wilderness memoirs : real change begins on the inside

as i wake up…drink my cup of coffee and uncurl myself into abba’s pretense  i hear the the muffled whirring of life outside my window tempting me to join while my thoughts struggle to collect themselves and settle down into being present with God

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    as i am dating my daily journal entry may 7, 2014 there has been a shift on my insides i am not the same..something has happened..i am changing.  i can feel it i am trying to put my finger on it i am starting a new beth moore study .. daughters of the day so i’m reading through the lesson and this paragraph STOP girl!!  whoa… tidbit about me: i am a highlighter and underliner girl..i write all over my books and my bible this is what beth said this is where we begin.  your circumstances are not coincidental in your journey.  God’s timing is impeccable. we have before us real words for real crisis, real medical diagnosis, real afflictions, real relationships, real doubts, real concerns, and real fears. REAL .. a word i fight hard for in days when everything is fake and photoshopped..down to the very food we eat REAL is a word i want to be..you too? i am sure it is more than just this..it is God’s perfect timing..people and places to be in the right time..a surrendered heart..a readiness to be all in i had to take back my life dissect it to get to the core of my beliefs that had me in the rut of life’s road from which i could not get myself out my age old questions has always been searching for someone to pattern my life after i look high and low and under every nook and cranny another question i have always asked is God is HOW do i DO bible verses so that they change me? i have sat in churchs a bazillion times and wept over awesome sermons preached by charismatic preachers and i have also been bored out of my brain wishing it would hurry and be over i’ve said before i have read every self help book known to man i have tons of head knowledge bottom line we must understand HOW to apply God’s word to be changed..for it to make sense and i can’t tell you how many times God and i have talked about this all of this and more is why we need to understand how the change happens since i didn’t have it modeled before me growing up i have been fighting tooth and nail for it t being the avid people watcher that i am…watching for someone to show me how its done he last 15 or so years since i wasn’t in a church that taught it i set out on my own journey to find it aha moment: now i understand that my resident teacher…the holy spirit .. has been teaching me and i didn’t even realize it until last weekend!! john 14:26 immediately came to mind .. the one where jesus said the Holy Spirit..whom my Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that i have said to you! if i’d had only known that is what was happening a decade ago….ha! i humbly share my story with all the realness i can i will teach only what God has taught me/teaching me…yes i am still very much a student wise in some ways…a beginner in so many others being open has been a big game changer for me it rides alongside changing the way i think oprah said it this way and i wrote it down in my journal with these three words- i said this is me! the opening myself up into that which awaits me based on everything else that has brought me to this point. -oprah i now have a few weapons under my belt to get me from point A to point B on my treasure map of my story i am persuaded now more than ever that changes really are from the inside out our thinking or what we believe is in the driver’s seat of our life that is where we need to begin our work in our mind this is where i have noticed the biggest changes..they happened inside me first and that has begun changing me on the inside thankfulness surrender trust these three words are like three strands that are interconnected and for me were and are the rope that holds me tight on this exodus road i will share romans 12:2

Place Your Life Before God

12 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

isn’t that awesome!!? so much to unravel in my story for it to begin making sense but i am going to plug away at it it is therapeutic for me so lets begin by lifting our hearts and hands high..placing our lives before God as we begin today’s journey thank you again lissa for all the beautiful images….muah! xoxo

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wilderness memoirs : brave is the door to freedom

 

to lissa..for capturing my heart in photographs…xo

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my voice is shaky and shy and can be very awkward at the least…but i am finding it
i am not feeling so invisible

it is in the doing..putting thoughts into action — that is the KEY to living BRAVE!

