Thursday, August 7, 2014

Hope. Joy. Peace. Where can I find them?

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

*hope... TRUE HOPE... Not temporary or fabricated, can only come from the Lord. Life causes us to lose hope because of heartbreak, loss, or circumstances that shake our foundation.

Hope can be restored even after it has been lost. Its okay to ...doubt, question, and try to figure things out on your own for a bit as you wonder if God can still be trusted... After all , 'He didn't stop the terrible thing from happening' so with that, is He able to be trusted?

The answer fully and completely is YES! Your loss was not a punishment. It was not the act of a mean God striking out to see if you would still be standing on the other side!

Bad things happen... They just do. We all walk paths we don't think we can ever recover from. (Recovery is NOT FORGETTING-but thats a different post) Your path of brokenness is different from my path, but there are still shattered pieces along the way.

Our ONLY source of TRUE hope is God. With His hope comes peace and joy. The hope, peace and joy are buddies and hang out together! If you need hope, peace and joy today please message me. I will pray with you and for you.

There is hope to be had... I can help show you how to grab hold of it! *ask me about grief and loss coaching and lets get started!

Monday, August 4, 2014

What is crushed in spirit? What can be done?


What does "crushed in spirit" look like? What does God do with it?

Life can and does take a perfectly beautiful and good spirit and crush it. The best visual I've come up with is the difference between a whole pineapple and a crushed one....
They look nothing the same, yet are. Which state is your spirit in today? If you've faced losses and experienced pain, you very well may have had some crushing to your spirit. Once this happens, is there hope? YES!

Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Crushed in spirit? He will save you!
He specializes in taking what the world destroys and putting it back together in a better way. I'd love to encourage you and pray with you today...feel free to message me or contact me. 

You can like me on Facebook as well. www.facebook.com/tammymcdonaldauthor

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

.: Why Does Death Suck?

.: Why Does Death Suck?: DEATH SUCKS, but do you know why? Separation is not in our God given DNA. It was never part of the original design of our hearts. Death is...

Why Does Death Suck?

DEATH SUCKS, but do you know why?

Separation is not in our God given DNA. It was never part of the original design of our hearts. Death is the separation that came as a result of sin. Its plan was to leave us without hope.

God had a back up plan through Jesus so we could have hope. That same hope is available to each of us in our places of grief and loss.

Some people navigate the path of healing, restoration, and rebuilding almost like it was an instinct. Others however get stuck. They long for restoration, but can't stop clinging to the rubble of a life that has fallen apart.

This my friend is where a grief and loss coach comes in. If you find yourself stuck, or realize someone you love is, be encouraged that there is hope. Jeremiah 29:11 is still true. I can help you (with the help of our wonderful Lord) move towards the hope of a new and abundant life.

Father, I lift up the person reading this post today. I believe it is no accident they stumbled upon it. Please encourage them in their places of grief. Shine Your rays of hope into their heart and mind. Allow those rays to point them to the next direction you have for them, or just give them the courage to take the next breath. Let them know they are not alone and You have not abandoned them. Speak to them in ways only You can and in ways they can receive. Give them moments of peace in their hearts and minds today. I thank you for this in Jesus' name~ Amen.

Message or email me at shiftedvisionministries@gmail.com if you need more encouragement.
#shiftedvision

Monday, June 30, 2014

Is There a Cure or am I Terminal? I Don't Have Time for This!

Today I am burdened. 

       *My house looks like a scene from a ground zero disaster. 
       *I have very real work deadlines that are closing in as well as self-imposed ones.
       * We are supposed to leave on a five day camping trip today and I still have to shop for groceries and pack my personal items as well as all of the things my family needs to survive because we definitely are not people who like to “rough it” even when camping. 
       *To top it all off, my oldest daughter has a mandatory orientation for Dual Credit classes that we must attend. 

I am overwhelmed. My list of things that must be done far outweigh what I feel that I have time to do. Can you relate?

In these times (and they happen far too frequently) the world and even my instincts tell me to work harder, work faster, do not slow down. There is so much to be done and there is no time for rest. There is no time to pause and seek God or invite Him into my hectic schedule. (Even as I type this I am getting the "stink eye" from my husband. He is wondering why I'm on the computer reaching out to you instead of running around like a crazy woman trying to get everything done)

I would like to say that I am skilled at bringing these thoughts into captivity (2 Corinthians 10:5). 

I would like to say it is easy for me to pause long enough to lay the heavy burden of my “to-do list” at the feet of Jesus and allow Him to give me rest (Matthew 11:28) 

I wish that as I feel myself becoming depleted of energy, I would just stop and wait upon God so my strength could be renewed (Isaiah 40:31).

