Check back for updates on my trip to the UK and the amazing things God is doing in the city!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Here it is....

Nine years ago, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Part of this stemmed from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and part of it from genetics and the fact that my brain wasn't producing enough serotonin. I struggled with insomnia, night terrors, panic attacks, and a feeling of anxiety all the time. There were days when I couldn't get out of bed. It's effected relationships I've been in and my ability to function at work. It's been embarrassing at times. I've been on and off medications. Twice I've weened myself off the medication and prayed for healing. Twice I've had to go back on it.

God brought so much freedom over the course of the two weeks I was in the UK. God is so good! Here's my story:

Belfast was amazing! I met so many amazing people and it was so moving to finally see, first hand, the things God has been stirring my heart for. It was surreal to stand next to the peace walls. It was heartbreaking to see the division and denial. I got to pray for two men who are planting a church in West Belfast. (The worst and most dangerous part of Belfast.) This happens to be the area that stirs my heart the most. I cried and prayed and shared my heart for this broken city. It was encouraging to hear their heart for that area. I also got to pray for two young girls (just out of high school). As I was praying for them, my heart started to break. I wept. I could sense the desperation in their hearts. I wanted so badly to hear their story and to know more about them. I knew, however, that they probably wouldn't want to open up too much since I just met them and I wasn't even from that area. As soon as the pastor that was praying with me left, I started to say my goodbyes and they pulled me back and started pouring into me. They told me their story of heartache, pain, division, and hope. My heart broke...even more than it already had. These two beautiful sisters had been through so much and yet had so much hope for a better future. They wanted nothing more than to flee this culture of bitterness, pride and brokenness. I began to wonder how many other young women feel the same way. I wondered how many young women live with this and feel so alone. Towards the end of our conversation, I really wanted to ask for their information so we could keep in touch, but then thought that might be kind of weird since I live in another country and we'd just met. Again, I started saying my goodbyes and one of them asked for my information and said that they would both love to keep in touch!

There's a lot I learned on this trip, but one thing that was really influential was at one of the conferences when Jay said, "The encouraging thing about ministry is that we can't mess it up. If God wants to use us, He'll use us and there's nothing we can do to mess it up." There is so much freedom in that! Even if we say something a bit "off" or forget to say anything at all, God has a way of using these things and making them His. Here was a moment that I could have missed because I dismissed it as "well, I'm not from here and they might think that's weird." God, in turn, used these girls to show me that I really can't mess it up. And, sometimes, all you need to do is just listen. Sometimes God uses our ears and our hearts without ever requesting the use of our mouths. That was a stark realization for me since I love to talk. Humbling to say the least.

We spent only two short days in Belfast and then left for Coleriane, Northern Ireland (Causeway Coast). We put on a leadership conference at the Causeway Coast Vineyard. We participated in "Healing on The Streets" where they set up chairs in the center of town and offer to pray for people. We also handed out free tea and coffee and provided free face painting. I got to pray for a man who used to be in the IRA (Irish Republican Army) and is now a police officer in Northern Ireland. It was incredible to hear his story and all he's been through and seen. We also spent two days gutting out the new church office building. We spent a lot of time cleaning, painting, and finding a lot of random things through the process.

On our walk home, I found a note folded up on the ground. I thought, "Oooo. That would be fun to read." But walked on. The next morning, the note was still there, so I picked it up. It was from a man who was writing to his girlfriend or wife. He was apologizing and asking for forgiveness. He told her how he wants to be a better man. How he doesn't want to beat her anymore....and on and on. It was a moving letter. I wondered if she ever got it. If he dropped it or if she dropped it or if it was intentionally tossed.

The last couple of days we were in Coleraine, we put on a leadership conference for the church. The second night of the conference, I found myself getting rocked by every word that Jay spoke. He spoke about depression. He spoke about pain. He spoke about freedom. I was so overwhelmed and all I could think to do was to stuff it down and deal with it later. I was there to pray for people. I convinced myself that praying for people needed to be my focus. I prayed for a few people and sat down to soak in the last bit of worship/ministry time. A friend of mine on our team came over to me and asked if she could pray for me. As soon as she started praying, I broke down. I realized that I can't just choose when to "deal with" what God is stirring in my heart. When He wants to do something, He'll do it. Not matter where I am or what I'm doing. I had been feeling depressed all day that day. I had been having anxiety about the different things we had on our agenda. (For no reason in particular.) I felt numb and empty. I was broken. I was suddenly very aware of how much I say, "I don't have time for this. I'll deal with it later." I was suddenly very aware of how unhealthy that is. How painful that is. I missed our late-night pub outreach that night. I was so rocked and didn't know how to begin wrapping my head around what was happening. I was exhausted.

