Monday, July 27, 2009

Stepping Out

What are you afraid of?

Think about the one thing in the world that is keeping you from living the life you have always wanted to live.

Is it fear of rejection, disappointment, embarrassment, or failure? Is it fear of losing something or someone? Is it fear of not being accepted?

What fear is hindering you? 

Too many times we miss out on life because of fear.

We confine ourselves to what we are comfortable with, even if that means mediocrity. 

We give up on adventure, accept loneliness, wave goodbye to dreams, forfeit our influence and lay low because of fear.

We build up wall after wall after wall until we are enclosed so tightly that we have only left room for ourselves.

We close our eyes and shut out everything that intimidates us, then open them and wonder why our world is so small.

It’s because we’ve allowed it.

Fear is apart of our sin nature. And just like any other sin, it is something we have to fight against.

We spend way too much of our time letting fear control us when we should really be focusing on learning to control it.

We sit in the boat watching everyone else step over the side. And just when we muster up enough courage to throw our leg over, fear tells us that we aren’t ready. 

God wants to use us now, but fear tells us we have to wait.

It is crippling.  It keeps us from moving forward in life. It makes us believe we aren’t capable.  It steals our courage, our joy, and our peace. It causes us to live in complacency and slowly convinces us we are ok with it.

 Living in fear means we are living with the mentality that everything is in our hands.

There is nothing biblical about that.  The Bible says in Timothy that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind,

 Where does this power come from? Where does this love come from? Where does our help come from? It does not come from within. It is not something we can achieve on our own.

Our power, our love, our help comes from the Lord, a God who loves us perfectly.

And perfect love cast out all fear. If we know we are loved perfectly by our creator, then our fears have no choice but to leave.

 God does not send us into any situation by ourselves. There is nothing he expects us to do all on our own. He is always with us.

In any and every moment, God is there.

We need to be living with that mentality.

 God wants to use us. Not as a pawn but as a vessel. A pawn is a dense object that cannot be filled, but a vessel is hollow. God wants to first pour himself into us, and then send us out for His purposes.

There are so many things He has planned for us. But we must first learn to get out of our boats.

 Sometimes getting out of the boat isn’t exciting. It’s not always going to be a “walking on water” experience. Sometimes getting out of the boat just means talking to someone you are intimidated by or being vulnerable and opening up to a family member or friend. Sometimes it means caring more than we want to or loving freely without fear of losing.

 Sometimes getting out of the boat just means having the courage to leave your house, stepping out of your comfort zone, or letting go of your daily routines and activities.

Whether or not it is exciting, no matter what getting out of the boat entails, it is something we are called to do.

And until we do, we won’t be able to fully experience God’s blessings.

God is waiting on us to throw our fear aside, swallow our pride,  fix our eyes on Him, and step out.


“Hell begins the day God grants you the vision to see all that you could have done, should have done, would have done, but did not do.” 

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Just ask Jonah

"Teach me Your way, O Lord; 
I will walk in Your truth."
Psalm 86:11

My husband Caleb and I spent the last week in Minnesota with our family from his side. They have a tradition, one they have kept since Caleb's dad was a little boy. Everyone, including aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, in laws, etc, meets at a place called Cragun's. 
Cragun's is a resort right by Gull lake. Each family gets there own cabin and spends a week together, boating, tubing, skiing, fishing, EATING, playing games, watching movies and just having fun together. 
Well this year was a little different. This year Minnesota had record low temperatures. Which means, we didn't get in the water much. 
We had a huge thunderstorm where it rained 6 inches and every other day was way too cold to even think about skiing or tubing. 
Everyone was saddened by this. And even though I thoroughly enjoyed the rainstorm and the weather, I could understand why everyone was disappointed. 
Its because an expectation wasn't met. 
Everyone packed their shorts and tank tops and swim suits and coolers, and tubes, and skis, and hauled their boats all the way to the lake expecting to use them. 
But that didn't happen.
Everyday we woke up and looked out the window expecting to see that the weather had changed. 
But that isn't what God had in mind for that week. 

