One Size Doesn’t Fit All

I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life. I remember the only time I was ever at a more “normal” weight was when I was in high school. Thanks to Physical Education requiring that I run a mile almost everyday, and me starving myself by having maybe a can of ravioli a day (I KNOW!), I was at a somewhat desirable weight.

Fast forward, and the weight crept on. With being in college, getting married, having kids, and just life, I found myself more than 150 pounds overweight. How could this have happened? I remember when I was around 220 pounds thinking, this is it, the highest I’ll be. Now is when I start my diet and never again have to be so miserable. Friends, I far passed that weight. I relied on a program to lose weight (several of them, actually) to make it happen and didn’t do the inner work required to change what was happening inside of me.

Something really uncomfortable and shaming happens when you’re obese, especially when you’re morbidly obese. People look at you differently. There are so many stereotypes about and judgments around fat people. It was always assumed that I was lazy, unhappy, “carrying too much of the world’s weight”, etc. And while some of that may be true some of the time, those things created shame in me. What people saw was on the outside, not my heart, which led me to believe something must be wrong with me.

I don’t recall ever going to any kind of Holy Spirit conference where someone didn’t come up to me and address my weight in some manner and “encourage” me with what the “answer” was. And you know what? That was more hurtful than helpful. I realize they wanted to help. Their hearts were in the right place, but these people wouldn’t see ME. They would see my WEIGHT. Instead of my heart, they saw my pants size. And that hurt. Especially for someone who so desperately just wants to be seen and heard and known. Because, after all, isn’t that what we are created for?

Despite those who were well meaning but missed the mark, I pressed on into the heart of Jesus. It’s the one place I knew I was truly known, even more than I knew myself. I began to realize that somewhere along the journey, I lost myself. If I’m to be completely honest with you and with myself, it might be accurate to say that I never knew myself at all. And if I don’t know myself, how can I ever know God or others?

In the presence of God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit, I find what I truly need. I find myself. I find them. I learn that all the things in my life that I’ve been told are “wrong” about me (it goes far beyond just the weight!) are actually not so wrong at all. In this process of knowing myself, I began to lose weight. It has been a natural byproduct of the transformational presence of the Father.

I’m not saying I haven’t had to be aware of what I’m eating. I’m not saying that there aren’t certain guidelines that I’m aware of and try to follow. What I AM saying is that this unraveling of the expectations I’ve allowed to be placed on me in my life has led to something far greater than I ever imagined. I’m becoming myself. The shoes I wear are starting to feel more comfortable. I’m present to myself and pay attention to what is happening in AND around me. I pay attention to what I pay attention to – good and bad. I don’t run and hide from the scary/painful/uncomfortable/sad things. I allow myself to fully experience them…with Jesus at my side.

It’s also been super important for my journey to have a few people come alongside me and begin to really allow them to know me. That’s never been an easy thing for me. But I’ve taken the risk, and it is fruitful. I’m realizing that it’s okay to let people know who I really am as I discover it – the good things AND the wounds and things that need to be transformed.

I’ve been learning that all the hype, the “next best thing”, the “miracle” thing that people say you need to do isn’t for me. I’m not saying those things don’t work for others. But for ME, and MY journey, God is bringing me to a place of intimacy in His presence, and that is my transformational catalyst.

Today I am 80 pounds lighter than when I started. I have a long way yet to go. But it’s a start of a beautiful journey of unraveling and contentedness.

Under His Wing

My family is a chicken family. From the time my husband and I were married almost 22 years ago, we always wanted chickens. I can’t explain why. Just like we always knew we would homeschool our children, we knew we wanted chickens. We are not homesteaders, nor do we live in the country. But there was something about chickens that we were excited about. Fast forward to four years ago, and that dream became a reality. We did it! We researched and educated ourselves and jumped into the deep end and haven’t looked back since.

Psalm 91 has been one of my go to scriptures for many years. For several years, we have walked through a dark, desolate time, and in the midst of it, God began to speak to me using Psalm 91…and our chickens.