From Coleriane, we traveled to Harrogate, England (by way of Bus, Ferry, and Train through Scottland...with a 50lb back pack) for the New Wine Leadership Conference. THAT was an experience...and a LONG day. We made it to Harrogate just in time to have a quick bite to eat and head to the first session of the conference. Whew. But, HEY, I got to see Scotland! Beautiful country!

On May 18th, I arrived for the second evening of the New Wine Leadership Conference. I was feeling pretty worn down and a bit fatigued. The session started with a lady from the Salvation Army who was speaking about prayer. She had everyone take a moment to wait on the Lord and ask Him for words of affirmation for themselves. Then, she had us all speak out those things over ourselves. As this was happening, I was wanting to badly to hear the Lord. I was so desperate for His voice. For his presence. And, yet, I felt nothing. I heard nothing. I looked around and saw people worshiping and proclaiming these things and shouting with joy. I felt nothing. I felt numb. I was suddenly very aware of how joyless I'd been. I felt such desperation in that place. I wanted what these people had. I didn't understand why I didn't have it. Then, the lady asked us to ask the Lord for words of affirmation and encouragement for our church. She then asked us to get in groups of three and pray for our church. I staggered over to two girls on our team as we began to pray. Each proclaiming things over our church. They looked to me and said, "Ok Tia. Your turn. Do you have anything you'd like to proclaim over the church/pray for over the church?" I broke. I started weeping. I told them I had nothing. I was empty. I felt useless. I couldn't hold it in any longer. We went into the hallway to pray for quite some time. I expressed how frustrated I was and how much I wanted to experience all that God has for me. I told them how I'd gotten prayer for the anxiety for years and nothing has happened. It's seemed that it's only gotten worse. One of the girls got a picture for me. She said she saw a bunch of people jumping on trampolines and I was saying, "I want to join them! I want to play!" (which is so totally me) Then God said, "I have wings for you. Wait for the wings. Trust me, you want the wings." WOW. That sobered me a bit.

We then went back into the auditorium where the speaker was just finishing up. He asked leaders to come forward for prayer who had been struggling with doubt. I was convicted in the fact that I doubted God's ability to heal me. I doubted God's power and provision in my life. I went forward, fell on my knees and wept. A woman came and laid her hand on me and began to pray. I began heaving as if I were throwing up. I realize now, that this was merely spiritual darkness coming out. I didn't quite understand what was happening.

I couldn't hear what the woman was saying until she leaned in closer to my ear and said, "You're delivered."

Then she was gone.

At that moment, I felt a heaviness lifted off of me. I felt a freedom I've never felt before.

Then...I burst out laughing.

I was weeping and laughing...which felt a bit odd since everyone around me was weeping and I'm cracking up. I was so filled with Joy. They Holy Spirit fell on me and I knew something big had happened. Even still, I sat up and started to doubt. I thought to myself, "What's going on? Is this the Lord? Is this just me trying to make something happen? Have I been healed?" Then I started feeling anxiety. I started hyperventilating. My hands started getting tingly. I was having a full blown panic attack right there. The laughing stopped. I started weeping. I couldn't breathe. I didn't know what was going on.

Then, as quickly as a flame goes out with a abruptly stopped.

I heard a still small voice say, "It is finished."

It was in that moment, I knew I'd been healed.

I, again, was immediately filled with joy and could not stop laughing. It was joy like I've never experienced before. I didn't know what to do with myself. 9 years of anxiety and depression and it's over just like that. GOD IS GOOD!!

Now, you remember this all started with the words of affirmation thing? Well, this lady (whom I'd never met before in my life) came up to me as I was sitting there. At this point, I'm laughing and crying and my jaw is shuttering like crazy. This lady said, "I have a word for you! Can I tell you?!" Of course I said yes. She continued to say, "I saw you from across the room and I heard God say that He is going to give you prophetic gifting for the lost generation. You are called to work with youth. God wants you to know this is real. The reason your mouth is shuttering is because you have encouraging words for the youth and those words need to come out."


I'm still processing this. Wow. God is good. He is faithful!

