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A Story About Words

Once upon a time there was a lady named Gretel who worked in fairy dust factory in the land of Pinkville.

This particular fairy dust factory was full of an array of ladies.

Some of the ladies purple, some round, some spotted, some curvy, and some a beautiful mixture of rosy pink and magenta.

For the most part, they all lived in kindness and harmony with one another.

One day, some of the ladies gathered round for office chatter. Soon, the discussion turned to Maude.

The ladies began to laugh about Maude’s clothes and eccentricity. They poked about how they liked to send notes about what she was wearing so the others could walk by her fairy dust station for a good laugh. 

Gretel stood nervously as the others talked. You see, she liked Maude. She appreciated Maude’s bravery to stay true to herself and not worry what others thought.

She liked Maude’s quirkiness and oddities.

It’s what made Maude, Maude.

Gretel thought about speaking up.

She thought of ways she could kindly and casually chime in to defend eclectic Maude, but she stayed silent.

The decision to stay silent upset Gretel. It’s not like she was going to create waves. She was among friendly colleagues.

Yet she stayed quiet.

She reflected on the decision afterward.

She she have spoken up. She should have been braver and unafraid to encourage Maude, who could not defend herself.

Though the office banter was minuscule in the grand scheme of Gretel’s Pinkville life, it still mattered.

You see, Maude had many broken hearts over the years, leaving her fragile. Gretel knew she was called to speak up for Maude.

To defend the fatherless, and plead for the widow, if you will.

Because it matters.

Because our words matter.

Because our lack of words matter.

More than we realize, sometimes.

Gretel knew this, and let’s face it, so do we.
Verses

**********

We don’t have to live in some fairytale land to be affected by foolish gossip and seemingly harmless chatter.

(As an aside note- how fun would it be to make fairy dust!? Calorie-free cupcakes anyone?)

Incase you’re wondering, I’m Gretel.

The situation was fairly harmless and never turned malicious, but it does matter.

My heart loves Maude, and I should have used my words to say something positive.

As christians, what we do say and don’t say matters.

People are watching, and dare I say scrutinizing us much more than others.

The Bible says to avoid godless chatter. Proverbs overflows with warnings about gossip, being a busy body, and ungodly words.

Even if we’re not the ones using them, I have to believe our silence makes us complicit.

Conversation such as these and a little gossip here and there seem harmless- but that’s the problem.

We’re weighing sins before a holy God who hates sin.

After the exchange about Maude, I felt convicted and defeated. Why didn’t I say something kind!? It wasn’t that hard.

I turned to my scripture reading for the day, Psalms 11.

Only, inadvertently I ended up unknowingly flipping to chapter 12 instead.

Definitely a God thing.

Do you know what this chapter says?

It talks about our tongue, our sinful mouths.

What I love most is just how beautiful God’s words are, especially compared to ours.

He’s words are pure, purified and refined by the fire as silver.

He uses his words, and they are righteous.

Verses

Oh girls I desire to have righteous lips, too. To have words refined by his holy fire

That means using words!

That means not sitting silent, and instead exuding kindness and love in things I say.

To stand up for others who are broken and have no voice.

Christmas is full of people such as these.

People that need us to speak words of life and Jesus.

Not for us to walk by silently and not notice their hurts.

Just as I said last week, people are looking for love, especially this time of year. They’re often more open to hearing the truth of Jesus at Christmas too.

I’ve said it about a million times on this blog, but I must convey my sentiments again.

I implore us to “be ye kind to one another.”
Verses

Whether it’s a “Maude” in your life or simply someone who looks like they need our help, I pray we encourage one another in the Lord and not remain silent.

It doesn’t take fairy dust to show God’s love. We need only trust and rely on His power.

Merry Christmas and happy Friday, friends. ❤️

Dust

When You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’

God is love.

Such a simple sentence.

Such a seemingly elementary concept to grasp.

God is love,

He loves me,

I love God,

He loves others,

He commands we love others,

Therefore I love others.

So easy, right?

Good pep talk.

In football huddle fashion, let’s get out there and show some love this Christmas!

Break!

Not so fast.

The honest truth is that sometimes I have a love problem.

Sometimes, because of that love problem, I’m not very lovable.

And yet- God is love.

The other day we had the opportunity to host visitors on very short notice. 
People important to me. 

People that really needed to stay at our house.

Instead of loving these people and warmly inviting them in, I felt put out.

Annoyed that I had to rush around to light candles and lay out towels, selfishly wishing Will and I had the evening to ourselves instead.

