Blinded by the Light

Christy Tarnacki    I grew up in the 70’s. Well…let me rephrase that. Since I’m not sure that I’ve actually grown up yet, I’ll put it this way—I entered junior high in the 70’s. Back then, I dreamed of being a designer and was always making something. In the seventh grade I had a collection of 60 beaded chokers that I had created. More is better, right?

    Soon after my beaded choker phase, my design capabilities advanced when I became fascinated with my mother’s Kenmore sewing machine. I wish I had a picture of the amazing already-faded denim skirt with the western yoke and ladybug buttons I made in ninth grade. I’ll never forget the first day I wore it to school.

    I was out at recess at Western Oaks Junior High. Of course, ninth graders didn’t go out on the playground. We were too cool for that. Instead, we gathered out back on the blacktop. When the girls saw my skirt, the oos and awes began.

    “Where did you get your skirt?” my envious girlfriends wanted to know.

    Beaming, I announced, “I made it.”

    “Really? Will you make me one?”

    “If you get me the fabric.”

    “Where did you get jean material like that?”

    “I cut up a few pairs of my brother’s old blue jeans. I saw a pile headed to the Goodwill. I couldn’t let my mom be guilty of such a crime.”

    For those of you that were born after the age of cardboard denim, you might not be able to comprehend why the worn out stack of jeans was such a treasure. Back in the 70’s faded denim was an extravagance only achieved after months of continual wear. I didn’t have a closet full of a variety of jeans. No, I washed and wore the same pair EVERYDAY until they finally faded and looked stylish. But there was one small problem. By the time they did look good, they no longer fit. Because while my jeans were shrinking and fading, my butt was campaigning for expansion.    

    I remember lying down on my bed just to get the zipper up and then doing squats to loosen the seat so I would be prepared for strenuous tasks…like sitting. Denim and fashion—such a vicious cycle. Kind of like my dreams.

    Back in the day, I dreamed of being the next Calvin Klein but by the time I got to college, my bankrupt self-confidence talked me out of pursuing my dreams. I opted for a prudent degree—one in Business Finance. Not much of a risk taker, it took me a long time to realize that dreams and desires don’t go away because we decide to take the safe route. I thought it sounded impressive to tell people I was a bank examiner or in commercial lending, but in reality, finance and banking bored me. In my heart, I wanted to create.

    Turns out, as a stay-at-home mom, I really didn’t need a degree to be a domestic engineer. Even now, my youngest is 16, but here I am—still at home. Who knew that teenagers are needier than toddlers?

    I still indulge in creative efforts now and then, but my passion for writing is the strongest creative urgency I’ve ever discovered. For me, writing is like designing with words. Writing is artistry and encouragement, all woven together. I start with an inspiration, add truth and embellish it with anecdotes and humor and wa-lah!

    It’s odd though—I never dreamed of writing in high school. My plans were to be a designer, but it wasn’t until adversity encountered vision that the passion to write stirred inside of me. The same thing happened to the Apostle Paul.  

    In Acts 9:3 the Bible says that while Paul was traveling on the road to Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. In this passage, the word light comes from the Hebrew word phos which besides meaning a literal light also means truth, knowledge, and the power of understanding moral and spiritual truth. In essence, light also means revelation.

    Before that encounter, Paul perceived that his life’s work was to persecute Christians. It wasn’t until he ran into his destiny on the road to Damascus that Paul comprehended his real purpose. When he was blinded by the light he came to the end of himself and found a new beginning. 

    Sometimes, our own dreams are like a pair of jeans. By the time we finally achieve what we thought we wanted, our dream has faded and no longer fits. Thankfully, God has a way of pulling things out of us that we didn’t even know existed. Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

    When we get to the end of ourselves, we find the beginning. When we finally die, life springs forth. So get blinded by the light, and see your destiny shine.

  

Prayer: Father, help me to be aware of the truth that surrounds me. Help me to surrender my own agenda and submit to the plans that you have for me. Your plans far exceed any dreams I can achieve on my own. I pray that you would illuminate your truth to me so that I can fully walk in your ways and accomplish the purpose for which I was born to achieve. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

 

Scriptures to Ponder:

v  Acts 9

v  In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

v  But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. Exodus 9:16

v  The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever— do not abandon the works of your hands. Psalm 138:8

v  God is mighty, but does not despise men; he is mighty, and firm in his purpose. Job 36:5 

Thoughts to Ponder:

