I am so excited about the upcoming Finally Free Women’s Conference! I’m passionate about helping women live in the true freedom God has for each of them. Why am I passionate about this? Because a few years ago I looked in the mirror and realized that although I had a relationship with Jesus Christ, I was still bound by things like fear, worry and anxiety. I wasn’t living my life to the fullest because I was weighed down by things I was never meant to carry. I also began to see that other women both inside and outside of the church were just as bound as I was, so I decided it was time to share my story.
During the conference I will share my own personal story of freedom, as well as the specific things God has taught me along my freedom journey. We will also have a few of the ladies from our CD, “Finally Free: Stories of Hope and Inspiration” there to share in more detail as well. These are all powerful stories of freedom, hope, redemption and grace. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to hear from them.
We will spend time talking about issues that many of us deal with as women and I’ll share some of the things that have helped me along the way. Most importantly, you will be given an opportunity to actually turn those struggles over to God. Only He can take them. Only He can set us free.
There will be plenty of worship, fun and laughter! My new book “Finally Free: Living Free and Loving Life” will also be available for the first time.
Scripture tells us that Christ came to bind up the brokenhearted and to set the captives free. Freedom is there for the taking, but it’s up to us to choose it each day.
If you’re struggling right now or if you have a sense that God has more for your life, I hope you’ll join me on Saturday, May 21 at Mt. Pleasant Christian Church in Greenwood from 9 am- 4 pm. God has your best in mind and He wants you to be free! Make May 21st your freedom day!
I recently asked my Facebook girlfriends to tell me what issues they felt were at the top of women’s lists today. I got many different answers, but one issue in particular seemed to rise to the top: the issue of self-worth. This is a subject that is very near and dear to my heart because I’ve struggled with issues of self-worth my whole life.
So many of us buy into the lie that we are only as valuable as what we do. We have to be rich, famous, beautiful or extremely intelligent in order to really matter in life. The truth is most of us will never be categorized as any of those things because most of us are pretty average by the world’s standards. None of those categories fit me and if that’s the case, what does that mean for me? It means I’ve got to learn to define myself in God’s terms, not in the world’s terms.
What does God say to us? First of all, He tells us that we are the most important thing in the universe to Him. How do we know that? Because He literally sacrificed His one and only Son for us. If that doesn’t tell us what we are worth to Him, then nothing will. When your spouse, kids, friends, neighbors or co-workers don’t tell you what you mean to them, go to the Scripture to remind yourself just what you mean to God.
1 John 3:16 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” Whenever you start feeling worthless, remind yourself of this most foundational truth. This is how much we are loved. This is how much we are worth to the God of the universe. He made the ultimate sacrifice to prove His love because He didn’t want to live without us. Wow. Stop and really think about that for a moment. Let it sink in. This kind of love and sacrifice should overwhelm us all! Yes, you are loved more than you will ever know! Don’t ever forget it!
I’m sitting at my desk right now thinking about the many decisions we, as human beings, have to make each day. Sometimes I want the power to choose and sometimes I don’t. There are certain decisions in life that are really tough and in those moments I just wish God would send me an email with explicit instructions about what to do. I want to live in His Will. I don’t want to make mistakes. Life would be so much easier if He would just tell me every move to make.
Just as my mind wanders down this path, I’m suddenly halted by another realization. The ability to choose is a GIFT from my Creator. There are times when I get stuck in the details of life and I want to know how specific issues are going to work out, but if I can look at the bigger picture and look at my BIG God, then all of the details fall into place. He gives me the gift of choice. I can choose to walk around in bondage being weighed down by worry, fear and regret or I can choose to walk in His freedom.
God didn’t want His people to be robots programmed to love and trust. No. He wants us, as His creation, to WANT to love Him and trust Him. That’s real love. He wants us to choose to walk in His freedom. He doesn’t want us to simply be programmed for it.
I’m surprised by how many times I think so little of God. I have such low expectations of Him. My small mind forgets that He is all-powerful and He wants what is best for me. If I choose God and His freedom then He will make the path clear before me. I will know what to do in the details because I’ve already made the right choice in one of the foundational issues of life: choosing freedom in Him over bondage.
Choosing your God-ordained freedom ultimately means choosing to let go and give Him control. Choosing to turn your back on worry and despair and live in certainty and hope. We are certain that God is able and we have hope because of His deep love for us. We don’t need an email from Him because He writes to us on the tablets of our hearts through His Holy Spirit. When we keep our eyes on the bigger picture and on our big God, He makes all of the details clear.