For some reason God wanted us indoors. Maybe He wanted us to slow down, maybe He wanted us all to bond as a family. Maybe He was saving us from an injury that could have happened out on the lake. I don't know. He didn't personally reveal His reasoning to me, but I know He had one. 
And I am convinced that if we had packed up early and ventured off to another lake who's forecast promised sunshine, we would have arrived to find it was gloomy there as well. 
Why? Because God doesn't confine Himself to meet our expectations. 

Our God is a good God. He is a God of love and He loves to see us smile. But that doesn't mean He is going to change His mind on something just because we don't understand it. 

Far too often we try to convince ourselves that what WE want is what God wants for us. 
Not only do we try to convince ourselves, we try to convince God as well. 

If we want something bad enough, whether it is a certain career, a relationship, a sunny day, etc, we will stop at nothing to justify it in our minds and before God.  
And if we don't get it right away, we act as if God is not listening. 

We question Him on His integrity without even thinking about the fact that maybe, just maybe, we are asking for something that isn't good for us and our God has a better plan. 

I myself am SO guilty of this. I am always questioning my standing with God. I think that if He doesn't respond right away with a YES, then He probably doesn't hear me. But that couldn't be more false. 
God hears every prayer offered up by His children. He doesn't always answer with a yes, but He always answers for our good.
Our efforts shouldn't be put into selling God on our brilliant ideas.
Our efforts should be put into understanding God's brilliant ideas for us. 

The longer we keep running in the wrong direction towards our plans, the longer it will take for us to fulfill the purposes God created us to fulfill. 
Just ask Jonah. He had a whole night in a whale's belly to think about his decision of heading to Tarshish instead of Nineveh. 

God will do what it takes to get us back on the right track, but we can skip the whole getting swallowed by a fish thing if we just choose to look at what God wants before looking at what we want. 

"The Holy Spirit speaks to neutral hearts. By that I don't mean passive or indifferent hearts.... I mean being consumed with discovering what pleases the Holy Spirit rather than working to convince Him of the wisdom and brilliance of our plans. I am afraid many of us pray with the goal of talking God into things rather than trying to discover His will.
As a result, we never hear Him."
Charles F. Stanley 

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Through Different Eyes

Three years ago today

I was living life the way I wanted to. My eyes were closed, my head was turned. I wasn't allowing myself to see the truth. I was mindlessly going through life, ignoring all of the "turn around" signs God was putting in my path. I had replaced God with something I thought would bring happiness. I took Him out of the priority position, and filled the void with an unhealthy relationship.With every passing day I felt further and further away from my God. I eventually stopped running back to Him because only in His presence did I feel convicted. Only in the presence of a Holy God did I see my sin for what it was. And I despised myself.
Although my self-indulged point of view brought me many tears and sleepless nights, I remained in it waiting for the day things would "work themselves out."
I convinced myself that my hidden rebellion towards God was a stage everyone went through.
I made myself believe I was happy.
But my heart was fragile, and at times I could literally feel it break.

Two years ago today

I was finding my way back to the Father. The relationship I was holding onto so tightly finally decided to let me go. After spending many nights sprawled across my sister's bed weeping and questioning God, I began to realize His best for me was still waiting to be discovered.
I learned that God wanted me to seek Him first, not just because He is a jealous God, but because nothing will ever be satisfying or fulfilling if He is not in it.
I learned to ask for things in His name.
I started every single day off with prayer and devotion.
In every prayer I asked for a man of good character.
I asked for someone that was passionate and God fearing.
I requested that he would be intelligent and sweet and perfect for me only.
"Oh and God... you know I love to laugh... so can I have someone funny?"
Yes, I even asked for humor. :)
Through much prayer and time spent with God, I began to love myself again. I began to see things through His eyes rather than mine.
God brought me through amazing experiences with amazing people and slowly but surely rebuilt my heart.

