Because I'm Terrible at Scrapbooks
From the <3

Are We Good Enough?

Today we’re not talking about trying out for a sports team, or whether you’re good enough to do this or that with whatever league or society is prevalent in your community.

Chances are, you are good enough. So chin up and go after that goal.

We’re not talking about those types of things (if you can believe, you can achieve!).

We’re talking about something different.

Something unpopular.

Nonetheless, I feel compelled to address being “good enough,” because everywhere I turn I see images reinforcing this mentality, and it’s leading people astray.

The truth is, my dears, we are not good enough.

I know what you’re thinking.

Especially if you’re a millennial (trust me, I get it), “But...but...we’re special.”

Indeed we are.

In fact, if you ever want to know just how crazy special we are, read Psalms 139.

That’s another post for another day, though.

Although we are certainly special, we are not good enough.

As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous—not even one.” (Rom. 3:10, NLT)

Plain and simple.

Here’s where I step on toes, but in respect (and since you’ve come this far), please bear with me.

You see, we will never be good enough to stand before a holy God and plead our case.

He is holy, we are not.

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We don’t save ourselves. God saves us.

What good was Jesus’ death if we can achieve our own level of self awareness and “god” status that’s prevalent in our culture today?

It was necessary because, despite the messages we see everywhere, we can’t become our own gods.

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We get to God through his son.

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Even our best, our very best , is filthy rags before an almighty God.

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It’s nearly impossible to understand this concept, though, because we are swimming in messages that tell us “we are enough.”

Talk about a smart deception.

And so perpetuates the ongoing difficulty to reach people for Jesus in a society suffocating in self-centric messages.

I realize this may sound narrow minded to some, but I believe the Bible is the inherent word of God. It’s God’s love letter and instruction manual, and the words within confirm this truth.

All I choose to share is that which is within, and since that’s what’s inside, that’s what gets shared.

If I’m wrong, and there are all sorts of people who believed differently I end up bumping into in Heaven, well then, I’m wrong. Let’s party it up in Heaven together.

However, all I have to go by is the Bible, and it does not read this way.

I realize I am among the minority of people these days, yet can’t help but feel all the more importance to lovingly shout the truth in my heart from the rooftops.

If we disagree, we disagree.I’ve had this blog for nine years. I would hope we can discuss our differences and still be friends by now, right?

Right.

***
So that’s my heart today. Actually, truth me told, there’s a lot more I want to share but I think that’s enough today!

I’m pretty excited about this weekend. Layla is with my parents for the weekend which means tons of cuddles, giggles, and fun is only two.doors.down.

Somebody stop me.

Actually don’t. It’s happening.

More fun to come!

How to Fall Away From God (Streams of Consciousness)

When we cleaned the garage last weekend I found lots of interesting things.

Some I wondered why I even kept, some made me laugh (like my Super Nintendo), and still others made me incredibly reminiscent.

The reminiscent stuff is what I want to talk about today.

Do you have some time and some coffee?

Go get some and come back.

***

We found lots of “treasures,” but a few stand out:

A giant picture frame someone gave us, full of pictures of us with youth at the church where we served,

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A couple pictures that used to hang in my bedroom before I got married,

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And a journal I wrote in my first few months in Kuwait.

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All are distinctive, yet united under the same feelings evoked when I saw them.

Depending on how long you’ve read my blog, you may not know that Will was a youth minister when I met him.

Will & Brittny-counselors at Super Summer 2003

Here we are serving as camp counselors together way back in 2003!

It was perfect. I surrendered my life to ministry as a youth, and our marriage and ability to help serve alongside Will at our church was a dream come true.

Only, no one ever really told us just how difficult our time there would be.

It didn’t come easy like the places where we were before.

The youth were so very different than we were used to. No more squeaky clean preppy kids with parents who were involved.

Every week Will would drive the church bus to pick up almost every single one of those kids in some of the worst neighborhoods in town.

Only a few had parents that went to church, and only a couple helped out.

The biggest struggle was that the church was wrought in pain from the past. There was much division, and the church had never really recovered.

A few months into Will’s service, the pastor was asked to leave, and we faced so many new challenges.

Talk about a heavy load for two kids in their early 20s.

It was hard, and Will hated it. It wasn’t exactly the dream I envisioned.

Then the chance to go to Kuwait surfaced.

What initially seemed like something so outlandish, became an attractive opportunity.

We prayed about it and it seemed like everything lined up to go, and so we went. (Perhaps this will be a future post?)

If you read the archives from waaaay back in 2005, you’ll see lots of adjustments to the new life.

I didn’t work for my first four months there, which felt like torture at the time but in hindsight was such a huge blessing.

It gave me time alone with God. To seek Him and draw close to Him.

When I look back on my journal, I could still see a lot of immaturity and want to tell myself, “Oh Brittny, if you could only see how God was doing a work!” However, I also saw growth and my desire to really pursue a relationship with Jesus.  I had loved Him all my life.

When I looked at people seemingly very close to God who had fallen away, I could never understand it.