Selfish.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Sometimes I’ve got hospitality problems, ya’ll!

As I lay in bed that night, my face grew hot with embarrassment for how I acted.

No one ever knew the frustration I felt preparing for our last minute visitors (um, though I’m pretty sure Will suspected it as I frantically threw dishes in the dishwasher and laundry back in the dryer haha), but I knew.

God knew.

I felt ashamed.

The Bible is clear on hospitality, both in the old and new testaments.

Verses

It’s also extremely clear on love.

I feel as though the two go hand in hand.

I love 1 John 4. It talks about how when we live in Christ, our love grows more perfect.

Verses

How do we think of others above us and show warm, loving hospitality?

By living in Christ.

Living in.

Abiding.

I love these words, and oh how I need the reminder.

I hate when I act selfishly. Since we’re rattling off verses, the Bible also tells us to do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but to think of others above ourselves.

Well huh. When you say it like that I feel pretty yucky for having a cow over opening our house to someone who really needed it.

The funny thing is, though, I totally had vain conceit.

There’s no pretty way to put a spin or bow on the reality.

I didn’t want anyone to see the dusty coffee table or dishes in the sink.

You know, because that’s never the reality of anyone else’s life.

Ha.

Why can’t we be vulnerable and show and share love?

It’s the most basic and biggest commandment- to love God with all we are, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. 

It’s children’s Sunday school 101.

Yet, 31 years later I’m still getting schooled on love and warm hospitality.

About just how selfish I am sometimes.

I’m so thankful God reveals these things to me.

I’m so thankful He shows me this yucky “self stuff,” as Beth Moore calls it, so that I can see just how desperately I need Him if I’m really going to love like I’m called to. 

People are looking for love.

True, authentic, pure love.

I mean, turn on the TV or radio and all you hear is how “we’ve” been burned by love and are searching for the real thing.

If we’re caught up in dirty dishes or feeling put out, chances are we are missing the point and a huge, a huge opportunity to show the love of Jesus.

What a shame.

I wish I could tell you’ve I’ve been miraculously healed of my frantic obsession for having a tidy house.

I haven’t.

However, I have been fervently praying to love Jesus more than anything else in this entire world, and that in loving Him first, I truly love others as he commands.

Selflessly and completely.

There’s absolutely nothing in me that can do those things.

This Christmas I pray and encourage us all to have eyes to see those who need love.

We don’t have to spend money to show love this season.

It can be a kind handwritten note to someone who needs it, baking cookies for an elderly person who lost their spouse, or letting someone going through a hard time know we’re praying for them and just how much God loves them.

I find Christmas opens doors and makes people more receptive to the gospel than other times of the year.

Let’s use this season to exemplify God’s love.

Lets abide in Him and spend time daily in his word and prayer today, asking Him to help us love as he’s called us.

More to come…
❤️

Lessons in Dumpster Diving

Last Monday wasn’t the best Monday.

I woke in anticipation of the short week ahead and all the Thanksgiving activities.

However, it ended in tears and sorrow in my heart.

Last Monday I accidentally threw something away I shouldn’t have.

It left Will and I digging through our yucky trash bin searching for it amidst wet, smelly, disgustingness.

It wasn’t my best moment.

It also wasn’t my only moment.

Girls, I have an innate knack for screwing things up.

I’ve mentioned it a million times on this blog. I’d probably forget my head if it wasn’t screwed on.

I plow through life, often forgetting important things. As Beth Moore often says- I’m blonder than I pay to be!

I certainly don’t mean to. I truly have good intentions.

Oddly enough, the good Lord blessed me with a husband that pays.attention.to.everything.

He should be an auditor.

With all the recent changes in the B-Love house, Will has a lot on his plate and really needs my help.

I let him down last week, and our dumpster diving was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Once we (thankfully) retrieved the lost items, Will laid into me about his frustration.

“You say you want more responsibility so you can help me out, but you can’t even be trusted with what you have now!”

Along with a few more similar sentiments.

I let him down.

His words stung and made me feel like an awful wife. They didn’t hurt because he was wrong, they hurt because he was right.

I should be better. This isn’t something new for me.  I need to work harder at paying attention.

What’s more, I couldn’t help but also hear the words of Hebrews 5 ring in my ears,

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭5‬:‭12-14‬ NKJV)”

Just as I ask Will for more, I do the same with God.

I can’t help but feel there is a major parallel.

I keep asking for more and more, feeling I’m ready.