One year ago today

I was in Minnesota with one of my best friends. It was a hot humid day. He took me all over the beautiful campus of Bethel University where he used to go to school. We spent the day talking about life and things we used to do. There were strong winds and Tornado warnings that day.
He led me up the stairs in one of the buildings and in through the doors of a small prayer chapel.
The lights were low, the candles were lit and there was a water basin in the middle of the stage. He asked me to sit down. With a steady voice he read me passages out of the Bible about love. He reassured me of his affection for me. He told me what an amazing woman he thought I was. He asked if he could wash my feet. As he was washing my feet he looked up at me with his big green eyes and said "I want to get up every morning and serve you with this kind of attitude. I want to love you this way for the rest of our lives." He finished washing my feet and got on one knee. He asked me the question I had waited my entire life to hear. I said yes!

I am celebrating an amazing day given by an amazing God.
As I look back on these past few years I realize how much of a difference it makes to see things through God's perspective.
Our definition of "best" cannot even compare to what God has in store.
But sometimes our hands are so full of what WE want, we leave no room for God to put in what HE has.
We go through life trying to provide for ourselves and then wonder why we always end up with mediocre.
Its because what God desires to give us is more than mediocre, it is even more than good. What God desires to give us is great.

Mark Batterson said it perfectly in his book, In a pit with a lion on a snowy day,
"Good is often the enemy of Great."

When we live our lives the way we want, we end up settling for mediocrity.
But when we live our lives the way God wants, there is no telling what He will do.

So I urge each and every one of you to let go of what you are holding onto.
Lay it at the feet of Jesus. It doesn't belong to you anyway.

This isn't always easy, but I guarantee you its what is best.
Let go. Free your hands. Free your heart. Seek Him first.

And ALL of these things will be added unto you.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Redemption Is Here

I know I am not alone in saying there are things I have done in life that I am not proud of. 
As human beings we have archives of regrets.  Its because we are imperfect.
We were born into a sin nature, and a byproduct of that is... well... sin. 
That doesn't make it ok. That doesn't justify it.  It just gives us an idea of why its so easy for us to mess up.

I don't think the enemy's biggest victory is getting us to sin.
I think his biggest victory is making us feel unforgivable.
He gets us to our lowest point, reminds us of our terrible failures, and then whispers lies into our heads about how we aren't even worthy enough to ask our Father for forgiveness. 

And because we feel so inadequate, we run farther away. 

I know exactly how this goes because I have been there. 
I was so surprised and frightened by my sin that I felt like God was surprised and frightened too. I felt like I had somehow shocked God with my actions. 
And instead of falling on my face before Him begging for forgiveness, I allowed myself to believe that His grace wasn't sufficient enough for me. So I stayed, dwelling on my sin, awaiting my next failure. Because that was easier than facing an unforgiving God. 

And thats where the enemy gets the victory. 
He convinces us that we only get one chance. 
He makes us believe that our loving God isn't capable of forgiving us. 

The enemy is the deceiver and the confuser. He always has been. 1 Peter 5:8 says that he is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. 
He delights in our weaknesses. He finds joy in our suffering. And he wants us to stay there. 

But God is the complete opposite. 
The God we serve is a God of love. He is the strength in our weakness, He is the joy when we suffer and the last thing He wants to do is leave us in our sin. He is the restorer and the rebuilder. He makes all things new. He is the Father that RUNS to us when we call out to Him. Christ hung on a cross because He knew our wickedness would keep us from spending eternity with Him in Heaven. So He took on our punishment. 

The saddest thing we can do is cheapen His grace. To look at ourselves and say, "You're grace may be sufficient for everyone else, but not for me." 
Who are we to believe that our righteousness was ever our own? 

We are told in Hebrews to approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. 

Ladies, I encourage all of you to approach that throne today. 
No matter what you have done. 
God wants to redeem you. He wants to make you pure again. 
Stop believing you are the exception to the rule. 
Come out of your hiding place. Be vulnerable before the Lord. 
Restoration is waiting. 
Abundant life is waiting. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Love That Waits

After reading Esther's blog about dating and hearing all of the different responses, I realized this topic really sparked a lot of your interests.
Today as I sat at my computer and read letters from different women who have been hurt by relationships or frustrated by the lack of, God put it on my heart to really elaborate on this subject.

I think Brooke Frazer hit the nail on the head when she wrote a song called "Love is Waiting."

Love, true love, the thing girls dream about as children, the emotion we long to experience at least once in our lifetime, the desire we pray to be fulfilled, the commitment we will spend the rest of our lives upholding, is worth waiting for.

