Because I'm Terrible at Scrapbooks
From the <3

a link in the chain

When I first met Will, his keychain was nothing but a link.

As in a chain link.

I found it interesting, and asked him about it on one of our first outings.

What he told me stayed with me forever, long after he gave the link to a young adult who had recently surrendered to the ministry and needed the visual reminder.

I pray it stays with you today, too.

As he held up the smooth, shiny link he said,

“This is my reminder that we’re a link in the chain.

Sometimes we’ll never see that the seeds we’ve planted have bloomed into something fruitful. Other times, we get to play a role in harvesting the seeds someone else had planted.

We’re just a link in someone’s story. “

I completely loved him then and there, and love the visual reminder of the role we play in the lives of others.

Verses

The Bible is full of links in the chain that bring us the story of Christ.

From Boaz marrying Ruth, to a Shepard boy being crowned king. Story after story, link after link, God weaves the chains of his story to point us to Jesus.

Similarly, there’s lots of links that have pointed me to Jesus over the years.

When I think about my own life, there are several distinctive “links” that encouraged me in the Lord.

What’s funny is, sometimes you don’t even realize what a big link a person was in your life until years later.

I told Will just the other day what a big link brother Tony and miss Okie were in my life as a child.

At the time, they were just my Sunday school teachers. The ones that have me candy for memorizing scripture, verses I still remember even today.

Now that I’m an adult, I realize what a sacrifice it was for them to create a lesson and teach it to rowdy kids week in and week out.

But look at the harvest the Lord produced through their obedience!

Many of the rowdy kids they taught became Sunday school teachers of themselves!

They were in my life just a short time, but were a big link.

I think about Ken and Miss Kathy, Todd and Sonja, and Eric and April.

Just this morning I thought about Cindy, who opened her house up so we teenage girls could have a bible study together and dig deeper into the word. She had kids of her own to tend to, but loved the Lord so much and loved that teenage girls wanted to know Him more.

I think about crying my eyes out in the church parlor with her, struggling with doubts about my salvation and what a rock of reassurance she was by submitting to the Lord and letting Him speak through her.

I hadn’t thought about her in a long time.

Yet, when I stop and contemplate my spiritual growth over the years, the Lord brings countless names of the workers He sent to me over the years. That encouraged me and helped me grow in the Lord.

Nothing from their own power, but through their surrender to God.

So many, many names. So many, many stories.

I share just a handful of my links today to remind us both of a very important truth.

We are most certainly links in the chain for the lives of those around us whether we realize it or not.

Are we pointing people to Christ?

Are we investing in those around us?

Sometimes the smallest of gestures can be monumental to the overall chain in a person’s life.

It’s important our hearts are open to the Holy Spirit’s call, and that we are obedient to whatever He asks.

It’s important we realize we may not ever see how God worked in that person’s life.

We might be a seed planter and never hear how the story ends.  Other times, we reap the benefit of harvesting a crop planted long before.

Verses

We must never grow weary in our investment of others. It is the Lord who works in the hearts of others, it is our job to be obedient.

To be that link.

To share listening ears.

To buy that cup of coffee.

To teach that rowdy children’s Sunday school class.

To do whatever He asks in submission to His great glory.

Anything at all.

Verse

all eyes (not) on me

I was a big, fat, brat Monday and Tuesday.

I was grouchy, impatient, snappy, and rude. I was full of anxiety and worry, and it seemed to come out in the form of straight ugliness across an array of non related issues.

If I’m honest, I’ve allowed the last couple of weeks to wind me up in a tight knot. It was inevitable something yucky would eventually spill out.

We had something at church Tuesday night, and during worship, I began to take a deep breath and settle down.

As we sang “We Believe” (the one by the Newsboys), I began to feel so incredibly selfish. I am made for Jesus, yet so often I forget this simple truth and live for myself.

I sang the words feeling so convicted, yet having a hard time pinpointing what exactly was causing me to feel this way.

As I drove to work the next morning, I asked God to open my eyes to what specifically I needed to repent of.

Did he ever.

During my Bible study Wednesday, the Lord illuminated my heart to the why I had asked Him about only hours earlier.

I was reading in Jeremiah and intended to read all of chapter 2.

I only got through the first two verses!
Verse

Verse two reminded me of the church of Ephesus in Revelation, the one who forsook their first love.

Just as the Israelites in Jeremiah chapter 2, they were once on fire and passionate about God, intimate with him and fervent. Eager to please.

Revelation also talks about their patient suffering, much like the “barren wilderness” the Israelites trusted God through in the Jeremiah passage.

