Why finding out “Less is More” finally gave me the life I’ve been looking for

alphabets camera card desk

Written by Jackie Tinkler

 

“He must become greater; I must become less.”

John 3:30 (NIV)

 
 I’m a “stuff” girl.    A blank wall, an empty corner, an unaccessorized table top, well, it appears like something is missing.  I’ve tried to go “minimal” or “neutral” but I always end up putting all of my “stuff” out again.
A few years ago, I asked a decorator friend to restyle my home.  After about an hour of walking from room to room, ooing and ahhing about wall colors, accessories and pillows, she suddenly turned to me and said…”You don’t need another thing, Jackie. You already have enough.” I said, “I don’t need another thing? Are you sure?”  My heart sank, because I was SURE I needed something more!  Just something that would make it that much better than what it already was.  To be honest, I already had way too much!
What it really needed was “less” not more.  A concept I was just not familiar with or liked.  Somewhere the  voice of my heart screamed  “This isn’t enough!”  The idea of having it all or having more fulfilled a void I didn’t even know was there.  As I heard the Lord whisper… “make room,” I cringed a little. What I didn’t realize was if I cleared away the clutter, it would give my “home sweet home” a new life.   I reluctantly cleared away my things and left only what I absolutely loved, and you know what?  As I stepped back, holding my breath, I saw it for the first time… the warmth.  Not because of the stuff left in it, but because my eyes could now focus on the beauty from the things that truly brought value.

Dear sister, are you in a season of want? Are you covering up your pain with stuff?   Maybe if you make room for something different, something unexpected…something more, you will let go of the disappointment when no one called, the hurt when you found out they lied, the betrayal when they were unfaithful, or the pressure to be and do more.

Let your heart be filled with authenticity again.
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Hear God’s whispering ” Sweet lady, you become less and I’ll be the More” 
Here are three ways that will help you unclutter your heart and mind:
  1.  Clear away all things that are taking up room that compete with your beautiful purpose.  This includes those things you are doing that are bringing no value or fruit to your life.
  2.  Ask Jesus what “piece” of your life has been hidden beneath the chaos that brings Him the most Glory.  What is it that blesses the lives of others but you have not made time for by bringing it to the forefront.
  3. Find a quiet place or time to reevaluate your priorities.  There will be things you need to declutter, clear and purge to  make room for God’s something more.

Lastly…

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”  Hebrews 12:1 NIV
If you let it go, God will give you MORE than you could have ever imagined or dreamed. 
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Jackie Tinkler is the Co-Founder and Ministry Development Director of Something More and lives in Birmingham, Alabama. She has been ministering to women for 20 years as a Women’s Ministry Director, Counselor and Producer. She is co-writing a Women’s Small Group Study “Something Beautiful” and when not leading women to freedom can be found worshipping at Church of the Highlands, decorating her friends homes, enjoying time with her family and chocolate lab Nelson or sitting in the balcony at the Alabama Theatre.

The Valley

 

mountains near trees

Written by Michelle Price

Have you ever found yourself standing in one of the proverbial valleys of life? Perhaps your health is failing and you got the dreaded cancer diagnosis. It could be you’re facing financial ruin or your lifelong marriage is coming to an end. Or maybe, like me, you’re caught in the throws of infertility. Whatever that valley looks like for us, it is most often a time of immense loneliness. We can be surrounded by love and yet still feel alone in our struggle. We may begin to think we’re the only one that’s ever been in that valley.
God guaranteed there would be trouble in this life (John 16:33) but the more we isolate ourselves, the harder our struggle becomes. We must realize that isolation is one of Satan’s many strategies, and it makes us vulnerable to his attack. Separation from others allows him a full 360 degrees to prowl around us like a lion seeking to destroy us (1 Peter 5:8). Drs. Cloud and Townsend write, “Isolation keeps what is broken in the soul sequestered in the darkness- out of the light of relationship with God and others, where there can be neither help nor resolution” (Boundaries, 221).

We all need an Aaron and Hur to hold up our arms when we grow tired while fighting our battle (Exodus 17:12).

