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Tindell Baldwin »

I woke up this morning in a funk, convinced I could read my way out of it I bought I am Second on my ipad and started reading. Two stories in I was hooked, and not just because of the raw accounts of human destruction, but at the commor thread, we all desperatly need Jesus. It was story after story of pro athlete, band icon, and common joes but with one similarity, at the end of themselves they found Jesus. So I started wondering what my story would be like, what I would say in the pages of this book. Here’s my conclusion, my short synopsis of why I need Jesus. Heres why I am second.

At fiveteen I didnt know what I wanted, born and raised in a Christian household and walking in the shadow of three over achieving brothers, I was lost. I thought my Christiian life couldn’t possibly offer me what the popular lifestyle could so I walked away. I walked away from church, family, and the God I had worshiped since childhood for a chance to be in the in crowd.

It started small, just a beer, just a way to be a part of the crowd but before I knew it, it was a beast I couldn’t control. Drugs, drinking, and boys. Just a way to fill a void. Somethhing in me told me I was made for me but MTV told me this was the good life. I was just being a teen, just experimenting, just following the crowd. This is what i told my parents when i showed up drunk at school funcitons, was throwing up mornings after binge drinking, or sobbing in my room after another break up. I couldnt understand why this life that the world said would make me happy was so painful.  

Then after another break up that left me on my knees I sat in my bedroom with a handful of pills and was ready to take them all. Something whispered though, theres more. I put the pills down and picked up my bible. I thought maybe somewhere in the pages I could find my answer but I wasn’t ready. I didnt know who I would be apart from my friends, I couldnt walk away from the parties, and I needed the attention from boys to know I was worth something but deep down inside I prayed for a way out. 

Freshman year of college came and I knew I couldn’t keep living like this.  I was slowly self destructing and looking for more. I ended up at a Christian conference called Passion to hear my brother sing when God got my attention. It was the words to the song my brother sang that captured my heart. “Jesus Paid it all, all to him i owe, sin had left a crimson stain he washed it white as snow, Oh praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead.”  I never was the same. I gave up my old life and my old ways for the God who had never abandoned me. I realizd that day why I was never meant to live for me, i was created for more. I was created to serve my maker.

In all my years of living away from Christ i never once felt satisfied and it was only after I returned to my savior that I realize why. I need Jesus and there is no substitute for that. 

 

 

  • Brandon - Wow! What a great story! I love how you shared how you eventually gave your life over to God by coming to know Him through your brother’s singing. It is amazing that we have a major influence insurance family’s lives. It is important to be diligent to God all the time, so that we can be the best representatives for Him (2 Corinthians 5:20).

    Keep up the great work! Your Site is a wonderful ministry!ReplyCancel

  • courtney - Sometime’ getting back to the basics is exactly what we need. Recalling the rawness of that first eye opening love He has for you and you for Him. Thanks for sharing Tindell, hope all is well in Atlanta.ReplyCancel

  • Ben Etheriedge - Liked your story. I have a similar one I’m hoping to write. God had delivered me from so much! I’m so incredibly thankful. BIG STUFF ROCKS!ReplyCancel

One of my best friends is also my sister in law and we are polar opposites. She follows the rules I want to break them. She is cautious and careful I do things fast and with out thinking about it. If we had theme songs for our lives hers would be something slow and sweet and mine would be something fast and kinda annoying. We were different in high school as well, I was the party girl and she went to FCA and on Mission trips. See, she was the good church girl who never broke curfew much less stayed out all night drinking and I was the girl people talked about in prayer circles. So I was thinking about her and how so many of you girls are probably in the same situation, you think my story is interesting but you would never do it and for that I praise Jesus.

However we all struggle with sin, yours might not be the same as mine was but I know you are all struggling with something, whether it be your body, depression, looks, gossip, insecurities, or wanting to fit in. God came to rescue you too. Just because it wouldn’t make the gossip column in the school newspaper doesn’t mean you don’t need saving. We are all sinners in some kind of pit and we all need the helping hand of the one and only Savior.

