“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


     Jonah. That's what the Lord said to me tonight. I kind of laughed to myself because everyone knows about Jonah. I was almost cocky in my "spirituality", like I was too good to read Jonah. Doesn't the Lord know how many times I've read Jonah!? But, when the Lord speaks- I've learned to obey. I opened up the Word not expecting to hear from the Lord.
     Total opposite. The Lord spoke some truths to me that definately have changed my perspective on the story of Jonah. The Lord also taught me to get off my "high-horse" and to stay a learner. (Always stay a novice! We can always learn something.) The wonderful thing about the word of the Lord is it is always relevant. It works like building blocks. You can always build foundational truths to your knowledge "wall'. It just keeps building on the previous truth.

     I thought I would share what the Lord taught me this evening. Here is a recap of the story in case you've forgotten. :) The Lord told Jonah to go to Nineveh. Jonah thought he had better things to do.  Jonah bought a ticket and jumped on a ship. An awful storm came about when they were sailing. They casted lots to figure out who was causing it. It was Jonah. (His disobedience.) They casted him over. The sea quit. Jonah got eaten by a whale. Stayed in the whale for 3 days. He spit him up. The Lord told him to go to Nineveh again. He went. He did what he was supposed to do. Nineveh prayed and fasted. The Lord had compassion. Jonah went to the outskirts of the city to watch what would happen. The Lord gave him a shade vine for his comfort. The next day the Lord sent a worm and the vine shirveled. Jonah was angry because of the vine dying. (Sigh.... )

     There are many "Jonahs" walking around in our society. They recognize that Jesus is Lord over their life but are running away from their calling. Some are paying to run away from their calling like Jonah did when he bought the ticket for sea. We must wake up to our callings. We must obey what the Lord has spoken to us. He made and created each of us. Why do we question if He knows best!? I get so frustrated with myself when I question God. And I have to remind myself that I do not know best. He has known me longer than I have known me! He created me! Don't you think He knows what is best for my life!? I should trust him and obey!

     I laughed when I read that Jonah paid to flee from God. Why do we run so quickly from the things God calls us to!? Fear? Rejection? Pride?

     Even the fish obey God. The whale could have eaten Jonah. But the Lord spoke and told it to spit him out.... and the whale obeyed. Amazing.

     After Jonah was spit out God did not give him a new assignment. He gave him the first one. We question why we can't hear God tell us what to do in our lives... when He is waiting for us to obey what He has already spoken! Recover what the Lord has spoken and obey Him.

     The Lord provided Jonah a vine for his comfort. But the next day He sent a worm. When Jonah questioned God... The Lord replied and asked him if he had tended to it to make it flourish. Many times the Lord does not give us things we are praying for because our character can't withstand it. We have to be in a position to receive what we are praying for! If you can't handle the 20 dollars God gives you ever week then how can he trust you with 2,000 dollars a week!? Be faithful with what God gives you. Tend to it. Cultivate it! Make it flourish!

     This last truth is what really got me. I pray for so many amazing things to happen in my life. But I wonder if I'm ready for them!? I need to get to a place where I am prepared and ready for what He gives me so I can continue to hold on to it. I always want the Lord to be able to trust me with what He gives me! I am not saying that this is salvation by works.... No matter how much we do- we aren't saved by our good acts. We are saved through grace. But faith without actions is dead. So the two go hand in hand. I want to be faithful to a faithful God! He is faithful with me, so it should work like every other relationship. And I should return the faithfulness.

Lord, I ask that you speak to each of us! Show us your plan for our lives, give us the boldness to obey no matter what the circumstances are. I ask that if we have forgotten what you have spoken to us that you remind us. Give us the diligence and discipline to build a character that can handle what you want to give us. We are always Yours Lord! We love you. Amen. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Faithfulness & Perfect Timing