But sometimes...actually most of the time we get impatient.
We are so hungry for love, we will take it anywhere it shows itself. Our hearts are tricked into believing that anyone who says they want us, will love us.
Sadly, this is far from true.

I have seen many girls waste their lives away in the wrong relationships. In an effort to feel wanted by someone, they give themselves over to someone else's pleasure; someone who doesn't see them for who they are, someone who, in reality, doesn't even care.

I myself was in a very unhealthy relationship once. I spent two and a half years trying to become the person he wanted me to be. I let go of who I truly was, I let go of who God wanted me to be, and I became someone even I didn't recognize.
I realized that the relationship was terrible for me.
I wouldn't admit it, but in the back of my mind, I could hear the voice of truth SO strong telling me to get out. But I loved him. Despite everything the relationship was doing to me, I was ready to marry him. And I stayed
At the end of those two and a half years, I was not Brittany.
I was broken, I was bruised, I was everything he wanted me to be, yet I was not enough. And he moved on.
I felt like an old pair of shoes. I did the job for a couple of years, but eventually I got old and he out grew me. So I was tossed aside.

I was overwhelmed for a while after wards, but God met me in my brokenness. He helped me rediscover my worth.
I realized that God knew I wouldn't leave the relationship, so he provided a way out.
When I look back on it now, I wonder why I stayed in something SO wrong for me for SO long.

Part of the reason I stayed so long was manipulation (which I will get into another time)
but the other reason was my longing to be loved.
Even when the love didn't fit, even when it felt so wrong, I wanted it.
What I didn't realize is that it wasn't love at all.
It was selfishness, lust and desire using the alias "Love."

And that is what we as women need to be careful of.
The alias called "LOVE"
There are so many things out there using the name of love.
Everyday women easily fall into these traps.
Impatience makes us act without thinking.
Desperation causes us to give up on what we truly want.
And true love is left out of the picture, because we couldn't wait on it like it has been waiting on us.

My mom always told me "God is never in a hurry but He is ALWAYS on time."

I tell you the truth, God has a purpose and a plan for every woman out there.
If it is His will for you to get married, then it will ONLY happen perfectly in His timing.

And all we are left to do is wait.

Like I said in an earlier post, "waiting" is one of the hardest things we have to do as humans.
But let me encourage you to find beauty in this period of waiting.

Being single was such a beautiful period of my life. It showed me I am capable of independence.
It reminded me of my need for God. I grew so much closer to him and learned so much about myself in the process. I woudln't trade that time for the world.

Now that I am happily married to a man God placed directly in my life, I can look at Caleb and know I am with him, not because I wanted a husband and he fit the role, but because God made something beautiful out of our waiting and brought us together in His perfect timing.
Trust me, to experience a love you know without a doubt was God given, it worth an eternity of waiting.


"I'll give it time, give it space and be still for a spell
When it's time to walk that way we wanna walk it well....
and like I can't force the sun to rise or hasten summer's start,
neither should I rush my way into your heart"
Brooke Frazer / Love Is Waiting

Make a Joyful Noise!

This morning was a busy one and I didn't get the chance to reflect and write. 
But before I rush off to work, I want to encourage everyone with this....

Find God in something today.
He is in the details. 
He is God of the big things, but He is also God of the little things. 
Search for Him today. You WILL find Him.
And when you find Him, PRAISE Him, because He is so worthy of your praise! 

We spend most of our lives doubting him, begging him, yelling at him, questioning him, directing him, taking from him, 
But today lets take the time to do what we were made to do. Glorify Him! Praise Him! Make a joyful noise to Him. 
No matter what we are going through or how hard it is, He is worthy to be praised. 

Monday, July 6, 2009


"Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him." 
Isaiah 30:18

Is it just me or is patience one of the hardest things to practice. 
You think we would have learned how to wait patiently by now.
We have been doing it for YEARS!
It feels like everything in life requires waiting. 
But it is still so difficult. 