This was given to me awhile back by a friend of mine who knows me intimately. She has walked with me through the fire and knows how God has kept me tucked up under His wing.

In the midst of some of the turbulence of life, God led me to our chickens. We had a variety of ages of chickens. I remember one chicken in particular, Tillie (yes, we name them 🙂 ) who had such a nurturing nature. She would take the baby chicks and gather them under her to keep them warm and safe. I remember talking to God about that, wondering what it was about Psalm 91:4 and being under His wing. Why would the mama draw the babies up under her wings? Why don’t they try to get away from her? What is it about that place? And what He spoke to me has never left my heart.

I picked up one of our sweet chickens (don’t judge me) and felt under it. It was such a warm, downy feeling, a softness unlike many things I’ve felt before. Aside from the fresh, tender skin of a baby, I don’t know that I have felt anything much softer. In addition, under all of those feathers, you can’t see a thing! Looking at a mama with her chicks tucked up under her, you would never know they are there unless she lets you see them! Providing complete protection from predators, this space is such a warm, comfortable, soft place to land. Under the wing, all the chicks can do is rest. They are safe, warm, protected, and provided for. They are close to mama’s heart. There is nothing to fear and nothing to want. Once in awhile, I would see a chick poke its head through the feathers to peek out, and at the first sign of anything or anyone coming near, it would retreat. God was painting for me a picture of complete protection and provision. God was showing me Psalm 91:4 woven into creation.

I think about that baby chicken being kept so safely under its mama’s wing, and I imagine what it would be like to have no idea what is going on outside of that space. It’s focus is solely on it’s mama. It is safe. It is secure. It lacks nothing. There is no need for it to focus on anything outside of that safe space because it knows it is taken care of.

And then I begin to think about where our focus is. Are we consumed with the news and everything swirling around us? Are we becoming devoured by the fear? Or are we safely tucked under His wing? If God will provide such protection and such a warm place for chickens, how much more will He do for us? Right now, with COVID-19 seemingly taking over, our best option is to tuck ourselves up under God’s wing…and rest. I’m not saying don’t pray. I’m not saying don’t worship. I’m not saying to cower there in fear. What I am saying is that we have a place where we can live free from the fear and worry by staying close to His heart. Ask Him to shelter you under His wing, and then begin to live from that place. If you start to focus somewhere outside of His wing and become afraid, pull back in toward Him. It’s warm and safe and free from the worries swirling around you.

And as always, if you need help, I’m here.

Study with Me

One of the things I would like to do with my blog is equip and empower people to learn to seek God’s heart on their own. I want to help people “grow up” in the knowledge, wisdom, and revelation of who God is and who they are. I want to walk beside people to help them learn to take those first steps, then walk, then run to finish the race well. No matter where you may find yourself on that spectrum, we have much we can learn from each other. I want to learn from you as well. Will you join me on this journey?

Today I want to show you how I have learned to study the Bible. When someone takes that first bold step and chooses to become a follower of Jesus, they are generally told to start reading the Bible. How intimidating and overwhelming is that?! I grew up in church and knew the stories, but I didn’t ever really learn to study the Bible on my own until years later. I always heard that the “Word is alive” but hadn’t experienced that, at least not consistently. I didn’t realize that God would truly speak to me, to my heart, when I took the time to meditate on His scriptures. So today, that’s where I want to begin. I’ve taught this but have never tried to put it to writing, so bear with me. 🙂

This is the passage I want to unpack, but it is way too much to do at once, so for now, we will start with the first verse.

The first thing I do when studying the Bible is invite Holy Spirit to come. I submit my time and attention to Him and ask Him to give me revelation as I meditate on His word. Then I pause and let His peace cover me. Take a moment and join me in doing this.

The scripture I have posted is using The Passion Translation. One thing I often do when studying scripture is read it in several different translations. I highly recommend using an app called YouVersion. Another one I enjoy is Blue Letter Bible. They both are available on your mobile devices and on the web. But for now, I will use The Passion Translation.

