Thursday, December 24, 2015

...on Christmas Eve

Today is Christmas Eve. The day before we celebrate the birth of our Jesus, our Savior, our Redeemer. 

Today is the day before the light shines on the hope and joy as we rejoice the birth of Christ.

Yet, what if the weary world was just weary. A world trying to rejoice, but their hallelujahs turn into muffled cries. 

What do we do then? When we understand the sweat on Mary’s brow, the hurriedness of the shepherd boys to see with their own eyes truth in what the angels told them, the frustration of Joseph succumbing to the fact that his wife would give birth in a barn without any midwife or medical attention. What do we do when God tells us “Do not be afraid,” but fear and doubt seem to be the only rational piece of this whole puzzle?

How do we make Christmas feel like a birthday celebration instead of this longing inside of us to break the word down into two terms - more of Christ? 

More of his peace. 
More of his presence. 
More of his comfort. 

Remind me - what do we do then?
What do you do when Christmas doesn’t feel like Christmas?
When you feel wounded, sick, and sore.
When you feel broken, at a loss, and thirsty.
When you feel like you’re missing out on the happy kind of joy that you’re supposed to feel in this season.

I am not alone. 
I won’t put on a face to hide my hurt.
I’m being real - for a real world in a real season.

Yet, I have to face each feeling with a plan. I want Christmas, I want it bad. I want the feelings that I've been preparing my heart for this December. I want the feelings of advent to rush in and fill my soul. 

So -
I will keep worshipping. 
I will keep rereading Luke 1-2.
I will keep seeking out my Jesus - his peace, his presence, and his comfort. 
I will keep facing my fears with God’s perfect love that casts out fear.

I will sing my broken hallelujah for my Jesus and God to hear. 

And if no emotions change, if the joy doesn't come flowing in like a south Texas flash flood, if my heart still is longing - my God is still good. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Broken Shepherd Boy

Something in you breaks when the Shepherd boy falls to the floor and cracks in half. Something about the symbol of humility separated into two pieces pulls on your heart strings as you pick him up in your hands.
Then as if it fell with a purpose, the little damaged boy reminds you of the True Shepherd's mission when he stepped into this world. It reminds you that his body was broken, cracked, and pierced to save his Father's sheep.

Tears swell up in my eyes as I see the beauty in this brokenness held in the palm of my hand. Yet, another whisper from Jesus saying, "This is why I came."

As I set him down my eyes examine the shepherd boy protectively holding his sheep, a tear slips from my eye, and there right behind him the word JOY speaks loudly catching my attention, as if to be crying out "FIND JOY! FIND JOY!"
And so I do.
I begin to search for the beauty.
I find it and quickly snap pictures.
I engulf myself in this process of seeking because the King came to this earth as a baby, grew up as shepherd, and allowed his body to be broken for our sins.
Then three days later he was alive.
So in his birth and in his resurrection I will find JOY.
My sweet Mister putting up the lights <3!!

The paper ornaments waiting expectantly to be placed
on the Jesse Tree during advent.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

When Peace Passes All Understanding and Joy is Immeasurable

Have you ever been to the point in your life where you step into a season that beckons anxiety, frustration, and anger? A season that expects sadness, uncontrollable tears, and constant fear?

Adam and I are there, in the midst of it. We dove into a season that says, "Let me drown you with worry! Let my anxiety bring destruction to your soul!" Yet, we stopped the moment we noticed the battle. Two days in to this season we called it for what it was, a blessing! A blessing to say, "Jesus we give this to you. Jesus we trust you. Jesus we love you."

He told us in the spoken word - Cast all your cares upon me. [from 1 Peter 5:7]

Cast the cares of adoption.
Cast the cares of money.
Cast the cares of support.
Cast the cares of timing.
Cast the cares of paperwork.

Cast ALL your cares upon me.
Because I care for you. 

I care about your adoption.
I care about the funding.
I care about the support.
I care about the timing.
I care about the paperwork.

Commit to me. Trust me. I will do this. [from Psalm 37:5]

Commit to my plan and I will establish yours. [Proverbs 16:3]
Trust me and you will not be shaken. [Psalm 55:22]

Is he not good? Is he not faithful?

Once we acknowledged the truth of what Jesus had whispered to us, once we willingly laid it in his hands, a peace that surpasses all understanding during a time in which we should be broken and afraid shined a light and exclaimed "DO NOT FEAR!" So here we kneel humbly, full of joy because our Jesus will fulfill His promise with His timing in His way. He will move mountains, flow the river of life through the valleys, and move us closer to Him during the waiting.

My Jesus is Good!
My Father is Faithful!
If you are in a time such as this - have faith that He has spoken to someone in your shoes.
Hand it over, for the less you try to control the more He will show He has it under control!