I was on cloud 9 the rest of the night. A friend of mine on the trip said I looked like I was high. Ha! I honestly haven't been the same since.

The rest of the trip was amazing! I survived my first solo trip on the underground. I got to see a lot of London. I met so many amazing people. The people we stayed with treated us like we were their own daughters. They were so wonderful!

Now I'm back and still processing all that happened and all that lies before me now. It's bitter sweet being back. Reality always hits hard, but things look different now. I can sleep. I can breathe. I can process. God is good!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

God is faithful!

Yesterday, at about 2pm, I was notified that I had 24 hours to decide if I am going to be able to raise the rest of the money for my trip. At that point, I was stressing about having 5 days, let alone 24 hours. So I was on my knees. I was praying and begging to hear God's voice. At work last night, I was distracted. I couldn't help but wonder what the next day would bring....what the next week would bring. Before I went to bed, a friend of mine prayed with me and asked God to speak and to reveal His plan for me for this trip. As we prayed, I got a vision of wine bottles in a factory getting ready to be shipped out. I thought, " Wine!" God has brought New Wine to the front of my thoughts several times in the last month and I have a feeling He's going to do some pretty awesome things while we're there! I went to bed asking for His confirmation if this was Him telling me to press forward and wait for his provision over the next 5 days. I was desperate to hear Him. I was at the end of myself.

When I woke up this morning, I had a message from a friend on the team and she informed me that she wanted to give me some money for the trip. I sat up and thought, "Does this mean I'm going? I still have a ways to go." Then, my friend that prayed for me the night before called me and said, "Ok. We can do this! Send texts, send emails, let's see what we can do before the deadline this afternoon." I immediately had my reservations, but was encouraged (even more so after getting the message I woke up to). So, I got up and I started sending texts, and she started sending emails. Within minutes, I started getting responses: "I'll give $100!", "I'll give $50!". That went on for about an hour! Within an hour, I had about $400 raised!

Then the responses slowed down and there was a lull. I sat...and I waited. And I waited. And I prayed. And I waited. Then, a friend of mine sent me a text and said, "How much do you need?" I promptly sent him a text back and told him how much I needed at that point. He wrote back and said, "Done. I'll do it all. You're all set! Where do I send it?"


I called him immediately and could barely get the words out of my mouth. I told him how much of a roller coaster the last 24 hours had been and how much of a blessing this morning has been. He then said, "Well, God actually put this on my heart last night. So, I was planning on giving at some point today, and then I got your text this morning." WOW.

Within 3 hours, I had ALL the money I needed.


God is so good! SO GOOD!!

After this, I was still getting phone calls and emails and texts of people who wanted to give! (Which was a huge blessing because I still needed a couple hundred for the time off work I won't get paid for to pay my bills.)

Guys, I am now fully covered to go on this trip! What a difference a day makes! Praise God!!

I have been raising support for three months and God could have easily provided that earlier on, but I literally have come to the end of myself. I was humbled. I was in need of HIS provision. HIS word. HIS presence. I believe there was purpose to the way this worked out. God knows what He's doing and I can't wait to see what's in store for us on this trip!!

There are other people on our team who still need money, so if you would still like to give, you can.

THANK YOU for those of you who have been praying and THANK YOU to those of you who have given so generously! I am truly, truly blessed!!

I now only need $700!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I need to raise $1,500 in 5 days.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

2 weeks and 50% to go!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

There's Still Time to Give!

In 3 weeks I will be boarding a plane for the UK. I can't believe it's only 3 weeks away!! I still need to raise $2,585.09! I'm working like crazy and trying to sell things (to no avail) and I know God will provide what I need! If you'd like to give, there's still time! Click on the "Give" tab on this website for details on how to give. Thank you SO, SO much to those of you who have already given so generously! I am truly blessed by your love and support!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Faith and Vision

I realized, recently, that this trip may sound like less of a missions trip and more like a fun and expensive trip to London. While this trip will have moments of fun, it will be challenging and life-changing for me. I anticipate big things and I know God has so much for our team on this trip. So, please read on. I want to share with you WHY I'm going.

I am at a crossroads in this season of my life. I lost my job. I now have a job that I don't have to commit to long term. I feel and see God moving in my life now more than ever. In the past, I've made big decisions based on what I wanted and then slapped God's name on it to get people's approval. I realize, now, that it would be hard to take this seriously as many times as I've followed a "dream" or "longing" and failed. However, I'm human. We all make mistakes. And, for the first time, I can honestly say this is God and not me. God is stirring me in ways I don't understand. He's pushing me in directions that are uncomfortable and challenging me to believe in the seemingly impossible.

