Sunday, March 8, 2015

But by the grace of God go I

I have a sin problem.  This is not a new revelation. I truly believe one of the reasons God called us to foster is that I would not have free time to indulge my selfish behaviors. (This is not me saying anyone who doesn't foster is selfish, btw. We are not all called to meet the same need.) I say this so no one can be fooled that I am anything special for how we are choosing to live our life. ANY praise and ALL glory goes to Him who redeemed me from the pit-  A pit I dug for myself and jumped in.
The details are between the Lord and me but I was sifted. I learned first hand to have compassion and mercy on others because I was given so much of it from Him. I learned that unless I am actively running from self-indulgent behavior I have no ability to stop it from consuming me. I am doing Beth Moore’s Daniel bible study again and have been slapped in the face once more.
I have recently received an honor from a local magazine and it will be published next month. It makes me shake in my shoes that anyone might see something other than Jesus in me. My blood literally runs cold thinking about my flesh being prideful over the honor. I want it to be said and heard before it is even seen that there is NO pedestal that I am worthy of and I mean this with all my heart- ANY good you see in me is from HIM.  I am the most sinful of all. I was like the person talked about in Isaiah 58. I thought I was “doing” good but was not.
Isaiah 58:9-12 says:
9Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.
Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

My greatest desire is to follow Him. I want to run from the complacency of living my life as a “Christian” that only serves myself. I was given an urgent and burning desire to take my faith back from the American Dream as David Platt challenges in his book Radical. I want to be broken and poured out for Him and may I assist Him as HE repairs the broken wall of these families I interact with. It is HE who restores the families I get the privilege of watching come back together. HE is rebuilding the ancient ruins of the families who have only known the pattern of abuse and neglect for decades. May I never cease praying for them and reminding myself that I am one breath away from it being me in their shoes. But truly by the Grace of God go I.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Unfiltered version

Starting with court on Monday, I felt myself start to self-destruct...over eating, not exercising, insomnia, and the list goes on.... I know my patterns well and I don't know if I can say it's a benefit of growing older or not. I tried my best to stop the train wreck. I shifted to my "favorite" coping mechanism, denial, and went into survival mode. I continued to say and act like everything was fine, yet on the inside the anger and hurt was festering and building.
It came to a head earlier today. I locked my keys in the car at the dry cleaners. I thought, no biggie, Onstar will unlock them....called and our subscription had expired and it is "impossible" to renew over the phone. That was it! Not one more false reassurance could keep me from boiling over. At 89 degrees outside I took off walking. At first, I didn't care or know where I was going. I was just SO MAD! I was pounding the pavement and telling God- This (foster care, grief, unfairness of life, path He called me to, and the difficulties of an innocent baby) was more than I bargained for and I was angry. Angry He asked this of me. Angry I wasn't "stronger" or had more "Faith." Angry every single child doesn't have a loving, secure home. Angry life has to be so dang hard sometimes. Angry I said yes to participating in this chaos and my obedience wasn't rewarded with roses and good times and a happy ending. Isn't THAT what it is supposed to look like? Why did I just have a mess at the end of my months and years of following His path for me?
What happened you may wonder? I stomped and sweated it out to my husbands office where he picked me up. I get in his truck and slam the door and start in on him....poor guy. I tell him all the dirty and ugliness that was spilling from my heart. The pain bubbled out and poured out as hot tears on my cheeks. I grieved for the child I love as my own while I know he isn't mine. I sobbed that is wasn't fair to me to love him, care for him, and advocate for him and him not be mine forever. I didn't want to hear a word of false reassurance. I wanted to jump into the pit and wallow.
That happened for a good 20-30 minutes until I was spent and it was all laid bare. I was empty and poured out. His peace came over me and like a still small voice I hear Him in my secret places whisper.....I love you and it's ok to grieve and it's ok to be angry at injustice. False hope and promises won't carry you in the long run.....only Me and My word. Where have you been looking Tenille?
You see, I haven't spent much time in my bible since Monday. I have ran from Him like Jonah. I have prayed and talked with Him but not laid my burdens down as He calls us to do. I have not surrendered my pain, anger, and hurt. I tried to lay it at the alter only to pick it back up at amen.
Yes, I did choose this path and I'm thankful I did. Had I not? Where would the children who have lived in our home be? Who would have loved them? Who would have showed them God's grace and mercy? Who would have attached to this precious baby boy my heart is shattered over? If not me, then who? I CANNOT do this on my own as He so graciously showed me earlier. It HAS to be of Him and in Him. When I start thinking and acting as if I'm doing it and He is my side kick, disaster is imminent.
I'm thankful for grace. I'm thankful that it (foster care, grief, this path) IS worth it. I'm thankful for forgiveness. Most of all, I'm thankful He loves me and is with me through each and every moment of my journey. So, what about my happy ending?
He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake Psalm 23:3