We are progressive people. We don't like to be the same today as we were yesterday. We expect to see growth. And if things don't change exactly when WE think they should, we get antsy. We start praying things like "God, where are you...can you still hear me?" We convince ourselves that we have been forgotten about and left behind. We start to believe that every closed door is God sticking his tongue out at us. Then comes feelings of hopelessness and depression. 

I believe that the enemy uses depression as an attack weapon.  He sneaks into our thoughts and fills our heads with lies about our future. He tells us we aren't good enough. He makes us believe we will always be stuck in the same rut. He singlehandedly uses lies to kill our motivation until we give up on what we were made to do. 

Our problem is, once again, our mindset. The voice of lies stops us dead in our tracks and we allow ourselves to believe that the God of love would actually forget about one of His own children.
We limit God everyday with our thoughts. 
For some reason we see him as the enemy. 
We forget that He is outside of our realm of time. 
We forget that He is in control. 
We forget that He wants the best for us.

It is WE who forget ... not God. 

"Is there a problem too awful or too hard for God to handle? If your answer to this question is anything other than 'no', your understanding of God is too small. Our God is a great and limitless God. He dwells in eternity and operates in infinity.  He has all things within His understanding and all things under His control. " Charles F. Stanley

Waiting is difficult. But it is something you will, most likely, always be asked to do. 
Just remember which voice to listen to when you are waiting. If it is a negative voice, it is the enemy feeding you lies. 

Always listen to the voice of truth, if you can't hear it maybe you aren't listening....or maybe your own thoughts are too loud. 

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Freedom to Dream

I think that sometimes, some of us are afraid of our talents and dreams. We know they are there, we know that we love them, we know that we would absolutely LOVE to use them, but we leave them alone... because of fear.
Fear that we won't make it.
Fear that we aren't good enough. 
Fear that no one else would consider us talented.
Fear that it wouldn't be practical to pursue them.
Fear that our dreams are silly.
Fear that we will disappoint.
This list goes on. 

But let me tell you... fear is the killer of hope and dreams
It is nothing but a lack of faith. 
It is putting all of the weight on our shoulders.
It is us allowing ourselves to think that God has lost control and has left everything up to us. 
And that couldn't be farther from the truth. 

The only thing we are biblical allowed to fear is God. And fearing God doesn't mean trembling in a corner because He is so scary. Fearing God means standing in awe and revering Him. Because He is everything. 

God created us. And with each person he formed, he designed unique talents to go along with them. He made yours ESPECIALLY for you.
You might think there are a million other people in the world with your specific talent... but that is not true.  There is no one out there EXACTLY like you. 

Today is a day set aside to remember and celebrate our freedom. 
It is your freedom and your privilege to exercise your God given talent. 
Don't let another demeaning word, haughty look, or self-conscious thought take that freedom away from you. 

Do not bury your talent. God wants to use to to bring glory to His name. :) 


"God gave you specific talents and abilities to use in fulfilling His plan and purpose for the ages. He made you to bring glory to Himself... to have fellowship with Him and to be in a close, intimate relationship with Him. I can think of no higher purpose than for a person to be a close personal friend of God and to use the talents that God has given him to the best of his ability all the days of his life...
It is for this purpose that the Holy Spirit helps and guides us on a daily basis."
Charles F. Stanley, Day by Day God's Way

Friday, July 3, 2009

A Million Chances

I love the feeling of a brand new day! Especially when she sun shines through my window and wakes me up. 
It is like a chance to start over. If you didn't like how you felt yesterday, or the choices you made, then Today you can change it! 
I think it is amazing. God is not just the God of second chances, He is the God of a million chances. He knows how our minds work so he allowed the sun to set and rise every day for the rest of our lives; giving us the mentality that we don't have to be what we were yesterday.
Every day is new and His grace is sufficient EVERY single day for the rest of our lives. 
What a gracious God. 

He loves me OH how He loves me. And He loves YOU! 
So today, make a choice! 
Don't let the frustrations of yesterday keep you from pursuing you life! Whether you felt complacent, depressed, embarrassed, ashamed, purposeless, fearful, unwanted, unneeded, unloved, no matter HOW you felt yesterday...TODAY is different.  God created this day. He has known for a LONG time that it is coming. This day is here on purpose and so are you! 

