Because I'm Terrible at Scrapbooks
Destination Beautiful

Part Three

Before we get going, you can check out part one here and part two here.

I realize I’ve been dragging this story out for-ev-er, but this is my life right now. I wanted to stop and take a minute to really get everything on “paper” while it was still fresh.

Let’s get going.

**********

I was full of bitterness and anger for days after making the decision to sell our portion of the business. I didn’t really feel like we had much choice and were bullied into it.

Will was quiet after the first couple of weeks and internalized everything. I feel like he knew in his heart he made the best decision for our family and had peace from God amidst the pain.

I, on the other hand, had peace but would let my big fat mouth flap about how mad I was whenever we were alone.

Sounds real peaceful, right? Ha!

I felt so wronged. How could someone we trusted do something this hurtful?

The anger consumed me for days.

And then telling people.

It was like reopening the wound over and over.

Will was so proud of this opportunity and had joyfully shared it with many of our family members and friends.

It was like reliving the pain anytime they asked how the business was going.

We knew, absolutely knew, this was a God thing. Yet, in our own prideful perspective, we didn’t really approach it that way at first.

It felt embarrassing, angering, and painful.

Not only that, but it wasn’t as easy as just selling the business. It required a process of paperwork and phone calls. Opening the hurt over and over.

I knew in my heart it wasn’t healthy to let it grow and fester, but honestly? In my own sick justification, it felt good to feel angry.

Have you ever been there?
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The holy spirit began working on my heart. I knew He wasn’t going to let me wallow for very long.

I (reluctantly) added the guy’s name to my prayer list.

Actually… I couldn’t even bear to write or pray his name. It hurt too much.

I simply added his initials to the list. I would just say “him” in my prayers. It felt like a monumental step.
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For the first several days I prayed that my heart would forgive him. I knew The Lord wanted me to, but I struggled with wanting to.

He began to soften my hardened heart and restore me. He continually reminded me that He was in this..

Day by day I constantly thought about the question he asked me “Do you trust Me?”

Oh the stories I will share next week of His hand on us time and time again. 

To the Lord’s credit alone, I eventually even began praying God would bless the guy.

Nothing inside of me wanted that, and yet the Lord began to move me to pray for it. It was all God at work in my heart. Praise be to Him alone.

We finished up the sale earlier his year and finally felt a sense of closure. 

It was behind us.

But what was in front of us?

That was (and is) the big question. We’ll talk more about that next week.

So why am I sharing all this baggage and hurt with you?

Believe me, I’d much rather keep it to myself.

However, I truly believe there’s power in our stories. What satan or people mean for harm, God can use for good.

Perhaps you’ve been wronged and are deeply hurt by someone. I get that.

Perhaps like me, you enjoyed feeling anger toward that person and felt justified because of their painful actions. I get that too.

As trite as it sounds, it’s true- we are really only hurting ourselves when we don’t relinquish those awful feelings.

It really screws us up more than the other person.

It’s necessary to allow God to perform surgery on our hearts.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to be angry. That’s different. It’s what we do with the anger. It’s the bitterness and hatred that came with anger that got me.
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The good news is, we don’t have to live with it.

He can take that big weight off our shoulders and transform it into forgiveness and restoration.

It seems lofty and impossible, but with God all things are possible.

When we give ourselves over to Jesus, He softens our hearts and helps us heal.

It feels so much better to remove any blockages from His presence. I never want to hinder my relationship with Him. I want to approach His throne with confidence, and that means drawing near with a pure heart, trusting in Him.

If you’ve been wronged by someone, I urge you to free yourself from any unforgiveness, and seek Him to overcome.

I can tell you firsthand- you will feel complete freedom and relief in doing so.

So what now for the B-Love family?

Check in next week for what’s been going on since this all unfolded. 

Until then, have a great weekend!

Part Two

A few weeks ago I briefly shared how the Lord spoke to me last July, but I wanted to share it again because it is such a big part of this story.

It’s what keeps propelling me though each day of uncertainty!

Last July, when things were going fantastically in my life, clear as day a rush came all over my body and the Holy Spirit whispered into my heart, “Do you trust Me?”

I found the question odd, and easy to answer. Of course I did. However, it did get me wondering if perhaps He was preparing me for something in the future.
About a week later the exact same thing happened. “Do you trust Me?”

It’s easy for me to trust when things are going swimmingly. But what about when things got hard? Could I trust the same way then?
I believe with all my heart the Lord asked me that question in preparation for this season of life.

As I mentioned in Part One, things with the business were moving full speed ahead toward the middle to end of last year.

Will quit his job in January to run the day to day needs of the business.  He was a busy bee and loved every minute of it.

I had never seen Will so happy to wake up and go to work each morning. It blessed me so much.

I suppose I should back up a little and tell you that although things were progressing nicely with the business, things had taken a bit of a turn with Will’s business partner.

Not awful, but not good either.

You know how you have friends who found that perfect guy or gal to marry but things weren’t as they seemed? Everything was like a dream...until right after the wedding when your friend woke up next to someone different than the person they thought they were marrying.

That’s really the best way I can describe what began to unfold.

