A New Year. It is like a blank page, full of promise, opportunities, and potential. This past year was like a roller coaster for me. I had a good year personally, but so many times and events were lows that I struggled a great deal spiritually.
I am starting 2016 with a strong resolve to awaken the warrior inside of me. I noticed that the main reason for my spiritual lows was a matter of perspective. I got lazy. I sat down on the job. I stopped looking up, and was too caught up in what I saw as I looked around.
The last several months it has been easy to think about the many what-ifs in life. What if wolves sneak into our churches, countries, and neighborhoods disguised as lambs? What if my child’s teacher leads her astray? What if they don’t like me? What if I never feel settled, loved, accepted, respected? What if I stumble, what if I fall, fail, or someone figures out I am not perfect? I drowned in fear this year. That is very uncharacteristic of me. So I had to stop and look around. How did I lose my way?
I let urgency take the place of importance. Have you ever done that? Let the urgent things in life overshadow what really matters to the point that you forget what is actually worth fighting for?
Where I have been feeling helpless in regard to challenges at my daughter’s school, I noticed I had been complaining instead of petitioning God to help me see the things and people involved through his eyes. While watching Satan attack the Church repeatedly this year I begged him to make it stop. I should have asked him to teach me to fight his way. During the times that stress prevailed and peace seemed far from home, I felt hopeless, when I should have felt empowered because the Lord of hosts is the Lord of my home as well.
I ended the year by standing up to take my place in the Lord’s Army. I am taking the life God gave me back. I have a better perspective now. I have remembered whose side I am on and that we are fighting battles. The war is won. He is victorious. This year I will remember that I fight from a place of victory. I don’t need to fight to win. I need to fight to engage in the battles that the enemy places in our path to cause us to stumble.
How about you? Is there anything you would like to do differently this year? I would love to know about it!
May you be blessed in 2016.
May you know that whatever arrows come your way, the Lord stands by to give you the strength you need to hold up your shield against them.
May you focus on the way the rocky paths build your character.
Do you believe in miracles? I do. I mean, I have always said I do, but life happens and I don’t always live like I do.
I have a friend in Russia who discovered she has serious health issues. I try to check in on her and see how she is feeling and encourage her. I should pray more than I do. I believe in the power of prayer and that God is all that he says he is.
I have experienced his healing and rescue first hand. He is amazing.
My friend and I live in different countries. God has crossed our paths again and again and she is both a blessing and inspiration to me. Her faith has spurred on growth in my own.
I saw her last about four years ago. She found out she had thyroid cancer that had already metastasized to her lungs. She is in her early thirties and has three young kids. Shortly after she found out about the cancer, she had a surgery. There was a possibility that she would no longer have a voice and she was still able to talk afterwards. What a blessing! Her response was, “God is with me.”
We have been in touch and she asked me to keep praying about her upcoming treatment and some side effects she was experiencing. When I checked in to see how everything went she told me everything had gone well, and that her doctors were puzzled. They could no longer find anything in her lungs. She said they are amazed at her case. When they asked her what she did, she told them that she asked for prayers, but that is the only treatment she received.
Each time we talk she says the same thing repeatedly. We both do. Like a chorale reading. God is good.
Last time we talked she said this, “His mercies endure forever.” I tear up each time I think of her situation. Her experience has opened my eyes to the state of my own belief.
Part of me was shocked to the point that I read her message several times trying to wrap my head around it. Her mountain was just thrown into the sea. Something so big and seemingly impossible was just removed.
Our God is healer.
Our God continues to surprise me.
Our God still performs miracles and occasionally I am paying enough attention to witness them.
Why did I need to reread the message? I know this God. He does not change. I realized my belief was being drowned out by the nonsense of this world. We are not at home here. The king of our hearts is the ruler over all and he still moves mountains.
Do you have times like that? When you find yourself in a moment of unbelief? Have you ever stopped to think about what works of God we miss because of unbelief? I have thought about it a great deal the past couple of weeks.
Matthew 13:58 says this:
And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.
Matthew 17:20 reminds us how powerful even just a little faith can be.
“Because of your little faith,” He told them. “For I assure you: If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
The word unbelief in the original text here means weakness of faith. My first reaction was not one of belief. I don’t want to live that way. I want a strong faith. I need to take up a posture of expectation, and live as though I expect the Lord to show up and do what I know he can.