Sadly, the Israelites completely abandoned the Lord.

But the church of Ephesus was a little different.

I think they probably thought they were fervent as ever.

Why?

Because they were going through the motions.

Jesus said they were working hard and patiently enduring. They didn’t tolerate evil and dug into scripture to test false prophets. They even “patiently suffered” for Jesus without quitting.

They sound like they’ve got it all together, right!?

Wrong!

They were going through the motions of obedience.

They were doing what they knew to do, but there was no love behind it.

They placed their eyes on things of God but took their eyes off God himself.

They forgot their first love.

I feel like I’ve been in a recent season of Ephesus. I have been so self-focused and have gone through the motions with God. Things aren’t “bad,” but they’re a little stale.

The last couple of weeks have been hard. Like the Ephesians, I feel like I’ve been exercising patient endurance. My quiet times have been ho-hum and I have focused so much on myself.

My needs, my worries, me, me, me.

I pray to Jesus about it all, but my heart is still more focused on myself, and asking Him to help me, and do something for me.

No praise for Him just being beautiful Jesus.

Not fully letting go of the worry.

When I read Revelation 2:4 it stings.

Verse

It hurts my heart to think Jesus would feel this way, but after my actions over the last couple weeks, I can certainly see it.

I don’t want to take my eyes off Him! I don’t want to be so anchored in all these “light and momentary” worries and troubles the Bible says will come our way.

Yet, for the last couple of weeks I’ve allowed them to consume me.

We are going through a trial now. He allowed it, and through the pain and confusion, I see His hands at work through it all.

I say I’m trusting, but maybe I am like church of Ephesus who thought they were, but in the process of all this patient endurance, my affections have been eaten up by the waiting, watching, and worrying.

I’m putting the condition that He “fix” this problem as I think he should so I can finally fully look to Him and love Him without this nuisance ever before me.

I know I can’t place conditions on Him. I know we are called to love him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength- not when He does what we think He should.

He’s not a genie in a bottle. He’s the Holy of Holies.

I would venture most of us agree we don’t simply I want to go through the motions of life and love. There’s no excitement in that, and our God is an exciting and intimate God that desires our fellowship. 

Just like our relationships here on earth, if we’re not working on being intentional and present, they can become stagnant.

I know how I would feel if Will just did the same thing everyday and never made an effort to keep things fresh and interesting, and I know the same can be said for how he’d feel if I did the same.

Similarly, I want to actively seek the Lord. Not focus on myself or just go down the same monotonous prayer requests.

I want to allow the Spirit to fan the flame of romance, and I want to respond to His call. I want to abide in Him so that I will bear fruit.

I decided to write down ways to refresh my daily relationship with Jesus enjoy Him for who He is in specific ways.

1. Praise in the morning
Usually my mornings are spent going over the day ahead or fretting about an upcoming meeting. Instead, I am going to spend the mornings in praise for who God is and nothing else.

2. Pray scripture and promises
I want to claim the promises in the scripture and speak His word back to Him. Less whining, more praying promises.

3. Sing and mean it
If I’m just mindlessly singing the words to a praise song, I am going to turn the radio off. No empty words, just praise.

4. Surrender my worries and daily trust Jesus during this trial
I must daily surrender my worries to Him and trust. This will be the hardest element but worth the effort.

I am so thankful God refocused my affections back on Him and off myself. He sure is faithful to show us when we ask!

May we pursue Him fiercely today simply for who He is, and not what pain He can remove, or what He can do for us.

May we enjoy Him for Him alone, our first love. 

32: There’s Room for Cupcakes

I’m 32 today, which is weird considering I barely remember turning 31.

WHY IS TIME PASSING SO QUICKLY!?

Like years past (and mostly because I lack creativity today), I thought I’d share some deep and meaningful life lessons from the 30s. Ha!

1. Flossing is way more important than we thought.

No seriously.

I mean, I know out dentists literally crammed this truth down our throats all.our.lives. but the truth is, they’re actually right.

Before I hit 30 I had always been a noncommittal flosser. One or two times a week. Let’s not get crazy here!

Now?

Now I’m religious.

In fact, if we’re ever out together and you have a giant piece of broccoli in your teeth (hey, it happens) not only will I gently tell you, but I’ve got you covered on the floss. It’ll be in my purse.

Real friendship, y’all.

Since we’re talking hygienic stuff…

2. Shaving my face changed my life.

Not kidding.

If you’re not doing it, start.

NOW.

3. I’m completely comfortable having no idea who Meghan Trainor or Iggy Azalea are, or what the Kardashians are up to.

I’m old. It’s ok. I’d rather do a better job keeping up with people I know in real life instead.