Monday, September 28, 2015


Something about last night stirred my heart.

As many of you already know, there was the Super Moon Lunar Eclipse.

I joined the millions of onlookers and stood out on my back porch with eyes pinned on the ever fading moon. The shadow pressing in minute after minute, suddenly my heart began to break. I wanted to scream, "STOP!" at the creeping dark, yet I knew that it was impossible to prevent the shadow from overtaking the light.

The minutes ticked by, my breath keeping a steady rhythm, my eyes lifted in apprehension, and then the sun finally caste the earth's shadow fully upon the moon. The nighttime satellite that reflects the light from the sun was momentarily separated from its power source - the earth its barrier.

As my gaze fell in dismay back to the land my feet stood upon, ashamed that where I was caused this darkness, a joy, an unspeakable joy quickly poured into my soul as my eyes drew back up and caught a glimpse of a rim of light pressing out of the darkness.

For the light shines in darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5

As that verse spiraled through my mind, down to my heart, reaching my soul a chuckle burst up to my lips and a tear streamed down my cheek.  My heart perfectly romanced by the King. He whispered softly in the breeze as my soul sensed his presence, "you are never alone".

Never alone.

Humbled, I stood in reverence.
In awe of a King who called me victorious.
In awe of a King  who finds me courageous.
In awe of a King who handles this universe, and still doesn't miss a moment with his children.

The darkness of this world tries avidly to overwhelm my sensitive soul - even yours. With the shadow it casts upon us, upon our hearts, and our lives. Many of us want to run and scream, "I surrender," but then our valiant King charges in and proclaims that he shines brightest in the darkest places.

Oh! I believe that He stands out stronger when the darkness tries to hide him from us.
He illuminates our pathways,
he sanctifies our dying fire and kindles it into a burning flame,
he ignites what's written on our souls and sends us into this shadow of a world to radiate His truth for His glory!

That's why I love this verse so much, it says "What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs." Matthew 10:27

God does use darkness for his glory, to speak to us, to show his power, magnify his strength, and fuel a light in us so that we might go forth and proclaim his truths from the rooftops!

Let's learn from nature and heed God's word. "For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ." 2 Cor. 4:6

Let our light's shine <3

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Jesus Loves Me

Soft suds from face wash dripped past the edge of my chin, and the cotton creases in the towel rubbed lightly in the palm of my hand. The green-blue soul searchers stared back at me as my lips parted to sing,

"Jesus loves me this I know
for the bible tells me so
little ones to him belong
they are weak but he is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me - yes... he does.
Yes, Jesus loves me.

Yes, Jesus loves me, 
the bible tells me so."

The grin wrinkled my rosey cheeks,
I continued to stare back at this joyful reflection.

"Again," I told myself.

"Jesus loves me..." 
Freckles jumped for joy.
"This I know"
and I really did know.

I knew that no matter what pain, sorrow, tragedy, or hate I've lived in, trudged through, or hid from in my life that He - the creator of these freckles, these green-blue eyes, these falling curls, and this only for my ears voice- loved me then and still LOVES ME NOW!

How did I forget this song that I belted out recklessly growing up, that my hands knew how to sing more gracefully than the words stringing out of my lungs, oh this song that I've taught to many young children. How did I separate myself from such a simple reminder that I AM A DAUGHTER OF THE KING AND I AM DEARLY LOVED?

"The bible tells me so - it tells me so, so many times!"

The bible promises that we are more than conquerors through our Jesus and our God! That nothing can separate us - not life, not death, neither angels or demons, what's happening now nor what will come, no height or depth - no! None of that can separate us from the love God has for his children through his son Jesus (Romans 8:37-38)

The bible declares that even when we were still sinners, still running from God, hurting him, he loved us so much he sent his son, his baby boy, his only child to die for our sins and create a path for us to run to him - the same path that his love runs down to cover all of our trespasses. (John 3:16, Romans 5:8, 1 John 4:9-11).

The bible testifies that he pursues us, he reaches out to us, he is in our midst and among us, he fights for us all because he loves us with a steadfast and unfailing love (Psalms 86:14, Zephaniah 3:17, Exodus 14:14)

The book is filled from beginning to end with a vast array of his love for us. What I needed so desperately to remember was that as I continue to learn how to see Him I will continue to proclaim verbally his love for me... and my love, yes my childish love for the King.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Turn Learning to Learned

*Three Gifts Learned*

Learning is active, ongoing.
It is inhaling and refreshing and filling.
Learning can be immaculate and beautiful or atrocious and perilous.
Yet, changing learning to learned may terrify the feeble, for some days it terrifies me.
Changing learning to learned announces to the world that I now know, therefore I must now show a sense of growth, or in few cases a brilliant epiphany.

