Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Walking by Faith

Hebrews 11:6
It is impossible to please God without faith.  Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.

God calls each of us to go forward without fear - into the unknown, into the unfamiliar.  He wants to use us right where we are, using exactly what we have.

My friend, Tina Bailey is doing just that!

Tina is helping shape the faith of many in the African American community.  She's also a conference speaker and the author of, What You're Hiding is Hindering your Blessings.

It's a very REAL, authentic book!

Tina and I know each other from high school.  She recently contacted me and asked if I would take part in an event she felt God compelling her to organize.

It's an event for women of all ages, but specifically to younger women.  She wants them to know that their lives matter...  that their are greatly valued by the Lord God Almighty...  She wants them to know they're WORTH IT! 

Talk about getting out of the boat...   She's booked a venue; secured 6 speakers & vendors; procured AMAZING door prizes like pedicures, manicures; makeovers; gift baskets, gift cards, etc...

I'm over the moon excited she would have me!!!  But I'm going to be honest.  In the 8 years I've been speaking at women's events, I've never done anything like this.  It's sad to me -  for the most part, we do not worship with people of differing races.   The Bible tells us one day, people from every nation, tribe and language will worship TOGETHER at the throne of God!  (Revelation 14:6)  Until that day, I believe that Saturday will be a small taste of that sweet day...

In light of all that's happening in Baltimore, Ferguson, North Charleston, and Oklahoma, I LOVE that this amazing woman is walking by faith... Gathering believers and maybe unbelievers - regardless of race, under one roof for worship, encouragement and teaching.

It's going to be a great day!   Join us!

Saturday, May 2nd
Wingate by Windham Hotel:  at I40 and 54 in Cary/Raleigh line.
9:00 am is when the morning session begins.  You can attend morning or afternoon sessions or both!

Click HERE for ticket information

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Test of Submission & the Conclusion to the TV Story

1 Peter 3:1
"... you wives must accept the authority of your husbands." (NLT)

Quick review:  I recently filmed a Pilot Episode for TLC called Submissive Wives.  The date has changed   It's slated to appear May 18th.  (Subject to change.)

God calls us to go forward without fear - into the unknown, into the unfamiliar.  He calls us to go forward, right where we are, with exactly what we have.

When you sense God calling you out of the boat, we must remember:  (See previous posts)

Principle #1:  Listen for peace
Principle #2:  Get a Word
Principle #3:  Ask for a sign (Exception, NOT the rule.  Faith pleases God)
Principle #4:  Obey what you sense God saying.
Principle #5:  God's voice trumps all others.  

But what if your husband says NOyet you sense God telling you to get out of the boat?  Refer to Principle #6 - 

Principle #6:  God brings confirmation through our husband.

And if he initially is not on board, you've just received a test called:  submission.  The test of submission (for a married woman) is an important part of our calling.

God has given our husbands the responsibility of being the leader in our homes.  It's His divine order for the family.  This does not mean:

  • we, as women are inferior or less than - 
  • It's not an issue of superiority - 
  • It's not a second class citizenship.
It's the God given chain of command in the home.  The only exceptions to submission are:
  1. Adultery
  2. Abuse
  3. Worship of other gods
  4. Asking you to do something immoral or illegal.  

If the above does not apply to you:) -  and your husband is opposed to what you sense God is calling you to - you must submit.  It's a test that will ultimately make us stronger and more qualified for the calling.  A few practical things we can do when our men are not on board...
  1. Double check to make sure we have not misunderstood God's direction.  (Go back to your Shepherd and get clarity.)
  2. Know that our calling must be for a future season.  (Begin praying God will move in your husband's mind, heart and circumstances.)
  3. Trust God's protection through your husband.
  4. Determine NOT to help God like Sarah, Abraham's wife did.  (Genesis 16)
Do you know the story?  God promised Abraham many descendants.  But there was only one problem:  Sarah, could not have children.

So she decided to help God fulfill the promise by giving Hagar, her servant, to Abraham.  The child from this union was Ishmael.  What a mess this turned out to be!  See more in Genesis 16 &21.

Whatever God is calling us to - HE ALONE can bring it about.  Our job moving forward is
  • to pray; 
  • to trust God through our husbands;
  • to continue walking with Jesus daily by obeying the big and small.
  • Watching for Him in your circumstances and then joining Him in the work!
This is when God blesses our water walking!  He trains us in the field of everyday circumstances to fulfill the calling He's placed on our lives.  

I personally believe He uses the test of submission in order to see what's in our hearts...  To see if we can be trusted with the plans He has for us...

The Conclusion of how this TV stuff started!

