Thursday, August 18, 2016

Questioning Choices

I was awake half the night wondering if I said the right thing. Was there something else I could have done. Was there a way to "fight" the good fight in a way that would also show compassion and love. Did I back down or say things differently so I wouldn't cause conflict or so I wouldn't look harsh? I am doubting myself now and wishing I could have said more.

I am a Christian. I am a God fearing woman. I am also a sinner and I fall short of His glory daily. I do my best, but our best will never equal the price He paid for us. It is by His grace we are saved and not by our actions or deeds. I am grateful for that.

Yesterday something was said about the Bible not being true. That it was full of nonsense. I was hurt reading that statement. The Bible is true! The words written in it are true. Gods love and promises are true! I am not one for arguments, but when they said that it was just another book written by man I got upset. I made the statement that yes, the Bible is written by man, but so are history books. We have not seen half of the things written in these books, but we believe the things that line the pages without question. We teach that history today and force our children to learn and memorize those "historical" things. How is it so easy to believe a History book, but not the most important book of History we could ever know. The Bible is true.

Believing the words in the Bible are a choice. God gave all of us a choice. We can choose to lay down our life and follow Him or choose against Him. Matthew 16:24-25 says

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

I will never deny that I am a Christian. I will never deny that Jesus came to save me from my sins so that I may have eternal life through him. Sometimes I think that the issue isn't just about the Bible, but the question of faith. The question of believing something they cannot see. 

John 20:29-31 says this...

 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed;blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
The Bible is filled with truths that promise us eternal life through Jesus by believing. By having faith even as small as a mustard seed. 

I know it can be hard at times. I know life is a struggle. Christians face persecution daily for our beliefs. The Bible told us these things would happen. Life can seem unbearable at times and for many people denying it seems to be their answer. If they ignore it they don't think they will have to deal with things. We can have peace in knowing that God is with us because He told us he was! John 16: 33 says...
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

I love you all!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Letting Go of Thinking You Have to Be in Control

letting go
If you are anything like me then you have a strong urge to always be in control. You want to know what is going on, what the next step is, how to fix any problems, what steps are being taken to fix said problems, so on and so on. The bottom line of the entire situation is we are not in control! We can't take on the world ourselves. It will never happen, so you might as well get it out of your head.

I am one of those people who will get in a situation and think "ok what can I do to change this" or " I should be doing this to fix that". The problem with that is that we are relying on ourselves to fix things or change things. We cannot rely on our own judgment  to fix things that are out of our control. Some things go beyond us and that's when we have to let go and let God!

Saying not to worry about anything is not going to change things. I am not going to sit here and tell you that I never worry. I worry too much! That is something I pray about daily. When I pray I lay it at His feet and do my very best not to pick it back up. I have gotten better, but again I am not perfect! I try and I try and that's all that I can do.

I have learned over time that certain situations go far beyond me. I can't change everything and I can't fix everything, but what I can go is go before the Lord and ask Him to guide me in the steps I need to take in accordance to His will. That whatever I do be for His glory. I also realize that whatever the situation and whatever the outcome it is in His plan and it will turn out for His good.

The first thing we do is humans is rack our brains and stress ourselves out when things don't go in a way we think they should. We want to be in charge of our lives and have a firm grip on our lives and surroundings. I know it can be hard, but remember God gave us this life to prepare for our eternal life with Him.

When you are feeling overwhelmed and think that you need to control your situation remind yourself to stop! God has it under control. We are reminded of that in Exodus 14:14 " The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” So be still and know that God has this!

Love and Hugs!


Monday, March 21, 2016

When Your Plan Doesn't Line Up With God's Plan

Seeking Wisdom

Sometimes we lose sight of the big picture. We see things a certain way and want what we want. Sometimes we don't even give it a second thought. We just do whatever it is we want to do and then when things don't go as planned we wonder why.

Over the past year a lot has changed for me. I still struggle and I still have my faults, but I know that I want to follow Gods path for my family. I also know that His path may not always be the easy path, but I chose to follow it regardless.

I have been praying to know Gods will for several situations in my life. One of those has unfolded over the past few months. I prayed and prayed about this situation and thought I had an answer. I did what I thought I was supposed to do and trusted that no matter what the outcome He would guide us through, and He has!

