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Fear Not Playlist // #musicmonday

tiffany garza2 Comments
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When I used to blog regularly at Ingracealways (which are now located here), I touched on fear and different songs that shed light on the topic. It has been an area that the Lord has grown me in as a mama  and in regards to trusting him in order to overcome them to walk in freedom. 

It has a been a process and a choice as I choose to trust God over anything else, yet something the enemy still temps me with, especially during harder and tired seasons, though I can easily spot it these days and be ready.

Music is a powerful weapon against fear and the enemy, along with scripture - bonus when they are together - so a few months ago I compiled a playlist on Spotify with songs the Lord kept bringing to mind, along with some newer ones like, Fear Not by Kristene Dimarco, that are amazing. I know fear is a big trust killer and hindrance in our walk with the Lord, so I thought I would share them just in case you find yourself combating fear in your journey, as well.

Praying whatever you find yourself up against that you would see how the Lord is already fighting your battle and already has given you the victory. Praying that as you fix your eyes on Jesus that your fears would fall away in comparison. 

What are your favorite songs about trusting God over fear? I would love to hear. Leave a link in a comment below, along with anything you would like prayer for. 



music monday: build your kingdom here by rend collective

Tiffany NicoleComment

We are the church. The church runs through our veins and is nonexistent without us. We are one. Of one body. When she rejoices, we rejoice. When she mourns, we mourn. We are the church. And the church needs healing.

Build Your Kingdom by Rend Collective is the perfect little anthem for this. have a listen.

To see the captive hearts released
The hurt, the sick, the poor at peace
We lay down our lives for Heaven's cause
We are Your church
We pray: revive this earth

For the church to heal, the body, each member, each branch that has been grafted in and marked in the Book of Life, must be healed. Physical healing, for some. For others, the mind. And still others the spiritual. In order to move forward, we must go back to the tears and anger and disappointments and cover them by the blood of Jesus, with his healing through the power of the Spirit of God.

A collision of the mind, body and soul has to occur and our clenched fists must find rest in the open hand position, as we receive the grace we profess with our mouths. We must be made aware of the festering wounds stirring inside our souls. The ones that bind us in anger and despair and full of self hate. The ones we allow to steal our joy and block out the sound of God singing over us. The ones that the enemy uses to close our eyes and ears to God. The ones that make us ineffective and keep us down in the pit.

The church needs faith that it can be healed. Faith in a God who sees and in a God who heals and in the power of the Holy Spirit. We need to trust and rely on God to heal, not being so reliant on doctors or time or the body to heal (yes, those are great things) but trusting in God as the ultimate healer - who uses doctors and time and the body to heal us. It is being the one who goes back to thank God after all has been said and done, reminiscent of the leper who returns to give thanks.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7

We must be a church knitted together in humility, knowing it the humiliation will not last forever. We must be a church that gets low and dirty, crawling among crowds of people just to touch the tip of Jesus' clothes, believing it will heal. That fervent and desperate and full of faith. We must leave our worry at his feet, believing his ways are truly better than our own, because he cares for us.

We must have humility in knowing we are broken and cannot save ourselves and are in need of a Savior in every aspect of our lives, including the ones that have yet to surface and become known in our finite minds. We must learn to be transparent with those around us and be prayerful for ourselves and others.

Praying that as a tree in winter, whose glory and splendor and beauty has fallen to the ground, and now stands bare and open for all to see its branches and peeling bark and holes, the church would stand bare. That each member would be transparent and open in order to accept the healing that is offered through the blood of Jesus. Praying that as the tree is waiting its time in preparation for spring, for its renewal and blooms, that the church would go through its process in revival of faith and in the power of the Holy Spirit's miraculous works, as healing pulses its veins. 

Here's to the church and the healing of many. 

music monday: with everything by hillsong

Tiffany NicoleComment

I have been wrestling lately. Wrestling with God. Seeking and praying and fasting and reading. Wrestling with the Church in context of America; not sure what wrestling looks like when I can hardly crawl and lacking in skill set and just learning how to stretch muscles in rhythms that are natural to the body.

Recently sitting on my counter was a copy of Relevant magazine, a young child whose arm was bandaged and stopped before the elbow looking back at me on the cover. Anything but light reading before bed but had me searching the pages for the corresponding article.

Children and women and men dying for their faith. Martyrdom in Nigeria. Sitting in my overflowing home and thinking about the 13 year old boy who was castrated and in bandages but asking for prayers for his faith to increase, and the husband, whose wife went to be with the Lord after being told they must convert to Muslim or be killed, as he lay in the hospital recovering from the wounds after being left for dead but comforted for Jesus said there would be trouble, and the lady who watched her sister get shot to death and forced to marry the man behind the gun but managed to escape, it is hard to comprehend it all. He could be my friend. He could be my relative. She could be my child. This could be meThese are God's children. Keep them tucked in your prayers as you slip both hands in your shirt as you dress and as you guide  your child's legs in his pants. 

As I sit well fed and comfortable, not a need unmet, having attended a church service this week, others are fighting the good fight of faith. Others are losing their loved ones, their moms and dads and babies to hate, their own arms and limbs cut off, while I feast. While I celebrate birthdays and hear of goals to be made and holidays to be planned, their faith is being refined in the most holy of ways.

There is a time for everything under heaven. A time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to weep and a time to laugh. And this is a time to refine. The words of Paul, taken from Psalms, echoing in my head: for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.

This is real faith. This is what it all boils down to. Do we really believe? 

Is this what America needs to witness to be reconciled to its first love? To see the suffering and perseverance of real faith? To follow in their example and know we are more than conquerors through Jesus? To truly know the Savior we claim on Sundays, yet fail to fully seek him the rest of the week?