  1. What are your dreams for your future?
  2. Have your dreams faded or increased over the past several years?
  3. Have you ever experienced the death of a dream? How did you feel?
  4. Like the Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus, we often discover our destiny when adversity encounters vision. Have you ever experienced a similar encounter where a difficult time brought new revelation about your destiny? How did that affect you?
  5. In Acts 9:15, the Lord says that Paul is his chosen instrument to carry his name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. How do you feel about being God’s chosen instrument for the task he has fashioned for you?
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20 Responses to Blinded by the Light

  1. Garrett Ennis March 17, 2009 at 10:02 pm #

    Sadly I have had a lot of dreams die. Like when i was five, I wanted to be a firefighter. At seven it was the president, and then a pro skateboarder. When I was transitioning from president to skateboarder they kinda overlapped and I wanted to be a skateboarding president. I wanted to enact a law that everyone had to own a skateboard. Really, the only real reason I wanted to be president was cause there was a bowling alley in the White House. Now, I want to be a musician. Hopefully, this dream will stick.

  2. Eva juliuson March 18, 2009 at 8:08 am #

    Christy,

    I’m so glad God had His own plans for you! You have a way of writing that gets us all thinking! As my dreams have died, I have discovered an even greater joy living out the plans God has for me.

    Keep writing! I’ll be praying that your Chicken Soup piece draws many lives closer to the Lord… along with much more writing in the future!

    your sis-in-writing and in-Christ!
    Eva

  3. Pat Wehde March 18, 2009 at 8:13 am #

    You must be my guardian angel, having gone to Catholic school for twelve years, there are a lot of old tapes that are still right there, and several times I have opened your writings and what I’ve been stewing about or been concerned with you’ve written right to me. Often times it’s right in your opening statement!!!! Thank you, so much.

  4. Christy Johnson March 18, 2009 at 8:42 am #

    Eva, thanks for your encouragement. It means so much, especially coming from a fellow writer.

    Pat, I grew up i a very rigid ritualistic Catholic home with parents who didn’t grasp the love of Christ, only his rules. I know what you mean about the old tapes! I’m so thankful that what I write ministers to you!

  5. DELISSA FLOW MINGEE March 18, 2009 at 9:22 am #

    After 25 years I have decided to try and fulfill another dream and passion, Interior Design, While I have realized this is much harder work on me now than it would of been if I had started 25 years ago! The same with my passion for cooking and baking, hard work, on your feet for hours in the kitchen. While trying to prepare for real work and completely redoing my own duplex, I have thought what are you thinking? This is very hard work, especially all the painting involved which I hate to do! But all I keep reminding myself of is “IF GOD BRINGS YOU TO IT, HE WILL BRING YOU THROUGH IT” so here I am at almost 54 years of age trying to bring God’s given talents of me to Life… Anyone need a Interior Designer, I can design on a dime, that is my main focus to be affordable and make your home reflect who you are..Hugs & Blessings, Delissa Flow Mingee

  6. Linda Magruder March 18, 2009 at 11:21 am #

    Can we really say they are death of our dreams? Maybe we have fulfilled that part of our lives and it’s time to move on to another chapter. I started out as a pastor’s wife. That marriage ended in divorce. I married another preacher and was commissioned a home missionary and we moved to Florida. That marriage ended also and the disappointment was the worst in my life as I loved my husband dearly. I not only did not want the divorce but I was once again set on a shelf as far as my ministry call from God when I was 14. My dreams were shattered, I thought. I then became a paralegal and loved it! I thought this was my life’s fulfillment. But, attorney’s don’t like their help to be over 45 so after the death of my brother and my subsequent ministry to my grieving mother, I couldn’t get hired by another law firm or corporation. They sent word that they wouldn’t even interview me with a 20 year experience work history. So, I went into the mortgage business. Oops, we all know what happened there. Since my second layoff (from the mortgage business) I have entered the medical field. I will graduate next month with a CNA and my teacher is strongly encouraging me to go for my RN degree. Since I have a BA (in creative writing) she says it probably won’t take but a year to get the RN and age isn’t a factor there.

    I keep hoping that I can get my novel published but, in the meantime, I will be working with senior citizens and having a one-on-one opportunity to minister to them while bathing, exercising, etc. I’m scared. Because of my age I am afraid I can’t do the hard back-breaking work and being on my feet all day. But, I am trusting God that He has a plan and I am just floating along down His river of purpose for my life.

    In the meantime, that contract on my Mother’s house that I commented on last month? The buyer wants to turn my father’s huge workshop in the back of the house into a place for a Bible Study for her church. That is what God was waiting on in the holdup of the sale for over two years. My parents must be so pleased to know that a Christian will live in their house.

    Thank you Christy for your inspiring articles. Yes, they do come at the precise moment we need them. God has blessed you with a dream beyond your wildest ones, eh?