Choose freedom, my friends! You won’t be disappointed!
Today is my husband’s birthday, so as a way of celebrating him I thought it would be fun to let you all know some of the things I’ve learned from him through the years. God broke the mold when he made Brian and I’m proud to share my life with him. God has used him to change me forever and here are some of the things, both great and small, that have impacted my life.
Top 10 Things I’ve Learned From BT:
10. The importance of snacks on a long trip (or a short trip). Many of you know that we travel quite a bit with Tabor Ministries, but what you may not know is that we always travel with BT’s snack bin. The first time he brought it out to the car, my eyes bugged out! He covers it all from sweet candy to salty chips and everything in between. He is truly a snacker and his snack bin is legendary!
9. How to throw a good party. BT LOVES parties, especially surprise parties. As a matter of fact, he’s thrown me 4 since I’ve known him, including one for my last birthday which just happened to be a milestone. I love that about him.
8. The importance of knowing the real names of tv and movie characters. That also goes for one-liners from movies, especially comedies. He can tell you the real name of every actor or actress that was in any tv show or movie that he’s seen and his knowledge of movie one-liners is astonishing. Why is that important? Because you never know when you will need that kind of vital information. Does anyone know who Fred Gwynne is? BT does!
7. How to be a true “student of human moves.” Many of you may not know this, but BT does great impersonations. He WILL NOT…I repeat, He WILL NOT do them on demand, so don’t even ask. I’ll probably get in trouble for even mentioning this one, but it’s one of the funniest things he does. He gets a kick out of studying people and figuring out what makes them tick. He does a great impersonation of my dad!
6. How to make a GREAT fried bologna sandwich. I had never had the privilege of having one before I met Brian. Those sandwiches have changed my life! 🙂
5. How to live on “Tabor Time.” If you’ve been invited to a party and the party begins at 7 pm you may think you will be on time of you arrive promptly at 7, but you would be wrong. You need to arrive at 6:45 pm to be on time according to “Tabor Time.” “On time” is code for “15 minutes early.” 🙂
4. How to assign a good nickname. If you are a male and you are in BT’s life on a regular basis, chances are he has a nickname for you. It’s one of his specialties and he has quite a gift in this area. There’s TJ, Judy, Frenchie, Hoss, the Hammer, the Brazilian Express, and Nugget… just to name a few. Each name is assigned with much love and great thought.
3. The importance of remembering that “everything comes into the light.” I’m a person that likes things to be fair. I also like to voice the truth in someone’s defense when I feel something wrong has occurred. I don’t have much patience in this area. At times that works, but at other times it doesn’t. Brian is very quick to remind me that the truth will always eventually come out. EVERYTHING comes into the light in due time.
2. How to worship God from the depths of my heart with passion. I grew up in the Lutheran denomination and Brian grew up in the Assemblies of God. Need I say more? Worship was never a big part of my life until I met Brian. When we started dating I was listening to Bon Jovi (which I still love) while he was listening to Praise and Worship CDs (or cassettes). He opened my eyes to an area I knew nothing about. He has taught me so much about how to pour my heart and soul out to God not only through music, but also in the dailiness of my life. I’m forever grateful for the imprint he has made on my life in this area.
1. Most importantly, I’ve learned how to love by being loved by him. Brian takes his role as my husband very seriously. He always says he wants our marriage to flourish, not just survive and puts actions behind those words. He’s constantly thinking about what he can do to enhance my life and our lives together. He shows me his love in countless ways each day and also tells me on a regular basis what I mean to him. He has a quiet strength and on many occasions he has been my emotional rock – the steady, consistent one that I can count on. He’s also not afraid to show his emotional side and the depth of his heart overwhelms me at times. He has taught me how to love, by loving me well.
These are just a few of the reasons I love Brian Tabor. He is truly my gift.
Happy Birthday, Sweetie! I love you with all my heart!
We are getting ready to celebrate the birthday of our great country this weekend and because of that, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about freedom and liberty recently. I truly love this country and I take great pride in the fact that I’m an American. When I stop to think about the generations before us and all they went through to secure our freedom, it’s overwhelming. I only hope if I had been living back then, that I would have been willing to make the same sacrifices they made for us. I’m so thankful to live in a country that places such a high value on freedom.
