The Cornerstone {As Seen In Lifeway’s Journey}

{This devotional was first seen in Lifeway’s Journey devotional magazine for women. This devotional was one of mine that was featured in their March 2016 issue. Enjoy!}

Lifeway Journey March 2016

The Cornerstone

“The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone” (Psalm 118:22).

Throughout my life, I have struggled with self-worth despite having a very supportive and loving family. Oddly enough, I did not struggle with my beauty but with my brains. It wasn’t my family who brought me down; it was some of my childhood teachers.

There was a lot of emphasis put on education in my family and as a result, I put pressure on myself to be perfect when it came it academics.

While many of my teachers were amazing, I had a few bad apples that led to my negative thinking patterns.

The straw that broke the camel’s back came for me in eighth grade. My band teacher was sponsoring an event that I didn’t fully agree with. When I told her that I wouldn’t be participating, she laughed at me and said, “I hate to tell you this, but one person will never change the world by standing on stupid beliefs.”

I was crushed. It was heartbreaking to have one of my educators tell me what I was taking a stand for was stupid. I never wanted to believe her, but I carried her words with me for a long time.

Then the time came for college, and I had an incredible English professor. He introduced me to topics and ideas I fell in love with. One of his assignments was for us to write about someone we believed made decisions that changed history. When our grades were given to us, my professor approached my desk and laid the paper down. He looked at me and said, “The greatest thing about your paper was, I could see you being the person in your story. You will make a difference in this world. Keep it up.”

My English professor had no idea the impact his words would have on me. He was a willing vessel for God that day and delivered redemption to my wounds.

I love the wisdom Psalm 118 gives us: “it is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust a man.” Sometimes people of influence in our lives tear us down with words rather than build us up. However, God reminds us the “stone” others want to throw away is actually the rock He wants to build His kingdom on. The qualities we see as inadequate are often the qualities God gave us for a specific purpose in His kingdom.

Steps of Faith: Lord, help me find my worth in you and not in the words of other. Help me see myself as You see me.  

The Trait Project : #7 {Boyd Thomas}

He will probably be upset that I used his real name in the title, because no one alive calls him Boyd anymore. Most people know him as Tom or Little Tommy Tucker, but I know him as Dad.

He was the first man I ever loved.

Krystal & Dad

I believe he would agree with me telling you our relationship got off to a rocky start. When I was born my dad was a very hardworking retail manager of one of the largest office supply companies in the US. He didn’t manage just one store; he opened and closed stores in a few states and had a large territory to cover. Because of this we moved every six months and he missed most of my “firsts” in this big world.

Of course I don’t remember him missing those things, but I do remember not feeling very “familiar” with my dad. I was young and there was plenty of time to make up for those years, but it was work we both had to put in.

My dad is a “man on a mission” about every single thing in his life. He and my husband share this look  I call “Go Mode” and when they are in this mode, there is no talking about anything other than the work they are thinking about. I try to hide my resentment of this mode in my husband, but it is a very difficult task. HA.

My mom tells me stories about my dad as a retail manager  I have such a hard time believing because time and, honestly, the Lord have softened his rough edges. Apparently back in the world of handheld recording devises that recorded on cassette tapes, he would record what he had to say about you and the areas you needed to improve for that days work and leave the recording on your desk. Ouch. Bossy much? HA!

He was this type of person in the corporate world for the first six years of my life.

For the biggest portion of my life though, he has been a pastor. If there is one thing I have seen as I have aged within the evangelical world, there is a huge difference between a preacher and a pastor. My dad is blessed to be both of these things, but as his daughter looking in on his life, he is much more of a pastor. His heart for people is astounding.

He has a true love for the people God has created on this earth, this being every single person. His ultimate passion is to see everyone come to know the love of the Christ he serves, but he knows just being Jesus to people is where the rubber hits the road.

Dad in South Africa

{My favorite picture of my dad. He has been traveling to South Africa to train pastors and do mission work there for more than a decade now. This picture shows so much of my father’s heart.}

As an adult I have had the privilege of watching him pastor a group of people from afar. I actually prefer it this way. I know he and my mom would love to have my family be a part of their church, but I actually get more joy in watching his ministry from afar. The main reason is I get to enjoy and appreciate the love his church family has for him. They adore him. The church he pastors now thought they would never be able to get a preacher like him and they take such good care of he and my mom. It’s astounding to see. Their overflow of affection radiates into my own little family that lives a few states away. They love us well even though we aren’t there with them. It’s a true testament to the man my father is; to the leader God made him to be.

I remember being in elementary school and when we had projects to write about our “heroes” I would always choose my dad. I think this is because he was still a mystery to me. If we were to be honest, the people we consider our heroes in life are often elusive to us. We don’t really know them well, but we long to. My dad was like this to me. I knew I would spend a lifetime getting to know him, and as an adult, I can honestly say, I know my hero so much better now.

I am able to work a room full of strangers because of his influence. I have a love of academia because of him. My gypsy soul comes from the adventure he instilled in me. I am sarcastic because of his personality (sorry mom!). However, the best thing I have gained from my dad I am putting to use today is my ability to “pastor” people. I have a love for people I know directly comes from seeing him love so well. If you need him, he is there. I want to be this kind of girl. I want the people God brings me in contact with to know they can count on me and I will be there for them. I want to love people with a Christlike determination for the well-being of their soul.

My earthly father does this so well.

I want my son to be a man who will be sensitive to the needs of others. I want him to be like his Poppy {my dad’s assigned grandparent name from his grandchildren} in so many ways.

Krystal & Dad at her wedding

Dad, thank you for loving people how God loves them; and most of all, thank you for loving me.

-Krystal Marie