There is a difference in believing in him and believing him. While I know he can do those things, I often live as though I am unsure. I want to awaken my senses to believe him. To walk and live in hope and confidence that he will do the mighty things I know he can do.
What areas of your life do you struggle with believing God?
Do you see a difference between believing him and believing in him?
What mountain in your life would you like to see him toss into the sea?
Hi! I am Tamika. I am a busy wife and mother of three, navigating the world in three cultures all at the same time. I am a Colorado girl who grew up and moved to Oklahoma, where I met and married my husband. He was born and raised in Poland. We have served together in some form of ministry for the past fourteen years. We currently live in Vienna, Austria where we minister to people all over Europe, concentrating on sharing the Bible with those who need it in their native language. We work for a non-profit called Eastern European Mission. I love the way God is using this ministry to bless and change the future of generations to come. I design the book covers and work as Publishing Assistant at EEM, as well as being a fitness trainer and raising a multicultural family. Our days are busy, but we are blessed. In my free time I blog here and here, paint, make jewelry, cook, and Bible journal. I could get lost for days word hunting in my Bible in an effort to connect deeper with the Father.
1. What is your favorite Bible verse?
Such a great question–one that never gets old. I have loved Psalm 86:11 since the first time it jumped off the page to me. I was a youth intern at my church and we were on a mission trip serving in a Children’s Home. I was reading the Living Bible. This version says “Tell me where you want me to go, and I will go there. May every fiber of my being unite in reverence to your Holy name.” At the time I was trying to discern what God wanted me to do in my life. I was trying to decide if I would move away to pursue ministry. This verse always reminds me that I need to take action to become who God created me to be. I need to abandon myself completely to the will of the Lord. Every fiber of my being, nothing left behind yearning for control. Simply running after the Lord with reckless abandon.
2. Who is the most relatable Bible character to me and why?
I have related to so many different people at different times in my life. One of the most unique I guess is the bleeding woman. You can find her story in Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34 and Luke 8:43-48. I relate to her because of her illness as well as the hope that she had. There is a six-year age difference between my two oldest children. That is because I had cancer in a pregnancy between them. It was rare and the treatment was meant to last 2 weeks. For 8 months I lived in the unknown. I had the best doctors and repeatedly hearing them say they didn’t know why treatment wasn’t working was discouraging. I even took experimental drugs. All the while I also experienced a scary hemorrhaging. I learned to rely on the Lord in small things and to trust that he alone could and would heal me. I was desperate for Him, yet at the same time confident that He was healing me. I experienced a peace I had never known before and have not experienced since. He held me in his hands, and gave me hope. So to answer the question, I guess I relate to her so much because in a hopeless situation I found hope in Christ alone.
3. What is your favorite easy go-to meal?
Tacos. We eat this once a week. Mexican Monday, Taco Tuesday/Thursday, Salsa Sunday/Saturday or Fiesta Friday.The whole family loves Mexican food! It is not easy to come by here and all I really need to do is brown and season some meat, prepare toppings, and serve with tortillas.
4. What are your hobbies?
I love to paint, draw, and create. I make jewelry, I Bible journal and I like to make up and explore recipes. I am generally happy when I am creating something. It calms and centers me.
5. What is your favorite TV show or movie?
Good question. I like crime, and fairytales I guess. So I am currently enjoying watching Grimm and Once Upon A Time. Stuff like that on Netflix. I like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, foreign films, and nature shows.
6. What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?
I love to hang out with my kids, but when I have time all to myself right now I spend it hand lettering and Bible journaling.
7. Who is your role model?
I have many mentors. I have kept a list of them and the things I have learned from them in my Bible for many years. God has blessed me with many spiritual mothers. Most of them I still have a relationship with. Women who point you to Jesus and stand near to support you on the journey. Mine are all over the world: Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Greece, Croatia, Poland, Ireland, Czech Republic, and in Austria too. I feel blessed.
8. Would you rather vacation at a mountain cabin or a beach house?
I am a Colorado girl. The mountains and I will always have a connection. Most of my first special moments with God were on a mountain. I will pick mountain cabin above beach every time. I just feel alive and connected to God there.
9. What is the best thing about you?
I think my ability to learn and adapt is one of the best things about me. I have a teachable spirit and it allows me to grow all the time. I need to do that. I am hungry to be a better person, and become who I was created to be.
10. What is one of your favorite books and/or what are you reading right now?
I love the book Captivating by Stasi Eldredge. I could read that book again and again. I am reading The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst right now.