While I’m grateful for the freedom this country offers me, I’m even more grateful and overwhelmed by the freedom my Savior offers me. There are many people walking the streets of this free country, bound. There are also many people roaming the hallways of the churches in this free country, bound. Most don’t even know they have chains binding them. They’re bound by addiction, depression, guilt, money, a feeling of worthlessness and the list goes on and on. While our country offers certain freedoms and rights for us as human beings on this earth, Christ offers true freedom for our minds, hearts and souls that will not only be experienced here on earth, but for all of eternity. One of my favorite scriptures is Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” I want to live in all of the freedom Christ has for me and I want to encourage my neighbors and friends to do the same. God has so much more for all of us and I want to do my part in helping others attain all that God has for them.
Let’s remember to be thankful for our freedom and be conscious of doing what we can to help spread that freedom. “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Nelson Mandela
It’s Holy Week and I find myself feeling a bit overwhelmed at all this week represents. Where would we be without Christ’s great act of love and mercy on the cross?
Brian and I have a tradition. Every year around Good Friday we watch “The Passion of the Christ” movie. It has proven to be such a great reminder of what Christ endured for us and it jolts us out of our complacency. As ridiculous as it sounds there are times when the Passion story has become way too familiar to me and I’m dangerously close to becoming numb to it. This movie cuts right to my heart and causes me to feel again. And make no mistake, when it comes to Christ’s act on the cross; we all NEED to feel something about it.
So much of the movie stirs my heart, but perhaps the scene that has impacted me the most is when Christ is carrying His cross through the streets and his mother, Mary, is trying to catch-up to her son to see him face to face one more time. She finally reaches Him as he is struggling with the cross and He falls to the ground. He is bloody from the brutal torture He has already experienced. Their faces meet and He looks into His mother’s tear-stained eyes and says, “See mother, I make all things new.” In my opinion it’s one of the most powerful moments in the entire movie. I weep every time I see it. I am overwhelmed when I think about what it took to make me new. Jesus experienced such brutality for me…in my place. That’s what it took to make me new. Oh, the price He paid. It brings me to my knees with a strange mixture of sorrow and gratitude.
I recorded a song a few years ago written by Janet Paschal called, THE BODY AND BLOOD. Part of the lyric says:
This is my body broken for you.
For all you’ve been and all you’ve been through.
This is my blood and when you’ve reached the end
I offer you again the body and blood.
For all you’ve been and all you’ve been through...I’ve sung that line hundreds of times and I still get choked up. This song helps to remind me of just how serious my sinful nature is. Christ died not just because of the things I’ve done, but also because of everything I’ve been…a sinful human being. Oh how He loves us!
I hope you will take some time during the next few days to really contemplate what Christ did for you on that cross more than 2,000 years ago. When you spend time at the foot of the cross, it makes the celebration of Easter so much sweeter. Thank God the story doesn’t end at the cross. It ends with an empty tomb and our risen Savior who is alive and well and sitting at the right hand of the Father! Wow! Thank you, Jesus, for doing whatever it took to make us new!
It’s hard to believe Christmas is almost here and we will be saying goodbye to 2009. I must admit Christmas is my favorite season of the year. As my time, money and mind are all pulled in many different directions during this magical month, I must also admit that I need to make a concerted effort to keep my focus on the only thing that really matters. Christmas is so much more than just a season of celebrating and gift giving. Christmas….Christ coming to earth…..changed EVERYTHING!
Why did He come? I know that question sounds pretty elementary to any of us that have grown up in the church. We feel we already know the answer to that question. It’s second nature to us. He came to die so that we might be saved. Hallelujah! I am forever grateful, humbled and overwhelmed by that fact. I would have no hope without Christ coming to earth, putting on flesh, taking my place on the cross and rising after 3 days conquering sin and death. That kind of love pushes me to my knees with gratitude. Wow! What He did for you and for me is almost more than I can comprehend.
At times I find myself tempted to stop right there when answering the question of “Why He Came?” It’s very easy to say that is the end of it. But God has been teaching me something as I’ve been going into churches of all denominations all across the country these last 8 years. If I stop there, I’m only partially answering that question.
Isaiah 61:1 says, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” Isaiah is prophesying about Christ in this verse. Yes, Christ’s death and resurrection sets us free from sin and death, but that’s only part of the story. He came to set us free from the things that continue to bind us even after we have accepted His salvation!
