The Day God Showed up at the Junk Store

Yesterday, my family and I went to several yard sales.  While at one in a nearby town, a lady there heard me asking if they hadclosed sign any cast iron pieces.  I recently cleaned up and restored a family heirloom piece to near mint condition and I was so proud of myself!  I wanted to see if I could restore some rusty, gunky pieces.

She told me of a junk store just a few blocks from where we were.  I was so excited!  We got in the minivan and drove to this little store.  They had stuff piled up everywhere outside and I was tickled to “hunt.”  I made it around to the door to see a sign that said “Closed.”

I was almost in tears.  I know – it’s a sickness when cast iron can bring you to tears!

Anyway, I turned around to leave when a regular customer / good friend of the owner appeared behind me.  I have no idea what his name is so we’ll call him “Bob.”  He reminded me of Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty.

So “Bob” said “The owner was going out of town for the morning but said he’d be back later today.  I have his number if you want to see if he’ll be here soon.”  So I called Tim (the owner).  Tim very bluntly said “I won’t be there for a few hours.  Sorry.”  Okay – so I tried…. time to go home.  😦

About that time, this lady appeared inside the front door of the store.  About scared me to death!  “Bob” told her we were from out of town and really wanted to look at the cast iron pieces.  Penny so graciously let us in.  There’s no way to explain how excited I was to be going inside this little treasure box!!  Giddy could not begin to explain it.  I walked into a little room that was completely dedicated to cast iron!  Oh my goodness!  I got dizzy!

There were lots of mostly clean pieces that were hanging on walls and sitting on shelves but what got me even more excited was the grocery cart sitting in the middle of the room full of rusty, gunked up pots and pans.  Did I mention the word giddy earlier?  Go one step farther and you can imagine my world!

TJJ excitedSo I spent the next 45 minutes digging every single piece out of that grocery cart hunting for the nastiest, grossest pieces to practice cleaning on.  I seriously broke a sweat during this hunt, people.  I excitedly took the 3 skillets and one little bean pot to the counter to get prices and make my final selections.  Penny noticed these items weren’t priced and said she needed to call the owner to get the prices.  She tried to use her cell phone and it wouldn’t work.  “Bob” offered his but was out of minutes and he suggested she use my phone I had called the owner on earlier.  She called Tim and asked about the skillets.  I don’t know exactly what was said but I heard that man screaming at this girl like a dog.  She very quietly kept saying “I didn’t know.  I didn’t have much of a choice.”  He told her he couldn’t price anything over the phone and yelled at her for borrowing a customer’s phone to make a call.  I don’t know which broke my heart more – the fact that I couldn’t take home my treasures or that Penny looked like she could burst into tears when she told me.   I literally walked to the minivan in tears.

 

She called Tim and asked about the skillets.  I don’t know exactly what was said but I heard that man screaming at this girl like a dog.  She very quietly kept saying “I didn’t know.  I didn’t have much of a choice.”  He told her he couldn’t price anything over the phone and yelled at her for borrowing a customer’s phone to make a call.  I don’t know which broke my heart more – the fact that I couldn’t take home my treasures or that Penny looked like she could burst into tears when she told me.   I literally walked to the minivan in tears.

So that’s it, right – live through disappointment and go home.  Quit thinking about it.  Just go on with regular life.  Except I couldn’t.  The lump in my throat and the knot in my stomach wouldn’t go away.  Go to sleep – close your eyes, breathe in, breathe out…. eyes fly open – I can’t get that woman’s face out of my mind.  Why, Lord?  Why is she on my heart?

go back

 

 

 

What?

Go back.

What do you mean “Go back.”  Why, Lord?  Why in the world would I go back??

Go back.

What in the world would I say?

Go back.

Geesh – really?

Go back.

But I don’t want to.

Go back.

So I got up this morning with my stomach tied up in knots and these people on my mind.  Why would I drive 45 minutes to a town completely out of my way and what the heck would I say to these complete strangers when I got there??  Would I talk to the owner, Tim?  Would I give Penny a hug?  What?  Why in the world??  It’s none of my business!!

Go back.

But what if they tell me it’s none of my business?  Because… it’s not, really.  Right?  What if he throws me off his property?

Go back.

But….

Go back.

I begrudgingly got dressed and got in the car.  Again, I tried to reason with God.  Ever tried to do that?  Never works out in the end but I still tried.

Lord, it’s Saturday.  My husband’s home today.  I have guests coming for lunch tomorrow, I need to be home today.  With my family.

Go back.

But what will I say?  I have nothing to say, Lord!