  7. Christy Johnson March 18, 2009 at 12:08 pm #

    I got chills…hey, it’s still a workshop, a workshop for the Lord!! I wish you could see my big smile. I love stories like that.

    This morning I was reading John Bevere’s book, Honor’s Reward, with my son, Garrett, who is on spring break. One of the chapters talks about how Joseph’s brothers envied him so much. In his younger life, he had a dream too, but God took him through some pretty tough roads before the dream manifested and he became second in command in Egypt. God was preparing him just as he is preparing you!

  8. Andi Hawkins March 18, 2009 at 1:11 pm #

    Working on my dreams too. Thanks for being a great leader in so many ways!!!

  9. John Johnson March 18, 2009 at 1:18 pm #

    I love this Christy. Of course you would think I am biased, since I love you. While reading this, I thought about one of my life verses which is:

    Proverbs 20:5 – The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.

    We may not fully know how are life experiences are going to shape our purpose, until we actually understand our purpose. Christy, you are definitely there and I am so thankful that I get to be part of that purpose.

  10. Debbie Myers March 19, 2009 at 1:00 pm #

    I again am inspired by your writing. There have been many dreams that have fallen to the way side, but I know that God has put dreams in me that He will help me to see come to fruition. He has perfect timing and I know if I continue to seek Him, He will see me through to the dream He has for me. Thanks Christy for following your dream of writing.

  11. D"Lisa Hopper March 21, 2009 at 10:02 pm #

    If only I would have kept my jean book- bag/purse
    made from my favorite faded perfect pair of “Blues”

    Christy, you are a light that shines God’s truth and
    the knowledge you have grows brighter with every
    word you type. Thanks for sharing the good Word!!

    Do you think our “jean creations” would have matched?

  12. Christy Johnson March 21, 2009 at 11:04 pm #

    Girl, I have no doubt! The passion to design is in our dna!

  13. Carol Wright March 24, 2009 at 9:02 am #

    This reminds me of an “anonymous” quote I saw….”It’s what you learn after you know it all that really counts. “
    I’m always inspired by your hunger and thirst to continually learn and be taught. Your teachable spirit and excitement about life and what it holds in the future encourages me to do the same. Thanks!
    P.S. I had a pair of penny loafers I cut down into makeshift “sandals” that I loved to flop around in…My mother tried to throw them away twice….wish I had those ugly things today to remind me that “thinking out of the box” is uncomfortable to others around us sometimes….but that we need to be reminded that what God leads us to do…feels comfortable and that we need to stand our ground! Bet those sandals would have matched your cute skirt and D”Lisa Hopper’s fun purse!

  14. Robin Meadows March 27, 2009 at 3:10 pm #

    Hey Christy,

    Glad to have found your blog! You’re an awesome writer! You should meet my daughter, Anna. Writing is her passion. Ck her out at http://www.annameadows.com She is an assoc. youth pastor at Lifechurch NW (next to Incredible Pizza on NW Expwy-OKC)

  15. Jessica Conder April 1, 2009 at 9:33 am #

    Christy,

    I love this! This happened to me, when I went to college I covered up my ears and said NANANANANANANANA to drown out the voice of the Lord…because I didn’t want to be called to the mission field! Isn’t that sad! I knew what I wanted to do and I didn’t want GOD interfering!

    So I landed the “dream job” and quickly realized that MY plan for my life wasn’t working out so well. So here I am, seeking HIS will for my life and things are blossoming. I am still at the “dream job” for now but God has blessed our family so that I will be able to quit MY dream job in November to do HIS dream job, stay home with Max, and run an at home business doing Tastefully Simple. I cannot wait, and by the way, somewhere in there I uncovered my ears and started listening to Him.

    Love it!
    Jess

  16. Christy Johnson April 1, 2009 at 9:45 am #

    OMG…I have so done the NANANA thing. Whew…I’m so happy for you to be able to pursue His dream!

  17. Robin Richert April 1, 2009 at 11:08 am #

    Christy,
    I am so much like you in that I can’t sit still. I feel physically sick when I have to sit for too long. I have also been very convicted through some major trials I have been going through that I need to quit trying to handle everything myself and be still and listern to what God is trying to teach me or tell through my trials. It is a daily struggle just to have my quiet time because I want to be doing something! Thanks for your story!

  18. Darla Muralt April 19, 2009 at 9:53 pm #

    I want you to know I have spent the last two hours catching up on your inspiring devo.’s, reading all the comments, blowing nose, kicking myself in the pants, and “praying for blindness so my little light will shine”. You are AWESOME! (Did you catch that Australian Ausome flavor?, because you really are!) oxoox Love you Christy

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