How could you be so close to God, and so deeply pursuing Him, and then all of a sudden completely fall face first and turn away from His goodness?

Well, sadly I can tell you how it happens.

Listen up, and be mindful my friends. It pains me to be able to share these lessons, but I sincerely hope it somehow serves as a lesson to some of you who may be going through something similar.

The truth is, when I would see people who were formerly strong in their faith who had fallen, I was only seeing the end result of much more.

A process.

Do not be deceived friends, the enemy is all around and wants us to stumble. The Bible says he looks for someone to devour.

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It’s very true. The enemy was very patient with me, as I suspect he is with many believers.

It was years of slow erosion. Slowly chipping away in such tiny increments that I barely noticed. He’s crafty that way.

Oh friends, I allowed myself to step out from God’s umbrella of protection and became so vulnerable to deception.

How did it happen?

Let’s dissect.

1.Lack of Community

Moving to a Muslim country made it difficult to openly pursue a relationship with the Church.

Thankfully, someone we knew hosted a Bible study which allowed us the opportunity to meet with other Christians and fellowship and study the Bible.

Unfortunately, soon after our arrival, conflicting schedules prevented the leader from hosting and things dissolved.

Will and I were on our own.

The Bible stresses the importance of relationships with believers.

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I needed that community of like minded people in my life to encourage, to get encouragement, and to have a support group as we collectively pursued God together as a unit.

It was hard doing life on our own, but we managed to adjust.

Of course we did.

If you’re a Christian not attending church, you’re missing out and vulnerable. I would encourage you to find a church that preaches God’s word and get plugged in.

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2.Compromise & Complacency
In addition to lack of community, small compromises here and there primed my heart for falling away.

Seriously- like minuscule things that didn’t seem like a big deal.

However, that small wearing away allowed my heart to become vulnerable to attack. The more “small” sins I determined to be acceptable, the more I was on a slippery slope.

The more satan can get you to dip your toe in sin, the easier it can be to get dragged into the depths of the sea.

Sin is sin in God’s eyes, friends, no matter how we weight it here on earth.

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The Bible says God has “honest scales.”

Sin separates us from God.

If we allow what we believe to be “small” sins in our lives, we are sinning plain and simple.

We are opening our hearts up for more and more compromise. I know because I did it myself!

Before long, compromise was followed with complacency.
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Being totally fine with those “small” sins. In reality though, they were totally hardening my heart more and more.

Want to fall away from God?

Start making compromises and allowing sin in your life under the justification that “it’s not that bad.”

3.Apathy

Inevitably, compromise and complacency give way to apathy.

You just slowly stop caring about the things of God.
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You might say you do, but the heart doesn’t lie.

When we first moved back, we halfheartedly visited churches and kept on the outskirts or things.

Having spent three years without attending made us sort of accustomed to not going.

The first few years home weren’t our best. As I’ve shared so many times, my heart was so different than the one I knew so well as a youth and young adult.

As crazy as it sounds, I didn’t feel like me.

I felt like some other person, so unlike the Brittny I knew my whole life.

Living a sinful life far from God.

I stopped praying and reading the Bible.

Apathy will do that to you.

Apathy is such a dangerous place to be for professing Christians.

In fact, I’d venture to say it is nearly impossible to come back from a place of not caring unless the merciful Lord intervenes.

Thank God He is slow to anger and bountiful in love.
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4.Fear and Doubt

I started to feel Jesus’ gentle pull back to himself a couple years ago, but I believed I had gone too far. That He couldn’t take me back.

After all, I was the “perfect one” all my life. The youth leader, and the one who went on mission trips and truly loved God with every fiber in my being.

How could I go from that, to what I had become?

And how could God forgive me after I had already known his love so well and yet still fell away?

Apathy turns to fear and doubt.

And fear and doubt can often keep people from repentance.

It’s one of satan’s worst lies of all.

I was paralyzed in this fear, and yet slowly and continually, piece by piece, God reassured me of His love.

He reassured me that He could scatter what I had become as far as the east was from the west if I truly came with a broken and repentant spirit.

That he could restore me and bring me to an entirely new level of knowing Him.

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***

Oh friends, this is but a glimpse into the story.  However, I felt compelled to share it with you because we must be on our guard against the devil’s schemes.

They’re much more insidious than we think.

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That’s what makes them so dangerous and painful. 

If you want to fall away from God, you do the foolish things I did above.

Saturday night, as I tried to go to bed, I thought about the things I discovered in the garage and hot tears began to stream down my face.

The streams turned to quiet sobs, and I did my best not to wake Will.

Sooo, I crept into the bathroom and sat on the toilet seat.

Classy gal.

God and I had been in this place many times before (well, maybe not plonked down on the toilet seat per say, but in this very same situation).

I needed a lot of reassurance from Him along the way.

I found myself at His feet once more apologizing for wasting such a huge portion of my adult life living selfishly. Thanking Him for His mercy, and pouring my heart out to Him.