you see..i spent years of “time with God”

years of acquiring knowledge through books, classes, seminars, conferences
none of these things are wrong in and of themselves..
however..NONE of them changed the cycle of insanity that kept the merry go round of crazy spinning

i struggled to figure out how to make the journal pages begin to write something new!!
i would read through old journals and each one would sound exactly the same…it was frustrating when i was
trying everything i knew

part of the problem was FEAR

i was unknowably held hostage behind a wall of lie bricks….built up so tall that very little light could come in
my pain was so great on the inside God couldn’t get in..neither could anyone else..i was walled in on all sides

i was a prisoner .. waiting for my knight in shining armor – God – to swoop down and rescue me
and when that didn’t happen despair and depression ate me alive

leaving me whimpering on a dirt floor with tears as my drink and my own flesh as my food

on the outside i “appeared” to be a normal mom .. all smiles..homeschooled, taught sunday school, had the “perfect” family
teaching sunday school with a baby on my hip..cooked up dinner..hung clothes on the line..consumed with the crumbling walls trying
to plaster them back before anyone could see the cracks of our family and what was happening behind closed doors…especially
our church..i just couldn’t be “spiritual” enough..so i tried harder…and harder

on the inside the scream that was silent went unheard as the darkness crept in..the storm was rolling in and my family would be hit by
a life-changing storm that forever altered the landscape of our family.  it was a blessing i didn’t know what was ahead because
i would not have went

God didn’t write a fairytale ending for this girl..instead he thrust me into the wilderness and said woman, find thyself
and gave me a promise that

His angel would go before me
and that He would be my rear guard
that He knew the way i needed to go
and that if i would be strong and courageous He would destroy my enemies before me
and that He would get me to the new land that He would show me
and that there would be giants there but that He would help me destroy them
and that i would never be alone

these were some of the promises He gave me
and that is all i had to hold onto
things started really changing was when i acted on them
by taking risks of bravery

my pain was hot to the touch and came out only at select counseling sessions and when i was alone
the wracking of sobs of a lost girl who desperately needed someone to rescue her
i really believed i wasn’t able to do that for myself…a learned helplessness
added to that
were my babies..my children…how was i to save them too?

i was thrust in head first and can only tell you from this side of it that i didn’t hear the words

woman, find thyself!  i didn’t see it as a love…i think it was God’s tough-love….ha!

so i knee-jerked my way through the first couple of years and when that didn’t work i switched to
woman, save yourself - i was pretty good at this one for awhile 

then onto
woman, survive thyself

none of it worked..maybe when i was at the end of myself the
dots finally started to connect

we were living in independence in a big rental home where i thought the fairytale
would finally come true

only to find that the definition of insanity really is a true statement
that the same thing happened again..in what seemed 18 times and counting

my heart finally shattered in a million little pieces

i moved the kids and i to a little rental house across the street from my mom

and a wrestling began between God and me

He began to give me eyes to see i really wasn’t an orphan

i was a daughter.  HIS daughter to be exact

i AM NOT an ORPHAN…I am the DAUGHTER of the KING
it was life-changing when i stopped believing i was an orphan
and started LIVING like a DAUGHTER!!

one day Jesus gave me this verse in john 11:40
” jesus looked her in the eye.  ” didn’t i tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

i always wanted to “understand” everything but jesus was telling me to just BELIEVE

i began to live by belief rather than understanding

i cannot live anyone else’s story.  i have to begin to live mine
to SURRENDER ALL of me to ALL of Him..not another person or thing or idea

to Jesus

i love what mark batterson says in his book All In

jesus didn’t die to keep us safe
he died to make us dangerous

i don’t know about you but i want to live the rest of my life dangerous!

not isolated and protected
i wast to LIVE in the WIDE OPEN SPACE God died to give me
knowing that i will always have FEAR
i will always be afraid of things…i am an introvert that loves people too shannon;)
the key to change is prACTicing COURAGE..

it really is doing it afraid..it is living dangerous…how?

it is taking risks!  that is scary as ??!!

it opportunities that are WAY out of our comfort zones
but if we don’t

we will never write OUR very own STORIES

i believe stories are medicine

and people are sick
paralyzed in the battlefield called life
who is going to carry the stretcher to the wounded?
sometimes God wears skin ( paraphrased from the character steady from the book unwritten )

i was that girl..who needed someone to take a risk on her and no one did
because God had a lesson for me

well…i take that back
God did take a risk on me
but it wasn’t the fairytale and knight in shining armor
that my little girl heart dreamt of

now i see it as a great love story..one filled with adventures waiting to be LIVED!

so now – i want to be a God-skin wearer and help carry the stretcher to the wounded
i know there are others just.like.me out there

silently screaming

it doesn’t matter my idea of whether my story is good nor not
bottom line:  my story isn’t mine.  it is His

Jesus didn’t die to keep me safe..to get me safely to heaven
he died to make me dangerous

she who is BrAVE really IS FREE!!

xo

 

 

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jamie - Love this! Thank you for sharing. I am at the place of surrendering all of me to all of Him. Trust!

