Embracing your S.H.A.P.E

I was talking with a friend this morning about the move to Guatemala and the thought came to me that I am not called specifically to Guatemala or to stay here, I am called to the ministry of sharing and spreading the message of God’s love…locally AND globally.

The message of the gospel is God sent His Son, Jesus. Jesus lived a sinless life, died on the cross for our sins, resurrected on the 3rd day, ascended into Heaven and WILL RETURN AGAIN. That may be hard for us to fully comprehend, but for those of us who choose to believe, we are to shout it to the ends of the earth!

Along with the message of the gospel, we are called to share our personal Redemption story for those who have or walking similar paths. We are called to share according to our S.H.AP.E. (Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, Experience). My S.H.A.P.E is very much different from yours. So, although we are to share the same message of the gospel, our way of sharing may be completely different.

I can’t praise God enough for the S.H.A.P.E He has given me. It is quite different than I could have ever imagined or even what I perceived it to be, but as my confident grows and I learn to lean more on God’s perception, I can definitely see it come to life.

Have you discovered your S.H.A.P.E? If not, make an effort to do so. And if you have, what are you doing with it? Are you trying to mold it into something else that would “suit” you better? I challenge you to embrace it and see where and how the Lord plans on using it!



Crimson Cleanse

On a day when we are supposed to be thankful, I can’t help but be amazingly grateful for the blessings I have. My boy, who although may be quite sick today, we are grateful for his health and that we are only dealing with a cold and not a debilitating or terminal disease. Our beautiful home, car and food we are able to enjoy everyday.

So many things we are able to be thankful for, but there are no words to express our gratitude for the sacrifice our Lord and Savior made in order for us to be free from eternal suffering. The shedding of His blood covered our sin and washed them away.

By this Crimson Cleanse, we were made white as snow. Yes, that is so cliché. How can we be made white as snow when we continue to sin everyday? That is one question we may never understand and I am not going to waste time trying to figure it out.

I don’t know about you, but I have done some pretty bad things in my life. So many times, I have chosen my own ways and ignored that a better path was designed for me. When I was cleansed of my sin, I was given access to a plan better than I could have ever chosen.

On this earth, I may not ever be perfect, good or even mediocre but everyday, I will choose to shower in the Crimson Cleanse before facing the world, so I may be better today than I was yesterday!

This is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Home, Sweet Home!

Being home is wonderful! The comfort of being in your own home, sitting on your own couch, the freedom of knowing your surroundings is indescribable. I guess living in a hotel room, out of a suitcase and being limited to going out only if someone comes and get you can make you appreciate being home.

I moved to Florida in 1997 from Boston. I was 19 years old and, if I am completely honest, running away from “home”; It really wasn’t home anymore. I wasn’t happy where I was or even felt like I belonged anywhere. Living at different friends houses for about 6 months; I was homeless. So, moving to Florida, starting anew, felt right.

Although I was a Christian at the time, I wasn’t walking with Lord. I had lumped Him with the people who had (in my eyes) disappointed me and felt He had nothing to offer me. I guess to an extent, I was running away from Him, too.

Now, 14 years later, I am making plans to leave this “home”. Not because I am not happy here or because I don’t feel like I belong. I’m not running away from the Lord this time…I am running to Him!

Being away from home is difficult. I know being away from what has become our home here in Florida will also be difficult because I still often struggle not being close to family and friends who are still in Boston. Yes, God can use whatever circumstance we put ourselves in to His Glory, but unlike my move to Florida, I have comfort in knowing that this move is ordained and Blessed by God.

As our move date has moved to June, 2012, we will be organizing more fundraisers and would appreciate any suggestions, help and prayers. Also, please consider how you can help support our ministry either with a one-time donation or a monthly commitment. Thank you!


When we are Available!