3. The world will not crumble if I don’t workout six days a week.

My affections used to be completely focused on health and fitness stuff.

Six days a week, rigid eating, no treats.

BOR-RING.

Don’t get me wrong, that stuff is still important to me, but I’ve found life is much more than push-ups and protein powder.

There’s room for cupcakes.

4. I’m completely fine admitting Will is my better half.

Sure, we joke about it, and I tell him I’m the better half, but seriously- Will is the best part of Will and Brittny.

No jokes, all serious.

I pray for Will daily, but multiple times throughout the week I’ll also just praise God for Will and wonder why He blessed a blonde ditzy mess like me with such a solid rock like Will.

Whew!

5. I’m never going to be ok when it’s above 85 degrees.

I’ve tried. Oh I’ve tried.

I turn into a complete sweaty mess if I have to be outside for extended periods when it’s hot.

I hate it, but it happens.

I wish I could attend your outdoor wedding at noon this July, but I can’t.

I’m doing this for you.

The focus should be on the bride. Not the weird 30- something chick that just passed out in a puddle of sweat in front of all your guests.

6.  I’m still not entirely sure what I want to do with my life.

I know, I know! I should have my life together and a little more figured out by now.

The truth is, though, I just don’t. My five year plan is a little hazy these days.

(And when did a five year plan become a thing? I have a suspicion Billy Graham, George Washington, or Mother Theresa didn’t have a mapped out five year plan or “inspiration boards,” or a “word for the year” and they turned out ok in my book)

7. I eat fish, and I’m going to keep eating fish.

In fact, I need to update my “about me” section.

I shared my post about struggling with my commitment to full blown veganism about a year ago.

While I still follow a 90% vegetarian diet, I eat fish a couple times of week these days.

8. I’ve realized how much sweeter life is in the passenger seat.

Believe me, I’ve driven my own life for a very long season, and it was miserable.

Wrong turns, flat tires, and lots of car trouble.

As I get older I find such peace in letting go and trusting Jesus. I never want to take the wheel again.

9. I love being at home.

I hate to admit this, but over the years I think I’ve become a bit more of an introvert.

Not with people I know, but more so with social media.

I don’t take a bazillion trips to amazing places or eat the most Instagram-able foods.

I honestly like being at home with Will and the dogs, or with my family or a few close friends. 

You may call me a curmudgeon, but I just call myself a little unadventurous most days. smile

10. I want to be braver.

I’ve gotten better in my old age, but I’m still quite timid! I want 32 to be a year of stepping out and taking risks.

So yeah. Lots of deep thoughts today (haha). I want to be present and enjoy 32. I want to step away from the phone and live in the moment. I want to eat pizza and not freak out, or let my house get a little dusty every now and then (um, you’re going to help me remember I just said that).

Here’s to actually living.

Here’s to 32.

Brittny Flint-2nd birthday

music sounds better with You.

I’ve loved music forever.

My dad has drummed for over 40 years, so I think perhaps I was born with a music gene.

I sang in the choir as a child and young adult, and I played the cello and the piano for eight years (and wish I’d never quit!).

Music has always been and still is a big part of my life.

Back in the day, when epic songs like Jesus Freak and Flood were few and far between, I’d occasionally dabble in secular music.

Just the other day, I remember telling Will when I was in early junior high I’d watch MTV in my bedroom and have the remote pointed directly at the screen so I could immediately change the channel incase my mom walked in.

Real life.

As I got into high school, I listened to both types of music. I went through a phase when I tossed out all my secular music after a convicting series of sermons about some of the trash (and it was definitely trash) I listened to.

Eventually, I struck a “balance” and listened to both.

Even still, I’d always the put the Christian radio station on anytime I shut off my car to be safe.

You know, incase someone ever rode with me.

Looking back, my intent was twofold-

1. I wanted to create the appearance that everything I listened to was pure and holy.

2. I was actually convicted of what I listened to, hence why I knew I should have had Christian music on in my car. Only, I never stopped to think about the act of why I was changing the channel, aside from number one above!

Balance.

The best of both worlds, if you will.

Or so I thought.

Oh- and before I go any further, it’s important for me to note this post is personal to me and me alone.

I would never ever say just because I feel this way, it’s the “only” way and the right way.

Please, please know my heart on this. Today’s post is not meant to condemn or judge but offer a look into a major struggle I faced and overcame though Jesus. It’s not about me telling you you’re “wrong” if you don’t only listen to Christian music.

Each of us needs to asses our own hearts and determine whether this is a topic we are convicted by.

