Hi. I’m Tobi.
On my desk, where I pay bills, teach math lessons, write love letters, and talk to my granddaughter through a computer screen, is a framed painting of a tiny acorn on a large canvas with two words.
Which is funny, because one of my best friends calls me Tiny Tobi, yet not funny at all because this treasure came to me in a swag bag at a writers conference, randomly chosen from the large stash behind the table and really? I didn’t want the reminder that it’s not about me. I was actually a bit envious that my roommate pulled be free out of her bag. I was standing in a hotel conference room, with speakers teaching how to build platform, work with publishing houses, maintain relational integrity in a room of screens, and the two words I heard were be small.
Then he said, “How can I picture God’s kingdom for you? What kind of story can I use? It’s like a pine nut that a man plants in his front yard. It grows into a huge pine tree with thick branches, and eagles build nests in it. ~ Luke 13:18-19
In 1988 my friends asked a really cute guy with a pickup truck to help them move me from my apartment. He told his mom that night that I was the girl he was going to spend the rest of his life with. He’s pretty smart. One year later we were married and beginning this great Benton dream, filling up our table with children, and packing it every few years as a career in the Air Force keeps us moving from sea to shining sea.
I am small, leaving God to pour grace on my efforts and make things grow. Not authorized or ordained by men, I am called to pastorship. A military wife with a nomadic lifestyle and dreams that rarely have a chance to take root, yet God’s “decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge.” I am a writer, a voice in my community, around the coffee table, and in this space.
be free I believe prayer is a way of living be thankful I believe studying God’s word demands studying this world and those in it be loved I believe we don’t grow up in the privacy of our own hearts, but by listening to, learning from, and leaning into fellowship be small I believe glory is the invisible God being made visible through the work of Jesus, and as the redeemed we make Jesus known when we feed the hungry, work in our neighborhoods, bring healing to the forgotten, and worship together.
I don’t know how I can be small and seem so intense sometimes. If you had walked through my door I would have hugged you by now. Depending on what time of day it was I would have poured you a cup of coffee or put out a platter of olives, cheese and bread. If you need a ride to the store, or someone to help you pack your house, or simply to sit on my couch and talk about what it’s like to have a teenage boy under your roof, I’m your girl. I’ll talk about coloring my gray hair and how soft my upper arms have gone, but I won’t regret being this age. This tent was pitched a while back and I’m okay that it’s becoming weathered. I don’t regret a single day. If you have a Little with you, I’ll absent-mindedly stroke the hair on the top of her head. I hope that doesn’t freak her out. I’ll remind you mercy and justice are both required, but mercy wins every time. I don’t care about status, and whatever you think noteworthy in me, I am simply a vessel created for holding grace.
May His grace be poured out on you here, Favored One.
May the favor of the LORD our God rest upon us. ~ Psalm 90:17