Thus composing three things learned does just that... in essence it reveals to you that I now know and am no longer ignorant in that area of life, mastered - who knows- but mindless I am not.

Now, on to three things learned!

{1} I am becoming myself as I begin to engulf my life in the presence of my Jesus.

{2} Having courage is a choice. An every moment of every day kind of choice.

{3} I am old enough to start reading fairy tales again.

Three things that I will shout out to the world, I have learned this!
I know these truths.
I am vulnerable to you calling me out on any of these...

I am no master to any of these, but I am on my way to growing more knowledgeable in these truths. This journey of living in "learned" allows you to continue learning.

By the way! I was vague for many reasons... but mostly I want you to ask me then I will explain each change listed above and how I moved it from learning to well... learned. With a cup of coffee in hand and a heart full of joy, I will explain to you the story, my story, the one written for me by Him. <3

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Thankful in the Thicket

It's been a funky few weeks. It's been desultory, thus causing my heart and brain to imitate the sluggish feeling as well. My joy evaporated in the midst of this destructive Texas heat.

Then as I engulfed myself in my friend Whitney's blog, I realized that she was seeking what my heart had been avoiding... thankfulness. Full thankfulness in all I have, am, and where I am at in life. This striving sense of never enough, never enough, never enough has exhausted my heart, my brain, and my spirit.

So here I go for the rest of July, jumping on the thankful wagon using Ann Voskamps July gifts.

{Today: 3 gifts hanging down...}

Maybe this boy is the one motivation and inspiration for my gifts today. Hanging down seems pretty easy when hanging out with a 4 year old.
1). My hands hanging to hold his up
2). My feet hanging down to wrap him in tight on the first ride down the slide and seeing him laugh whole-heartedly.
3). My heart hanging low in humility as I just love, wait, and adore this gift of constant reminders that God just loves us and adopts us. He calls us his own when the world calls us forgotten. He calls us his child when the world shouts abandoned! God, yes, God calls us redeemed when the world calls us scarred.

For this I am so thankful today.

{Here we go in actively seeking joy}

Monday, June 1, 2015

To My Handsome Groom, With All My Heart

Whoa! It is May, the May before June which leads to July. Yes! July 30th. The big 4 letter word - FOUR.

This July we will mark the day Adam almost cried, I laughed when his corsage turned upside down then quickly made friends with the ground, and the unity candles would not light. This July will mark four years since the shaky knees, the wildness in my mind, and the peace of hearing "As The Deer" guide me to my future standing at the end of the burlap cloth aisle.

Four years.

It's not much, no... but it's also so much.
Jars overflowing with laughter, bowls holding so many tears. Countless moments of bending and changing, giving and taking, molding and fitting. My heart cannot fathom that we survived our first year, much less the second. Yet, so many times I yearn for that small one bedroom apartment on the third floor with a tiny full size bed and a partially empty fridge/pantry. I find myself closing my eyes and giggling at our first Thanksgiving and Christmas. The tiny decorations screaming courage to my heart!

I look back on our dreams, our long conversations, the desperation in my voice wanting checklists to find themselves complete (school, graduating, paying off debt) and now I crave for time to halt.  Here's to you my warrior, my prince, my groom... my mister. Here is to you who fought gallantly for us.

To My Handsome Groom,

Your patience for me is unyielding. Your love - ever growing. There is a light in your eyes that shines, it radiates and penetrates the depths of my soul. I know that glow is not from me, nothing I have done or ever will do, but from someone much greater who inhabits all you are in life and all you strive to be.

I am acquainted with your fears and understand your desires. Brave is tattooed on your forehands, and humility pours from your gracious lips. You have taught me so much about devotion. You've been to war for this girl, this princess, this armor bearer to your valiant king. You once let her fly away because you knew what you had poured in made an impact, and she returned. She saw that you were godly, loving, and desired much more than the shallow expectations of this world.

Your work ethic is admirable. Undeniably you were born a great leader. Your actions speak wonders at home and in the grind. The alarm rings, you arise, and the world is a better place. That suit zips up, you jump in your truck, and men - even bosses- are at peace upon your arrival.

Our "girls" or three pups adore you.  How it makes me long for children who will call you their father. Your patience with me unyielding, how blessed any child would be to be held by you and feel security in the light that pours from your soul. I love how you have never held another child but your baby sister, and that one day you will save those unwavering arms of yours for the child we will call ours; how they will find peace in your presence!

My darling, you break barriers following our Jesus. On days I crawl into bed, caving in to defeat from the pains of the day, you confidently march in and proclaim freedom, praying over me for peace. Even when my heart stands there stunned at your spiritual strength, humbled by the grace you pour forth from the savior of the world, I find rest in knowing he welded our hearts together for a purpose, for his uncompromisable plan.

