Join the challenge!

A few how-to’s and explanations on how to survive a spend-fast. Hope you’ll join me for this February’s Spend Fast Challenge!

This challenge will force you to clean out and use up what you already have and discover time and money you didn’t know you had. Join the adventure!

First: Ask to join the Facebook group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1215035715260083/

Second: Visit the website and sign up for blog notifications:
https://tammylanhamimagesblog.wordpress.com/february-spend-fast-challenge/

up-for-the-challenge

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Best Detergent Recipe EVER!

laundryI have been making my own laundry detergent for over four years, now and am VERY happy with the results. However, my whites started not looking quite as white.  So I’ve been playing with detergent recipes to get a good combination that seems to work and here it is:

2 bars ivory soap, shredded (a cheese shredder works best)

2 cups washing powder (not baking powder, Arm & Hammer Washing Powder is at Walmart and Kroger on the detergent aisle)

2 boxes baking soda

1/2 box Borax

1 box Purex Powdered Bleach

2 cups of Oxi-Clean for extra icky laundry

Use 1 small scoop (about 1″ deep, 1″ around) for regular loads, a heaping scoop for heavy stained loads.  I have made many batches of this recipe and each batch makes just under 3 gallons and lasts about 8 months.  I do 4-6 loads of laundry per week for my family of 4.  I haven’t even used half of the washing powder, borax or Oxi-Clean, yet.  MUCH cheaper than buying Tide (or even the cheap store brand stuff)…

headshot 2Tammy Lanham uses her passions for writing, speaking, and photography to entertain and encourage moms, marriages, and entrepreneurs.  She homeschools.  She volunteers.  She’s an entrepreneur.  She sleeps – sometimes.  Oh, and she eats chocolate.

Tammy is married to Tommy Lanham – a coach, leadership training expert, instructor, motivator, and a believer in Jesus whose mission is to equip and empower entrepreneurs, leaders, and dreamers to climb to their untapped potential.

Visit Tammy’s website:  www.TammyLanham.com 
Visit Tommy’s website:     www.TommyLanham.com  

 

 

 

Thank You For Noticing!

crying.jpgI went to the gym today and a sweet friend of mine whom I haven’t seen in a couple of months stopped me and told me she could see where I had lost weight.
I almost cried. I love her.
You see, I haven’t lost a lot of weight. I’ve lost 19 pounds. And yes, that is a lot to some but I have 71 pounds to lose!  I’ve been working my butt off for 4 months, AND I lost 17 pounds the first month.
Three months of only losing 2 pounds makes me a little sick to my stomach…. and a tiny bit dead inside.
Today’s encouragement gave me the umph I needed to keep going….
Stop and encourage someone today – whether it’s losing weight, getting fit, taking care of their kids, or just rocking day to day life with a smile on their face, somebody may need to hear that you noticed.

headshot 2Tammy Lanham uses her passions for writing, speaking, and photography to entertain and encourage moms, marriages, and entrepreneurs.  She homeschools.  She volunteers.  She’s an entrepreneur.  She sleeps – sometimes.  Oh, and she eats chocolate.

Tammy is married to Tommy Lanham – a coach, leadership training expert, instructor, motivator, and a believer in Jesus whose mission is to equip and empower entrepreneurs, leaders, and dreamers to climb to their untapped potential.

Visit Tammy’s website:  www.TammyLanham.com 
Visit Tommy’s website:     www.TommyLanham.com  

Power of a Wise Choice; 3 Case Studies

 

cancer surgery    Friends 2    Friends 3

 

Some of the most important friends in my world have had a bad week.  They may not know it but I have learned from them.

PAGE-DIVIDER

tongue cancerFriend #1 – Chesi has tongue cancer, that’s right on her dad-gum tongue! Who has ever heard of that?!?  She had part of her tongue removed during surgery last week.  She’s young, has two young boys at home and she’s active in her community.  She could have easily let a cancer diagnosis cripple her.  But you know what?  She hasn’t. She’s fighting.  She’s a tough little booger!

Where’s Chesi’s choice?  Her reality is cancer.  There’s no choice there.  It’s what life has dealt her.  Her choice is her mindset.  I watched her be rolled back into surgery with tears in her eyes but a smile on her face as she waved to us.  This woman is making a choice to live, to stay positive and deal with her rotten reality named cancer.

