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Tindell Baldwin »

This is my first sample blog for my dad’s communication ministry. Let me know what you think!
Whenever parents here about my rebellious past they always ask me the same question “what made you come out of it”. It’s a great question and one with many answers but today as I am flying from Houston to Atlanta to surprise my mom for her birthday I can only think of one answer, my family gave me the strength. It sounds cliché and I’m sure you are thinking it’s not true but I can promise you that I would have never found my way back to God if my parents hadn’t laid the foundation. It’s true that I wandered down the dark road because of two over achieving brothers but I came back for them all the same.
      
  One of the things I loved about my parents is they never tried to be the cool parents but they did always strive to have a relationship with me. Even at the height of my disobedience my dad and mom strived to keep communication open. They never bogged down my punishment with religious reasons because they knew that wouldn’t hold any weight for me. Instead my dad got on my level and just talked to me, we would spend hours at the kitchen table hashing out why I did what I did. He never focused on what I did but rather why I did it. He sought to understand me and my decisions before he threw his opinions at me. These talks were never about him and always about how he could help me. Blame it on his years of communicating principles but I never left the kitchen table without plenty to think about.
     
   Sadly I watched so many of my friend’s parents do the opposite. I guess they decided their teen was too hard to reach and many of them gave up or worse gave in. The parents who gave in didn’t care when they found us drinking in their basement or smoking in their closets instead, they shut the door and pretended like they saw nothing. What was worse was that those kids never came out of it, why would they when their own parents sent a clear message that they weren’t worth anything better.  They were but no one ever told them and we were all too deep in our own crap to bother with other people. I however, had two people who always communicated to me that they cared about me more than their own agenda.
     
   This past weekend I went to Dallas and beamed proudly as I watched my first Sales Training seminar, he has been doing them for years but I finally convinced him I needed to see one. As he stood up there it all came back to me, the conversations, the pain, and the relationship. Right now we are working on finding me a role in his company, my lifelong dream, and if it weren’t for my parents constant effort to communicate they loved me and they would fight for me I don’t know where I would be. 
Is this true??
  • Kate - I think this is great! I hope it works out and God orders your next steps to achieve your dreams. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Patty Griffin - Tindell,
    Do you want a parent's perspective? One who is going through what you describe? I am new to your blog and have only read a few entries–and, I have met your dad. I know that he is not your average parent because he is not your average human being. You are lucky, your dad has a special gift as a person–your mom probably does too– Oh how I wish parenthood was that simple and how I wish we all had that gift. We can't be so quick to judge those other parents as uncaring or misguided. Anyone who has ever held a newborn cares deeply about their child and none of us ever expected to find that child leading the drinking party in the basement. First, we live in a society that has norms for parenting. Unfortunately, children are not born into those norms but we are raised to believe that certain behavior requires certain responses. My child did something, therefore as a good parent, I should respoond with–name the punishment–say grounding. Watch mothers of young children who throw tantrums in public. Every single eye is on them judging how they should handle it. Oh, the road to raising these small humans to be compasionate, productive adults–we are so unprepared for it. One of the many "programs" my daughter went through had a simple philosphy: "Life is a walking. Sometimes we do forward walking and sometimes we do backward walking" As a parent, often my daughter's "backward walking" led to my own "backward walking". We are all just messy human beings on the path together hoping that our forward walking is greater than our backward walking. Your father's "forward walking" happened at the kitchen table. Others will do theirs silently in the kitchen preparing a meal, on that long car ride, or by quietly getting up on Saturday morning to go to an AlAnon meeting. The shouting, the grounding, the lectures, that is just well-intentioned backward walking by scared, hurt adults who happen to love that confused, angry child so much that they feel they need to do SOMETHING!.ReplyCancel

Again, i’m sitting a hotel room in Dallas, this time its the Westin so i am even cooler. (if you dont understand see post below) and I am wondering where my life is taking me. For the first time in my life i feel like i have a purpose. I have found a job doing what i would love and something that shockingly i might be good at. I sat at dinner tonight with people who are much more important than me and just talked to them. I used the skills my dad teaches every class but to me they are nature. I just talked, asked question, talked again, got a few email’s and called it a night. It was wonderful. It is what I strive for, building relationships. but it’s something I haven’t gotten to experience in a long time. I sat their tonight blown away by how much this was touching me, how much i really cared to be noticed, to be appreciated, and most of all be heard. I wish I could say it was deserved, that I had earned their recognition but the only thing i had was a name tag that stated that I was Tom’s daughter and Tom is the big shot. He teaches and they hang on every word because this isn’t what they were brought up knowing. That is what makes his approach so unique and that is what makes me want to work for him. I want to expand his influence so that he can reach more people. I want the story I heard tonight about how my dad helped a woman accept herself for who she was be the stories that resonate in the company’s motto.