BARBARA NELSON - Oh He wrote that fair-tale ending yes he did you just have a couple more chapters, I believe it and I believe in You Too!. I am so lucky to be able to witness it!

Love you sweet Girl, have a great weekend!

Glenda Childers - Your journey has been long and hard … thanks for sharing it with us as you grow and change. So sweet how God drew you and helped you stop the insanity.

Fondly,
Glenda

susan@avintagefarmwife - Wow. This is powerful stuff. So glad you are on your way. You are a dangerous girl! Hugs

Debbie Wiens - You have stepped out of the boat, and now you are walking on water. You are in the safest place you can be. So am I. Are journeys are similar. No longer will we run here or there, but we will surrender and run to the one who can save, that is Jesus. In that I believe we will see and be who we are.

Vera McKendrick - Just by the way, my nickname is lisa…so when you wrote to lisa at the top…it was as if God was talking directly to me.

What you have written is lovely, and so pure and direct from the heart. Few people can be honest with themselves in the sight of looking ‘not normal’.

I believe that when God gives us the gift of writing, it is sometimes a double edged sword. Very seldom do we see the impact that we are making because what we ‘see’ never really matches up to the words of thanks…

But I saw my life run through your words and God speaking to me as if your story was my own, with a few minor differences. but even those he seemed to highlight with a yes-but.

Never stop writing! Few are gifted, and even less pick up there pens and listen!

God bless!
Vera

our first lookbook & how you can be a part of the next issue

house of belonging : the art of living courageously
volume I

ok..ok..THIS is what we have been wanting to share for.LIKE…ever!

House of Belonging: the art of living courageously 

::::: 

we will tell stories of courage

answer the questions of HOW do I live courageously in the middle of cancer for example
you fill in the blank a word
YOUR stories
grassroots stories 
we will peek inside hearts of people around the country
we will get real
we pray hearts are stirred
we will offer meaty content to chew on
that encourages YOU to pioneer new territories
take down giants
set captives FREE
maybe even cook a good meal
just to BEGIN..
to let each other know WE ARE NOT ALONE!

our first lookbook..ebook..some kind of book…haha
to say it was a learning curve is an understatement!
my upcoming surgery had us in a time crunch which meant we didn’t get to put
EVERYTHING in it THIS go round

but hey...we are trusting Jesus with it all…it’s ALL GOOD!! right?

lesson learned: there is A LOT of work in putting together a lookbook!

volume I is a  sampling of  sorts of what is to come

WHO took these pictures you ask???

i love this person so much..and i have been so…beside myself to share her and her beautiful work with all
my FRIENDS!

we mailed lissa the shirts and she ran with it telling the story that we all believed God wants
women to hear

lissa so freely gave herself..her heart..to us
i’m just going to SAY it…it was God!
she bared her soul and let Jesus pour Himself into her

i can’t even pick a favorite..can you?
i LOVE them all!!

her gift is telling soul stories through the lens of her camera
she lives her life REAL and is a living example of  allowing God to heal her and set her FREE
to BECOME all that He had in mind for her from the beginning

grand canyon originals april 2014-2683-2

the story of FREEDOM in Jesus!
real BEAUTY..true BEAUty is LIVING COURAGEOUSLY … in FULL FREEDOM
in a relationship with JESUS!!