Love, I am overjoyed in knowing you hear his voice, the whisper of our good good father.

Continue on this journey with me. Another four years, then forty more to follow. Let's pursue this walk hand in hand through the luscious fields, the barren lands, the mighty battles, mountains high and valleys low. This journey is a covenant, signed from the depths of our souls. Let us wage on forever more bringing hope from the one who has built this home.

<3 B

Thursday, April 30, 2015

I Can't Handle Social Media

My heart ached.
My mind hurt.

It comes quietly, this pain in my soul.
The thief of joy is off with its prize before realization sets in that I have been robbed.
Robbed of so much more than I tend to realize.

The perfect moments.
The boasting.
The joy.

Even the hard moments.
The broken ones.
With children or jobs.

Painful, so painful for my weak heart to gaze upon.
I know I cannot be alone.
A broken heart tends to find unflaunted company.

Tears hide gracefully.
I close the screen and look away.
Where does this longing come from? This quiet pain?

The problem lies in the face of ignoring,
friends fail to keep touch,
abandonment quickly steps into my life.

A fear since I was young,
a common ground for hatred in my life.
Broken and brim overflowing with despair

my heart cries out to be healed.
Asking. Praying. Hoping.

It slowly seeps back in.
The joy defeating the doubt.
The constant doubt

that I am enough.
that I am precious.
that I am not abandoned, but sought after and known.

The stones chip away
at the thief running freely
crippling it until my hero can catch up.

My hero full of truth,
full of death defying love,
full of forgiveness and grace. Oh, the grace.

He comes back into my sight,
my head bowed - ashamed.
His gaze lifts me up - again, full of grace.

I cry out, I can't handle it!
It magnifies what I don't have,
envy their struggles with my heart's desire.

My hands speaking for me,
my heart shedding tears,
my Jesus kneels before me palms up,

endearing he shows me I'm engraved on his palm,
he digs gently into my heart, my mess, my pain.
Revealing the true beauty, as I cried out I was slain!

Why do you leave me,
not grant me my wishes?
Why do I have to do things the world's way, in their order - they say!

He quiets me again.
Softly, I breathe. I hear his plans,
but I still can't see.

So I step away from the hurt,
I'll hand it over you him, my most treasured jewel.
I'll drop in your hands my alabaster jar,

I will wait. I will pray,
because faith grows stronger
when life is cruel.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Love Song For A Savior

Some songs shape our lives, some we cling closely to for reasons unknown. "Love Song for a Savior" by Jars of Clay has been on of my favorite songs since I heard it as a child. Yet, I always stayed in that state of mind - that "one day I would understand... one day I'll run into his arms." Friend, I finally have... I've run full sprint - falling head over heals and tears come freely - ALL THE TIME. So below is the new song I sing based on the original song that I love so dearly for so long:

In open fields of wild flowers
I breathe the air and fly away
I thank my Jesus for the daisies and the roses,
in no simple language,
Today I understand the meaning of it all

You're more than the laughter or the stars in the heavens
As close as a heartbeat or song on my lips
I've learned how to trust you and I'm yearning to see you
I've heard you calling and I have come running
I fall in your arms and the tears they fall down as I pray,

I am so in love with You
I am so in love with You
I am so in love with You
I am so in love with You

How right we are to adore you?
Love, lead me to your banquet hall,
Tell me you, whom I adore - that your banner over me is love.
I searched and found you - now I will not let you go.

You're more than the laughter or the stars in the heavens
As close as a heartbeat or song on my lips
I've learned how to trust you and I'm yearning to see you
I've heard you calling and I have come running
I fall in your arms and the tears they fall down as I pray,

I am so in love with You
I am so in love with You
I am so in love with You
I am so in love with You

You say I am altogether beautiful
Lord, you see no flaw in me.
So I cling tightly to your promise,
waiting for you to call my name and say,

"I am so in love with you"

"My heart and eyes they follow you."

Sunday, March 15, 2015

White as Snow

"I hear the savior say
Thy strength in deed is small
child of weakness watch and pray
find in me thine all in all.

Jesus paid it all,
all to him I owe,
sin has left a crimson stain,
he washed me white as snow." *

*(May or may not be accurate - completely from memory)

It never hit me until I was in the valley, a literal valley on the edge of Sierra Blanca, how short my presence on the mountain top would be. I had become a little cabin restless, so I decided to take a short run to calm myself when I came across a small creek. Of course I went down to touch the water - ice cold.
Snow cold.

My hand, burning from the water, quickly found comfort in the warmth of its stolen glove. I picked up the pace laughing at myself for recklessly diving my hand into the blood-freezing water. As the run progressed, my mind stayed back at the creek. The creek held tightly to my thoughts not wanting to be removed from my memory. I asked God, yes literally asked, "What's up with that?"
Sometimes I humor myself... and sometimes I think God chuckles at me, too.