Telling Him how I want to get to the same level of intimacy we were before, yet in some strange way feeling as though I was more raw and intimate with Him recently than in my entire life.

I ended up reading exactly what I needed at that moment. This post about how God can make beauty from ashes.

In fact, the Bible days that things meant to harm us can even be used for good.

We serve a big God.

Bigger than our failures.

A God big enough to help us pick up the pieces and create a masterpiece that could only be used for His glory.

Perhaps you’re caught in one of these situations?

Maybe you’re on a similar path to falling away that I shared?

Oh friend, turn to Jesus.

I know the trappings of this world and “doing as thou wilt” sure seems great sometimes, but it pales in comparison to the freedom of living a life centered in Jesus.

I can say it because, unfortunately, I’ve lived on both sides.

Commit to Him and His plan, friends.

To wrap things up, I decided to hang a couple of those pictures.

And who knows, maybe I’ll even hang the collage I once deemed “hideous” as a simple reminder of the impact a life devoted to Christ can make.

Thanks for listening, and know I’m here to listen too!

❤️

The One with the Garage Overhaul & Look Ahead

Oh.my.stars.

I’m not going to say I’m glad it’s Monday, however I will say I’m glad this past weekend is behind us.

Hopefully you did something exciting or restful so I can vicariously live through you.

In fact, please tell me what you did so I can vicariously live through you.

Our weekend?

Was spent overhauling our garage.

Plus it was humid and a 137 degrees outside.

Terrific.

Admittedly, the garage needed some serious work.

It was pretty junky.

However, with competing demands to fix up Will’s man cave and overhaul the office (which is still on the horizon), the garage was most certainly an afterthought.

Plus, we honestly had no need to.

Now, however, we have to squeeze three vehicles and a motorcycle into our cluttered space, and that was not going to work!

Sooo Saturday was spent completely taking our garage apart and refashioning it to fit the new situation.

Oh man. Talk about exhausting.

Here’s where we started.

Before

Total junk city.

Please don’t judge.

When we moved back from Kuwait, everything we owned was shipped in footlockers...which were then (mostly) unpacked (or repacked) and placed in our garage.

That meant the footlockers were the first place we started.

We pulled everything out, went through them, washed them, and placed them in our storage shed.

That took forever.

And sheesh those things were heavy. Most were (and still are) filled with lots and lots of hardback books.

The rest were filled with all sorts of random treasures. Haha

We had lots of people that slowly drove by our house. I can’t be sure, but I think they thought we were having a garage sale.

I have no idea why they’d think such a thing…

During

After everything was out, we started garage reassembly.

Did I mention it was a thousand degrees and humid? Check out Will’s shirt in this pic. That was pretty much how we both looked.

During

Glamorous.

My parents were very thoughtful and brought us big Sonic teas and checked in on our progress.

It was good to see them, and it was good to force myself to stop and drink!

Speaking of hydration, oh man. I was a drippy, sweaty mess Saturday and super dehydrated.

I’m a wilty flower not cut out for buggy, dirty, garage work.

We started at 12:45, finished a little after 9:00, sweat buckets, peed once (seriously- only once 😟), and skipped dinner.

But we finished.

Thank God.

And it looks pretty darn good!

After

The whole time I was aching and sweating everywhere all I could think about was pizza.

I told myself it would be my reward for all the hard work.

Pizza, breadsticks, and a brownie. A complete cheat meal trifecta.

However, after we both showered it was after 9:30 and Will was all, “My body is so achy and the heat had zapped my appetite. I couldn’t eat a thing.”

Seriously man!?

For some reason Will not wanting to eat a giant carb infested meal with me took the fun out of the whole experience. Instead I ate two brownies and called it good (but was bummed about the pizza, not gonna lie).

I was a little worried Will was going to be stiff as a board Sunday morning. He kind of overdid it and was hurting pretty bad.

We both hobbled to bed, all old and battered, and were down for the count.

We didn’t set alarms yesterday, and ended up sleeping until 9:30. We opted not to go to church and watched it online instead.

The rest of the day was spent prepping for the week ahead- laundry, cooking, and the like.

Bor-ing.

I did manage to take 15 minutes to see my parents and tan, so that was nice.

Definitely not a glamorous weekend, but one that needed to happen. It feels good to have it done, and I’m thankful it’s over!

Can I totally switch gears for a second and tell you how much my heart is hurting for our brothers and sisters and their children in Iraq right now?

Between all that’s been going on in my life here, I’ve been watching the news frequently for updates. Having lived in a country that neighbored them, I somehow continue to feel connected to that part of the world.

Let’s definitely remember to keep them in our prayers today and the rest of the week.

So now we embark on another week. I have some fun things lined up, and I hope you’ll check in!

Here’s a quick look at what’s ahead:

-Blog talk (and a laundry soap recipe!)
-Working out in the midst of transition
-Thursday Things
-Streams of Consciousness (um, and I haven’t written this one yet but I have a feeling it will be long, so break it into sessions or do what you have to do, but don’t miss out!)