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marriageFriends whose marriage is in trouble – It’s an awful situation. They both feel trapped.  They have resolved to live in a toxic life of misery.  They have options. But neither wants to see them because making any choices may be too painful.  Staying in the marriage may be a lifelong toxic choice at this point and getting out of the marriage may have it’s own lifelong toxic consequences.

Sometimes, there are no good options.  Sometimes choices suck.  But they are still there, however painful they may be.  Not making a choice can be just as painful as making one.

PAGE-DIVIDER

My frobbery.pngriend, Emma, could be really bitter about the thief that stole over $1000 worth of fireworks from her business and then tried to run over her in the parking lot.

But when the news showed up and the cameras were in her face, Emma gave thanks and encouraging words of appreciation to the neighbors and bystanders that offered their help when she could have easily spewed hatred and anger towards the thief.
PAGE-DIVIDER

Chesi, you are teaching me to keep a positive mindset and not let the realities of life get me down.  You are an inspiration.

My couple friends – you have taught me that I always have a choice. Even if the options suck, I am never trapped because there are always options. But not making a choice can be worse than making a terrible one.

Emma, you have taught me that I can choose my focus.  I can choose to be thankful and encouraging, even in a bad situation.  Thank you for that reminder.

3 lessons:
I can choose my mindset.  I can choose my focus.  There are always choices…  

 

headshot 2

Tammy Lanham uses her passions for writing, speaking and photography to entertain and encourage moms, marriages, and entrepreneurs.  She homeschools.  She volunteers.  She’s an entrepreneur.  She sleeps – sometimes.  Oh, and she eats chocolate.

Tammy is married to Tommy Lanham – a coach, leadership training expert, instructor, motivator, and a believer in Jesus. He is an experienced, trusted and highly enthusiastic speaker who communicates life changing truths in an entertaining way.

Visit Tammy’s website:  www.TammyLanham.com 
Visit Tommy’s website:     www.TommyLanham.com  

 

 

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!

 
 

 

Our New Homeschool Room

There are so very many differing ideas behind homeschooling and how (or if) to set up school in your home.  A lot of people don’t set aside any particular space for it and some have immaculate setups very similar to a traditional classroom setting.  Just look on Pinterest and you will find a plethora of ideas.  I’m organized but not all that creative so you’re not going to find fancy charts and a bunch of “Pinterest-y” things in our classroom but this may give you an idea of how we do it.  It works best for us to have a learning space separate from our living area.  We are renting right now so we have little to no wiggle room on how to decorate the basement (thus the 1/2 paneling on the walls and no carpet) – but with some throw rugs and creative placement, I have made quite a little pleasant learning area.

20150827_130411
                                Our school in the basement…..

 

 

 

20150827_130631
                   Math Area
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            Reader books and                    Dylan’s work box system
20150827_130601
Social Sciences and Geography
20150827_130519
Curriculum / Teacher Shelf         Appolonya’s work boxes
20150827_130524
               Teacher Area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20150827_130549
           Language Area
20150827_130503
         Art / Music Area
20150827_130653
              Science Area

Spending Fast Update

I’ve been gathering my notes on our spending fast last February. If you are thinking of doing one of these, here are a few tips we learned…

First and foremost – AND MOST IMPORTANT…….

1. Stock up on toilet paper!! – You can “make do” with just about anything else in your home but this is one that you simply cannot substitute. Buy more than you think you could possibly need.  Then add one more package.

2. I went the last night of January and purchased my fresh foods like spinach, bananas, apples, kiwi, oranges, pears, etc. Spinach and bananas only last about a week (you can also freeze the ripe bananas) but apples, kiwi, oranges can last longer especially if kept in the fridge and pears can last a little longer if you buy them not entirely ripe.

3. Meal plans were a must for us. I wrote out all 4 weeks of menus while looking through my freezer and pantry. If I had frozen hot dogs, I knew I would need to buy a package of buns.  A great alternative to bread and buns are tortillas – they last much longer before going “stale” or growing green mold and can be used as buns, taco wraps, peanut butter roll ups or just plain sandwiches. It was important to buy the things I would need to use up the stuff in the fridge / freezer / pantry (i.e. buns for the hot dogs, etc.).

4. We also didn’t go to restaurants or out to eat the whole month either so it was important for us to keep snacks and bottled waters with us at all times. We looked at our calendars and double checked for any events that would call for pot luck meals or any special spending situation (birthday party invites, etc.) that would cause us to spend extra money and took steps to resolve or avoid it being an issue.