Not so fast. 

God has entrusted me with this life and this family. The truth is, I need to focus on perfecting those things before He puts more on my plate.

I need to be better about taking pleasure in my daily tasks and going out of my way to serve Will and be a blessing instead of a burden.

I need to encourage Him in the Lord instead of grumbling under my breath.

I need to have eyes that see ways to help out instead of glazing through everything...and throwing away important stuff.

I keep praying for opportunities for God to use me.

Praying for opportunities to store up treasures in Heaven so I have something to lay at his feet one day.

Praying for a ministry so I can carry out the “good works He’s prepared in advance for me to do.”

The truth is, He’s given me each and every one of these things under my own roof.

At my office.

When I’m grocery shopping.

I knew that already, but I guess I was hoping for more.

What’s funny, is that I’m not sure I’m ready for more. I have a lot to work on right now.

More will come, but I need to focus on what I have right now.

Some of our greatest ministry can come under our own roofs.

As silly as it sounds, I guess I felt like that didn’t count.

However, the Bible is very clear that God searches the intent of our heart. He also commands us to do everything as unto Him.

Even being a wife or pushing paper at work all day.

When we have a heart attitude focused on pleasing Him, it doesn’t go unnoticed.

I’ve started praying more specific prayers about being a better helpmate and paying better attention.

I desire to worship God with what he’s given me today, and pray the added responsibilities will come in due time.

So yeah. Will and I went dumpster diving last week. Thanksgiving togetherness, ya’ll.

If you’re feeling like you’re ready for more but stuck in park, hang on. Be faithful with what He has given and trust Him to multiply.

Thanks for listening today. ❤️

Perspective

Yesterday we expressed gratitude and thanks.

As we embark on today and the madness of Black Friday, I wonder if perhaps some have long forgotten the sentiments expressed only hours before.

The yelling, pushing, grabbing, and complaining. All coming just one day after many of us gathered together to appreciate what we have.

Today’s post isn’t about Black Friday shaming at all.

Rather, it’s simply a moment to encourage us all to live out a spirit of thankfulness each and every day.

Whether it’s forfeiting that last Elsa doll on the shelves for the young single mother to buy instead, or spending today at home curled up on a blanket my with the ones we love, may we not be hasty in forgetting the thanks we readily shared yesterday.

Yesterday was a strange Thanksgiving, with hours spent at the hospital loving on family members.

We didn’t expect or anticipate it.

Definitely not the holiday we planned.

Talk about an opportunity to realize how deeply thankful I am.

We received the news this morning Will’s uncle has gone to be with the Lord.

He was a godly man. He loved Jesus with all his heart all the way to the end

And for that we celebrate the fact he is no longer in pain.

It puts much in perspective this day after Thanksgiving.

May thankfulness continue to be on our hearts and expressed in our actions daily.

May kindness and appreciation exude from our core, and guide us in all we do.

May we hug our loved ones tightly, as we never know when we will see them next.

May we be less hung up on the many things we want and be more focused on the things we have to offer.

I’m not saying I up and let go of hopes and dreams, or the desire for more.

I’m simply saying I want to walk toward those things thankful for the moment I have today, gently nurturing others and exhibiting grace and gratitude along the way.

I desire to shine God’s love in dark places, and use my hands to give more than grab.

I want to share more than I stockpile, and really mean it from my heart when I do such things.

I also want to graciously receive, and be unafraid to ask for more.

More of God’s wisdom. More of his patience. More of his grace. More of the desires of His heart, and less of mine.

I want to want others to see a thankful heart without me even having to speak.

Today is a somber day for our family, but I praise God for his presence and peace amidst the hurt. May we be mindful of just all that we do have this Black Friday.

More to come…

A Week of Thankfulness: Family

Like many of you, I have much to be thankful for.

Today’s post is all about my family.

Let’s start with Will’s family.

Oh man, guys. I married into a good family.

A godly family.

A family full of care, and warmth, and kindness, and goodness.

I’m often overwhelmed at the graciousness of Will’s family, especially his grandparents.

Celebrating 65 years. ❤️

I love them dearly, as my own.

They are most certainly some of the best people I’ve ever met in my whole life.

I love their spunk and godly character, and pray the Lord blesses us with their same love and energy toward others one day.

Will’s parents are also great. I am thankful for their hearts and how involved they both were and are in Will’s life. They raised a terrific kid, who has grown into a terrific man.

I’m also thankful for the relationship Will has with his dad, too. They are very close and I’m thankful we are close enough for them to see each other fairly often.

img767

(That picture is hilarious!)