This is not a post where I’m looking at all of us in general.

This is very personal.

I would simply encourage you to consider what I share and make your own decision regarding how the spirit moves you.

This is a completely safe and judge free zone, trust me.

Okay- hopefully what I wanted to convey clearly came across there!

Moving on-

Balance. That’s what we were talking about.

I thought I had balance. I thought I could handle and control what I listened to and how it affected me.

I was an adult, for crying out loud!

Adult or not, music influences even when we don’t realize it.

I mean, can you imagine your childhood without the ABC song?

Or the Preamble without School House Rocks?

To this day, I have to sing my multiplication tables because that’s how I learned them.

Real life.

Music is impressionable.

I can often catch myself singing words to a song hours after merely hearing in the background. I’ll suddenly stop and realize, “Hey! I didn’t even know I knew the words to that song!”

Same with the junk I listened to in the past.

The truth is, I couldn’t control what I did or didn’t absorb.

It began so insidiously.

Completely innocent, even.

Only, over the years, things began to erode. Slowly and continually.

Practically undetectable.

When we moved to Kuwait, I had no spiritual support group and things got worse.

My music began to evolve and get worse and worse.

Oh girls, my face turns red with shame thinking about the complete and utter trash I listened to.

I get it.

Some of you think I’m crazy.

But let me tell you- trash in, trash out.

Before long, I wouldn’t omit the cuss words in the lyrics I’d sing. Before long, my attitude shifted. Before long, I began to justify other things and sins in my life.

And eventually, my heart grew harder and harder until the one single act of my music choice completely uprooted me from God and caused a spiral of awful decisions.

As strange as it may sound, music was a quiet gateway that made me vulnerable and distanced my heart from God.

If Satan told us his end game was to rip us from fellowship with Christ we’d never be okay with that!
That’s why he’s much more clever and sneaky and weaves his way into our life, often unnoticeably. 

Music is such an easy and innocent gateway.

When I began to draw near to Jesus again, I became bothered by the stuff I was listening to.

For awhile, I’d reserve my secular music for workouts only.

Except, I’m not ok with rape, murder, and drug use. So why is it ok for me to listen to it at the gym when it wasn’t ok anywhere else?

At some point I figured… Why bother getting caught up in the temporary pleasures, heartache, anger, and whatever else people sing about here on earth, when all I desire is to set my mind on things above, know and honor God, and look to eternity?

Verses

That put things in perspective for me.

These days, I pretty much completely listen to Christian music and am extremely selective with anything else.

I’ve found this is my greatest security from temptation.

I feel so much more positive and uplifted listening to positive and uplifting music. Imagine that. Ha!

Again, this is my personal conviction based on my own heart and past.

Reminders of my past are ever near, though, with dozens of purchased songs on my iPhone I’m unable to delete (I’ve tried and tried). I suppose it’s a good exercise in humility and where I’ve been?

Anyway, music is obviously very important to God. He talks about singing songs unto him hundreds of times.

Verses

The Bible commands us to sing unto the Lord more than anything else in the Bible- over 800 times! Not only that, but the biggest book the the Bible is devoted to it! God loves our songs of praise.

We also get a glimpse of Heaven and the songs being sung when we look at Revelation.

Verses

Our songs are important to God, so they’re important to me.

There’s no more room for the garbage I used to listen to. I’ve wasted enough time on meaninglessness and want to make the most of each day in Christ.

I felt compelled to share my heart on this topic today. If you’ve ever been there, you get it.

If you want to take the plunge and give some good quality Christian music a try (I promise it won’t stink!), I’d be happy to help. Shoot me a note or leave a comment and I will flood you with positive and uplifting music.

I realize today’s post may seem a little crazy, maybe even a little “extreme.”

What can I say, I guess you can label me a Jesus Freak.

Good thing that anthem rocks. smile

i’d like to introduce you to some friends

With our lives lived out online, it’s easy to feel like we know someone we’ve never met.

In fact, I feel that way about several of you!

Do you realize we’ve read each other’s blogs for nearly a decade now?

I feel like we’re far away friends.

Today I want to introduce you to some more far away friends of mine.

We’ve never met, and they don’t even know I exist.

However, through the course of time, and following their story online, I feel a connection with this family.

It’s like the connection I feel with you.

I’d like to introduce the Abedini family.

In some ways, they were probably a lot like you and me.

Just a couple in their 30s, enjoying life.

They had family outings and traditions. Funny family jokes, and favorite family restaurants.

