Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood. Today, she is an award-winning best-selling author, speaker, and virtual assistant who lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have a daughter and a son, and an Aussie/retriever mix named Roxie. She has sold 14 books so far and is represented by Sandra Bishop of MacGregor Literary Agency. Three of her novels have won annual reader’s choice awards, and in 2009, she was voted #1 favorite new author for Barbour’s Heartsong Presents book club. Read more about her at her web site: www.amberstockton.com.
Hi! My name is Tiffany Amber Stockton, but I publish under Amber Stockton and most folks call me “Tiff.” You can read the pertinent stuff about me in my bio and discover even more little tidbits on my web site. What you won’t find in either of those places is my penchant for suffering from the proverbial “foot-in-mouth” disease or the revelation of my love for talking. Most times, the embarrassing things I say can be laughed away or forgotten fairly easily, but there are some instances when I’m misheard, misinterpreted, or misrepresented.
This will likely come as a surprise to many who know me, but for the past fifteen years, I’ve struggled with feelings of inadequacy when it comes to the roles I fulfill, or the jobs and tasks I’m assigned, or even in terms of being a good friend. A woman in a church I once attended told me I had no business attempting to speak to a group of women until I had experienced more of life, until I actually had something to say to them that would matter or make a difference. Ouch, right? Harsh? Yes, you could say that.
Unfortunately, I allowed that one woman’s opinion to rule my thoughts and my belief system about myself. Too many times, I would second-guess volunteering or stepping into a leadership role because I was “too young to make a difference.” Even when I took the brave step into a leadership position or public speaking, inside, I was riddled with doubt and feared what the other men or women in the group thought of me. So, when I was first approached by someone who was in a position of authority over me, and I learned someone *else* had been spreading lies about me or something they claimed I said, it cut me right to the core.
This anonymous individual had asked that his/her name not be revealed, and the authority figure allowed it. Now, this is completely against Biblical policy, which advocates facing your accuser or the one you’re accusing and attempting to resolve whatever issues exist. Then, if the issue can’t be resolved, you bring in a higher authority. You don’t go to that authority first and refuse to face the one you’re accusing. But I wasn’t given the chance to know who said these lies about me or to correct the falsehoods. I was viewed as the guilty party, so I was asked to step down from leadership.
Similar experiences happened three more times over the course of fifteen years. Each time, the individual asked to remain anonymous, and the authority figured allowed it. Even when I reminded these leaders that doing so fostered back-stabbing, devious behavior, and dishonesty, it didn’t make a difference. So, I took the bullet and stepped down, closing the door on yet another opportunity to serve where God had called me or where my gifts were best put to use.
The most recent instance of this (#5) occurred in my current church. I presently serve on the women’s ministry leadership team, and a woman who’d teamed up with me asked for a private meeting where we could get to know one another and share our goals for this particular aspect of the ministry. That conversation went great. We shared our spiritual gifts, our personality styles, our strengths, our weaknesses, our visions, and many other aspects about ourselves to better equip our collaboration as co-leaders. For the first time in my life, I felt as if I’d finally found someone who shared my passion and vision. Or so I thought.
Three days later, the women’s ministry leader asked to speak with me. From her solemn face, I knew something was wrong, but I had no idea what. We went into a prayer room and she lowered the boom. That woman had come to her and completely twisted everything I had said to her in confidence, rewording and intentionally misrepresenting my words in a way that made her look like the saint and me the devious one. The pain of betrayal hurt so much, that I had to close my eyes.
My leader asked if what she was told was true, and I told her it wasn’t. She then did what no other leader or authority figure in my life had done in similar circumstances. She identified my accuser, and then she told me she believed in me, saying I’d been serving for several years, and there’d never been a problem until this one woman came onto the scene. For some reason, this woman had made up her mind to vehemently dislike me. I won’t say “hate” since that’s far too strong. But, this woman had been speaking out against me to other women and making it a point to discredit me every chance she had, all in an attempt to take control and boot me out. Hearing what she’d told my leader caused all those feelings of inadequacy to rear their ugly head again.
However, having my leader’s support and trust and finally being able to defend myself and know my accuser helped breathe new life into the lies I’d been telling myself for years. Not only did I continue serving in my position, but I gained confidence in my role which has led me to grow my team and this area of ministry in abundant ways. Now, I approach each event I coordinate with my head held high, knowing I am making a difference and I’m impacting lives in a positive way.
I’ve always had Jesus in my corner, but it makes a world of difference when your leader also believes in you and promises that she’s “got your back.” Every step forward is a learning and growing process, and I’m still a long way from fully healing from fifteen years of hurt, doubt, pain, and disillusionment, but each day is brand new, and each one brings me another chance to grow.
Readers, Amber is giving away your choice of one of her books. You can see them below. In order to be entered she would like you to answer the question below. Please leave your answer by July 23rd at 5:00 PM.
Reader question: In what areas do you feel God is calling you to grow? What areas cause you to stumble again and again? Why do you think that happens?
Book Description: Unlike other young ladies, Charlotte Pringle would rather run her bookshop than pursue eligible gentlemen. But when her parents pressure her to agree to an advantageous match, she fears she’ll be trapped in a loveless marriage. Richard Baxton feels pressure at every turn in the wake of his brother and sister-in-law’s accidental death. Now he’s responsible for the family business and his niece Grace, who is unable to walk. When Grace’s love for books leads him to Charlotte’s bookshop, Richard is drawn to Charlotte’s sweet spirit. But with endless problems on the horizon, will God’s grace enable them to accept the hardship with dignity and strength?
Book Description: When Grace Baxton comes face-to-face with the thief who broke into her uncle’s home, she isn’t prepared for meeting Andrew Bradenton—not a young boy out to cause trouble and no hardened criminal, either. The judge sentences Andrew Bradenton to work for the Baxton family, and being forced to see him almost daily, Grace struggles with forgiveness. Out of guilt, Andrew offers to help Grace search for an heirloom book. When a handsome stranger appears with the book in hand, warming Grace’s heart and finding favor with her uncle, Grace is torn over her growing attraction for both men. Andrew tries to prove the stranger is up to no good, but after key documents and money go missing from her uncle’s safe, Andrew is seen as the guilty party. Will Grace discover the truth in time?
Book Description: Lillian’s brother has one last request. On a cold April night as the Titanic sinks to the ocean floor, Conrad Bradenton asks his new business partner, Aaron Stone, to fulfill a final wish: that Aaron return a well-worn book to his family and take care of his sister. Aaron seeks out Conrad’s family, never imagining the depth of his commitment until he meets lovely Lillian Bradenton. Hit hard by the despair in her eyes, Aaron encourages Lillian to restore her hope by bringing a boarded-up bookstore back to life. Lillian is uncertain whether she can trust this stranger, the last link to her beloved brother. But she has faith in her brother’s ability to read people. If Conrad saw something in Aaron, maybe she will in time. Then Aaron is summoned to London, and Lillian wonders if it is too late to turn hesitant friendship into undying love.
Amber, thanks so much for sharing with my readers. I know they appreciate your time and effort. Be blessed 🙂