About Me

Florida, United States
I'm a mother of two children, an inspirational and motivational Author and Minister. My greatest joy is to see people gain new insight and understanding about the amazing possibilities that life holds when we put put our faith to action. 'Shoes For The Spirit, is a book filled with real-life stories of people who have walked through great difficulty and have found the right pair of shoes for their personal journey. Whether or not you are a person of faith, there is something uplifting, guiding and compelling in this little book, for everyone. The accompanying CD, 'Songs For the Soul,' is a compliation of original orchestrated tunes, with voice-over verse layered on top of the music. This CD has great encouragement for all who take the time to listen. I hope all of you bloggers will read the new sequel to 'Shoes For The Spirit,' listed in the blog posts below, and if you're so inclined, will purchase my book and CD. You won't be sorry! Be blessed. Love, Tamra

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

We Are Extremely Valuable to the Heart of God

And because you have become His children, God has sent the spirit of His son into your hearts, and now you can call God your dear Father. Now you are no longer a slave ( to sin and to the law) but God’s own child, everything He has belongs to you. Galatians 4:6&7

My son Jordan turned thirteen this past October and he felt it was time to purge his closet of the “little boy” toys he had accumulated over the years. I watched, my heart aching and a knot in my throat, as he carefully took the large plastic containers from the closet shelves and began to go through every Lego, Bionacle, Hot Wheels car, book, and Beanie Baby. He tossed them in the large, white plastic garbage bag as though they were worthless junk, while all those toys had a story and a particular memory for me- each more valuable than gold.
While he was sorting out the toys, deciding which would go to Goodwill and which to trash, I was working my way through his closet, taking down the shirts, shorts and pants that he had outgrown over the past year. I glanced over at my son, who when standing, was eye to eye with me, and wondered how we got here so fast.
I remember the day he was born. I can still hear his first piercing cry and how his father comforted him in the birthing room by singing ‘Jesus Loves Me.’ Jim sang that song to Jordan every day he was growing in my womb. In clear recognition, Jordan stopped crying and lay peacefully on the warming table, his tiny hand gripping Jim’s finger.
Jordan’s manly voice interrupted my stroll down memory lane.
“Mom, what do you want to do with this? Throw it out?” I glanced over my shoulder as Jordan held up a small, azure blue shirt, with painted angels on the front- the eyes made of those little plastic disks with the movable black center. My son created that work of art in his kindergarten class and kept it as a sleep shirt over the years. It was so big on him when he first fashioned it, that it reached past his knees, and now he couldn’t get it over his chest.
“Put it in the shirt pile, babe. I’ll figure out what to do with it later.” I knew that little, blue angel shirt was a keepsake. I planned to tuck it away in my drawer and never part with it, but for now, my hands were full of clothes that needed to be boxed up and taken to Goodwill.
In the middle of the mayhem, the doorbell rang. It was the air conditioning repair man there to work on our failing AC system. I left Jordan to himself to finish the purging.
Returning a few hours later, I found my son triumphant, surrounded by big white trash bags overflowing with items to be taken to charity. I swooped up the bags and headed to the nearest drop center placing the plastic bags in a bin filled with discarded treasures. I wondered if other mothers had felt the same sadness in parting with a piece of their offspring’s childhood. A deep sense of loss settled over me as I drove away from Goodwill that day, knowing my son had reached a milestone in his life, one I wasn’t ready for, but one I had to face. Jordan was becoming a man.
I went up to his room that evening to give him a kiss good night, when I remembered the blue angel shirt and frantically glanced over at the corner where I’d seen Jordan place it. All gone. Everything was gone…including that wonderful little shirt. Tears welled up in my eyes and I thought my heart would break as I stood helpless in his bedroom. There was no keepsake to hold onto, just an empty closet with only a few books remaining in those big plastic bins that once held the wonders of childhood.
“Mom, what’s wrong? Why are you crying?” Jordan asked, absolutely bewildered at my tears.
“Oh, Jordie, I was really hoping to keep that angel shirt you made in Kindergarten. I wanted to add it to the things I kept of your sister’s to help me remember you both as babies.”
“Oh man, Mom….I’m so sorry. I didn’t know you wanted that shirt. I was so busy cleaning out the things I didn’t need anymore, I just threw it in with the other stuff in the plastic bags.” I could see the painful look on his face as he realized how much my heart was breaking. I lay down in his bunk bed with him, put my arms around him and wept. I wasn’t crying so much for the loss of the shirt, but for the passing of Jordan’s childhood. He was my last, and there wouldn’t be another. Mothers have a hard time letting go.
As I was lying there, I imagined trying to describe that angel shirt to the ladies at Goodwill, as I dug through mountains of discarded clothing. Suddenly, Jordan sat straight up in the bed, a look of hope in his eyes.
“Mom, I put one bag of trash downstairs in the garage container. Why don’t you go and see if the shirt is in it?
With a half-hearted effort, I made my way down the stairs and pulled out the white plastic bag with broken toys, all the things that were unfit to give away. I dug, and pulled and rummaged through that bag with very little hope of finding the angel shirt. When I finished, I retied the knot and reached up to place the bag back in the garbage bin. A tiny reflection of azure blue shone through the bottom tip of the translucent white bag. Not stopping to untie it, I tore into the bag with gusto and watched with amazement as little plastic angel eyes looked up at me. It was there! Jordan’s little boy shirt. Not another piece of clothing was in that bag.
I sat on the cold concrete floor of my garage and laughed and cried and held that shirt to my heart. There wasn’t a thing in this world that could have possibly meant more to me.
I began to thank God for allowing me to find Jordan’s shirt, and in that moment I gained new insight and understanding about the depth and height of the love of God for His children.
The Word says He knew us before we took our first breath- even before we were conceived in our mother’s womb. God loved us when we were just a thought- a plan in His heart. He’s always known the number of days we would live, how many hairs on our heads, how many times our heart would beat, where we would go, what we would do, and all the decisions we would make, both for good and for evil.
He knew I’d be sitting on the garage floor, holding Jordan’s tiny blue angel shirt at that moment in time. The overwhelming love I felt and will always feel for my son and daughter is a reflection of the immeasurable love God has for all of us. Jordan’s worth, his value to me knows no boundaries or limitations and neither does our Heavenly Father’s. What a revelation of our significance.
And because you have become His children, God has sent the spirit of His son into your hearts, and now you can call God your dear Father. Now you are no longer a slave to sin and to the law, but God’s own child, everything He has belongs to you.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Self Esteem, the path and the process