I’m also thankful for Will’s brother and his wife, as well as the rest of Will’s extended family. I enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas and getting to see everyone.

Christmas 2013!

Now my family.

My parents and I live on the same street.

Cheesecake Factory!

It’s wonderful.

I am so thankful to have them so close, and know they’re always there.

I can’t imagine ever being too far from them.

I have an entire lifetime worth of memories I could share so you would know how special my family is.

Today, however, I will simply say I’m thankful for how hard they worked and how much they encouraged me.

I’m thankful for my dad, a veteran, that taught me the importance of patriotism and diligence.

I’m thankful for all the places we got to travel and see, far more than most.

Carissa-3 years; Brittny-10 years at the Eiffel Tower in Paris - Copy

I’m thankful for my mom. We were blessed enough to have a stay at home mom, but it’s deceiving to say that because she was always doing something for our family to take care of us.

I’m thankful they took us to church every time the doors were open. So thankful.

I’m thankful for the opportunities they gave me, and the many sacrifices they made that I probably didn’t even know about.

I have wonderful parents, and while Will and I do not have aspirations of having kids, I do hope one day we can show this same love to needy kids or in some other form of ministry. 

Then there’s P.

Brittny & Carissa-Christmas 1990

And Layla.

Beyond blessed by this smiley gal

My huge love for these girls is definitely no secret.

In fact, P got pregnant during my blogging hiatus. I never got to share the story of how she and I Facetimed the November Friday morning when she took the pregnancy test that announced Layla’s arrival.

If I told you the days and weeks after that FaceTime session were easy for P, I’d be lying.

But now, a few years removed, I can tell you how thankful I am for those moments and for P’s return home.

So thankful to have here nearby. So thankful to watch the birth of Layla, and to cut her umbilical cord.

So thankful to get to be part of their lives and to watch Layla grow up.

Such love.

I’m also so thankful for my extended family. I have such wonderful memories of visiting them growing up. I used to see them so much more often than I do as a grown-up, which means I need to make time to visit!

I was able to spend last Thanksgiving with my mom’s side of the family, and it was wonderful. I’m so glad I was able to go.

Layla and grandma

Now Will.

Last, but certainly I not least.

Oh man did I marry up or what?

Will & Brittny-Feb 2003

So often I hear people talk about how they plan to start a family in “x” years. Obviously, I fully comprehend what that means. However, I also find myself thinking about my own family.

Although perhaps people see Will and I as a couple that never decided to start a family, I say we started a family ten years ago when we got married.

Will is my family.

Future Sooner anchors

I am so thankful for his wisdom and leadership.

He is unlike anyone I’ve ever met.

Chilly Willy OU-OSU

I’m thankful for the blessings given to us, and praying the Lord will remind me of the many things I am thankful for as we head into a year of changes and challenges.

I only scratched the surface.I have such an abundance of thanks to go around.

I know there are those who may not feel so thankful for their families today, and I pray for healed hearts. I pray for peace. I pray for change. Most of all, I pray for a church family that can come alongside these and love them as their own.

Day one down. Check in tomorrow for a Work it Out Wednesday of thanks. ❤️

Tuesday Things, 11 Nov 14

When football meets football
Does anyone else find it weird how the NFL keeps pushing American football on our British friends?

Guys. They have football.

We call it soccer.

Apparently it’s kind of sort of catching on, so maybe I’m wrong.

It just kind of makes me laugh.

One of my food dreams had come true

And.its.killing.me.

It’s no secret I’m kind of totally addicted to peanut butter.

I’ve always wished I could find one that had higher protein that I could buy at a regular store instead of online or speciality shop.
Naturally killing me. Peanut butter and added protein!? Dead. 😍
This peanut butter.

Help me.

This stuff has flax for added omegas plus pea protein for an extra three grams of protein than regular brands.

Sooo it’s safe to say this jar will be gone by the end of the week.

Zep-ity Do Da

Let’s talk cleaners.

I have no brand loyalty to anything. Half the time I go to the store needing one thing and coming out with another. 

They all promise the same things, but most are iffy at best for actually delivering.

I was lucky enough to get to try a couple samples of Zep the last time I cleaned my house.

The good news is that everything they claimed on the front of the bottles was actually true.

The Oxy spray handled yucky buildup, and the disinfectant not only cleans and deodorizes but also de-grunged too.

I have a feeling I won’t be so lost next time I head to the cleaning aisle.