We lost my grandmother 8 months ago tomorrow. That was not easy. I still hurt, I still cry, and I still want to reach out and hug her or talk to her. I didn't want to let go. I wasn't ready to let go.I can't say that I want to even now.

The house that my grandmother lived in has been in our family for over 60 years. This house was always "home" to me. I always loved coming here and being with my grandma. It has always been this special "safe" place we all love.

I prayed for direction about buying her house. Everything fell in place and we moved in a good bit of our stuff. I will admit that most of our things stayed in boxes though. Even after a month I just couldn't unpack anything. I couldn't really just unbox my stuff and fully move in. Something felt "off".

I prayed for direction and while I felt so unsure about what to do I trusted God. I trusted that He knew what was best for our family. We went to the bank to get a home loan and the process would take longer then we could wait for. We needed to have the funds right away and that wasn't going to happen. My grandmas house was slipping through my fingers.

I felt confused after that. I felt like I may not have been listening to God or that I missed something. Did I do something wrong? What am I doing? Why isn't this working? I may not have all the answers, but I know that God is still leading the way.

I sit here now (in my grandmothers kitchen) writing this and I know that God has huge plans for us. We aren't going to buy the house, in fact, we are moving everything out next week. We are letting go. I am letting go. I know this is what is best though. This is the plan God has for us.

I know God used this situation to help bring closure to a lot of different situations. It allowed us to spend some time here and to process everything. We took care of several other things that also needed to be handled, that would have been almost impossible otherwise. It definitely helped us reevaluate a lot of different things.

God is using this situation to grow our family spiritually. He is using it to bring us closer together and above all closer to him. It isn't about the houses we live in or the things we have, it's about our family, the love we share. This world is our temporary home and we are only here to prepare for our eternal home with our heavenly Father.

God uses every situation no matter how small or big to change us. It's time to let go and move forward. I'm ready to see where He leads us!

Love and Hugs!


Brandi J Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Friday, March 18, 2016

When You Think You Have Failed

Failure is something I think that all of us fear at some point in our lives. We don't want to fail. We tell ourselves we aren't built to fail, but guess what? We are!We will fail over and over again. It isn't about failure its about fighting; fighting the good fight!

As I sit here writing this I struggle to think through my past failures  mistakes  learning experiences. We have all been there. Some of us have been there more than we care to think about, or even admit. So here I am today willing to do just that. Admit it!

Failure isn't just about not doing our best on a test, or losing at a game of scrabble (or a wii game) with our family. Failure is when we set out to do a task and that task doesn't go as planned. No, I am not quoting Websters dictionary for that last sentence. For some of us failure means drinking that drink we said we would never touch again, smoking that cigarette when we said we quit, eating yet another piece of cake when we know we have a problem with food. It could be about telling just one more" tiny" lie, reaching for those pills that we know are killing us, raising our hand to the one who loves us, or even taking that punch from someone we swore would never hurt us again. Our "failures" come in many shapes, sizes, and forms.

Tonight I had a conversation about my week. As I discusses how things unfolded something struck a nerve. I managed to let my mind drift to my past and relived my various issues with abandonment. That is another story entirely. Another day, another time.

I sat there and explained how one situation in my life causes a ripple effect. Here is an action (whatever the action may be) and then follows the effect (whatever thing happens due to my previous action). At this point in my conversation I am crying. I am feeling like I have failed one too many times. I am seeing all these mistakes; all these failures. Then I snapped back to reality and realized that these so called failures were not what they seem.

I know that when we are going through a situation it seems to be the worst possible thing in our lives. We feel like things can't be any worse, and that no one could possible understand. That is not true! The enemy wants us to think that, but he is the master of lies. People do understand, and above all God does! God knows all of our hurts, all of our mistakes, all of the things that make us cry ourselves to sleep at night. He knows every single one of them and He wants us to give them to Him. We don't have to carry that alone. 

The things that you and I have gone through are what will build our character. They are what bring us closer to God. They are what break us so that we can be found in Him; found and loved beyond measure. 

