In 2008 Rick and I decided to give up the financial fight. We were drowning in debt and could see no light at the end of the tunnel. We tried debt counseling, but were unable to pay even the minimal payment that was needed to maintain the payoff of the debt we had created. After struggling for a few months we finally made the difficult decision to file for bankruptcy. I was mortified. I thought that I would never be able to rise above the guilt I felt. Our lawyer told us we could file Chapter Seven and still be able to keep our house and cars. The law firm we were using was in Tennessee and we got lost in the shuffle of the masses that were filing bankruptcy.
The process was dragged out for several months. During this long drawn out process Rick started to hear rumors that there was going to be layoffs at the company he worked for. I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was some kind of punishment for proceeding with the bankruptcy. I knew we wouldn’t be able to pay the mortgage on the house without his job. My health had affected my ability to work a full-time job and I didn’t know what we were going to do. I called Kate and cried on her shoulder. I told her that my lifelong dream of moving to Florida was slipping right through my fingers. I will never forget her next words. She said, “Tammy you can be just as broke in Florida as you are here.” She went on to say that we could surrender our house and take what we could and move to Florida to start over. I realized she was right. I started to wish for Rick to be laid off.
During this time God called me back to work with J.R. again. This time I went deep and was set free from the suicidal thoughts forever. I remember at our last session the last vision I saw was Jesus and me driving down the road in a red convertible. It gave me such peace and I knew that God was getting ready to do some great things in my life. I thought everything was going to be downhill from there. Boy was I wrong. The battle had only begun.
God reminded me of Bethany. I still had her cell phone number, so I called her up and explained to her what was going on. She said that there were plenty of jobs in the area they lived in for people in the air conditioning installation business. So I created a new resume for Rick and got online to search for jobs. I found several ads for jobs in Stuart, Florida and the surrounding areas. The next month he was laid off and I sprang into action.
I contacted our mortgage company and told them that we were filing bankruptcy; my husband had no job and I didn’t know what to do. I found out that due to the high incidence of foreclosed homes in the area that it could take the bank as long as a year to come to take the property. I couldn’t stand the thought that the bank could come lock the doors while we were away and we would have nowhere to go. Then I remembered Sallie, Asia’s second mom, and got the crazy idea to ask her if we could live with her until we could afford to move to Florida.
I called her and explained the situation and asked her if we could move into her basement bedroom. To my complete surprise she agreed. She not only agreed to allow us to live with her but also agreed that we could bring our cats with us as well. I was blessed beyond words. The only problem was we would have to move out of Asia’s school district. Sallie’s home was about a forty-five minute drive from where we lived. We wouldn’t be able to drive her to school each morning.
Rick and I discussed it and decided to talk to Asia and her father to see if she could move in with him for the last five months of school. He and Asia agreed and we started putting things in motion. I checked into the cost of moving the furniture to Florida and realized that it was more expensive to move the furniture than the value of the actual furniture. It was a no brainer for me to get rid of our furniture and start over.
We placed ads in Craigslist and sold and gave away almost everything we owned. It was so weird selling things day by day. We had some very supportive friends who bought a large portion of our belongings to help us reach our goal. We sold our water bed and started to sleep on an air mattress. Little by little everything started to sell. Every time something else sold I was excited to see that we were that much closer to reaching our dream. We sat on camp chairs in the living room after the sofa, chair and loveseat were gone. Then someone came by and bought our oven, so we started to have to eat takeout. The house was empty and I couldn’t wait to move out.
God has been leading me on a faith walk recently. He’s told me to get comfortable being uncomfortable and been telling me to do things that don’t always make sense to me. Being extremely controlling this has seemed like craziness to me. I read the Bible and realize the examples He has given us of people doing what they must have thought as crazy things just because God told them to. So many of them never even questioned why God was asking them to do these things, at least not publicly. They showed remarkable, uncompromising faith; the kind of faith I pray that God will give me one day.
We have so many examples. Abraham being told to leave his family and go to a land God would show him. He didn’t even know where he was going! The Israelites being led to the Red Sea to escape the enraged Pharaoh and Egyptians who were after them. Can you picture it? Running up to the Red Sea feeling like fools and thinking that was the end of the line. The Israelites being told to praise God, blow trumpets and march outside the walls of Jericho! Nehemiah was told to rebuild the Walls of Jerusalem and Jesus told Peter to climb out of the boat and walk on water with Him. There are many more examples, but you get the idea.
