Tindell Baldwin »

Children’s tiny footsteps fill the halls at 6am, the joyful pitter patter of anticipation, tiny squeals for the little things to come. Laundry hangs clumsily over the rail, pool toys scarrter the halls, and baby jars sit half eaten in the fridge. My heart almost burst with the fullness of our life, this family that has been building like the waves that crash on the sand.

Yes its different, most nights we head to bed earlier than we used to knowing our kids will be up with the sun. We move schedules, shower last, sleep less, but we also laugh louder, speak sweeter, and reveal in the joy that can’t really be put into words. We do dances when one of the little ones, “poops in the potty”. We celebrate the candy store, batman masks, half painted nails, and we slip away into quiet when we can knowing at any moment we will be greeted by laughter. Yes there are meltdowns and tears and times when the clock ticks too slowly to the seven thirty bedtime but it just makes grow up dinners that much sweeter.

We are all in this new phase of families and parenting and marriage and learning that real life isn’t so much about what you can get but what you can build. I wouldn’t trade the footsteps or the mess for any other life. I see the roads that have led here, sometimes painfully, and I have seen Gods faithful hand whisper to me in the quietest of moments that father is the greatest of words. I have seen the molding of our family, and the painful growth spurts that have caused us to to rally and love a little deeper.

Its a new season yes, but like every season it will usher in the next. Tiny feet will usher into teenage drama and prayers from bended knees of desperation. I am sure life won’t always be this pure but in the days that seem long I can look ahead at my goal. I can see that raising a generation of Jesus lovers starts in my home, behind my doors, and in my marriage. I have come to realize that if influence many for Christ but I don’t give my kids every opportunity to see Jesus in me then I have missed the point. If I manage to write best sellers and speak on big stages but my kids don’t run to me when the tears fall like rain then none of it matters.

I have wrestled with this often, is what I am doing all that important?? I mean who cares if I change diapers, do laundry, keep house, cook dinner? I could be out changing things, saying things, influencing, striving, does the day to day really matter? I believe it does, because memories are made there. Love is formed there, family is formed at dinner tables, and swingsets, in lazy sundays, and sick nights. Family is formed in the mundane and sometimes miserable moments. Because you can’t get here without first being there. You grow into adults and form families of your own and thank the Good lord that your own parents had the audacity to show you the way.

You get to the real relationship. You become a parent yourself and see why it all mattered so much, every lunch note, every spanking, every daddy daughter date because while I fully realize that life isnt a formula I won’t go to the grave with regrets about how much I invested in my family but I might regret how much time I didnt. I wont regret selling less books but I will regret missing preschool graduation and dance recitals. One day I will see that each day meant a lot and maybe one day I will sit in a packed house full of my own kids and praise Jesus for the long days that turned into this.

 

ANF_LOGOSToday I am speaking to some eighth grade girls from a school down the street from me. Nothing fancy just a little dessert and chat time about the wonderful and terrifying world of high school they are about to enter into. I’ve spent some hours this week wrestling through what I was feeling at their age and I came up with some things I wish I had heard (if I had ever actually listened) then last night like a ton of bricks I felt this small voice telling me, “these girls don’t need to hear this, you’re making this such a bigger deal than it is”. I paused and for a second I started to wonder.

My pride was starting to get in the way of my message. I didn’t really want to go explain to another group of girls about my broken mess of a life because I’m worried they might judge me or think I’m dumb or stare at me like I have a giant booger (which has only happened like once or twice).  I went to bed a little discouraged and somewhat nervous for tonight. I mean maybe I was making too big of deal about being “popular” maybe this world isn’t really as cruel as I thought?

Then this morning I read an article by the CEO of Abercrombie, I remember Abercrombie. Yes, I vaguely remember the half-dressed men and woman on the walls as I tried to fit my pre-pubescent body in their size “6” which I’m pretty sure is equivalent to my daughters 9 month clothing. I remember that my friends and I would go ogle the boys that worked there because they were mostly shirtless (please notice the use of past tense in these sentences). I remember that Abercrombie was the standard, I remember leaving the stores and it taking a good week to get the smell off your clothes. I remember a tank top being close to 50$ and somehow convincing my mom that this was what all the cool kids wore so I had to have it for my birthday. She wasn’t a fan. I haven’t been to Abercrombie in over 10 years but I have a feeling that for a lot of kids it probably still considered “cool”. Boys and girls just trying to be accepted is that so bad?