Is this what we need to witness to truly repent and turn from our sinful ways?

With Everything by Hillsong is a beautiful song and prayer for the Church. Have a listen.

Open our eyes,
To see the things
That make Your heart cry,
To be the church
That You would desire.
Light to be seen.

Praying that your faith would continue to be formed and shaped and molded. Praying we would stop the enslavement of our cell phones and iPads and turn our hearts to him. That we would stop living for empty, self seeking pleasure and American dreams and turn to him. That we would stop seeking monetary gains and politics and turn to him.

Here's to wresting and faith. 

music monday: set a fire by will reagan

Tiffany NicoleComment

It was the first fire in our new apartment. We enjoyed hot cider and music as the flames danced over the logs, warming the small living room. As it died out, my husband, then boyfriend, discussed whether or not to close the flue on the fireplace. Having no idea on what the flue was, I had little to say on the matter and headed to bed after it was decided to close it.

Hours later, we woke startled to smoke alarms blaring. Jumping out of bed, my husband opened the door to our room, where nothing could be seen but clouds of smoke filling the hall way. Immediately he disappeared in to it, while I lay in bed trying to process the whole matter wondering if our apartment was up in flames and whether or not he was okay and what I should do.

Returning moments later, he let me know there was no fire, just smoke. Everywhere. Hard to breath, eye stinging, thick smoke covering everything. Windows and doors were opened and a sweet neighbor ran over letting us know he was a paramedic and asking if we were okay. We were in shock but okay we responded, as we turned on fans and stood on our patio in the wee hours of the night, smoke pouring out, with thankful hearts for the lack of flames and filled with new knowledge: always keep the flue open, even if the fire is out, for the smoke cannot be seen immediately or contained and comes before a fire.

And fires burn. They move in unpredictable ways, consuming anything in its path, only to acquire more.

Following Jesus is similar in its unpredictability and drawing others as the faith develops. There is something so contagious and exciting seeing someone passionate about Jesus and the life that he has redeemed. The way that it draws you nearer to him and you want the desires of his heart become those of yours.

Set a fire by Will Reagan is such a beautiful prayer for this passion and fire in our souls. Have a listen.

Set a fire down in my soul
That I can't contain that I can't control
I want more of You, God

It is not about comparing our walks with each other or what has God has done for this person or that person but thanking him for those blessings and testimonies and taking them as stones of remembrance of what he has been faithful to complete. 

Fires  shines out of the freedom that comes with truly accepting yourself as God has made you and moving towards the person you are to become through him. It is the hours and days turning in to a lifetime full of following the Spirit. 

Praying you would long for more of God, for more of the desires of his heart. Praying that as you navigate the waters as a follower of Christ that you would see the passions that God has placed within you and that you would seek God in those areas. That you God would reveal to you how to use your giftedness to further his kingdom, instead of using them to tear it down.

Praying that you would be set ablaze in hope and live in the freedom of the Spirit.

Here's to fires starting. 

music monday: at your name by phil wickham

Tiffany NicoleComment

Some of my favorite summer memories are those spent under the stars in the back of my dad's truck bed, nestled in between blankets, next to my little sister. Conversations of boys and life leaving our lips with our backs to ground and our eyes fixed on the sky. Searching for shooting stars and satellites and constellations in our little part of the world, with the sound of my fourth grade teacher echoing the billions and billions of stars our galaxy is made up from.

Stars that have since burst, though we can still see their illumination from our position. And the planets lining up amongst them. Planets with different measurements for days and numerous moons and extreme temperatures and unlivable landscapes.

It is no wonder the ancients worshipped the sky and stars and all things grandiose; but heart wrenching to think they lacked the worship of the One who created the marvelous.

As my husband and I stood outside among others a few months back, singing along as Phil Wickham belted out worship to the God of the earth and everything encompassing it, it was hard to not stand in awe of God, especially as At Your Name played out. Have a listen

Lord of all the earth
We shout Your Name, shout Your Name
Filling up the skies
With endless praise, endless praise

Seeing the sky filled with God's creation, as the sun had set and the moon rose to its given space, and remembering how small we are, yet how important we are to God. Each person in the audience. Each person watching the scene from a distance.

The God who has a vision. The God who has a plan set in motion since he spoke it in to motion before we ever stepped foot on this soil. The God who pursues. The God who sees life in the highest regard. Who sees you as the most important thing.

That is the God we worship. Lest we forget. Lest we forget.

And when the speakers turned off and the lights went out in the middle of a song, there was still a song to be sung. As voices continued and the song kept going, it was a beautiful reminder that nothing can stop us from worshipping but ourselves.  God will always be there to worship and we can sing along, should we choose, even when the stage goes dark.

Praying your light would shine so brightly that though your body fails and your last breath exhales, your memory still illuminates the minds of those around you, guiding them towards Jesus. Praying that worship would come off your lips as your mouth opens as you go about your day. Praying you would know how much you are treasured and loved by the God of the universe. You are important to him, even if others have told you otherwise. Even if you cannot wrap it around your head. You are fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who makes things for his good and perfect purpose

Here's to stars and night skies and worship. 

music monday: jesus paid it all by kristian stanfill

Tiffany Nicole8 Comments

I was talking with my husband about big picture / calling / God things, my favorite topic of choice, when I told him I felt like I was beating a dead horse in regards to this writing thing. It is the same underlying message in each post, written differently in essence. But God keeps leading me to share. And how some days I do not want to give the time and effort to beat that dead horse.

