It was Christmas 2010. I had just received the greatest gift I could ever unwrap, a baby boy swaddled up in a soft white muslin blanket. Not just any baby boy, however, he was a big brown eyed, curly haired boy, … Continue reading
She came downstairs on Tuesday, the day after her fainting spell, and said “mommy I wanted to tell you, Jesus loves me and will always keep me safe.” From the mouth of babes – at times – God speaks … Continue reading
I watched as the director stood before the children, telling them when to rise and sit, move their bows or be still, increase the volume of their instrument or soften it’s voice; but my daughter and her fellow sixth grade novice musicians were not just being told what to do, they were being shown.
Toward the back of the stage stood the orchestra’s co-leader. Not pointing and directing, but playing alongside the students, modeling for them how to follow the directors lead and giving them a perfect musical example to follow. She cared deeply about showing these children how to play the music the way in which it was composed.
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said -Matthew 4:19a
When Jesus said, “follow me”, he meant do as I do, not just as I say; for He cares deeply about showing us how to live life following our Father’s lead. Not just so our lives can be filled with only beautiful harmonies, but for the times when we are overwhelmed by the tension and dissonance that often mark this life.
Every moment of our day offers the opportunity to look at our circumstances through the lens of our own emotions or through the lens of Christ’s example.
Through His example, we can trust that whatever we are being called to, through or from, He has crossed that bridge too. For our Savior is acquainted with our grief, empathizes with our weakness, was tempted in every way but did not sin, perfectly loved his neighbors as himself, communed continually with God the Father, fulfilled the Great Commission, was betrayed, wept, humble, patient, embodied true peace and joy because He is true Peace and Joy and ultimately, endured great suffering and gave His life, so we might live.
This is life lived the way God composed it, the way He intended it to be. Yet, He doesn’t just point the way, he is The Way; and he is standing beside us, sweetly and gently showing us that His way is perfect. It may be hard to take that first step, but when we do, we find that His way leads to life. His way leads to freedom.
Follow in his steps.
Worship: I love music and I love to share it. Each song is for each post. Enjoy! I Have Decided – Elevation Worship
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© Tamara Gurley 2015
I looked up from whichever distraction I had chosen to occupy my mind on that nine hour journey south. The blue SUV to the right was edging into our lane, inches from knocking us into the concrete median. My renaissance man swerved to avoid the inevitable crash, yet at 70 miles per hour that sharp jolt of the wheel was all it took for us to unwillingly surrender control. This car, which within it held everything I loved most in the world, my heart made up of three beautiful children and a faithful friend, rocked back and forth, in and out of lanes, dodging passing cars, and guardrails. My love tried to regain control, but simply could not. We spun 180 degrees as we crossed three lanes. Facing the on-ramp where I was certain we’d meet our last breath, I heard him cry out, “Jesus, please.”
Within moments, the car landed on the opposite edge of the highway, out of the way of oncoming cars and inches from the guardrail.
It was as if it had been placed there.
It was as if for that one moment, as eternal as it felt, all of the traffic that had occupied the highway had been cleared out of our way.
It was as if someone knew for that short stretch of time we would need three lanes of room to remain unscathed, when for up until that point the road had only been made up of two.
It was as if I was meant to look up.
It was as if we were meant to survive.
To experience it, but to survive it.
I realize that it is not always the case. Sometimes we are left to survive when others are not. I know that feeling too, do you?
Deep breaths. Gratitude. No words, just tears. Streams of gratitude.
It was as if God was watching over us in that moment, but the truth, He always is.
The cancer-free diagnosis, the heart attack survived, the sick child fully healed, the accident avoided, the marriage saved. Sometimes in moments like these we see more clearly his hand and it’s easier to trust his heart. But how many times have we been inches away from hitting a concrete wall? Protected, shielded, guided away from inevitable brokenness and led to a place of safety.
I don’t just mean dodging painful experiences, but walking through them covered by the presence of God, awakened by the power of his Word—a deep well of promises that pain often brings to life, and comforted by those who love the Lord and bring light when we are fighting the darkness.
Had we all not made it out of that terrifying near-accident, could I still be filled with gratitude? Could my heart still be content? My faith unshaken? Is my treasure stored up in these earthly gifts or in the Creator of each?
It is possible to be in a place where we are as thankful for the walls we hit as for the ones we miss, when we see that experiencing pain is not God sweeping us away, but rather a call to draw us near. God uses each experience to grow us, shape us, form us and teach us more about his unfailing love.
For in this fallen world we will have trouble, but we can take heart that this is not our eternal home.
We can be content no matter what the circumstance, because He is in control.
We can survive suffering on this earth, because He suffered on our behalf.
And his suffering brought Life, eternal life, so that our suffering could be but momentary. Free of fear and worry. Resting in the full assurance that ‘it is well, it is well,” with our soul.