Well here’s a quote from the article about a little change Abercrombie made “He doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people,” Lewis said. “He doesn’t want his core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing his clothing. People who wear his clothing should feel like they’re one of the ‘cool kids.”  This quote was in response to the fact that Abercrombie will no longer be carrying a womans XL or XXL but just in woman because “ the only reason Abercrombie offers XL and XXL in men’s sizes is to appeal to large athletes.” And again, athletes are cool.

So do middle school girls need someone to tell them that this “cool kid” life isn’t really what it looks like? Do girls need to hear that there is a God who loves them even if they happen to wear a Abercrombie XL?? which by the way wouldn’t fit my arm! Do girls need to know that this lifestyle that Abercrombie is promoting of meaningless sex and size 00 dreams is empty and lonely?  

Yes, I believe that teenagers deserve to hear something besides the world always whispering they are fat. I believed the bible when it said that I would face persecution and heartache because I’m living in a world that isn’t mine. I’m here for one reason, to promote truth. For me today that looks like telling a few girls, that the God who created them loves them and wants to know them no matter what size they wear.  So thank you Mike Jefferies (Abercrombie CEO) for reminding me why my message is so vital.

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. John 15:19

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14

Fear not for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name… you are mine. Isaiah 43:1

Article I am referring to (WARNING picture on article is inappropriate)  http://elitedaily.com/news/world/abercrombie-fitch-ceo-explains-why-he-hates-fat-chicks/

  • Kimberly Falls - Thank you so much for what you are doing! I have an 8th grade girl and yes they definitely need to hear your message! I can’t wait to get your book for her!ReplyCancel

  • Brooke Ventimiglia - Wow, Tindell. You are such a blessing. Thank you for having God use you! You’re beautiful, inside and out!

    BrookeReplyCancel

book photoWell guys it’s May. Yes, it’s May. Somehow April passed, my daughter is almost 5 months old (I know you were really wondering), long awaited family vacation is this month, I am no longer allergic to the air so that’s a plus, and I am two months away from book release day.

My head and heart is swirling as I stare at the books on the shelf. It was about three years ago that I started this, 3 years ago that I felt God calling me to write my story. I remember hearing it and thinking, “really mine, but it’s so broken” his firm response was “exactly”. As so it began. I was unemployed living in Houston with my new husband and having a horrible attitude about the whole thing. My family was in Atlanta my friends were in Atlanta and, Houston was similar to western novels I had seen minus the nature.  So I spent hours every day at Starbucks writing down my story and fighting off mosquito’s that were the size of a quarter.

I got to a lot of parts and thought, I mean no one will ever read this so I can include that. So I did. I think if I had known that it would end up published I might have been a little less honest. I might have left out some things, not because God wanted me to leave it out but because my pride wanted me to leave it out. I mean my Mimaw is going to read this (that’s my grandmother for you non southerners) and my in-laws and even though they are amazingly supportive I’d like to maintain a shred of dignity in this process. Not really my call though.

I’ll be honest I’ve spent the past year in some sense of dread wondering what the Christian community will think of me, my writing, and my not so squeaky clean past. I’ve wondered what my daughter will think when she gets old enough to read this. So many questions but I have to take them back to the one who asked me to do this in the first place.

Whenever I seem to ask he reminds me of people who have made huge impact on me, and I remember their willingness to be broken in front me. The thing is we are all broken and we all rebel from God and not talking about doesn’t change that truth. So I talked about it… all of it. I filled 240 pages revealing my deep and real need for a Savior.

