MORE than just Survive…Thanksgiving 2014

This Thanksgiving I am thinking of WHAT truly MARKS a Christian.  As I have completed a most precious and timely book on Psalm 23, A Shepherd looks at Psalm 23, by W. Philip Keller, given to me by my most CHERISHED mentor, Julie M., my mind feels renewed…and my heart too.  A Christian is meant to be serene, trusting God always…that “surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,” no matter what trials may come.  I must learn to TRUST my most capable master and Shepherd.  He always has good planned for us and is with us in every trial.

Julie gave this precious book to me last spring and I needed it desperately this summer and fall.  This season has been one of great pruning for me.  A time of learning…mostly learning to rely on Him.  I have had the joy and hardships of learning a new neighborhood with a somewhat unexpected move, learning new relationships, a new job, supporting and loving Brian through his rigorous studies for SAMS and his Kansas State degree, loving him through multiple tough surgeries on his wrist…and preparing our family for Brian’s departure for a year to Kabul in just 4 weeks now.

Honestly, as Brian graduates SAMS THIS THURSDAY…I can barely believe we have made it all intact.  The past two years, while we have been here in Kansas, EACH of the kids and Brian have had broken bones….so we are not quite all intact 😉 …but as our gracious HEALER continues to heal, we might just come out of this Kansas experience more whole because of it all.  By His Grace, we have made it…and He has allowed us to Thrive.

Last summer, with a move and pending surgery for my hubby, I started out my position as Spiritual Life Coordinator for PWOC, pondering all that God had planned for me in this role and excited to step into a new role in supporting others in ministry.  I sensed I wouldn’t be able to do everything I WANTED to do for His Kingdom…during this season of my life.  Desperately wanting to give more to the care group leaders…to invest more in THEM…more in PWOC…but already doing all I was able, I feel right now, as I take a moment to reflect as the most special Advent Season and Christmas break is approaching, left with the same feeling I had ending my role as prayer coordinator…wanting more to give. When Christ calls, I feel beckoned to give my All.  I have been learning to balance family and work for His Kingdom.  Some days, I feel torn and long to run to my first calling…and focus only on them….and some days I have needed to do that and take a respite…but He keeps me going, keeps me pressing forward, working in His Kingdom.  ….But, aren’t we always called to do work for His Kingdom?  Whether we have an official title or not?

My theme song for this fall has been “THRIVE, by Casting Crowns”  Oh, how I love this song!  The word “Thrive” means ‘to grow or develop well or vigorously.’ God keeps reminding me to “not just survive” during this season, but to THRIVE.  It feels like some days I truly am surviving…but each time I made that my goal, God reminded me..”I have so much more planned for you than you could ever know.”  My plan for you is to THRIVE right now.

Here are the beautiful lyrics to this beautiful song:

~THRIVE~

Here in this worn and weary land
Where many a dream has died

Like a tree planted by the water
We never will run dry

So living water flowing through
God we thirst for more of You
Fill our hearts and flood our souls
With one desire

Just to know You and
To make You known
We lift Your name on High
Shine like the sun make darkness run and hide
We know we were made for so much more
Than ordinary lives
It’s time for us to more than just survive
We were made to thrive

Into Your word we’re digging deep
To know our Father’s heart

Into the world we’re reaching out
To show them who You are

So living water flowing through
God we thirst for more of You
Fill our hearts and flood our souls
With one desire

Just to know You and
To make You known
We lift Your name on High
Shine like the sun make darkness run and hide
We know we were made for so much more
Than ordinary lives
It’s time for us to more than just survive
We were made to thrive

Joy Unspeakable, Faith Unsinkable, Love Unstoppable, Anything is possible
Joy Unspeakable, Faith Unsinkable, Love Unstoppable, Anything is possible
Joy Unspeakable, Faith Unsinkable, Love Unstoppable, Anything is possible
Joy Unspeakable, Faith Unsinkable, Love Unstoppable, Anything is possible

Just to know You and
To make You known
We lift Your name on High
Shine like the sun make darkness run and hide
We know we were made for so much more
Than ordinary lives
It’s time for us to more than just survive
We were made to thrive

Hey!