I'm going to Northern Ireland in May. I'm going. And my hope and my prayer is that I won't come back the same way I left. I'm praying for God's clarity and vision for my future. I'm praying for insight and confirmation for the things my heart burns for. On this trip, I will be stretched. I will live out of a backpack for two weeks. (If you know me, you know this is a challenge in itself.) I will pray for people I don't know in a place I don't know. I will stay with people I don't know. I will be challenged to share my story with people I don't know. My pastor recently informed us that, "When I'm on, you're on. At any time, I could call you up on stage and put you on the spot. Be ready for that." GULP. There will be very little down-time and I foresee there being some stressful moments with such little down-time.

This won't be a trip I take and come back to "life as usual". This will either confirm or deny my future in Northern Ireland. I don't know what God has for me, but I know there is a reason my heart stirs the way it does about this place. My heart breaks to hear about the 20 foot walls that continue to build in the city of Belfast. A mere band-aid to a much bigger problem. I hear about youth so angry and bitter that they have no hope or care for their own lives or future. The last name they want to hear is "Jesus". The last place they want to go is "church". This nation is divided by a history of politics, pride, and prejudice. God wants reconciliation. Matthew 12:25 says, "A city divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can this kingdom stand? And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you."

God calls us to be disciples. "Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:16-20

In a time when my life feels so out of control, I'm reminded of how much I need to just let go and follow what God is doing in my life. So many times, I've started to follow a direction God points me and then I veer off on another path because I decided my desires were more important than the direction God was taking me in.

This Easter, I was watching my little cousin fill her Easter basket as she wandered around the back yard looking for fun things. Patrick leaned over to me and pointed out the fact that my aunt was pointing at something in a bush but my cousin kept walking forward looking at the immediate area around saying, "I'm looking! I don't see anything!" Patrick then said, "It kind of reminds me of how we are with God sometimes. God is calling us to do something and yet our eyes are fixed on the immediate things around us and we're frustrated saying, "I'm looking! I don't see anything!"' How profound that was!

I'm in this place now. I'm being challenged to look up and trust that God will take my hand and lead me. I know that God will take care of my immediate surroundings. I'm fixing my eyes on Him and the direction He wants me to go in. I'm standing on the ledge, I'm taking a deep breath, and I'm jumping.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Plane Ticket Purchased!

Well, it's been an interesting week. We had planned on having a yard sale last weekend to raise the remainder of what I needed for the plane ticket due date (yesterday). However, mother nature decided otherwise. We made the decision to postpone the yard sale due to the fact that there was still so much snow on the ground and threats of more snow that weekend. I really had to give it up to God and trust that He would provide the money I needed by Monday. Well, He did! I have raised 35% of the money for my trip which was enough to make the deadline to purchase my plane ticket! I'm really going! (I keep having moments when I tell myself that.) It seems so crazy. I don't think it'll hit me until I'm there....or maybe about 6 hours into our flight. (8 hours on a plane?! That's just nuts!)
I was supposed to start a new job last week. The HR department was backed up with open enrollment and didn't get to my information until, well, now. So, I've been waiting. And waiting. And waiting. It's been frustrating. Today, I finally got a call and they "officially" offered me the position and I should be starting in a couple days! Yay!

It seems as though I was tested in a lot of ways last week. Tested with trusting that God will provide what I need when situations were out of my control. That's another thing. Not having control of anything right now is driving me nuts! Really makes me realize just how human I am. Thank God for grace!!

Looking ahead, I have another $2,000 due in a couple weeks. I know God will provide! I'm so excited for what God has for me on this trip! I'm already having conversations with people on our team that are stirring things in my heart. I know this trip is going to stretch me in many ways. It is going to challenge me. But, it's in challenging and stretching that we grow. I'm excited for growth!

Our Yard Sale will take place this weekend. Several people have donated items and I am so grateful for that! Please pray that the weather cooperates! We will be giving people the option of just donating. Please pray for generous hearts!

I'm so grateful to be surrounded by such amazing, supportive people. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Send Me

Mile High Vineyard UK Missions Promo from Tristan Ringering on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I have officially raised 25% of what I need for my trip! Thank you, thank you, thank you, to all of you who have sent in your support!

