“When you have come to the point of forgiving yourself and accepting Gods forgiveness and complete love for you, you’ll find that each day will become easier to live. As the old ways and memories are being healed and worked through, your joy and hope begin to increase. You will eventually, one day, only be able to faintly recall the times you were in a deep pit of darkness, a slave to your past…The day will come when you can look at those times of hurt, regret, and the “old you” and ask yourself and God….”Ok, what are we going to do with this today?’ “Lord, how might You use my past for the benefit of someone else today?” The day will come when your personal victory will compel you to look outside yourself and urge you to reach out to others who need to hear your story…..”
A portion of the above quote made it into my first book, And Now I Choose.
And this is why I started coaching women who’ve found themselves trapped in their past.
I know victory is attainable!
If there can be generational sin, then there can be generational victories. Oh, yes, ma’am! And, sir.
Being an overcomer doesn’t erase the hardship, but it does empower you to rise above it and defeat its control over you.
We have more fight in us than we believe. Our emotional, physical and spiritual health are worth fighting for. Friends, we were meant for great things. We are not here by accident. You have a specific purpose for this time in history, on this planet, with your people and community. So give it the best of you!
What do you need to be fighting for?
Tam (that’s me): Chat, chat, chat – question, question, laughter.
L: Laughter, chat, chat – answer, answer, question.
L: What did you and your husband do in Nashville?
Tam (still me): Oh, we were pastors.
L: Silence. Body language changes. Chatting stops.
Sunday morning Brent and I volunteered for the first ever Glitter Run here in Hollywood, CA.
This is our life and ministry motto: To better know how to serve your neighbor, you must get to know your neighbor.
We arrived just before 7 a.m. for check-in, instructions, and assignments. We were glitter shooters at the Yellow Tent.
That’s right. Glitter Shooters, y’all. We are winning at life big time! And you know we will be adding that skill to our already unique resume.
We got to our tent on the closed off iconic Hollywood Blvd, at around 8 a.m. That’s when I met L and shared that sweet, but brief chat above.
I wasn’t surprised when she shut me off. And I certainly wasn’t offended. There was a story behind her silence – and I respected that.
The event began shortly after our conversation, and we were all quite busy for the next couple hours shooting yellow glitter at runners <<< That will never get old! We ran out of glitter before the run was over, but that didn’t stop the runners from glittering up. Nope. Those amazing humans dropped to the ground and rolled around in glitter droppings. THIS is how you do life!
Before I knew it, it was time to clean up.
And then it happened. L came up to me, somewhat reserved, then asked if Brent and I were pastors here.
I am not kidding; I had to choke back the tears. I could tell this wasn’t easy for L. Her words were soft, laced with a hint of painful memories.
I explained that we are burdened for those who have experienced hurt, rejection, and pain by loved ones, friends, and the church – and how we want to love, listen and learn from them.
Her next words were, thank you.
L is a late 50’s gay woman who grew up in the church. Her church and her mother disowned her.
L loves God.
L is a Yoga instructor, lover of doing good things, owner of Cocoa the rescue dog, super beautiful, passionate about helping others improve their health.
L loves God.
L and I had some things in common, but the one that connected us on the deepest level is our love for Jesus.
We both shared stories; strangers, choosing vulnerability, proving that at our core – we all just want to be known.
But the fact that she was so hesitant at first, further confirmed why we are here… To love as Jesus loved.
This is a personal promise I made to myself four years ago in regards to friendships; building them and keeping them. It can save a lot of awkward moments and hurt not only for me but others as well.
It has freed me up, too. Instead of worrying what the other is thinking and trying to manufacture something that is destined to fail, I simply read the non-response.
Marriages, friendships, parents/children, business/customer, they all must reciprocate to flourish. Otherwise, there is no mutual understanding of well, anything.
This motto of mine has helped me a great deal with our current church fundraising season. First, as I have stated several times before, I am the universes worst fundraiser. Look, I can’t be great at everything, right? 😉 But I am less afraid to talk about it. It’s an honor to fundraise for such an incredible ministry and mission. We get to do this!
All this to say, I understand why some people don’t respond. I’ve been there. We can’t be a part of everything. We can’t help everyone. And one’s passion might not be yours – and that’s ok. It isn’t personal.
That’s huge – It isn’t personal.
I can walk away from a non-response completely unhurt.
While I know that a big part of what we are doing here depends on donations, I am also aware that our ultimate dependence is on God. You see, last summer I was lamenting before the Lord, and for several minutes God let me gripe, and I griped good – it got kind of colorful, I gotta be honest. Then I stopped. I just ran out of words and as clear as anything I’ve ever heard, these words reverberated in my ears:
Tam? Why are you depending on others to meet your needs?
Y’all, that was not easy for me to write out and share. But it was a defining heart moment. It was the kick in the pants I needed. And because of that beautifully humbling moment, I now depend on God to move in the hearts of those HE WANTS to be a part of this new church mission. I will be faithful to talk about it and make personal asks – but it is up to God to move on our and the church plant’s behalf.
Can you see how freeing that is? It is so good!! Do I have the freak out moments? Ya betcha! But the church foundation is being built; we have not gone without food or shelter, and God is still God, and that is the one thing in life I know will never change and will always remain!
So, if you were an acquaintance of mine that tapped out or a potential donor that doesn’t want to partner or just can’t…
I promise you with all my promises – it is ok. You know why? And I hope you receive this for your own life – God is aware and perfectly capable of moving in people and building what he wants with willing hearts. Period. That’s on him. The pressure is off of you and me; we just need to be faithful and show up.
I’ve done a couple of interviews recently about my story, and a quote from my first book kept coming up in some way or another, either by the interviewer or myself.
I figured there must be a reason for this – and I have been working on being more mindful of those moments that catch my heart’s attention.
Trusting that someone needs these words today, I’m going to unpack this a bit.
“The pains of my past lost their sting when I realized their purpose.”
It is not just a cliche that everything has a purpose. I would have never believed you had you told me 20 years ago that all of my fears, pain, abuse, and dumb choices would be useful someday. Never. Like, never-ever. Instead of considering that possibility I would have held onto all the hurt, trading in any hope of healing for a mediocre fake smile existence. Oh, wait – that IS what I did.
But the day I found purpose in the pain was the day I confessed my abortions to my husband and my closest girlfriends.
That was the defining moment of hope for me. It was then I realized that every detail of my life to that point was setting the stage of purpose.
When I confessed my abortions to Brent he responded with love like I had never known before. I had expected him to respond with anger and possibly taking our child and leaving me… he extended grace and mercy.
When my gal-pals rallied around me and even shared confessions of their own for the first time…
That is when I knew my pain had a purpose!
That was the moment I stepped out of my little Tam box and got hit upside my head with the reality that none of this was about me. It was about using my journey, all of it, the good – the ugly – the pain – the healing to display hope, forgiveness, freedom, acceptance, and God’s redeeming, transforming power.
This is the reason for my pain. And I would relive it over and over again if that meant I could give someone else hope in their pain.
Sister, brother, if this is speaking to you, I want to encourage you with something. God is trusting you with your journey. He sees you fit to endure it. He sees you as an overcomer able to give hope to others. That is an honor, friend.
You may not feel it now, and I understand – but hold tight, lean in, and know that others have been where you are now.
You are not alone.