Then it came... the answer. (I'm sure after God shook his head at his ridiculous child, grinned, and sat down ready to explain what was really up with the fact that the creek would not run free from my attention.)

"Brady, sweet Brady. Your favorite song is about me washing you white as snow. White, pure, clean... unmuddied snow. Let me speak truth to you now. I want you to stop staying frozen on the mountain top. I need you to listen carefully child. You crave the mountain top - yet up here you can't breathe life. White as snow - frozen in my presence, beautiful and clean. Now, yes now, I want you to melt into life water, overflow with what I have done for you, and pour into others.
Run to the valley!
Bring life.
Bring truth.
Beware, rocks will try to stop you, limbs and obstacles will cover your path, but have hope because with me you will flow freely and I will flow freely out of you."

Teeth gritting, I became frustrated with this command. I just reached the mountain top, why would I want to go back down?! I have not been here for a long time and this hurt hearing him say "melt... run to the valley!" This was not at all what I wanted, not at all.

So I pushed on... frustrated with the God I am enamored with because I just reached the top and now he is asking me to not slowly come off the mountain top but run freely down!

As if it is my choice?

Suddenly, my thoughts were halted by 5 deer that stopped me dead in my tracks. One squared up to me in the middle of the road, three on the opposite side of the creek and the 5th on the left side of the road trucking up a hill. My eyes bounced between the one who barricaded the road and the three that were drinking from the stream. As I slowly back peddled over my steps a song rushed to my mind - one that is very dear to my heart,

"As the deer panteth for the water,
so my soul longeth after you.
You alone are my hearts desire,
and I long to worship you."

Breathe, Brady.
Step back.
God, I get it.

I understand!

I pivoted in the road and returned to where I had come from.
Mixed between overwhelmed and overjoyed I cautiously asked one more time, just in case.
"Okay, what else do you want to show me?"

I mean seriously, I took this run to relax not to be spoken so clearly to, but if God wants to speak - if the Holy Spirit wants to show me "what's up" then I might as well let him. (Side note - What a spoiled rotten child I can be sometimes... I am so human and worldly it can be absurd/frustrating!)

Then all was quiet.
The run continued back up towards my cabin, when I felt compelled to step back towards the creek one more time. As I took a few steps in I looked down at my feet. Below were pine needles, by the thousands.

A sweet whisper in the wind gently ushered, "I know every one of these Brady."


Again it whispered in my heart, "I know each of the needles that have fallen, those that have fallen before these - now look up."

I did.

And I wept. Heart overwhelmed because I finally understood with the little understanding I have.

I am known. Among everything in this world, he knows me. He knows my heart. He knows my longings and desires. He wants to use me... and he take his personal time to speak so clearly to my soul.

My God wants me to go to the valley, he knows what I've done before, what I'm doing now, and what I will do later in his presence. He wants me to go because I understand how loved I am and I do not need to sit on the mountain top any longer basking in his love - frozen in his presence. He wants me to flow past the rocks, the branches, the dams to bring his truth!
He loves.
He forgives.
He washes you white as snow, then sends you to be a truth bearer, a disciple, a life giver.

I asked him to use me... arms wide open use me.
And he will, he already is.

Much love,
Brady :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Beautiful. Flawless. Brave. Courageous.... Victorious.

Some moments are meant to share while others are meant to keep in your heart.
I obviously haven't learned the difference. 
I am a sharer - if that is even a word.
God knows that, and unfortunately so does the enemy.
Thus the enemy attacks me secretly in such a way that I do not even notice what is holding me back.

In the past few months, I have been hitting this black wall.
A black wall of what to do next.
A path with no light.
I am an arms wide open "JESUS USE ME!" woman, and this darkness hurt.
I had no idea what to make of it.

Then two wise women in God's council pointed out through prayer -
we have to shine light on this darkness to find the next step.
Ask God, "What is this darkness - name it."
He did.
"You hold me responsible for your Papaw's death, because I did not heal him."
I did.
I cried.
Unknowingly, I held the maker of the heavens and earth - my papaw and me, responsible.
An unknown, secret hate drifted inwards - deep into my soul.
Satan had a foothold.

This hurts. 
This feeling of secretly being held captive.
I had written a few days prior to this that I knew the truth about who God was -
but did I believe it?
I knew that he is, 
"The God who moves mountains,
the one who melts the gates of bronze.
He destroys the chains of iron
that bind my grasping arms."
Did I believe it?

Naming the darkness reopened a harsh wound.
Naming it shone light on how ugly the wound had become...
not healing, but festering, contaminating every part of my relationship with my Lord.
But his love, grace, and mercy -
his forgiveness for my unforgiveness, for my grudge
cleaned this wound...
binding it with oils and medicine that would allow it to heal properly.