I still need to raise $385 by Monday to purchase my plane ticket and ensure my spot to go. After that, I have about a month to raise the remaining $2,900. I feel God moving and providing in this and I've had just enough to make my payments on the due dates so far!

Please continue praying for provision and encouragement! Thank you, again for your support!

P.S. I will be posting some information about Northern Ireland and the condition of the culture in a couple days under the "Northern Ireland" tab. Stay tuned!

Monday, March 8, 2010


The last two weeks have been challenging but have only confirmed how much I'm supposed to go on this trip. It seems as though every day brings new and ridiculous challenges brought on by spiritual warfare. Although, through it all, I've been able to remain calm and hopeful. I know that God is in control. I know that God will provide.

Two weeks ago, I was wondering how I'd even come up with $100 (which was our first payment due last Monday). I thought to myself, "if I'm wondering where I'm going to get $100, where in the world am I going to get $4,400?!" It was that Thursday night that I sat in my car calculating the $20 gifts I'd received that week. I had just been given $40 before I got into my car. As I added it up, I realized I was only $15 short of the $100 due on Monday. It was then that I knew this fundraising has nothing to do with me and everything to do with God. I'm now seven days from the due date of our next payment, $700, and I'm once again crunching numbers. I'm slightly short of the $700 but I know that God will provide just enough just in time.

Last Tuesday, I lost my job. They laid me off. I've never been fired or laid off. I've always left jobs on my terms. This is the first time I've had to process leaving a job under these circumstances. I know, however, that I'm not alone. I realize I share this burden with thousands of people. I thought about weather or not it would be a good idea to go on this trip since I lost my job. I thought about how people would think of me raising support when I don't have a job. I came up with a million excuses for why it won't work. Then I realized, they are excuses. God has made it clear that He wants me to go on this trip. He has made it clear that I'm to let go of excuses. I believe He'll make it happen. I have hope. I have faith that I'll find a job. I have faith that God will stir the right people to give.

In this moment, it seems impossible. I believe, however, that God chooses these times to act miraculously! Because it's in these times I find faith. I will look back and have no doubt in my mind that it was God that got me through it. It's these times that people look back at and know He IS the great provider.

"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 faint." - Isaiah 40:31

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I'm going to the UK!

I'm excited to announce that I’ll be going to Northern Ireland and England (The UK) on May 10th through May 25th! I had my reservations about the cost and the timeline, but God has spoken very clearly to me about this and I know He wants me to go. While I realize it’s coming up very quickly, I know that God can make things happen in HIS time.

Would you prayerfully consider becoming part of this ministry through sending me financially? A gift in any amount would help me get closer to my goal.

The total cost of the trip is $4,400. (This cost includes transportation, housing, food, insurance, conference fees, and unpaid time off work.) This money is needed somewhat quickly. In order to know whether or not I’ll be able to travel, I must have $700 raised by March 15th, 2010. Since I will be traveling with my friends from the Mile High Vineyard Church, all donations will be tax deductible.

As many of you know, the last few years have been instrumental to discovering my heart for Northern Ireland. Four years ago, I was at church watching a promotional video for a trip they were planning on taking to Northern Ireland. I watched as they interviewed a teenage boy and asked simple questions like, "What did you do today?". And then I witnessed something that has forever changed my heart. This young boy answered these questions like any teenage boy would, however, there was an obvious tone of anger and resentment to it. Every other word was a swear word. He seemed so careless and angry. My heart broke. My heart broke to think of a place where kids have grown up in such opposition and spiritual segregation that they've become bitter, angry and violent. God has stirred my heart in so many ways over the last 4 years and I truly believe in His heart for reconciliation in this country that is so torn by politically driven religious differences.

A bit more about the trip:

Belfast, Northern Ireland - We will be spending time in Belfast, meeting with leaders at the Vineyard church and discussing the things they are doing there. (

Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland - Then we will go up to the Vineyard church in Causeway Coast ( where we will be putting on a conference. Jay, our pastor, will be speaking and we will have the opportunity to pray for and minister to people. We will also be participating in an ongoing ministry they have there called “Healing In The Streets”. Once a week, they take to the streets and pray for people.

London, England - Then we will head to London, where we will attend the New Wine Leadership Conference. ( Jay will also be speaking and we will have the opportunity to pray for and minister to people there as well.

The payment due dates are below and I would be blessed by any amount of support you can give me.

