Wednesday, December 30

puzzling away

From my devotional this morning:

"The sign that God is at work in us is that He corrupts confidence in the natural virtues, because they are not promises of what we are going to be, but remnants of what God created man to be.  We will cling to the natural virtues, while all the time God is trying to get us into contact with the life of Jesus Christ which can never be described in terms of natural virtues.  It is the saddest thing to see people in the service of God depending on that which the grace of God never gave them, depending on what they have by the accident of heredity.  God does not build up our natural virtues and transfigure them, because our natural virtues can never come anywhere near what Jesus Christ wants.  No natural love, no natural patience, no natural purity can ever come up to His demands.  But as we bring every bit of our bodily life into harmony with the new life which God has put in us, He will exhibit in us the virtues that were characteristic of the Lord Jesus." ~ Oswald Chambers

Reading this paragraph this morning feels like finding a big piece of the puzzle I've been searching for yet not knowing what it looked like.

The struggle began last summer when after some meetings our church decided to take a break from doing the AWANA Club.  There were several valid concerns that had come up and it made sense to step back for a bit.  Yet, it took my heart a while to catch up with this decision since I had enjoyed serving in this ministry for over twenty years.

A month later the decision was made to take a break from traveling weekly to the pregnancy center.  No longer making the volunteer trip over an hour away would add around $60 or so back into our much needy monthly budget.  Yet, it took my heart a while to catch up since I missed the travel prayer time and working and fellowshipping with an amazing staff of dedicated Christian women whom I had gotten to know over the past year.

A month later the decision was made to end my contract with Curves. Adding another $30 a month back into our monthly budget once again was needed and helpful.  Yet, it took my heart a while to catch up as it meant discontinuing regular contact with women from our community I had gotten to know over the past seven years and which was really my lifestyle evangelism ministry hopefully living as a light before them without preaching.

Three of my favorite things gone. 

The loss has been felt as I've slowly settled into a new routine over these last few months. My family life is getting refocused as my schedule has become less busy month by month.   Yet as my calendar has cleared, it has felt temporary.  Like there is a purpose in these changes which is beyond my vision.  Having no idea what that may be,  I've been keeping busy at the known tasks before me on a daily basis.  

Then I read my puzzle piece this morning.  It caught my breath as it gave me a peek into the what next. Perhaps these slow months of changes in my life have been slowly preparing my heart.  Am I ready? An even bigger question, am I willing? Am I open to something new? Does God have some new purposes ahead that do not use my natural virtues? How exactly will God stretch me as He transforms to become more like Him?  And isn't that my ultimate vision as a believer in Jesus Christ? To become more like Him using whatever circumstances He may have for me?

Big thoughts to ponder at the end of the year.  Big adventures to consider at the beginning of a new year!

What are you thinking about as you close the year? 

Tammy ~@~


Anonymous said...

Tammy - wish I had more time, but let me tell you just this ---

when I was lamenting to my friend Jill, who is a seasoned bible teacher and Godly woman, my frustration in the change of seasons in my life - when I decided to leave full time ministry work to be home with my kids - I knew it was the right decision, and I was glad i had done it.. but I felt as though i had run into a brick wall. No more staff retreats... no more day-long spiritual retreats as part of my JOB... no more Bible studies to prepare for the worship ministry of 150 people whom I had been privileged to shepherd..... it was all good, but it was HARD.

Anyway, I was lamenting all of this to Jill, and telling here that I had just not found my footing in my new reality and she said to me

'Oh Steph, this is just the selah before your next Psalm. Don't miss this or you won't be ready to sing the next song that God has prepared for you'.


it was HUGE for me. And she was right! My life is the crucible wherein God is shaping me for His glory... THIS is my best worship leading gig, right here with these 4 eternal little people. I am learning!!!

Praying for you to know what is next as you enjoy the selah before your next Psalm!

Heasleye said...


Thank you for sharing this quote and your own thoughts and experiences. It really struck a chord with me.
And I liked what Steph said above as well.
Blessings to you both in 2010!


Chris Worthy said...

Wow! :) I am excited to see what is in store!

Letitia said...

How exciting to see what God has in store for you. He did the same thing with my husband 2 years ago. He told him very clearly to stop building. He has not allowed him to work since then. I have watched a miraculous work that God has done in him, and we have been watching this past year what God was preparing him least so far! It is exciting. It's exciting and scary to trust him for our income, as well! I'm excited for this next year to see how God is going to work in a precious life, as he uses my husband and our family to do so. What an amazing journey when our lives are yielded to Him! Praying that you have a blessed and fulfilling 2010!

Kimmie said...

How exciting...maybe its an adoption!!

Hey, a girl has to try right? 143 million orphans (well minus the one we are getting...)...

I am sure that whatever it is, it will be wonderful, probably stretching and certainly faith building. But it sounds like He is giving you a season of rest. We had one (rest)in the past 7 years, but then He called us into a difficult adoption (which ended with no child and the country shutting down) which He then led us to Ethiopia, where as you know He had our tiny Princess. We have never known more joy, both my husband and I stand in awe daily. What a mighty God we serve Tammy.

excited to see what He has for you and yours.


mom said...

I've been thinking hard, but cannot find the words to express how much each one of you have encouraged ME! I'm so glad we don't walk alone in our journey of faith, but have the Lord and others there to walk with us no matter where life takes us!

Here's to the New Year!

Tammy ~@~

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