To give you a little background, after converting to Christianity in Iran (total heresy), Saeed met his beautiful wife Naghmeh and they started a life as citizens in America

Although living in America, Saeed’s extended family continues to reside in Iran, a place obviously near to his heart.

He began plans to open a government approved orphanage back in Iran to create a safe place for children without parents.  Things progressed beautifully. He and his family travelled freely between countries as they moved forward.

However, in 2012, life completely changed for this young family.

While preparing to leave Iran and return home, Saeed was unallowed to leave and detained by the Iranian Revolutionary army.

Soon after he was thrown in prison, where he remains today.

I’ve watched this family’s story go up and down, up and down, over the years, often included amongst much bigger US-Iran discussions.

I’ve read the many incredibly beautiful and intimate letters between these families that are posted on numerous websites.

Most recently, it was this one that compelled me to write today’s post.

His son, Jacob, turned 7 this week. He sent his father a personal invitation to his birthday party, hoping he might me able to make it home from prison.

Can you imagine the anguish Saeed felt knowing he wouldn’t be there this week?

Not eating cake or assembling some over-complicated toy for his son.

Instead of being bitter, and instead of writing a letter full of frustration over the situation, this modern day Paul wrote a beautiful, empowering letter of encouragement to his son, and the world.

Please take two minutes and read the two letters I linked to. They are very intimate and precious, and are certainly worth the time.

I pray daily for his protection and release. However, while he is in prison, I also pray he is a light in such a dark place.

God is using his story in such a mighty way. When you read the letters you’ll see firsthand how spirit filled they are. They’re truly the words of a man trusting God in the blackest of nights.

May we all seek and trust Him in our own situations, being a light in whatever circumstance we face. I know it is God and God alone giving Saeed the strength to face each day and live as a testimony.

I don’t know why he hasn’t been released.

I don’t know why Jacob spent another birthday without his dad.

But I know, just like the Abedinis, I’m trusting God and his perfect will to be accomplished as we wait for their reunion.

I cannot adequately express the anguish I feel over this separated family.

I can’t begin to convey the hurt I feel for the beatings and mistreatment of Saeed as he sits in prison.

I just can’t.

There’s so much more to this story, and such visceral feelings involved. It’s because I feel like I know them, just like I know some of you.

Because it’s personal. They are my family in Christ.

I can’t sum it up in a pretty blog post.

Today, I ask you please take a moment to pray for the Abedini family.

Pray for Naghmeh as she wears so many hats right now, being mommy and also championing for her husband’s release. Pray she is a light and testimony, and pray for peace, rest, wisdom, and strength.

Pray for their precious children. For their protection. For softened hearts. That they seek the I AM, Saeed wrote about.

Pray for Saeed. Pray for his physical body and health. Pray he senses the peace of the Holy Spirit and is strengthened and encouraged. Pray for opportunities for him to be a light and show love, despite the circumstances- even in prison. Pray Jesus moves in the walls of this prison.

So yeah. Now you’ve met them. I’m forever encouraged and changed by their story. I can’t do it justice here, but perhaps you’ll dig into it and be forever changed too.

If you’re so inclined, you can sign the petition for his release here. 

Thanks for checking in today. I’m thankful for the weekend and the fact we have no real plans. I’m looking forward to it. What about you?

Thursday Things: The 11th Anniversary Edition

Tomorrow is my 11th anniversary.

Which simultaneously feels wonderful and weird.

How did 11 years pass us by so quickly, and where the heck did they go?!

In honor of the event, we’re doing 11 Thursday Things today.

1. Favorite things about the road to 11 include the new job, the alternate work schedule and having more time together, and buying our car.

2. Will and I have our best discussions: on long drives, at parks on sunny days, and on weekend afternoons as we become sad for the week ahead.

It’s pretty much always been this way, and now that we’re 11 years in, I figure it always will.

3. Looking back I realize I was (and probably still am) more selfish than Will.

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but looking back on all the petty things I fussed about, he was (and is) far more mature and selfless.

I’m thankful God is working in me to identify my “self stuff,” as our beloved Beth calls it, so that I can be better and more selfless, too.

4. Unless it’s less than 10 minutes away, there will never be a time when Will tosses the keys and asks me to drive.

It’s been 11 years, and I’m still waiting. (Just between us, I like it better when he drives anyway!)

5. I’ve all but given up on Will being healthy.

Notice I didn’t say I HAVE given up, but I’ve pretty much all but done so!

I realize people change, but after 11 years, I doubt we’ll ever have his and her bikes or have a deadlift contest. Haha

6. In fairness, I have to say something about myself now.

Will has all but given up on me being tough.

