Saturday, December 31, 2016

This Is My Story...

...A Year in the Life

 

We experienced a lot of firsts this year-all without husband or father in our lives. Amerel volunteered at several horse farms and also a therapeutic (horse) riding center. She also took horse back riding lessons. She joined the adult Christmas choir which has been a longtime dream of hers. Isaiah played on the worship team at our church...a dream he's had since he was a toddler. He's also been teaching himself how to play electric and acoustic drums which is a more recent dream of his. My two little ones both had solo parts in the children's Christmas choir. All of the kids began trying to learn how to swim over the summer break from school. Daddy would have been proud of his children this year!


I've also had some firsts...I began driving regularly on the local highways-something I would never have done if it wasn't absolutely necessary! I have learned to pump my own gas. (In the state I'm originally from it's illegal to pump your own gas, and Tyren always filled our gas tank ever since we've been married.) I had my first surgery (for hernia repair) and am gracefully recovering. Bought my first vehicle by myself. Rented our first house. Even got my first regular stay at home job! Praise God! My husband would have been proud of me, too. But he wasn't here to walk through any of it with us. Sometimes, I honestly don't know how I made it through this year-BUT GOD!

God has faithfully brought us through this year! When I prayed for a reliable vehicle big enough for our family that would last us years-God came through. I prayed for a home with enough room to homeschool our four children comfortably and a nice sized backyard for the kids to play in. God opened up the windows of heaven and poured it out upon us. I prayed that by January 1st I would have a part time job that allowed me to stay at home and support my kids' homeschooling. Again, God miraculously came through and I was hired earlier this month for an online chat support position at a Christian school! Has God been faithful to us?! Amazingly so! And there are so many other ways He's been faithful to us that many of you have had a huge part in.


So, as hard as it is to believe and to fathom, life still goes on here in this place I've decided to call Narnia (see my blog from March of this year). Because, for me, life in that other world where my husband still walked beside me can not co-exist with this new life I have to walk in. It is another reality that no longer exists in this new world we are destined to live in now. But I now know something that I didn't know, or believe, a year ago when my beloved husband graduated to his eternal heavenly home-God still has a perfect plan for my life here in this place...and I am choosing to walk in it. God is faithful.

So, for as long as God has given me to live here in this place...

This is my story,
This is my song...
Praising my Savior
All the day long!

Thank you to all of you who have stood by us in love, prayer, and support in this most difficult year of our lives.


Happy New Year!

Tiffany

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

A Chapter in the Chronicles of Narnia


This is My Story,
This is My Song,
Praising My Savior,
ALL THE DAY LONG!

It was as if we had entered into another world.  A world unknown to any of us.  We had never crossed these shores before.  Nor was I sure I wanted to cross them now.  But the song "In Over My Head" sung by Bethel's Jenn Johnson kept crashing over me, leading me deeper and deeper into uncharted waters.  This is the beginning of entering in to the Chronicles of Narnia...

Assumane Fun Day (August 2015)

My beloved husband, Tyren, was absolutely exhausted.  I had never seen him so tired before.  The only other time I could compare it with was the time he had crashed, physically, after he single-handedly delivered our little Chayah over six years ago in our Lichinga home.  He was so exhausted in the days following that home birth, that I felt I should be attending to him after giving birth rather than him attending to me.  This was worse.  I can't even describe it.  I don't know what exactly caused him to get so worn down.  He was doing everything he normally does-and then some.  But it didn't seem to be to the point where he wouldn't recover-given some extended down time and relaxation.  Which was exactly what I ordered.  And he did that-to the best of his ability at the time.  He couldn't just stop everything with so many people dependent on him for so many different things-from the guards to our family-everyone needed him daily for something.  And being the kind of person he was-always supporting, always caring, always exhorting and stirring others up to walk into their God given destinies-he was there for everyone who needed him, even in his time of weakness.  That week, he gave of himself to his family, our Lichinga base, the prison, and everyone else he felt he needed to be there for.  

The following week, our whole family left the reality of our known world and we entered into another reality.  One where Daddy and husband began to lose his strength.  One where Daddy and husband leaned on us more than we leaned on him.  This was a strange new world for all of us.  But Tyren continued to lift us, his family, up in prayer and encourage us in the word of the Lord.  God had some specific things to share with us that week and Tyren delivered them.  He watered and washed us with the word of God that was pouring from his heart for our family and for myself, his wife.  Contending for strength in his body, he continued to contend for his family for our strength in the Lord.  God told him that he was going to graduate and be skipped a couple of levels and that we were also going to be graduating.  As Tyren shared these words with us, none of us had any idea what graduation day would look like-not even Tyren himself realized when he spoke to us that day.  I told him that I was going to write a blog about him after he and our family graduated.  I already had the title which you read at the top of this blog.  I thought we would have a great and awesome testimony to share about how God miraculously restored Tyren's strength.  Little did we know that God intended to promote him to the highest level of graduation.     