I said it once. Isn't that enough? And that one post back there was pretty good, God; there is nothing like the Holy Spirit leading the writing but would rather not right now.

But my husband reminded me that is what God has called him to do as a pastor. Share the Gospel. A simple message that weaves throughout the centuries and has been told and shared in millions of ways since and we are all called to share it in some form or another.

Because God loves you, he sent his son, Jesus, to die on the cross for your sin. He rose on the third day and ascended up to heaven. Now, come follow him. Eternity is at your fingertips.

It is that simple.       

But simple things need simple illustrations like mustard seeds and fishes and prodigal sons to get the points across. To relate to the now.

And we need reminders of the truths because we forget. We need encouragement when the storms are raging.

And so for now, I sit and pray and offer some words as a sacrifice of praise. As an act of obedience and knowing that someone, somewhere needs some refreshment.

Because you are doing great things, my friend. God is using you in ways you never will imagine to accomplish things you will never comprehend in this lifetime.

Because God is a God of purpose and plans and the writer of the Big Picture. And with Him, nothing is dead. Nothing is too dried or withered or past expiration for God to restore and renew and refresh.

And that is worth pressing on and finishing the race. That is worth playing the part in this story because a time is coming when everyone will answer to him about how we spent our time and used our recourses. Jesus paid it all for me and for you and the least we can do is be obedient to his leading, which is for our own good. I know, imagine that.

Jesus Paid it All by Kristian Stanfill fits perfectly here. One of my favorites. Have a listen.

Jesus paid it all,

All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.
O Praise the one who paid my debt
And raised this life up from the dead.

Praying that whatever you are called to do, that you would do it all for the glory of God, despite afflictions or discouragement or qualifications. Praying you would see the bigger picture and that you would continue to be encouraged and have the endurance to keep doing what God has called you to do. 

Praying you would praise Jesus for paying your debt and that would be the motivation for you to fulfill your calling. Praying you would see glimpses of how God is using you in the here and now and that you would be able to see it in others, revealing to them their parts in the story.

Here's to endurance and keeping on. 

music monday: he loves us by jesus culture

Tiffany NicoleComment

When the Israelites took for granted being God's chosen people, eventually God's plan was revealed that salvation was to be offered to the gentiles - those not born in to the covenant -  which in turn caused the Israelites to be jealous.

Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring! Romans 11:11-12

It is interesting how jealousy is used here to turn the Israelites back to God. Some of the Israelites did not feel as special now that grace was offered to the rest of the world but through seeing this grace played out through others, they longed to have what they may have walked away from prior.

It is similar to watching toddlers play. There is always one toy everyone wants to play with. It may have been sitting on the ground most of the day but once someone picks it up, all eyes lock and all hearts crave it. Some things just look more desirable in the hands of others.

But God is a jealous God. Jealous for us. He wants us all of us. Setting things in front of choosing God makes his jealousy burn. Choosing time with the television or a book or a friend or child or husband or work over him is what idolatry is all about. Putting things higher than God. Making other things priorities before God, your first love.

And God loves us. He graciously unravels our hearts and knits them in to what we were made for. He unravels our hurts and anxieties and fears and hopes and failures and turns them in to the miraculous.

Have a listen to How He Loves Us by Jesus Culture.

He is jealous for me
Love's like a hurricane, and I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy

Praying you would be surrounded with those who are passionate about Jesus and can drive you to the point of godly jealously, truly wanting to have a deep and passionate relationship with God, drawing you nearer to God and in turn, drawing others to Christ. Praying you would be able to spur each other on and that you would see God's compassion and mercy and love for you.  

Praying you would see how much you are truly loved and how beautiful you are. Praying you would see glimpses of God in others and yourself as you go about your days and that your relationship with Christ would be the most desirable thing in your life.

Here's to jealousy and God and love. 

music monday: thrive by casting crowns

Tiffany Nicole2 Comments

It was a rare occasion to have Jude up without Penny's presence in the middle of the afternoon, so we took full advantage and headed outside to the swing set. As we walked bare feet in the grass, Jude squatted down and pointed and shouted at the little thing moving about in the grass. Bugs are exciting and always something to talk about with him. It was a bee. Wandering from grass blade to grass blade, it was frantically jumping and running to and fro, trying to get somewhere. We watched as it did its little dance, sans flying. Each time it moved, it got a little faster and appeared more flustered.

Perhaps the little bee had used its stinger and could no longer fly. I know little about bees, besides their honey making - stinger carrying - flying abilities. But it is not every day that bees go hopping about in the grass. And the oddness was intriguing, especially to my one year old. It was not doing what it was made to do.

We were made for a purpose. We were made to do more than ordinary things. More than the nine to five and houses with white picket fences and college degrees and two children. We were made to do good works which were prepared in advance for us. We were made to have an intimate relationship with God and use our God given gifts to further his kingdom.

Thrive by Casting Crowns fits perfectly here. Have a listen. Feel free to have a little dance party, too. It is one we tend to turn up over here.

We know we were made for so much more
Than ordinary lives
It's time for us to more than just survive

We were made to thrive

There is so much relief and peace that stem from doing what God has made you to do. Not that it is easy in the slightest or comes fully natural but being in the will of God is sweet spot to be. Since I started writing, God has revealed himself in ways I could never fathom and it is truly an adventure and a dependence and trusting in him in ways I never needed to before.

When we are going against God's leading and making our own way, we will be working harder and getting more and more flustered. We will be building our kingdoms taking two steps forward and five back, even when things appear to be making progress. Is progress really progress when we are walking farther away from the will of God?

