Small Acts of Encouragement

WP_20150321_002This weekend I had the amazing opportunity to speak at my first ladies retreat. I felt so blessed to be a part of the event and the ladies of the Lehman Ave. church of Christ (Bowling Green, KY) made me feel so welcomed.

I delivered three lessons over the course of Friday and Saturday, which was another first for me, that many lessons back to back. I was nervous that I would get them scrambled or just forget and go blank but luckily none of that happened.

The theme for the weekend was Button Up. My lessons consisted of:
Buttons As Embellishment: Showing The Beautiful Image of Christ to the World
Buttons That Function: Are We Doing The Work God Called Us To Do?
and lastly
Hot Buttons Issues: Keeping Tied To Christ When Life Leaves You Frazzled.

Speaking to a group of women that I do not fellowship with on a regular basis is challenging for me. You don’t know what kind of lessons they are used to hearing or may be expecting. You don’t know what they have been studying or what types of issues they may have been dealing with and may be desiring encouragement for. I just did my best and hoped my lessons and presentations were worthy of the gracious invitation.

I received such positive feedback and encouragement from spending time with these sisters. I so enjoyed the discussion periods after each lesson and time to sit and fellowship and build new relationships. I left Saturday evening to come home feeling so uplifted and singing all the way.

If I was even half the encouragement to the women who attended as they were to me then I feel like it was a good weekend for all. God’s word was taught, His truths were shared and I tried my best to make sure His light did Shine!

Tonight when we arrived at church, in the mailbox was a small, solitary envelope addressed to me. It was a note of thanks and encouragement from on of the dear sisters I had spent the weekend with. It put such a smile on my face and such joy to my heart that she had taken the time to send out such a token. I appreciate her words more than she may ever know.

At the conclusion of services tonight at Three Forks, on the pew in our foyer there was a WP_20150325_002small gift bag with my name on it. A gift from my secret sister. It was another reminder that someone is thinking of me and praying for me. I love this little program at church, both the giving and receiving of gifts. Knowing that someone is praying for you and encouraging you is such a wonderful feeling, and the fact that I get to anonymously do that for someone else is great!

I hope you all find small acts of encouragement that you can do this week for another. You do not know what they may be facing and that card, smile, thought, prayer, whatever it is can do wonders for their spirit. But most importantly, may that encouragement lead them one step closer to our Lord and Savior!

“My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,” Col. 2:2

In Him Always,

Tiffany

Out On Faith

This year seems to have been all about stepping out in FAITH!  Faith in all areas in our Lord. Trusting Him to catch us if we fall. Faith that led us to step out and begin homeschooling our three kids. Faith to branch out in how I teach my Sunday school class at Three Forks.  Faith to make a new commitment in our Women of Worth ladies program.  Faith has always been such a big part of our lives.  Now it is leading me once more.  I am about to leap off a big cliff, all the while praying, “Lord let me fall where you need me.”  “Here am I, send me.”  Isaiah 6:8

No one is a big fan of stepping outside their comfort zone. keep-calm-and-take-a-leap-of-faith-6The fear of rejection and pain is too much. The dread of the “what if….”.  The horrible worry of failing keeps many, including myself, from beginning, from taking the step.  We fail before we ever start.

Not anymore!  A desire of mine for many, many years has been to be a ladies day speaker. I have been so wonderfully influenced by speakers I have heard through my life, I wanted to do that. I wanted to have the strength and ability to share my faith with others the way those brave women stood in front of crowds of women and shared theirs.

For over 10 years I have been a teacher at church. Even in my early teens at our small congregation I had to step up and teach the younger children simply because there was no one else to fill that role.  (Congregation size was about 20 on Sunday mornings, 5 of which were my family.)  I have taught all ages and have taught our women’s bible studies each month for many years.  Each time I prepare and give a lesson, I strive to be better.  I try to teach it as well as I can and improve on past flaws.  I seek constructive criticism, I want to grow.  I cherish the experience each class, each lesson, each opportunity has given me to grow closer to God and share His word with others in the process.