Will did his best to manage the situation, putting out fires with patience, wisdom, and grace only God could provide.

Things continued to deteriorate despite our continued prayer and efforts. 

Without getting into the details, out of the blue one day Will’s partner lost his temper and gave him an ultimatum.  Either we would buy him out of the business, or he would buy us out.

Obviously there’s lots of background regarding the way things unfolded.

My human side wants to tell you the way we were hurt and how things happened, but the spirit inside of me keeps telling me I can’t.

I truly desire to share this story with a pure heart. I’m not sure I’m doing a good job conveying everything. I’m praying in spite of myself, the Lord will do a work anyway. I ask for your grace.

Moving on…

Will told him we would pray about it and let him know.

Will came home and told me everything that happened.

We felt confused and defeated. Completely blindsided. We knew we were in the center of God’s will in starting this business. How could this be happening?

Will is my lion. My knight in shining armor. He fights for our family and is my leader.

I, on the other hand, am a timid Minnie Mouse. I am meek and fragile.

Oddly enough, during the first few days after everything unfolded, I was ready to go to the mattresses. Fight to the end! Prove a moral and spiritual point!

Will was much more reserved. Quiet and yielding. Peaceful, and relentlessly seeking to be amiable despite how things happened.

Who was this guy!?

We had such a godly peace about starting the business, so we felt lost about what happened next.

This business was supposed to be the vehicle to all the things we desired. Not just physically, either. I honestly felt in my core this business was going to be the thing that allowed us the opportunity to pursue God and honor Him with our gifts and abilities in a whole new way (captured in Part One).

So why was this happening?

We sought God in scripture and prayer, earnestly desiring His will be done.

Will almost immediately knew in his heart what he believed we were called to do, but refrained from making a final decision until I sought the Lord and we came together to discuss. In his mind, the other guy had the technical expertise and Will had the business expertise. Without the technical piece there really was no business.

Nonetheless, we agreed to take the weekend to pray about it and not really talk about it until Sunday night.

As I sought the Lord in my regular Bible study, He blew me away with a gigantic confirmation to walk away from the business.

It was very clear, and I had a deep peace in my heart.

I can’t even begin to describe it, but Will sensed it too.

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The walls were closing in around us, yet we both felt this crazy out of place unshakable peace. We both knew our decision. 

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We started this business with peace and confirmation from the Lord and just as quickly walked away from it with His peace and confirmation.

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It was the strangest thing ever, but we knew He was in it and was up to something.

My mind flashed back to God’s question- do you trust Me?

Oh boy it felt like that question was coming full circle!

Despite the peace to walk away, we still had raw and hurt hearts.

Next week I want to talk about forgiveness and learning to trust God through this process, and the week after, I’ll share where we are now.

Thanks for listening. Although this is all still very fresh, when I step back and see everything on “paper,” I really see God’s hand guiding us along the way. ❤️

Part One

I’ve mentioned “changes” for about a year, and have never divulged what they were.

It’s annoying, right?

What’s funny, though, is how different the changes were between when I first started talking about them, and what they are today.

I’ve wanted to share this story with you guys for awhile now, but the truth is-

We haven’t reached a good breaking point.

We’re only halfway though.

I wanted to share this story with a clear beginning and end, along with some concrete explanation for how God moved and what’s next.

I don’t have those answers.

But then I realized something.

Even though we still don’t know what’s next, God still moved, and continues to move even though we haven’t reached the conclusion of this story.

So instead of holding out, I decided to share and bring you along this journey.

Today is part one.

***
About this time last year, we had a fantastic opportunity to start a business.

Will’s brain for business is ridiculous. He would completely be in his element, having helped his dad with his for many years.

We’d thought about it before, but the right opportunity ever presented itself. This particular opportunity was exciting because it involved a partner with a very rare and technical specialization. He admittedly lacked the business know how, and Will lacked the certifications this other guy had.

Both felt the pull to go out on their own, and it seemed to work great. The other guy would run the operations side, while Will would handle the day to day business. A match made in heaven.

Best of all, he is a Christian too and held many of the same beliefs as us.

Before moving forward, Will and I bathed the matter in prayer and sought God in scripture.

We did not want to move forward with such a huge decision without clear confirmation from the Lord.

During my usual Bible study several days later, I found such rich, confirming scriptures in Deuteronomy that gave me such peace about our decision.

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The caveat was this- He must absolutely be kept first. No matter what.

With clear peace and confirmation, we agreed and moved forward, expectant and in anticipation for His work in our work.

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I knew this decision put us in the center of His will, and that’s exactly where I wanted to be.

I grew more excited with each passing day of business preparation.

From them purchasing equipment, to finding a building (pictured below with our big eyes and shiny smiles), I began to hang my hat on what could be.
Merry Christmas!

I began to think this was God’s way of bringing the prayer I prayed in 2013 to fruition. The prayer when I asked Him for the opportunity to serve Him full time in ministry again.

You see, that was the tug on my heart when I was just 15 years old.

It was very real and very anointed.

Yet, in my “great” young knowledge and desire to rule myself, I ran far away from this calling after Will and I served at our first church.

So far away, in fact, we ended up in a Muslim country with no church family at all!

