different than I am. We should all be able to say confidently that we are willing to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to reach the lost and hurting people in our world. Our God has a sense of humor and so lately He has been calling me to get my flip flop wearing feet dirty.
It reminds me of the story in Mark 2:1-12, in which four friends were so desperate to introduce their friend to Jesus that they broke through a roof and lowered him down into the room that Jesus was preaching. I once heard this story taught and the teacher said that the roofs in that time were made with manure. So these friends were sooo determined to help bring their friend to Jesus that they were willing to literally go through some crap to bring him there. They were WAY more dirty than I am comfortable getting. When we were cleaning apartments on our mission trip in Nashville, I remember cleaning one bathroom and looking down at my shoes and realizing that I was standing in S*** or fecal matter. Jake and his crew experienced something similar in their apartment when the tenant they were serving told them that he had been sick and unable to ambulate to the restroom so they had to clean the “buckets” to he had been using to dispose of his waste. But as much as I hate being dirty, I have come to realize that it’s totally worth it (and usually temporary because God made us all washable)! God has been opening my eyes to so many opportunities to serve Him and even though these things might require me to move out of my comfort zone and get a bit dirty, I have never felt more clean and pure!
Give Me Your Eyes~ Brandon Heath Looked down from a broken sky Traced out by the city lights My world from a mile high Best seat in the house tonight Touched down on the cold black tile Hold on for the sudden stop Breath in the familiar shock Of confusion and chaos Are those people going somewhere? Why have I never cared? Chorus: Give me your eyes for just one second Give me your eyes so I can see Everything that I keep missing Give me your love for humanity Give me your arms for the broken hearted Wasn’t it far beyond my reach? Give me your heart for the once forgotten Give me your eyes so I can see again
Step out on a busy street See a girl and our eyes meet Does her best to smile at me To hide what’s underneath There’s a man just to her right Black suit and a bright red tie To ashamed to tell his wife He’s out of work He’s buying time Are those people going somewhere? Why have I never cared? Chorus I’ve Been there a million times A couple of million eyes Just moving past me by I swear I never thought that I was wrong Well I want a second glance So give me a second chance To see the way you see the people all alone
This weekend, I went to a woman’s conference that one of my favorite authors, Angela Thomas, spoke at. We had an extra ticket and all week long I was kind of stressed about what to do with it. I knew God wanted it to be used by a person who needed encouraged but I had no idea who. Needless to say, about ten minutes before it was time to leave, the ticket fell into the hands of one my precious friends who really needed some extra encouragement this week. I just LOVE how God orchestrates even the little details of our life like that!! All weekend, Angela spoke so many amazing truths over us but after the last session I have been asking myself over and over “am I living like a weak willed woman or a Greek Goddess?”
The session was centered on these verses in 2 Timothy 3:1-7…. “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.”
Lately it seems like God has put a lot of people in my life like those people described in the first few verses. People that love themselves and money, who are proud, unforgiving, and slanderous, lovers of the pleasures of this world, and who have a form of godliness but deny its power. I know how to spot these broken people because I lived like one for a long time. It says that people who live like this have no power (and I think that they love those things in efforts to try to compensate for their lack of power and the helpless less they feel in life). But there the part that shocks me is that Paul says to Timothy “HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM!” I don’t know that just seems a little extreme to me. Shouldn’t we love them and be a part of their lives so we can help restore them from their brokenness? But in then on the other hand, I know how discouraging it can feel to be friends and love people who are loaded down and feeling helpless like that.
The weak willed woman opens the door and invites people like that into her life. Last night I was talking to a former student of ours who is going into full time ministry and Satan is just trying to wreck havoc in that person’s life. I told him that as someone going into ministry, he now has a huge target on his back and to expect one attack after another to come at times. Satan is sooo familiar with our weakness, he loves it attack those vulnerable parts of our life. The weak willed woman has many of those areas in her life. We ALL have different weakness, but Satan plan is the same regardless of where our weakness lies. His plan is always to do whatever he can to distract us and pull us away from the call God has placed in our lives.
So Angela gave us a list of characteristics of weak willed women and I have been trying to evaluate how many of those would describe me at times…..
She can be consumed by fear. Are my fears bigger than my faith?
She can be self absorbed at times. If I think more about myself and my circumstances than God… I am self worshiping.
She can care too much about what others think of her.
She can walk around downcast and beaten down or the other extreme and be very loud, out spoken, and brash. Usually the woman who put on the front of being loud and the demanding to be the center of attention are doing that in efforts to hide her weakness.
She can have no personal ambition and plenty of suggestions for what other people should do with their lives.
She can be unsure of God’s love for her or she knows it but doesn’t live like it.
She can have an empty soul and live in perpetual disappointment because no one can seem to fill her empty cup.