So you aren’t like me but you know girls like me and I have to ask, how would they say you treat them? Do you pity them because they sleep around for love or are you just glad your boyfriend gets the word no? Do you wish they knew the love of Jesus or do you scoff at their short skirts and low cut shirts? Because let me tell you something that you don’t know. You can make a huge impact on them. Let me tell you what most of them want, love, and you have the opportunity to love them when a lot of people in their life probably aren’t. Because how you treat them is directly related to how you think God feels about them. If you judge them but go to church on Sunday what are you telling them about Jesus? If you treat them like trash but talk about a loving God what are they going to think? What God has called you to do is to love them, unconditionally.  Be the girl they can count on for a pencil in third period. Be the one girl who shows her love for no reason at all. That is what God has called us to do, love love love.

Well it’s Valentine’s Day, and while I would love to stay away from cliches this story came to mind, and I had to share it. For all of you who are adamantly opposed to the holiday, my apologies.

I was thinking about my wedding day, mostly because I woke up this morning to blueberry muffins, a sweet note, and a fresh pot of coffee thanks to my wonderful husband, and two years later my wedding day can still bring me to tears. It’s not just because it was a wonderful day full of wonderful memories, but because of something Kristian said to me that still resonates in my mind. I walked out in my wedding dress to my three brothers and father, and Kristian started crying. He told me that in that moment he realized this is how God always saw me, as a beautiful bride of Christ.

See if our God was any different, if I had gotten what I deserved instead of his loving grace, I wouldn’t be dressed in white marrying a man who loved me unconditionally. If God had been a God of works instead of a God of mercy I would have spent the rest of my life working to make up for the many mistakes I made.

This isnt the God who loves us though. The God who loves us knows who we really are because as Pat so brilliantly pointed out at Midtown Church a few weeks ago, we are not what we do, but we are who God says we are. God say’s we are beautiful, forgiven, free, and a bride of Christ. So that day, dressed in white, God whispered to me “this is how I always saw you.” Even when I was making decisions that didn’t reflect that, God saw me as his daughter and his bride.

So for those of you with stories like mine, I just wanted to give you a glimpse as to how the father in heaven sees you, as his beautiful bride, clean before him. No matter what you have done, you are not your mistakes. You are the daughter of the king.

Isiah 61:10
10 I delight greatly in the LORD; 
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
  • Taylor - It’s a beautiful picture of Christ. Thanks for the reminder of his unconditional love. Happy Valentines Day!ReplyCancel

  • Taylor - What a beautiful picture of Christ’s love. Thanks for the reminder Tindy. Happy Valentines Day!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - I can remember meeting you at big stuf camp when you shared your story with the christ community youth group, I was only in middle school and now I am in college reading your blogs and hearing kristian on the radio! I’m so proud to have known you and you have no idea how touching your blogs are. Nothing is better than knowing that you are not “alone.” I can’t wait to read your book! Thank you for what you do and sharing your story. God is doing great things through you:)ReplyCancel

Well I am writing to you after one heck of a weekend. I had the honor and pleasure of heading down south to Lake Park, GA to be apart of the Popular girls conference that First Baptist Lake Park put on. I can’t begin to describe what it feels like to do something you are so deeply passionate about. Getting to spend time with the girls in between sessions and hearing how my story and their story collide was truly inspirational and I shared something at the conference that I wanted to share with all of you. It was a memory I had from when I was seventeen.

I had spent all day at my best friends house crying over the heartbreak of my “first love”. It was getting dark though and the situation wasn’t getting any better so headed home. I left them still in tears and headed home to an empty house, I knew they would be at my younger brothers picture party (if you dont know what this is say a tiny praise Jesus), but when I got home something was waiting for me. In my room was a dozen roses with a simple note. “You are deeply loved, love mom and dad” 

Now this story sounds sweet but nothing extraordinary until you know the context. I had gone out to lunch with my dad that day because he was worried I had a drinking problem. I had shown up to a couple of school functions where he had been obviously wasted so he was concerned. It was during this conversation that I got the phone call that another mistake I had made while drinking ended my current relationship. Again I was 17. So there I was at lunch with dad talking about my drinking problem and quite honestly my ongoing attitude problem when the consequences of my drinking called me on the phone. 

However, inspite of my disobedience, in spite of my utter disregard for their rules, despite my constant attitude, my parents left me a dozen roses when I most needed to know that I was loved. I wanted to tell you the same thing I told the girls this weekend. God is making you the same offer, everyday he waits with a dozen roses and a simple note that says “you are deeply loved”, in spite of what you have done, in spite of how you have treated him, and in spite of the fact that we are all undeserving. He is waiting. 