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:2

Bring the rain,

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Fostering: It IS


  • when you are the mommy, but you are not
  • when you don't feel a connection but even harder when you do
  • when you give until there isn't anything left, but more is still needed
  • when all you can think of is sleep and it never comes
  • when you see how far behind a sweet one really is
  • when you show up for a visit and no one else does
  • when you have to share the news no one else is coming with a dear one
  • when a birthday comes and goes and you are the only one who acknowledges their special day
  • when you want to tell a "parent" like it is and you know Jesus called you for more
  • when you explain for the thousandth time, "yes it IS hard when they leave"
  • when you just wanna scream PLEASE quit saying "I couldn't let them go" you think we are heartless?
  • when NO ONE understands the path you have chosen but a fellow foster parent
  • when TALKING about it and LIVING it are NOT the same
  • when you walk away for the last time and your heart splits in two
  • when your child prays for a sweet one to be their brother or sister and you know that won't happen
  • when a new one comes
  • when a new one leaves
  • when a new one ROCKS every bit of routine in your household
  • when nothing is familiar of yourself
  • when you know you failed
  • when you fall in love so hopelessly you know your life will never the same
  • when you don't know the answer to their questions
  • when they pray for their mommy to not "do the drugs"
  • when you see the need and are overwhelmed by it yet those who are called AREN'T ANSWERING
  • when there aren't any good explanations
  • when even on your most patient of timelines things are still pending

Yet all of that is NOTHING compared to the insurmountable joy in knowing you are walking in HIS will for your life and answering His call.


  • when you LOVE
  • when you stay in the Word 
  • when you remember you and to God and God alone
  • when you throw away the perception of others about your choices- the world DOESN"T GET IT
  • when you are surrounded by encouragers
  • when you have friends and family who pick up the slack
  • when the precious ones smile at you
  • when you see the need
  • when you see progress in your precious one
  • when you see your own child developing a servant's heart 
  • when the pain brings you to Jesus feet and you feel His presence like never before
  • when I am needed as their advocate
  • when you have an empty room
  • when you know you have been called
  • when His word COMMANDS me to care for them
  • when the JOY fills your heart when you see a breakthrough you thought would never come for a child
  • when a parent weeps and thanks you for loving their child

Whoever taught us that Christianity was easy was a liar. Our savior bled and died on a cross.....for MY sins while He was perfect.....ummmm so why should my life be easy again if I accept Him? COME ON people! Wake up and take back Christianity from "the American dream." The book Radical completely rocked me to the core in 2011. May I never be the same. 

"The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway." Mother Teresa

I am not out to change the world, but I am out to love each child brought my way to the very best of my ability. I am so blessed to have had the privilege of God removing "the scales from my eyes" and allowing me to live life in a manner such as this. My families entire perspective has been changed. What was important no longer is....These walls that encase my family are precious and sacred. If you cross the threshold as a "precious one" you are family and you are loved. My four year old will tell you that. How grateful I am that even they get it. Why don't we all? That still small voice that tugs at your heart....listen to it. It just might make your life hard- for the best of you and oh how worth it, it truly is.....
God's best,
James 1:27

Friday, January 31, 2014

It matters

Last night while at our Heart Gallery showing God pierced my heart. As I listened to Suzie Evans speak she mentioned a song......a song that I had listened to many times as a child. It prompted a song in my mind by that same singer.....a song my mom and I sang together at a Women's Conference in Benton, AR at Calvary Baptist Church when I was around 9 years old. "Show me how to Love" by Babbie Mason.
Link for the song:
 Show me how to Love

What brought me to tears? I was overcome with the fact I HAD someone who not only TAUGHT me these words but SHOWED me how to live it out. What about all the MANY who don't have anyone in their lives to show them the way? No one to teach them what love is, what sacrifice is, what serving is, and most importantly about my Savior. I remembered every word to the song I sang over 20 years ago so how are we sitting by and essentially allowing children to have HATE, NEGATIVITY, and PAIN poured into their lives daily and expecting them to grow up and not show and share that? TELL ME HOW?! It is time for the church to stand up and take action. It is time for His people to SHOW the love of Christ and quit talking about it. It was NEVER meant for the government to raise our children. It was and still is the CHURCH's privilege. I don't want to ever have to answer for the empty bedrooms in my house and why I allowed them to stay that way.