If someone would have told me that any of my failures or sufferings would be to benefit me in the future I would have thought they were crazy. That feeling when you feel so broken and and so lost will eventyally fade away. For years I felt lost. I searched and searched everywhere I thought I would find myself. I looked in every place I thought could bring me a glimmer of happiness or an answer to who I really was. I looked in every direction except the right one...up! 

One day when I was more broken that I had ever been I gave up trying. I couldn't do it on my own. I coudnt keep searching for something that I would clearly never find alone. I feel to my knees and looked up and every single doubt of who I was was gone. I was a child of God. I was the daughter of a King who loved me even though I was a broken mess. He loved my faults. He loved me for me and even in my weakness kept me strong. 

One of my favorite Bible verses is found in  2 Corinthians 12 :9-10 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

"For when I am weak, then I am strong". Every time I hear that I smile. I don't have to be strong! I don't have to be perfect! I can make mistakes, and I can fail! His Grace will cover us through it all! That my friends is amazing! There is no other love so perfect! 

So the next time you are questioning yourself, or you are feeling like you have failed remember the bigger picture. Remember that we may have times that things are hard and we suffer for those things, but God will use those to mold us into the people we need to become. God turns even the most broken into something beautiful. Don't give up! Keep fighting the good fight!

I have been listening to this song on repeat after a comment was left for me on facebook! Check out Unspoken- Good Fight!

Love and Hugs as always!!


Brandi J.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Is God Calling You?

I'm sitting here drinking coffee at a time I should probably be sleeping. Scratch that, I know I should be sleeping. Do you ever have one of those moments where you feel like God is calling you to do something, but you aren't really sure if it is for real? I am having one of those moments.

Is God Calling you?
I am one of those people who tend to overthink things. I have always been like that. I'm sitting here now wondering if this thought...this BIG thought is really something that He wants me to do. I have been told by others in my past that this thing that I am thinking is something I should do. That this thing, this thought, is screaming at me do take hold and do it. I have been reminded several times over the past few years and even the past few days.

This is something I have been praying about for about a year now. It isn't something that I am only taking advice from others about. I have been avoiding others opinions of the matter for a very long time. But what if this is real? What if this thing really is in His plan for me?

I don't know that I am going to wake up tomorrow with one of those light bulb emoji's above my head with the correct answer. I don't know that I will even know in a week, a month, or another year. What I do know is this thought has been getting louder and louder and is no longer a faint whisper in the back of my mind. It is screaming at me now, and clearly keeping me awake.

I don't know if this is something that I am being called to do, but I will tell you that I will be praying deeply about it. I will be asking for guidance and understanding about the situation. I will be asking God for him to show me the path He wants me to take and help me discern these options and choices.

The only thing I do know is that if God is calling then I am going to answer! This might not be easy, but if this is His will then I am on board! If God calls you will you answer?

2 Peter 1: 10-11

10)Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11) and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Love and Hugs!

Brandi J

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Seeing Part of God's Plan Unfold :Part Eight

Forgiveness is the remedy. It doesn’t mean you’re erasing the past, or forgetting what happened. It means you’re letting go of the resentmen...
--------------------PART EIGHT--------------------
The nurses from hospice started coming more and more often. I knew that wasn't a good sign. I tried to prepare for the inevitable. How do you prepare for something like that? How do you prepare to let someone you love so dearly go? The answer is you cant! You cant ever truly prepare to let go of them.
Philippians 4:7 says "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." I hold on to that. I do have peace because of Him. Things will not always be easy, but He is with me.
I sat at my grandmothers bed holding her hand as she tried to speak. The words were not coming out clearly, so I tried to make out what she was saying. After a few minutes I said "home" and she shook her head yes. Then something else, so I asked "heaven" and she shook her head yes again. I looked at her and said "I know Gran. I know you want to go home to heaven. I know you are ready to see Jesus and Granddaddy. I'm gonna miss you so much when you go, but I know they are up there waiting for you. Gran, will you be there waiting on me when I get there?" Without hesitation and clear as day she opened her eyes, smiled, and said "I promise".
I cannot begin to tell you the feeling that washed over me after she said those words. I cannot begin to explain the tears that fell down my cheeks, but I can tell you that I know she will be there waiting when that day comes for me. That gives me peace and knowing that she will be there gives me hope. She knows where she is going and so do I. That lets me know that when its time for goodbye its only temporary.
The nurse came for yet another visit and had more concern. Things were definitely worse. She walked over to us and placed a little blue book in our hands. It was simply titled "Gone from our Sight" I felt like someone punched me in the chest. The book was to let us know the signs of death. I opened the book and flipped through the pages. When I looked at all the signs under "Days or Hours" I ached. She had every sign. Every single sign. I didn't want to believe it, but I knew.
I cried. I can't remember much else that I did that night. I sat by her bed, read to her, and cried. Mom and I never left her side. I was so grateful when we made it to the next morning and she was still with us. My aunt arrived and the three of us sat with her. We talked, cried, and held her. My other cousin came by briefly and saw her, though she never responded I believe she knew he was here.
By six o'clock that evening her breathing was horrible. It scared me. I wanted to help her, but I knew there was nothing to do. I paced the floor, I prayed, and I held her. I cried, I paced, and then I grabbed that stupid book again. Under "Hours or Minutes" was the statement "fish out of water breathing". I threw the book. All I could think was NOT YET! I'm not ready!
Her breaths got further apart and then further and then they stopped. Time seemed to stand still. My mom, my aunt, and I stood there holding her sobbing. She was gone. She left us. I ached.
You may be gone from my sight
Part Nine will be next.
Love and Hugs,
Brandi J.