Instead of these things, far too often I rush through life with the mantra “I just don’t have time for stopping and waiting for God.” It’s funny how I can continue to add more stuff to my  “to do list” but default to not having enough time to pause for God.

This leads me to ask myself, “What is the issue?” If I can continue to add more to my “get it done” list, why can’t I make it a priority to invite God to be a part of it? Why can’t I just stop for 10 minutes (or even 1 or 2) to allow Him to refill me so that I have the strength to continue on? Why is He the only optional part of my schedule?

Here are the things that I think it could be:

I confuse business with faithfulness: I bury myself in serving others, building a business that points people to Jesus by way of the books I author, the Life Coaching sessions that I do 1:1, the mentoring, and the retreats and events that I speak at. I pour lots of myself into these things and always use God as the compass. I can by all means continue in this way making the service a priority but for how long? How long will it be before I am on the floor, worn out, broken, and giving up?

I confuse excellence with perfectionism: I keep myself so busy and don’t enjoy most of the journey because everything must be done and it must be perfect. I get trapped in gravitational pull of perfectionism. It keeps everything ridged and non-flexible. Perfectionism is about my own strength and ability. That is now how God designed us though. Excellence is about His ability and grace through me. Perfectionism wears me out and pushed people away because nothing will ever be good enough or acceptable. Excellence allows me to walk in peace and trust God.

I might be a little bit of a control freak: I think this comes with perfectionism. With the need to be in control, I am essentially saying that I am the only one who can do it and do it right. It shows a lack of trust and God. Sure, God made me detail oriented for a reason, but it was not for me to take His place on the throne of my own heart.

I know that I am not the only one who lives like this. Business seems to be an epidemic with most of the people I know.

So what do I do? How do I make it a priority to pause and wait on God when in the natural is seems like I just don’t have time?

I find the answer in Romans 12:2. It tells me to not be conformed to the patterns of this world (the pattern of busyness applies), but I am to be transformed by the renewing of my mind. (It gets renewed in the time of pause…waiting on God) After that, I will be able to test and approve what God’s will is for me, my life, and my day. I might even learn what He wants me to have on my to-do list. Just as important I might find out what He wants me to remove from my list of obligations.

This leads me to the last questions. How do I pause? How do I add something in when I can’t breathe as it is? I have come up with a starting point. As God opens your schedule, you may want to add more time to any or all of these ideas.

Worship Music: find a place to just sit and listen to worship music. Most songs are 3-4 minutes long so give yourself permission to physically and mentally be still for the length of one song. It the time of one game of Candy Crush Saga and I promise you will get more out of it. During this time just listen to the words and allow your heart and mind to engage and connect with the Father you are seeking.

Thanking God: Set your timer for 3-4 minutes. Go to a quiet place (I typically have to do this in my car sitting in my driveway) and just thank God. Thank Him for what He has done in your life, who He is to you. Just open your heart and pour gratefulness out to Him. Lavish Him with the praises He deserves.

Prayer: Here again, set your timer for 3-4 minutes. Find a quiet place and give Him your “to-do list." You care about the list and every detail on is. The Word says for us to cast our cares upon the Lord… and He will new our strength. If you need strength to tackle your list, this is the way to get it.


I want to be honest, all of you. I am absolutely “preaching to the choir” on this issue. I suffer from the disease of busyness. Thankfully the it is curable and doesn't have to be terminal. 

There is hope…for each of us!

Scripture references for this post:
2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV) We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Matthew 11:28(NIV) 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest

Isaiah 40:31

 (NIV) 
31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Romans 12:2

(NIV) 
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.




Thursday, June 5, 2014

Observations at a Funeral: Death Sucks...We Don't Have To


I attended a funeral this past weekend. I was there to honor the person who died and support the family left behind. As I sat through the service, I watched broken-hearted family members sitting on the rows marked “Reserved." I saw adult children weep as they were forced to say goodbye to their mom. My heart broke as the song “Baby” played, and the youngest son’s final resolve for strength crumbled completely. His brother, trying to be a strong “Big Brother,"  attempting to soothe the void their mother’s death left behind.

Her husband sat stoic, almost in a trance…his strength resolve holding firm, waiting for a moment when he is alone for the first time in over 40 years. He will grieve in quiet. He won’t take a chance of adding his pain onto his sons’. His words of “It’s gonna be tough on them” echo in my heart as I wonder if he realizes how tough it’s going to be on him.

As I sat in the back of a packed funeral home, I couldn’t help but think of the times I’ve had the undesirable position of being part of the grieving family. I was struck by the inevitability that one day I will be there again, saying goodbye to who? My Mom or Dad? My Brother? My Husband…or heaven forbid one of my children? In those times would I be surrounded by people who were supportive, or people who had their own agenda in the midst of my loss? I looked around the packed funeral home and deciphered what I saw.

