will you join the replacement army?

It is more than Christmas..to me..this year.  It has been about listening.  And seeing.  Nurturing my trust in God.

He is always working.  always.  When I can move past myself.  My own pain.  Circumstances busyness and pray to have eyes to see and ears to hear.

Who knew a stove can cause heaven and earth to meet?

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I saw her walk in.  Long unkept hair not real clean, clothes more than likely from the salvation army and she didn’t care if they were a brand name or not.  Honestly, she looked a little strung out…these were my honest first thoughts.  She was in conversation with the employee and was noticeably upset and began to cry.  I heard the word husband and soon after an older man walked in…looking much the same.

I completed my transaction without giving them another thought.  I was there picking up a hutch for House of Belonging.   I was standing on the outside of the furniture area and I looked to my right and there she was again.  Sitting on a couch with an employee rubbing her back while she sobbed.

Way out of character for me I tapped the employee on the shoulder and asked her..”what does she need?”  She said a gas stove.  Someone had given her 125 dollars to buy one that was sold.  They didn’t have anymore gas stoves at this particular store.  My heart skipped beats.. I swear!  You know that old gas stove we had?  Well – it was old and gross but it cooked and baked like a charm.  And we were getting ready to move the electric one upstairs.  After making a quick call to Nana to see if she’d mind if we gave the old gas stove away..I got the OK!

an Instagram of our new (used) stove that sits atop freshly primed and cleaned and is now mice free!

I went over to her and touched her shoulder…would you like a free gas stove?  She couldn’t speak.  Tears welled in my eyes and I couldn’t contain them.  She began telling the lady on the phone someone just gave her a free stove and she would give the check back to her.  The lady on the phone told her no to go buy christmas presents and some food.  This precious heart…who’s name is Cindy I later found out just kept saying….I just gave my heart to Jesus and He is blessing me…

Long story short.  They followed us home and we helped them load it and she just kept thanking us.  She has been abused so many times.  She wants to be able to make it on her own.  I know this feeling.  She loves to bake and wanted to bake me a pie:)  She has four children.  She has luekemia.  She looked a mess but you know what?

that day I saw with my naked eye God working.  With no strings.  No expectations.  I didn’t even say Jesus loves you and all that religious stuff.  She knew.  I knew.  I prayed that just this little bit of love would lay one brick in her new foundation.  Her new life.  And someday she would look back and really see God was always right there.  

The stove encounter has left me different.  More ready to walk on the edge with God.  It showed me how quick I can judge.  I have no idea what circumstances people have come from or are going through.

Later on my son gave me a hug and asked what that smell was?  At first I didn’t know…and then…it was her smell.

To be able to have eyes to see past the smells, the clothes and the messy pain that people are in.  That is what I want all year…this 2012.  To see God working everywhere in the everyday and that I would be available to do whatever He asks.  Even if people think I’m weird or don’t understand.

God is SO MUCH BIGGER than we can even imagine.  His plans and dreams for us are MUCH MORE than we can imagine and I so often put Him in a box.

Please don’t think me crazy here but I truly believe God is raising up a replacement army within the world wide church.  While I respect and love the church building and the people in them so often they are just treadmills that Christians get on and stay way to busy “doing” and miss God all together.

I long to be out in the trenches where real people are hurting and most likely won’t ever enter a chruch building.  But to show love without strings, a track, or a “do you know Jesus” speech.

JUST LOVE

just love

and may that smell always remind me of where I could be but for God’s grace.

I will be back after Christmas.  I pray for each of you that this year be the year where you KNOW His LOVE for you.  He loves you for ALL of who you are…messy and all.  HE NEVER leaves you.  NEVER!  He is right there and may you ask each day for eyes to see it.  I love you and I wish you a beautyFULL CHRISTmas.  There are no have’s and have not’s in God’s economy.  His GIFT is FREE!  and for that I can be grateful and find peace.

xotiff

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marlece - OH MY GOSH!!! THis has got to be the best Christmas story ever. I love that it made you have more confidence in stepping out. And this story? Makes me have more confidence….I love this story, and this? Is what Christmas is ALLLLLLL about. You are awesome girl, Way. To. Go!!!