My will, but part of God’s story.

I’ve shared pieces of that story before, so I won’t dwell there today.

However, it’s that story and God’s persistent faithfulness that brought me to my knees in repentance and back into His will.

That sunny day in my car, I acknowledged that I ran from my calling, while He remained the same. I asked Him to allow me the opportunity once more to carry it out, knowing in my core it’s what He wanted for me all along before I ran.

I saw this blossoming business as an eventual way to make my heart’s desire a reality.

Everything was coming together so effortlessly, and we received multiple confirmations He was in our decisions. Such peace, such closeness with God with each passing step.

Oh friends, things were on the up all around.

Will quit his job in January and everything was in full swing.

I couldn’t wait to see how God was going to use this business as a way to accomplish His will.

Only… I had no idea what He quite had in mind.

I think we’ve reached a good stopping point for Part One today.

I think the spiritual nugget we can take away from this story is: seek Him in your decisions and trust.

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If I knew today what I didn’t know then, I would never have trusted God and moved forward with this decision.

However, it’s because I didn’t know, and because of our obedience through this decision I’ve been able to see the realest, most blatant hand of God during this time.

We only have a small piece of the puzzle, but He has the whole box top picture and sees how the pieces weave together.

If you’re in a season of decision-making or uncertainty today, seek the Lord in scripture and prayer. He desires that we seek Him, and will reveal Himself when we seek Him with all our hearts.

If there’s a decision you’re struggling with, I would love to pray for you this week. Feel free to leave a comment in the “share the love” section or send me an email, and I promise to hold you in prayer.
***

There you have it. A partial explanation of all the “changes” I’ve been talking about.

Check in next Friday for part two. Until then, have a fantastic weekend, and I’ll see you Monday!

A Tale of Two Prophets

Let’s talk Jeremiah today.

And what an unpopular message God ordained him to share.

Because of the sinfulness of the people, Jeremiah was sent to warn the Israelites of their coming destruction.

I’m not sure we can wrap our heads around just how scathing a message Jeremiah proclaimed.

You know what made it even worse?

There were heaps, heaps, of other false prophets completely turning around his words and declaring complete lies.

Things that felt warm and fuzzy. Things that made the Israelites feel good, powerful, and safe. Things the people wanted to hear.

Jeremiah was unpopular, hated, and an anomaly among a culture of “prophets” that spoke encouraging, feel good words.

Jeremiah was sent to tell the unpopular truth, and it was a lonely road.

Interestingly, I was in Jeremiah 26 this week and noticed he wasn’t completely alone in sharing his message.

Enter Uriah.

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I’ve read Jeremiah before, but this story never stood out to me like it does today. I feel compelled to share because I pray it mobilizes us to be a beacon of Jesus’s light even when it’s tough.

Like Jeremiah, Uriah was sent to announce the destruction of Israel.

Only, their stories take a fork in the road when we get to chapter 26.

We know very little of Uriah, but can learn a valuable lesson from the snippet we learn in this chapter.

They shared the same message, but responded a different way.

When the king and religious leaders learned of the “heresy” these men spoke, they sought to kill them.

Jeremiah stayed put and stood firm, but Uriah ran away to Egypt.

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Have you ever done that?

I sure have.

I’ve run away from a hard situation or sharing truth when things got scary or uncomfortable.

I’ve run to the nearest safest Egypt I could find. Just to hide out until things seemed safe again.

Only, I find it interesting Uriah fled to Egypt for safety.

Let’s not forget the oppression and slavery his ancestors suffered there not all that long before.

I find that sometimes the thing that seems the safest can also cause the most bondage, and eventually our demise.

Sure enough, the king sent men to pursue Uriah. Eventually they found and killed him.

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Interestingly, Jeremiah defended his case before the people, a very angry people, and was released unharmed.

Which is pretty miraculous, if you ask me.

In a world with a lot of noise, we are called to stand firm in the faith, just as Jeremiah demonstrated.

The Bible tells us many people’s love for Jesus will grow cold in the last days. People will pursue messages that “tickle their ears” but are void of truth.

I am absolutely convinced we Christians in America are soon facing a day when our already unpopular truth will reach a point when will have to decide if we are going to be a Jeremiah and stand firm or Uriah and shrink back in fear.

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Don’t be afraid to stand up for Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

It’s a message clouded by lots of “ways” these days, but friends we must resolve ourselves to take a stand even when it’s not popular.

If you’re a believer, God has equipped you with spiritual gifts and has called you to use them to further His kingdom.

Are you using them? What’s holding you back from yielding to God in obedience?

May we knock down the strongholds of human reasoning, and everything inside us that will tell us, “run!” May we capture those thoughts and obey Christ standing firm through the power of His Holy Spirit (1 Cor 10:3-5).

Guys, we must open our eyes to the truth of God’s word and stand firm in it!

May we exude the love of Jesus in every single moment of every single day.

So many of our brothers and sisters around the world are standing firm and serving as living examples of this truth, and I pray we hold them up in prayer and are always prepared to give an account for the hope we have in Christ Jesus.

Another lesson we can learn?

Running away may seem logical, but hinders our effectiveness.

We don’t know know many details, but we know Uriah “escaped in fear.”