By golly he’s tried, but I’m softer than a Jet Puff Marshmallow left out on an Oklahoma July afternoon.

7. I can’t pick a favorite married year.

I absolutely loved our first year because we had never been out on our own, and everything was so new and exciting.

Our time in Kuwait was fun (minus the work woes) and allowed us the opportunity for lots of adventures.

Our first few years back were hard, and I don’t like thinking about my ugly heart and distance from God. However, they also remind me of the fact that marriage isn’t always easy and things don’t always go to plan. It also reminds me of God’s love.

This year was a really good one and different than all the others.

Will and I have grown up so much over these 11 years. I feel like we have so much more love and respect for one another, and it has led to a deeper relationship. I honestly feel like we love each other more now than ever before. Eleven was a good year.

8. Much to our surprise (and perhaps dismay? Ha!), 11 brought some role reversals to the B-Love family.

I’m the golden retriever of the relationship, and Will is my lion. He’s firm, and I’m not.

This year was interesting because there were quite a few things that happened that brought out the lion in me, but rolled off Will’s back. Like super big things I felt he should have been riled up about!

What’s also funny, though, is that true to form, Will’s response was the wiser of the two. While it felt good to be the lion for once (albeit privately amidst conversations between just the two of us), it was much better to respond like a golden retriever.

Still- funny how we approached the situations completely opposite of our usual nature and much like the other person.

I wonder when we’ll start to look alike? 😂

9. The latter part of the road to 11 was hard.

Something completely rocked our world and has left us uncertain about the road to 12.

I’ve been hesitant to post about it, and perhaps I will in due time.

By God’s grace, he is carrying us through and has brought Will and I closer than ever.

What had the opportunity to cause strife, has brought agreement, understanding, patience, deeper trust in God, and more love.

By God and God alone.

10. Early in marriage, I came to accept most every trip we take will also include some sort of sporting event.

Namely football.

Eleven years in, and nothing’s changed.

The Miami Super Bowl in 2007,

the Arizona Fiesta Bowl & Miami National Championship in 08,

Multiple trips to Minneapolis followed by a road trip Green Bay for Packers games (and a trip to Indy Will took with his dad and brother to see the Colts),

Notre Dame, FSU, Nebraska and an upcoming “vacation” to Tennessee in 2015.

(Side note- here’s where I’d normally link you to all the posts of these adventures, but I’m a little lazy today)

We may be vacationing… But we’re also footballing.

Will understands this may not always be the case, and we’ve agreed an Alaskan cruise vacation is a definite must in the coming years.

Even if they don’t have a football game we can attend.

11. As we celebrate 11 years and look toward12, I’m hopeful and optimistic.

This year has the potential to be different than any other. God has orchestrated a strange and divine series of events, and we have no other option but to wholly trust Him.

I don’t know what 12 will bring, but I have faith God is going to show up, and I pray He guides and blesses our marriage along the way.

Look how young and crazy happy we are. I love it.

Will taking Brittny&#x27;s garter off
Will & Brittny in the reception line

That’s it for today. Thanks for checking in, friends!

The God of When

I kind of feel like my Friday posts have been a bit of a downer lately.

Are you sensing this, too?

I certainly don’t mean for them to be. I want them to offer hope and encouragement. 

Yet, I kind of wonder if my current storm is inadvertently raining on your guys’ sunshine-y parade.

Nobody wants a Debbie Downer at their party, am I right!?

I’m going to be honest, Will and I are in the midst of a storm.

No, not Will and I as a couple.

Praise God, by His grace we are more in love than ever.

Other things.

Things I want to share and simultaneously don’t want to share.

Do you have these challenges too?

I’m sure we all have at one time or another.

I’m reading in Isaiah, and have found such deep and intimate hope over the last few weeks.

God knew I’d need it.

The passages are geared toward the nation of Israel, but they’re still so very applicable to all of us.

Not only that, but God’s new covenant in the New Testament confirms time and time again the tender love and mercies I’ve been reading in Isaiah.

Last week it was Isaiah 40:31, a verse I’ve read a million times. Only, last week I saw it with fresh eyes.
Verses

This week it was Isaiah 43:2-4.

I find this passage comforting.

Notice verse two doesn’t say “If” your go through deep waters, or if you go through rivers of difficulty, or if you walk through the fire of opposition.

Verses

It says, “When”.

When these things happen-

When you’re in over your head and don’t know which way is up,

When nothing makes sense,

When your heart feels awful and you’re suffocating on the inside,

When things don’t go the way you anticipated…

When.

Not if.

When these things happen, He is with us.

When these things happen, we will not drown.

When these things happen, the flames will not consume us.