God, I beg you to move in the hearts of your children. Spur them to action and give them a sense of urgency that today is the day to make a stand. Give me direction and wisdom to continue the fight to open people's eyes to the travesty surrounding them in their OWN communities. Lord, it is YOU who will change their hearts and I am thankful I get to witness the revolution that is coming. You are good, so good. In Jesus name, AMEN!

 Do not allow one more day of brokenness in a child's life. DO what HIS word says for us to do!

PS: The words I sang to that song at 9? CHANGED my's a taste:

I saw a bruised and battered woman
With her hungry children on the street
Then I heard ask in that still small voice
What have you done for the least of these
Lord, please consume with a burning fire
That melts away my complanceancy
Let me moved with love and compassion
Then someone find the way through me

Show me how to love
In the true meaning of the word
Teach me to sacrifice
Expecting nothing in return
I want to give my life away
Coming more and more
Like you each and everyday
My words are not enough
Show me how to love

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Where's your sign

I am reading our old blog tonight and ran across this one I wrote in 2008 and I think it is SO applicable to what I wrote earlier tonight.....sweet kids of mine~ Always remember you never know what kind of "sign" someone may be wearing.

What's your sign

Probably not what your expecting considering the title but here goes:

Well, I just ranted and raved enough that I am spent. As I was writing my mad words God started knocking on my heart. Everyone has a soapbox, everyone has problems. Tenille, _______ did not mean to hurt your feelings, she was kidding. How many times have you done that same thing Tenille??? It does not even have to be someone’s personal problem…it could be their life situation. Comments made carelessly that cut deep, hurt someone. I am awful about it….seems I can’t keep my mouth shut and am always making careless statements.  Don’t you wish that everyone just wore a sign around their neck….I’m sick, I lost a child, I’m an alcoholic, I have been abused, having a bad day, etc. This would make is so much easier for us to be compassionate about a sharp word or bad attitude or maybe an ugly look. We don’t have that “easy pass” to understanding. God called us to turn the other cheek, love the unlovable, be compassionate, loving, and understanding…even when it is hard. In fact, He wants us to love even more so when it is difficult. As Christians we have the awesome privilege of laying our sign at the feet of Jesus. He knows, He understands, He wants us to let Him take away our hurts, our soap boxes, our jealousies, selfish desires and get real with Him. Find joy, happiness, peace, love, and all that He has promised us. Does it take away circumstances or situations that are unbearable? No, but it will help us clarify our focus and realize this world is short and our sole purpose is to glorify Him. This is not about us.  
So I apologize. It was pure selfishness speaking earlier with a little bit of desire for people, maybe just one, to understand where we are coming from and just be happy for us as we make this journey.

It is so easy for me to spill my guts on these pages and my momma will tell you this in NOTHING like me face to face. I get this pained expression, different tone of voice, and won’t even really look you in the eye most times to tell you anything this personal about myself.  It makes me feel like I am sitting before people naked as a jaybird! I am laying it out here because I feel that I am not alone in these feelings and someone might understand; get one tiny bit of encouragement from me getting honest with myself. I think I keep telling you guys this so you won't expect these kind of talks when I see you....haha! 
So…what’s your sign?

Give it to Jesus....

Posted by tenille on 04/02/08 at 10:58 | Comments (8) | Trackbacks (0)

Heal the Wound

My new song obsession.....