And there is no greater comfort in the middle of our valley than that provided by God’s presence! King David wrote in Psalm 23, “Yeah though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou are with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” God speaks life into our valleys- even during times of isolation. I had not shared my struggle with infertility with my closest friends. But God spoke to me through a very dear friend of mine, Denie Girardeau, as she was routinely praying for the desires of my heart. He instructed her that we should “praise and speak as though it has already happened.” Philippians 4:4 says that we should “Rejoice in the LORD always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” God is always faithful, and we should choose to praise him even when life doesn’t seem to be going the way we thought it should. The Bible says in Nehemiah that the joy of the LORD is our strength. So when we’re weak, sister, we must choose joy! A friend of mine, Carrie Wilson, once said that it’s our very small step of faith that motivates God to work in the supernatural to make our mountains move. And when we’re in the middle of that valley, friend, our next mountain can’t come soon enough!
Even though we can’t see the end of our struggle, God can. Until then, “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 (Romans 15:13). He has abundance and hope waiting for us. So, while it’s painful right now just to take that very next step in our walk of faith remember that He has Something More for us on the other side!

Hashtags: #SomethingMore #struggles #valleysoflife

IMG_4287Michelle Price is the founder of GRACE Ministries, a faith-based ministry dedicated to nurturing women who have been sexually abused. She obtained her Certificate in Ministry and Leadership from Highlands College in 2015. She currently volunteers at The WellHouse, a Christ-centered agency dedicated to rescuing women from sexual exploitation/human trafficking. Michelle is a devoted wife and faithful member of Church of the Highlands. She is employed full time as an acute care nurse practitioner at a local hospital in Birmingham, Alabama.

It’s Always Something

Written by Jackie Tinkler

hand pen writing plant

It’s always something right?
Bills to pay, tight schedules, a racing mind, unmet expectations, overwhelmed plans, anxiety attacks and sleepless nights. Instead of living our dreams, we’re waiting for the next ball to drop.  How many of us feel like we’re just surviving, coping and not really living?  How can we overcome the worry that’s worrying us?adult alone anxious black and white

 

Jesus said we wouldn’t have to worry when He will help us feel okay because God’s peace is very near…

 

This is Jesus speaking to his disciples

“Now you finally believe in me.  And the time has come when you will all be scattered and each of you will go your own way, leaving me alone!” Yet, I am never alone, for the Father is always with me. And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world, you will have trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world.” John 16:31-33 (The Passion Translation)

 

There is no peace to find in this world.  None!  And if you do, it will not comfort but only prove to be a false sense of security and be short lived. Worrying is unproductive, a waste of time and is a joy stealer.  On the flip side, the peace we need comes from God himself; a supernatural peace which shields and covers like a blanket of love that makes everything okay inside.    It’s a knowing that He loves us and will see us through.

 

I remember a time when I went through a long and lengthy trial.  I had God’s assurance that everything in the end would turn out fine, but did I stay calm and rest in that assurance?  No, I did not, and as a result my mind was not at peace, I gained weight from overeating to comfort myself, my blood pressure was up, I was exhausted as well as anxiety ridden, and I couldn’t sleep.  It was like being on a roller coaster.  One day I would  feel confident and the next I was hiding under the covers and eating cookies!  The end result was it was more than okay and I could see how God sustained me through it all but it was my choice to worry, even when He said not to.  What did I gain from worrying?

 

Here are the three ways I found to calm my worried mind and have peace

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  • Find Peace
In John 15:27 Jesus tell us Not to look for peace from the world.  He will leave us the gift of a peaceful mind and heart only through the Holy Spirit.  “And I will send you the Divine Encourager from the very presence of my Father, He will come to you, the Spirit of Truth, emanating from the Father, and he will speak to you about me.”
  • Follow after Peace
Follow the leading of the Holy Spirit; He is our counselor and teacher.  He leads us away from trouble and into the safety of our Father’s arms.  He shows us the right path for our unique journey and gives us wisdom to get there.
  • Fight for peace
What you feed will grow so resist the enemy and he will flee from you!  Don’t allow negative thoughts and concerns in that overwhelm, cause confusion or torment.  Replace them with God thoughts by reading and meditating on His word.  God’s Word is life and health to our mind. You have the mind of Christ which is a sound mind, free from worry and operating in power.