March 1st - $100 is due
March 15th - $700 is due
March 29th - $700 is due
April 15th - $1000 is due
May 3rd - $1900 is due.

If you would like to be part of this mission through your financial support, please make your check payable to The Mile High Vineyard and write my name on a separate note. (Please don’t write anything in the memo line of the check.) Checks can be mailed to The Mile High Vineyard at 5608 Yukon Street, Arvada, CO 80002. All contributions are tax deductible.

Thank you, in advance, for your support! If you have any questions, or would like to be a part of my email updates before, during and after the trip, please email me at I appreciate your support in every way as I head off on this journey. I consider it a privilege to invite you to participate with me in the great challenge and hope that awaits in the UK.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Four years ago, I was sitting in church as I watched a promotional video for a trip they were taking to Northern Ireland. I watched as they interviewed a teenage boy and asked simple questions like, "What did you do today?". And then I witnessed something that has forever changed my heart. This young boy answered these questions like any teenage boy would, however, there was an obvious tone of anger and resentment to it. Every other word was a swear word. He seemed so careless and angry. My heart broke. My heart broke to think of a place where kids have grown up in such opposition and spiritual segregation that they've become bitter, angry and violent.

I will never forget that moment. It was that moment that began stirring my heart for Northern Ireland. I find myself longing to know more about the history and the culture. I have so many questions. I've read history books. I don't read history books. I don't even like to read! Last year, I was at a bar on St. Patrick's Day listening to an amazing U2 cover band and wanted to weep when he played "Sunday, Bloody Sunday". I have felt this transformation in my heart and I am forever changed and fascinated by a culture that's overcome so much and, yet, still lives in the shadow of such pain and segregation.

About three weeks ago, I found out our church was thinking about taking a team to the UK. I immediately felt like I was going to jump out of my skin. Over the next two weeks, I prayed about weather or not I should go. Initially, there was no doubt in my mind that I should go. Then, after discussing it and thinking about it further, I decided it might not be the best trip to go on based on the fact that we weren't going to Belfast. Over the course of the last year, God has focused my heart, specifically, on the Belfast area. I have met so many people, randomly, who have either just moved here from Belfast or were originally from Belfast or are just visiting from Belfast. (I've gotten downright giddy about it.) So I decided that, as much fun as it would be to spend two weeks in London and a couple days in Causeway Coast (which is what I originally thought the plan was), I knew that my heart would be in Belfast. I knew it would be difficult to know I'm so close to where I know I'm supposed to be, and yet I wouldn't get to go.

This last Sunday, the church held an interest meeting for the trip. Although I had pretty much made up my mind that I wasn't going to go, something told me I should still go to the meeting. During announcements at church, Nicole said, "And just a reminder; there will be an interest meeting after the service for anyone interested in going on the UK trip. We will be spending time in Belfast, Causeway Coast, and London." My heart jumped to my throat. Did I hear that right? Did I miss something? Wha?

As Jay began to speak, he started to challenge us re-think the ways we live relationally. He noted 2 Timothy 2:3-7 and the parallels between the characters mentioned. (The soldier and the civilian. The athlete. And the hardworking farmer.) All the while, I'm still thinking to myself, "did she really say Belfast?!" God began stirring something in me. Towards the end of the sermon, Jay said something about missing out because you're not willing to do the work. I started feeling convicted for all the times I've made excuses and missed out on opportunities God had for me. I heard God say, "you claim defeat before you even get to the starting line." Ugh. That didn't feel good.

As I prayed into this, the Holy Spirit fell on me and I started weeping. I realized how much my excuses get in the way of all that God has for me. I realized that it's time to stop making excuses. It's time to start trusting in God's provision. I then heard the Lord say, "it's time to stop trying so hard to be a civilian when I've clearly called you to be a soldier." Then I knew. I knew it was time for me to go.

It's time!

I was suddenly aware of the fact that I made the excuse earlier that, "Oh, well, this trip isn't exactly what I think it should look like, so I'll wait for something else." In the moment, it felt right. God intervened and said, "No. I'm not going to let you excuse yourself out of this one. You're going. You're going to Belfast. You're going to Causeway Coast. You're going to London. I have plans for you. I want to use you."

Talk about an overwhelming evening.

I went to the interest meeting and was tempted to think, "there's no way I can come up with that much money in three months!" However, I stand here and look back on all that God has done to get me to this point and I am able to see the bigger picture.

No more excuses.

