Aunt Tiz and the Lessons about Jesus

[I am pleased to host Jennifer Tidwell (whom you may know on Twitter as Dust Bunny Hostage). Today Jennifer tells the story of her Aunt Tiz, who gave Jennifer a fresh look at what it looks like to grow in Jesus as you spend a lifetime resting in him.]

Ten years ago, I was immersed in the scrapbooking culture. “Immersed” coupled with “culture” is often used to describe life choices and beliefs. At that time and within my friend group, that is exactly what it was. We believed our purpose was to preserve moments (or create moments to preserve) to place within a perfectly planned layout which could then be inserted into an album and displayed on a coffee table. We strived to decorate and beautify our family memories.

“See here! Life is beautiful on these color coordinated and precisely planned pages!”

Vintage_Scrapbook

Vintage Scrapbook (Wikipedia)

You think you know where I am going with this, right? You think I’m setting up a metaphor for a certain type of Christianity?

Nah. I was lousy at it.

My ideas were original and my bank account was depleted, but I was not very good at following through. I created a few albums but, based on the amount of supplies I amassed, scrapbooking became just another unfinished project.

Recently, my oldest daughter, Emily, found a project that I made in 2007.  I had asked my husband, my children, and several members of our family, ten questions. I took the ten random questions and answers and placed them in a binder with a photo of each person who had been interviewed.

Ten year old Emily was asked: If you had a lot of money, what would you buy?

Emily: An Icee machine.

Q: If you could change one thing, name it.

Emily: The amount of money that I have – then I could buy an Icee machine. (Icee love is a continuing theme in her life.)

Her sister, Megan, was asked “What makes you mad?”

She said, “Emily!”

I asked my mother what super hero power she would most like to have and she answered, “I would just like to look good in tights.”

My brother chose x-ray vision (not that that’s sketchy or anything).

The best thing about my five-year-old son, in his opinion, was his hair. “I use hair gel.”

The interviews reflected personality, priorities, and the maturity level of my family at that time.

Aunt Tiz Has the Answer

Aunt Tiz, who was seventy in 2007, was the only member of our extended family that I interviewed. Say the words “Godly woman” and her grinning face pops into my mind. I inherited her grin when I said “I do” to my husband, almost twenty five years ago.

Aunt Tiz has never thumped her Bible at anyone. She is too busy joyfully – often with actual laughter – navigating her Christian walk. Honestly, I am resisting the temptation to write Tiz-isms instead of finishing my story.

{Tiz-ism:  She told me her relationship with God had once been “as dry as a saltine cracker” and she had been concerned. Tiz kept sipping the Living Waters until she learned that growing and rest in the Lord are normal and that she was going to be “just fine.”}

Reading her interview, I was reminded that she wished that she had become a nurse, that her favorite dessert was ice cream, and that her favorite animal was a rabbit. She did not mention God, Jesus, or Christianity but a few of her answers spoke those words to me.

Q: Where do you feel happiest?

Tiz: Right here with you. Right where I happen to be is where I am happiest.

See? Who wouldn’t love Aunt Tiz?

Q: What would you like to teach someone?

Tiz: To be peaceful and restful in all situations, regardless of the circumstances… how to have peace.

The last one is the one I can’t read without tearing up.

Q: How or for what do you want to be remembered?

Tiz: That I accepted you exactly as you are… regardless. That I loved you.

Almost ten years later, when I feel as though I have to be determined about love and to choose daily how to react as a Believer, her interview gave me peace. Tiz’s interview is Philemon 1:7 for me:

“For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother.”

Reading her words from 2007 refreshed me. She abides in Christ and desires to love those around her.

  • As I watch Believers debate and tear each other apart on social media, Aunt Tiz, walking in the love of Christ, says to be happy right where you are, that a person can be happy “right here with you.”
  • As I watch the church being divided by old topics brought to new light, I can have peace, regardless of the circumstances.
  • As I see Believers crushed under the convictions of others who choose to use the Word to bludgeon, I can trust that the Holy Spirit can do a good work in the saved sinner’s life. While that work is being accomplished, I am here to accept you as you are… regardless. I am here to love you.

Every day, I question whether I am ‘doing this right.’ Every bloomin’ day.  I need to remember that it is going to be “just fine” – Aunt Tiz told me so and she read it in His Word. I don’t want to be just Aunt Tiz-like, I desire to be Christ-like and she is showing me by example how it is done.

***

Jennifer TidwellJennifer Tidwell loves Jesus, her family (including her four cats), disco balls, and humor. She is the former Dust Bunny Hostage blogger but now you can find her – often – on Twitter @dbhostage.

 

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10 Responses to Aunt Tiz and the Lessons about Jesus

  1. DragonLady says:

    Oh, my goodness, I love this! Made me tear up a little. 🙂

    • dust bunny hostage says:

      Thank you! The timing of this was a God wink! Tiz just retired from 49 years in the insurance industry. She’s facing a life change but I think she will be “just fine.”

  2. Tim says:

    Jennifer, thank you so much for allowing me to host you today. Your Aunt Tiz sounds wonderful, and I can see the blessings she has delivered into your life through her own walk with Jesus.

    • dust bunny hostage says:

      I was completely surprised to have been asked and completely blessed to have participated. Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to your blog. I’m praying that God will use my post to encourage your readers!

  3. Andrea says:

    Love!

  4. Dawn W says:

    Hey Jen! Thanks for writing here – I miss the old “Dust Bunny Hostage” more often than you’d guess. Your writing always speaks to my heart!

    • dust bunny hostage says:

      Dawn! Thank you! That was a sweet time and when life wasn’t sweet, I had an amazing group of friends to see me through. God provided. Love you!

  5. This is a wonderful post — so encouraging, and such a lovely tribute to your Aunt. That is a worthy goal, to be remembered for being loving and accepting.

    • dust bunny hostage says:

      Jeannie, as I wrote about her it made me wonder if I will ever be able to be that person for someone else. It makes me want to be more.

      Thank you!

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