     My heart and mind are full this afternoon. So many thoughts run around in my mind. Thoughts of confusion, thoughts of clarity, thoughts of worry, thoughts of joy..... some things in my life I am so certain about and others I'm praying I've made the right choice. This morning the Lord spoke a promise over me that he's spoken several times over me. "My faithfulness is your shield and rampart." It comes out of Psalm 91:4. At the beginning of the year Pastor Jeff asked the staff to read Psalm 91 every day, I'll admit I've been slacking the past month but this morning I set aside some time and dove into the Word.
     The Lord knows exactly what I need. And Psalm 91:4 was it this morning. His faithfulness is unshakeable. It can't be shaken. Can't be broken. It has no breaking point. He will remain faithful. He has remained faithful. He has done so much for me and you that proves this point. He has never left us. Even when I've run away, when I have turned my back to the whisper of his voice, He was still there. He remained the same.
     A rampart is a defensive wall. The Message translate the verse that His arms are protecting me. It's the truth. I am smashed into the love of my Savior and surrounded by His arms. The arms that hold the universe. I am loved, protected, and watched over.
     I know that no matter what happens in my life, the Lord is my shield and rampart. He will be faithful. Through heartaches, worries of life, times of extreme trust, times of sorrow, and times of joy- He remains faithful. He protects me. He knows what is best for me. Just like a mother knows what is best for their daughter or son, He knows what is best for me. Don't loose hope. Don't loose your trust in Him- He is holding it all together. He withholds nothing good from us!
     One of the things that I love to do is babysit. I get to pretend that I am a mother for just a few hours. I was watching one child once and had heated them up some dinner. Since I am just a pretend mother I didn't microwave it to the perfect temperature. It was a little too hot. So the poor child was forced to stare at me holding their yummy food while it cooled off. I'm sure they were thinking, "Does Bren Bren not think I need the food? I am so hungry. I need that in my life. It will make me full. It will make my tummy stop hurting. Why won't she give me that, it looks so good." But you see, I knew that it was exactly what he needed, but I also knew that if I gave it to him at that moment that it would hurt him. It would burn his tongue. So I waited for it to cool off and then I was able to feed it to him.
     I tell you this for a reason. Don't loose sight of the promises the Lord has given you. He knows the PERFECT timing to give it to you. Yes, it is exactly what you need. Yes, it will propel you into your calling. Yes, it will make your heart skip a beat. Yes, it will be so yummy and awesome. Yes, it will stop your heart from aching. But right now might not be the perfect timing. He has it in His hands. He will release it into your life at the perfect time.

    And until it happens, rest in the fact that his faithfulness is your shield and rampart. Faithfulness. Not going anywhere. It's always there. He is faithful. He will never cheat you. He will never loose sight of His beloved. Rest in that and the worries of the world will drift away. Claim the verse over every worry and step back and watch what the Lord will do.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Parenting 101

     I absolutely can not wait to be a mother. I have said it so many times before and have dreamt of the day. One of the things I do to prepare for motherhood is make a list of the things I want to do with my kids before stressful days of dirty diapers, a 2 page to-do list, a house to clean, and a husband to feed consume my mind. I have a feeling that in that situation I won't think of brilliant parenting ideas.
     Another thing that I seem to notice is horrible parenting. Or parenting that drives me nuts. Or kids that don't know how to behave. So.... I have decided to write a blog on my tips on parenting. Sure, I don't have a kid or a husband. And no, I'm not a scholar on parenting. But- I babysit. I watch. I pretend. I notice things. And I have a blog. So I can write it if I want to. :) Hehe.

Parenting 101

-You may spank your child. It is not abuse. Sometimes it is simply what needs to be done. I can clearly point out children that I know are not "spanked" children. It is not abuse. Sure- you don't beat your child. But a nice spanking is not going to kill. Spare the rod.... not a good idea.

- Allow your children to answer questions. If you are constantly answering questions for them they will never learn to communicate.

-Restaurants: Let your child order their food. This is something that they will have to do for the rest of their life. At the age of 5 if something was wrong with my hamburger my mom told me to go to the counter to get it fixed. I now know how to deal with the public, with restaurants, with managers, and with people. I can answer if I want Coca Cola (duh) or sweet tea. I think your child can as well.

      -If you are worried that they will order the most expensive items- give them a budget. Look at the menu before hand... decide an appropriate price and tell them that they have 8 dollars to spend tonight, tip included. This teaches them to spend within their means and whenever they are 20 they won't cut their server dry on a tip because they can't plan out beforehand.

-Allow them to make decisions. Even if you know they will fail. If they always succeed- what are they going to do when they go to college or get in the real world. Making mistakes is part of life- they must learn to deal with them.

-If your child falls- it will be okay. Allow them to get up themselves without having you hovering over them.

-They can wait for juice if you are in the middle of a conversation. If you meet every want that they have at that instant moment you are raising NOW monsters. And at the age of 16 that isn't going to be pretty.

-Get creative with your discipline. Parent like Jesus parents. Not out of fear. (this comes from a Kris Vallotin teaching) You don't want your kids scared of every thing they do. Allow them to make mistakes but also give them options. Example: "I would like you to set the table, if you choose not to you can sit i your room while the rest of the family eats." This teaches your child to think of how they can prepare in life. If they set the table... then they will have something to eat their food on. And FOLLOW THROUGH. Don't give them food an hour after dinner. (Once again, this isn't abuse. They can miss a meal. It's like fasting. It's biblical.)