To jump in, I read through the verse a couple of times, taking my time to linger on the words and see which ones speak to me. Which ones surprise me? Are there any that I want to know more about? What does each word mean? Sometimes I am surprised that it’s the small things that grab my attention or touch my heart. Please know that what God speaks to me through a particular scripture may be different than what He speaks to you. That’s not only okay, it’s good because we can learn from each other! And He is speaking to each of our hearts in a very unique and distinct way. He looks at the heart. He knows us intimately. He knows what we need and how we need it. Oh, what a good Daddy He is! 🙂 (Often times I worship before and during my study time. It’s spontaneous because of His goodness. I’m not going into that today, but know that if it happens, let it come!)

In this verse, the first thing that sticks out to me is that He is saying that I am ALWAYS and DEARLY loved by God. ALWAYS. That’s a big word with a lot of meaning. So I pause, and I let that thought go deep. Are there places where I DON’T feel always and dearly loved by God? Because if there are, God is saying that not feeling always and dearly loved is a lie. He’s saying to me that he ALWAYS and DEARLY loves me. I have a choice – do I choose to continue believing the lie in those places, or do I lay that down and let the truth cover me? Do I choose to embrace and believe the truth? Please know that this is a process. It is just the beginning. It will take time and continuing to choose to believe the truth to see transformation in that area. But, friends, when it happens and you are free from those lies, what a glorious day! He is faithful to do it! Don’t give up. Daily renew your mind to His truth! Take as much time as you need. Picture Him loving you in the areas where you don’t feel loved. Really explore it with Him. He ALWAYS and DEARLY loves you. Linger there for as long as it takes to have peace.

So let’s continue. The next thing that really sticks out to me is that it says SO robe yourself with virtues of God… This small word SO says to me that because I am always and dearly loved by God, there is something I am to do. I get to robe myself with His virtues BECAUSE I am always and dearly loved. That small word packs a big punch! It’s because of His love that I am able to ROBE myself with His virtues! What does that phrase “robe myself” even mean to me? What do I think of when I think of putting on a robe? I think of something that is warm and soft. Something that covers all parts of me and makes me feel warm and cozy. It protects me from the cold. I can snuggle up in it. And that’s what He is saying to do with His virtues because I am always and dearly loved by Him! So take a minute and meditate on that. Maybe He is speaking something different to you through this. I’d love to know what it is!

Next, it says that we are to robe ourselves with virtues of God SINCE we have been divinely chosen to be holy. Whoa. Let’s back up and really take that in. We have been divinely chosen to be holy. Read it again. Personalize it. I have been divinely chosen to be holy. God, the creator of the universe, has divinely chosen ME to be holy. He has said to me – Tana, robe yourself with my virtues because you are divinely chosen to be holy. He is saying to me that He dearly loves me always. And He is saying the same things to you. Let it soak in. Sit in it for a minute. Where do you need to hear this today? What part of yourself is parched and needs that life giving water to refresh it? Let Him show you. Ask Him to show you.

Friends, God is after our hearts. He is going to take us on a journey together in these scriptures, but He first needs us to understand and know in our hearts that He truly does choose us. If you are reading this, know that GOD CHOOSES YOU. He chose you before you were formed in your mother’s womb, and He chooses you today. Dearly and always. ALWAYS. Even in those places where you feel unlovable. HE DEARLY AND ALWAYS LOVES YOU.

When I started this blog today, I thought I would do the entire verse, but I feel in my spirit, that I need to stop here for now. I feel like some of us need to just sit in this and let is permeate our hearts and minds. We need to let God speak to our innermost being and cover some lies we’ve believed. Don’t be afraid. Take His hand and let Him show you. He loves you. We will continue with this verse, but for now, meditate on what we’ve studied so far. Keep going over it. Find new words to meditate on. What is He speaking to you? Ask Him to remove any blockages. Because we have to get this part before we can continue on to the next part when He has us loving others the way He loves us. So let Him love you.