5.  We didn’t change our habits when it comes to milk.  We often drink almond milk which has a shelf life of up to a month.  We also buy raw cows’ milk from a local farmer.  We drank the cows’ milk the first week, then drank almond the rest of the month.

All in all, we did pretty good. We are going to be doing the same thing again next February. Let me know how yours spending fast goes!  Be sure to leave comments and recommendations for the rest of us!

Stay tuned to see how this project goes…..

Click on “Follow This Blog” over to your top left to get a notice when the next blog comes out!

Tammy Lanham

 

Tammy Lanham is the wife of That Preacher Tommy Lanham, Momma to That cute little artist, Appolonya and that adorable engineer, Dylan.  She homeschools them both.  In her free time, she….. wait – she has no free time…  nevermind….

Thanks for reading!

State Fair Homeschool BINGO

I’ve had a lot of people inquire about our homeschooling.  We always start school the first Monday of the Kentucky State Fair.  We make it a field trip fun day to kick off our school year.  Each child has their own bag of snacks, a water bottle and a BINGO sheet I made to challenge them to look for new and exciting (as well as some old favorite) displays at the fair.  I decided to upload a copy if anyone is interested!  Enjoy!kystatefair

My Spending Fast – The Lesson of the 4 Old Brushes

nospendingSo I’ve decided to expand our yearly February “no grocery store” commitment.  This year I thought about expanding it to “no restaurants.”  My only 2 exceptions were gasoline and whatever Valentine’s Day plans my husband makes.  The more I thought about it and looked around me at our first world home crammed full of first world “necessities” I became increasingly aware of my “first world spoiled-ness” (Is that even a word?) and was convinced we need to simplify our lives.
tpaper
So, after my “first world” epiphany, I began to plan.  I wrote out a whole month of meal plans carefully planning fresh foods for early in the month and frozen and canned goods for later in the month.  I purchased our typical budget ($400/mo.) worth of food on January 30th.  It took 3 people to roll the carts out and stuff all those groceries into our van!  The only thing I made SURE we had an abundant excess of was toilet paper.  ‘Cause Lord knows, we don’t need to be running out of toilet paper in this house.

We’ve eaten good this first week of the fast.  We had fresh spinach all week, fresh apples, bananas (they were gone by Tuesday), grapes, blueberries and many other goodies.  We ate these fresh produce items first knowing they would spoil quickest.  Confession time:  I will admit we had one slip-up.  We had an incident where we had ordered lunch at an organization a few months ago and they couldn’t find our payment.  We were there, it was lunch and didn’t have time to run home to pick up anything.  So we went to Wendy’s and let the kids eat from the value menu… (I told them they’d better be glad Mommy was being flexible)…. while I sat and drank my free Wendy’s water.  Lesson learned:  From now on, we take a bag of snacks and bottled water with us wherever we go, at least in the month of February.

So, I’ve already spent our budget this month, so how is this saving us money??  My hope is that it will make me think about what we DO have and make use of it instead of me joining in our culture’s “throw it away or buy a new one” mentality.  My only example thus far is this….. our children needed paint brushes for a canvas painting art class they just began taking.  I somehow missed the memo that they needed to bring their own brushes.  I thought the class fee would cover brushes.  In the past, I would have run out and purchased them both their own set of new br1brushes (along with at least $50+ of “necessary” stuff I didn’t know I “needed” until I got to the store).  But because of this spending fast, I asked my daughter to go through all of her paint supplies to see what she could find.  Did she find a whole package of brand new brushes?  Nope!  She dug like she was digging for a golden treasure.  (Did I mention this also accomplished a goal of cleaning up her  art area??)  She squealed when she found 4 used, crusted up old paint brushes.  We washed them up, put them in her backpack and took them to class with her.  She leaves them in class for when her brother goes in right after her and he uses them.  They are careful not to lose them because they are the only ones we own.  Since the brushes cost about $6 per package, I think I’ve saved around $12.  Whoa – that’ll surely make this whole “spending fast” thing worth it, right???