-Parent is teamwork. Mom back your husband up. Dad, back your wife up. Even if you don't agree at the moment. If they know that Mom and Dad mean business and Dad won't get them out of trouble then they will be less likely to do "wrong". They also will respect the two parents for having each others backs.

-Take your child on dates. Real ones. Let them get dressed up... clean up the truck... dress up... and treat them nice. Reward them for good grades.

-Teach your child to make "inside out decisions".  To decide to do right because that is what their heart knows to do. Or what the Holy Spirit says.

-Communicate with your children. Let them know your expectations. Encourage them. Love them

-Hug your child. Tell them you love them.

-If you have to buy your child something everytime you go to WalMart.... not a good idea. What are ya gonna do when your in carlots? Think of the future. They need to be behave because it's the right thing/ what mom needs/ etc, etc.

-Read One Minute Mom .... my mother read it.... and wished she had it when we were younger. All 3 children love our mom and dad and respect them incredibly much. We can sit down and have dinner without yelling and without hating it. I look forward to spending time with them.

-Invest in your child without spoiling. It is perfectly okay for your child to pay for their own gas, have a job at 16, and pay for their own college. They will appreciate it. Don't spoil your child. Doesn't matter how much money you have. They will have to know how to manage money in the future and if you bail them out every time....... how will they know? It's okay for them to have overdraft fees..... let them figure out how to fix it.

-Stop arguing with your spouse. You expect your children to get a long and not fight... but you sit and fight with your spouse, say hateful things, don't encourage, and totally disrespect them. Lead by example.

-Find out their love language and feed it. :) http://www.5lovelanguages.com/

-Let them clean their own room. Seriously, why are you cleaning it? That's ridiculous. Same with laundry. These are things they WILL have to do on their own.

-Give them a bedtime so you can have time with your spouse.

-Date night. This teaches your child that he/she will be okay without mommy or daddy all of the time. And shows the importance of your spouse in your life.

-There are times to be a parent and times to be a friend. Most of the time.... you need to be a parent. They have friends at school.

-Order of priorities: 1. God 2. Spouse 3. Children
My mother will still choose spending time with my dad over me. She still makes time for me but I know that if they have date night- they are going, alone. This does not hurt my feelings. This makes me feel secure because I know my parents will not get a divorce. Your child is petrified of you divorcing your husband or wife. Don't do it. Not fair to children. You took a vow... find your passion with your spouse and make it work. Love is a choice.

-Don't yell at your spouse. This teaches that yelling is an appropriate form of communication.

-LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. Lead in love. Serve with your child. And by golly- get em in church. :)

Yay! If you made it to the end of the list. I congratulate you. I wish I could apologize if I offended you... but I won't. Because sometimes the truth is what we need to hear. We aren't perfect. I guarantee I'm going to need to re-read my own blog once I have my own precious children. And if you're offended.... it might mean because you need to tweak some ideas on parenting. I love you. I love your kids. I can't wait for me to read a young woman's blog on parenting who doesn't have kids some day. It shall be a taste of my own medicine. And medicine it is..... might actually. help me out.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Insignificant Purpose.

I am to a point in my life where I'm ready for things to be worth it. I'm so tired of pointless homework, meetings, relationships, etc. Everything that I do- I want to have purpose. I write this as I sit in Panera Bread procrastinating homework. I know that the way I handle my homework will correlate into how I handle other responsibilities in my life. However, I am still ready for them to have purpose! Most of my homework assignments have purpose... the specific one I'm not doing right now... does not.
     I'm not 100% positive on how to get to the place where things are significant. And I should probably smack my hand and correct my thoughts.... because what I do today does have purpose. The way I handle the seemingly "insignificant" things in my life right now- builds discipline and character for the things I will handle in the future. Press on brothers and sisters. For there will be a rainy day when I'm watching my kids and being the wife that I am called to be when I'll look back and be thankful that I was obedient today for the things God is calling me into.
     How you handle today will be a building block on how you handle tomorrow. Deal with today's problems with diligence.... Prepare yourself today for the things you'll face tomorrow.

     And the life I dream of will come.... the life that only the Lord could bless me with.... is in the making. It's in the building process. The foundation is being laid..... I'd never want a house without a foundation just like I'd never want a family, husband, relationships, job, and other things the Lord will bring into my life wihtout a strong enough foundation (character, determination, will-power, wisdom, etc) to support it.

Build a foundation today..... even with the things that seem so meaningless and insignificant.