I haven’t had as much computer time as I thought I would so I haven’t been able to post anything all week. I find myself with sometime, so I will do my best to do a recap now. Sorry if this is long, but there have been so many God moments I want to share as much as I can, so here goes:

I came to Guatemala with not many expectations because if I have learned anything from past trips, the keyword is flexibility. I knew coming to this time would be different because I didn’t have a set minute by minute agenda or anyone to really do anything with. (Yes, I never meet a stranger and I could easily tag-along with people, but in my insecurities, I don’t like to bother anyone.) So, lesson number 1: Being a missionary can be lonely. People have told me this, but to actually experience it is a different story.

I am grateful I was able to experience this on a small dose because, although difficult, it is a reality of being in a new country!

Lesson 2: It’s good to have plan, just don’t be disappointed when things don’t go as planned. I knew I may not be able to get much done, so I wasn’t surprised when I wasn’t even able to open a bank account. My passport wasn’t enough…I needed a letter from immigration and a utility bill. The utility bill wouldn’t be so hard to get, but  I wasn’t able to get to the immigration office, so I wasn’t able to open account.

I also wanted to go visit places to live and Jake’s school. Yesterday, a new friend took me to the neighborhood where the school is. We were able to drive onto the grounds, but did not have time for a tour. She also lives in that same neighborhood so I was also able to see what we could expect when we are looking for rentals.

Lesson 3: Network, network, network. Participating with the 2 mission teams that were here working with the church allowed me to interact with the families from the church and the community. I was able to meet the Pastor and his family, but with all that was going on, (understandably) I didn’t get to spend much time with them. However, I was able to get to know a few people who gave me awesome advice and offered help us with the move and getting acclimated.

Lesson 4: I have a passion for nursing. This isn’t a surprise to me or to most people, but I love having the reminders every so often.

I was able to go into a hospital yesterday to drop off something items for a friend of the person I was with. The mom was spending the night with her son who had surgery earlier on his cleft palette. The hospital was a small Catholic hospital (nothing compared to the larger hospitals which are all over, but very expensive.) The room was a large room with about 8 beds. It is intended to be a pediatric surgical recovery room (mainly for children who had cleft palette surgery), but the other units were full so an older woman in a coma was placed there. It was pretty crowded.

A baby next to the little boy we were visiting was crying. He was so sweet! His mom was holding him, trying to console him, but nothing was working. Seeing them there, with their moms next to them consoling, praying, loving on their children, made my heart break. I tried to hold back my tears, but I couldn’t. I wanted to do something!

Lesson 5: God does speak, we just have to listen. My ultimate goal was to receive word from God as to when we should make the move; I needed to know if February was my timing or His.

Earlier in the week, I was able to spend some time with a friend I had met on a previous trip. She mentioned that coming in February would not be wise because it may require Jake to repeat a grade  since it would be the middle of the school year. She suggested we wait until June. This would also allow us time to find a place we are both comfortable with, get settled and then Jake could start the new school year with everyone else.

I can’t say this advice wasn’t a tad disappointing to hear, but it was an answer to my prayer. Although the thought of moving in June instead of February had been introduced, I did not want to only lean on that advice and asked the Lord for further confirmation…which I received from numerous people who gave me the same advice. Yesterday, I believe was the concrete confirmation I was looking for. I was able to spend time with someone who’s children are in the school and had recently moved here from the States herself. She provided TONS of advice and specific details we need to move forward.

I know this still requires alot of prayer, but I feel peace in knowing Jake will get to finish out the school year at home, we will have more time to raise funds and I will be able to continue to serve and hopefully grow the post-abortion ministry at Calvary.

God is good ALL THE TIME! As long as we are available, He will reveal Himself and His plan for us. He is so Gracious to allow us to experience things in small doses so we are better prepared when the larger dose comes our way.

I may not have been successful in completing all I set out to do, but I did try to make myself available to Him. However He chose to speak, I wanted to be able to listen.

The trip isn’t quite over yet…I get to enjoy worshipping with the Vida Nueva congregation tomorrow, and then hopefully spend some times with friends before heading to the airport early Monday morning. But today as I sit here, I have a chance to look back at the week and see His hand over it all, and all I can do is PRAISE HIM. I PRAISE HIM for speaking to me. I PRAISE HIM for making this trip a time for He and I to spend time together. I PRAISE HIM for the uncomfortable times.  I PRAISE HIM for being with me throughout this week! I PRAISE HIM FOR MY SALVATION AND HIS GRACE!