The healing began.
There I was in a vision.
A vision of being on a mountaintop with Jesus.
He lifted my gaze to the stars with the gentle touch of his hand.
I was in love, heart exploding, head over heels... 
then it was gone.

More darkness.
One more.
One that has bound me for years, 
one I was afraid and ashamed of - 
but a new me woke out of bed today.
A new me that believes she is 
a conquerer, 
and strong.

This one last darkness that was preventing me from stepping forward,
raw -
gluttony and purging.
I'm not afraid to admit it... 
like I was for so many years
if it brings one person hope that it can be overcome.
If it shines light in one person's darkness.
I am not afraid because I am brave and made whole.

This sin that bound me for so long,
my Good - Good father has seen every tear it brought,
every angry cry.
Yet, last night He gave me a new name,
a new vision of who I am.
He told me that he is enthralled
by my beauty. (Psalm 46:11)
That I am altogether beautiful
there is no flaw in me (Song of Songs 4:7)

No shame can scar me.
There is no flaw in me.
When he washed my feet and said you are forgiven,
when he showed me a vision of a flower standing strong and tall,
I knew that my beauty was in his hands.
My body is a temple, 
one I was trying to control so tightly it began to crumble in my grasp.

The chains broke.
The cage of bronze melted.
I was free, running after my Jesus.
Both hands wrapped in his, 
and I was walking. 
Walking fully encompassed with his presence
fully consumed with his power.
My eyes would not leave his -
this means...
they finally left the ground
left the hate and self despise behind.

I was freed.
Freedom comes when you're ready to let go.
Even of hindrances you're unaware of...
like me, who now walks down a once dark path
fully captivated by who He is,
instead of what I'm not.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

For Better or Worse... Richer or Poorer

The table bore witness to our whispers and yells. It caught my nervous tears and reached up to feel the grasp of forgiving and loving hands filled with warmth, hope, and trust. Our goals and dreams were established, not in stone but our hearts desire could easily compare.  Nearly six months prior he had grasped my hand the same way, promising for better or for worse - richer or poorer. He is a planner, analytical, and thorough; I am the complete opposite - a dreamer. Time ticked by as we met over and over again on how to do this - make this marriage work. Somehow we had to combine goals, merge them into one - a dreamer and a goal keeper... one.

Expectations shattered into a million shards before us, leaving some wounds that would create beautiful scars. Three years and three months after our hearts bonded over the setting of the "goal contract" we checked the last off our list. The list consisting of both of us graduating from college, becoming debt free, buying a home, and then a "new-to-us-keep-for-a-long-time" vehicle.


As we walked arm-in-arm away from the dealership my heart danced for joy and my head ran wild in panic. We made it! Wait... what's next?

He wore his handsome confident smile as my eyes met his face because he knows me so well. He knows what I am thinking. He is like that, you see, he is always one step ahead of my constant desire to jump forward without looking at where I will land. His smile calms me, grounds me, quiets my soul. I trust him and know that he lives to please God. This does not make me a weak woman, no - it makes me stronger and more confident in the life that is before us... better or worse - richer or poorer.

This gift of goal reaching is beautiful. This gift of marriage, of being one with someone else and taking the clay from one heart adding the water from the other in order to mold the two hearts into one. This takes sacrifice. This is covered with God. Yes, the submitting, the encouraging, the forgiveness - the constant forgiveness. The I'm sorries - the humility. It's God. He teaches us in this, in these difficult tear wrenching, teeth gritting moments to find grace dust it off and behold it as a gift to the other. In the joyful, high-five, shut up and kiss me moments... and in the I'm sorry - you're forgiven ones as well, God is teaching, building, scraping, refining, reforming, and creating us to be more like him.

This is a gift.
For this we are thankful.
This is God in us.

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2
"As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance." 1 Peter 1:14

Sunday, February 15, 2015


  I'm not sure if it is the fresh air or the wide open spaces that scare me. I've always craved the country since stepping into the big city in 2007. Now I am placed exactly where I want to be and instead of staring at the stars or breathing in the fresh smells I have been jumping into my truck and driving mindlessly to the city. Running away from my coveted freedom. Isn't it ironic, this running back to the place I felt captive! I miss so much of it, my friends, my church, access to anything I ever needed. Yet, today as I ran on a treadmill and stared at the beautiful clouded sky and the damp ground in my small town, I felt the urge to scream - even loud enough to make my own eardrums explode.