Briefly, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the Chronicles of Narnia, it is about 4 siblings who are suddenly and without warning, transported from their normal, mundane life in England to another world called Narnia.  They face and overcome many evils and fight many battles.  During their many trials and tribulations, along with their many victories, they find out that they are actually kings and queens in a kingdom where Aslan is the loving supreme leader of Narnia.  Aslan eventually lays down his own life to defeat an evil witch and save Narnia and is then raised back to life victoriously the following day.  

Last week, my oldest daughter and I were talking about Tyren and she mentioned that she felt her Daddy had suffered more spiritually than physically before he died.  I told her that I agreed with her and that God must have decided that this was to be his last battle.  That's when she told me the title of the last book in the Chronicles of Narnia-it's called The Last Battle.  In this last battle, the Narnians are fighting for their lives and for Narnia when they are instantly transported into Aslan's country, the allegorical heaven, right in the midst of the battle.  One moment they were fighting, and the next moment they had graduated!  That was their last battle.  Victorious and triumphant, they entered into the next level.  Tyren fought his last battle and, peacefully, he graduated to the final level-the ultimate level-where he will fight no more.  He has overcome and has entered into his victory.  


Flowering tree Tyren planted in our front yard (Lichinga)

Now, I feel that we have been left here in Narnia for a time.  And I know we have many battles and challenges ahead of us in this strange land.  But, I also know that, like Tyren, one day we will graduate and enter into the victory that Christ has already won for us.  And if we really believe in who God says we are in Him, we can enter into that victory even now, well before our time comes to leave this land.  


Flower Tyren planted in our front yard (Lichinga)

And that is the end of the first chapter for the Haynes family in the book of the Chronicles of Narnia.


Blessings,


Tiffany 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dreams Do Come True...

I don't always have dreams.  But this year I've been having lots of dreams at night.  Some seem relevant, some don't.  Some weeks ago, I lost an umbrella.  About 2 weeks later, I dreamed that it was back in our house where it had been before it was lost.  When I woke up, I checked to see if it was in our house, but it wasn't.  I decided to see if it was at the place I last remembered using it, so I sent a text to find out.  Turns out, I had left it over someone's house and they brought it back to me after reading my text.  Dreaming about finding my umbrella helped me to realize that, sometimes, in order for dreams to come true, we need to actually do something.  If I hadn't decided to see if this dream of finding my umbrella could come true by actually doing something about it, I may not have received my umbrella back!

Recently, my dreams have been about gardens or gardening.  God has used gardening to teach me life lessons in the past; so when I have a dream about a garden or gardening, I usually take special note.  This year I've been wanting to plant pumpkin in my garden, but just hadn't gotten around to it yet.  Here, we eat both the pumpkin and the leaves of the plant, so it's a very useful plant to have around.  When we were in the U.S. last year, my brother in law gave some pumpkin seeds to our kids. I had saved them, but had forgotten all about them.  I found them last month and I decided to plant them.  When I was ready to plant them, I realized that they had gotten thrown in the garbage by accident!  Tyren managed to rescue 2 of them from the garbage, but couldn't find the last one.  I lamented over the fact that I had just found them, only to lose one of them!  A few days later, I happened to be cleaning up something on the floor near the garbage and I found the missing pumpkin seed!  My first thought was, "God gave me back my seed!"  I've since had 2 dreams  involving myself planting pumpkin in my garden.  After the last one, I said, "Ok, God redeemed my pumpkin seeds, so now it's time to plant pumpkin!"  I planted all three of the seeds I had found and also planted a few local pumpkin seeds.  We'll see what happens! 


It's time to dream again!  There's a verse in a song from my childhood days that keeps popping into my head recently.  The song is Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Judy Garland.  One of the verses says,

"...And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true." 

Dare to dream again!  What are you dreaming about?  Don't allow your dreams to die!  God may have given you seeds to plant so that your dreams can bear fruit.  He may want to redeem dreams that you thought were lost forever...don't let your dreams die!  It's time to plant those seeds and bear the fruit of your dreams-HIS DREAMS-that He is dreaming for you.  Nothing is impossible with God!  


Blessings,
Tiffany