We were made to Thrive

~~~~~~~

Last fall I remember God telling our family to “WALK WORTHY.”  And in the Spring, He called me, as I stepped into a different role in ministry, to be a GENTLE, BOLD SHEPHERD.  It’s amazing how He tells us to do that…and then makes it possible as we take steps to trust Him.  I think our family is walking more worthy of His calling now, by His Grace.

THIS FALL, He is asking me to step out in FAITH despite my inabilities and lack of qualifications.

I’ve been working through First Timothy, Titus, and now Hebrews the past month and today I read Chapter 11, the renowned FAITH chapter.  As I read, I literally felt God bring up all the areas of my life that I am struggling to BELIEVE Him for.  I felt so humbled, confessed, and asked Him to help me overcome my unbelief.  I WANT to believe Him for MORE.  I want to go with Him to the next step…to trust Him and let go of all my weaknesses, truly trusting His power to be perfect…His GRACE to be sufficient.  I had to tell myself that today.  It is sufficient.  It IS sufficient.  Sometimes, it doesn’t feel enough…but that is when I have to remind myself of God’s Word…it is perfect and He says His Grace is sufficient…so…IT IS!!

I feel as though God has sent me through a most wonderful leadership course over the past few months…I have learned so much through people, through church, through Sunday School, through parenting.  It is a wonderful privilege to lead…  It is a tremendous responsibility.  It is a calling.  And it is Anointed and Enabled by Him.  This gives me great comfort and confidence in Him.

~This Thanksgiving, I am deeply grateful.  Grateful for my salvation…grateful for His Grace…grateful for the INCREDIBLE things He has done for us this year.

Things I am thankful for this sweet year in 2014:

*He has SAVED one of our own…a family member who confessed Him as Lord and Savior this summer!!!

*An HOUR long phone call with my sweet mother…!  These moments are irreplaceable! I love you mom!!

*TOTAL HEALING over a cousin, Andrew, who had cancer for the past 3 years.  He is 6 now and CANCER FREE!!

*A precious bible study with many co-workers who walked from one school program into the next right with Brian!

*Guiding us through this time of school for Brian and service in ministry for me, and seeing HIS hand even in Brian’s exercises and books, papers, and briefings…God is so NEAR and in EVERYTHING!!

*My treasured mentor, Julie….Her deep love for our family, how she has taken me in, loved on my kiddos, spoken truth to my heart, helped me learn to lead women, supported and encouraged me, and worked alongside me for Christ.  I am deeply grateful for her and her humble leadership.  On Thanksgiving morning, (in her pjs…she wouldn’t let me get a picture!)…she spontaneously shared with my kiddos Hot chocolate with yummy BIG sticky, gooey marshmallows, and allowed them to ring her beautiful bell 100 times!! (at Lewis’ request) …we are overjoyed to live right next to her!….her house is literally right behind our backyard across a fence 🙂

*Precious answers to prayer through our prayer team!  God has healed people and performed miracles before our eyes.  Truly, God’s power to heal and transform never ceases to amaze me.

*Precious things He’s done in Ethiopia…in our most precious friends lives…in remote Ethiopian tribes’s lives…in the hospital in Soddo…He has healed, He has reached into the edges of the earth and humanity (these tribes are so very isolated) to touch lives with His Word, His Message, His Love…through PEOPLE.

*Deep, deep work He is doing in my heart…as a wife, a mommy, a friend, a daughter, and neighbor.

*Growing each of our family’s hearts, transforming our minds.

*Allowing us precious time…4 weeks…CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR’s with daddy before he departs!

*Sweet visitors throughout the year and a most cherished visit with Brian’s parents as he departs.

Each day, He reminds me to savor, to cherish all the moments and all that He brings forth in them. Each one is a GIFT ~

Happy Thanksgiving 2014 sweet ones!!!

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Stepping Forward.

I am surprised by all God is doing in my life right now.  I am surprised at the things He is changing, the things He is asking me to do.  There is no other word I can really pinpoint to use that can fully express how I feel.  I know I am meant to step forward…but there seems to be so many obstacles…so much from the past, so many reasons why not to…  God is literally propelling me forward right now as I am holding onto the reigns…fortunately, I know He won’t let go.

I can’t say anything more to Him other than yes.  Not, “yes,” I think I can do this.  Not, “yes,” I am ready for this.  Just simply, “I am the Lord’s servant.  Let it be so.”  He knows.  He is already there.

I thought maybe I’d be stepping into a season of sifting…but He assures me it will be a new season, but a beautiful season…and this Psalmist is stepping up (literally one foot on one step and the other on the other right now) and ready to return to Jerusalem, singing and rejoicing, saying “God has done GREAT THINGS FOR US!!!”

He has done great things in my life…in our family’s lives.  Praise be to God, our glorious God who sets us free and sets our feet on a ROCK.