I used to wish that I could rewrite history
I used to dream that each mistake could be erased
Then I could just pretend
I never knew me back then

I used to pray that You would take this shame away
Hide all the evidence of who I've been
But it's the memory of
The place You brought me from
That keeps me on my knees
And even though I'm free

Heal the wound but leave the scar
A reminder of how merciful You are
I am broken, torn apart
Take the pieces of this heart
And heal the wound but leave the scar

I have not lived a life that boasts of anything
I don't take pride in what I bring
But I'll build an altar with
The rubble that You've found me in
And every stone will sing
Of what You can redeem

Heal the wound but leave the scar
A reminder of how merciful You are
I am broken, torn apart
Take the pieces of this heart
And heal the wound but leave the scar

Don't let me forget
Everything You've done for me
Don't let me forget
The beauty in the suffering

Heal the wound but leave the scar
A reminder of how merciful You are
I am broken, torn apart
Take the pieces of this heart
And heal the wound but leave the scar 

re-post from my old blog on 5/1/05, still a favorite......

Summing up motherhood for me.......

I see myself, Tiffany, and mom sitting at McClard's on exactly a year ago yesterday telling them we were expecting Lexi and how both of them were probably thinking a lot of these things and how little I knew and was prepared for something as amazing as Lexi. I tell people it is the best thing I have ever done and that doesn't even give it enough glory to me because how little I have done compared to having Lexi. I praise God everyday for giving me this blessing. I cried and cried when I read this.

We are sitting at lunch one day when my daughter
casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of  "starting a family." "We're taking a survey," she says half-joking. "Do you think I should have a baby?" "It will change your life," I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral. "I know," she says, "no more sleeping in on
weekends, no more spontaneous vacations." But that is not what I meant at all. I look at my daughter, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes. I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional
wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable.
I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking, "What if that had been MY child?" That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her.
That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die. I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will
reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That an urgent call of "Mom!" will cause her to drop a soufflé or her best crystal without a moments hesitation. I feel that I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for childcare, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think of her baby's sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her baby is all right. I want my daughter to know that every day decisions will no longer be routine. That a five year old boy's desire to go to the men's room rather than the women's at McDonald's will become a major
dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that restroom.
However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother.
Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself.
That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give herself up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years, not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish theirs.
I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor. My daughter's relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks. I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child. I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic. I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving.
I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike. I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or cat for the first time. I want her to taste the joy that is so real it actually hurts.
My daughter's quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. "You'll never regret it," I finally say. Then I reached across the table, squeezed my daughter's hand and offered a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all the mere mortal women who
stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings.

Please share this with a Mom that you know or all of your

girlfriends who may someday be Moms.

May you always have in your arms, the one who is in your heart.

Life lesson # who knows

Dear Lexi, Lauren, and Will,

It has been too long since I have written. I have been silent when I should have spoken more than once that is for sure. It is not because I have not written in my head and poured out my heart in thoughts of things I want you to know and hear from me as you grow. Tonight, the urge was just too strong and I had to get up out of bed and come put the words on paper. This does not mean they are that just means I am trying to be more intentional. :)

This week my feeling were hurt. They were hurt in a raw, deep, and soul searching way. My very character was questioned and it brought out the ugly cry. I don't think the person hurt me intentionally as they were very angry and were looking through different colored glasses than I wear.....that being said, as I was reading tonight this quote jumped out at me. "Satan loves it when we do his work for him by dumping on each other." Lisa TerKeurst. Wow, just WOW! That is exactly what happened to me. I have always had a very weak tolerance of being judged  by how a certain mold of how I "should" be or what I was "expected" to be.....when this happens I usually lash out and lash out in a pretty good way...."pretty good" meaning tear either the person or situation a part with a tongue lashing. This time I didn't. It felt good that I didn' At the time, I wanted to ummmm rip the person a new one but somehow refrained.
This was grace. Jesus quietly whispered to me to hand over some grace that I have been so frequently given. Grace, grace God's grace.....grace that will pardon and cleanse within....I have always loved that old song but I saw what it means. When given, it helps you (me) forgive and walk on and not be weighted down by the bitterness that someone may have just tried to drown us in. It feels good too.
Grace....tonight I pray you learn how to not only receive it, because that is hard as well, but also to give it.
My precious babes, mama loves you. I love you with my whole heart and all that I am. I am beyond blessed and underserving of such sweet and perfect love that you share with me. My cup runneth over and always never know how unhappy and messed up on the inside someone may be not matter if the outside is cleaned up to perfection.

Give grace regardless of how it is packaged.

I love you,