Genuineness is as Gold

May 2019, I went on a Ladies Heartwork trip to the Black Hills in South Dakota. On that trip God birthed a desire in me to start writing. 1 year later, I finally took the plunge and started this blog. Last week I went to another Heartwork trip in the Ozark mountains in Arkansas. It was so valuable to me on so many levels. I was happy my sister Tasha could join me this year.

It was such a refreshing escape away from the duties of motherhood, wife, homemaker, …. and chef, and maid, and teacher…  And…. (I’m sure you mommas get it.)

It seems (to me at least) so much easier to get closer to God when you’re in the woods…Maybe not for everyone.

In the Ozarks, we hiked. We laughed. We cried. We sang. We prayed. We ate. We were true.

I felt so connected. I felt like a little girl again. I felt the excitement of meeting a new friends. There were no mean girls nor bullies. Life seemed as it was supposed to be. ALL TOGETHER. Hand in hand.

We spent time gathered around the warm campfire. It was quite chilly. We pondered about the God-inspired teachings we heard. What we took away from the lessons. These conversations naturally lead to deeper things we were all dealing with. “Life” things. “Messy” things. “Real” things.

I tend to desire a deeper relationship than just “surface” friends. Small talk kills me. It feels so shallow to me. I desire true, raw, authentic friendship.

My life isn’t perfect. My life is messy. I feel lonely at times. I feel like a failure some days. I feel like a bad mom on other days. I have lies float into my head that I must lasso and fling out of mind. “God can’t use me anymore.” “My season is over.” “I’m Unworthy”, “Unimportant”, “Unappreciated” ….. I could go on, but you get the point.

The best thing we can do is talk about our shortcomings to Jesus. He is our Savior. He is our Helper.

Also, find a SAFE friend to share your experiences with. (Let me tell you, they will be so relieved, and you will too! Because we are NOT alone!! and then, girl, let go of those lies from the enemy!

You are NOT a failure, He has mercy for you.

You are not a mistake, He has a plan for you.

You ARE good enough, with His grace.

You CAN have joy! Thanks, God.

Being true helps the other person overcome those same lies in their minds.

Be authentic. It’s a breath of fresh air in today’s world.


Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly. -Lee Stoneking


I encourage you to find someone you can trust and BE YOU. Don’t be fake, because that’s exhausting and people can tell! We have plenty of fake in this world.

Genuineness is as Gold!

So that the genuineness of your faith, which is much more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested and purified by fire, may be found to result in [your] praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:7

I encourage you to find a true friend. It’s hard for me. It takes time. But it’s well worth it. Cherish her. She is valuable. We need each other.

Thanks for reading! -Tonya

God Winks

The past few weeks I have been wishing Micah had some easy-slip on sandals.

Today as I got the kids ready to go outside again I was reminded of how he could use some sandals. I was careful to not say my thoughts out loud in front of him or my other children because we really have all we have need of here in America.

About 3 minutes after I sent Micah out to the back yard to play, he runs inside the kitchen where I am finishing cleaning up breakfast and doing dishes. With a big smile and a look of excitement, my little 3-year-old boy comes racing around the corner almost dropping the “like new” croc sandals he’s hugging in his arms.

“Where did you find those shoes?” I asked.

He happily replied, “Cindee (his older sister) found them under the deck!”

“Let’s try them on,” I said as I took the bright blue crocs out of his little arms and knelt down at his feet. I thought, “I sure hope these fit him, he’ll be sad if they don’t.

I slipped on one shoe, He squealed “They fit Mom, yes they do fit Mom! “

They were the his perfect size.

Rob and I don’t remember purchasing them. I could have and just not remember, but having them show up at that exact moment was definitely a God wink.

God is personal! God really does care about us and our own little lives. He cares about the small things. Our small things.

Just a thought, when we go to the stores and malls and buy buy buy anything and everything we want, it makes it hard to give God a chance to do these kinds of small miracles in our lives.

These “God winks” absolutely increase our faith and the faith in our children.

This is a testimony to me. My children can look back and this remember for years.

I hope to encourage someone today.

Matthew 6:8…” Your Father knows what you have need of before you ask.”

Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes my kids and I, yes even me, (cringe face) are ungrateful. Impatient. Frustrated. Irritated.

My kids throw the biggest tantrums because their Ol’ Momma won’t give them thirds on ice cream, won’t let them play with scissors, won’t give them candy for breakfast, or let them have screen time all day!

One night I awoke with worship on my heart. I spent 30 minutes in the wee hours of the night on my knees in my living room telling Jesus how good and wonderful He is.

I started praying for my children. God, help Micah go in the potty, he just forgets when he’s playing or he doesn’t want to take the time to actually just go.

I said, “He just doesn’t get it.” To which the Lord replied, “Neither do you.”