IMG_3892Jackie Tinkler is the Co-Founder and Ministry Development Director of Something More and lives in Birmingham, Alabama. She has been ministering to women for 20 years as a Women’s Ministry Director, Counselor and Producer. She is co-writing a Women’s Small Group Study “Something Beautiful” and when not leading women to freedom can be found worshipping at Church of the Highlands, decorating her friends homes, enjoying time with her family and chocolate lab Nelson or sitting in the balcony at the Alabama Theatre.

 

 

Self Sabotage- My Hidden Enemy

Written by Nicole Collier

coffee cup notebook pen

I had a revelation recently that anytime I would post an update on my weight loss journey I would immediately self sabotage. Why would I do this? Your guess is honestly as good as mine. I took a long hard look at myself, and why I did this. I would post about another weight loss goal met, an additional 5 or 10 lbs lost, and I would binge eat that day.

The definition of self sabotage: Behavior is said to be self-sabotaging when it creates problems in our life and interferes with long-standing goals.

I came to the conclusion that I am afraid to be a healthier version of myself. I had become accustomed to being the “fat friend”. You know- the funny one who hides behind her sarcasm, and humor to mask how she feels on the inside. The one who projects how she feels about herself on to others with the words she uses. Which are not always life giving.  

I hate typing that as much as you may hate reading it. Trust me. However, this is where my comfort zone was.

How do we find a balance between the woman we are and the woman we are accustomed to being?  The woman we have come to be friends with, whether she is helping or hurting us, and the woman we are created to be.

One way to do this is to take captive our thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5.) Let us hold true to who God says we are! We are wonderfully and beautifully created in His image (Psalm 139:14.)   When I hold true to this thought, it helps me to want to be my absolute best and give him honor with this body He gave me. Don’t believe the lie the enemy wants you to believe that you are not worthy of being the best you- GIRL, YOU ARE WORTHY OF THIS AND SO MUCH MORE!

Another way is to really understand our triggers by asking ourselves, “what is it that has happened in our past to have such control over us where we sabotage the hard work and effort we have put in?” For me it has been the words that have been spoken over me throughout my life. I had to understand that hurt people hurt, and people will sometimes speak their insecurities in their self to those around them. I have learned to bless and forgive. If I have to stand in front of a mirror and remind myself I am worthy, I am a beautiful person on the inside and out, and I have people in my life who love me, then I will find the largest mirror and do just that.

Remember friends, this life is a journey. It is an amazing journey God will take us on, if we let Him. Let us remember to not sabotage the great and wonderful work we have put in, and let us listen to the words our Heavenly Father speaks over us. May we see our self as beautiful and wonderfully created as He made us, and sees us. Let us hold our head high, straighten our crown and accomplish our goals without sabotaging ourselves.cropped-8c9ba9bf-aa74-49d8-adc5-38337d1c5e66

Nicole Collier grew up in Montgomery, AL. She now lives in Shelby County with her husband, Matthew, and 2 boys, Ethan and Russell. She is a lover of all things creative, including photography and music. She and her family are involved with The Just People Project non-profit ministry serving the homeless throughout the city of Birmingham.

 

Journey To Joy

pink gerbera flower in closeup photography

Written by Jodi Davis Lybrand

 

Negativity was my roadblock to joy…

I’m just going to admit it right off… I am a glass half empty kind of girl. I don’t really want to be, but my melancholy self just leans that way.
No one  wants to be around negativity all the time. I didn’t want to be that person everyone avoids, the one who always complains about everything. But I’m afraid I was, and I was tired of being that person.
I begin to realize it was time to do some serious soul searching. It has taken me a long time to accept my own personality and the way God designed me.
As The Lord was ‘forming me in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13 MSG), as He formed all of us, we were made unique. He made us who we are. He gave us our personalities with all it’s qualities and quirks! We are made in God’s image so our qualities are cause for celebration! The quirks are the things we give to Him to mold into Christlikeness.  The former we take for granted, the latter draws us close to Him.  This marks our dependence on Him. It keeps us coming to Him again and again, which in turn, enriches our relationship with the Lord. If we were perfect we wouldn’t have to lean in so much.
Starting on this joy journey, the first step was becoming tired of the life of pessimism, which was weighing me down, as well as desiring to be a better representative of God’s marvelous grace. It became a high priority in prayer because I knew I couldn’t do it alone.