That’s it! My long weekend of garage cleaning. Very exciting. smile

Check in tomorrow and have a good day! 

It’s Time to Speak Up

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; (‭I Peter‬ ‭3‬:‭15‬ NKJV)

I am often nice to a fault.

Afraid to offend.

Afraid to hurt feelings.

Afraid to speak up.

Mousy and timid.

In fact, Will often teases I’m “Minnie.”

I’m not necessarily shy (after all I’m occasionally an Elmyra), but It’s also not in my nature to command crowds or be bold.

Suddenly, however, God is drawing me out. Gently calling me to step out of my comfort zone and speak up.

To take a stand.

Not to be silent.

To finally care so much about people that I have to make a move.

It’s causing simultaneous angst and urgency.

Afraid to do it, yet unable to sit quietly.

A struggle I increasingly battle.

Perhaps you’ve heard the quote that says, “Preach the gospel, if necessary use words.”

There is certainly a time for silence. There are times in which your mere, quiet presence in a situation can speak volumes.

However, in these days and times we live, I believe words may be more critical than ever.

It’s time for me to speak up and share the hope in Christ.

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To share his love and mercy with things I say.

To speak about his forgiveness and tenderness.

To announce his return.

It’s time to speak up in love.

It’s time for me to no longer just be nice. Me being “nice” is likely not doing much to spread truth of life in Jesus. 

It’s time for me to put that niceness together with godliness. To be bolder. To be okay with people disagreeing with me. After all, that’s the beauty of God’s free will.

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Maybe you struggle with this too. Perhaps all too often you are concerned about the destructive path a family member or friend is going down, or the despair your see someone in, but remain silent.

Friends, it’s time to speak up. If not for you, for them!

Remember (and I’m talking to myself here), speaking up doesn’t mean having to be something you’re not. After all, the first verse I shared talks about sharing the truth in meekness and fear. Just because I’m not naturally commanding doesn’t mean I still can’t be bold in my own right.

I know it’s hard, trust me, but when we pray for boldness and opportunities to share our hearts, watch out because he will do it!

I believe God is big enough to give us the opportunities, so here’s to stepping out of our comfort zone and being braver. ❤️

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***
Happy Friday, friends. I got my car yesterday! The rest of the weekend is going to be pain-ful. We are doing a garage overhaul to make room for the new car. It’s not going to be fun, but I’m going to look as it as an opportunity to burn some extra calories. smile Check in Monday!

The Hostess with the Mostess

A few years ago, when my heart was incredibly hardened, I would come unglued at the thought of people coming over to our house.

Absolutely unglued.

I was in graduate school, working full time, stressed out of my mind. Seemingly any little deviation from normalcy would derail me.

I would have such an ugly attitude.

Since I was in school at the time, our house was a disaster not as tidy as I hoped, so I would take off Friday and spend the whole day cleaning.

Cussing, and cleaning.

Angry and ugly.

I was mad my plans and schedule were interrupted, and I was always relieved when our guests left.

Oh friends, when I look back I was seemingly forever in a state of total pissed-off ness. Sorry for the term, but it is so very true.

You’d never know on the outside, but I did. I know Will saw plenty of glimpses of my ugly heart, too.

That’s the funny thing about the heart. You might be able to fool a lot of people, but you can’t fool God.

As you have hopefully seen over the last couple years, The Lord has been doing a work in my heart and in drawing me back to him.

He restored me, cleansed my filth, and made me new.

I look back over the course of the last several months and see His guiding hand over so many changes in my life.

Hosting family last weekend was yet another confirmation of His grace. 

He is so good to me.

I never would have looked forward to hosting four people overnight before, and yet this time I did.

The Bible says to be hospitable without grumbling, and with his spirit and help, I was able to actually do that!

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I enjoyed preparing for our guests last weekend. I got excited thinking about ways to serve them.

I made little gift bags.

While I cleaned, I didn’t stress about the details.

I simply thought about having our family with us and enjoying their company, and less about my selfishness and being “put out.” I didn’t feel that way at all! I was blessed to host them.

Who the heck is this lady!?!

Girls, The Lord has blessed us richly, and we should enjoy opening up our homes to others and sharing his blessings and love.

I realize I sound all fluffy, and that I’m making this transformation seem so easy.

Trust me, I’m not.

However, Jesus is able to transform even the hardest of hearts.

So how are ways we can begin that transformation and be the hostess with the mostess?

1. Be thankful

I find when I’m worrying less about what others have and what I don’t have, I’m much more conscious of what I do have.

Practicing gratitude is a must if you’re going to be a good host.

I decided to worry less about dirty outside windows and more on ways I could show my guests I loved them.

I decided not to worry about my house not being fully decorated in some places, and more about the many blessings God has given me and our house.

2. Be generous

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Everything good and perfect thing comes from God.

It’s His, and it’s important to keep that in mind.

He’s given me a beautiful house he’s allowed me to live in, and I can’t help but feel compelled to share these blessings and God’s goodness with others.