I throw fits too. Some days I just need a friend to sit down, chat with, share some things on my heart over coffee, but instead, I’m surrounded with toddlers all day.

When I’m tired of cleaning the kitchen and sweeping the floor, but still tomorrow comes and I have to do it all over again. There is no end in sight.

Some days, I just don’t get it. I am reminded, thank you, God, I have a kitchen. I have food to cook. I have healthy children to clean up after. I have dishes to put in the dishwasher. I have a husband that comes home from work. Thanks for supplying our need, Jesus.

We need His grace. We need His help. We need His mercy.

Because of the Lord ’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness!
Lamentations 3:22‭-‬23

So you see, we are ALL a work in progress. We will continue to be until we reach our heavenly home.

Until then, be on the look out for God winks in your life. Share a story of your own God wink in the comments. I’d love to hear about it!

Thanks for reading.

Learning to Reflect

While I was praying I had a vision of an olive tree. It was beautiful. It had a thick healthy trunk, but it was different. There was a branch on the left and a branch on the right, but the middle was missing. What did this mean? I especially wanted to know because I was praying for unity.

While Rob took the kids on a bike ride a couple of days later (thanks honey!) I had some alone time to really pray and ask God to guide my study.

Without looking up any scripture references I began reading my bible. I came across this scripture:

Now if some of the branches were broken off, and you, though a wild olive branch, were grafted in among them and have come to share in the rich root of the cultivated olive tree, do not brag that you are better than those branches.
Romans 11:17-18 HCSB

I am NOTHING without Christ. HE puts breath in my body. I can’t even brush my teeth without HIS help.

I am not better than anyone else. If I think I am, I have a problem. As my Mom would say a “heart problem.”

In studying the Olive trees I found the best time to prune them is after winter and just when the tree is starting to produce the first fruits of the season.

We have gone through the “wilderness.” It was a long “winter”.

During this “winter” you have been seeking God and spending more time with Him. You are able to hear God’s voice clearer. You are walking in the spirit as you are putting your flesh down daily (it’s hard some days) God is bringing you through. You entered a new season. You’re experiencing new and exciting things in God.

Now comes the pruning.

One prayer I’ve tried to pray everyday this year in 2020 is, “God help me see me the way you see me. All the good. All the bad. All the beautiful. And yes… All the ugly.”

Growing closer to God requires the removal of toxic things.

God has done it. He has revealed to me some things He needs to cut out of me (and I’m sure I have a long way to go) Embarrassing things… Like self-doubt, discontentment, jealousy, and comparing myself to others. How toxic!

He has brought things to the surface I didn’t know existed. I could then pray specifically and ask the Lord for His help.

For every ugly thing he revealed in me, He has shown me so much more beautiful things about me!

He showed me I was worth dying for on the cross. I have great faith. I am a peacemaker. I am anointed for such a time as this. I am effective. I am hopeful. I am a “good” mom. I am striving to become a Proverbs 31 woman. I do hear the voice of God. I am led of the spirit. I am joyful. I do trust in Him. Thank you Jesus!

Back to the olive tree, I found there is a special technique to pruning olive trees. It consists of pruning the center of the tree. So the tree gets more light for more healthy growth.

When God prunes us he removes old branches. Old traditions. Old mindsets Old habits. Only then we are able to grow in new areas and new ways. (Not changing the message, of course, Acts 2:38.)

You are producing fruit, but God is not finished yet. He is pruning you so you have the opportunity to grow even more, which means more expansion. More fruits of the spirit. More love. More anointing.

You can’t produce oil without being pressed.

Our attitudes can get us in trouble. His word says to “humble yourself”.

It would be ever so nice to skip the pruning process, but we wouldn’t be all what we are called to be and we wouldn’t be ready for what God has in store and that’s not part of God’s plan either.

We can’t go from point A to point D. We are in a process. We are on God’s time. Not our own.

When we try to figure out the details, we move from the dimension of faith to the dimension of hope. We walk in FAITH.

We have to wait on God when he says to wait. While we wait we put our COMPLETE TRUST in Him. And give him FULL CONTROL in our lives.

Stay busy in His presence. Give God 100%. Stay faithful. Stay consistent in prayer and fasting.

You will make it through! God has a specific call for everyone. When you find it, it’s exciting and it’s the only thing that satisfies.

Stay content in the process. Stay humble. Stay kind. And you will go far!

He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.
Psalms 1:3 HCSB

Prayer to pray: Lord help me see myself the way you see me, all the good and all the bad. Help me learn to reflect.

I believe the vision God gave me was the picture of a healthy Olive Tree after it had gone through the pruning process.

What are some beautiful things God is revealing about you? What are some things He has helped you realize He is not finished working with you yet?

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear from you in the comments.