   This frustration inside of me wasn't at what was around me. No, it was with my selfish attitude of never being satisfied. On the other side of the large glass window is a beautiful day but I chose to run inside.  Months ago, I prayed for God to place my husband and I where we were needed and he moved us away and gave us this wonderful home in a friendly neighborhood... but I'm not investing in the place He called us to. I'm running back to the life I came from, running away from what he has called me for - here in this town. In this small, uneventful, drama filled  town. A town where preachers leave because they cannot handle it anymore. A town where brokenness is found in the gossip, the rumors, and the constant unchanging.

   Unfortunately, this running needs to stop. I need to take a step back and focus on what God has called me to here - what He has placed on my heart. I don't know how long it is going to take to arrive on a mountain top again, but I'm going to start walking until I find it and meet Him there. I want to serve my Jesus with my whole heart. I want Him to be my every day, my every moment. I can't live running away from His calling for me because I am scared or don't know where to start.

   So please, please pray for me as I begin staying. Tears have found their way and are drowning my eyes as I write this because it is so hard to stay sometimes. To stay, to breathe, and to not run in fear.  So, through it all I will place my eyes on him. I will believe that his plan is well with my soul, that my God is stronger than this pain, and that whatever he believes needs to be completed here I will respond with, "Here I am! Choose me! I trust you!" This long journey of finding satisfaction in the valley is over. I'm ready to walk back up to the mountain-top to meet my Jesus there; to see his face, meet him, and hear him say "I am proud of  you."

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Giving All Your Love!

It was 7 p.m. and I was with my boyfriend (now husband) at his brother's house watching the Spurs dominate the court when my stomach began to turn. Three seconds later I was sprinting to the restroom throwing up everything I had in my system. It was miserable! Not to mention, EMBARRASSING!!! There I was vulnerable, crying a mascara river onto my shirt, and moving between heaving and puking every few minutes; there he was holding my hair back, wiping my face, and whispering words of encouragement "Bray, you'll be okay".

Two days later (YES! TWO!) I finally made it back to my Aunt's house where I had been living at the time. I was so weak and I hardly remember those days, but the moments that I do remember were him walking in and checking on me,  bringing me PediaLite and eventually crackers while brushing the hair out of my unwashed face. The moment I finally woke up and was comprehending what had happened, I wept. I wept because I was in a position where I had no idea what had happened since 7 p.m. two days prior, and this boy had been taking such gentle care of me. A food-poisoned princess... a throw up-fighting knight.

Maybe I fell head over heals in front of that toilet bowl. Maybe that was one of the moments that I knew this man could conquer anything. His love for me bent low and met me in my pain and hurt. He whispered hope when I felt the world was crashing. True love.

Love does that... it explodes hearts in a quiet way.
It isn't about one day a year, it's about every day. Every day you step unselfishly into the true kind of love. The love that gives hope, encouragement, and peace. The love that doesn't do because they have to, but does because it wants to.

Today I did just that and I encourage you to do the same - step up and out. Love in a way that explodes a heart, filling it with thankfulness, joy, and gratitude. Look at the people around you! Everyone needs something, subtle or ginormous. Today I scanned the yard and could hear Adam's voice in the background, full of dismay at the trenches the dogs have dug. I filled every single one of them. Painful? Yes. Sweat-filled? Yes. Full of love and excitement about what he will think when he comes home? ABSOLUTELY!

He's my knight. My warrior. My tender-hearted man.

I would do anything for him... even the stuff that isn't fun.

So do something today that puts you out of your comfort zone. Love! Love because we are loved. Bless others with gifts you have by giving them the gifts they need. Pick up flowers for a single person, invite someone over whom you don't normally interact with, do something difficult. The growth and joy you find from it will only push you further into this love-giving adventure.


Friday, January 23, 2015

How Stepping Out Began.. Because Hiding Isn't Justified Anymore

Today was just an ordinary day.
4:45 roll out of bed.
4:50 run and turn the truck on - heater cranked up.
4:59 out the door
5:14 arrive at Crossfit
6:07 run 2 miles
6:35 rinse off, dress for work
7:01 quick stop for breakfast (friday treat)
7:13 arrive at my desk - throw my stuff down.
7:15 my favorite part of the day.

Head bowed.
Jesus? Do you hear me? I'm here, I've been waiting for this moment. I crave it every day. This quiet time before the rush. Can I just sit here with you and breathe... just take in your peace.

You refresh me. You do. You're glorious, my Savior. You, yes you are the one who is ALL Mighty. Who is beautiful. Who has legions of angels at his beckon call. You are the one who loves me more than your own life, more than pain, more than heart break. You do. You will never leave me, nor will you forsake me. My Precious King. Here I am... right here.

Right here before you saying I am unworthy of this meeting place. Of this moment. I am unworthy - a sinner I don't belong amidst your presence. Yet, you call it a lie. You have spoken saying that I am adopted, you are the atonement for my sin, masking it all. Erasing it all. Let me just breathe this moment in...