Praying that if you have yet to see what you were made to, what gifts you possess, the things that come easy to you but others tell you how hard it is, that you would seek God in the them. That you would see where God will take you with your skill set as you lay down your own expectations and will and start to align it with God's, despite whatever it may cost you.

Praying that you would search your heart to see what a life filled means. That you would look at the end of your life and see what you want to have accomplished and what that would entail. Praying that you would long for a life fully surrendered to Christ and impacting those around you. That it would be a life full of serving and truly loving people and loving God, for that is the purpose of life.

Here's to purposes and the bees. 

music monday: man of sorrows by hillsong worship

Tiffany Nicole8 Comments

I have always had this picture of Jesus as a warmhearted, passionate, joyous person. He made time for the children and broke bread with the disciples and taught and was passionate about God's temple. It all seems so sweet, yet Isaiah 53:3 declares him a man of sorrows.

He was despised and rejected by men,
    a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

The opposite of pure joy perhaps is sorrow.  Though it is possible to have joy in your sorrows, in the same way you can be being happy and sad for various reasons.

Sorrow is defined as mental, physical or emotional anguish. The gut wrenching angst for something more or something less. For the wrongs to be righted and the dead to be made alive and the dark to be overcome by light and the night to give way to the dawn and ultimately, for the sinners to turn from their ways.

Living in a world full of sin that is distant from God, knowing this is not how we were meant to be, must have been hard. Knowing we were made for greater. Knowing the toiling and ensnaring and separation and chaos that sin so entails each person, should he choose. That is a reason for sorrow and pain and suffering.

But Jesus' sorrow was not without reason and not due to his own sin, but for the most worthy of causes. It was about encouragement for us, all the more, in to leading humanity to repentance while he walked the earth and died on the cross and rose from the grave and ascended to heaven. Culminating with bringing about our redemption.

Man of Sorrows by Hillsong Worship is a great listen for this sorrow + redemption story. Have a listen.

Man of sorrows Lamb of God
By His own betrayed
The sin of man and wrath of God
Has been on Jesus laid

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 2 Corinthians 7:10

Godly sorrow is the root that gives depth to the soul and allows praise to bud and rise and grow in to a nourished, strong, unwavering, fruit producing, shade giving tree. This sorrow produces perseverance and repentance and has the ability to set the heart ablaze with the desires of God.

Paul goes on listing to the Corinthians what godly sorrow produces (2 Corinthians 7:11):

               Earnestness  - sincerity of heart to repent  
               Eagerness to clear yourselves - a certain amount of excitement to stop sinning
               Indignation / alarm / longing / concern / readiness to see justice done - taking ownership                 and acknowledging the sin + its effects in order to learn + grow.  

Would I like to be known as a woman of sorrow?  Quite frankly no. Perhaps you would like that added next to your name on a business card?

________, a man / woman of sorrow.

It has a such a broken and sad connotation to it. But what if in your state of sorrow, you brought one person in to eternity. Or maybe two. Or a dozen or hundreds. It is impossible to see what God has planned but there is a place for sorrow as there is a place for joy and becoming like Jesus encapsulates them both.

Praying that as you experience sorrow in your life - sorrow for the poor, the afflicted, the broken hearted, the sick, the unjust - that you would find encouragers on the path to point you towards the goal and that it would ultimately lead you to a deeper concern and love for others and with God.

Praying your adventure would not be one of wandering and meandering but seeking justice and loving and sharing truth. Praying that while it may feel like more of a lonesome journey at times, that you would take each step and put one foot in front of the other and count on God for the strength to endure and the love to act.  

Here's to sorrows and redemption. 

music monday: forever by chris tomlin

Tiffany Nicole3 Comments

After talking about how we need rain in California with Penny the other day, she stopped and said we needed to pray for some. So she said a little prayer. Immediately following it, she asked if she could put on her jacket because it was going to rain. I explained answers to prayer do not always happen right away.

So we waited. The sky grew cloudy but no drops came. Another day came and went and we waited some more. She knew the rain was coming and was a little apprehensive about going outside without a jacket - in California - in July - in a drought but that did not deter her. She knew God would answer.

The next morning, clouds came and little drops fell along on the ground. We rushed outside, thanking God for answered prayers. It wasn't long enough for puddles but just enough to to water our little wildflowers and remember God hears even the littlest of prayers and allowing us to worship him in his splendor and faithfulness to reveal himself to this mama and four year old.

Forever by Chris Tomlin fits here for some worship of God's faithfulness. Have a listen.

Forever, God is faithful
Forever, God is strong
Forever, God is with us
Forever, forever

Answered prayers are little nuggets that remind us that the God of the universe hears us and knows us and cares about us. They are building blocks of the faith and in our relationship with him. Not every prayer ends in a yes or the way we hoped but it still is answered and are reminders for when the mountain tops level out to valleys that he is God and he is good, even if we do not understand the circumstance. 

Having a note book or journal dedicated to prayer is a great way to keep track of God's faithfulness and seeing his provision in your life. Often, we ask God for things and then forget what we asked as the days pass, even when he does answer them. Keeping a written record of your prayers helps you to remember what you are asking God for and allows you to give him the glory when they are answered and worship him. It becomes part of your faith and testimony.  

I came across Integrity Graphics  a few years back, a shop that specializes in prayer journals and the like, and my mama surprised me with one for my birthday that year. These journals make it easy to see the prayer request and the answer all in the same spot but any journal or paper work, too. I write prayers all over my journal, as well, although they tend to get buried and are harder to go back to.

Praying that if you have never written down a prayer request that you would put your pen to the paper and watch God in action. Praying that your prayer life would grow and that it would become an integral part of your day. Praying that as you become more intentional in your requests that you would see the power in prayer and in the name of Jesus.