Zep!

This throwback
What is happening here!?

Brittny FLint-5 years old-is this a smile or what

I’d anyone disturbed like I am?

What are your making for Thanksgiving?

I need to borrow your inspiration.

Help!

I always bring much of the same, and I love all those things, but I thought it might be fun to change things up and being something new and delicious.

So fire away.

Hug a Vet
Finally, thank you so very much to all our veterans. I cannot express my appreciation for the sacrifices you and your families make.

I grew up an army brat my entire life, and have such a love for my country and service men and women because of it.

Brittny Flint-5 years old with Dad when he left for Germany

The time away, the moves, the changes… It’s not always easy, and I am so thankful for what you and your families do.

Thank you so much. Praying the Lord blesses you, keeps you and your families safe, and gives you wisdom and discernment in all you do.

Alright dears, that’s all for today! Check in tomorrow for more fun. 

50 things I did on my day off

Here’s an ever so thrilling look at my day off last Friday. smile

1. Got up early
2. Debated whether or not I wanted to run.
3. Decided I didn’t want to run
4. Ran anyway.
5. Cried.
6. Got home, made a shake. Girls, I make a mean shake.
7. Realized my license expires this month.
8. Thought about how much I really didn’t want to get a new license.
9. Decided I really didn’t have a choice.
10. Contemplated how ready I needed to get in order to get a picture taken.
11. Decided to get semi-ready.
12. Realized that was ridiculous. I’m getting a license picture! Decided to actually get ready.
13. Decided all license pictures look bad no matter how ready one gets, decided to go halfway.
14. Got my new license. The picture turned out fair. Surprisingly, I look way darker than I really am. I’ll take it.
15. Went to Zam Zams for lunch with P!
16. Missed Kuwait. That place always makes me nostalgic.
17. Mulled over the menu. Too many choices.
18. Settled on the veggie platter. They use “veggie platter” very loosely.
19. Enjoyed P’s company. Talked tons.
20. Ate almost my entire “veggie” platter. Gosh I love hummus and baba ghanoush (Told you they used the word veggie loosely).
21. Said goodbye and headed to the grocery store.
22. Tried to find a decent parking space
23. Gave up and parked in the back.
24. Got a cart.
25. It proceeded to lock up and squeal like nails on a chalkboard.
26. Got another cart. It didn’t squeak as bad… I’m destined to get every bad cart.
27. Contemplated breakfast foods.
28. Settled on oats, as usual. I’m so old boring. One day I’m going to get totally wild snd come home with some bold and exciting. Like Grapenuts. (HELP ME)
29. Finished up, paid, and even saved a couple dollars in coupons. Woo hoo!
30. Unloaded groceries, made a special dessert for Will.
31. Cried because it smelled so good.
32. “Evened out the frosting” by eating it.
33. Went and saw my mom and Layla.
34. Played barbies
35. Talked about all that was going on (with my mom mostly… A little with Layla too. smile )
36. Initiated some deep and meaningful artwork from the Olivia coloring book.
37. Got slightly annoyed that Layla kept taking all the colors I wanted and wouldn’t let me finish my masterpiece.
38. Realized how ridiculous I was being.
39. Decided to give myself a pass. I mean, how often do I get to color!?
40. Went home, spent some time reading Isaiah and in prayer.
41. Woo hoo! Will came home. Greeted Will.
42. Scolded the dogs for being way to loud and rambunctious for his arrival. But seriously- dog greetings are the best.
43. Drove to the Honda shop to pick up our beloved oldie Honda.
44. They couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Awesome.
45. Made a giant plate of roasted vegetables for dinner. Was in heaven. Will, not so much.
46. Served Will his dessert.
47. Evened out the piece a little by eating some off the edge. You know, to help make it look prettier.
48. Had a rice cake. Totally the same as Will’s dessert. Except not at all the same as Will’s dessert.
49. Watched a show on the couch with Will and the pups.
50. Washed my face, flossed, brushed my teeth, took my vitamins and called it a night. I needed my rest for the OU-TCU road trip Saturday!

Whew. So you now know all the exciting events of my most recent day off. smile What are you up to today?

Check in tomorrow for Ezra chapter four! 

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.

Verses

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.

Verses

We get to God through his son.

Verses

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

Verses

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,

Post

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

Post

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

Post

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.

Verses

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.

Verses

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.

Verses

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.

Verses

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.
Verses

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.
Verses

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.
Verses

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.

Verses

***

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.

Verses

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! 

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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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