Oh man, fear is a faith killer!

It holds us back time and time again.

I know you know what I’m saying, because we’ve all let fears keep us in bondage.

Let’s be honest, playing it safe out of fear seems good at the time. But eventually it leaves us feeling worse because we know we’re not doing what we’re made to do.

What’s that thing holding you back? What’s made you run to Egypt? Is it as safe and wonderful as you’d hoped it would be? I’m betting it’s not.

God has wired and equipped us for kingdom work. When He stirs in us a work we’re wired to do, I pray we press forward in obedience, even when the pressure is on.

He tells us not to be afraid.

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Even when fear and shrinking back seems to make sense, may we remember our call and trust Him to take care of the rest.

I pray the stories of these two men encouraged you today like they encouraged me.  I pray even when everything inside us wants to run, we cling to Truth and trust Him.

Breaking Camp (or Staying Put)

I never tire of God showing up in a very big, real, and personal way.

I had one of those moments this week.

About a year ago, I was reading in Numbers. I earmarked chapter nine and wrote, “Revisit this passage. I think there is something for me to glean here.

At the time, I knew there was deep substance there, but I couldn’t put my finger on how the passage personally spoke to me.

Instead I made a note...and completely forgot about it.

Obviously I had no idea how hugely impactful it would be when I “stumbled upon” that year-old note yesterday in search of another passage. 

We’re in Numbers here, so this scripture has to do with the Israelites’ journey out of Egypt. 

This chapter talks about the cloud of God’s presence, and how it hovered over the Tabernacle.

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When the cloud moved, the people moved, be it day or night.

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Without getting too deep (this is only a blog post after all! smile), it’s really as simple as that- when the cloud moved, the people moved.

Sometimes they’d make their camp for a single day, and other times it was much longer.

No matter what, and what we need to see in this passage is, whether they stayed or went, it was based on what the Lord commanded.
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Similarly, our “cloud” is the gift of the Holy Spirit, making this story so very relatable.

Have you ever felt like you’re in a complete holding pattern?

Completely stuck even though you want nothing more than to GO!?

Hello. My name is Brittny. Welcome to my current world. 

Here’s why I think I “accidentally” found this year old note to myself, and why this passage is so valuable to those of us camping out despite feeling ready to move-

For so long I’ve seen this current “campout” phase as a waste. Like a big pause from where I was and what the Lord has next.

However, that’s not at all how we need to see these times.

We have to remember we’re “camping” because that’s where God has us.

We haven’t broken camp because He hasn’t led us there yet.

That doesn’t mean we’re in nothing more than a holding cell until we finally get to break camp and move on.

Oh no, not at all!

In fact, may you and I both need to wipe that thought from our brains right now!

We must not forget when His cloud settled over the tabernacle, He was there.

Why would we ever want to go somewhere He’s not?

Note verse 19.

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It doesn’t say the cloud remained over the Tabernacle and the Israelites filed their nails and grumbled until they could move on.

It says the Israelites stayed and performed their duty to the Lord.

There was (and is!) work still to be done.

We’re not just sitting here collecting dust, friends, we’re still active in performing our duty to the Lord!

Before we rush ourselves and try to break camp before we’re ready, we must remember we want to be where His Spirit is.

If He has us parked for a season (or two or three!) let us not grow weary. Instead, let us bask in His presence and the fact that He’s there with us. Preparing and readying us for when He does stir in our hearts to break camp.

Most of all, may we continue to be faithful in our service to the Lord. He will move us in His time and in His will. May we faithfully wait, becoming more like Him day by day.

❤️

Thursday Things, 28 May 2015

Short weeks are the best
It’s Thursday even though it feels like Wednesday! I’m all about that feeling. Give me a Thursday on a “Wednesday” any day.

Let’s (obviously) start with the biggest thing.

P’s getting hitched!

Real life.

Oh friends, I’m not one to tell people’s stories for them, but if I did, I’d tell you what a happy beginning this is for my sister.

She’s been through a lot the last few years as a single mom and I’m thankful she found a good old Oklahoma boy to sweep her off her feet.

Um, I’m technically not sure if I’m allowed to share this (so I’m asking for forgiveness instead of permission), but check out her gorgeous rock!

Engaged!!!!

So unique.

Since I’m a big sister and a hopeless romantic, naturally I’m over the moon about her engagement because, WEDDING PLANNING!

And now we must also consider the most important question about this engagement news-

Is she going to make me wear as ugly a bridesmaid dress as I made her wear?

Carissa Flint-13 March 2004
Oh man I hope not. I still have no idea what I was thinking.

And yes, the church I grew up in and got married in really DID have ugly orange carpet.

One more thing about the wedding

Well, one more thing today, that is.

Can I please tell you how relieved I am that Pinterest didn’t exist and that Facebook was for school kids when I got married?!

I would have been completely overwhelmed by the ideas. Sometimes less is more. Especially when you’re a crazy stressed out bride-to-be slash full time college student.

This post on Satan going to church

Fit for a queen

The Queen of Couch Potatoes!

Oh man, friends. These chairs.
Finished product. Watching games will never feel the same again.

They’re lazy lady makers!