She can hold a grudge and bitterness for years.
She can play with gossips but as a church lady under the umbrella of prayer requests.
She can secretly indulge in her obsessions (shopping, TV, internet)
She can be easily hurt or offended.
She can be spiritually knowledgeable but lost inside.
She can have a critically negative spirit. She finds the cup of life to always be have empty and can point out flaws in everything!
She is unable to distinguish between the accuser’s voice and God’s voice.
But we have a choice before us…. to live life as weak willed women who are empty and helpless or as a Greek goddess. The challenge is to live like Greek goddess not like those in ancient Greece but like the characters who starred in the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. The movie is centered on Toula (Fotoula), a Greek-American woman, who falls in love with a non-Greek American. Toula’s big Greek family is the center of her life. Throughout the movie, homely Toula is transformed by the love of her new man and by the fact he calls her beautiful. Eventually Toula finally begins to live like she believes it. The Greek family at the center of the movie loves those God has placed in their life with so much passion and with their entire beings. They love and live like God has called us to do… with our WHOLE hearts.
I want to be that kind of woman. One who loves until it hurts and then loves some more. One who is free to love with a heart that is completely whole all because I was courted by a very determined carpenter from Nazareth. One who has confidence in herself because she knows that there is one man who is completely crazy about her, call her beautiful, and adores her in a way that enables her to love others without fear.
So last night Ashlyn woke up in the middle of the night with a funky stomach thing going on. Once we got her settled back in bed, I was wide awake (trying to keep my own dinner down) and the early morning television selections were pretty bleak. So I began watching a news piece about the blue man. The story has been on the news a lot but basically this guy named Paul Karason started to self medicate using a treatment called colloidal silver, which is made by extracting silver from metal. After years of injecting it and rubbing it on his skin, he has permanently turned BLUE!! But the part of the story that is absolutely mind blowing is that he claims he didn’t even notice the change!!! He said “the change was so gradual that I didn't perceive it and other people around me likewise. It wasn't until a friend I hadn't seen in several months came by to see me and he asked me 'what did you do?”. So I as watched stunned, I’m thinking “dude, are you BLIND? you are completely as blue as a smurf! How could you not notice? Do you own a mirror? And how could those closest to you not notice either?!”
But spiritually we can backslide so easily, I have been there myself. We can make small gradual changes here and there until the person looking at us in the mirror is not even the same person we were just a few months ago. I have seen it happen too many times. Recently I have watch helplessly as friends who once loved the Lord with all their hearts changed right before my eyes into someone I don’t EVEN recognize anymore!
When I am backsliding, I pray that I have real friends who love me enough to tell what I NEED to hear verses just telling me what I WANT to hear. I want to have friends who look me straight in the eyes and say “Tiff! What did you do? You are blue as a smurf!” Friends who love me enough to open my eyes to the gradual changes that are turning me into someone I don’t wanna be.
I went to a Casting Crowns concert last year and I love their new CD. On it is a song called “Slow Fade.” It is about how “little” sin in our life can take us on a slow fade away from God. With each step away from God, the Holy Spirit’s voice in our head and tug at our heart gets quieter and quieter, until eventually we don’t hear it at all anymore. Each and every little compromise we make in our faith is one step closer to collapse. Fortunately, we have a merciful and loving God who is always faithful to welcome us back into the arms of grace.
"Slow Fade" by Casting Crowns Be careful little eyes what you see It's the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings Be careful little feet where you go For it's the little feet behind you that are sure to follow It's a slow fade when you give yourself away It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid When you give yourself away People never crumble in a day It's a slow fade, it's a slow fade Be careful little ears what you hear When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near Be careful little lips what you say For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray It's a slow fade when you give yourself away It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid When you give yourself away People never crumble in a day The journey from your mind to your hands Is shorter than you're thinking Be careful if you think you stand You just might be sinking It's a slow fade when you give yourself away It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid When you give yourself away People never crumble in a day Daddies never crumble in a day Families never crumble in a day Oh be careful little eyes what see Oh be careful little eyes what you see For the Father up above is looking down in love Oh be careful little eyes what you see
“So, if you think you are standing firm, BE CAREFUL that you don't fall!” ~ 1 Corinthians 10:12
“BE CAREFUL then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.” ~ Hebrews 3:12, 13
I am a nurse and most importantly mom of 6 precious children( 2 are homegrown, 1 on loan,& 3 are hand picked). Drew (age 15) Ashlyn (age 13) We have adopted 3 Haitian miracles Jimso (age10), Jackson (age 13) a&Jedone (age 14) We also have a foster daughter who is a constant source of joy!We are passionate about orphan/ foster care. My husband is the lead pastor at Cherokee Hills Christian Church in Oklahoma City.