As always, if you need help, I’m here. I want to know what He is showing you, so please feel free to contact me. We are in this together! I am praying for each person who reads this. I love you!

Provision

A few weeks ago, I spoke a message at church on resting in God. I encouraged others in the importance of building rest into your daily rhythm of life because God wove it into creation. If we look throughout creation, we see it everywhere. Human beings are no different. We need to rest for our mind, our spirit, and our body.

In the Old Testament, the Israelites were freed from slavery and were traveling back to their homeland after the land had rested for 70 years according to the prophets. Along their way, God wanted to provide for them. He wanted His children to lean on Him and allow Him to take care of them. He gave them some rules, and one of those was that He would provide their food every morning, and they were to gather enough food for just that day. He didn’t want them worrying about tomorrow. He would take care of tomorrow, tomorrow. On the sixth day of the week, He would provide double so that on the seventh day, they too could rest.

It is a beautiful story of God’s provision and rest that I can’t fully go into on a blog post, but if you’d like to listen to it, you can find it here. This season that we are in is, in a sense, a season of rest for our land. It’s a time when we have the opportunity to lay down the things that keep us so busy (idols in our lives) and just rest. I know many of us are super busy, but there are many things we just can’t do, and those are the things we are resting from. In addition, I know many of us are worried about what we are going to eat, if we are going to be able to pay our bills, what happens if we get sick, and if there is going to be enough toilet paper. And yet I hear God saying that He wants to provide. That He is calling His people back to His heart to trust Him.

Jesus said these words. He told us we don’t need to worry, that tomorrow will take care of itself. Just like God told the Israelites to trust Him with their daily needs, Jesus is telling us the same. That requires a level of trust that many of us don’t have. Believe me, I understand. As much as I love Jesus and trust Him, there are times I struggle, especially when it feels like I’m drowning. I want to share with you how I handle those moments and use them to reconnect with God instead of allowing them to pull me away from His protection and provision…and His heart.

One of the best things I have ever learned to do is find Jesus in situations. He tells us He will never leave or abandon us. If we think back to difficult times in our lives, we will find that He was there with us, in the good and in the bad moments. And so I begin to remember times when He was there and how, even though I may not have been aware of His presence in the moment, He was there.

In whatever situation I am currently in, I quiet myself and thank Him for His presence. Even though I may not see Him right now, I know He is there because He promises He will be. I ask Him to show me where He is. And I wait in the quiet. I don’t fill the space with a lot of words or noise. I simply wait. And I ask Him where He is. I ask Him what He wants to say to me in this moment. And I wait, no matter how long it takes. In His quiet, tender way, He is faithful to speak to me. He is faithful to calm my fears. I offer what I have – my anxiety, my sadness, my fear – and I lay it before Him as an act of worship. It’s all I have to offer. In return, He gives me more of Himself – peace, love, revelation, whatever He wants me to have in the moment. Suddenly, I find I can breathe again. Suddenly, I find myself trusting Him more. Suddenly, I know, no matter what the situation looks like, that it’s going to be okay, because He is there. He is with me. And if a situation can draw me closer to Him, then it’s all worth it. I may not feel that in the midst of it, but I promise, if you allow the intimacy in the relationship to grow, you will feel the same way.

We are in a time when God is calling us back to trust. Trust that He will provide daily. Trust that He is there. Trust that He is after our hearts. It’s not about our comfort. It’s about our relationship with Him. And that, my friends, is worth far more than anything we are worrying about or striving for.

Take a few minutes and invite Him to remind you of His presence and provision. Ask Him what you are worrying about or fearing that He wants you to lay before Him. And ask Him what part of His heart He is going to give you in return. It’s a beautiful exchange, and I promise, you won’t regret it. If you need help, let me know. I would love to walk you through this exercise if you aren’t able to do it on your own. I am praying for you during this time.

Finding His Calm. Finding Myself.