But why??? Great question, because vulnerability and honesty change everything. Maybe if I come off my high horse (that by the way isn’t real) and admit that I’m no better than the next person maybe we can both meet on some kind of level ground and really get to know God in all his splendor, no masks attached. Maybe if teenagers can see some shred of hope in my broken story that was very much redeemed by a very real God then maybe just maybe he will reveal himself to them as well. I could be wrong and you could very much disagree but here’s the thing, living in obedience to the one who has called me to him is worth the risk… every time. It’s worth the possibility of criticism and misunderstanding because after living most of my life caring about popularity and what other people thought of me (hence the title) I can tell you a life with God is freedom in every sense of the word. Sure I’m scared and worried and some days I shudder thinking about how much I’m putting out there but then I talk to a girl who can relate and God reminds me “this is why”. Worth it. Everytime.

**Book is available for pre-order from amazon but won’t be released until July

 

  • Anna Etheriedge - You go girl! We (Bobbi’s Biblestudy) can’t wait for your book to get here! And I can’t wait to share it with the recovering addict girls that I love so much. I don’t have a story quite like theirs to share… just my son’s. How wonderful for them to read how God met you. Relating makes a difference. Thank youReplyCancel

  • Charlotte - I just saw Jefferson Bethke’s recommendation for this book through twitter, and just through the title alone, I think this is a book I am definitely going to be able to relate to. Thank you for being so courageous to share your story. Definitely pre-ordering this!!ReplyCancel

  • lea marshall - whenever parenting my prodigal daughter gets tedious. when i want to give up and just let her go to the unsupervised alcohol filled parties that will “make her happy” and look the other way like the other parents. whenever i think these years and these tears will never end… i go back and reread your blog. from the beginning. it gives me hope in a God who restores. and rebuilds. and redeems all things. thank you.

    i cannot wait to read your book. i don’t think my daughter will read it right now. but someday, i am sure it will be a great delight to her. to know that she was never alone. never abandoned. those years (and my tears) were not wasted. and she was never more loved…

    He is enough. for her. and for a mother’s aching heart.ReplyCancel

Sometimes I get to do really cool things, OK to some people they aren’t that cool but for a stay at home mom who sometimes writes they feel pretty cool. Sunday my wonderfully talented literary agent was in town and he had a meeting with my dad. The Stanfill’s are kind of like the Christian mafia, if you work with one of us you are going to end up working with the rest of us in some way, shape, or form. So I was basically there to say hi and sit in while they talked business. Well joining us was the CEO of Open Doors.

We started talking and He began telling me about the persecuted church overseas and the great lengths they were going to at great personal risk to spread the gospel.  As he began to tell me story after story of men and woman who risked their lives day after day I realized what he was talking about was far more biblical than the fancy dinner I was sitting at. So I asked him, “Do you believe Americans face persecution” very confidently he said, “No, we face temptation and we face the question that everyone who is persecuted for their faith already knows the answer to.” I was eager at this point, I wanted the answer. I wanted to be on the inside (again stay at home mom so this is the most adult conversation I’ve had in awhile) He said.

“They already know that Jesus is enough but we might never get to the point where we have to truly know that” (I am paraphrasing but this was the gist)

This is a man who has traveled the world, met very influential people and biblical scholars. He knows the gospel and he just summed up my problem in one sentence. Will I ever know that Jesus is enough? In my four bedroom house filled with comfort, will I ever know how much I truly need Jesus?  In my day to day where I love on my daughter, spend precious time with my husband, and am surrounded by family and friends, will I ever know that all that truly matters is Jesus?

I hear about people like Paul and Stephan who were killed for their faith so many years ago and I tell myself but that was so long ago, things were so different. It was an inhumane time. Is it really any better though? Have things really changed? 27 million slaves in the world and I call this a more “humane” time. People dying daily for their faith and I say things have changed. No truth remains truth, when you really fully understand how full and rich a life with Jesus is you will go to any lengths to make others understand. (and I thought giving the passion CD to the lady at Starbucks was doing my due diligence)

Sometimes it feels like I’ve made such a impenetrable comfort bubble that he can’t get through and if I am honest I’m scared to ask him to show me because I fear, no I know, it would involve being uncomfortable and that would disrupt my happiness.