Then again I have a lot of dreams. Right now I am just focused on getting my ideas out to his company and convincing him that it would be in his best interest to hire me. Then of course there is my God concept, am i pushing past what he wants for me? Right now I hear no but that could change in a few months, because with each life change we have to reevaluate what he thinks is best. Its a process im not used to. I like answers now. So ill pray and make one heck of a sales pitch next week. Prayers needed

I’m sitting in a hotel room in Dallas, I love starting blogs this way because it makes me sound cooler than I really am, really though I am sitting in a hotel room in Dallas. It’s my me and my dads first business trip together where i have to do something besides lay by the pool and I am pumped (my word of the week).  First off I get to hear my dad do sales training, which has been a big family mystery, we all know he does it but no one has been able to catch him in action kinda like filming an exotic animal.

I have always dreamed of working with my dad, ever since he could take me to his office I have thought we would make a great team. I am hoping this trip proves the same thing to him. We have shockingly similar personalities and love brainstorming together. We are both visionaries but my dads vision’s turn into plans where as mine sit in a pretty box in the closet. My dream has always been that we would work together at his company and then when the timing is right we would start a ministry together. I want to do a ministry for teenage girls and their fathers. Obviously i would do the teenage girl part and my dad would be the father (if we can just get him to act like one). There is so much to be said for the father daughter relationship and I think we could say it. Mostly because we have had many challenges but always remained close. When I was in my great rebellion my dad would sit me down to talk about why i was drinking not just telling me why I shouldn’t. He made my faith come alive when he challenged me to read and I still sort through my faith that way.

So this is my dream. Who knows if it will happen but I keep praying it will. I am learning that just because I have dreams I don’t get to demand that God make them happen. I have to wait patiently and see if they are his dreams or mine. My dreams always sound good but his are the ones that are fulfilling and full of purpose. Now lets just pray my dad feels the same way.
More to come from dallas soon!

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” 
Proverbs 19:21

My parents come in town in less than twenty four hours and my heart beats with joy. It hasn’t even been that long since i’ve seen them but I like having them where I do life everyday. At first I couldn’t imagine moving more than two hours from my parents and now I am over 800 miles, which in case you are wondering, makes running home to mommy and daddy not so easy. I am content now, only by the power of God, and happy in the life we have created here in Houston. We are living proof that God is faithful. Because it was in one community service project that we met the people who would become our best friends. 


The first time I met Jessi she was shooting hoops with the rest of the boys and doing way to well. Every time she would make a shot her husband would give her a slap on the butt or a peck just to show a little support. I gagged. I was in a deep stage of bitterness and I wasn’t ready for one happy couple to bring me out of it. They did though, over the week Jessi’s bright smile and joy for the Lord made me realize I needed to get to know this girl. After our first day Ben asked me if we could go out with Jessi and her husband Matt, I shrugged, sounded fine to me. I was hesitant at first, I told him she was too peppy and i am not a peppy person to which he told me that I needed a little pep in my life. After we hung out once we bonded and learned that we were each praying for a friend and in Gods faithfulness we had received that. 


Tiffany was there those few days too. She was one of the brave ones who dealt with the small children. She had the kindest smile and something about the way she talked to the kids made me know she was very tenderhearted, that and the fact that she told she cried at almost anything. Her wedding was only a few weeks away and I prayed after it was over that we could bond. We did and now we spend our days off together walking and shopping if our husbands allow. 


My point in all of this is that God is faithful, it took us a year to have a community but it is exactly what we needed and only God knew how to orchestrate it. A year ago I was on the brink of giving up on my marriage, my faith, my life really. I wanted to crawl in a hole and never wake up and I shudder now to think about all that I would have missed: the good times with my husband, the girls night, the lessons, and the joy of knowing God cares. 

After reading my brother’s blog this morning I decided to make myself sit down and write. For someone with severe ADHD (me), this is the hardest part of the writing process. I sit down to write and my to-do list from the last two weeks pops into my head. So many useless things begging for my attention, and all I want to do is get one sentence out. Taylor so graciously reminded me this morning that writing is my calm. For Taylor putting his feet to gravel is where he can focus his attention and for me its putting pen to paper. I keep thinking of things I want to write about and then losing the thoughts. Mostly though I have been suffering from a lack of motivation and a decline in seratonin levels.

