It’s coming…

The dawn of a new day... It is hard to believe I began my blogging journey during the fall of 2008, at that time I was a mom to five, the oldest 15 and youngest a little more than three.

Beginning a blog was a way for me to find a place of connection with an ever changing world and to find my voice in the midst of the many voices crying out to be heard.

I didn’t care if any one read it, I didn’t care if it became the next best read, it was just a place for me to practice my words and to share the transitions and changes in my heart.

It became the place where life was unscripted and I learned to embrace the process of reflection and practiced getting my brave on by sharing stories, lessons and life.

Once again it is time for transition, time to say farewell to the old and move onto the new.  After all this time I am finally building a new website!

Please join me in this new year at TomiJarrell.com

Happy New Year and welcome to 2016!!

Heartbreak & Hope – Lessons from 2015

  • 12 Things I learned in 2015

    You know they say you are never to old to learn, well as I have reflected over 2015 these are a few things I might have known before but they became very real this past year!

    • Sometimes life gets broken and there is no easy fix, but peace and patience can bring resolve, wholeness and grace in the midst of brokenness.
    • I would rather be me than someone/anyone else.
    • Sometimes the spark of a dream in our heart will lay dormant until the breath of the Holy Spirit blows life onto them.
    • Parenting a young adult is hard work…but more than just necessary, it is vital! As a side note, it is also one of the richest times because you get to see the fruit of all the years of hard work you put in!
    • Marriage takes on seasons just like the years and each season brings opportunities to learn once again how to love, live and grow together in spite of the weather…the need for a healthy root system is must!!
    • Sometimes life must get messy before it starts to look pretty. (Kinda like cleaning out my closet!)
    • The Word of God does the work!!!! Planting the seeds of the word in your heart and the heart of your children will produce a harvest!!
    • Boundaries are not only necessary, they are key to living a healthy and free life… they help keep the heart whole, the soul prospering, the mind focused and the body safe!
    • When God sends the rain expect the floods, better to be over prepared than not prepared!
    • Waiting on God with expectation and trust during times of disappointment became opportunities for Him to show up with exceedingly, abundantly more than I could ask, think or expect!
    • Moving out of my comfort zone gave others permission to dream, fly and expect great things from God!
    • This life is the seed planted into the soil of eternity. How we choose to live or die in it affects our forever…

    Bonus thought and one that will carry me into 2016 – God’s love for us is beyond our understanding but He longs to help us begin to grasp the length, width, height and depth of His great love!!!

    So, what are some of the lessons you learned throughout 2015 and what are you looking forward to in 2016?

When Shopping becomes Freedom!

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So I am shopping bookcases online and suddenly – POW!

A twinge, pinch, heaviness in my gut…Oops, I recognize that! It is anxiety making its way into my heart.

Just like AA’s 12 steps, recognition is the first step to freedom. I love how God can use the simplest of things to reveal some of the sizable weapons the enemy will try to wield against us.

Learning to identify our feelings in the simple moments gives us the power of choice later on when the enemy tries to move in and influence us on the heavier and weightier matters of life!

The enemy is taunting me with doubt and worry – fearing that I will regret my decision. For me it is ‘shoppers remorse’ before I ever even make the purchase, some might call it ‘analysis paralysis’. Any way you look at it, it is fear wrapped in the disguise that by not choosing I am somehow pleasing God and waiting until just the right time.

Let’s look at this from a different perspective. When I determine to walk by faith and not allow anxiety to rule I know that alone brings pleasure to my Father, because without faith it is impossible to please Him. (Heb 11:6)

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony… But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:1 – 2, 6

Man, those ‘elders’, as the word calls them, sure made a mess of their lives…they got drunk and lay naked (Noah), they offered their wives to other men (yes, Abraham called Sarah his sister and twice she went to live with other men), they killed their countrymen (Moses) and the list goes on and on. AND YET… because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. Heb 11:39 says it this way about all of them, “And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith…”

We have the money, it is on our list of things to purchase, it is a style I like and will enjoy in my home.

So really, why the anxiety? Because the enemy knows if he can get me here then he can hold me captive later on as well.

It is time for me to take that step of faith, make the deal and enjoy the fruit of some hard work, not allowing the anxiety or fear that tries to rise up have the final say.  It’s time to get that stack of books onto some new shelves. It is time to put my faith on and go forward.

God will stop me if I am in the wrong, but He will do it without fear, worry or anxiety, He will do it with a gentle reminder that He has something even greater right around the corner.

Is there a lump in your throat, that sinking feeling in your stomach? Learning to identify the symptoms of anxiety can be key in helping you to take the first step…recognize it for what it is and begin to apply your faith, every small step of faith pleases the Father and sets us free!!

A Heart that Prays

It was November 1992 and I was alone in our apartment, Darrell had left town on a hunting trip and as a new bride for the first time since our wedding I was alone. I pulled out my Bible and sat quietly before The Lord and began to pray. I think it was just a normal prayer, I don’t remember it being anything unusual, I began to pray in the Spirit and soon I was scribing in my journal the things God was speaking…

That day prophetic prayer changed my life! God spoke ‘You will be a mother soon’ and within two months I was pregnant with our first daughter. From that day forward, prophetic prayer became a way of life.