It’s been two years since I’ve written anything on here. It’s been two years of a whirlwind. Today, as I sit in the still, quiet, calm of my living room, my family all home but doing their own thing for the moment, I feel as though I am finding myself. For two years, I have been “along for the ride” on a beautiful journey, and today, I feel like it’s time to get off the train. Today, I’m finding my own seat, the one reserved for me.

I’m not saying I’ve been on the wrong train. Not at all! I’ve been on the right train with the right people at the right time. Today, however, I feel God whispering gently to me, that I was created for something different. And I have peace in my heart and joy in my tears because of it. No more trying to fit in. No more comparison. No more crazy chaos in my head.

Something happened when I was at More Love More Power, a conference put on by The Vineyard Church of Central Illinois. I’ve been attending this conference for years, and each year it’s a little different than the past, but always transforming and filled with the presence of Holy Spirit. This year was no different. Yet this year was completely different. This year, Holy Spirit did a work in me through a man who spoke truth to the parts of my heart that have been scared, felt unequipped, and appeared forgotten or unseen. A part of me that remained a child in a woman’s body. As I have processed through that healing in the weeks following the conference, I have realized some things about myself that, though they are different than others, give me a peace that other things do not. I find I’m not nearly as afraid as I was. My focus has changed. It’s getting back to basics, no fluff and no hype. It’s remembering – and discovering for the first time – what I was really created for. And it gives me peace.

I watch my facebook feed fly by. Everyone has something to say. Everyone wants to be seen and heard. Yet, in my heart, I feel the soft tug to pull back. To make it smaller. To be more intimate. I hear God telling me it’s not my job to reach the most, do the biggest, or be perfect. And as He tells me what He wants of me, my job is simple obedience. Suddenly I have complete peace because I realize I don’t have to do it all. It doesn’t matter who sees it or who doesn’t. And I find myself letting go of the things that cause me to feel chaotic and crazy inside, the things that other people are drawn to, that give them life. Today I am grateful that I get to disembark from where I was and try something new, something that makes me feel alive and whole and real and filled up. It’s a little smaller and a lot quieter than what I see happening around me, and that’s okay. Because it’s what I was created for. And I have peace in the chaos.

As this coronavirus seems to be taking over the world, I sense something completely different. I see people pulling together. I watch as neighbors take care of each other. I tear up when families are reconciling. My heart overflows as people turn to God and to each other in vulnerability, in care and concern, in love. And I know there is something bigger going on than the evil that this virus is. As big as this evil is, there has to be something greater because Love always wins. And I know that Love will win this time as well.

So why am I sharing this? Because my hope is that we will all take this time we have as a nation, as a world, and use it as an opportunity. Let’s not get to the other side of it, whenever that is, and be the same but filled with anxiety and fear and chaos and trauma. Let’s take some time and quiet our hearts and minds. Step away from social media. (I’m not saying completely!) Take some deep breaths. Pick up our Bibles. Get still and listen. What does God want to say to us? We have this beautiful opportunity to learn more of who He is through this. It doesn’t have to end badly. It can, and will be, good…if we take the time and slow down our hearts and minds and emotions and lean into Him. Let Him help.

I don’t know if anyone will ever read this. It’s ok with me (and probably easier for me! 😉 ) if no one does! (Less vulnerability, you know. 🙂 ) But if you are reading it, know I am praying for you. My prayer is that you will find His peace as well, the peace that comes from knowing Him. From knowing what you were created for and stepping into it, no matter what is happening around you. The hand of Jesus is stretched out to you. Will you take it? You don’t have to have all the answers to do everything all at once. He will lead you. He will stand beside you. He will protect from behind. You’re not alone in this journey, and if the chaos of our times is filling you with anxiety, will you take a minute and breathe? Breathe in His presence. Let His peace cover you. And know that you are safe. If He has done it for me, He will do it for you. And I stand with you.