A fall season so amazing and so full…

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Lewis' first photo!!! :)
Lewis’ first photo!!! 🙂

IMG_0654This fall was so precious to me…so full of counsel, change, growth.  I feel God so near to us right now…but often ponder, “why.”  I think it is just who He is.  He is so merciful.  I am so thankful for His presence and everything we are learning about Him.  This assignment has been the “promised land” for us.  I really never want to leave.

Here are some pictures and a bunch of things that God has taught us…in parenting…in marriage…in life.

COUNSEL: In my marriage I have learned to be a reverent wife, to walk by faith in the hard moments, to know that God is enough…and that my husband is a blessing on top of that, to help restore my husband’s leadership (rather than usurp?!)…when he is struggling…I have come to see the enemy attack him..and to see the difference that encouragement, compassion, and restoration of HIS leadership makes in our family.  It is SO worth it.  I see what happens if I see the good in my husband, allow the Holy Spirit to convict…and then watch him grow.  I am delighting in my marriage right now and all that God intended it to be.  Aren’t God’s commands SO good?!!

*In parenting I have learned what happens “If You Give A Mouse a Cookie!”  🙂 God is teaching us how to be the instrument of self-control in our children’s lives the past few months.  I have learned that “I am not bound” to their struggles…that God loves them more than I do…that God is a God of Order..and Unity…He establishes the order and unity…and we must maintain it.

*I have loved my Ephesians Study through PWOC…it is growing me as a member of His body.  I learned to “learn in full submission.”  I learned to submit to God’s design for each relationship in my life.  I learned about God’s desire for His children to be a unifier (maintain His unity).

FREEZING DAYS, HUDDLING NIGHTS:  The kids and I LOVED fall this year.  This Christmas was the most memorable Christmas for our family.  And this winter is turning out to be much more joyful than last winter 🙂  It started out as freezing days in our home as the heater was delayed (we have central heating)…and it got cold early here in Kansas (come to think of it, it was -9 degrees out this morning!)…we all huddled around the house, and I found myself holding the kids and cuddling them until they fell asleep at nights…and then bringing Emmy under the covers later for some baby cuddles…with her toes and fingers curled into my arms and legs…oh, I love these moments…it was so cold though!  We have had colds most of the time this fall and winter…but with some antibiotics, we are all finally kicking these colds.  Just this morning, Emmy showed up with an ear infection, and fortunately we were able to make it to the doctor for some medication..at a well baby appt. no less…  I am thankful for medicine..I am thankful for Jehovah Jireh..who is continually healing us.

CHANGE: I sense God giving me more of a strength of mind…although some days it seems my thoughts still cave…I think there are more days where I turn to Him for strength…and focus on Him alone…and think His thoughts…learning to walk in His light.

GROWTH: I see God growing us.  I see Him changing the way we look at things…and calling us to love Him more and show more grace to each other.

Everyday is so different for me the past few months.  I am learning to surrender…

The kids LOVE Cubbies.  Lewis is growing so much and maturing.  Hannah loves to say her verses.  She is so serious compared to Lewis’ silliness…(it’s really a bit of an adjustment!)!  She loves the games and crafts.  She loves Jesus.

Here are some pictures of our Flock this fall!

WALK WORTHY.

Our First Camping trip....all together!  And with a camper....
Our First Camping trip….all together! And with a camper….

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Our first camping trip!  This was a really fun trip!!!  We have been longing to go camping together as a family.  Brian and Lewis enjoyed camping together in Cali…rough style…tenting in the snow…in the back of daddy’s truck…and then here in Kansas in a dense vegetation spot….with lots of creepy crawlies…right after the rain 🙂 Hannah and I and Emmy…in my tummy…enjoyed staying for a bit…and then headed back to the high life.  Well…I have no excuse now not being pregnant and all…and daddy even got a camper to stay warm in….and WE HAD A BLAST!!!

The whole trip I kept hearing WALK WORTHY.  “Walk worthy of the calling I have given you.”  He gives us the calling….as Christians and as individuals and families (Ephesians)…and then He tells us He counts us worthy (Ephesians)…and on this trip it was a sort of commission-WALK WORTHY.  I meditated on this for a bit…often times I’ve felt unworthy or felt confused about my calling.  God has brought more clarity to me here about my calling as a Christian, individually, and for our family…and He has rooted me more in His love and showed me His worthiness IN me.  He counts me worthy.  I feel CLARITY.  I feel CONFIDENCE.  I feel as if there is no turning back now.  No excuse.  He has removed the ignorance…the unbelief…and counted me faithful (Timothy)…and now it is GO.  Don’t look back.  Prove to me I was right about you!