Proverbs tells us that when we are generous we will prosper, and when we refresh others, we are in turn refreshed.

Instead of feeling like the life is sucked out of me, I want to feel like I’m willingly giving myself to others.

For example, I got totally giddy at the thought of making them little goody bags!

Just a simple mindset change actually blessed and refreshed me just as I prayed I would refresh my guests.

3. Be a servant

You don’t hear that much these days, do you?

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I would often scoff at all the cooking, cleaning, and laundry associated with overnight visitors.

However, the more I prayed for God to soften my heart and make me more like him, the more I desired and actually looked forward to serving my guests.

I took joy in cooking something yummy for them, or laying out freshly scented towels.

I wanted them to see God’s love in me, and the best way I felt like I could do that was to serve them with an undivided heart.

4. Ask for a heart change

Sometimes?

Sometimes, just like my story, we need a heart readjustment. No amount of trying to serve or be grateful can change us if it doesn’t first start with our heart.

Oh friends I’ve so been there!

The good news is that He makes water flow in even the driest deserts. 

He can change your heart towards being the hostess with the mostess and a whole lot more if you let him.

But it’s our choice. We have to choose to turn away from or junk and let Him be Lord.

So what’s it going to be?

****
Here’s to hoping you show some hospitality to your family this weekend!

It’s Will’s birthday weekend, so I intend to do just that! Our weekend involves a peanut butter ice cream cake. HELP!!

Check in Monday! ❤️

Gathering Water (Part Two)

Happy Friday pretties.

Let’s pick up where we left off.

Last week I shared about King David and Absalom. I asked that we be mindful of it both in the context of David’s situation as well as how it might pertain today.

I hope you were able to think on it a bit last week.

I found myself personalizing verse 14 more and more each time I read it.

It’s as if God plucked this verse from the story and wrote it on my heart, in addition to so many other complimentary verses throughout the Bible that affirm the very same thoughts from this 2 Samuel passage.

In fact, let’s look at it again.

Verse

Oh friends, how I needed to read that verse, and still so even now.

I don’t have children, yet I can imagine the anguish of being separated from them. It must feel like dying.

When I think about this verse, I think about my Heavenly Father. How much more He loves me than my earthly parents.

How much more He loves me than King David loved his son.

How much he loves you. More than anyone in this world.

Think about the person you love most in this world.

The person that makes your heart leap.

The person who, if ever separated from, you would search the depths of the Earth high and low to bring next to your heart again.

He loved us even more than that.

Mind blowing.

I think about how I, like Absalom, am the worst of offenders.

Convicted and guilty.

Dirty and shamed.

Yet, even in these circumstances, Jesus still paid the ultimate sacrifice for my terrible state.

As a means, a way, to bring me back to him.

You see, my life, is that spilled water.

It’s a mess. There was no clean way to put in what was spilled out.

I know the term “beautiful mess” is popular these days, but I can assure you, mine was anything but beautiful.

The verse refers to our lives being like that water, and although I was alive, I was actually more like the walking dead.

My water spilled into nooks and crannies I never even knew existed in the darkest parts of me.

And yet, in His patient and perfect nature, my Father was somehow able to do the impossible.

To gather the spilled water and create an opportunity for real life.

To create a way for me to be gathered into Him.

I should have been banished, yet He made a way. I still don’t know why sometimes, but I’m so very thankful.

Oh friends, to be reconciled to Jesus is such a tender thing.

Somehow, he’s able to piece together all the spilled water of even the worst prodigals and turn them into a beautiful, full being in Him.

Not a beautiful mess.

Not at all.

He makes us a new creation.

A beautiful new creation.

If you are living a life on the run, know you don’t have to.

He makes a way for us to reconcile ourselves to Him. We simply have to turn away from our mess, and believe in His truth.

I know it seems overly simplistic.

Trust me, I’ve struggled with it before.

But you know what?

It is.

Faith like a child, my friends. It’s all it takes.

So what’s it going to be?

More to come. ❤️

Freedom.

Verse

I feel incredibly overwhelmed today.

Day after day I continue to feel such incredible love and blessings from God.

Lately it seems like such a blatant fog surrounding me, that I feel like I can’t even take it.

I’m speechless and brought to my knees in gratitude that He chooses to generously pour such loving kindness all over me.

Nothing huge has happened outwardly that would make you see these blessings.

I haven’t run into some unexpected money or come upon some recent good fortune.

It’s all happening on the inside, in the small day to day trinkets of quiet moments with Him.

I don’t know why He bothers with me, sometimes. Especially after a lifetime of failures.

I already know the answer, but I still can’t help but ask, “Don’t you know who I am? Don’t you remember the severe ways I have hurt you?”

He knows who I am, and he knew the ways I would hurt him long before I ever did.

He knew when I loved Him as a child, He knew when I pursued him as a youth, and He knew when I hurt Him as an adult.

Yet He didn’t hold it against me.

His grace abounded, and His forgiveness was available. He softened my hardened heart and reminded me who I am in Him.