Jeremiah 31:3
 3 The LORD appeared to us in the past,[a] saying:
  “I have loved you with an everlasting love; 
   I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. 

So my question for you today is will you accept his love, with valentines just around the corner (just realized thats tomorrow) will you forget what the world tells you and believe you are deeply loved by the creator of the world. 

Beth Moore said it well in her book Get out of that pit when she said ” You can opt for God. Pitching ever other plan, you can opt for God. Thanks-but-no-thanks to every other deliverer, you can opt for God. Without having a clue how it works, you can opt for God.Not just for his help. but for this entire Person! The Whole God.

This is what is waiting. The dozen roses your heart so desperately needs. You dont need another boy you need a savior. 

 

  • Judi Wilder - Tindall, You have an awesome testimony!!! Keep doing what you are doing. My 13 year old daughter and I heard you on Saturday and now my motto is “One Cross is enough!!!!”. Thank you so much for taking time to come and share. My husband was the tall baldheaded man who came up to you after the conference and told you about some of his past. I have a hard time hearing it from him because I know that is not who he is today. We have been married almost 2 years. I know he had to go through all of that to be the man he is today but it pains me to hear that on holidays and birthdays, he was all alone with no one. It was his choices that caused it, but it still hurts me. My hat is off to your husband (and mom) that can sit and hear about all of your past. Thanks again for sharing with our church and community.ReplyCancel

  • Tindell Balwin - Judi,

    It was truly an honor and a blessing to be apart of what God did on Saturday. I know hearing about your husbands past must be hard but I can tell you God uses the broken for his glory. Cling to Gen 50:20 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is not being done, the saving of many lives.” That is what God does, uses the ugly stuff in our past for his glory.ReplyCancel

  • Where there's Rebellion, there's Hope - Lifetree Family - […] However, in spite of my disobedience, in spite of my utter disregard for their rules, despite my constant attitude, my parents left me a dozen roses when I most needed to know that I was loved… God is making you the same offer, everyday he waits with a dozen roses and a simple note that says “you are deeply loved”, in spite of what you have done, in spite of how you have treated him, and in spite of the fact that we are all undeserving. He is waiting. – Tindell Baldwin […]ReplyCancel

I have this guilty pleasure, it is MTV’s Teen mom and Teen mom 2. The show is like a social experiment gone wrong. It takes teenagers that have had babies and follows them around. I think its the perfect show if you want to scare your kids out of having kids but I watch for the relationships.

There a number of things that shock me about the show and one of which is that no matter how poorly the girls are treated they always go running back to the guy. In the last episode Janelle (who has currently signed over custody of her son to her mother because she herself was an unfit mother) and her pot head boyfriend Kiefer broke up. It was dramatic as all eighteen year old break ups are but more than that it made me really sad.

As he was leaving she began to chase the car screaming after him and crying, “but I love you” and I couldn’t help but wonder how much of this was that she loved him and how much was it that she didn’t want to loose the part of her heart that she had given him? He was literally driving away with her heart.

We have all seen this in the halls of high schools every where. The girl that just can’t let go of the boy who is no good. Why though? Parents always wonder, teachers talk about it, and friends gossip about it. Sex, thats why. This is what sex outside of marriage does to girls. It binds you to the point where you can’t let it go. You’ve seen these girls, they run back to the boy time after time even though he’s not worth it. I’ve been that girl, my heart has been trashed but I ran back begging him to make me whole again because he had a part of me that I could never get back.

I wonder if you’re like I was and all you wanted was your heart back. You didn’t even really want him you just wanted to be whole again.  Running back never mended what had been broken but running to the alter a few years later brought the healing my heart so desperately needed.  Jesus is a healer, that was part of who he was on earth and he is no less of a healer now. He can mend your broken heart and give you a new life. All you need to do is ask.

Matthew 7:7

7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

  • Lindsey - This is an amazing word! Such a powerful message! Even though I have never been in such a position, I will use this to help those around me that have or are!
    Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Vanessa - I have been that girl and my heart breaks when I see other young girls making the same mistakes. Thank the Lord He restores!!! We r all made new. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Holland Cox - this statement is such truth:
    “I couldn’t help but wonder how much of this was that she loved him and how much was it that she didn’t want to loose the part of her heart that she had given him?”ReplyCancel

To Ben…. for showing me what love is. 