To do great things for God we have to be willing to look like a fool to man! God has placed a vision in me to bring a healing ministry to my church. I’m not even sure what it’s going to look like yet, but I have learned that when God decides to do something it’s always big! It may have a humble beginning, but isn’t that when God can do the greatest things? He starts when we humble ourselves and surrender our vision so we can take on His. His dream is always bigger and better than mine!
What seemingly crazy thing is God asking you to do today? Please share the vision God has laid on your heart.
As soon as I met J.R. Fisher, I knew that this was unlike any counseling I had ever been through. First of all, he only charged me a minimal amount based on our income. When I walked into his office I was scared to death but there was something about his demeanor that set me at ease immediately. He informed me that the Holy Spirit would be guiding our session and that if I was willing to go deep I would experience true healing. We began with prayer and then he asked me what I was seeing. One clear memory God brought to my mind was the time when, as a little girl in Florida, my mom had locked me out of the house.
Jesus came into that memory with me and brought an end to the lie that Satan had told to me at that moment. He told me that I was not loved, and not special. Jesus told me that He loved and cherished me. I began to experience healing from emotional pain I had suffered with for over thirty years. I began to realize that I had believed Satan’s lies all my life and that was the source of my torment, not God.
I continued to meet with J.R. for a few months and decided that Asia should come with me. J.R. told me that she should come into the sessions with me so that she would be able to experience healing as well. We went to counseling for a while and I did experience some breakthrough and healing. Through theophostic healing I was able to let go of my resentment against my father and my mother. At this point I thought God was finished and I was completely healed and whole. I did feel so much better than I had in years. The healing I received did go a long way in improving my relationship with my husband and daughter.
As I have continued to research identity I came across the story of Jesus changing Peter’s name from Simon to Peter. John 1:42 “Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter). I never understood the significance of this until I realized Peter in the Greek means ‘rock’. If you study Peter’s life you start to realize he was anything but a rock. This was how Jesus saw him; who he was to become. That is how God sees us; He sees us as who we are becoming not who we are right now. When we surrender ourselves to him with all of our character defects, He can truly begin to change us into who He created us to be.
Another person that comes to mind concerning identity is Gideon. In the middle of his horrific circumstances the angel of the Lord chooses Gideon to deliver Israel. He calls Gideon a mighty warrior, and Gideon reminds God that he is the weakest of the weak. He even goes so far as to question whether God is really with him due to the circumstances that the children of Israel find themselves in. God saw who Gideon really was and not what Gideon or others thought He was.
Still another example is Moses, the man who murdered a man and then ran off and spent forty years in the wilderness hiding. God told him he would lead the Hebrews out of captivity in Egypt. God saw him as the leader that Moses couldn’t see himself being.
These are just a few examples of the many people in the Bible that God used to do great things. When I realize all this it makes it much easier to come under the authority He has placed over me, because I know that He will not allow anyone to stop what He has decided He will do. The key is to wait on His perfect timing. God is rarely early, but He is never late!
Did you ever notice that God tends to use people who others tend to disregard?
He seems to use people that society would discard, people who are humble and don’t think very much of themselves.
Are you ready to let go of your past and move forward into what God has for you?
Please feel free to share your thoughts and pass this along to someone you know who could use some encouragement today.
Upon graduation, I got a job at a fast food place and rented a room from a family friend. I spent most of the next year working, and living in a dream world. I thought if I could only find my Prince Charming, then life would be wonderful.
At nineteen, I met the man that I was to have my first significant relationship with. Craving unconditional love, I ignored all the warning signs. He was controlling, angry and cheated on me, and I chose to remain in the dark. In the beginning, he was so nice and caring. He made me feel special and wanted like never before. I wanted to be in a relationship so badly that I turned a blind eye to anything that I didn’t want to see. We were both so young and in so much pain that we couldn’t love each other. We didn’t even know how to love ourselves. Honestly we brought out the worst in each other. We lived together for around three years and then we decided to live apart for a time and continued to date. Gail (my Foster Sister) and I had recently been reunited so we decided to get an apartment together.