And I continue to be blown away by the way He so generously lavishes his love on me.

I want to tell Him to stop.

I want to remind him I’m so undeserving, yet that’s exactly when He seems to reassure me and hold me tighter all the more.

I am blown away that he allows me to be intimate with Him. That I am able to draw near to His heart and be changed by His gentle guiding hand.

In spite of me.

In spite of my filth.

His forgiveness and sacrifice is greater than I can fathom, and I cannot fully grasp how deep and how wide His love runs.

He is the first person I think about when I wake up, and my last thought as my head hits the pillow each night.

You see friends, some may say following Christ is restrictive. That it compromises our own wants, dreams, or desires.

That we are confined to chains of rules and regulations.

The truth is, though, in the true fullness of Christ we are free.

He has transformed my way of thinking and given me true freedom.

That doesn’t mean it’s a license to do whatever I want. This freedom is exactly the opposite. It’s because of freedom, that I’m free from the pain and poor decisions I’ve made.

I’m no longer weighed down to my past, or a slave to what I was. I’m encapsulated in God’s righteousness and “things that lead to holiness and eternal life” (Romans 6:22).

Things aren’t a walk in the park, and life isn’t perfect. He never promised that.

However, it feels so good to know He’s here with me along the way. That I can live in Him and know he will use my path to work for my own good and the good of those who also love Him.

Sorry to drone on. However, on this day we celebrate our freedom, such as freedom of religion, I can’t help but want to cry out for the freedom I have in Christ.

Oh girls, I don’t know why He is so good to me, but I accept it and am so eternally grateful.

Happy 4th friends. More to come…

❤️

Dealing With Doubts

I’ve been “saved” 3 times.

Once when I was six,

once in junior high dealing with doubts,

and finally my freshman year of college when I was struggling with doubts so very intense to the point when I thought maybe I never really “got saved” that day on my parent’s bed in junior high.

I concluded these doubts probably meant I wasn’t saved...so I need to “get saved.”

Just to be safe.

I know what you’re thinking, “Um… once would have been enough. Why three?”

Oh friends. If you’ve grown up in an evangelical church maybe you’ve known someone with a story like mine, or heck, maybe you’ve been like this yourself.

Looking back, I know in my heart I gave myself over to Jesus at a young age. There was so much fruit only God could have produced in my life back then.

When I look back at that moment my freshman year of college, on the church parlor floor with Cindy B., my Bible study leader, crying my eyes out, I was really crying out for repentance and a fresh start. A rededication. Not salvation. I already had that!

I had always walked so closely to Christ during my youth.  I had never done anything “bad” up to that point (which is funny, considering God sees all our sin as sin, no rankings). So when I actually screwed up, I felt like it meant I wasn’t a Christian.

Turns out it meant I was human (genius, Brittny). A Christian saved by grace and in need of his forgiveness.

I don’t know why I couldn’t realize it. At the time my mind was so clouded.

God had already saved and redeemed me long ago, yet I couldn’t get it through my thick skull that I simply needed to repent. I was already saved.

Because I was a Christian, God was convicting me of sin. Sin I needed to deal with.

Instead of going directly to God about the way my heart was feeling about this conviction, I got it all twisted in my mind and was convinced it all meant I wasn’t ever really saved. It totally paralyzed me in fear.

So, I decided I needed to walk down the aisle and do what my heart had already committed to long before.

Instead of going to my knees and asking for forgiveness, forgiveness he had already given me as His child, I just up and made the decision to pray the sinner’s prayer.

Again.

I tell you this story because I know a lot of people that have struggled with doubts about their salvation.

Having doubts doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not a Christian.

Today’s post isn’t a one size fits all, but I did want to offer some helpful thoughts regarding doubts. Things that have helped me in my own walk over the years.

1. Satan loves to mess with our minds.

Our crazy brains can be so vulnerable to attacks if we are not on our guard.

Things like-

“You’re not good enough,”

“God could never forgive you,”

Or “God will never use you”

Can all too easily paralyze us from being who we are meant to be.

It’s total head trash, and the devil loves to fill our minds with it to make us doubt who we are in Christ.

Aaaand it works.

I know so many people that allow fears and doubts keep them from living in the fullness of Christ.

We need to be aware of the devil’s schemes.

The Bible says he prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour.

Um devour. As in rip to shreds.

Not like how I occasionally like to tear into a good veggie burger either. Way worse, way serious.

It’s serious business!

He wants to mess us up. It’s important to be on our guard and recognize his ploys and protect ourselves by arming ourselves with scripture (our sword!).

2. Put on your helmets!

I lovingly remind Will to put on his helmet every day he rides his motorcycle. I love that guy and want him to protect his precious head!

Likewise, Ephesians 6 gives us instructions for how to protect ourselves from our spiritual enemies. Verse 17 tells us to put on the helmet of salvation.

I love the fact it’s called the helmet of salvation.

If only I stopped to use my brain all those years ago, I probably would have avoided a lot of stress, worry, and confusion!