I worry, maybe I am not the right person. No one would really care what I have to say, would they?  What if I can’t control my nerves?  What if I turn out to not be cut out for it?  What if I fail miserably and embarrass myself, and worse yet, what if I fail my Lord?  I, I, I, me, me, me!  There is the problem!!! It isn’t about me, never has been, never will be!  It is about The God of Heaven who gave up everything to come here and die! IT IS About JESUS!

Every focus of our family is about Him.  Living for Him, raising our children to learn of Him.  What kind of example am I setting if I am not placing my trust fully in His help and His strength to keep me on my feet.  He is the help I need!

“Our help is in the name of the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.”
Psalm 124:8

He is where our strength comes from.  Phil. 4:13.  So I am going to take that leap.  I can’t see the bottom, don’t know where I will land, but I know who is there Faithfully to catch me and He never fails!  He will never drop me!  I am putting my name out there saying, yes, I will be a ladies day speaker if anyone would be interested in hearing what I have to say.  I will have faith in my Lord and trust His hand to lead me where He may.  I will continue to pray for His help and guidance every day and hope I am leading my children by example.

leapoffaith

Faithfully,
Tiffany

Women of Worth

(Reposting from my orginal blog that was lost – original post date Oct. 11, 2011)

A woman is an interesting character. She can appear strong while crumbling on the inside. She can do ten things at once and still remember to call you and wish you a happy birthday (even though she may not be able to remember when she last ate.) It seems a woman can do just about anything she puts her mind to, almost. It seems the one thing almost every woman struggles to do, is realize her own worth.

God made each of us in His own image, a precious image. He created us as His special jewel and finds us of such value He sent His Son to Earth to prove it. Why then do we find it so hard to believe? Why are we so willing to lift others up for their talents, abilities or qualities, but keep ourselves down in the dirt? I dealt with those feelings myself, and honestly sometimes they try to come back. Feelings that I am not good enough. But That Is A Lie! Am I perfect, no, not by any means. But am I worthy of love, yes. Am I of worth, am I valuable, yes! Because God doesn’t make junk!

All through the Bible there are examples of how women are special to God. How He has taken special care in regard to them through history. Yet we struggle. We doubt ourselves, we treat ourselves all too often as less than worthy. This was the idea behind the Women of Worth, WOW, name given to our ladies bible study group here at Three Forks. To make sure all women know just how special they are! To encourage each other, to study His word and see what He has to say about us and to us.

In our first lesson together back in 2008 we began to look at our examples of women in scripture and we started “in the beginning” with Eve. Starting at the very creation of the world God wanted Adam to realize that he was not yet complete. God charged Adam with naming all the animals, and Adam discovered “there was not found a helper comparable to him.” (Genesis 2:20) God could just as easily created Eve at the same moment He made Adam and allowed them to be together from the beginning, but he chose a different path. He waited for Adam to realize he was special, he was different, and he came to realize Eve’s worth too. His helper, his wife, was special and made just for him by God to be his perfect match. “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.” (Prov. 31:10)

We are each special, we are each loved. We may not realize it at times, but God does. His love is never ending for us. And we have a responsibility to Him to return that love. “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt. 22:37-39) “As Yourself.” God wants us to love Him, and He wants us to love ourselves. We are not going to be able to truly love ourselves or others until we realize how much He already loves us! Once we realize how strong His love is for us, it will seep through all other parts of our lives. Until, slowly but surely, we will be able to look in the mirror and see what God sees! His precious child!

Last month, as we worshipped God together as Women of Worth at our 2nd ladies day, we celebrated 3 years of our bible studies together. (Although we were so busy I don’t think we realized it had been that long.) We enjoyed being together with Christian sisters from so many congregations around us. It was absolutely amazing! This Friday I am so blessed to once again be with some of these amazing women. Our ladies bible study group will meet for class and I hope if you are able that you will join us. We are blessed to be able to come together to learn of Him and celebrate together His love for us!