Go back.

pouting

Okay – FINE!  I’ll drive there!!  But this is going to turn out badly.  What could I possibly say to accomplish anything positive????  Tomorrows newspapers will read “That Preacher’s Wife has Head Ripped Off by Junk Store Owner” That’ll be just great, won’t it Lord?  Is that what you really want?  For me to make a fool of myself?  To get yelled at?  Why in the world would you want me to do something like this???

 

 

I thought about calling my friends to make sure they had bail money ready – what if he threw me off his property or had me arrested for harassment??

Go back.

All the way there, I argued, fussed and imagined every single worst possible scenario.  When I got there, the parking lot was completely full.  I rolling vandrove past the place three times and finally reasoned “It’s full – I can’t even pull into the parking lot.”  You know, my silly van turned into the parking lot anyway.  Stupid van.  Never listens to me.  I had to park on the edge of a hill.  Great.  The van will go rolling down the hill and when I get thrown off the property, I’ll have to hitch hike home.  Perfect.

I get out of the van and walk towards the door where there are 7-8 large, burly, bearded men laughing loudly.  I tried to quietly walk past.  Lord, I’m not talking to any of them.  They could eat me for dinner.  About that time, one of the men looked at me and said, “Sorry, we’re closed until Tuesday.”  Shew.  Off the hook!  I can go home now!  Felt like I was skipping through a field of daisies!

I turn to walk away.  Something literally hit me in the gut.  You know that feeling when you go over the top of a hill when you’re on a roller coaster.  Or riding in the back of a vehicle when a maniac is driving way too fast over a hill?  Yeah – that feeling.  Hit me right in the gut.

I honestly didn’t even have time to think about what I was going to say.  I turned around so fast and the words “Is Tim here?” ran out of my mouth so fast, I couldn’t catch them.  The biggest, burliest dude looked at me and said, “I’m Tim.”  Gulp.

Legs – listen up…. run.  Turn right now and run.  Stupid legs didn’t listen either.  There I stood with all these men looking at me.  I quietly asked if I could speak to him privately for a moment.  He stepped away from the group.  Lord, what the heck have you gotten me into????  What do I do now?

“I was here yesterday.”  Wringing my hands, nervous.  Really wanting to puke.  Seriously.  That knot that’s been in my stomach for the past 24 hours is trying to make its way up my esophagus.  All over the big burly dude.  That wouldn’t be good.

“This is not something I would normally do.  In fact, I hate confrontation.  It really bothered me the way you spoke to Penny yesterday on the phone.”

“What are you talking about??”

That sounded defensive.  Lord, don’t let him punch me.  Please?  Wonder if the van has rolled away yet…. come on legs, pleeeeease??

“I was standing five feet away and I could hear you yelling at her.  It has really bothered me and had to come back to say something about it today.  It’s probably none of my business but you didn’t need to talk to her the way you did.”

scary faceLord – why is he staring at me like I’ve lost my mind?  Why did you put me in this very awkward position?  Why won’t he say anything?  What do I do, Lord?  Please keep me from puking on him.

“Wow.  I was trying to tell her I couldn’t price anything over the phone.  I’ve been ripped off before doing something like that.”

Our conversation turned to his past experiences of people stealing from him, taking advantage of him, etc.  I told him that’s not what I came for – I came to challenge him on the way he spoke to Penny.  He then told me Penny was his fiance.  The knot in my stomach got worse.  Poor Penny.

He then asked me which cast iron pieces I was looking at.  “I honestly don’t want to purchase anything from you.  I just wanted to tell you that you can’t speak to people the way you spoke to her yesterday.  It’s not right.”  He then asked me to please come in the store and show him what I had been looking at.

Why does he want me inside?  I’m not going in there with him…. um….. where did all the guys who were here go?  Hello?  The parking lot is completely empty except for my van perched on the edge of the hill.  He’s going to take me somewhere inside, chop me up into little pieces and fry me in one of those beautiful cast iron pans, isn’t he??  Gulp.

Go back.

stranger danger 1 stranger danger 3

stranger danger 2

Are you kidding me, Lord?  Stranger danger!  Going in a closed store with a man I just confronted for yelling at his fiance?  No.  No way.  I won’t go.  Nope.  Not. Going.

Go back.

I couldn’t stop my feet.  They were following Tim inside the store.  Stupid feet.  What – is NOTHING listening to me today???