Paul is deliberate in naming this piece of armor the helmet of salvation.

See number one above. Satan loves to mess with our heads. He loves to stir up discouragement and doubt, and why not? It’s worked since the beginning of ages!

We must protect ourselves from those fiery darts by putting on our armor each and every day.

Seriously- put it on. Pray it on every day. 

3. Perform a reality check.

Read First John.

I love this book because the way I test God’s truths are through prayer and through is word.

Read the book and consider if these assurances are true in your own life. This book was (and is) very helpful to me during times of doubt.

If some of these things aren’t true in your life, take a look in your heart and see if there is something you need to deal with. Like me, perhaps God is tugging at your heart to deal with something wrong in your life that has been allowed to fester and damage your relationship with Him.

4. Talk to someone you trust.

Reach out to your pastor, small group leader, or a spiritual mentor you can trust and share your doubts. Chances are, they’ve been there too (read number one again) and can talk it out with you.

5. Perhaps you’re not.

Finally, another reason you may be feeling doubts is because you haven’t had a time in which you turned over your life to God and allowed him to forgive you and be your Savior.

This type of doubt is God’s grace, meant to lead you to repentance. It’s kind of like a big flashing light meant to get your attention and stir your heart.

If that’s you, don’t ignore this tug on your heart, it’s serious business!

Here’s a resource you can use if you think this one applies to you. I realize these sort of sites are sort of impersonal, so if you ever want to chat- I’m a FaceTime call away (just don’t make me stare at the ceiling the whole time like Will does. smile ).

Final Thoughts

It happens once, friends. If you are a true child of God, you will know by your fruits and the Holy Spirit working in you.

You can’t be “unsaved.” When you are a true child of God, the Bible says nothing can snatch you out of His hands. He died once. Once for all of us, and it’s enough.

If you’re in a period when you’ve fallen away, God will bring His children back into Himself. Run back to Him and allow your heart to be softened to His healing.

This isn’t a catch all for doubts, rather something I hope may resonate from some of you who have been there before, or are there now!

I just felt compelled to share.

Love and hugs from your internet friend. <3 Check in soon for more fun!

Verse

When We Only Have One Piece of the Puzzle

No flowery thoughts or helpful insights to share today.

Today, I simply feel compelled to share my heart.

Because sometimes?

Walking the straight and narrow isn’t easy.

It’s hard.

It takes faith in what is unseen.

It takes trust in another.

And I realize that may come easy for some, but that’s not always the case for me.

The B-Love family had faced some recent challenges lately, probably no different than many of you.

Why is adulthood so hard sometimes?

Why don’t things go as planned?

Why does it seem like we are going in the opposite direction from where we want to be?

I realize there are plenty of places on the internet that may say otherwise, but God never promises our lives will be rosy 100% of the time. I think it’s important to remember this truth.

Right now, I’m working through this reminder.

Will and I made a family decision about something I am so sure is grounded in God’s will. When we made the decision, we knew it might come with some challenges. However, recently we’ve been bombarded with so many of these aforementioned “challenges” that we are left scratching our heads wondering what’s going on!

In times like these, it’s easy for me to question whether God really guided us to this point, or whether we made the wrong decision.

Should we have done something else?

Should we change the course now?

However, I know we can’t. I know we made the right decision, even though things seem to be going wrong right now.

You see, we only have one small piece of a much bigger picture that only God holds. “He’s got the puzzle box top,” my pastor shared the other day.

It’s a weird thing, being in God’s will and trusting Him during a time when His path feels rocky under my feet.

A gamut of emotions run through me, and even more run through Will.

He bears way more on his shoulders than he should.

However, I keep coming back to the truth that I know for certain He has brought us here. And all I can do is cling to Him for dear life! That’s all we can do, and perhaps that’s all He wants.

Despite the gloomy picture I feel as though I’ve painted, the Lord has held me close and really let me know he’s here and he cares.

That’s the best part.

Oh, and I realize I sound a little dramatic.

It’s nothing like that.

Don’t worry, this is all normal life stuff I’m certain you’ve faced too at some point, nothing extremely serious. But seriously, “normal life stuff” can still be tiring sometimes, right?

I’m just feeling a little tired today.

Every now and then I think about abandoning the decision we made, but I’m continually reminded I haven’t been abandoned and I need to obediently stay the course.

Besides, I don’t want to be where He’s not, and so I stay and wait patiently on Him to carry us through and give us wisdom and grace along the way.

I had this big elaborate plan to share something else today, but it would seem as though that’s not in the good Lord’s plan because I’ve been trying for an hour and still can’t get things to flow.

And so I simply share this. Which is still part of my tender heart exposed for you to see.

Sometimes when things don’t go our way, we just have to hunker down and hold tight. 

Sure, there are times to fight back in the name of The Lord and go to the mattresses, however sometimes the storms of life require us to brace ourselves and take shelter in His arms.

My dear Will is struggling with this concept as he’s the fixer, often relying in his own power to get.stuff.done.