This is the day that the Lord has made
let us rejoice and be glad in it!
Psalm 118:24 

Thursday, July 2, 2009

amazingly difficult yet amazingly wonderful

"When you enter into marriage with you put your desires aside because the truest love is selfless love.
It's not about winning the argument every time. Its about dying to yourself and loving him enough to understand him and put his needs before yours. 
Philippians 2:3-4 says
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interest, but also to the interests of others. 
Your husband is no exception to this rule.

You are not in this marriage to be loved, but to love. And yes, being loved in return is a beautiful byproduct.
Regardless, on your wedding day, you are allowing him to become one with you. From that day forward, you don't only have yourself to look out for. You have a human being, a lover, a soul-mate to consider as part of you. So in every decision you make, you can't help but consider how it will affect him. 
Marriage is tough because we are, by nature, selfish people. We want someone to be there for us when WE need them. But you're not only married on days when you need a helping hand, you are married every day for the rest of your life. This means sacrificing your wants and momentary desires for the one that you promised to love. 
Marriage is amazingly difficult and amazingly wonderful. You can't sum it up with one fight or one victory. It will be up and down for the rest of your life. But be confident of this. "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." This means, that until Christ comes back, or until he takes you away, he will be working in you and your husband to love one another more and more every passing day.

1Cor. 13:6 says 
Love does not delight in evil, but REJOICES in the truth. 

Every morning when you wake up, look for the good in each other. Don't let the enemy attack your thoughts and trick you into thinking that your love is diminishing. Do not let your feelings one day, get in the way of the rest of your life. Because we do NOT act on how we feel, we act on what we know. You know that you are loved by God and by the man you chose to spend the rest of your life with. So rejoice in that truth. Perfect love cast out all fear. So remember that you are loved and all of those fears have no choice but to subside. 

Love always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres. Love Never fails." ---

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wonderfully Made

I grew up in a house full of beauty. The second of four sisters and the daughter of a cosmetologist, I was surrounded by hair and makeup my entire life. With image constantly in the forefront of my mind, it was easy to be consumed with my appearance.

Am I too fat? Am I too skinny? Is my hair too thin? Why is my face so round? Where did these hips come from? Can I get rid of them? The thoughts that I allowed to cross my mind were ridiculous to say the least.

If it wasn’t my appearance it was my personality. I was the shy one; the one who’s nervous habits provoked laughter from the other kids. I froze at the sight of a cute boy, speechless, unable to flirt or even show a little bit of confidence. I watched as every boy fell in love with my older sister. I saw the way she made people laugh and smile. I stood in amazement as everyone tried to be more like her. She was confident. She liked herself. She was contagious.

I remember talking to my mom one day; ashamed of who I was, I told her I wanted to be more like my older sister.

My sweet mother, who always had a way of making me feel perfect, looked at me and said “Brittany, there is someone out there and they need you JUST the way you are.”

This phrase changed my outlook on myself.

I realized that God had made me this way on purpose. I knew that he had already set my life into motion and if I were any different, things wouldn’t turn out like they were supposed to. I began to love myself.

Years down the road, I am able to look back and see all of the people who have come into my life. I see how our personalities worked so well together. My husband is one of the best examples of this. He is extroverted to the nth degree. And while I have come out of my little shell, I am nowhere near as outgoing as he is. But that makes for the perfect balance. We wouldn’t work so well together if we had twin personalities.

God has used my quietness for his glory. He has given me wisdom and enabled me to be a counselor for many girls. In order to be a good counselor you have to be a good listener, and in order to be a good listener you have to be quiet.

His ways never cease to amaze me.

I want to encourage every girl out there to LOVE yourself.

You are beautiful and God made you the way you are on purpose.

There is nothing about you that happened on accident.

Every hair, every freckle, every tooth, is there for a reason.

Every laugh, every sneeze is supposed to sound that way.

Whether you are quiet or loud or both, God will use it for his glory.

I am sure you can look back on your life and see how he already has.

We always look at others and see what THEY have that WE don’t.

But I encourage you to look at yourself and find something that YOU have that others don’t. Without being conceited, find what makes you special and different and learn to love it.

“I Praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14