I was diagnosed with depression my Junior year in college after one extremely over-worked summer in “ministry.” For some reason working for people who work for God almost always brings you to near death. Two months after leaving my sleep deprived summer I had a stress-induced breakdown and have never been the same. I used to be ashamed that I could be so “weak,” but after many visits to my therapist I realized that depression isn’t a weakness, it’s a sickness (if you think I’m a nut-job feel free to unfollow at this point).

I have spent the last four years on and off antidepressants, but always on sleeping meds, wondering when God was going to cure me. I always assumed that Christianity and depression could not be uttered in the same sentence, but my depression had no effect on my standing with God. This seems to be my thorn. I can go from joy to tears in a matter of days, and fall into a pit so deep only the hands of angels can lift me out. I ache for joy, but so many times all God will grant me is grace. It’s life though; we all suffer, and mine by comparison is nothing.

One of my good friend’s brother recently passed away from cancer, and she suffers. They were as close as siblings get without incest, and now she is an only child. Daily she suffers, but not without the comfort of our heavenly father.

Sadly, suffering is a part of our lives here and just a reminder that we don’t belong. My mom has been sick since I was two, suffering. My uncle has brain cancer, and he and his family suffer. One of my best friends has an absent father, and she suffers. We all suffer, but only for a while, and if there is anything Jesus understands it’s pain. Our suffering doesn’t make us unique; it’s how we handle it that does.

See, I can stay in bed and cry, or I can get up and deal with a broken world. Yes, I can grieve, and yes, I can hurt, but as a good friend recently told me after the loss of her brother, “I can’t quit life. It’s just not realistic.” I can’t quit because Jesus didn’t quit on me. When he felt the weight of the world on his shoulders he didn’t quit, and even on my worst days I haven’t felt anything like that. So this is my promise, to not let my suffering get in the way of the joy God gives me through writing.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

  • Kate - I began my battle with depression last year and I have pleaded with God too. My friend Kelly showed me your blog and it has shown me so much encouragement! Thank you and keep writing. God Bless and yay for ambien!ReplyCancel

  • Tindell Baldwin - Kate,
    Im so sorry to hear that you struggle too! It makes life so hard but does make the sweet moments all that much sweeter. I pray God heals you!ReplyCancel

Ben and I are spending another Sunday afternoon at a coffee shop, he’s reading and I’m trying to work on my book. I got a few lines down when the couple next to us literally starts to make out. We aren’t anywhere where they serve alcohol so we both looked at each other confused. I put my headphones in trying to avoid the smacking sound coming from a booth away. I type a few more lines when Ben taps me and whispers,
“They are having an affair”
“How do you know?” I ask
“They are talking about it”

Makes sense now why they have to make out in a coffee shop. I take out my headphones to ease drop just to confirm that they are in fact talking about their affair out in the open. Mindlessly I twist my wedding band around my finger and wonder at which point they decided that it had to come to this. I wonder when the grass on the other side of the road became that green. What I really want to ask them is what their story is. Is his wife unavailable and her husband too busy at work? Or maybe they just decided this was more fun. I don’t know their reasons but I would love to ask them. Sadly talking to strangers about their extramarital affairs is frowned upon other wise I wouldn’t hold back. As much as I want to judge them though, I know I have the same kind of selfishness in me that they do. At some point in my life I will face a cross roads where I can betray the ones I love and live for me or I can follow jesus. Those are really the only two options because you either live for something greater or you live for you. At some point I might want to pick other things besides Ben to love with all my heart, i’m sure when kids come I will be tempted to put them first, and if I ever have a career I will have to learn the balance of marriage and work. Honestly everyday I am faced with options that satisfy me and hurt someone else. I can call a friend in need or wallow in my own self pity. I can buy a dress that looks good or save the money for our future. It’s small decisions to a unselfish life. Its waking up everyday and deciding Jesus is worth following.

He is, In case you were wondering. It wasn’t so long ago that I lived for me. I remember the moments of gratification but what sticks out more is the overwhelming feeling that I was made for something more. We are made for bigger moments that coffee shop make out sessions. We are made to follow a huge God who has control of the world.

My prayer is that in twenty years Ben and I are still sitting together happily in a coffee shop enjoying a life made up of something more.