So cushy and cozy.

So inviting and relaxing.

They’re pretty much killing me.

Since we’re taking about the chairs...

Let’s talk about how anal meticulous Will is about our usage.

He’s making us rotate the chairs we sit in each night to make sure they all get “even wear.”

Real life.

In his defense, he’s waited years for these, so I kindly oblige without too much ribbing.

The only complaint is that sometimes in the rotation we sit on opposite ends (😂 ), and I’m
not a fan of that.

At all.

Friends in Low Places
I am so thankful for the beautiful godly people in my life. One of my dear sister friends completely shared in my heartache last week (see Friday’s post) as if she were going through it herself.

We sat on the phone and prayed together and cried together (actually, I didn’t cry. I ugly cried. I was glad we were on the phone so she couldn’t see the mascara everywhere and running nose. Ha!). God is so good to me, and giving me godly friends who love me and hurt with me when I’m sad, and are excited for me when things go well, is such icing on the cake.

When slight really means huge and probable

The weathermen in Oklahoma are killing me this storm season.

They have this new, improved, ever-so-helpful updated severe weather guide that’s supposed to depict a better understanding of the types/probability of storm risk in various areas.

Boo

When you see the words slight, what comes to mind?

I’m thinking like 25% chance or less, maybe?

Definitely not that you’re darn near guaranteed to have a storm (one with hail and occasional tornadoes). Which has pretty much happened every single time that stupid yellow “slight” risk is tagged for the metro.

I’m not sure if they’re tired of getting slack for claims they overreact too much or what, but basically when I see slight, I really see moderate these days.

You didn’t know I was such a weather “expert,” did you? Haha

Today’s TBT is courtesy of returning from church camp completely exhausted
Nap time for Britt & Carissa

Look at that little girl! Now she’s getting married!

That’s all today, sweets! Check in tomorrow for more fun! 

for those of us in the valley

Tears welled in my eyes as I drove home from the doctor’s office, but I was determined not to let them fall down my face.

I failed.

If someone were to have told me last year how 2015 would have started, I wouldn’t have believed them.

Things were on the up for the B-Love family. A fantastic opportunity came into our lives that offered promising dreams for our future and goals. This year was supposed to be “our year.”

Only, this year didn’t start out so promising. In fact, thus far this year laid a big fat egg!

So many things we felt so good about, received godly direction and peace about, crumbled all around us.

He continued to provide peace in the midst of the crumbling. We received assurance it is part of the plan, but it all felt (and feels!) so confusing.

“And now this on top of it all,” I thought to myself as I arrived home.

I walked in the door, and Will was there to meet me with a hug. As he held me tight, the tears continued to fall and I whispered, “This wasn’t how this year was supposed to be.”

“Trust me, I know,” he whispered back. “God had a different plan.”

A different plan.

Will was putting it nicely.

Our plans were picked up, turned upside down, and I’m still not sure we’ve even fallen to the ground yet.

Yes, indeed He had a different plan.

“You know what my memory verse this week is?” I asked him.

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps, Proverbs 16:9. It feels pretty personal right now!”

He agreed.

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I wish I could put a nice little bow around today’s post and give you heartfelt advice about our pain and suffering on this earth, but today I simply can’t.

The truth is, I was a mess earlier this week.

Sometimes, as much as we wish it to be, we can’t tie things up in a nice bow.

Just as Proverbs says, (as well as the New Testament) we can make plans for tomorrow and talk about doing this or that, but we don’t know what the next day may hold. Our hearts plan our way, but ultimately God is Lord over all, and our best laid plans may not turn out as we so meticulously intended.

So what do we do?

Do we wallow in our anguish and give up?

I might of told you yes earlier this week out of complete self pity, but you and I know that’s not what we should do.

Here’s what we do.

We stop worrying.

We stop googling.

We stop stressing and running every scenario though our heads.

It feels impossible to type those things, but it’s true.

We rest in Him. He directs our steps.

We have to purposefully decide to surrender these worries to him.

The Bible tells me not to worry.

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We pray this verse and claim it.

The Bible tells me not to be anxious. That he provides peace that doesn’t even make sense to our human minds.

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We pray this verse and claim it.

The Bible tells me He works for good in ALL things.

Even this terrible thing.

Not some things.

All things.

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We pray this verse and claim it.

I’m not saying it’s easy. Trust me. It’s not.

I still find myself sick with worry and having to consciously stop and surrender it to Him.

Ultimately we have to remember He is our loving Savior and does not intend to do us harm but refine us.

There will be trials and troubles, He told us so, but we overcome through Him.

Praise Jesus we overcome through Him. We’d be in a world of hurt if we had to rely on our fretful selves.

I close with one more story.

Last July, when things were going fantastically in my life, clear as day a rush came all over my body and the Holy Spirit whispered into my heart, “Do you trust Me?”

I found the question odd, and easy to answer. Of course I did. However, it did get me wondering if perhaps He was preparing me for something in the future.

About a week later the exact same thing happened. “Do you trust Me?”

I decided to contemplate the question.

It’s easy for me to trust when things are going swimmingly. But what about when things got hard? Could I trust the same way then?