The casting company's continued correspondence in January began to scare me.    I began begging, no BEGGING God to close to the door if this was not Him.

My greatest fears have been: embarrassing the Lord; representing Him wrong; making the Body of Christ look foolish or embarrassing my family.

Yet, just as Christ prayed in the garden prior to His death, I prayed in tandem with the begging,  "Not my will, but Yours be done."

He answered by giving me this verse in my quiet time:

"You parents, if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead?  Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake?  Of course not!  So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children how much more your heavenly Father gives good gifts to those who ask Him."

I believe He was reminding me that when I pray in accordance to His will, He's NOT going to throw me under the bus!

Very soon after this Word in Scripture, a contract came.  It wasn't a good one.  We had a friend who's an attorney review it.  His words, "YOU are the submissive wife in this contract.   It is very one-sided."

I was relieved!  It would end here.  This probably would not be worked out...

But in my quiet time one snowy morning in February during the week of negotiations, "What He opens, no one can close; and what He closes, no one can open,"  (Revelation 3:7)  jumped out at me in my quiet time.

And sure enough - the door was not shut.  After an hour of discussion with the president of the casting company, my husband was comfortable with moving forward...

After 5 days of filming (my part, the other 2 other couples had their own days of filming), the Pilot is complete.  It's still in the editing phase.  (Pray for the Lord to direct the hands who are editing.)

Whether or not this whole concept goes to series is not for me to worry about it.  It's God's show - It was His idea through an executive at TLC.  He will do whatever He determines.

In the meantime, the new air date is May 18th:)

I hope these 6 principles for water walking have helped you in your current calling.  Would love to hear your feedback...

If you live in the Cary/Raleigh/Durham area, please join me - 
THIS Saturday, May 2nd
Wingate by Windham Hotel:  at I40 and 54 in Cary/Raleigh line.
9:00 am is when the morning session begins.

I've been invited to speak at a very unique conference that I'm super excited about!

I'm the final speaker of the MORNING session!  Tina Bailey is the planner.  THIS is a woman who's getting out of HER boat to put on this conference in her corner of the world...

Click HERE for ticket information

Thursday, April 23, 2015

6 Principles to Walking on Water, Part 2

Matthew 15:29
So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on water toward Jesus.

Quick review:  I recently filmed a Pilot Episode for TLC called Submissive Wives. Currently it's slated to appear May 3rd*.  (*Subject to change, I'll let you know!)

God wants us to walk by faith and not by sight just like Peter did when he climbed over the side of the boat to walk on water.  He wants us to take risks for His Name sake.  He wants us to bring great glory to Him and Him alone in our corners of the world.

How is God calling YOU out of your boat?  There are many ways He calls us out of the boat - both big and small.  (See previous post in cast you missed #1-3)

Below are six principles I apply prior to getting out of MY boat.

Principle #1:  Listen for peace
Principle #2:  Get a Word
Principle #3:  Ask for a sign (Exception, NOT the rule.  Faith pleases God)

Principle #4:  Obey what you sense God saying.

It's the only appropriate response when you know the God of the Universe is SPEAKING PERSONALLY TO YOU.   Even if we're wrong, God is honored by obedience and will gently redirect us.

In my case, I sensed God was telling me to connect with the casting company.   I obeyed.  Following the skype interview, we laughed thinking we'd never hear from them again.

But 2 months later, we did.

Then again the following month.

Which led to multiple phone calls and emails.

I began seeing, "Wives submit to your husbands..." multiple times in my quiet time.   I started freaking out...  Begging God to close doors that are not meant for me to walk through.

Soon they started talking about a potential contract.

I needed another Word!!!  (See Principle #2!)

In my quiet time following a desperate cry to hear, He seemed to reiterate some of the same words given to me in Jeremiah 1:17-19:

Acts 26:16, "Now get to your feet!  For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness.  You are to tell the world what you have seen.  [I have seen God work MIRACLES in my marriage in response to obedience and prayer.]

I will rescue you from your own people [I understood this to mean believers who may not support me or think I'm nuts for doing a reality TV show ... maybe even friends who agree with my actions]

and from the Gentiles [I took this to mean protection from unbelievers and scoffers of submission in marriage]

Yes I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God.  Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God's people, who are set apart by faith in Me."  [I believe He was saying, "Through this project, I'm going to draw many to Myself.  I'm sending you as my servant."]

The tricky part came when some of my closest friends, out of love for me, were skeptical. VERY skeptical.

Don't be surprised if this happens when you attempt a risk for God.  Out of love and concern, well-meaning people will often discourage you from getting out of the boat.  (I'm not saying ignore wise counsel, but I am saying wise counsel should align with what God is telling you.)