I always thought I knew what real love was. In fourth grade I told my first boyfriend that I loved him and then ran away in delight. In high school I said the words with out any meaning to back them up. When I got to college I thought after I became a Christian I had surely grasped what love was but after a few failed attempts realized I was no closer to what the four letter word really meant. Then I met Ben. The feelings were right the timing was right and on top of a North Georgia mountain I said I do. At our wedding I thought that I finally understood what love really was.

Then we moved to Houston, TX where the anger and pain of leaving home replaced the warm fuzzies and all I wanted was to run home to the familiar people of Atlanta, GA. Our love was tested and tried and only after months of kicking and screaming did I let God show me the real meaning of the word love.

He taught me the commitment side of love, the part where the feelings don’t guide and in its place is the  promise you made the day at the alter. The commitment part of love is what made it through the trials of Houston, it’s what made our love stronger than I ever thought possible, and its what remained when the rest of my world was falling apart. Commitment love is what got my parents through the pain of getting married and pregnant so young, its what kept them there after the big fights, and its what brought them to the place of having four children grown and married.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have the feelings, but they aren’t what keeps me fighting when the times get tough and the world seems over whelming. More importantly the feelings are not what God was talking about when he said, “love never fails.”  See the feelings will fail, they will tell you to leave when times get tough, they will tell you to stop fighting for your relationship, but commitment doesn’t fail. I promised Ben on September 12, 2009 that I would stand by his side no matter the times and feelings won’t keep me to my word, but my love for him will.

  • Katy Day - So happy for you Tindell. I really needed to hear this today!ReplyCancel

Let me start by saying that I have fully expected God to show up. I have been praying for signs and voices for the past few weeks. Every time we look at a new house or talk about our future I wait to hear the audible voice that I assume will direct me on my way. Then this morning I realized I clearly don’t know God as well as I thought I did.

One of my least favorite, but effective, things my parents did when I got in trouble (which was a lot) in high school was sit me down at the kitchen table and talk about the “Whys”. They wanted to know why I was doing the things I was doing instead of just what I was doing. They knew what I was doing but they wanted to know why because they cared about me. I was always grounded at the end but in those moments I knew they really loved me.

God does the same thing with us. He sits us down at the table and wants to know why. He doesn’t debate with you he just listens. He wants to know why because he loves you and he cares what you think. The day I demand God send me a sign from heaven without first talking it through with him is the day I have forgotten who God really is.  God wants to be involved in our decisions!

In my bible study this morning I read a story in Luke where Jesus walked with two men who were complaining that Jesus hadn’t shown up. It was only after they had gotten everything off their chest that Jesus revealed who he was. I don’t know but I imagine he wanted to give them the chance to vent… like any good friend.

At Church on Sunday I was reminded of the game “life”, the little blue and pink people that we would put on plastic cars and go through various “life” situations. Thinks like; you got married, you got a promotion, you bought a house, all made the game what it was which, in my opinion was much too long but that’s not the point. The point is I was watching the video that Buckhead church played this week where the little car drove through the designated spots and got various life accomplishments and I had to ask myself does my life look like this? Am I living one big board game where I travel through and get what the world tells me are important life steps or am I living a life for God that is so out of the ordinary that my life looks nothing like a board game. Will the most exciting thing that happens to me this year be that we buy a house or will it be that God moved in a tremendous way?

Here’s the thing, God wants us to have an extraordinary life, something that others look and say how could that happen?? And the only answer we can give them is, God. How did you provide when your income was less than what your bills were, God. How did you know that person needed prayer, God. How did you handle that devastating divorce, God. The list goes on and on but the truth remains the same. We can live our game board lives and miss out on all the curves and twists that make life worth living or we can live for a God that promises to do more that we can even imagine.

I say all of this because as I watched the game pieces on the screen I realized I was living a life that mirrored that of the game. Sure there was some twists along the way but I was too focused on what the world deemed as accomplishments. I was too focused on the promotions, the house, and when we would have the 2.5 kids to play in our picket fence yard. What I wasn’t focused on was where God wanted me to be, go, and do. What I wasn’t focused on was the life God had planned for me which is so much better that what I could ever think up.

Ephesians 3:19-21

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

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