Praying that despite the fact our feeble minds cannot fathom the way God works or answers our petitions, that you would trust him with them and that you would come to know him more intimately because of them.

Here's to more prayers and more answers. 


And if you'd like to find out more how you can help me fund the Allume ticket, click below. 

music monday: everlasting god by chris tomlin

Tiffany Nicole2 Comments

The past few weeks, waiting has seemed nearly as long as it does to my four year old when I tell her she has to wait a few hours to go to a birthday party or one more day until a fun activity - it is never going to happen. The wait is long.

Though the waiting we have been doing is nothing serious, which almost makes it that much more frustrating. Our car was in the shop for nine days. Nine days! And our insurance would not cover a rental because it should not have taken that long (and we did not necessarily need it). Shipping the part does not count as labor time and according to the mechanic it was not to be driven. It seemed like an eternity. First world problems, I know. When you are used to life one way, it is hard to adjust and feels like nails on a chalkboard.

And then there were the court decisions and other questions for our foster baby, which we continue to wait on. I did not realize I was waiting until the day came and went and no outcome had been told. Surely we would know the outcome then. An expectation of knowing information instantaneously tends to be ingrained in us these days.

But throughout it, God reminded me nothing was out of his control. All the trivial waiting. It was all for him in his timing. It was not about waiting for the car to be repaired but waiting for him to give back the gift he had graciously given. All the while embracing the renewed appreciation for it. It was about learning how to wait patiently.

It was diving in to Psalm 40:1-3, line by line, in my annoyance and remembering God's hand in it all.

I waited patiently for the Lord;
(not hastily or angerly; not waiting for the decisions but for God
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
(He turns to us when we wait + hears us)
 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
(God does the action; takes us out of distress / situation)
    out of the mud and mire;
(more bad stuff; bad stuff tends to come in bunches)
he set my feet on a rock
(takes us out of bad stuff to his solid ground -> building our testimony)
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
(God gives, God does ALL the actions here, while we wait PATIENTLY; firm place to stand: confidently trusting God, standing on his promises + words)
 He put a new song in my mouth,
(God puts new songs in us that he gives specifically during these waiting times; more appreciation for what you had, increasingly grateful + thankful for the GIFT!)
    a hymn of praise to our God.
(being able to praise God for being God; Praising for rescuing + restoring)
Many will see and fear the Lord
(Others see what God has done for you - how did you wait? Patiently? This causes good fear of God)
    and put their trust in him.
(Because of your waiting, others will trust God! God WILL use the waiting)

It was seeing how we are merely to wait patiently on the Lord. That is what we are called to do. God is the one doing everything else. He is turning + hearing + lifting. He is setting our feet on a rock and giving a firm place to stand. He gives the song to sing during the waiting and because of our patience, others see and put their trust in God.

It is such a beautiful picture of how God works. He works in the waiting period. He is working in you and in others. No matter how large or small the circumstance. You need only be still and be patient. 

Everlasting God by Christ Tomlin fits here. Have a listen.

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord

Praying you would wait and rely on God to do things in his timing, not yours and that he would give you the patience and strength to do so. Praying you would be flexible when the need arises and that you would allow God to figure it the details, which will most likely not be as you had planned. Praying you would let God lead and let go of frustrations regarding the situation and fully grasp flexibility and learn whatever is being taught.

Here's to more waiting and more patience. 

music monday: do not fear ( isaiah 41:10 ) by seeds family worship

Tiffany NicoleComment

If you have yet to notice, my world is surrounded with a sound track. Milestones and memories are strung together with song after song, each in its own spot, ingrained in me.

On our road trip


we had hours of time to fill and naturally, music had to be the majority. Before leaving, we headed to our local library for some new tunes, specially for the kiddos. We ended up coming across a few new CDs of bible verses put to music, which was perfect for our family since this is how we are wired and has been an awesome way to memorize scripture.

If you have a hard time memorizing scripture, even if you do not have children. music is a great help. 

So I thought I would share a few fun + catchy bands with verses put to song to add to your summer soundtracks for your family as you enjoy extra time with long days and travels.

The Rizers:

We came across the Rizers a few years ago and started listening to them with our then 


 month. The songs are fun, rock beats put to scripture. They currently have two CDs available.  

Seeds Family Worship:

This was our main road trip CD, per our three year old's request but I really enjoyed it, too. There are a wide variety of beats and singers involved and with eight CDs to choose + learn from, you will probably find one you like. We listened to the

Seeds of Courage

, which is my favorite. And a fun bonus, when you purchase the actual CD, you get one to keep and one to give.

Here is one of my favorite tracks, Do Not Fear (Isaiah 41:10). Have a listen. 

26 Alphabet Bible Verse Chorus Songs by Thingamakid:

This was not our favorite pick but was great to have so many verses on one short CD. It is was more for memorizing, than really enjoying but a fabulous tool none the less. They have other CDs but I have not had a chance to listen to them.

Praying you find something to fit your fancy and that encourages your family to memorize scripture. Praying that as your children grow, they would be surrounded by God's Word and it would be written on their hearts as they go. Praying that God would continue to provide you with resources to learn and grow and shape their faith and relationship with Jesus. Praying that you would strengthened as you teach and share and learn alongside them.

Here's to music and verses and learning and free printable. 

music monday: give me jesus by jeremy camp

Tiffany Nicole2 Comments

Newton's law: for every action there is an equal and opposite re-action. Some days it seems like this is my mantra to my almost four year old. There is a consequence for our actions, whether negative or positive and we are the ones who get to determine what our actions are. As I was reading through Joshua and the conquering of the Promised Land, Newton's law came to mind again. 