If there is one thing I’ve been learning, it’s that Christians can be some of the most bound people walking the face of the earth. I know what I’m talking about. I, myself, lived a very bound life for many years and didn’t even know it. I can still remember the moment when I realized I was not living in the freedom God had for me. Christ NEVER meant for His children to live a bound life. He came so that we would have life and have it to the full and that doesn’t just mean after we leave this world. That promise is for us here and now!
Even though we are in the midst of decorating, buying gifts, receiving gifts, attending parties, working on Christmas church productions and mailing out Christmas cards declaring this “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” many of us are walking around bound. Oh sure, we’ll tell everyone we’re fine because that is what we as human beings do, especially around the holidays.
The truth is many of us are feeling deep loneliness, sadness and despair. Some are wondering how they’re going to pay for everything this year when they’ve lost their jobs, while others are wondering how they’ll make it through the holidays for the first time without precious loved ones who have already been called to Heaven. Still others are trying to figure out how they’ll be able to stand in the same room with a family member who hurt them deeply this past year.
This is a messy, painful world, but Christ came to bind up our broken hearts and to set us free! He came to show us how to forgive. He came to heal the wounds of our hearts. He came as a tangible way of proving that He can be trusted in ALL circumstances, even when we have no idea what is happening around us. He came to give us the power to turn away from addictions, fear, bitterness, worry, anxiety, pride, doubt and despair while we’re walking on this earth. This freedom is ours for the taking right now. We don’t have to wait for it. It’s our choice to either take advantage of that freedom or to continue to walk around being weighed down by heavy chains we were never meant to carry. Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yolk of slavery.” We are not victims, we are victors through Christ and it all started by Him coming to earth as a baby!
My prayer for all of you this Christmas is that you will be able to focus on what really matters. If your heart is hurting, allow Christ to put His healing balm on your wounds. If you are struggling to forgive, allow Him to teach you, once again, how to forgive as He has forgiven each of us. If your mind is consumed with worry and doubt allow His peace to wash over you. Whatever your chains, release them and turn them over to that precious Baby in the manger who came to make ALL things new and to set the captives free!
Have you ever asked God to surprise you with a blessing? I read a passage from a devotional book last week that challenged me to do just that. I must admit the thought had never occurred to me, so I decided to try it. That particular morning I was really struggling with some different issues and unanswered questions. I began to feel doubt and fear creep into my heart and mind. Unfortunately I’m very familiar with both foes, but instead of dwelling on those things I decided to do what the devotional had suggested, so I started to pray for God to surprise me with a blessing. I didn’t ask for anything in greater detail than that. I asked Him to bless me in any way He wanted, but to make sure I was surprised by it. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I just tried to keep my eyes open to make sure I wouldn’t miss it. I didn’t know how long it would take or what it would look like, but I knew my God was capable of delivering and deliver He did.
That very night at an event where we were scheduled to sing I got my first surprise blessing. The second came on Sunday morning after a concert we did in Ohio. I was totally shocked both times. I had only asked for one and He gave two! Isn’t that just like our God?
I won’t go into detail about what the blessings were because the details aren’t important. Besides, blessings look different to different people. The important thing is that God knew what I needed and He knew what would bless me and sure enough when both events occurred I knew they were straight from Heaven. I will say this, I never saw them coming and was TOTALLY shocked on both occasions.
I want to challenge you to try the same thing. We are God’s children and He celebrates us. He wants to pour out His blessings on us. Ask Him sincerely from your heart to surprise you and see what happens!
Two weeks ago my 83 year-old grandmother accepted Christ as her Savior! I have to tell you that my family has been praying for this for years. She recently had a stroke and although she is continuing to improve, she still can’t walk. She’s currently going through rehab to regain her mobility. While she was in the nursing home receiving her rehabilitation, my mom had the privilege of leading her own mother to Christ right there in her room. I am still astonished. Wow! What a God we serve! No one is ever too old to start the most important relationship of their lives. I don’t know how long my grandmother will be living here on this earth, but it gives me great peace to know where she’ll be living for eternity.
Have you ever prayed for something for years? Have you ever thought about giving up? Don’t. Don’t ever give up. God is listening and He is working even when we can’t see it. Psalm 121 tells us He never slumbers or sleeps. He is always at work and I believe He takes great joy in surprising His children with answered prayers when they least expect it.
What have you been praying for?