I realized that as much as I hunger for a life filled with him I want it to be a comfortable life filled with him. I want him to come sit on my plush couch have coffee with me while we discuss who we are “praying for”.  I want a Jesus who doesn’t ask me to change, go, or trust. I want Jesus to be the friendly old lady at church who is completely satisfied if I come have tea with her once a week.

This isn’t the God I serve though, this isn’t all he asking of me. He’s asking a lot and I believe I can either stay in my bubble and answers the questions right and say the right things or I can get uncomfortable with people not knowing about Jesus and do something about it. Until I am willing to do whatever, go wherever, and say whatever he asks I am proclaiming that Jesus is not enough.

  • Anna Etheriedge - I loved your blog and I agree that Americans rarely face persecution, but I can assure you that somewhere along the line you too will be able to answer the question, “Is Jesus enough for me.” After nearly 25 years of marriage and having faced 3 miscarriages, my husband’s colon cancer, drug addiction with one of our kids, mental illness with a grandparent and now dementia with my parents… the question is posed through suffering of other kinds. God sifts all His children! However a time of persecution is coming that world has never seen before- may we be ready! Thank you for writing, can’t wait for your book.ReplyCancel

    • Tindell Baldwin - That is very true! I have not faced anything as challenging personally and that was my heartbeat behind this message! I can only imagine when more life is lived that Jesus will reveal himself to me even more! Thank you for your insight! God Bless ~TindellReplyCancel

  • TS - Tindy, I dont have words other than AMEN!! I love your heart and God loves when we are honest with him becuase he knows what we are thinking anyway. I have so far to go but all we can do is say “here I am, Lord” and let him lead us where he wants us to go. Let him take us on the adventure of following HIM. Let him shape our character through our own suffering. If I’m not willing, I’m asking that he change my heart. If I’m scared, I’m asking him to give me courage. If I doubt, I’m asking him to show up and strengthen my faith. If you want to be further challenged in this, I recommend you read “Heavenly Man”.ReplyCancel

    • Tindell Baldwin - Great thoughts Tay Tay! Heavenly man is on my list! You should look at David Platts “Follow me” its great too!! Love you tons bro!ReplyCancel

  • Wendy - Very powerful message. Thank you for sharing, Tindell.ReplyCancel

  • Tindell Baldwin - I struggle with the same thing everyday! Its a daily battle to face this world and not want what is easy and comfortable but rather what God has called us to. David Platts book “follow me” is great at really hashing it out!

    TindellReplyCancel

When I first thought about being a writer I loved the idea that I could have words but no face, that someone would know me for something I had said rather than what I looked like. Cause I will be honest, I am a Hot mess, minus the hot.

I spend most of my days covered in spit up. If I had a uniform it would be yoga pants and my husbands t shirt. I don’t go to cool events or lunch with important people, I am a mom to a four month old, a wife to an amazing (and might I add attractive) man, a friend to some amazing woman, a sister to some life changing people, and a daughter to wonderful parents. Some days I spend more time on you tube looking up videos of baby wombats than i’d care to admit (ok thats never ok to admit). I don’t see my girl friends as much as I would like. I spend less time in the bible than I should. Life is life. Its messy and crazy and most days I collapse into bed at 10 o clock and just thank God for the chance to shower.

I’m not even one of those creative moms that makes bible characters out of left over Popsicle sticks and tin foil (not sure if this is a thing but im sure pintrest would prove that it is). I cook sub par meals and my husband and I are totally great with that. I have my gifts sure, but my place in life right now is at home with my girl. This means I won’t be important to many people and that is exactly what God wants from me in this season. I believe he has called me to serve my family, my husband, and my daughter.

I have learned that the world is telling most woman in situations like mine, that this is not ok.The world says that to be valued means I need to be important to a lot of people. To be important I have to be recognized for an accomplishment or a title I hold. This is a lie.

God says being important doesn’t matter, being last matters. Serving matters more than leading and if I find myself in a position to lead it is only by his grace. God says his acceptance and love of me is more valuable than any position I might be placed in on this earth, and oh by the way if I am placed in a position he did it.