O Lord you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my every thought when far away. You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am. Psalms 139:1-3

It was an extremely cold January day in St. Louis, and I was bundled head to toe in a plaid, wooly winter coat, fuzzy gloves, tall black leather boots, and a red woolen cap. All that was visible was the tip of my frozen nose and my blood-shot eyes weary from hours of studying for final exams.
It was mid-week service night and I was the piano player at church. It was necessary to get out on this cold, snowy evening and make the twenty- five minute trek to the assembly or the poor saints would have to do the hymns accapella. As miserable as I was, I didn’t want the Lord to have to endure such an assault on his divine ears.
I drove through the snowy, winding roads from Webster University, through the little town of Kirkwood, before finally reached highway 44 when I noticed my car was pulling hard to the left. The undeniable struggle of a flat tire was not a welcome problem for me on that cold, dismal evening.
I pulled the car to the side of the road and sat there for a long while, not sure what to do. Believe me- I had never changed a tire in my life, and was in no mood to learn in the freezing cold, being more given to high heels and frilly blouses, than lug nuts and motor oil. Cell phones were not available in those days and it’s not very often you find a pay phone neatly parked on the side of the interstate. So, I did what seemed the only logical thing to do. I prayed! Long and hard, fast and furious, I asked God to help me figure out what in the world to do about the flat tire.
Thoughts of being found frozen and snow-covered in my car shadowed my mind, but I had to push those growing fears aside. I sat for nearly an hour hoping a police officer would see my hazard blinkers and come to my rescue. Where’s the knight in shining amour when you really need him? I usually only had the honor of meeting my soldier in blue when I was ignoring a stop sign or exceeding the speed limit, (unfortunately, a common occurrence in those years.)
I knew I didn’t deserve to have my prayers answered. I couldn’t blame God if he left me out there on the highway to freeze to death. Even though I had faith in him and considered myself a Christian, I’d certainly made some blunders. In those times of need when we call on God, it’s our sins that run through the mind like a motion picture in living color- reminding us of our unworthiness. At that moment, all I could think of was what I’d done wrong- the lies I told, my lack of kindness and compassion, the blatant and rebellious choices I knew were against God and his word- they all ran through my mind while I sat in a cold car with a flat tire on a snowy evening.
Another hour passed and I knew the service was over and the hymns sung without me. It’s amazing how insignificant one can feel all alone in the cold. I was beginning to feel pretty sorry for myself when the headlights of a car, pulled up behind me. My heart began pounding so fast I could hardly catch my breath. I was excited that someone had finally come to my rescue and at the same time, frightened because I didn’t know the identity of my rescuer. I opened the car door and frozen snow and sleet blew into my face as a large man in a heavy brown coat approached me.
“Looks like you have a flat there, M’am.”
“Yes, I do, and I sure hope you can help me,” I replied, the anxiety and the cold causing my voice to shake.
“I saw your car on the side of the road as I was driving east, and felt like I should turn around and come back to help you. I’m not sure why I did, because I’ve never done this before, but I just felt like I had to.”
Without another word he popped my trunk, pulled out the spare, jacked my car up and in twenty minutes had my tire changed.
I didn’t have a dime in my pocket or a dollar in my wallet to give this wonderful man, but I thanked him profusely and offered my fuzzy-gloved hand to him in appreciation for his kindness. He just smiled at me, shook my hand and returned to his vehicle. I watched as he drove away and asked God to give him a special blessing for his amazing compassion on such a miserable night.
As I drove away, all I could think of was God’s mercy and his love for me, in spite of my shortcomings and mistakes. Why did he value me so much? I knew it wasn’t justified. I hadn’t earned his favor, and never could. And yet, he loved me just the same- as though I was pure and perfect with no fault.
O Lord you have examined my heart and know everything about me. (And even so, you love me still.) You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my every thought when far away. You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am. (Even in a car with a flat tire by the side of the road.)
In those times when I doubt myself and wonder if my life will ever amount to much, I think back to that snowy night by the roadside. My self- esteem will never be defined by my accomplishments or my failures, but rather by a loving God who knows everything about me and still calls me his own.