Inside, to my relief, I saw “Bob” and Penny, both.  Penny said I looked familiar and Tim said “Yeah, she just jumped all over my a** for yelling at you yesterday.”  The look on Penny’s face was absolutely priceless.  He told her what I had said.  I told her she was worth more than gold to God.  There were tears.  We walked back to the cast iron room and I showed him the pieces I had found yesterday.  He gave me pricing on them but I told him I wasn’t here to buy.  I ended up buying anyway but made sure he knew that’s not why I came back.

At the checkout, Tim continued to tell me everything going on in his world – busted water pipes has destroyed his home, a mini stroke in January, uncontrollable high blood pressure, he passed out at work a couple weeks ago…..  Honestly, I was thinking “Time to go!  I did what you wanted, God.  Now let me go home!”  I had my  hand on the door and the door pulled open a couple of feet.

Go back.door

Something grabbed that door, pulled it shut and these words came flying out  “I’m not very comfortable doing this but is it okay if I could pray with you?”  What??  Lord, come on!  I was almost out the door!

I prayed for Tim’s health issues, his business, his home, Penny and their relationship with one another and even prayed for silly old “Bob” sitting in the corner.  When I got done, “Bob” shouted “Amen!”  Tim smiled and said “Penny needs all the prayers she can get.  I’m an a** to love.”  Penny very quietly said “The Lord sent you here today.  Thank you.”  Just for a brief moment, time  stood still.

You know, there have been times in my life that I felt like I should’ve done something.  It was on my heart and I didn’t do it.  But this time, I had no control.

I COULD NOT walk away from this.  The Lord wasn’t going to let me leave until I did what He wanted.  No matter how incredibly awkward and uncomfortable.

How many times have I turned away from that “I need to do something” feeling?  I’m in a hurry, I’m running late, I need to go do this, that and the other.  How many times have I refused to listen to God’s leading only to deny someone a blessing He was trying to give them.  I’m so stinking stubborn.  stubborn

Tammy LanhamTammy Lanham is the wife to Tommy Lanham and Momma to  Appolonya and Dylan.  She homeschools them both.  She travels and speaks to women, entertaining and encouraging them in their Christian walk.In her free time, she….. wait – she has no free time…  nevermind….

Thanks for reading!

 
 

 

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Get Over It!

gotochurchYep – I just said it…. get over it!  My husband has been preparing for a message tomorrow on evangelism.  

e·van·ge·lism  [ih-van-juh-liz-uhmnoun

1.  the preaching or promulgation of the gospel; the work of an evangelist.

Evangelism is not just the work of the minister.  If I truly believe what I say I believe – Jesus died for my sins so I can spend eternity in Heaven – how much do I have to hate somebody to NOT tell them?  If my worst enemy was in the path of a train, I’d attempt to save their lives.  If I know the cure for cancer, wouldn’t I tell people??  People around me are in the path of something much worse than cancer or a train.  Sin, Hell and separation from Jesus.  For eternity.   A miserable life on earth void of purpose and meaning.  Empty.  And I often don’t share my faith because I’m worried it’ll be socially awkward?!?  What the heck is wrong with me?

So somebody in some church somewhere stepped on your toes.  Somebody commented about your clothing and embarrassed you.  Somebody mentioned a “tithe” and you got all worked up and offended.  Somebody somewhere frustrated you so now you’re not ever stepping foot in a church again.  Really?!?  You’re giving up the life Jesus promised – a full life, abundant and free from your stupid, petty frustrations.  Is it worth giving up heaven?  Is it?  I don’t care if you don’t go to my church, just go somewhere!  The Bible tells us to worship together.  No getting around it…. go to church.  Get over your hurt feelings, your frustrations, your embarrassment and get out of bed in the morning to worship Almighty God.  So what if you feel out of place?  You will be blessed.  You will hear something that will stir your soul…. ready or not. 

Now, are you going to spend more time offended that someone would challenge you like this or are you going to go set your alarm clock?  It could be a life changing decision.

Challenging Video right here that got me to thinking…..

Why That Preacher’s Wife is Wearing Jeans to Church on Easter

 

 

lecrae_these_are_my_church_clothes

 

One of the most common responses I hear from people as an excuse to miss church is that they don’t have any nice clothes.  Several years ago, I wrote an article for The Christian Standard entitled “A Challenge to Church Clothes.”   My main point is that we don’t have to dress up to please God.  He doesn’t care one single bit how I am dressed to go to church.  I do believe modesty is desired but beyond that…. what does it matter if I wear jeans, a frilly, flowery dress or sweats?  The response to that article was strong.  I got letters telling me I didn’t deserve to worship if I couldn’t dress up and give my best to God each Sunday.  Not.  the.  point.  Anyway, without exploring the depths of this subject, I am making a statement.  Here it comes… are you ready?