Because these things will happen.

We must remember, however, that God works for the good of those who love Him.

He looks to strengthen those whose hearts are loyal to Him.

He is with us in the midst of adversity and will never leave nor forsake us.

He is not the God of “if,” because he is the God that knows and holds all in his hands, and holds us so very tightly, too.

He is the God of when. Ever there and able to see us through every single step of the way.

Do you trust Him to see you through?

I am learning a new lesson on trust and faith, and I pray when the storms of adversity rise against you, the Lord works in your heart and guides you along the way.

Thanks for checking in and letting me be open today. I hope to share more in the coming weeks, but until then, we will pray, wait, and trust. ❤️

You May Not Want To Hear This…

You’re probably going to be mad after reaching this, but....

Contrary to popular belief, and the messages I seem to see everywhere, God never promised his children would always be happy.

I knew this statement to be true, but it’s hitting home for Will and I right now.

In a sermon series called, “God Never Said That,” our pastor shared a message last week that tackled this topic, and I needed the reminder.

Please take 30 minutes and watch it, if anything just to watch him dance to “Happy.” Hilarious!

Anyway, I can grasp the fact that as Christians, life isn’t always going to be rosy. 

I mean, it’s not just the book of Job that uncovers this truth.

Just take a look through the New Testament to find countless references to overcoming, persecution, hardship, and suffering.

That doesn’t sound like Disney World all day, every day, does it?

God takes pleasure in us, delights in us, and wants to bless us. He also wants our entire hearts as we pursue Him in this earthly life.

We must not forget those things.

However, there are times when it may look differently than we expect it to.

Recently, happy and holiness have collided in my life.

I think the two can coexist nicely, and often uninterruptedly.

However, Will and I have recently reached this crossroads in our life where perhaps our personal happiness may mean something entirely different than what we initially thought.

Verses

There’s this super old hymn we used to sing in church that offers some interesting perspective.

The chorus says,

“Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy on Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

I’ve found myself humming this tune from time to time lately.

However, for me, happiness may not even be the right word. Perhaps joyfulness or contentment are more accurate.

If I’m truly going to press into Christ and pursue His desires for me and my family, I have to trust.

I have to obey.

I have to rest in Him and find peace and fulfillment in going after His desires.

Only…

Sometimes it’s hard to be eternally minded when we have out feet planted firmly on this earth.

Verses

Verses

It’s important for me to remember that in order to pursue the fullness of Christ, I need to be seeking Him first for holiness, not happiness.

Happiness isn’t bad.

It’s good.

In fact, the Bible says every good and perfect gift is from above.

It’s when I put my happiness and what I think is best for my life above God’s holiness and desires for me that things get skewed.

May we rest in Him and happily enjoy the blessings He gives us. Above all, may we pursue holiness and the desires of his heart.

I sure would appreciate prayers for Will and I, too. We are seeking the Lord and trusting Him in some upcoming decisions. That we obey and follow after Him and both have wisdom and peace. Thanks, dolls. ❤️

Happy Friday! Have a great weekend!

He is the I AM, I am the I AM Not

We’re finishing up our month-long study of the beautiful names of God… for now.

I can’t help but think I’ll want to revisit this topic in the future.

We’ve covered El Roi, the God who sees us,

Jehovah Rapha, the Lord who heals us,

Yahweh Yireh, the God who provides,

and we are wrapping up this week with Yahweh.

Yahweh.

It’s a name probably many of us already know, so it seems kind of silly to end on a well known name.

However, that’s just where my heart is today.

The name Yahweh comes from the name YHWH, a Tetragrammaton (bonus points for using a big word!) for God’s most holy covenant name.

There’s lots of scholarly debate about Yahweh (thinks like the spelling, pronunciation, and it’s evolution to other names, such as Jehovah) but I don’t want to talk about any of that today.

We’re keepin’ it simple, y’all.

Today I just want to bask in His beautiful name.

The first time we see YHWH revealed is in Exodus.

Moses had been given a huge task: be the spokesman for God’s people and demand Pharaoh let Gods people go.

(Anyone else just get a Charlton Heston flashback?)

Moses felt incapable, insecure, and full of doubt and worry.

Anyone been there?

I love what God told him in the midst of all his anxiety and “what if” scenarios.

He revealed himself as YHWH, Yahweh.

The I AM.

Verse

The One who’s always been, and always will be.

The One above all others.

He had never revealed this name to anyone before Moses.

Verse

Not only did he share this intimate moment with Moses, but he also reassured him- I will be with you, I will be the one speaking- not you.