I'm looking forward to what's ahead, knowing that it might not work out the way I hope, but I know God is in control.

I can honestly say, this is one of the biggest leaps of faith I've been challenged to make. Financially, it does not make sense for me to go on this trip. I'm barely getting by since my pay was cut last fall. I've seen God provide for me in so many ways in the last couple months and I know he knows my needs. He knows I'm going to have to raise two weeks salary on top of the trip cost. He knows I don't have a penny to put towards it. He knows. I have to trust that.

So I'm leaping.

I have hope that I will get there. I have hope that, in the end, I'll look back and there will be no doubt in my mind that it was God who pulled me through.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

My God Has Rescued Me

As I was sitting, listening to tonight's message at church, I kept thinking, "I should feel something. Maybe I'm not listening close enough. I should feel something." Nicole spoke about the decisions we make in life that effect so many parts of who we are. She talked about how we are all....stupid. We all make stupid decisions. We all have regrets. Therefore, wisdom looks different for each person because each person is fighting a different battle. As she was talking about these "bad decisions" that we all make, I couldn't figure out why I felt peace. I would almost force my mind to go in the direction of my past and where I've been. Somehow, my mind wouldn't stay there long.

Towards the end, Nicole said, "I know talking about this can sometimes make us feel horrible for things we've done or decisions we've made, but our past is gone. God makes all things new." It was in that moment that I realized what it was. If I had heard this message two years ago, I would have been a mess. A crying, blubbering mess. This sermon would have wrecked me. But now, I'm free! I felt nothing, because I'm free. And I didn't feel nothing, I felt JOY. I was filled with joy. I've been rescued from my crap, from my pain, from my regret, from my past. I've been rescued. I've been saved. I've been freed! I am free!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I've been thinking it's a shame that I've lost all my previous posts from my old blog.
But then it donned on me, "They're still there!"

So, if you'd like to read through the "archives", you can do so at

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

God is Not a Vending Machine

I was praying earlier today about what God wanted to speak at small group tonight. As I was praying, God brought to mind the verse in Matthew that says, "Come to Me all who are weary and I will give you rest." I thought to myself, "Ooo! That's a good one!" Then God said, "Come to me. I will give you rest. Do not get impatient or frustrated if you do not hear Me speak. You will find rest in my presence alone. Sit. Soak. Know that I am God." I immediately wrote it down. I was so excited at how profound it was that I put my things away and started doing something else. "Great," I thought, "this is good! I'm good to go!"

Moments later, I was thinking about it and was suddenly convicted about how I had so quickly cut God off when He gave me what I wanted. I took it and ran with it. I decided He was done speaking and decided I knew what He was doing and that was that.


This got me often I treat God like a vending machine. How often I get so wrapped up in what I'M doing that I only turn to Him when I need something. When I need an answer or guidance, I simply sit down and pray and wait for the answer. Kind of like putting money in a vending machine. I sit. I wait. And slowly the spring starts to turn and God starts to speak. Then, viola! God speaks and I'm good to go! I take it and leave. (Sometimes without even remembering to take my change.) God is left standing there saying, "Wait! You forgot me! I wasn't finished!"

Then there are times when I get no answer at all. Kind of like when you put your money in the vending machine and the cookies get stuck. Naturally, I want to shake the machine. Get angry and frustrated. Maybe even kick it a few times. (Everyone knows that'll totally help the situation!) Until I finally walk away disappointed that I spent my time/money and got nothing in return. This happens often when I don't hear God speak. I get frustrated. Impatient. I give up and do something else.

It's a selfish and convicting feeling to think that I treat my relationship with my Savior this way.

Relationship with God is not about what He can do for me. He longs, so much, to have my all. He longs to have my undivided attention. My whole heart. My time. He wants me to pursue Him the way He pursues me. He wants me to notice that He pursues me.

While I was at small group, I was looking down at the words I'd written earlier. I couldn't wait to share what the Lord had said. Then He said, "No Tia. This is for you. Don't you see? I want to give you rest. I want to love you. I want you to sit with me and know that I am God. Do not be discouraged or impatient if I don't speak. There is rest in my presence. This is what I have for YOU. I want YOU. I have so much more for you if you'd only sit and wait on ME."

God is not a vending machine.

I sit here humbled with a sober awareness of His place in my life and how much I take that for granted. God is my teacher and my compass. I am grateful for His presence. How sweet that is! I will rest in this place.
Simply, rest.