Jessica - I'm in tears here. Thank you for sharing this – its so easy not to see what people are struggling with and make assumptions based on what we see.

Merry Christmas to you – I know you will be thinking of this woman on Christmas day, knowing she'll be able to give her a Christmas meal because god put you in the right place and have you the courage to step out of your comfort zone and ask what she needed.

sheri - awesome post tiffini! merry christmas to you and your family. so glad our paths have crossed. God bless you BIG :)

LLH Designs - You're a beautiful soul, Tiff. I'm so eager to catch up on more of your heart, but for today, this post is a gift. I love the way the heart of God is shining through you. And I love His provision…with no strings attached!

love and Christmas joy to you,

Linsey

Tara Lowry - Francis of Assisi said, "Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary use words."

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.

So glad you were able to give that stove away to someone who really needs it.

praying for Cindy tonight and thanking God tonight that you encountered his work in someone else's life…He's so good like that. What a wonderful new year this will be for you.

Robyn Q - This IS the Christmas story in real time. I love you! I love so much of what you shared in here. Yes, the trenches. Yes, to the naked eye seeing God in everything. Yes, yes yes! No strings, no expectations (it kills relationship), and enough with the religious stuff. Bring on the LOVE of an God who is crazy about each and every soul.

Your words are a gift. I could just picture this whole thing. And my heart beats with feeding people. The thought of that precious lady being able to bake (a pie! my mission to bring back the pie!)and give in her own way is God God GOD!! Beautiful.

Be blessed my warrior friend!

sarita - perfect post….we sometimes just need to listen with our ears and our heart. thank you for the reminder.

Eileen - Tiffini, this story is beautiful. This story is Christmas. Love it. And thanks so much for sharing. Love you. Love your heart. Hope you have a beautiful and peace-filled Christmas!!

Jerri C. - Amen! Excuse my selfishness, but this is exactly the type of story I needed today. While walking in the city of Chicago the other day, I was reminded where one could be but with God's grace. Your work in trenches has begun. God bless & Merry Christmas.

diana trautwein - Dearest Tiffini – Of all the remarkable things you have shared in this space this past year, this one tops them all. I mean, really, really, really. The work that God has been doing in you is spectacular and beautiful to behold. And here is the richest evidence of that: you were able to step past your own boundary-making judgments (which we ALL have and use every day!) and reach out and help, in a tactile, tangible way another woman in trouble. WOW. Wow. Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful story and thanks so much for being tuned finely enough to the work of the Spirit to see, to listen, to think, to help. God is amazing and God is doing amazing things in you. May your Christmas be blessed in every way possible!

Pam Ballard - I was so touched about the stove! It teared me up.. We all have a family member or friend going through tough times I am sure.. I try to always be kind and not judge as someday it could be me on that street corner. God is good! I know they were truly blessed by your family. Blessings this Christmas..

Kim - That is such a beautiful story, Tiffini. God certainly placed you in the right place at the right time. May you and your family enjoy the holiday together tomorrow. Merry Christmas!

Paula - Sweet Tif,

You are certainly in the middle of God's blessings! For you and for them!!

Your heart is beautiful and reflects the true meaning of Christmas.

You have put feet to words and God is using you in a powerful way.

Merry Christmas sweet friend and thank you for being a usable vessel.

joanne nixon - what a beautiful story you have shared ! i wish you love everyday of your life…pass it on…

kendra - I just cried through this. I agree with you. He is building His army with the "unlikely" warriors, and our only weapon is the love you speak of. His love. Thank you for your obedience and letting God show you what He sees.

<3 Kendra

Stacey - The best post I've read all year! I'm so glad you shared this. It really warmed my heart today. :)

Sherry - The blessings we are able to give are always so much richer than the blessings we receive. Having an open heart and an open mind allows us to be conduits…to live from within our hearts. A beautiful story and a reminder to us all.

Jenn - All I can say is WOW! Every time I read your blog it touches me. Thank you for your loving and generous spirit! And God bless you.

Shannon - Lovely post. Thanks for sharing this & reminding us what "it" really is about.

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