Another long trek back to Texas gave me lots of time to think about our most recent family Christmas. It is amazing how different things get each year. Each season seems to become crazier as we all fight off the urge to let life pass us by. Kristian and Kerri have two kids, Isaac is four and Norah is one and some change. Being with them makes me want to have children and be celibate at the same time. Taylor and Sally are expecting their first baby in April and Sally makes me want a baby bump (even if its just to excuse the few Lbs I put on from thanksgiving to now). Brett and Heather are in that wonderful newlywed phase where they are both so happy they look like they might burst, and it makes me realize my baby brother has grown up. Everything is changing, day after day we each get a little older and new things happen. Kristian’s second record is about to come out and FYI it will change your life. Taylor is working a new job and so is brett. I live in another state, and what most of the time feels like another country.

See I had spent years convinced that my family members were my enemies and when I became a Christian I needed a lot of time to make up for the years I had lost. Oddly enough I didn’t have any other believers to encourage me in my new relationship with Christ we all became really close. Then Kristian started having babies, taylor got married, and at some point Brett became a man. Life moved on but I wasn’t ready to and it took God moving me to Texas for me to realize that God had a plan for my life too, I could no longer hid in the shadows of my family.
When we moved to Texas I was so desperate to make life stop until I got back. I didn’t want the kids to grow older or to miss a single event. Consequently our traveling budget doubled this past year and I almost killed myself trying to live in Atlanta and Texas. Then things with my parents started going sour and I was convinced God had me in the wrong state. I would beg him to take me back to Atlanta, I would beg Ben to find another job, I would beg just about anyone who would listen. I spent hours on my knees telling God all the reasons Georgia was the place for Ben and I. 
It was only after we were all moved out and married that my parents finally had to deal with issues they had hid in the past. It was rough, there were lots of fights, lots of no talking, lots of clothes moving to different rooms, and then moving back. In it all though we were a family and even from 800 miles away I was apart of the family. There were so many times I almost got in the car and drove back to Atlanta but a quite voice would tell me ‘I brought you here for a reason and I am in control”. Now that our family crisis is over and we are moving up I realize now why God had me in Texas, I had to learn to need him and Ben more than my family. I needed to learn to be me.I had to learn that God can take care of my family even when I am not there and actually he is pretty dang good at it. I had to learn that God wants me here, and to be obedient even when I don’t understand. A lot of times we think if prayers aren’t answered then they are in vain but if God can get me on my knees and crying out to him nothing done in that moment is in vain. He has my full attention and Lord knows he needs my full attention. I won’t lie, I left Christmas day in tears, unsure when we would all be together again but I know one thing, we will be. I might still be asking God to move us back to Atlanta but only in his timing not mine. 
  • kristian stanfill - this is beautiful tin!! love you! it was a beautiful day 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Taylor Stanfill - Amen Tindy! I love you! No better place to be than on our knees at our Savior's throne!!!ReplyCancel

My friends and I have a small group together where we are going through the book “So long Insecurities” by Beth Moore and each week we sit around and work through the lies we believe everyday. It is great for creating real friendships because you can’t put up a lot of walls when you are being utterly honest about your insecurities. A lot of times we laugh about how crazy we have been with our husbands when estrogen takes over our brain but we are always digging into reality. We are getting to the heart of what makes us tick and we are seeing lies for what they really are.

It is a powerful thing when you can say out loud to the group “I am terrified of …….”. There is great power in keeping things a secret. We forget that the power of the secret is in not saying it out loud but when we can open up and let it out it looses its power over us. My secret is that I am terrified of girls, blame it on growing up with boys but girls have always made me uncomfortable. Boys will say exactly what they mean and you know where you stand but with girls it is a game that I have never been very good at. I am gaining confidence though, each week I leave thanking God that he has provided me with true friends in a very trying time in my life.

So this week we had bible study/Christmas party and the husbands were invited to join after we had gone over the book. Basically they sat upstairs and talked about us and we sat downstairs and talked about them. We always wrap up with prayer request and this week my good friend (hopefully she still will be after I post this blog) had tears in her eyes as she told us she had fallen behind on her quiet times. It was literally hurting her that she hadn’t been faithful to her relationship with God. I ached for that. I couldn’t remember the last time I had a real quiet time and yet it didn’t seem to phase me. I can’t imagine how much it touched God that his child was so hurt by her failure to communicate with him. Her broken heart touched me and I am striving to be that wrapped up in God, so much so that it hurts me when we don’t talk like loosing a close friend.

  • thisonesborntorun - I'm right there with you lady. It's a really hard thing to balance with the chaos of life. I have been further away than I ever imagined I would be simply because of my lack of time. I've had to be SO intentional, but I feel the same way. I want my friend back. I want the voice walking right beside me back. Thanks for posting!ReplyCancel

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