Jesus BEAUTY crosses all barriers

age
ethnicity
economic status
social status

whatever..you name it

::::: if you are interested in receiving our questionnaire on the next 

House of Belonging : the art of living courageously
volumne 2

email us at tiffkilgore@live.com

::::::::::

if you would LOVE to have lissa tell a story for YOU
you can find her

here
here 
and
here

you can find all the shirts in our etsy shop HERE

xoxo
 

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Elizabeth Stewart - I LOVE it!

Janet - Love this lots!! Thanks girls!

Linsey @ Bravehearted Beauty - Oh, my heart is rejoicing in this beautiful collaboration between your two hearts! So full of LIFE! Sparks are flying girls! I feel them all the way down here in Franklin! Much love to you both! xoxo

paige - this is fabulous!!! well done my friends!!!!!

chasity - it’s beautiful!

Glenda Childers - Beautiful work. Already, can’t wait for more.

Fondly,
Glenda

BARBARA N - So exciting it came out beautiful! All your hard work and passion shows on these pages. “A warrior’s heart”, love it , want it!

lissa - I love you!! I LOVE our Savior!! There’s so much I want to say- my heart is exploding! But I have to go get Jeanne! So it will have to wait! Maybe that’s a good thing as this all settles into the deep places in my heat. xoxo

Patty Page - It’s beautiful! I love it!

Jamie - Stirs my heart…makes me shout for joy. Well done!

Becky @ Farmgirl Paints - It. Is. Awesome. So proud of my Lissa girl. Her talent just shine. And your heart Tiffini is gold. So excited to see what God is going to do with the vision he gave you for this.

Ter'e - Breathtaking!!!! What soul lifters!!!!!!

Lemonade Makin Mama - that is serious fabulousness right there. I love it all. Lissa did a terrific job and those shirts are so CUTE!! (Can’t wait to get mine! :) You girls do such an amazing job over there. HOpe you’re feeling good… been thinking about you this past week and hope you’re recovering amazingly!! Much love!!
S

Jill @ Cora Anne Designs - So, so good. Can’t wait to see what becomes of this!

house of belonging : the art of living courageously

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God, You catch us -You can reach alllll the way
from sky to sea – You can pull us out of anything!
from the ocean waves that leave us gasping to the giants breathing out threats and taunting us,
only You truly know the void in which we are drowning
they hit us when we’re down,  when life’s blows come
but God always sticks with us
You stood us up in a WIDE OPEN field
we stood there…SAVED — surprised to be LOVED!
(the last two sentences are my fav…)

 

YOU God – are making our lives complete..moment by moment..day by day
when we place ALL the pieces before You
when we surrender our plans for YOUR plans 
when we are alert to Your ways
and don’t take You for granted
daily going over the ways You work;
we try not to miss a beat
we begin to feel put back together
and we practice trusting you ..with each step

God..only YOU…You rewrite our lives
when we surrender the book of our heart to your eyes
-psalm 18:16-24 mingled with my words.  i wrote this out as a prayer to God last week in my journal

something new is growing around the HOUSE:)  i can feel it coming alive…

the rest of the story is coming next week!!

::::::::

i emailed janet tonight and told her she WON a pair of freshly picked moccasins from our giveaway monday
she was the 15 that the random number generator chose.  i bet she is one happy momma:)

wishing i could give each of you that entered a pair…they TRULY are darling
thank YOU’s so much!

xo

 

 

 

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Lemonade Makin Mama - loving this capture. so much fun and i love that God rewrites our stories!!!

Janet Butler - She is one VERY happy mamma! Thank you so much – what a blessing!

a freshly picked moccasin giveaway

ready for a giveaway from freshly picked? we are too!

sweet baby girl finn is wearing freshly picked gold moccasins paired perfectly with
our YOUNG WILD and FREE baseball t

photo-13

simply put : these are THE best moccasins we have seen so far

like seriously!!
luxurious supple leather
ample toe wiggle room
you too can outfit your child in an array of colors

grandma’s & auntie’s..they offer gift cards too!

logo

 

take a minute and enter to win a pair for your sweet one!
you won’t be disappointed..if you can’t wait head over to freshly picked and get a pair…or two today

 

DO THIS TO ENTER:

leave a comment sharing one dream you have for that special little one in your life…

for an extra entry go follow our instagram and come back and let us know!!