I believe with all my heart the Lord asked me that question in preparation for this season of life.

When I feel worried, stressed, or doubtful I think about His question- “Do you trust Me?”

Sometimes I say yes, sometimes I say no.

When I say no, I ask for help and grace for it to be yes.

I’ve done that a lot this week.

If you too are in the midst of a valley, I certainly don’t have any helpful advice or wisdom. It’s awful right? And if someone tries to put one more positive spin on everything I might scream! Ever been there, too?

These times hurt.  I have no encouraging personal words to offer.

However, I know He’s bottling our tears and binding our wounds. I know He cares and will accomplish a work to completion. A work we only see such a small a sliver of right now.

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In the midst of this valley we have His word, His truth, and His promises. We have the Blessed Hope.

Even when sometimes we don’t think it’s enough- trust Him. He is.

Reaching the Nones

A study released this week showed an increase in the amount of people who no longer associate themselves with a religion.

Interestingly, the majority of these “nones,” as they’re called, are not necessarily atheists or agnostics, but rather people who have become disenfranchised with religion itself.

This is way too big a topic to cover in a simple blog post, but I’ve been mulling the article around in my head, and have some thoughts and opinions on the matter. 

At first blush, I completely get this perspective to a certain point.

As you may remember, I spent a couple years away from God’s will, dabbling in church here and there but never really committing or getting involved.

I would think back to my negative experiences in church. The harsh judgement of others, the busybodies, and gossip.

Often things I participated in, too.

When we moved back, I used these things as an excuse to keep me from getting involved.

I used people of the church to keep me from contributing to the Church, and it made my heart hard, and kept me completely out of God’s will.

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My personal story aside, I completely understand why some have become disillusioned with the church.

Disillusioned not with the capital C church, because I truly believe that’s what many of these “nones” seek, but with the lower case “c” church.

The building full of manmade bylaws. Religion.

Disillusioned by how we Christians treat one another.

I think that’s a huge one.

Just the other day a ministry I follow online shared a post about a fellow Christian and a “controversial decision” they made.

My heart ached at the comments I read, ripping this woman to shreds.

Please don’t misunderstand, I believe the Bible clearly states we are supposed to judge our brothers and sisters in Christ, righteously and with love- and at first in private too, not all over social media!

However, they were doing anything but that. They don’t know this woman. They don’t know her heart or whether she sought God for direction. They made a judgement based on their own belief system, threw some out-of-context scripture at her, and said she wasn’t a real Christian.

Oh friends, no wonder the nones are increasing.

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The Bible also tells us they will know us by our love.

A large portion of the New Testament is devoted to this important topic. In fact, Jesus said loving others was the greatest commandment after loving Him with all we are!

Again, I do believe in biblical church discipline. I don’t want to be misunderstood here.

However, I feel we’ve lost our way in many of our churches these days. Judging those outside the church and not showing them the love of Christ.

It is not the healthy people who need a doctor, but the sick.

I believe we can learn so very much from the early Church of the New Testament.

Church wasn’t just a building they went to once a week with happy, shiny, “everything’s great” faces. They recognized themselves as the Church and lived it every waking moment, even unto death.

It was based on their love of the Savior, not the charismatic preacher who tells the best stories, or wacky music minister who always skips the third verse of the hymn.

We are the hands and feet of Jesus.
When was the last time we used ours to serve someone in need?

Oh friends, the Bible warns of many falling away in the last days. Of those having a form of godliness but denying its power. May we be mindful of the time in which we live, and be the Church every day to a world full of nones.

Have we forgotten the only thing that makes us different than those outside the Church is Jesus? May we never forget the capital C church is full of complete screw ups, starting with me.

It is by His precious blood and grace that we are made new.

Here are a few things I think you and I can do to reach the nones around us.

1. Pray.

Yep. I realize it’s the number one churchy answer, but it’s the most important.

When it comes to my prayer life, God is knocking my socks off these days.

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective, the Bible says.

Pray for softened hearts and opened eyes. Pray for the Holy Spirit to be at work. Pray for specific opportunities to share the love of Jesus and be the Church to nones.

2. Serve

Jesus’s ministry was active, not passive. He used His hands and feet to go into the world and demonstrate the love of God. We are called to do the same.

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In fact, Ephesians also tells us God has prepared good works in advance for us to do. I love that!

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May we pray and seek out opportunities to serve others. Putting others before ourselves definitely goes against the grain these days. and it’s is a beautiful way to show the love of Jesus to our friends, coworkers, and neighbors.

3.Love

No surprise here.

Guys, we cannot underestimate the power of loving and building one another up in the Lord, and what a testimony it is for those who don’t know Jesus.

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We absolutely must take Jesus’s command to love one another seriously.

That doesn’t mean tolerating sin inside the church, or not standing for truth. However, it also doesn’t mean public shaming online either.

I feel we often downplay love in today’s world.

It’s overused and ever changing.

I love chocolate and pink, or loved her or him.

The love of God is completely, entirely different than that!

People are “lookin’ for love in all the wrong places.” Many are hurting.

We have the love of God in us, and 1 John tells us that as we live in Him, that love grows more perfect.