Over the years, I sought The Lord in many different ways, quietly worshiping, boldly proclaiming, quoting His word and when words weren’t enough and allowing His Spirit to pray through me. It is from those times I had a front row seat in watching my family become established, lives changed, relationships mended, babies born, nations shaped, hearts healed and grace received. It is like being a part of the supporting cast of your favorite play; you see the lead actors filling their roles knowing in some scenes you will be used as a catalyst that directs the storyline in a new direction.

A few years had passed, it was 3 AM, and I was awake again. It seemed like I had been waking up at 3 AM for weeks (I am sure it was only days) but after repeatedly being awakened in the night I was getting frustrated with my inability to sleep. I crawled out of bed, humphed myself down before The Lord and asked Him why I was awake and if He had anything to do with it. He led me to Isaiah 50:4, 5

“The Lord God has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He awakens me morning by morning, He awakens my ear to hear as the learned. The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, nor did I turn away.”

There it was, my early wake up calls were so I could take those same things I was hearing in prayer and begin to speak them to weary hearts. The choice to hear and the choice to speak were mine, courage and boldness would be much needed attributes.

Over the next few weeks, I would meet The Lord at 3 AM and listen attentively all He had to say to me as well as what He had to say to those around me. The first time He asked me to speak, I was shaking to my core, nervous, anxious, unsure. But God, in HIs kind and gentle ways, continued to whisper to my heart that it was time to speak. So, I gathered all the courage I could muster and declared what I sensed The Lord was saying. Lightning didn’t strike, the earth didn’t tremble, and I was still standing when it was over. I prophesied according to my faith and God met me there, right in the middle of it all.

Our ability to hear God is a promise we can receive, His word declares we are His sheep and His sheep hear His voice (John 10:27).

John 16:13 reminds us that our advocate, the Holy Spirit, is the Spirit of truth and He comes to us to guide us into all truth and tells us things to come.
Jeremiah 33:3 says when we call to God, He will answer and show us great and mighty things, we have not seen or heard.

We are commissioned us to pursue love, desire spiritual gifts, but especially that we prophesy in 1 Corinthians 14:1.

As believers we have the ability to hear God and know the plans He has for us, our families, our neighbors and our nation. God wants for us to be a prophetic voice to those around us, to speak on behalf of His people, He wants women of faith to rise up and declare His promises. He wants to see His Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven.

Begin to speak His Word over your life and ask Him to reveal to you His destiny; He longs to give you a glimpse of your future!

Daddy’s Arms

No safer place to be than in daddy's arms!

No safer place to be than in daddy’s arms!

Her chubby, little toddler legs run around the house searching, she looks in all his usual places, she glances into the living area, not there, back to our bedroom, not there, I hear her open the bathroom door, still no sign of him. I hear the swish of her diaper as she toddles by and see her come back around the corner into the entry, she peeks through the glass door frame into the office and she spots him, seated at his desk, the closed doors preventing her access to him. She is smart, she knows there are two ways into his office and takes off around the corner to go through the half-bath but the door is shut, I hear a whimper and get up to help her get to her final destination. As soon as the door is open she toddles right around his desk, boldly walks right up to his chair and then with all the effort of a 14month old, makes every effort to climb up into his lap. Big strong arms lift her, seats her comfortably on his leg and she makes her self at home, reclines against him and sighs. As quickly as she is settled, she is ready to hop down and go back to playing. No conversations, no antics or tugging on his glasses or earpiece, just a quick snuggle in daddy’s arms and a sense of being seated in just the right place before moving onto the rest of her day.

I watched and was amazed, she walked boldly to her daddy, not a hesitant bone in her body, no wondering if she would be accepted when she arrived, no need for conversation or even the need for his full attention; she had no agenda, she only wanted a moment in his presence. Once she knew she had access to him, with a contented smile, she was ready to go about her day, ready to take off and play!

“Come boldly to the throne of grace…” (Heb 4:16) These words suddenly took on new meaning, with full assurance of acceptance, knowing my strength will never be enough to seat me in His lap, His loving arms reach out and lift me from my humble position and wraps arms of strength, grace and comfort around me as He holds me close to His heart. Just one moment of His presence can calm my unsure heart and draw me into the depths of His love.

This picture was worth a thousand words in my mind. Ana Grace has captured her daddy’s heart, he never hesitates to take her up into his arms and comfort, hold or just love on her. He stops all he is doing and offers her a simple embrace and then gives her the freedom to continue on with her day. If I ask for bread, will my Heavenly Father give me a stone? You being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, HOW MUCH MORE will our Heavenly Father give good gifts to you?

Since this moment I have been reminded to stop periodically throughout my day, step away from whatever I am doing and allow my heart to go on a hunt. I begin by taking a deep breath and quieting my mind, I begin to feel His presence and I look for His peace, and then, I just sit. I enjoy the embrace, I relish the feeling of His nearness and His strength. Sometimes I have to get back to what I was doing, other times those things just don’t seem so pressing and I feel released to just sit awhile. Either way, I know I have my Daddy’s heart and He has mine and those moments will forever be etched into the fabric of my life!

Tomorrow, Ana will wake up, she will call out for ‘dada’ and at some point she will again put those two pudgy legs to work trekking all over the house looking for the hero of her heart, rest in his presence and know that she is his little princess and has full access to him, no matter what obstacles might seem to be in the way!