I pray we Walk Worthy of the calling He has given us.

We have ARRIVED!!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Tinklepaugh Family!!!!!

We have arrived at last to Kansas 🙂  Thank-you all for your prayers, texts, e-mails, and encouragement.  They have been most beautifully timed and precious to us.

We are so excited to be here!  The area was surrounded with snow when we arrived and the kids LOVED playing in it!  Lewis could play in it all day…and Hannah informed me that it was cold and that she wanted to go “home” now.  She associates her ‘winnie-the-pooh’ mat with “home” and so I am longing to get that out for her when our goods arrive at our new home next Tuesday so her little spirit and body can rest in her new home on her old mat 🙂

We were so blessed to sign for a house the next day after we arrived.  The kids were delighted to run up and down the wooden floors and check out all the fun hiding places in the home.  They were so incredibly cute to watch!  It is a beautiful historical home and we are so excited to call it our new home.  The activities and opportunities to connect with other believers are numerous here…we are most excited about this!

I am excited to be able to get my first doctor’s visit in a week–at 14 weeks.  A sweet lady at the hospital was able to get me seen two weeks earlier than I would have otherwise, so I won’t be 16 weeks at my first appt!  I am beginning to feel better now, but have been often feeling very sick the past few months.  I didn’t experience this with Lewis and Hannah, so it has been a bit of a surprise to me.  This “little bean” is really giving me a whirl!

The past month has been one of constant traveling and staying in different homes/hotels.  Our bodies and spirits are all worn out; we have really taken a toll from everything….BUT we sense the Lord giving us JOY and HOPE to be replenished and to have our MINDS RENEWED for this new year.  We are looking forward to this incredible new location and new home and new wine the Lord has ready to pour into our new wineskins…that we are beginning to step into.

The Lord provided in so many ways during our travels.  He provided mostly through amazing family members that helped us and provided for us in numerous ways.  We are so thankful for all of you!  The Lord continually provided, despite obstacles that came our way…and our silly errors–we almost missed both flights we had scheduled….each child up-chucked right before leaving to go to the airport…one in the stroller and the other in the car (as well as other times in our travels), other travel delays to the airport, little car scrapes and bumps to the truck before leaving Fort Irwin—BUT during each trial, the Lord provided.  I have never seen so many people move aside during a security line at the airport…with no fuss or grumbling…we simply declared we had 15 minutes to get to our flight (at the Atlanta airport…which has many different terminals and trains to get to!)…and every person moved aside….we FLEW through the security line, and arrived two minutes before our flight was to take off…clearly having missed it…as a sweet voice came over the intercom that our flight was delayed a half hour and had moved gates….  We were in awe at God’s grace to us.  We arrived worn out to our hotel and new home here…but were so happy and thankful to be here at last.  The past few days in the motel have given us a bit of rest and focus for the weeks ahead, before we begin the major task of unpacking and moving in.  We were excited to celebrate our new year with a new home and new location….a new season ahead of us…full of promises of JOY, STRENGTH, FAITH, LOVE and HOPE!

These are the verses of encouragement the Lord is giving to me for this new year:

~ “I also know the plans I have for you; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11

~ ‘Give yourself fully to the adventure of increasing attentiveness to My Presence…focus your thoughts on Me…My thoughts embrace you in everlasting Love.’

~ ‘Relax in my Healing Presence…bring your mind back to me for refreshment and renewal…the sacrifice of time you spend with me pleases me and strengthens you.’

~ ‘Hide in the secret of My Presence, even as you carry your duties in the world.  Do not be weighed down with problems and unresolved issues, for I am your burden bearer…in the world you have trials and distress, but don’t let them get you down. I have conquered the world and deprived it of power to harm you.  In Me you may have confident Peace.’

These were inspired by  “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young, a devotional book that several friends had recommended to me in the past.  It has been a wonderful respite and opportunity to focus into the Lord’s heart and voice to me each day for the new year.  And it has been wonderfully pertinent to me at this time.

I love the New Year’s!  So wonderful and full of promise and HOPE…with no mistakes in it YET 🙂  !  May the Lord help us in the little decisions we make each day to grow closer and closer to Him.  May we choose to serve HIM and only HIM through each choice we  make.

Happy New Year FILLED WITH JOY and HOPE to YOU!!!

A time of Transition…

