Visiting Fox 16 News

Several of you have asked me about my recent visit to Fox 16 News in Little Rock, AR. The entire staff was so incredibly warm and welcoming and Pat Walker was a true delight.

After learning that so many of you requested to watch the interview, Fox 16 graciously sent me the link. Here’s a quick look at life, music, writing and what happens when God changes the plan. Enjoy!

http://www.fox16.com/klrt-good-day/monday-motivation-tara-johnson/718574289

Blessings,

Tara

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Butterfingers: Interruptions & Learning How to Be a Servant

Back and forth I went.

Kitchen to bedroom, bedroom to living room. Every time I sat down to write, it seemed I heard yet another cry.

“Mom! I need you!”

nate and jace

“Mom! The dog just peed on the floor!”

“Hey, honey, have you seen my socks?”

“Momma! I want candy!”

Through the chaos of barking dogs, calling children, buzzing dryers and ringing phones, I couldn’t suppress the inner voice bearing down on me.

You have to get this book finished by the end of summer. You’re at the most critical part in the story too. The spiritual crux of the matter. Don’t lose focus!

“Focus, Tara. Focus.” I found myself muttering the phrase as I carried the Spot Shot and washrag into the laundry room. I discarded the mess, washed my hands and sighed my relief when the voices clambering for attention finally ceased. All was quiet. Now I could finally get back to the business of what I was called to do…write.

I strolled into the living room and froze. A four year old greeted me with a sheepish grin and sticky fingers.

“Hi, Mom.” He shrugged. “You says I can has candy.” He grinned. “It’s yummy.”

Butterfinger crumbs were scattered all over the floor. Everywhere. butterfingersButterfingers.

Another delay. My irritation flared.

“Nathan!” I stomped over the pantry and grabbed a broom and dust pan before stooping to sweep up the mess. “Son, I do not have time for this!”

With a start, I heard, really heard the words coming out of my mouth. I didn’t have time to clean up my family’s messes? Didn’t have time to be a mom? Didn’t have time to be a servant to the little guys hugging my knees because I was too busy being a servant to everyone else?

God forgive me.

Usually, we are only angered by interruptions when we value the thing we are doing more than the person interrupting us. Sad but true. Crushed cheerios, spilled apple juice and cleaning up Legos might be the most un-glamorous job on the planet but it’s the un-glamorous that reveals the hearts of true servants. The same servant-heart found in Christ.

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Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” ~Philippians 2:3-8

Jesus showed us the path to doing anything with big impact is to lay aside our ‘want-tos’ and put others first. That is where unconditional love is displayed, where people witness hope and torn hearts are mended.

Any ministry we have will only be as strong as the ministry we have within the walls of our home. Being a servant, working in ministry or whatever you’d like to call it should never be something we do. It should be an outpouring of who we are…a loved, redeemed child of God who can’t wait to show that love to others.

I’ve erased, “I don’t have time for this” from my vocabulary. We make time for whatever is important to us, and my messy little family is far more important than any book project I’ll ever write.

Although I confess, I may have stopped buying Butterfingers.

Stories from the Sea: Never Hide Your Scars

Stories are everywhere if we just ask God to open our eyes.

newport oregonOur family recently vacationed in the beautiful Pacific northwest. As our children flew colorful kites, waded through frigid waves and dug in white sand, I walked through the wide stretch of beach, enjoying the gritty feeling of sandy between my toes. Gulls squawked overhead and the scent of decaying sea life and salt water permeated the air as I strolled along, noting the various creatures and items washed up on the shore.

Small shelled sea creatures with tiny claws, white shells with striations of purple, orange backed crabs, twisted cords of driftwood, seaweed and round pebbles. It’s always interesting to see what the thundering waves spit out during high tide.

I had already found a particularly beautiful seashell. In just the right light, it shimmered like glitter. Its surface was like white, polished chalk, but it was broken. Beautiful but shattered. The turbulent waters had battered it beyond repair.

sea rocksThere was a large stone that had caught my attention, worn completely smooth by the pounding waves. The hard edges had been ground away leaving it easy to the touch, but the rock was also unremarkable. Dull of color with no interesting marks or features. The surf had beat it down until it resembled every other stone dotting the shoreline. Round, smooth, lackluster.

As the cold wind tugged my hair across my mouth, I knelt when my toe bumped a rock different from everything else I’d seen. This rock was not pretty as far as color goes, not smooth or glittery or worn smooth yet it intrigued me the most. Why? Because it bore the imprints of dozens of tiny sea creatures who had once burrowed in its depths, yet now it was washed clean. sea rock

It was scarred, but it told me a story. It drew me in and fanned my curiosity to life. This jagged rock made me want to know more. The indelible marks had forever branded it and its journey through the rough ocean waters. It had survived the mighty Pacific to find rest on the shore.

We all have wounds and scars. Some of us put on a show, slapping on our greasepaint and glittering makeup, praying no one will notice how broken we are, yet the world continues to break us until we feel we’re only shards of the person God intended us to be. Some of us have let our culture so beat us and mold us and play with our minds and hearts, we no longer have our own identity. We look like everybody else and wonder why we feel helplessly lost, unnoticed and unappreciated. We’ve become people pleasers without a voice, without color. We’ve thrown away our God-given destiny and are aching to reclaim it.

Some of us are visibly scarred. We may not be as pretty as the seashell or as smooth and acceptable as the round stones, but do not discount the sharp beauty of the imprinted rock, for it tells a story. People who are seeking will notice it. They will ask, for it has the fingerprints of redemption all over it. It’s a story of survival and victory in the hands of the Creator. Those scars may be the key to unlocking someone else’s prison. Wear the scars with humility but never hide them.

Stories are all around us if we’ll only open our eyes.