Seeing Part of God's Plan Unfold : Part Seven

--------------------PART SEVEN--------------------
With the anger behind us and the focus shifted toward my Gran things changed. We all talked. While focusing on something bigger the past had a way of unfolding and opening up something else. We both learned a lot. We learned that not everything we believed and thought was the truth. A lot of the anger was based off things that weren't true, but until then we had no way of knowing. God opened the door to let the truth come out.
Forgiveness & Entrusting Justice to God- Max Lucado devotional "Anger gives ground to the devil. Bitterness invites him to occupy a space in your heart, to rent a room. Believe me, he will move in and stink up the place. Gossip, slander, temper — anytime you see these, Satan has claimed a bunk."
Through this time things continued to worsen and my aunt came daily to help stay with my grandma. She sat with my mother and I and we continued to talk and take care of my grandma. My cousin was also understanding and though things will never be the way they once were we are ok. It is the past and we have all moved on. Our focus was no longer anger, but my grandma.
I told my grandma I did my best to fix things because of Gods grace and unfailing love. She knew though. Even when she didn't talk I know she could hear us and she could sense the anger was gone. 
I told her how much I loved her and that she didn't have to worry anymore. We were all ok. Everything was ok.

God continued to give us strength and focus. We spoke kindly and sat at my grandmas side. We laughed at old memories and told my grandma stories from the past. We fed her, changed her, and I brushed her soft gray hair.

Everything was ok, but she was not. She kept getting worse. The hospital bed arrived and my stomach ached. Its hard to see a hospital bed in the spot where her recliner goes. Its hard to see her so frail and helpless. Its hard to watch her struggle to breathe or motion for something because she cant talk. Seven months ago we carried on conversations today she cant say a full sentence. Joshua 1:9 says "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” And He will.  I know He will.
Image result for dont be afraid

Wow! God does some pretty amazing things! I never imagined he could lift that weight and help me forgive, be He did! Our God is awesome!! Before I go on let me add a few things to the list:

1) I had a horrible panic attack causing fear, worry, and depression.

    A) Due to this I went to stay with my grandmother.
         1)This helped me and her in addition to alleviating some stress off my mother.

             a) mom was able to work
         2) It build our bond
              a) I was able to be her full time caretaker

              b) we built more memories

    B) I also realized I needed to seek God and fix my relationship with Him which allowed:
        1) Reading and studying His word

        2) A good influence on my family.

        3) Joining church groups and building Christian relationships.

            a) Bible study on forgiveness

                 1) Prayed to forgive family/asked God to help me forgive.

                 2) Was faced with the person and was able to forgive because of Gods love and grace!!

        4) Building our family relationships.
            a) on speaking terms with other family that have not spoken with in years. (forgiven)

       5) Baptism of Tyler, my oldest, and myself (my youngest will soon).

Keep you eye out for Part Eight!!
Love and Hugs,
Brandi J