:you can FOLLOW freshly picked instagram & facebook

fp_shark_tank_940

 

 

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Danielle A - My dream for my baby girl(and our other 3) is for them to seek God, be courageous, and jump boldly into every adventure knowing they are not alone!

Kristen Morrisett - My dream for my littles is that they would fearlessly go after what God’s called them to do and be who He’s called them to be. Welcome to the good life! {I already follow @houseofbelonging and @freshlypicked on insta & FP on Facebook} xx

Shannon Ashley - My dream for my baby girl is that she always knows the depth of love God and her family have for her. That we will always be there for her no matter what life brings.

Sarah B - My dream(prayer) for my boys is for them to find their identity in Christ & see everything around them in light of the gospel.

Donna Roper - My dream for my little grands is that they grow up knowing their Savior and serving Him all the days of their lives. Same holds true for all the ‘kids’ in my life.

Danielle A - I already follow on Instagram!

Cortney Tackett - My dream for my little is for him to grow up know how much myself and our God loves him. I just want him to be happy in life and I know he will find that happiness in God!

cortney tackett - I went to your IG :) I follow you both! I love your IG feed!! Thanks mama!!

Nicole - My dream for my little ones is that they be truly happy. Its so important in life to do what you love, and follow your heart. Being true to their heart will make my dream come true. I follow you on Instagram too. xo

Kristin McClain - My dream for my little ones is that they live life with no regrets and find happiness in whatever form it may be for them. I wish for them to be strong and secure.

Kristin McClain - I follow on Instagram @krismcclain27

Debbie w - My padre am for my 7 grands is that they be happy and always remember their roots. Family is a big part of their future. Thanks for the chance to win!

Debbie w - I follow you on Instagram…..pick me!

Crystal L - I hope that my two little boys will follow their dreams and walk in Christ’s foot steps.

Janet - My dream is that my baby girl be kind and give back to the world.

Janet - I follow you on Instagram!

Michele - My dream for my boys is that they will follow their dreams to whatever makes them happy and fulfilled.

Michele - Followed on ig!

Kristi - To have a personal relationship with Jesus

sheri - Hi Tiff – follow on IG

Kristine Brandenberger - My dream for my little is to know Jesus personally and love him with all her heart.

Kristine Brandenberger - followed your instagram!

Katie Greenlaw - Love following you on Instagram.

Katie greenlaw - I have 3 littles. My oldest is 3.5, my daughter turned 2 today, and the baby turns 1 in a week. God has blessed us immensely, and I want my babes to know his love and grace for themselves. Of course I want them to be happy, successful, pleasant to be around…but without Him as their savior…then it’s all meaningless.

jessica conklin - I wish for the kind heart I see in my son now to stay firmly in place. I don’t ever want him to apologize for who he is, for what he wants, for how hard he has worked or where he is going in life. Always have faith!!

Ellen - I have so many dreams for my children its hard to name just one…but I guess I would say that I hope my children are happy and health and are able to accomplish their goals.

Carolsue - My deream is for him to grow up to be a good person, treat others well and make a mark for himself in the world.

Carolsue - I follow you on Instagram as cezovski9

Leita Schiemann - I dream for my son, Otto, to be happy however he chooses to live his life. <3

Leita Schiemann - Following in IG :)

Julianne Best - I dream for my son to always know how incredibly loved he is. He is adopted and is not only loved by us, but his birth family as well. I also want him to know that he can do anything with his life. He can be anything he wants, he will be amazing no matter what

Julianne Best - Following you on IG

Glenda Childers - Finn is so charming.

My dream for sweet little Lily … that she will always know that she is loved by God and her family.

Fondly,
Glenda

Jennifer Lott - All I want is for my son to be happy.

Jennifer Lott - Also following on instagram!

Callie Lynch - I dream for my children to find Christ at an early age. Great giveaway!