This is why it's important to KNOW the voice of God.  (John 10)   Jesus promises His sheep will know His voice.  With my friends saying something totally different than what I sensed God telling me to do, I had to intentionally apply principle #5...

Principle #5:  God's voice trumps all others.  
(If you need help discerning the voice of God - don't miss May's luncheon!!!  Click HERE)

My friends hesitantly accepted after I shared what I sensed God saying.  Yet, I'll be really honest, this principle was difficult to navigate.  Some of the friends I'm describing are not mere acquaintances, but praying women.  It would have been very easy to take a poll and make a decision based on what my godly girlfriends thought.

But this isn't walking with Jesus.  And it's NOT faith.  Don't close a door God may be opening because of the opinion of others.  Go to the Lord and hear from Him.

The one person who's opinion really mattered...  The one person who's support I WOULD NEED in order for this project to happen... was my husband.

If Tim would have said, "No," that would have been it.

But he didn't.  His support was further confirmation of God's direction.

Principle #6:  God confirms His plans through our husbands.

Tim has wholeheartedly been on board from the beginning.  (Even when they asked us to film a romantic scene.  That was awkward...  More on this later.)

Point being:  When you get out of the boat, God's voice must trump others.  Don't take a poll.  Your friends are not responsible to God for your obedience, only you are.  God will honor your water walking obedience!

But what if your husband says NO, yet you sense God telling you to get out of the boat?  What do you do???

NEXT POST plus the rest of the story!

Join me - Next Saturday, May 2nd
Wingate by Windham Hotel in Raleigh,

I've been invited to speak at a very unique conference that I'm super excited about!

I'm the final speaker of the morning session!
Click HERE for ticket information

Monday, April 20, 2015

6 Principles to Walking on Water, Part 1

Matthew 15:29
So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on water toward Jesus.

Thank you for the comments many of you emailed following my big news last week. Click HERE to read, in case you missed it.    Upon sharing my news, I asked you not look at me as if I had 3 heads.  One of you said, "Tara, you DO have 3 heads:  Father, Son and Holy Spirit!"  (Love it!)

Quick review:  I recently filmed a Pilot Episode for TLC called Submissive Wives. Currently it's slated to appear May 3rd!

This week, I want to share how this all started...  how God called me out of the boat. 

But instead of making it about me, I want to challenge you to apply the same principles when God calls YOU out of the boat... God wants us to walk by faith and not by sight.  He wants us to take risks in our life journey for His Name sake.  He wants us to walk on the water with Him - bringing great glory to Him and Him alone...

In October of last year, I was contacted by a casting company out of New York to see if I would be willing to interview for a show about submission in marriage.

My first response was to delete the email.  It sounded preposterous!

Yet, I didn't have any peace in my heart about deleting the email.  

Principle #1:  Listen for peace
"And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts..."  Colossians 3:15a Amplified Version

Peace can be an umpire confirming if something is from God or not.  Yet we should not rely on peace alone. We should ask God for a Word of direction or wisdom or both!.

Principle #2:   Get a Word

The next morning (by the way, it was the morning of October's luncheon.),  I asked Him about the email and then continued with my reading from the day before.

Suddenly, Jeremiah 1:17-19 jumped of the page -

"Get up and prepare for action.  
Go out and tell them everything I tell you to say.  
Do not be afraid of them, or I will make you look foolish in front of them.  
For see, today I have made you strong like a fortified city that cannot be captured..."

I sensed God was telling me to respond to the casting company's email - to not delete it.  I sensed He was telling me that He would give me the words to say and was commanding me not be afraid of them.  I even sensed He was promising strength and protection.

Sadly,  I still wasn't convinced.  (So embarrassed to tell you this, but it's the truth!)

So I did something I don't normally do.  I asked for a sign.

Principle #3:  Asking for a sign

Now hear me out, I think it's fine when we're young in our walk to ask for a sign, but at some point, we need to start walking by faith and not by sight.   Faith is what pleases God.  (Hebrews 11:6) Continually asking for signs is walking by sight not by faith.

I'm not young in my walk anymore, yet I serve a God of mercy.   This request from the casting company was too big for me to navigate.   I REALLY NEEDED TO KNOW if this was a door God was opening or a trap set by the enemy.

The sign I asked for:  To see any portion of Jeremiah 1:17-19 AGAIN over the weekend...  (I was giving Him 3 days to confirm.)  Either through my pastor's sermon or something else I would read in my quiet time or written in the sky... Anything!   But I asked to see Jeremiah 1:17-19 AGAIN if He wanted me to respond to the casting company.  I based my prayer on Gideon's request for sign in Judges 6.

