Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The White House

I just got back from the most incredible experience! I had the honor of being invited to a State Dinner at the White House! It was an absolutely surreal experience. I got a chance to meet and have my picture taken with the President and First Lady. They were so kind and gracious. I met Condoleezza Rice and Vice President Cheney. I sat next to the owner of the Cincinnati Reds. There were a number of neat people at my table. But probably the coolest part of the evening for me was something that happened about half way through dinner. I was having a conversation with one of the gentlemen sitting beside me and my work at the jail came up. He was just amazed at the fact that I was a jail chaplain, he told the lady sitting next to him and she announced it to the entire table. Everyone ended up so excited and amazed by my work as a chaplain. It dominated most of the rest of the evening conversation. As the dinner ended my table-mates each came up to me and congratulated me on my work and told me how proud they were of me...and I had just met them. It was truly a God experience, only He could have set something up like that. The owner of the Reds made a point to give me his card and tell me to call him, "we might have some things to do together" were his exact words! I'm still in shock that I was able to experience something so incredible! WOW...God is a trip :-)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

An uplifting letter

I received the following letter from an inmate at the Allen County Jail. This is what makes all of the trials and challenges worth it!

"Tomi, thank you for your inspiration, your kindness and your love. For giving all of us kind words and laughs. For the prayers and guidance as we take our journey through life. You are an inspiration to me that with God all things are possible. You are so beautiful and smart. I know deep in my heart that God will provide you with all that you need to get your 'calling' done. No matter if it is money, houses, volunteers, whatever it takes to get it together, I know He will be there for you. I will keep in touch and will be there if you need me, as you were for me. You are a special lady to me and all of us here. We love you! Always know that! Thank you so very much an may God bless you and your family with an abundance of love and happiness!!"

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Getting back on track

I know my last few posts have been kind of down, but I'm happy to say things are getting back on track for me. I did lose my way a little bit but I thank God for His mercy and grace for helping me see where I was lacking before anything too bad or negative happened. I still have some quality time to spend in prayer to be fully restored to my right and focused state of mind. But I am happily on my way.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Feeling Run Down...

I've been feeling emotionally run down lately. And that in turn, tends to make me a little vulnerable. I seem to be going and going and going in so many different directions that I lose focus on me. My priorities get blurred and even put on the back burner. Then when I'm not focused, old ways of thinking can creep in and that is just plain scary! It amazes me that no matter how long a person has had victory over a situation or habit, the enemy will still try to slip back in and cause havoc. This is one of those times when I have to intentionally assert my authority over emotions to get victory. Philippians 3:13...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

2 New Groups

We have 2 new Winning Groups starting this semester and I am so excited about them! They are focused on serving the ministry and community. The first is the Handy Mans Group led by Mike Priester. They will be ministering to families and individuals in the ministry and community who need help with the basics around the house. Things like cleaning up the yard, taking out storm windows, leaky pipes and so on. The other group is Serving the Community led by Malissa Ellis. They will be ministering to the same people just doing more of the cooking, cleaning, serving, clothing and visiting. The groups meet on alternating Saturdays at 3 pm. If you or someone you know needs some help, call either one of the leaders to schedule them to come and assist. Their contact info is in the new WG menu. Or if you are interested in giving back by giving of your time, we would love to have you join us!

Monday, June 16, 2008

In Over My Head

Over the last 3+ years I've been a volunteer chaplain at the Jail, I realize that I have most of the time felt 'in over my head.' It may sound silly, but I'm serious. I've nearly always had doubts about why on earth God would choose me to do this work. I finally came to realize that He meant it when He chose me and I accepted my call and stopped doubting Him, but that didn't come easy either. Then there are the incredible things I've been asked to help others deal with. Like just this past weekend I got a call from one of my ladies who had just escaped from being help captive at knife-point and raped. She was hysterical and needed me. She didn't know who else to call and she wanted me. So I went and got her, keep in mind I have never dealt with anything like that. I had NO idea what to do or say. But I went and got her and stayed with her all day. We went to the police department, the sexual assult treatment center and she is still staying at my house (because she doesn't want me to leave her). As the day passed I found myself talking to God and telling Him again (though my tears) I feel in over my head. Then it dawned on me....maybe that's exactly how He wants me to feel. Maybe He wants me to always have to, need to and be required to rely on Him in these kinds of situations. Maybe when someone tells me how they were abused as a child He needs me to let Him say what He wants to through me. Maybe when someone admits to me the horrible crimes they have committed He needs to demonstrate forgiveness and unconditional love only the way He can through me. I don't know maybe I'm just still reeling from the events of the past weekend. One thing I know is I still feel in over my head and yet He continues to use me to do incredible things for these women. So maybe, just maybe I'm kind of supposed to feel that way?????

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Collecting Dust blog has been collecting dust! I've kinda had tons of stuff going on and I actually did forget about it. But I'm back now to shake the dust off and get things updated. So far 2008 has been incredible! On New Year's Eve I chose to stay home and spend some time by myself and with was the best decision I could have made. During the count down to midnight I started to think back to all the things I had been through in 2007 and I started to cry...bawl really. 2007 was an extremely hard, and trying and challenging year for me. I couldn't wait for it to be over and yet at the same time I was grateful for all I had learned (most of it the hard way). I made a list of things that I had done in 2007 that I would not allow to happen again in 2008: things like spread myself too thin, allow myself to be taken advantage of, say yes to every request asked of me, and always put myself and my desires last. That's just a few of the things but you get the idea. Then I made a list with the help of the Holy Spirit of the things I would do in 2008 and in the midst of writing the list out God spoke to me in an audible voice (only the second time in my life that's happened) and He said "you will have MASSIVE SUCCESS this year in every area for your life." Needless to say I was hyped! At that point I would have been satisfied with minor success but here was God telling me that my success would be Massive...I could hardly contain myself! I was sobbing all over the place, tears of release and of excitement. that's how the year started. Stay tuned to see how God has already began to reveal His plans for this Massive Success He promised's fantastic!!!!!!