I couldn’t will myself to do it, though I tried and failed. I wanted it to be authentic and I needed a changed heart.  Oh, how I wish it was a one and done type deal! But no, I didn’t use the word ‘journey’ by accident!

I started intentionally looking for things to be grateful for and searching for the good. A few extra minutes of sleep, a smile from a stranger, a beautiful bargain from the clearance rack! I verbalized my thanks directly to the Lord. Then a funny thing started happening. My heart was responding! The Holy Spirit was transforming me from the inside out! I didn’t have to try so hard. It was becoming…me!
There were some serious challenges.
I have been getting injections in my left eye for about two years. On one visit the nurse was about to numb my right eye. I said, “Stop! You are treating my left eye” He said, “Oh, we are so used to doing both eyes”. And there it was, a choice. I could be bitter about having to get any injections or choose to rejoice that there was only one eye affected.
I chose joy.
That’s all part of the journey.
Choosing.
I’m not talking about a ‘fake it ‘til you make it’, rose colored glasses, afraid to speak a negative confession lifestyle. I’m talking about getting to know the love of God in such a powerful way that you know you are His. He will work all things for good. He is for you, not against you.  He loves you with an everlasting love. And there is so much more!
I found this by committing to read the Bible through. I used a one year, chronological Bible. Immersing yourself in the Bible, God’s active and alive word will be the key to successfully journey to joy!
Oh, my sweet friend, join me on this journey! You have a greater joy awaiting you!
As you begin your journey I pray:
That Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will go deep down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.

 

JodiJodi Davis Lybrand is a lifelong resident of Shelby County. She is married and has raised two wonderful sons, has a beautiful daughter-in-law and 3 of the most adorable grandchildren ever!
Her favorites include playing with those awesome grand sweeties, enjoying long walks and sunsets, visiting with friends, old and new, painting and working on her bucket list!
A Bible teacher for 30 years, teaching preschool to senior adults (before she was one!) Jodi jests that she can teach you a Bible lesson in sixty seconds or sixty minutes! Most of all she loves to encourage people through the truths found in God’s holy word.

Gone Unnoticed Until Now

Written by Jodi Lybrand

woman standing near body of water

Walking is my preferred choice of exercise. I love walking the trails on my very wooded property. Many times it is a multi-tasked walk. When I am frustrated my walk is a bit more intense, it is my stress reliever.  Some days are pure worship, enjoying God’s creation. Other days it is filled with prayers and petitions. Away from phones, social media, chores, errands and all other distractions I can hear God’s voice most clearly.
On one recent walk, my attention was drawn to a large patch of green I had never seen before. Leaving the pathway to take a closer look, I discovered it was Surprise Lilies. These are flowers that grow grass-like leaves, these go away and months later  single stalks and flowers emerge. This group was about thick three feet square. They had to be growing for years! Why haven’t I seen them before. I must have passed by them hundreds of times!
Have you ever felt like these lilies? All your work, serving and sacrifice have gone unnoticed? Have you spent years honing your giftings but seemingly not using them to potential? Do you feel like you have  endlessly labored overlooked while others have their dreams fulfilled? Has your dream died?
Oh, my sweet friend this is not true! The great prophet, Isaiah felt the same way. Knowing he was called by God, he still thought his work was in vain. (Isaiah 49:1-4) In a similar  fashion Paul felt his labors among the Thessalonians may have been useless. (1 Thessalonians 3:5) You are in good company!

We all get tired from time to time. We are prone to discouragement. As the scripture states, Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true there is life and joy. (Proverbs 13:12 NLT)  Being stuck at the comma is challenging! Waiting is difficult. It is hard living in the in-between.