God had told the Israelites not to take any plunder from Jericho.

But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. Joshua 6:18

But one man could not help himself. When he saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels, he coveted them and took them and hid them in the ground inside his tent (Joshua 7:20-21, paraphrase).

His disobedient action cost the Israelites victory over the conquering of the next city, Ai, and the lives of some of their people. And ultimately, his life and the lives of his family and all that he owned. Joshua 7:24-26

As I sat there reading, I had to stop. It seemed like so much punishment for a seemingly trivial act of disobedience. Taking a few things you should not have taken. Possibly similar to looking at something for a few seconds that eyes are not meant to gaze upon or uttering words not meant to be on the tongue or incriminating thoughts permeating around in your head or borrowing without asking. Something no one would notice. But God does. And He did.

God noticed the coveting and the taking and the hiding and the sin. He had already warned there would be destruction and trouble if there was disobedience and yet the sin still occurred, which had to be followed by the punishment.

The bible says the wages of sin is death and how all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 6:23, 5:8). We all have our coveting - double minded - prideful - falling short sin in our life, no matter what that may be. We are all sinners. And the reaction for sin is death.

But we do have hope. We have Jesus.

And just for a little dramatic effect, insert Give Me Jesus by Jeremy Camp. Such a simple, beautiful song. Have a listen. 

Give me Jesus, give me Jesus

You can have all this world

But give me Jesus

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

God made a way for us, through Jesus. It is our choice: to believe and follow in obedience, covered in grace or get the punishment for sin - death.

Praying that if you have not put your hope in Jesus that you would make that choice and see the reaction. That you would see the blessings and healing and comfort that stem from it. That you would cross over from death to the abundant life and walk in the freedom that flows from it. Praying that you would see the errors of your ways and turn from them and start veering from the negative reactions to the positive.

Here's to hope and actions and reactions. 

music monday: oceans by hillsong

Tiffany NicoleComment

When Peter and Andrew and the other ten were called by Jesus to come and follow him, surely they never would have dreamed what would come about. All the healing of the sick and restoration of the blind and the thousands fed with a few loaves and fishes and the evil spirits cast out and walking on water. Miracle after miracle was performed before their eyes.

When you follow Jesus, you never know what will come of it. It is one step of faith after another. It is an endless chasing of the wild goose.

As God has lead me to writing, he has been leading me to other adventures out of my comfort zone with it. Things like taking a trip to the other side of the states by myself to attend a writing conference and fundraising to offset the cost.

Oceans by Hillsong could be my anthem and the fix to the awkward + nervousness + excitement that the whole thing is entailing Have a listen.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

In October, a group of God loving ladies will gather to connect and encourage one another in writing about Jesus at the Allume conference. A trip that will be roughly cost $1500 and be an opportunity for God to remind me that his ways are not mine and to fully trust him.

I have never packed my bags to travel alone. I have never done a solo flight. I have never been to the East Coast. I have never spent that much on a trip for myself, or my family. And honestly, I would never want to. But God keeps nudging and prodding and saying go. So this is the start of the adventure to follow him.

And in a fashion only God would do, I am fundraising to offset the cost via mugs, little cups of truth. I know, God is so funny.

A small shop is set up here, if you are interested in purchasing one. If you are local, I can deliver, just let me know. And if you could say a prayer for me, I would appreciate it more than you know.

Praying that if you feel God leading you to do something that you would jump in with both feet and get ready to get messy and dig and work and learn more than you would have imagined. Praying your comfort zones would continue to fall and humbleness would soak through. Praying that your faith would be made stronger and that you would see the miracles along the way and point others towards Jesus.

Here's to guiding and adventure. 

music monday: god you reign by lincoln brewster

Tiffany Nicole2 Comments

By God's grace and guidance, we recently embarked on our first official family road trip, logging nearly 2000 miles. We sang and danced and snacked and slept and marveled at the works of God's hand as the numbers on the odometer ticked along. The beauty of traveling by car is the ability to see the terrain up close and admire the landscape God so intricately designed.

 With nothing but stretches of open road, it is hard not to worship. Especially when accompanied with sleeping children and blue skies interlaced with clouds and rolling hills and silence and quietingpraise and awe cannot help but fill the soul.  

 A change in scenery allows you to worship God in different ways. Seeing his creation shows you things about God you never imagined or could have.

The way he thought about the most intricate of things. How small we really are. How it all points to the bigger picture. How he knows each person in each car that passes on the road and resides in each town. How they were created to do great things. 

How there is more to life than us. Than pleasing our desires and fulfilling our needs. There's worship and praise and thanksgiving and standing in wonder at the work of God's hand. At the grains of sand at the beach and the pokey parts of a cactus and the green of the leaves on a tree. And how everything works together to fill the necessities of all creatures on the earth.

It's knowing that just as God created the most beautiful of things for our eyes to glance on and enjoy, that he made us in this same way but even more so. With more purpose and meaning. For we were made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and were made to rule over the land and everything in it (Genesis 1:26). We were given a hope and future (Jeremiah 29:11). We were made for good works (Ephesians 2:10) and have eternity written on our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11). All of which is incomprehensible.

And in our short time here, we are made to be imitators of Christ. To draw others nearer to him. To embrace each day with open hands and rejoice in it.

God You Reign by Lincoln Brewster fits well here. Have a listen, along with some worship.