I believe when God said “go and make disciples” he meant my daughter and who better to influence her than someone with her DNA( Poor baby she had no choice) . This is the kind of stuff I want to teach her but what will I do when that precious little face looks up at me one day and says, “but mommy you are never last”.

Its a learning curve I am on. Making progress day by day mostly because I am forced to but I know this is one of the most important lessons I will learn. I am learning that when I am serving at my greatest capacity is when I am in the best position to lead.

  • jackie - Awesome! For sure, I am right with you on this.ReplyCancel

  • Jana Abbott - Tindell,
    I absolutely agree with you! I have been a stay at home mom for 14yrs now to my 4 boys! Would not trade that for any title or any position!!!! I pray when I meet Jesus face to face I can say without a doubt I have gave my all to raise my boys to serve Him!! My oldest has already surrendered to the call of ministry for Him and I could not be more proud!!!! Thank you for sharing!!! Taking the road to put God and your family first is not a “popular” choice on this side of heaven but on the other side I know we will rejoice and be glad we did it!!!!!
    Serving Him,
    JanaReplyCancel

    • Tindell Baldwin - Great Word Jana! So good to know that its always worth it from a mom who has been there!
      God bless!ReplyCancel

  • Julie Key - The spit up days change to whatever projects or special event we’re cooking for…and you still crave that shower! Thanks for these words…they met me just where I am today!ReplyCancel

  • tiffany - great post! i can definitely relate. miss you and love you, sweet friend!!ReplyCancel

Its resurrection week, I was just reminded by my sister in law on an email in the midst of trying to solve a parenting debacle. Its resurrection week, let me repeat for emphasis, its resurrection week. I don’t know about you but the words don’t strike me quite like they used to. It is the week that our Savior died on a cross for our sins and then rose from the grave so that we could all be redeemed. Sinners like you and me.

If you are like me and grew up in church then you know this, you’ve celebrated Easter quite a few times, you’ve gotten the Easter dress, cried on Good Friday, and sang “he is risen” on Sunday. You’ve hunted Easter eggs and bought peeps and prayed for a sunny day so the kids can play outside and you can snap a few adorable pictures.  I wonder if God saw the creation of peeps and said to himself, “I’m so glad they finally got a marshmallow candy to represent this momentous occasion.” Don’t get me wrong I love peeps but how is it that this week comes around and I have to remind myself how huge it is.

How have I become so numb to something so life altering?

This week means everything to me, if he hadn’t died and risen I would still be trying to make right all of the wrong I have done. He did though. The son of God came and died and rose again and yet I can pass this around casually in conversation without the slightest bit of reverence.

My only answer is to remember, remember and be in awe of a few things. One, that he loved me enough to endure the cross. Two, that my sins really are forgotten and finally that my calling is let other people know the same message. Because here is the thing, when I really remember how life changing the cross is I want people to experience the freedom and healing that I did when I embraced what God did for me that day.

He is risen, not just this Sunday but every day. You are washed clean, and not just this Sunday.

And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words,

Luke 24:5-8

  • C. S. Specht - Love this!! Exactly how I feel. Sometimes I just feel like yelling at people, “He’s alive! HE’S ALIVE!! How can that not change you?!”
    Always good to hear that others are indeed moved. Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

Laundry in the washer, I am showered with enough make up to be presentable, baby toys are thrown in corners not as visible, dog resting on my bed, baby napping, dishes done, bible open. I read the words that mean everything to me

“Fear not, For I have redeemed you; I have called you by name… you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1

No matter what the rest of my day holds this is enough for me right now. Its not overly poetic and the meaning screams at you. I don’t have to dig to understand it. It is my momentary grace, the words I need to resonate over me each day because when the demons come closer and the world starts to crumble and the brokenness is too much to bear my assurance is written in these words… Fear not. Oh but Lord there is so much to fear, health, bills, taxes, the economy… Fear not. He asks it of me so I must respond. He did not put in me a heart of fear but an overwhelming peace.