Forgive me for the monotony of my life. For the auto-draft hopes of redemption. You've called me to more than that... to more than just being a check in the mail. You've called me to proclaim... PROCLAIM your words - the good news - to the poor. You're beckoning me to GO and BIND up the brokenhearted wounds. You've commanded me to PROCLAIM freedom and RELEASE prisoners from their darkness. Yet, I sit here - auto-drafting redemption. Auto-drafting hope. My money is doing more than I am... so God, forgive me. Forgive me of hiding behind wealth and prosperity. Forgive me - and here I am now... open arms saying SEND ME! HERE I AM... Send Me. Choose me, because my heart has changed and I want to do more for you, I want to be all for you.

Send me.

Send me to battle alongside you. Whatever that looks like - whatever battle you have chosen to prepare me for, I know, in the sense of not knowing exactly how, that you are preparing me for the fight.  So send me... when you're ready. Not when I think I am, or when I think I am not... but when you, in your infinite knowledge and your glorious plan, are ready.


Then it hit me... I'm stepping out today ready, for the first time in a long time - I'm ready.

Stained-Glass Heart

God I don't know what I'm doing
and I don't know where to start.
Anxiety is battling deep inside my heart.
I'm broken and I'm torn, falling into pieces.
Expectations are demanding, out of reach - they keep teasing.

So here is my stained glass heart
put together by the maker of the stars.
This stained-glass heart
needs a light to shine bright through it,
but tonight the beauty is hidden in the dark.

I am drained in this confusion,
and I'm giving you my all.
Let your grace be cherished;
only your truth be sought.
A fragile child I am, keep me held in your hands.
God I don't want to miss your best,
by running back to the start.

So here is my stained glass heart
put together by the maker of the stars.
This stained-glass heart
needs a light to shine bright though it,
but tonight the beauty is hidden in the dark.

So here I am.
Take me.
God shine radiantly!
You've won this war against the world on my heart.
My soul longed or rest - just one deep breath,
and now you're claiming VICTORY!

On this stained-glass heart,
put together by the maker of the stars.
This stained-glass heart has your love-light shining through it;
radiantly the beauty overwhelms the dark.

Radiantly the beauty overwhelms the dark,
in my stained-glass heart.

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Friendly and Needy Request

It's been 19 days since I stopped everything. I stopped blogging, stopped posting, just plainly stopped. Quieting myself, seeking God first above recognition, above encouragement, above all. Above all, I wanted to see what His dream for my life was, yet here I sit here today still wondering.

I've cried in confusion.
I've prayed for confirmation.
I've wept in frustration and irritation.

Scripture has overwhelmed me, friends and mentors have had reassuring words. Even though I did not tell many people about this period in my life, who I told - I told in the midst of overwhelming confusion and a very humbling fall, what I love most is that God gave them words to feed my soul.

This quietness and shutting out has brought me to a point where I do not even think what I write or do is worthy to be read. It is me -- in my brokenness, in my tears, in my craving for something more.  Then God sends someone to whisper a sense of hope into my longing, he places a verse where I don't have to seek it out, and the spirit spills words out of my mouth when I pray.

I know... yes I know that is from God.

David sat there too, a dreamer like me. He's been through what I'm going through, now. He did the mundane tasks while his brothers fought battles. He sat staring at the same stars I gaze in to.  He cleaned up messes, and "kept his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, [he] went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on [him], [he] seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it." (1 Samuel 17: 34-35); still he knew he was made for more. Yet, without knowing, God was preparing Him all this time to slay a giant and bring encouragement to his people.

Abram (Abraham) was given a vision in a thick and dreadful darkness (Genesis 15:12). Joseph was a dreamer and was sold as a slave, then imprisoned for being a slave with standards, until one day he ended up being used in God's big plan.

So here I am, breaking my silence by letting you know that I am a very broken dreamer. I am a dreamer waiting in the dark where there is no light at the end of my tunnel, but that is okay.

What I am learning is this:

  • Dreams don't turn out the way you think; they are not turning out the way I want them to, at all! 
  • In the dreadful darkness, in the valley, in the mundane God is changing me. He is molding me and strengthening me. The tears are washing away the weakness so that I may not faint or give way when He presents me to His dream. Patience is strengthening me in the heavy mist. Discipline is forming, and I am waiting, and finally sitting until He says "move". 
  • Once I come to a place where He can trust me with what lies ahead in His marvelous plan, I'll be waiting, because Slow and steady is His pace. He is not in a hurry... even if I am. 

So pray for me friends, as I pray for you. Pray for courage to face the darkness. For patience to beat out the frantic hurry. For love to abound and spring forward even when I would rather hide and hate. Pray for discipline so that He will trust me with His dream, even if I have no idea what it is - and that scares me. Pray for these things... please.

Much love.