The Perfect Storm

God knows when the storm is just right. He steps in, in all of His glory and grace, and calms the chaos, rights the wrong, and settles the heart.

Today was one of those days for me.

I got to work early this morning so I could make sure I had everything in order for our staff meeting. In praying, I had an uneasiness in my heart, and I was a bit teary. I chalked it up to the fact that God was preparing me for a counseling session I had later in the day and went about my business. However, the feeling that it was “more” wouldn’t go away. Something in my heart said that it was for me, for today.

When we got to staff meeting, the pastor leading said that today the group would be surrounding me and praying and prophesying over me. I felt the faucet of my tears turn slightly, but the fight in me won out. I wasn’t prepared to go there. I certainly didn’t expect it. I have a full day and an even fuller week, after all. There is no time to work on ME today.

The group gathered around me and prayed and spoke some beautiful things over me, all of which made me cry. Now, to know me is to know that I’m not afraid to cry. This is one expression of my heart that others are quite familiar with if they’ve spent any time with me at all. So, yes, I cried. And as they spoke over me, God was gently whispering along side of them.

After our staff meeting, we had a series planning meeting with just three other pastors and myself, and some things were talked about that triggered an emotional reaction in me, one that was stronger than should have been considering what we were talking about. I knew that God wanted to do some heart work in me, so when we were done, I came straight to my office and started praying and seeking His heart for what was going on.

Little did I know He had been leading me up to this point for several weeks, if not months or even years.

I came to a place of such brokenness as I allowed God to search the depths of my heart and let Him show me some of the lies and wounds that were still there from my childhood. He showed me three specific memories that I needed to process, but I was so afraid and in so much pain that I called another person and asked them to come in and help me through it.

An hour later, we sat in my counseling room and let Holy Spirit guide us back to a point in my life where the fear and pain originated, the time when I began to believe that I was not going to be protected or seen, one where I had to begin to cower away from things. He showed me when I decided it wasn’t safe to be me, that I had to conform to the wants and needs of others in order to be loved and protected. And when I chose to turn to other idols instead of Him for protection, nourishment, and comfort.

And then He showed me the truth and brought me a freedom I’ve cried out for for years.

So I sit here before my computer, trying to explain the incredible vastness of what happened. I don’t know if this leg of the journey is complete or not. What I do know is that He truly did heart surgery on me today. What He wanted became priority for me, and I let Him have access to those places, allowing Him all the time He asked for. I must have cried for 3-4 hours. My puffy, red eyes witness to that! And, in the midst of it, I feel so light now. I feel so good. I feel so free.

God is so faithful. His timing was not mine. But He was faithful, just as He promises He will be. Don’t give up hope. It may take 40 years, but it will happen. The storm looks scary, but He will sit with you in it and create a peace that remains, even after the storm has long passed.

Things are not as they seem.

It’s funny how life changes. Or maybe life doesn’t change. Perhaps it’s just our perception of life that changes.

Over the past few weeks, God has been speaking to me, but I haven’t fully understood the depth of what He is trying to say. In all fairness, I still don’t understand it fully, but for now, I get part of it at least.

I was driving home from a few meetings I had, and, in my own world (I love to worship while I drive!), I saw a vehicle with it’s right turn signal on….that then got into the left turn lane and turned left! I chalked it up to a fluke – I mean, how many of us have made last minute changes on which way we are going to turn? I know I have. Never mind that this person didn’t turn their turn signal on until after they were already in that turn lane. But whatever. I could still make logical sense of it.

Fast forward a couple of days, and I am out and about, and lo and behold, it happens again! Different location, different vehicle, but a car turned it’s turn signal on for a turn in one direction then turned the other direction! Now I’m suspicious. “God, is that you? Are you speaking to me?” He’s got my attention. It’s just too odd to see that twice in a week.

One more time. I was out with my daughter doing mom-daughter things, and on our way home, a car in the left turn lane turned their right signal on. I shrieked to my daughter, “Do you see that? Do you see it???” She laughed as I told her God was trying to tell me something.