We are headed into a time of transition for our family…we are starting to go through changes, getting ready for a move.  As this fall season arrives, and with it much needed cooler weather here in the desert :-), I can feel the season of change beginning in our lives.

We are learning to live off of one car surprisingly well.  I have (mostly) stopped running over curbs, Brian has adjusted to us living in his precious big blue truck, and we are learning to live more simply.  I really like that.  Sometimes, I convince myself that we are living a pretty simple life…but then God shows me true simple living and I am always humbled by how much we have.  I really don’t like living in abundance…it always brings tension in my heart…but, it is a slow process to live more and more simply, so I am thankful for the victories He gives us in this.

The kids are going through major changes in development.  Lewis is almost 4 and I can literally feel the big changes in his thoughts, actions, and speech.  Hannah is 2 and going through so many changes right now.  She has hit the big 2’s in a major way.  The past 3 weeks or so in parenting have been some of the toughest weeks of my parenting career so far.  I have cried out for wisdom and guidance and the Lord’s help and peace so many times.  He has poured out to me from His loving faithfulness.

He showed me a mommy’s heart that really needed to change.  So many areas of my heart…I feel as though God is prepping us for something…but I don’t quite know what….I feel Him calling us to change and prepare…I am very eager to see His plan unfold!  What are we preparing for exactly?

In the meantime, I have learned to love my children deeply, casting all perceptions aside and to parent His way…following His voice…and to love, love, love my sweet little babies, through the sleepless nights, hours of their tears, many frustrations, and constant trying moments.  In these moments, days, or weeks, all my plans or goals for the day melt away…all perceptions cast aside (both mine and others’), and my heart is pressed into the Lord thanking Him, praising Him, and resting in His love, peace, patience and longsuffering qualities.  His qualities become mine and they flow forth to my children.  And then I begin to see change.  Change in my heart and change in theirs.  This way of parenting isn’t based on a rigid set of rules or consequences, it is simply based off of His leading and knowing His heart of love and His Word.  It flows.  It is situationally based, with sets of general guidance layed out in His Word.  It is firm.  It has consequences.  It is consistent.  But, it is compassionate, it is loving, it is tender, it is everything of the Spirit.  It comes from Him.  It brings forth more love in my heart for them and I can see their hearts change with more love toward me (and not so much resistance!).

I see changes in my incredible husband…and changes in us.  There is unity blossoming in our hearts in new ways….there is a softening of our hearts; a gentleness and stronger, deeper love between us; a longing to continue to reach out to the community and love more.  I see faith in the midst of very trying circumstances.  I see God’s testing of this faith.  I LONG to see the other side!  But, I know one day there will come this moment where we look at each other and we see those dreams fulfilled.  That will be a beautiful moment between us and the Lord.  But, I want to walk in greater faith right now, trusting that this all will make sense one day.  Each test, each trial, each heartbreak, each loss–God will bring all of it together and make it known to us (as much as He chooses to reveal).

My heart isn’t aching.  My heart isn’t even exhausted.  Somehow, there is this peace.  There is this knowledge and trust in Him.  Perhaps, I am learning to love Him above all else?  Perhaps, He is creating a purity of heart and purpose in me?

He is teaching me that true love for Him is not talking about my love for Him, or talking about the revelations He gives, but simply doing His will.  Isn’t this what Jesus did?  He came for one purpose.  To do His Father’s Will.  I long to do this at all cost.

The Lord is giving me a desire to praise Him and find such purpose in doing this.  He is giving me a heart to find contentment and fulfillment in doing His will and only His (and not my own).  I have often wondered if I could find fulfillment in simply praising Him and doing only His will.  In my humanity, I have questioned whether that could bring total fulfillment in my life.  He is proving to me how incredibly fulfilling it is!  It is beyond human comprehension.  I am learning to trust in His goodness.  I am learning to discern His voice above all else.  I am learning to obey more fully.  I am learning to praise Him and see His blessings flow continuously in our lives.

The Lord is humbling my heart.  He is putting me in a place of service and support in every area of my life.  He is cultivating a fully satisfied servant’s heart.  He is creating fulfillment in me in doing the most basic things…joy in doing them.  He is teaching me to set less goals and trust in His goals for my life.  There is much joy in this.

I long for this time of transition to lead to greater dependance and trust in the Lord.  We are just starting this season of transition.

I feel Him drawing us closer to His heart to prepare for all the changes that are headed our way.