Just Sayin'
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Tracey Hatfield

A candle looses nothing by lighting another candle. Go light the world! Tweet me @jtsjustsayin

Posted 7/20/12 at 12:54 PM | Tracey Hatfield

Them's Fightin' Words

A friend and I took our kids on a trip to the big city to see a few of the sites. Instead of driving all over the narrow streets in an unfamiliar area, we parked and decided to rely on public transportation, the bus system. It was my kids’ first time using public transportation. The youngest two were delighted and my teenager approached it as he does everything else in life with a melancholy, distant attitude. My friend and I were a little nervous. We weren’t familiar with the town enough to know exactly where we needed to get off, nor were we confident in our knowledge of public transit etiquette, so we were conversing quite loudly on the bus and asking strangers what to do.

We sounded like two hens clucking about the fox in the hen house. It wasn’t pretty. So my teen leaned in and in his you’re so embarrassing voice said, “Mom, why do you have to be so loud in here?” I took a deep breath and calmly said, “It’s hard to hear Ms. Randie up there. The air conditioner is so loud and besides I don’t care what these people think about me. I will never see them again.” To that he replied in his condescending, I am so superior to you voice, “That’s not very Christian of you.” My blood begin to boil, my heart raced, and if I truly didn’t care what those people thought, I would have beat some honor thy father and thy mother into him. Instead I replied, “Why don’t you tell me in that Bible that you read so much where it says I need to be so concerned with what these people think about me.” Not my best parenting moment, I admit, but them’s fighting words. I can’t think of any words in the English language that gets me more fired up than “that’s not very Christian of you” or, another version with the same judging mentality behind it, the “you’re not a good Christian”. FULL POST

Posted 5/13/12 at 1:36 PM | Tracey Hatfield

God gave me you, Mom. A picture of unconditional love

On my 18th birthday, God answered a prayer I didn’t even know I needed answering, the unconditional love of a mother. I had prayed every night for deliverance or for God to take me to heaven and after 14 long years God had answered that prayer. But God always knows what is best for us and knew I needed more. I was not prepared for, nor did I know the power that love would have on my life. Let me start at the beginning.

I was born in the 70’s to a broken and bruised woman filled with self-loathing and anger. A woman, I suspect, that was abused and felt unlovable. I received my first “spanking” at 2 months old, according to my grandmother, because I would not quit crying. This would be the first of many “spankings” that left me unable to sit sometimes for days. I lived in fear of setting her off, constantly trying to keep quiet and stay out of her way. She made it very clear that I was incapable of doing anything correctly and had no problem grabbing whatever was closest to her to beat that into me. As I read this and see the words on paper, I am aware that many children have had it worse, and that this may sound cold or distant, but stating just that facts keeps the anger and hurt at bay that the devil still uses to take me to that black hole of depression, but that’s another story. Needless to say my childhood was not a happy one. FULL POST

Posted 4/29/12 at 10:15 PM | Tracey Hatfield

I am a back row Baptist with a smart mouth and a quick tongue, Christian?

     If I said to you I go to church every Sunday, what would you call me? Christian? If I said I pray at least a once a week, what would you call me? If I said I have gone on two mission trips, what would you call me? Christian? If I said I am at church every time the doors are open and I serve on several church committees, what would you call me? If I said I am in jail, because I killed someone, what would you call me? Christian? If I said I committed adultery, what would you call me? If I said I am a Catholic, what would you call me? Christian? How about Baptist? Well, 33% of the world’s population is considered Christian and 75% of Americans identify themselves as Christian, so I think it’s time to look at how exactly we define the the term Christian.

       The term Christian is only mentioned three times in the Bible, Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28, and I Peter 4:16 and is never defined by Jesus at all. In fact, the term Christian comes from the Greek word Christianos and means follower of Christ and was probably used as a derogatory term by the non-Christians of Antioch. It was a name of shame. It referred to those that literally followed Jesus around, his disciples, and those that were now following them. It was a term used to identify a group of people by their behavior. If we just define Christians only by their behavior, we miss the true meaning of the term Christian. We become like the Pharisees only deeming people as righteous by the rules they keep and we all know what Jesus called them, hypocrites and blind men. I understand that we are to know each other by our fruits, but I believe that is so we can identify each other, so we can come together and do some great ministry for God and identify those that need that gospel, not to point fingers and judge whether or not someone is saved, which brings me to my next point. FULL POST

Posted 3/27/12 at 9:33 AM | Tracey Hatfield

Not Better, Not Perfect, Just Christian

     I am definitely not the poster child for Christianity.  You will not find my picture next to the definition of Christian in Webster’s Dictionary.  I don’t put scripture verses up all over my Facebook page.  I don’t have a John 3:16 bumper sticker on my car.  I don’t listen to just Christian music.  I don’t wear Christian t-shirts everywhere I go.  I am not at church every time the doors are open.  I am inappropriate at times and very blunt.  I have been told numerous times that my delivery needs work.  I believe that I am always right.  My favorite Café Press t-shirt is, “I see stupid people”. 

     My relationship with God is a little bit of a rollercoaster ride.  Sometimes, He leads and I follow.  Sometimes I lead as He walks beside me shaking his head.  Sometimes we fight.  I yell, “No”, and He whispers, “Yes”.  Sometimes God wins those fights and I get to experience something miraculous.  Sometimes God loses, you know free will and all, and I get to experience His discipline.  Sometimes he seems very far away, but always He is with me, loving me, consoling me, and guiding me.  Sometimes, God pursues me, while I am running for the exit.  Sometimes, He carries me when I am too broken to even crawl.  Sometimes, I throw Him over my shoulder and carry Him around like a burden.   Sometimes, I weep and He places his hand on my shoulder and weeps with me.  Sometimes, I laugh and He says, “See, I have a sense of humor, too”.  Rollercoaster ride, definitely. FULL POST

Posted 3/15/12 at 10:02 PM | Tracey Hatfield

Dying Ain't easy or Is It? It Depends on Who's Asking.

Willow loved sheep. Our little sheep has gone to see her shepherd.

As I watch my friend comfort her 18 year old daughter, while she decides if she should donate her 2 year old daughter’s organs, I ponder these questions:

How do those that do not believe in God deal with the death of a child?

How do those that do not believe we are created for a purpose explain why awful things happen to good people?

How do those that do not believe there is a season and a reason for every “thing” comfort a mom who's is burying her child?

How do those that do not believe in Heaven deal with their own mortality and offer hope to anyone?

I believe in God.  I believe we are created for a purpose.  I believe there is a season and a reason for every “thing”.  I believe in Heaven.  If I didn’t believe, I wonder if I could look forward to going to the hospital.  I wonder if I could laugh, discuss trivial topics like what’s on TV, and tell jokes that would make you blush in the PICU.  I wonder if I could smile, as I remember how this precious 2 year old disliked me.  I wonder if a mom could hold her dead child on her lap, close her eyes, and rest, if she didn’t believe.  I wonder if I could see the beauty there and take a picture, if I didn’t believe.  I wonder what the nurses think when they chastise us for laughing too loudly in this death room.  I wonder if I could write this without malice and anger of any kind, if I didn’t believe.