(Do you hear the intended sarcasm??  Go ahead, read it again with the sarcasm….)  Whoa – that’ll surely make this whole “spending fast” thing worth it, right???  BUT a second thought crosses my mind…. I didn’t just save $12.  I saved $62+!!  $12 for brushes and $50 of “needed” junk.  Oh and did I mention…. it taught my children to be happy and thankful for what they do have, to share what they have and to take care of their things….

It taught my children to be thankful for 4 old brushes.  brushes

There are lots of people have have 30 day no-spending challenges or spending fasts, etc.  Google them and maybe they have some good ideas that will inspire you!  Wanna hear the next step in my February project?  My goal is to make $500 extra this month by selling odds and ends using Facebook yard sales and eBay so we can increase our emergency fund……

Stay tuned to see how this project goes…..

Click on “Follow This Blog” over to your left to get a notice when the next blog comes out!

Tammy LanhamTammy Lanham is the wife of That Preacher Tommy Lanham, Momma to That cute little artist, Appolonya and that adorable engineer, Dylan.  She homeschools them both.  In her free time, she….. wait – she has no free time…  nevermind.

Thanks for reading!

God Will Not Send Anyone To Hell / Spiritual Rape

Now I’m getting on shaky ground, right?  I mean, to read my posts about healthy cooking, how to use cast iron, funny things my husband has done….. that’s good stuff right there.  But now I bring up God.  And Hell.   Careful Preacher’s Wife, this could get uncomfortable!

heaven-and-hellFirst, let’s discuss that guy (or girl) in high school.  You know, the one who never looked you square in the eyes, followed you around (at a distance of course) and showed up everywhere you were?  Let’s name him/her Creeper.  You knew Creeper had a crush on you.  Creeper would stare at you from across the room.  Creeper would eventually get up the nerve to talk to you or even ask you out.  You weren’t interested so you said “No.”  Then Creeper would call you.  Or these days, text you.  Creeper might even write you notes.  The words “I’m not interested”  really meant nothing.  Creeper stalked you on social media.  You wanted Creeper to leave you alone.  You finally say “Get away from me!” slightly worried you’ll hurt Creepers feelings but enough is enough, right?  Geesh!  Leave me alone!

Now let’s shift gears here.  Let’s shift to thinking about God.  Keep reading – it all comes together in just a minute.  From the beginning, God has been pursuing you.  God has a desire for you to turn to Him – when things are good and when the road is rocky….  Heck, when the road turns into a cliff and you’re barely hanging on!  He desires you.  Matthew 11:28 says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  He wants to hear from you – even though he’s omniscient (all knowing, having complete understanding).  If you have kids, think about it this way.  Don’t you know when your child is hurting?  Don’t you know when they are upset about something or someone?  I don’t know about you, but I love it when my child comes to me and confides in me.  Whether she asks for advice or not, I love it when she opens up to me and shares with me even though I already know what is bothering her.  I love putting my arms around her and comforting her.  God is the same way – He loves it when we come to Him.  His greatest desire is for us to want to be with Him.  He wants to give us rest.

Free choiceAlright, now let’s combine our two areas of discussion here.  Creepers and God.  And no, I’m not suggesting that God is a Creeper for goodness sakes!  Stick with me here folks!  God desires us.  He wants us.  But if you spend your whole life treating him like a Creeper telling Him “I’m not interested” then guess what?  He respects your free will.  He won’t force anything on you.  Even Heaven.  If you spend your life avoiding God, why in the world would He force you to go to Heaven where you will spend eternity with Him?  He will brokenheartedly allow you to choose to spend eternity away from Him in Hell.  He doesn’t send you there.  He wants you to choose Him.  But if He forces Himself on you, it’s no longer free will.  It’s spiritual rape.

Deuteronomy 31:8 says “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  He’s with you.  So no matter how far you’ve run from Him or how much you’ve done to push him away, He’s there.  Quietly waiting for you to turn to Him.  Doesn’t matter who you’ve slept with, how much you had to drink last night, how high you may be right now reading this.  He loves you.  Doesn’t matter if you go to church every Sunday, serve in soup kitchens or give loads of money to charity.  He loves you.  You can’t get away from His love.  But He will not force it on you.  You have to choose it.

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Tammy Lanham Tammy Lanham is the wife of That Preacher Tommy Lanham, Momma to That cute little artist, Appolonya and that adorable engineer, Dylan.  She homeschools them both.  She is also the owner of Tammy Lanham Images.  In her free time, she….. wait – she has no free time…  nevermind.

Thanks for reading!