That afternoon following our October luncheon, I lingered and visited with guests.  I soon saw an elderly woman approaching me.  An employee of MacGregor had invited her mother and grandmother to attend our luncheon while they were visiting from Florida.  This 80+ year old lady was kind and encouraging.  But suddenly, while in conversation, she started quoting Jeremiah 1:18-19 verbatim!!!  Word for Word.  

I nearly passed out!  Surely my face must have turned pale and eyes wide in holy fear!

I knew this was the God of the Universe was speaking to me... Inviting me OUT OF THE BOAT to walk on water with Him...

Obedience is the only appropriate response.

How is God calling YOU out of the boat?  How have you responded?

How did these people end up in my home???
More Next Post

Luncheon this past Friday was POWERFUL!
Suzi McDuffee has a soft, sweet voice,

but on Friday, she boldly,  without hesitation,

without apology,  shared what God says about marriage.  And He has a lot to say on the subject!

Oh girl, it was GOOD!  I took lots of notes I'll share in upcoming posts.

The Q&A that followed was RICH.
Don't miss these luncheons.  Their too good not to attend.

See Pictures HERE

May's Luncheon - May 15th is our last for the season!  
Don't miss it!  Save the Date.  Details to come.

Monday, April 13, 2015

An Open Door - God's Project; His Creation

Luncheon Friday, April 17th!
Speaker:  Suzi McDuffee

7 Principles for a Duracell Marriage...
Details - Click HERE

Psalm 33:6
The Lord merely spoke, and the heavens were created.

Recently, the Lord added a new role to my plate...  It's a role I initially did not want.  I even prayed... no begged against it.  (This started 6 months ago.  I'll share that story next post.)

But the Lord has made clear - THIS is a door HE has opened.  Therefore, I am fully embracing it; wholeheartedly on board and now praying for it's success!

I'll be honest, I've struggled in verbalizing to you what this new role is.  (Hence, one of the reasons for my lack of communication lately.)   It's SO awkward in saying it out loud.    In fact, the people I've shared this with - look at me like I have 3 heads when I tell them!

So before sharing, can you promise not to look at me like I have 3 heads and just resolve to pray for the project?!   As I have watched God work in and through this project, it's His idea; His creation.  Be encouraged:  God is at work in wanting to do a BIG WORK in marriages across America.  I believe He wants to show nonbelievers AND believers alike that His way of doing marriage works.

The Role:  Marriage Mentor on a Pilot Episode that will premier on TLC May 3rd.  Reality TV - Oh my word!  YES, it is surreal!  (This date could change - will keep you updated.)

The show is about the infamous "S" word.   The word is laughed at, scorned and mocked, sadly to the detriment of those it was designed to bless.   It's a word that makes most every woman CRINGE.  (At the least the ones who do not understand it's significance and blessing.)

The word... Submission!

The show will be called Submissive Wives! 

Although, I'm not a fan of the title, I LOVE that the show will attempt to shatter modern stereotypes of this VERY misunderstood concept - revealing it to be the blessing God intended for women.  As a result, I believe it will ultimately:
  1. Represent God's way of life  (How many TV shows do this?   Maybe 2?)
  2. Teach His Word (although I have to tap dance around the word Bible so that it captures a larger audience);
  3. Be an agent of salvation.
We filmed the majority of the pilot mid March.  Last week, the film crew came back to complete the project.    

Right now, it's just a pilot episode involving three couples.  (Pilot episode means - just one episode.)  However there is potential for it could become a series!  (A series is 8+ episodes!)  The thought of this thrills my heart!  I love that there could be SOMETHING on TV showing/teaching women that Biblical marriage works!

Regardless if it's one episode or twelve, without a shadow of a doubt, I know this is God's show.  It's His idea.  I am on the sidelines watching Him use television executives in New York and Washington accomplish His purposes.  It's actually quite amazing.  

But one thing is certain and I give God all the praise:  Before the crew left my house last week, the director, Allison, shared with me, "Whether or not this show goes to series, the making of this show has changed our lives (the crew) and everyone in New York working on it.  We will not be the same after this."

THIS is the power of God's Word.  It works every time!

Please join me in praying over the editing process - so that MANY will be drawn to our amazing God and His Word through this door He is opening.

PS.  This month's luncheon speaker, Suzi McDuffee, has taught me SO much as it relates to Biblical marriage.  Don't miss the opportunity to learn from her THIS FRIDAY!

Next Post:  I'll share how this all started... and pictures from our shoot:)