While we are waiting we need to learn not to compare ourselves with others.  It is a must! Jennie Allen tells us that “Comparison robs us of the joy of obedience.” We are all on different time tables with the Lord. Find your joy in what He has called you to do today.
Also during the wait share your dreams with someone who will encourage and remind you of God’s promises. Remember,Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. (Ecclesiastes 4:9)
My dear friend, I don’t know when your ‘now’ will come, when your special dream will be fulfilled but know this, God sees you. He knows your heart, He sees your efforts. He loves you. Don’t give up! Be encouraged with this truth from His word  ..stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for me is a waste of time or effort(Corinthians 15:58 Message)
One last thought. Do you know what another name for those lilies is? Resurrection Lilies! I’ll just leave that one for you to reflect on!

 

JodiJodi Davis Lybrand is a lifelong resident of Shelby County. She is married and has raised two wonderful sons, has a beautiful daughter-in-law and 3 of the most adorable grandchildren ever!

Her favorites include playing with those awesome grand sweeties, enjoying long walks and sunsets, visiting with friends, old and new, painting and working on her bucket list!

A Bible teacher for 30 years, teaching preschool to senior adults (before she was one!) Jodi jests that she can teach you a Bible lesson in sixty seconds or sixty minutes! Most of all she loves to encourage people through the truths found in God’s holy word

When You Want What They Have

Written by Jackie Tinkler

 

“If I just diminish her somehow, look away, point out her flaws, tell others she’s really not that great, then just maybe and  not purposely, but secretly, I’ll build myself up and have the love I desire”  …Jackie Tinkler

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Women want to be amazing, we want to be told how wonderful, beautiful and worthy we are.   The problem is we don’t want anyone else to be too much more amazing than we are!   Why?  Because the back story is “no one loves me.”
Here is our narrative…
I feel something missing, something I truly need and desire.  I don’t really know what it is, but I see something SHE has and I think I need it. So I fix my eyes on HER and what she has (or I think she has) and what I really fear is that SHE will get the love I deserve and want.   So, I act out in my fears to get the love I want.  I now feel comforted and secure.  But, it doesn’t last because I need MORE the next day and the next. It’s impossible to keep me filled up.

What I truly need is to know the love of Christ, which has not filled my whole heart.  My identity is in something other than Him.  Now, I’m to compete and contend for the love I need and it’s exhausting.

Aren’t we fearful when we don’t feel loved? Doesn’t the scripture tell us that perfect love casts out fear?  To ease our pain, we tell ourselves a comforting story to make us feel better, one that convinces us that we need to one up or put someone else beneath us. The truth is, if we were rooted and grounded in the security and love of Christ, there is no competition because the Love of God knows no bounds and there is enough for all of us to feel full.  I know, it’s a hard realization, but we are in need of God’s far reaching marvelous love to fill our whole heart.  No more competing, no more jealousy, no more lack.

 

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DON’T NEED WHAT YOU HAVE BECAUSE I ALREADY HAVE ALL I NEED

 

 

 

 

Let this scripture sink in…
Ephesians 3:17-18 ” Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life.  Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences-the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions.  How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding – this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God!”
Why would Paul make such a statement unless He truly experienced God’s love?
Dear friend, take heart…you are loved ENOUGH.  I would love it if today we released our whole hearts to God and asked him to fill it with a crazy love we can never understand…the only love that heals our hurt.  I promise, He will be the love of our lives!  Pray with me..
Father, release your empowering love to fill our hearts with hope. Let us not linger in this place of fear any longer.   Help us to be honest with ourselves and you as we no longer contend, compete, or fear for the gifts, talents, possessions, or beauty of others. We are built up secure and strong in your intimate love.  Where we feel lack, show us how strong and beautiful we really are! That one of  a kind girl!  You’ve given to us all the opportunity to comprehend “with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of your love. May that love grow deep in us as we feel more and more at home with ourselves and others.” 

 

IMG_3892Jackie Tinkler is the Co-Founder and Ministry Development Director of Something More and lives in Birmingham, Alabama. She has been ministering to women for 20 years as a Women’s Ministry Director, Counselor and Producer. She is co-writing a Women’s Small Group Study “Something Beautiful” and when not leading women to freedom can be found worshipping at Church of the Highlands, decorating her friends homes, enjoying time with her family and chocolate lab Nelson or sitting in the balcony at the Alabama Theatre.

 

 

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