My bags are packed!

In less than 12 hours, I will be on my way to the airport…Guatemala bound! This trip will only be for a week. The details of this trip are to primarily help out Vida Nueva’s Bilingual VBS in the mornings and in the evenings there will be a soccer camp. In addition, to serving with the church, I will be looking for a place to live and a school for Jake. But even beyond that, this trip is for clarity.

I am a planner at heart, so last night, I had a hard time sleeping. In my anxiety, I kept repeating “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:5-7 I know I have nothing to worry about “because He who is me is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4), but I am finding myself repeating that verse over and over again.

I know His plan for me and Jake has already been written and I pray (and ask you to pray along with me) that He will reveal more of the details during this coming week. I have no doubt the plan is for us to live in Guatemala and I, believe, we are to move in February, but my prayer is for the Lord to confirms that timeframe.

Jake will not be with me so I also ask you pray for him. We have been apart on other occasions, but it is never really easy.  Please pray for my friend, Wendy, as he will be staying with her while I am gone. Also, keep all of the other folks who have graciously volunteered to help out with Jake this week. Thank you!!!

Lastly, I ask you to pray for the people and the country of Guatemala. Pray for those who we encounter to accept, believe and confess Christ as their Savior.

It is going to be a great and exciting week! Thank you all for your prayers, encouragement and support!

P.S. I will do my best to post everyday.

Chosen…just for me!

I could say that on November 12, 1998 at 9:11am was when my life changed, but it was before that….

On a February night in 1998, I remember looking at a pregnancy test in disbelief. It said I was pregnant. I was 20 years old, far away from my family and completely numb. I was going to be a mother. There was a baby growing inside of me….I bawled! Jake’s dad was quite excited and “proud” of himself (must be a man thing). I called a friend over and she was also super excited…I was still in disbelief. So much so, I took another test in the morning just to be sure…It was positive again.

The next 9 months were difficult. I went from 108lbs to 98lbs because I couldn’t hold anything down for the first 6 months. When I was able to eat, I gained more weight than I have ever gained. I had become so used to having a headache that I didn’t know I had it the entire pregnancy until after I gave birth and it went away. My body was not my own.

Giving birth was a process, to say the least. My midwife was so sick of me she agreed to induce me the day before my due date. It worked out perfectly because my water broke just a few hours after getting to the hospital and the labor pretty much progressed on its own. The next morning, I was so convinced I was going to have a C-Section, it took the nurses about 20 minutes to convince I needed to push.

A few minutes after that, the joy of my life came into the world.

This beautiful joyous boy has given me life beyond compare. This perfect gift from God has shown me just how much my Heavenly Father loves me. It is an act of grace to be chosen to be a mother. I don’t know why the Father chose me. I still often look at Jake and wonder why me? 

He could have so much more than I could ever offer him, but then the Lord reminds me that He not only chose me to His daughter and chose Jake to be His son, but He chose me to be Jake’s mother. Before I was even born, it was written that Jake was to be mine. That thought truly amazes and humbles me; that I have been entrusted to raise an amazing man of God…no doubt he WILL BE an amazing man of God.

Jake was chosen just for me and I am honored to be called his mother!

Happy 13th Birthday, Bubbies!!

Out of the ashes…We Rise…Victorious!

Fear, hormones, lack of worth, some more fear, lies topped with a layer of victory! Today, was a hard, but glorious day! So much so, my head is throbbing as I write this. But I smile through the pain. I rejoice in the tears that caused the headache.

I have been burnt in my life. Burnt so bad I can show you the scars. Sometimes I was the one with the matches. Sometimes I, intentionally, caused the fire and I, by the Grace of God, was only burnt when I should’ve died. You think, a bit dramatic there, Jen? But, no, it isn’t.

I have spit in the face of my Savior and have murdered…murdered babies because I did not want my sin to exposed. Ironic, how here, on the internet for anyone and everyone to read, I am exposing myself. Why is that? Because by the Grace of God, who sent His only Son to be my Kinsmen Redeemer on a cross, I can rise.