I too have had my moments. However more and more I find myself crying out for Him. Telling Him I love Him and have to have Him. Because, after living a season without His fellowship, I can attest with my entire being it’s true.

I have to have Him.

And even more so when things that seemed so clear, feel so hazy now.

Friends, if you are His child and walking in His light, He will guide you and keep you. He never promised it would be easy, but He promised he would never forsake us.

So as I walk though this fog, I hold my hands out before me to grasp onto our Savior. I would rather be with Him in obedience during this storm than without Him and out of His will.

Prayers this helped someone else out there today wondering just why the heck things may be going the way they are. He is faithful, and we have one small piece of the puzzle. Remember, He has the box top and will use it to create His masterpiece. ❤️

More to come.

Verse

Deep Cleaning (Heart Matters ❤️)

We’ve been doing some spring cleaning at the B-Love house lately.

Seriously. The stuff we’ve hung onto is ridiculous!

Because we might need it. Ha

You should see the fashion gems that have been hiding out in our closet.

We have a long way to go, but this initial deep cleaning feels good even still.

My home purge got me thinking about how cathartic the whole cleaning process can really be.

Not just for our house and tangible things, but also our heart.

Have you ever been around a bitter person?

Not much fun, is it?

Sometimes bitterness or hatred is outwardly visible.

However, sometimes it remains silent, deep in our core and being.

Gnawing away at us and preventing us from true peace.

Today I want to talk about cleaning house in our hearts.

Has someone ever wronged you?

I’m pretty sure the universal answer is a resounding, “Yes!”

It hurts.

Sometimes it makes us burn with anger.

Sometimes it might prompt us to want to equal the score.

Sometimes it keeps us up at night.

Sometimes it unintentionally gets projected onto those we love.

Sometimes it makes us ugly cry in the shower so the tears get washed away with the water and no one can see.

When people hurt us, it has the ability to evoke a lot of different feelings and responses.

Perhaps we are completely in the right, too.

That’s when it seems to hurt the most.

Wow. This stinks. So what now?

What if we got crazy?

I mean absolutely radical.

What if we decided to throw away all those feelings of bitterness, hatred, and ill-will toward the person who wronged us?

Do you think I’m off my rocker?

I get it.

But humor me for a moment.

I don’t know about you, but there have been times I’ve felt grossly mistreated by others to the point where I’ve felt physically sick.

I’ve allowed someone else’s actions, that I cannot control, completely turn my world upside down.

What??

Real life.

And you know what seemed to shock me all the more?

The fact that the person who wronged me couldn’t care less about it.

This reality seemed to fuel my bitterness, when in reality, it should be the very thing that helps me clean house. Why am I keeping myself up at night and making myself sick over a person I can’t even change or control?

Even still, regardless of the other person, let’s take a look inward at our heart for a moment.

When I do this, I’m hurting myself more than the other person

The Bible commands us to forgive. When we harbor these feelings against someone, it hinders our ability to have a full heart focused on knowing Him and loving others.

We need to get rid if this junk. For us.

I need to do it for my healing, not theirs. I cannot control what they do, but I can control my own heart’s actions.

“Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. (1 Peter 2:1 NIV)

I realize I’m making all this stuff sound easy. Ha, if only right?

I speak from experience. In fact, I’m dealing with this situation even now!

So how do we clean house in our hearts and get rid of these life-sucking feelings?

Let’s talk about it.

1. Pray with an honest heart.

Tell God how you feel.

Tell Him your heart aches.

Trust me, He’s big enough to take it.

Tell Him why you hurt.

Tell Him how stinkin’ mad you are.

He cares.

Plus, He already knows, so why hide it?

2. Pray for healing.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, ask for God to heal your heart.

Pray scripture and ask Him to rid our hearts of malice and bitterness like only He can do.

He will do it.

We need to daily surrender our hearts over to Him and ask him to do a healing work. He is the great physician able to make all things new. Even our hearts full of baggage. 

In facts, He tells us to fast our burdens on Him because he cares for us.

Trust me, if He can carry mine, He can carry yours.

3. Pray for the person who wronged you.

And that doesn’t mean praying they have a lifetime of acne, either!

Whisper a prayer of blessing for that person.

Even if all you can muster right now is a short, Bless them.”

As hard as it might be at first, I can promise you eventually you will be the one blessed and healed by this prayer.

4. Forgive

Make the decision to forgive, and ask God to really help you to do it.

Verse

5. Say you’re sorry

Sometimes, when your heart is soft and full of forgiveness, you’ll realize perhaps you were in the wrong.

If that’s the case, be brave and say so. Apologize and seek forgiveness.

The other person may not be in the same place as you and may be unwilling to accept your apology, and that is on them. All you can do is what you know in your heart to be right, and it will be blessed and give you freedom.

I’m dealing a little with this very topic myself. I know others probably are too, so I felt compared to share today.

I’m praying for the person, and praying the Lord would give me a heart for forgiveness.

So now it’s your turn. Have you ever allowed these feelings to keep you up or gnaw away at your joy? How have you handled it?

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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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