Your glory shines, you teach the sun
When to bring a new day
Creation sings, God, Your reign

Praying that you would have eyes to see God in the creation around you. On your drive to work today or to the grocery store or to school. That you would seek out the works of his hands that he put there for you to enjoy on this very day. Praying that it would not be taken for granted but that you would enjoy it, as it too is fading away. Praying that you would praise him because you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Here's to mountains and hills and open skies.  

music monday: cast my cares by tim timmons

Tiffany NicoleComment

Penny had fallen asleep in the car, so we transferred her straight to bed, without changing in to her jammies. When she woke to use the bathroom, she noticed and wanted to change and asked for help. Half way through, she had a change of heart and wanted no help. In her tired state of mind, she decided to do it by herself, putting back on the clothes from the day.

With frustration, she proceeded to put her shirt on upside down, inside out and backwards. As she cried, stating she needed no help and could do it herself, I waited.

And God reminded me of how often we say we will follow him and cast off our old selves, only to be held in bondage by the days past. How we willingly go back to our sin. We go back to trusting ourselves to knowing what is best for us, instead of trusting God; thus make a mess of things as we meander through it all. Instead of putting off the old self and the things that hinder, we hold them tighter and mix them up with things of God. For when we are in that place, we cannot hear wisdom or guidance from God or others. And in some cases, doing whatever we are doing all in the name of Jesus.

Penny proceeded to tell me to go away please, that she did not need me. I asked if she was sure. And she assured me she was, as she laid on the floor with a mess of clothes.

And like that, we tell God we don't need him either. He can go away because we are good. We are good doing our own thing. We don't need anyone to help. But we do. We need God. We need him to come in and show us how to let go. How to transform our old self in for his purposes and take our brokenness and use that for his glory. How to cast our cares to him and trust him. Truly trust him.

Cast Your Cares by Tim Timmons fits here. Have a listen.

I will cast my cares on You the almighty
I will cast my cares on You 'cause You're good
I will cast my cares on You 'cause You love me, You love me

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24

Praying that you would fully cast your cares God. That you would cast off everything that hinders you and the sin that so easily entangles. Praying that instead of seeking self reliance that you would seek dependence on God. Praying that you would continue to be renewed and revitalized in your walk with Christ and not be held in bondage from the past. That you would seek the things of his kingdom and his teachings above the world.

Here's to casting off the old for new.  

music monday: god moves in a mysterious way by jeremy camp

Tiffany NicoleComment

Usually my husband is the pancake flipper. Cooking breakfast (and any other meal) is one of his specialties, which works out perfectly with my affinity for home cooked meals. This day, however, I took on the role as pancake flipper and was on my way to pancake perfection when my three year old questioned my flipping procedure that she had witnessed so many times before.

Why do the pancakes have to be flipped?

They must cook on both sides, I responded.

But why do the pancakes have to be flipped?

The batter only cooks on one side, so the other side has to cook, too. For the other side to cook, it must be flipped over, I reasoned with her.

But why do the pancakes have to be flipped?

She obviously did not understand the concept, despite showing her the difference between the raw side and the cooked side. She just saw the flipping. And something about the flipping intrigued her, so much so she could not see past it this particular morning. After the tenth time, I assured her I just had to do it.


This word is intriguing. So much can come out of this three letter word. Why did he do that? Why did she have to go there? It can take you in to an analysis overload where questions outweigh reason and slightest look has you wrestling,

Why has been rolling around in my head lately. Why was the tree of knowledge in the middle of the garden? Why was sin allowed to enter our bodies? And why is the wage of sin death? Why the family unit comes after the fall of man?

Somewhere, someone has some theological answers with some sort of biblical backing. But I like to think of some fun reasons, too. And in the wonder and questioning and lack of understanding, God reminds me to be still (Psalm 46:10). To praise him because I do not understand because I was not created to know everything.

He knows the path of thunder and shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb and made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness and fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place and said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’? (Job 38).

Because he is God. He knows. He is ways are not our ways. We do not understand why the flipping and cooking occur though we watch it before our eyes as the minutes turn to hours and days pass by.
God Moves in Mysterious Ways by Jeremy Riddle fits neatly here. Have a listen.

God moves in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform.
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Praying that your whys or hows or whens would draw you nearer to God and that you would praise the Creator as you learn to trust him. That you would see glimpses of the bigger picture and stand in awe at the works of his hands. Praying that you would see the importance of the role that you play in His piece and how you have been created for a specific purpose (Ephesians 2:10).

Here's to questions that lead to worship and praise and admiration. 

music monday: here i am by downhere

Tiffany NicoleComment
A friend was recently admitted to the hospital due to pregnancy issues. After my immediate shock and sadness for her, my second thought was how exciting that God is moving her family in to a new place to minister. Not a place they chose to be but a special place none the less because God chose it just for them.

So often people consider missionaries only as those who go overseas but we are called to minister to those around us.

Jesus' ministry was organic. It was those around him that he taught and blessed and healed, as he traveled and ate and roamed. He did not first go to the women's ministry meeting and then to the men's and children's and the youth group. He taught to those around him and went where others asked him to go. The woman at the well (John 4). The home of Jairus (Matthew 9). The centurion (Matthew 8).

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

Yes, ministry is important in regards to our culture and church context and God calls us to join certain ones and lead in that aspect for a season but our lives are our ministry. The school your child attends. The office you go to daily. The library you frequent. The parks your child plays at. The coffee shop that supplies your daily pick me up. These are the organic relationships that have potential to change eternity. To give hope. To give a future.

You may never be called overseas to teach about Jesus to another culture but God may call you to a mission field you never imagined or wanted. A new cubicle after being let go from a company. A hospital bed after a diagnosis. A visitors pass to a prison. A frequenter of a cemetery.