It wasn’t about Moses. It was about God. It was about God working in a meek, tongue-tied man to do a mighty work.

Verse

I think there’s a huge lesson here.

He is Yahweh. He is sovereign and he desires to use His people to bring Him glory.

Sometimes circumstances happen in our lives, or God asks us to do something completely out of our element, and sometimes these things make no sense at the time. 

I have to keep reminding myself, He is the I AM.

I am the I AM Not.

There are things going on in my life right now that are leaving my head spinning.

I feel so confused and betrayed, and don’t understand which way is up.

I acted on things out of obedience to Christ, yet things are going wrong. Nothing like they were supposed to.

This is when I must remember He is the I AM.

He is and always has been and he knows and holds the future in his hands.

His ways are not my ways, and his thoughts are not my thoughts.

They’re much higher, not even in the universe of mine.

He has a bird’s eye view, and I only have what feels like a teeny keyhole to peek though.

I don’t know why things turn out the way they do.

I don’t know why people do things that are completely the opposite of what we expect.

But I know He is the I AM.

I know I don’t have all the answers to fully understand everything, but He does.

I know in my obedience, even when I don’t fully understand, he does.

He is Yahweh, and he is trustworthy. 

El Roi

Happy Friday, dears!

This month, I decided to spend Fridays sharing some of God’s names.

Huh?

Yes, I realize we call God, “God,” however the Bible is rich with other beautiful and powerful names of God, too.

In fact, it would probably take us over a year to cover them if we started down the path!

Let’s just start with today.

I can’t be positive, but I’m pretty sure back in the 80s, McDonald’s used to sell their Happy Meals in these little plastic jack-o-lanterns at the end of October.

Am I making this up?

As a kid, I remember having one lying around and catching a caterpillar in it.

Which, looking back, is absolutely hilarious considering I’d never in a million years be willing to do something like that today.

(As an aside, perhaps I need to be braver and channel my younger self in some elements of my life.)

Anyway, I caught a caterpillar and my parents helped me care for it. I fed it leaves and poked holes in the top of the lid to watch its transformation.

Even today, it boggles me how a crawly, fuzzy, creature can become a magnificently decorated butterfly.

Eagerly and impatiently, I would stare deep into the holes, cheering the caterpillar on, expectantly waiting for the transformation.

Much to my disappointment, it took longer than I wanted.

It was such a beautiful and majestic event when it finally did spring forth in its final state, and worth the wait.

I tell this story because I can’t help but think about the transformation God sees before his holy eyes when we start to live for Him.

In a way, we’re these crawly caterpillars doing life, when we could be vibrant butterflies.

When we allow God to work in us, we become more of the masterpiece he created us to be.

He transforms us. He changes us.

He sees what we can be through him and allows us to, “soar with wings as eagles” (or perhaps butterflies in this metaphor 😊).

He sees us as we are.

He sees our weaknesses.

He sees our doubts.

He sees our fears.

He sees our hopes and dreams.

He sees our hurts.

He sees our beauty.

He sees.

There is a touching story in Genesis when God sees the writhing heartbreak of a woman named Hagar caught in the middle of a sticky situation.

She was a maidservant to Sarai, who gave Hagar over to her husband Abram to bear a child, as Sarai couldn’t have one on her own.

Only, once Hagar conceived, Sarai despised her and treated her terribly.

Understandably, Hagar couldn’t bear the harshness and probably worried for her baby.

She ran away.

But God saw.

And he blessed in a way only he could provide and made such firm promises to her.

I imagine Hagar, with a face soaked in matted hair and tears, crying out to God for his provision as she tells him he is the God who saw her deep hurts.

El Roi.

(For my fellow Okies, we pronounce this, El-Raw-EE)

He is the God who sees us.

He feels our hurts and sees us as we are.

Have you ever felt broken hearted and alone? Like no one could ever understand how you feel?

Like you wanted to run away?

I have good news. We have a God who knows, and who sees.

El Roi

If we let Him, He transforms us before our very eyes into the godly creatures we are made to be when we let him nurture and grow us.

He can heal hurts, doubts, and fears- because even if no one else sees them, He knows they’re there.

He does this by giving us what we need, through the power of his spirit.

It’s a process. It usually doesn’t happen overnight.

The God who sees us begins to disarm and rearrange us, gently and carefully.

As we let our guard down, he cocoons us in his loving arms and gives a whole new life.

We may start out as fuzzy caterpillars, but when we trust Jesus, we sure don’t end up that way.

The old goes away and become new creations.

He sees us.

I pray we open our hearts to our El Roi this year, and let him work in a way only He can.

❤️

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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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