Not only can I rise, but I rise victorious. With my head held high. Tears stains on my face. Joy and pride in my heart. Pride that I have children in Heaven with my Father and Savior. Their story is not over or changed because they are not here with me. Their story continues and is better than I could have ever wished for them.

My selfishness stole away their chance to shine on earth, but it did not stop them from illuminating my heart and life! I fight for them! I serve for them! I obey for them! Bring it on because I am ready. No matter what comes my way, I’m ready! This mother of 3, has come to win!

To GOD be the GLORY!!!

Back to the Beginning…

I must admit, I have been in quite a funk today. I have felt this wave of discouragement and failure kind of like suffocating me. I have been seeking all day encouragement from outside sources knowing full well that my only encouragement and lifeline from this sense of drowning is my God and what His word speaks to me.

For some stupid reason, I did not go to the Word, but as Our Loving Father so often does, it came to me…

When I first felt the call to move to Guatemala and was telling people of this crazy idea, two beautiful people in my life (who do not know each other) gave this me the same verse. That verse was such a relief to me. I was free in that verse! It gave me peace in knowing, I will always have just enough (of everything) because my flesh would taint anything more. Now, that I feel like I am fighting to survive, His words ring true once again and remind me of my original request:

8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me; 
   give me neither poverty nor riches, 
   but give me only my daily bread. 
9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you 
   and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ 
Or I may become poor and steal, 
   and so dishonor the name of my God.
Proverbs 30:8

When God Speaks!

Last night was our second fundraiser. It was such a blessing to see everyone. Jake and I are truly Blessed! Thank you all to those who attended, and a special thanks to those who helped out, especially Debbie Tatem. She is truly a God-sent!

During last night’s dinner, it was mentioned alot how I heard the Lord. How He has called us to go to Guatemala. At one point, Jake asked me, “how do you know you are hearing from God and not just crazy?”. I heard him say it, but with all of the commotion going on, I didn’t answer him. So, he asked me this morning.

I told him I, honestly, don’t know how to explain it. I said that sometimes, it is a clear message that you hear or feel compelled to do, but others times, you really have to pray through to make sure it is His voice. Ultimately, you get to a point where you can better discern His voice, but it isn’t always definite (at least for me in my walk at this time).

I’m not sure if that is the best answer, but it was the best answer I had. I will be praying for God to give me the better answer though and pray for God to speak and let His presence be clear to Jake…gotta love that boy is seeking!!! PRAISE GOD!

If you were not able to make it last night, and would like to donate, it would be GREATLY appreciated! You may give online or mail a check to 3025 Los Altos Drive #1, Belleair Bluffs, FL 33770. Checks can be made out to me, Jennifer Sanabria, or can be made out to Calvary Baptist Church for tax deduction. Thank you!

My Rights in Christ

Lat night we finished up a 6 week study on how our relationship with God can go from duty to delight, but along the way, I learned alot more. Most importantly, that God doesn’t see me as a face in the crowd, He sees my face, not the crowd! Below are “our rights” as Believers in Christ, but even though they are meant for all of “us”, I like reading them as if they are meant specifically for me…because they are! 😉

As God has commanded, These are My Rights!

    1. I have the right to live in the delight of God’s choosing of me.
      no more guilt, shame and condemnation
    2. I have the right to live in the delight of God’s redemption of me.
      no more spiritual perfectionism, only rich acceptance and satisfaction
    3. I have the right to live in the delight of God’s promise of His Spirit.
      no more broken promises and self-determination
    4. I have the right to live in the delight of God’s supply of His Spirit.
      no more powerlessness and sinful harvests.
    5.  I have the right to live in the delight of God’s command of love.
      no more dread of having to love God and others.
    6. I have the right to live int he delight of God’s provision of victory.
      no more wishing for the victory Jesus has provided
    7. From being chosen to empowered,
      I now have the right to stand up and enjoy My God.
Duty or Delight, Tammie Head