In this mix of grief, sadness, and pondering future losses; I saw some pretty amazing things. I saw people love on this family exactly where they were. There was no sense of expectation of how any of them should be grieving. People stood strong for the sons while they fell apart. Others set up food and cleaned up messes. There were people who laughed whole heartedly as the husband cracked his jokes as a means of keeping the hounds of grief at bay…if only for a few more hours. I did see some not so nice people and events, but they are not what I choose to focus on today…I want to focus on the reality that death does suck- but we as people don’t have to!

I saw lots of “un-sucky” people at this funeral. I saw an entire community rally to encourage and support a broken family. These things I have seen before and will see again, but there was one aspect of this funeral that left me in awe at the respect shown for the dead, those grieving, and the ones showing support. The actions that struck me to my heart didn’t happen at the funeral, or the graveside, or even at the family home afterward. The funeral procession trip from the funeral home to the cemetery stirred my heart and made me want to a better person…this is what my post today is all about.

The trip from the funeral home to the cemetery started out like every other one I have been a part of except that this one was VERY long! There were police officers that led our lengthy group and blocked oncoming traffic so we could make it from one location to the other. Pretty standard…right? The difference was this: at each intersection the officer blocked the road with his vehicle, got out of the vehicle and stood there with respect holding his removed hat across his chest. I was impressed by the first one, thinking “Isn’t that a nice thing he is doing?” 

Then we passed the second, and the third, on to possibly the 10th officer and each and every one was showing the same respect with hat removed and positioned across his chest. I tried to get a picture, but there were technical difficulties and all I got was passing roadways. I was moved so deeply by this act of humility and honor. 

I later found out that the show of respect is the Sherriff’s policy. All I can say is that he would have my vote. I also found out that several of the officers volunteered on their day off to assist with the procession. (I don’t believe they got paid… they served this family and their friends) Way to go guys! You stirred my heart to be a better person.

There was one last gesture during the procession that gave me pause and made me reflect on a sign of respect I thought was long forgotten. ALL oncoming traffic pulled to the side of the road and let the entire procession line pass by (and remember…I said it was a long group) before they merged onto the road again to make it to their destination. Regular people, like you and me, showing respect for someone they didn’t know. What a great thing for them to do. They paused their life for just a few minutes, and that pause affected the deepest parts of me.

I don’t know if these things happened because we were in a small farming/ ranching community or if the people there are just better than those of us from other areas. Either way, it got me to thinking that we should all try to be better, do better, not be so self-centered, and to in general…try not to suck!

On the off chance that the police officers, people who pulled over for the procession, or even the people who helped the family on this dark day in their life read this…Thank you! From the bottom of my less-sucky heart…Thank You!!!

*I know this post strays from my typical language and voice. I want to always share truth with you. With that in mind...death does suck for those who are left behind, but God offers healing and hope. If you need help finding that hope, please feel free to contact me.



Friday, May 16, 2014

Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

All I want to do is beat myself up…I messed up AGAIN! I feel like pounding my head against the wall yelling “Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!”

When I am like this (and it happens a lot), I see God, not as my loving Father, but as an exasperated boss who is upset with me because I just can’t seem to get it right. The human side of me pictures Him as frustrated and angry, wanting to punish me or give up on me. I imagine His saying, “You are such a failure. You are a screw up! Why do I waste my time on you? I do everything I can to teach you, but you are unteachable! You disgust me! I give up on you. You are not worth my time and effort!”

Can anyone else relate?

It is very easy for me to get trapped with this false image of God. The problem is that my imaginary God is tainted by a human view of acceptance and love. If I allow myself to keep this image, then I pull away from Him instead of running to Him…because of my flawed perception of who He is and His character. Just like a child hiding from his parent when he knows he is going to get punished.

The only way for me to correct this idea of who God is, is by going to scripture.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV) Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV) My grace is sufficient for your, for my power is made perfect in weaknesses.

With this knowledge, I can cut myself some slack. I can brokenly go to Him and allow Him to love on me, restore me, and build me up. His compassions toward me (and you) never fail. He never gives up on us. He loves us with a perfect love that is so difficult for us to understand or attempt to embrace.

So today, instead of beating myself up or pounding my head against the wall, I go to  Daddy God, who sees my weakness and has compassion. I allow Him to take me in His arms and hold me. I can hear Him say, “It’s okay. I’m still here. I still love you. You will get it. I will use your weakness to show my grace. I will not reject you or turn you away. You are my child…and I’ve got your back. Just keep trying. I love you! Now love yourself. I show mercy to you, now have mercy on yourself. I forgive you, now forgive yourself.”

If you found this encouraging...Please share with your friends via email and social media!