Molly C - My dream for my daughter is not to grow up worried about how her body looks but to be amazed at all the things it can do.

jo b. - that my lil one always folllows her dreams!

Bree Z. - I follow both you and Freshly Picked on Insta. I’m @inthewateriambeautiful_

Bree Z. - My dream for my boys is for them to grow up being who they want to be. I want them to live the life they choose, believe what they want to believe, and be who they want to be.

Cassandra - How adorable!! I dream for my daughters to be happy God fearing women…well actually I pray about it :-)

Michelle T - My dream for my little guy is for him to grow up content in who he is. No need to try to change himself.

Michelle T - IG follow–asimplefreak

Shannon Ashley - I follow @housepfbelonging and @freshlypicked on Instagram. I do not have facebook.

Ashley - I hope that my little guy will appreciate the impact of being kind. Kindness has a rippling effect and is the root of happiness. <3

Casey R - I hope that my little lady grows up to be whatever she wants to be and accepts who she is.

Casey R - I follow you on instagram!

Misty - I dream for my little girl to follow all of her dreams.
I am following on IG :)

Jade Bradburn - I want nothing more than for my kids to be happy! Whatever makes them happy! I hope they take the values I teach them through life and do everything with love ❤️

Jade Bradburn - Following your IG calleighx3madden

Stephanie - My dream for my little Lucy is that she would be a strong warrior for Jesus. To be strong and courageous. To live bravely, trusting WHOLE HEARTEDLY in our sweet, powerful Jesus. That’s my dream! :)

Lindsay T. - My dream for my children is to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior and to live passionately for Him.

Following you on IG (@mommytoews) thanks for the chance! :)

theresa J - Hoping that my children find a fullfilling love

Faith Steidl - I pray that my baby girl grows up knowing that she is completely free to be exactly who she is, like the things she likes, dress the way she likes, and know that just being HER confidently is the most beautiful she can be! // followed on instagram, @faithelise

Christy D - My dream is that my son will follow Jesus!

Christy D - Following on IG cmdaven

R.Johnson - For both of my boys, to know truth. Follow and love Jesus with all their heart!!

R.Johnson - Following your IG!

Natalie Martin - All I want is my special son to happy and make others smile!

Liz m - My dream for my daughter is that she will grow up knowing that she is loved and has the ability to make the world a better place because she’s in it.

Liz m - I’m filling on Instagram @ecmorris

Liz m - I’m following on Instagram @ecmorris

Amanda - I want my little girl to be happy, healthy, and to always follow her dreams and do whatever her heart desires.

Amanda - Following your instagram!

Mariaelena - My dream for my little ones is for them to be happy and to always make good choices.

Mariaelena - I follow you on Instagram (@maelena1990)

Angela s. - To be happy and healthy! To love life!

Dana Allen - My dream is for my daughter to finally make it home after over a year now in the hospital and live a full and healthy life, preferably out of the hospital. She was born at 25 weeks and has a rare genetic disorder causing her not to be able to breath when she sleeps and to be missing the cells in her bowel to move food through. I so very much want her to have experiences all other children have despite her medical needs.

Dana Allen - Also I am following on instagram!

Amy - I dream that my baby will grow up healthy, happy, and stay close to the truths that she knows.

Sarah Hayes - not sure if this is over but my dream is for her to have great self esteem and to find and love who she is

Michelle Charles - My dream for this little miracle baby is that he/she grows up feeling loved and embraces life for the beauty that it is! You can achieve anything you put your heart to!

Michelle Charles - Following you on IG! MichelleCharles02

Bethanyanne - My dream for my daughter is to grow up to love Christ and live a happy life.

I follow on IG: mrsbethhoward

Emily - My dream is for them is to grow up knowing that they are loved and to learn to love others. :)

Emily - Following on Instagram

Bonnie M. - My Dream is for all 4 of my kids to be happy and healthy. Thanks for the giveaway!

Bonnie M. - I follow freshly picked on instagram.

Bonnie M. - I also follow freshly picked on IG :-)

Bonnie M. - oops that went twice, sorry! But I also follow FP on Facebook.