These are mission fields. And they need you at the perfect time God calls you to them. Here I am by Downhere, fits accordingly. Have a listen. 

Here I am, 
Lord send me 
All of my life, 
I make an offering

Praying that you will see past the mirage of what a missionary should look like in the present day and instead would see the beauty in the heart of the calling Jesus offers. Praying that the holy spirit would guide and direct and give instruction as to where to stop and what to say and what to do. Praying you would enjoy the leading and following of the relationship and would walk in obedience to follow. Praying that you would follow the prompting to ask the mom at soccer practice if you can pray for her or to pay for the elderly woman's grocery that is behind you or writing an encouraging note and sending it in the mail. Praying you would follow the teeny Spirit inspired thoughts that come up throughout the course of the day that do not make sense at the time. 

Praying that you would trust God to show up in the midst of these promptings that you do not understand because his ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). Praying you would put your faith on your sleeve and bring glory to God.

Here's to your status as a missionary. Here's to prayers and blessings on the field that you are currently serving. 

And a little 8 x 10 printable as an encouragement in the words of the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 6:8). Click to download. 

music monday: dancing in the minefields by andrew peterson

Tiffany NicoleComment

When I found out Francis Chan was coming out with a book on marriage, co - written with his wife, I was super excited (if I have not yet mentioned, Crazy Love is my FAVORITE book ever). You and Me Forever found its way under our tree for Christmas and my husband and I have been reading through it together. This past Friday we launched it with our life group, which was really, really exciting, like I could not fall asleep the other night because I was really excited. All that being said, marriage has been on my mind lately and I have been fervently praying for yours.

Marriage can be easily be entered with rose colored glasses until the faults and let downs come, which allows you to choose to comfort with grace and love or to tear down with anger. It has the opportunity to enhance your life or ruin you. It can be a blessing or feel like a curse or nothing at all. It can be full of adventure and fun or brimming with frustration and self. The choice is entirely up to the parties involved. How much work one is willing to give and how much grace there is to offer.

One of my favorite songs on marriage is Dancing in the Minefields by Andrew Peterson, perhaps because the lyrics are similar to our story or maybe it is the way he so eloquently weaves Christ and salvation in, too - whatever the reason, it is beautiful. Have a listen.

"I do" are the two most famous last words
The beginning of the end

But to lose your life for another I've heard
Is a good place to begin

'Cause the only way to find your life
Is to lay your own life down
And I believe it's an easy price
For the life that we have found

Marriage is about laying yourself down for another. Day after day. Not just to sleep next to or keep a warm spot on the right side of the bed. It is a constant laying down of your self. Laying down your pride and entitlement and putting on humility and servitude. Marriage is a means to transform you in to the likeness of Christ. It is meant to be an example of how Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25).

Praying that you would seek Christ first and in turn would see the transformation that occurs in your marriage. Praying that Christ would be the head of your marriage and that unity and love would abound more and more. Praying that you would have eyes to see your spouse as an opportunity to serve God and that it would change the way you approach situations. Praying that your marriage would draw you closer to God and that it would have a ripple effect on those around you, impacting the eternity of others for God's glory.

Praying that you would see hope in a seemingly hopeless marriage. Praying that you would seek wise counsel where needed and that love would cover a multitude of sin and unforgiveness. Praying that your eyes would be opened to your short comings and failures and that your spouse would meet you where you are at and that God would fill you to overflowing with ways to overcome them. 

Here's to reflecting Christ in your marriage and building unity. 

music monday: tis so sweet by jadon lavik

Tiffany NicoleComment

Over the past year, God has opened my eyes to small things that I thought I trusted him with and made me realize otherwise. He has shown me how some responses have been rooted in fear, instead out of pure trust. These days, he reminds me to ask myself what my decision is based on before answering. If it is rooted out of fear - what might happen or the possible side effects - then it is not of trust or him. Good judgment is crucial and trusting God that if something were to happen that it is all in the palm of his hand. Entirely depending on him for the outcome.

It is small daily fears that so easily entangle. Yes, fears of heights and alligators and sharks may be typical but usually do not pose a daily threat, whereas the fear of a school shooting or car accident or failing at a presentation at work or school may hold you captive and instill an automatic no response. Fear of your child being at school during a shooting or not get the best education, so he is moved to another. Fear of your child being in a car accident with a loved one driving, so she stays home. Fear of not being able to meet work expectations, so you decline the promotion or project. Fear of people looking down on you, so you do whatever is required. Fear of the unknown. Fear of something outside of your control. These are little snares that so easily entrap you throughout the day that you may not have even noticed them.

Tis so Sweet by Jadon Lavik is a beautiful version this classic. Have a listen.

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”

It is sweet to trust in Jesus. And rest in his Word and his promises. To not have to worry about anything. Scripture has so much to say about trust and testimonies of those who have gone before us with the benefits of trusting God. Abraham trusted God to go to a new land. Moses trusted God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Noah trusted and built an ark. Trust is not something that happens over night. It takes time. It requires a giving up of yourself to be able to trust God. To gauge his dependency status. To give him a chance to come through or if you will have to do it yourself. To allow him the follow through.

Praying that you will put your complete trust in God. Praying that you would not lean on your own understanding of the situation because sometimes we are not meant to understand but simply follow in obedience. Praying that you would be conscious of what you are basing your decisions off of and that God would guide you to one that requires trust. Praying that trust in him would be built and would be a constant in life. Praying that fear would not have a grip on you and for trust to be embedded in your being.

Here's to decisions and less fear. Here's to more confidence in God.