May we abide in Christ and perfect our love through His power. May we love the faces off one another who know God, as well as those who don’t.

4. Live

Finally, let’s live lives worthy of the gospel.

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Want to know why people are disillusioned with the church?

Probably because many nones feel they are just as good, if not better, than the people sitting in church each week.

I pray our lives point people to Jesus and are set apart from the way the rest of the world loves.

I pray we look different and shine His light so that there’s w notable distinction between us and those who don’t know Jesus.

We’re going to mess up, and people are going to see it. However, may we get back up and overcome by the blood of on the Lamb and start anew.

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***

If you’re a none, I pray you give the capital C church a chance again. Yes, we’re full of all types of personalities and characters, but the Bible tells us not to forsake assembling together. We’re meant to do life forever. Please don’t let past hurts or judgements keep you from connecting with believers.

In fact, if you want to give church a go, I’d absolutely love to invite you to Mine. Not only can you watch a slew of sermons, but you can attend live services online at about a million times throughout the week. Come with me!

Not enough time to unpack everything, but hopefully this gives a little food for thought today.

Thanks for listening, and check in Monday!

trust(in the midst of a storm)

The OKC metro experienced a tornado outbreak earlier this week.

Yep. Just like a bad rash or contagious disease, there are such things as tornado “outbreaks.”

I don’t work close to home anymore. So anytime these storms start to develop, I literally have mere minutes to decide whether I’m going to stay where I am, or if I have enough time to make it home.

It completely stresses me.

I decided to go home Wednesday, along with half the metro.

The roads were getting congested, and rain started to fall.

I turned on the radio and there was already a tornado south of OKC, with more rotating areas on the way.

I gripped the steering wheel in fear and tried to steady my breath.

You see, no matter how long I’ve lived here, I don’t handle storms well. at all.

I knew I didn’t want to stay at work. I knew I just wanted to be home. However, I had to get from A to B and trust God to get me there safely.

My mind flashed back to Sunday’s message on prayer.

At the end of the service, our campus pastor handed out cards and asked us to write down one word that epitomized something we needed prayer for.

I wrote down the word “trust.”

This year had a rocky start. God is helping me work on my trust every single day. Perhaps I’ll share that story another day.

We then exchanged the card with someone around us, and committed to praying for each other this week.

We then prayed collectively about the word we chose and asked that the Lord reveal Himself this week in a very clear way.

Right on cue, the following morning the Lord used my Bible app’s “verse of the day” to remind me of His love and plan for my life- and need to trust Him. It’s a verse I think about often, and I know it was no coincidence to see it Monday morning. 

Verses

He knew I needed to see that verse, and it truly blessed me.

The powerful storms Wednesday were by far the biggest lessons I faced on trust this week.

Believe me, trust was definitely going through my mind as I creeped along busy highways trying to get home.

It reminded me of a well known story in Mark I’d read earlier this week.

Mark told the story of Jesus walking on water in chapter 6. Jesus sent the disciples on a boat over to Bethsaida while he stayed behind.

That night, the waves began to crash against the boat and hindered their progress. The disciples found themselves straining to move the boat.

Jesus watched their efforts and began to walk toward them on the water.

What happened next makes me laugh a little. In fact, I’m positive Jesus had a sense of humor.

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Jesus began to walk past the boat, almost as if to pass on by. It makes me smile a little. It’s like he siked them out.

Instead of recognizing him, the disciples were completely terrified and thought he was a ghost!

Yep, the guys that spent more time with him the last years of his life than anyone else thought Jesus was a ghost.

Real life.

Jesus watched his friends completely spin their wheels (and maybe even lose their minds for a second with the whole ghost thing), and He told them not to be afraid, to take courage, because He was there.

And he climbed in the boat and the waves calmed.

And as I thought about that story driving home, I began to calm a little, too.

So often I spin my wheels and row in my own power trying to get to “Bethsaida,” only to have the waves of life come around me.

Like the disciples, I strive, worry, and wonder if Jesus just passed me by and left me to fend for myself.

(News alert- He didn’t. He will never leave us nor forsake us.)

I laugh when I think I’m in control of my life. Sure, the Lord has granted us free will to make our own decisions, but ultimately, He is in control.

Ultimately, as we go from point A to point B, whether it’s feverishly going home to avoid a storm, or feverishly wrought with worry and fear because of a diagnosis, or a betrayal, or disappointment, He is still sovereign God and is in control.

He doesn’t walk on by when the waves of life crash about. He tells us to take courage, because He is there.

Verses

No matter if the waves keep crashing or subside, He is there. In the boat. Providing peace for his beloveds.

Do we believe it? Do we trust it?

I struggle to trust it.

I truly believe the Lord illuminated all of these things to me this week, during the visceral thunderstorms of life, to remind me He’s ever present during the private storms life brings, too.

As if to further confirm what I already knew to be true (but have a hard time grasping sometimes), yesterday morning, after a night of wild storms, the Lord provided yet another very clear reminder to trust Him.

Verses

Everything He does is worthy of trust. It’s not about what I want or how I think things should go. It’s about trusting a God who desires our holiness and works for our good in all things. Even the things we don’t understand yet.