I, the preacher’s wife, am wearing jeans to church on Easter Sunday.

I don’t think the world will collapse.  Easter celebrations will go on as planned.  Delicious lunches will be consumed.  Jesus will be worshiped.  No matter what I wear.

Tomorrow is Easter.  I will celebrate Jesus’ resurrection (even in my jeans).  Very important day in my Christian faith.  It’s not a fable.  It’s not some fairy tale.  It’s not a myth or tall tale.  It really happened.  Isn’t that almost impossible to believe?  I mean, come on!  If you  go to church tomorrow somebody is going to get in front of you and tell you that a guy came back from the dead.  In our worlds, our finite minds, with our life experiences, this sounds absurd.  And it is.  Really.

But Jesus isn’t limited by our world, our finite minds or our life experiences.    And thank goodness for that!  But I know of a lot of people who won’t go to church tomorrow.  Not because they are bad people.  Not because they don’t believe.  In fact, most believe in God but they have a variety of reasons to stay home.  They get to sleep late.  They get to stay in their sweats all day.  They get to spend the day with family.  They get to rest.   But the one excuse I don’t want to hear is “I don’t have nice enough clothes.”  So I’m wearing jeans.  If the preacher’s wife wears jeans, you can surely wear jeans without any judgment, right?

My challenge is this:  try a church you feel comfortable in.  Just try.  Tomorrow.  If you hear something that challenges you, makes you a better person, makes you feel something you thought you had lost touch with, wouldn’t it be worth it?  You can still sleep late – most services don’t start until after 10 a.m.  Wear anything you want.  At our church (as with a lot of churches) you CAN stay in sweats all day.  AND you can bring your family.  And best of all, you’ll rest like you haven’t rested in years.  There will be peace.  Beyond understanding.  Even if you wear jeans.  With holes in them…  it’s okay.  We won’t judge.

Tammy Lanham
 
 
Tammy Lanham’s husband, Tommy, ministers at New Castle Christian Church in New Castle, Kentucky.
 
http://www.NewCastleChristianChurch.com
 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a disc golf basket!

Today is my husband’s 39th Birthday….  I post lots of other stuff here but today, this is part of a scavenger hunt for him to find out what his present is… 

Tommy Lanham, THIS is your present:

We adore you!  Happy Birthday sweet husband!

Blessings all around…

When I get down, which I tend to do from time to time, I am often challenged to look around and see the everyday blessings around me.  We’ve been so incredibly busy this past two weeks that I’ve not exercised like I should, I have been inconsistent with my devotions and I’m getting headaches!  So today, I had some time – to sit and “Be Still…”  and God blessed that time. 

Tomorrow will be my 10th year wedding anniversary.  There are relationships in turmoil & dissolving all around us and it is sometimes depressing to watch loved ones go through such a horrible experience.  But God has reminded me to reflect on the blessings. 

Yesterday, I had the blessing of photographing some families from our church.  I cannot tell you how much of a blessing they have been to us.  Stan and Lisa are amazing parents and support and love their beautiful children.  They are wonderful friends and very supportive.  Fran is an amazingly strong woman and her little boy is just precious.  When her friend couldn’t bring her baby to model the headbands for me, Fran worked tirelessly to find a replacement and set it all up.  Fran lost a child a few years ago – something I pray I will never experience firsthand.  I watched my best friend Mattie and her husband Ben bury their little girl, Shyla.  Bryan, Fran, Ben and Mattie have all been models of God’s love and strength through their loss.  I think God has to touch a special place in your heart to heal such a pain. 

Where does my hope come from?  It comes from the Lord…  if you don’t understand that, then I can’t explain it to you.  God is good… all the time.

Today’s Interview

What a cool afternoon!  We had a visit from a great local reporter, Cynthia Difazio, for the Henry County Local Newspaper.  She interviewed my husband Tommy Lanham (www.TommyLanham.com)  for various reasons:  he’s the new lead minister at New Castle Christian Church, he’s got an internet talk radio show that’s really taking off (Dwight Bain will be his guest in a few weeks… that’s BIG), and he’s been asked to launch his new book on a cruise ship where he’s the main speaker, next September (2011). 

Link to the cruise:  http://www.eo.travelwithus.com/find_trip/detail.aspx?tour=SL11/M&d=09-28-2011&group=47719

She interviewed me about my photography business (www.TammyLanham.com) and my getting an image published in People Magazine (3.75 million readers).  She also asked us lots of questions about how we like our amazing new community here in New Castle, Kentucky.  Story goes to print tomorrow & we’ll get a paper on Wednesday!  Can’t wait to share the article!