On July Fourth, my boyfriend and I had decided to go and see fireworks. It began to rain early in the day so he called me and said that he wanted to cancel our date. I insisted that we still get together, so he picked me up and we drove over to his mother’s house. After a time, I noticed he had been gone for a while, and his mother seemed to be acting a little strange. I went to search for him and found him on the phone trying to cancel a date with another woman. I couldn’t ignore the fact that he was cheating on me anymore. Eventually, we decided that we shouldn’t see each other anymore.
After this, I chose to become extremely self-destructive. I became extremely promiscuous and did anything I could to get a man’s, any man’s, attention. I checked out and stopped caring about anyone but myself. I became a loser magnet. Any man who was within a ten mile radius of me who would abuse me was the man I would fall completely in love with and then cry “poor me” when the inevitable abuse began. I decided I wasn’t worthy to be loved or worth waiting for and I had sex with anyone who would give me the opportunity. I self-medicated with alcohol and drugs, and stopped taking care of myself at all. I rarely had to pay for the drinks or the drugs; there was always a man more than willing to get me drunk or stoned. The price was my dignity most of the time. Of course, this was just another way for me to try and kill myself.
I’m so grateful that God refused to let go of me! How about you? What past guilt are you trying to let go of?
Do you have dreams you have given up on? Recently I have come to realize that I have lived most of my life allowing myself to be trapped by others expectations. I had abandoned my dreams and focused on helping my daughter achieve hers. After all, it was too late for me or so I thought. I had gotten old before my time.
Last night I finally watched the movie Field of Dreams. It made me think about my life and the dreams that had gone by the wayside. I started to think of some of the people around me that have seemingly given up on their dreams. There are so many people that have abandoned their dreams and are struggling to survive day to day. My heart goes out to every person that crosses my path who has clearly allowed life to overtake them.
This last year I have allowed my passion for life to return. It has been an amazing journey as God has begun to reveal who He created me to be. He has created us all with a specific purpose in mind. We truly start to live when we step out in faith to become the person He created us to be.
Many of us allow what others think to determine what we do in life. Imagine how Joseph must have felt when he shared the vision God had given him with his brothers and then they wanted to kill him. Think about how hard it must have been for Noah to continue to build the ark when others around him were most likely ridiculing him. Jesus was rejected by the very people He came to save. Each one of these people did not allow others to keep them from doing what God had called them to do.
When we make living for God our top priority that is when we begin to truly be free. He created us and knows more about us than anyone including us. When we accept this fact, follow His leading and stop worrying about what others think than great things begin to happen.
What dreams have you abandoned? Are you ready to start partnering with God to bring them back to life? Please share your struggles and victories here so that others can be encouraged. If this has touched you please feel free to share it with others. As always your prayers and support are much appreciated.
Being pregnant filled mewith an irresistible need to reconnect with my biological family. I believed I had to fix things with them. I wanted to get to know my sisters, and wanted them to be in my child’s life. Going back home brought back all the unresolved feelings I had shoved down over the years. I became that young girl who wanted to be loved again. I began to get to know my sisters for the first time in my life. They were struggling with problems of their own at the time. My father was drinking a lot and the family was completely falling apart. The illusion of the perfect family was over. I spent a lot of time getting to know the sisters I had lost years earlier. I thought that we could be a family again. Meanwhile, I tried to be the good girl and get back in good standing with my father. I felt like I had a split personality. I loved him and wanted him to accept me but I was also angry at him and my mother. I wanted them to admit that they were wrong and tell me they were sorry. I wanted us to be a big happy family. I tried to pretend that the abuse had not taken place.
At the same time, I talked to my sisters and told them my truth about what had happened. I realize now, that I wanted my sisters to take my side. I didn’t realize how unfair that was. I allowed myself to become very bitter over not being able to grow up with them. I expected them to welcome me with open arms, and respect me for having saved them from the abuse I had suffered. I didn’t understand until many years later, that they couldn’t possibly understand what I had been through. Their path was different and they had suffered their own abuse as a result of the aftermath of our family being fractured. I was also trying to maintain a relationship with my foster family at the same time and feeling misunderstood because my mom didn’t seem to understand why I was trying to have a relationship with my biological family again. I didn’t even try to understand why this would be so hard for her. I didn’t care about anyone but myself.