“For I have redeemed you”, those sweet words carry me far when my memories wander to the life I had before Christ. None of it matters now because, “for I have redeemed you” is my banner. It will be written on my soul for the rest of my days. He has redeemed me. I have no one who can judge because the God of this broken world sees me blemish free.

“I have called you by name”, he knows my name and yours. He doesn’t make a blanket call to all his sons and daughters he calls us by name. He knows each hair on my head, he knows my insecurities and my wants and even knowing all of that his final proclamation to me is simply this, “you are mine”. Such ownership, such joy, is there anything better than being claimed by someone. Its like the winning team has just asked me to join them (which if you have seen me doing anything athletic you know the true fantasy of this scenario). Despite my flaws, my failures, and my short comings, he calls me his. Today that is enough.

  • jackie - Absolutely beautiful. Thanks for writing this. I admire how you can put your thoughts into words so eloquently. Love it!ReplyCancel

  • Micah Barrales - Thank you for this post!! It is very powerful and much needed!ReplyCancel

  • Anna Etheriedge - Perfectly filling and sweet to the taste. Thank you for sharing your heart, AnnaReplyCancel

  • Lynn - Thank you for reminding me who I belong to! I’ve been much too afraid of things that “might” happen. I can hear Him whispering to me, “Fear not” throughout this post. Thank you for being His messenger today! I will not fear!!ReplyCancel

download (2)-001Well Folks, its that time of the year. That wonderful day when I write a somewhat sappy and almost always tearful message to my mom on her birthday. I thought this year I might for go it because lets be honest only a select few of  you will make it past these lines and 90% of that select few will have either shared a last name or a house with me. This year is different though as almost all of you know from my ridiculous amount of pictures, I am a mom this year.

You see your mom in a new light when you hold your own daughter in your arms after sweat and tears to bring her into the world. (except no tears for me thanks to the advances of modern medicine) All the sudden all those late nights she spent praying make sense. The tears she shed when I asked her to drop me off around the corner from school for the first time seem far more personal. All the sudden the sheer wonder of how she has managed to love me for all these years isnt quite a wonder anymore. I get it because when I hold my daughter in my arms I know with out a shout of doubt that there is nothing I wouldnt do for her, including the tough stuff.

You see my mom and I went through the wonderful mother daughter tribulation that comes with teenagedom and from years 14-18 our speaking was on a need to know kinda basis. We fought with a vengeance but she never gave up. Through late nights and one too many parties I threw when they were out of town she fought. Not always with me, but for me. She fought to have a relationship, she backed off when she needed to and she went to battle when she needed to. She read my journal when needed also. She fought for me because while their were some battles worth letting go, like the time I wore a dress I am now ashamed of to my brothers rehearsal dinner (praise Jesus baggy and long is in style these days), when it came to my heart my mom was going to win. So while 14-18 were rough years as soon as I left the house ( I have theory about too much estrogen in one household) I realized how much I truly loved my mom and her valiant fighting payed off.

Fast forward to 2013 and my little girl, affectionatly named after the woman who has done far for me than I care to admit, Claire sleeps in her crib. My desperate prayer for her seems to be the same each day, the same prayer I believe my mother prayed for me. Lord let me child know you with a kind of awe inspiring love that will change her life, oh and God if you could make her like me too that would be great. I know there are many battles ahead of me and many that will cause her to run to her room screaming that she hates me (like all great mother daughter relationships before us) but I cling to the hope that my fighting will not be in vain.

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.

So happy birthday mom, so glad that on this parenting journey I have your wisdom and grace and lets be honest, a babysitter when it all is too much.

love

Tindell

  • Claire stanfill - I’m honored, tearful, beaming and excited… For all that we have made it through, for all that we enjoy daily now, and for all the joy that is to come as we get to do life together as mother and daughter! We both learned and grew from all we went through and after all isn’t that what life is all about!? Learning from, growing because of and in the end allowing God to mold and make us more into His image through all trials and joys! You (and your little family) are one of my most treasured blessings! I Love youReplyCancel

  • Katara Patton - Happy Birthday to your mom, Tindell! What a beautiful tributeReplyCancel

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