I can unequivocally say the Lord heard my prayers this week and showed up in a big way. I’m still a pupil in the school of trust (and will always be because I need him so), but I definitely learned a couple lessons.

Praying as you go from point A to B in whatever literal or figurative storm you’re facing today, you know He is with those who have surrendered their hearts to Him. Trust His word to be true, and trust everything He does is worthy of it. 

Lessons from the AeroGarden

I gasped in horror as Will pulled an entire chunk of dried, crispy cilantro from the Aerogarden.

“Well, I guess it’s the beginning of the end,” I said with a disappointing sigh.

I got sad at the thought of watching my healthy plants deteriorating, shriveling, and then dying.

Weekend things

You see, the thing about having an Aerogarden is that the growth is very temporary (unless you replant).

The conditions are perfect and they’re given the opportunity to thrive, but unfortunately they can’t grow deep roots in the Aerogarden and slowly begin to die.

As I watched Will pull up the puny baby roots that fell from the cilantro, there’s no wonder the plant began to suffer.

No roots.

No real way to soak up the nutrients.

No way to grow and thrive.

There’s a lesson for us, friends.

Remember the parable Jesus told about the various seeds and their fates?

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The seed that fell on rocky, shallow soil sprouted quickly and began to grow. However, because they were not able to grow roots, they wilted and died under the hot sun.

Oh sure, perhaps at first it looked hearty, but it was short lived.

Do you remember what Jesus told the apostles about who represented the plants in the shallow soil?

They were those who received the message of Christ with joy, but when the cares of this world or persecution got in the way, they turned away.

Oh friends, this story is heartbreaking and far too common.

Depending on how we’re planted, it’s far easier to wither than we think, which is why I believe Jesus shared this parable, and why it still resonates so much today!

It’s key we take away the valuable lessons from this parable and various other passages of scripture.

How do we and others we know withstand the blows of life and flourish in Him?

1. Eat

Just like any living thing, if we’re going to spiritually sprout, grow, and flourish, we gotta eat.

I’m all about eating. No shocker here.

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Jesus tells us that He is the vine, the life source, and we are the branches. Only in Him can we grow and become spiritually fruitful.

It starts with getting our nutrients and life from Him, and Him alone. In this same passage He tells us, “apart from me, you can do nothing.”

Apart from Him, we wither because we aren’t firmly planted, but in Him we soak up His goodness.

He also tells us not to focus on food that spoils but rather food that endures to eternal life. 

Verse

This is our spiritual food, if you will. Reading the Bible, praying, serving…

We are fed through continual fellowship with Him.

Jesus provides many comparisons of physical food to spiritual food because it’s something we completely understand: We get hungry, we eat, we are satisfied.

Same through Him.

Only He can satisfy our souls.

If we’re going to get rooted in Him and stand firm in this life, He has to be our nutrient source.

If we rely on our own strength, we will simply wilt under the hot sun and pressures of the world. Just like the seed planted on shallow soil.

Verse

2. Drink

Good, healthy plants need deep roots to soak up the goodness a heavy rain provides.

In the same way, we must draw near to Jesus and soak up the life, love, and truth He graciously pours on us.

Jesus is our Living Water.

He tells us in John 4 only He can satisfy our soul through the living water He offers.

The water He provides becomes a fresh bubbling spring. What a beautiful picture!

Verse

How are we able to continually pour ourselves out on others?

Through the power of Jesus continually pouring into us.

If our roots are weak, we’re not firmly planted, and eventually we’ll dry up and dry out!

To pour out on others, we must allow Him to pour into us.

For Him to pour into us, we need to come expectantly. Firmly grounded in Him. No shallow soil here.

3.Grow

Over time, our spiritual roots will grow deeper and deeper and stronger and stronger.

As we take in His word, pray daily, fellowship with other believers, and serve others, we begin to notice more and more heart changes in or life.

We find ourselves compelled to do things we never would have before-love those hard to love, to give more than we thought we could, or to forgive the unthinkable.

That, my friends, is the Holy Spirit at work!

As we continue to grow deep roots in Jesus, He will be able to prune, and shape, and create in us a beautiful masterpiece.

Growth doesn’t happen in shallow soil. It happens in the fertile soil.

We must surrender our heart to Him and allow Him to do a work.

Notice what all these three things have in common?

Jesus.

It’s nothing we can do on our own power. We must plant ourselves in His loving care and allow Him to work.

When we are planted in Him and our lives are built in Him, our faith grows strong and we are able to keep our eyes on Him when the worries of this world attack. Not because of us, but because of Him.

Today I pray you are rooted in Him. If you’re head is spinning from the cares of the world, rest in Jesus and. If none of this quite makes sense, click here.

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Have a good weekend, lovely lovelies. 💗

posted in Destination Beautiful bullet permalink bullet 5.01.2015

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About

brittny I'm B-Love. Lover of God, my husband Will, my doggies, OU football, weight training, plyometrics healthy eating (mostly!), peanut butter, and all things health related. Buckle up and get ready for my constant embarrassing moments, health and fitness tips,and my effort to rely on Christ while living life in the real world. Follow me on Feedly! Sign up for monthly emails at blove@theblovelife.com!


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