And then yesterday happened. Sundays are always busy for us with two church services and our School of Kingdom Ministry that I lead. On our way home from church, we ran through the McDonalds drive thru (no judging, please 🙂 ) because time is valuable, and, let’s be honest, I haven’t been to the grocery store in a couple of weeks. Sitting at home in front of my laptop, working on SoKM things, I mindlessly started eating my McChicken sandwich. About half-way through, the strangest sensation happened. My chicken sandwich, the fried one with mayonnaise and lettuce, started tasting like a DONUT! A DONUT! I stopped working on my SoKM plans and focused on what I was chewing. It may be the craziest thing I’ve ever experienced. It wasn’t that there was a hint of donut…I could picture that. Maybe the sugar in the bun or the oil from the fryer. I get that. But, no, it was DONUT. I took another bite, baffled, and the more I ate of it, the more like a donut it tasted. By about 3/4 of the way through, there was nothing except a donut taste! And I’m not talking a cheap grocery store boxed kind of donut. I’m talking one of those delicious, rich, sweet bakery types! Had you blindfolded me and fed it to me, I would never have guessed it was anything other than a donut….with a very odd texture for a donut. There was not a hint of chicken, mayonnaise, or lettuce. It was a donut I was eating.

I knew God was talking to me. One or two incidents I can “worldview” away. This many this close together, it was definitely God talking. I wasn’t going to call it thunder or angels like the crowd did in John 12:28-29 when they heard God’s voice. They heard the audible voice of God and called it thunder. They called it angels. I wasn’t going to make that mistake. It was God, and He had my attention.

In our School of Kingdom Ministry, we just happen to be in the section on worldview. As we were discussing our thoughts to the teaching, Holy Spirit prompted me to share my turn signal and donut stories. I hesitated….to be sure it was really Holy Spirit. (Or maybe I had a little fear they would all think I’m crazy! 😉 ) This is what He showed me: In this life, what we see is not His reality, His truth. It doesn’t matter what it looks like. It doesn’t matter which way the arrow is pointing. What matters is His truth, what He says, what He wants.

Everything God does is to reveal His love. He IS love. His heart is love. And He wants us to know and to have His heart. In everything that happens to you in this world, He will reveal more of how much He loves you. Even when the bad happens – and it will happen because we live in a fallen world – if you look for Him, you will find Him. You will find Him and you’ll find His truth….and it may not look like what you think it is.

So today I am pondering where God is when I am broken…in those things that have gone so wrong. I am pondering where He is when I am filled with joy. And I know that as I seek Him, He will reveal Himself and the truth and His love.

Let me know where you are finding Him today.

Taking the First Step

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. – Lao Tzu

It seems a little strange to use a Chinese proverb to start a blog by a Christian woman, but there are just some truths that are universal, and this is where I am. While I may be 46 years old, I feel as though I am just taking the first step of my journey. In a sense, that journey begins anew every single day, but this time, the beginning seems to have a different road.

My name is Tana Cook. I am a wife of 19 years and mom to a son who will be 18 years old this month and a daughter who is 14. All three are the loves of my life. Sometimes I sit back and smile, just thinking about how blessed I am to have God’s love in a tangible way through my family. Living that love day in and day out is not something I take for granted.

That brings me to the reason for this blog. My heart is all in for God and for His people. That love I was talking about that I experience with my family? That’s what I dream for everyone. My life goal is to help as many people as possible remove the blocks and learn to experience the love of the Father.

So why blog? God has me on a journey. He orchestrates things in my life that teach me more about Him, and I want to share those things with others. I know the lessons I am learning aren’t for me to bury and protect. They are for me to share and multiply, so that’s what I am going to (hopefully) do.

Please bear with me as I attempt to do this blogging thing, especially the technological aspects of it. I’m learning as I go but feel like the time is NOW.

I cherish feedback and love to dialogue, so leave me messages. If there are things you want me to talk about, let me know. It’s all a work in progress.