Worship: I love music and I love to share it. Each song is for each post. Enjoy! Psalm 42– The Sing Team
© Tamara Gurley 2015
The waiting room was small, hot, filled with swollen bellies and joyful hearts. New life was bursting at the seams all around me, including in my single stroller. He was just six months old, my son, whom I prayed and dreamed for years over. A true picture that sometimes God answers our prayers in just the way we hope. Other times, He surprises us and it takes a little longer to see the blessing or the lesson that He has for us. Here I sat pregnant again, 20 weeks along with my second. My ‘surprise’ child that was due to arrive just 10 ½ months after my first. Today I would learn the gender of this life growing large inside of me, and I just wasn’t sure I was ready to hear the answer.
Insecurity is a harsh and deceitful friend. Making us believe that we are not enough, as if we ever could be. It’s more than just not good enough, but lacking down to the very core of who we are. I was just as positive that I could raise a loving, strong, god-fearing son, as I was positive that I could NEVER raise a confident, capable, God-honoring daughter. I was an insecure, anxious mess as my Renaissance Man held my hand and led me back to the ultrasound chair. It was on this cherished throne, this place so many women pray to visit, that my one of my greatest fears was realized.
“It’s a girl!” the tech exclaimed. I offered a half-hearted smile before my eyes welled up with tears. These tears, however, were not of joy, they were of fear and certain failure. How could I be a mother to a little girl without her turning out to be as broken, insecure and fearful as me? Raising a daughter from the ground up? Responsible for every part of who she was and was to be? Her role model in life? I did not always have the best example to lean on. No one taught me to French braid hair and cook crock pot meals. What in all the world could I offer this girl? She deserved so much better than me. Have you ever believed this true of yourself? That in no way could you be enough to fill whatever role you’re faced with?
After returning home from the doctor’s office, I did what I know best, I penned my heart on paper. I wrote out my fears and found scripture that spoke truth to each. Through this prayerful time of surrender, God reminded me that I was worthy of whatever purpose He chose to fulfill in me. That despite my past, it would be Him working through me that would make me the mother I was designed to be. And isn’t this true for all of us? When God calls us in or out of anything, He promises to give us everything we need to see it through. As we replace our false insecurities with the security and truth of God’s word, He becomes our reflection in the mirror, the lens through which we see the beautiful truth about who we are created to be.
Gabriella Noelle Gurley made her sudden entrance to the world in her first bold attempt to scare the life out of me. I was diagnosed with placental abruption, where the placenta begins to separate from the uterine wall. The placenta is the part of the womb that nourishes the baby, providing oxygen and nutrients to sustain life. I was immediately sent in for an emergency induced labor, and all I could do was trust and pray that God would nourish my baby girl, that He would breathe His very life into her lungs and give her everything she needed to thrive.
I still pray this prayer for Gabby each and every day. Because while He has redeemed my insecurity by showing me beautiful parts of myself through who Gabriella is becoming; He has evenmoreso shown me His hand and work in her life in every area that I lack. Despite me, she is beautiful, brave, outgoing, and strong. She is sassy, sweet, loud, fearless, and wild at heart. She mimics me in the way she sings and dances her heart out, is creative, stubborn, and always wanting to succeed. Most importantly, she mimics my love for the Lord in her words and in her deeds, and that is my ultimate prayer. That I would simply be a light in her life; that I would shepherd her heart well, and she would never know a day where the Lord is not her Savior. That she would find her worth always rooted in Christ and her security in His love. He is the true creator and sustainer of her life and I am just the broken vessel He has so graciously chosen to be called her mamma on this earth.
Gabriella Noelle has taught me that God is all about redemption and His promises are true. That He can give you exactly what you hope for, or He can give you more than you could ever ask or imagine. And Gabby is just that–she is more amazing than I could have ever asked for and my love for her is greater than I could have ever imagined.xo,
Worship: I love music and I love to share it. Each song is for each post. Enjoy! Strangely Dim – Francesca Battistelli
Gratitude: Give thanks— “Those who trust in the LORD are as secure as Mount Zion; they will not be defeated but will endure forever.” Psalm 125:1
Grow: “Insecurity is a harsh and deceitful friend…” Where have you allowed insecurity to rule in your life? What false truths have you begun to believe and where do you need God to replace those with the truth of His word?
Give: Who in your life can you share this message with today? When will you share it?
Each LSLW post includes three areas of reflection in hopes to offer a chance for us to give thanks, grow in our personal faith and find ways to pour out from our lives what Christ has poured into us.
Distrust, worry, fear, anxiety–these emotions have always been too close a friend of mine. But God you see beyond each situation and you help your children see, too. Not always the answer to the specific trial we’re facing, but the greater ultimate hope which is You & You alone. We have the great privilege of seeing You in the sheer awe and wonder of Your marvelous creation, in answered prayers, and each breath formed in our lungs. We can see You in the comfort You provided in our darkest days or the provision you rained down when we needed it most…
For all we’ve seen, let us trust you for all we have not yet. #waterforyourweek #quenchmysoul