Enjoy the Ride

Hello my dear friends, it has been awhile since I have blogged, but tonight I felt the urge to write you something personal and vulnerable to my heart.

As Christians sometimes I believe avoid sharing our stories of pain, because since we are Christians we shouldn’t experience that. I for one am gulity of believing that lie, but tonight I am breaking that cycle in my life.

Last semester was honestly the lowest point of my entire life. There were several situations that brought so much pain, I honestly had lost hope that my heart would ever feel complete again. I stayed involved with church, and activites, but emotionally I was never there. My body became physically sick, because I wasn’t able to hold any food down, and I completely regressed inside of myself. I didn’t feel like seeing my friends, or my family. Mornings became a nightmare, because I hated waking up to the instant pain overwhelming my heart. I pleaded with God to take the pain I was feeling away. There were so many moments I began to question what my purpose in life was, or if there was even such a thing. I felt like I was drowning.

This summer I interned at a church in Michigan, this was decided because selfishly I was wanting an escape from the situations occuring in Oklahoma. I came to Michigan with a distorted view on my life, and I left having a restored heart.

I learned alot of things this summer that I would love to share with you, but somebody reading this needs to know that GOD GIVES OUR PAINFUL SITUATIONS MEANING. Please read that again. Our pain has purpose. Let me tell you that God used my story and my experiences that I was so ashamed of, in order to connect with young girls experincing the same.EXACT.thing. Sometimes God allows us to go through pain in order to help someone else. And it is so worth it my friends.

You have a choice right now to let these painful times to grow you, or destroy you. Choose to let it grow you. Chosee to learn from it, and know that God is always with you rooting for you. Through the pain,God placed specific people in my life to encourage me. Even though we experience pain, God doesn’t leave us stranded.

I want to leave you with this. This summer I biked 33.5 miles, and the next day my butt hurt so stinkin bad. I didn’t understand why our Pastor had us do this, because the pain I was feeling was REAL. He later explained that sometimed when we are headed in the right direction we will experience pain and sometimes it’s going to hurt. But the journey is so worth it.

Keep growing my friends. Much much love.

Love.

Today I have been sick in bed due to some food poisoning per McDonald’s chicken nuggets. It’s pretty much as good as it sounds, and it is not something I recommend. Even though today hasn’t been too lovely, it gives me the chance to share a few things with you all that the Lord has been sharing with me.

Last night before the attack of the chicken nuggets overwhelmed my body, I was reading a passage in Jeremiah. My friends, let me tell you that this book of the bible literally rocks my world everytime. Jeremiah 2: 32-33 says this, “Does a young woman forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet my people have forgotten me, day without number. How skilled you are at pursuing love! Even the worst of women can learn from your ways.”

The first time I read this scripture what instantly jumped out to my heart is when the Lord says, “How skilled you are at pursuing love.” The Israelites at this time were stuck in the vicious cycle of worshipping false idols. The Lord tells them, “Where then are the false gods you made for yourself? Let them come save you, when you are in trouble!” My first thought towards the Israelites upon reading this, was how foolish could they possibly be to form these false idols above choosing to worship a Holy God? The Israelites weren’t pursuing a pure love, but a selfish form of love.

Suddenly it hit me faster than the food poisioning did. I am guilty of pursuing this form of selfish love. Our culture is guilty of pursing this type of selfish love. Even though the false idols may differ from the Israelites, we still pursue them. I believe this is stemming from not knowing what pure love truly looks like. Society tells us that love is whatever makes us FEEL good. People are constantly searching and pursing love of momentary satisfaction. We make idols out of people, money, sex, alcohol, work, and in the end none of those things are going to save us in times of trouble.

But praise the Lord! Jesus tells us in 1st Corinthians that, “Love is patient, and love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.” This is the type of love that Jesus pours out upon us. The Lord loved us before we knew what love was. Because of Christ’s love, we can experience new life with Him. When there are times of trouble, the love of Christ is the only thing that will ever give us true comfort and healing. I want to encourage you all to pursue this type of true love, and I want you to experience that within your relationship with the Lord. There is no greater love than that, my friends.

Father’s Day// Restoration

Today has been one of those days that my prayers and talks with Jesus have been causing those big ugly tears. But these are also the moments that I feel so complete and aware of the Lord’s love for me. I have debated about posting this, but the Lord has been showing me that being authentic and real with people is completely necessary in my walk with Him.

Yesterday was Father’s day, and probably my least favorite day of the year. I have been consistent with making this day an excuse to throw myself a pity party. This is a day of bitterness, and jealousy for me. I usually try and avoid social media at all costs, because I don’t want to see pictures of people with their father because of my lack of pictures and memories. This past week has been a struggle for me, because the conviction I have over my bitterness. People have always told me that even though I don’t have an earthly father; it is okay because of my Heavenly father who loves me more than an earthly father ever could. My usual response to this is to naturally agree, to be completely honest I have never truly grasped this.

  I have questioned the Lord for many years questioning Him, on why I wasn’t given an earthly father. After 21 years of questions, and being angry with the Lord, my friends I am finally beginning to see His beautiful perfected plan. It began with making the choice to stop asking why, and asking for a new perspective. It takes realizing that even though I have experienced a loss, I have gained a spiritual break through. It takes replacing the questions with absolute truth from the Word of God, and clinging to it. I am loved, I am treasured, and I am a daughter of the King. The hole in my heart could never be filled by an earthly father, but my heavenly father.

We have all experienced loss and pain of some sort. I want to encourage you that through the pain there is beauty. There is promise of restoration, and I urge you to cling to this. No matter what situation you are going through, the one thing that remains consistent is that the Lord is always with you, and He loves you. Rejoice in this, my dear friends.

I am praying for you all. Love, Brooke.

Faith

Hello my dear friends! Many of you may know that I am interning at church in Michigan this summer. I really wanted to take some time to fill you in on what has been happening in my life over the past week. First off, let me just say that Michigan is great. If you have never traveled here, I definitely encourage that you come at least one time in your life. There is also really good food, so that should be enough encouragement in itself! 

 When I first arrived in Michigan the church I am interning at hosted a welcome party for the new interns. I instantly felt incredibly loved by the people I met. Even though I have only been here a week I have formed long lasting friendships and relationships that will always have a special place in my heart.

I have really been thinking about what it means to live a life by faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” When I really think about that verse, I wonder about what that looks like in action. During my time in Michigan I am living with the Reed family, who are absolutely incredible. They have three precious children, and I have learned how cool God really is by seeing their unique gifts and talents. During memorial weekend the Reeds had a little get together at their house. I expected to have a great time getting to know new people, but God also had a lesson in store for me that weekend. The youngest daughter named Ella had a scratch on her hand that was bleeding, and when I asked her if she was okay she responded, “Yes, God will heal it,” and continued to play with her friends. Later that evening when I was reflecting on my day, I really began to think of what she had said. Ella was showing me what faith looked like. Instead of worrying about the scratch on her hand, she knew in her heart that God had her. I found that incredibly beautiful and inspiring to me. God is so neat in the way that He can speak his power through children. 

My dear friends, there is always the constant struggle of worrying. My challenge for you and myself is to literally live in faith that God has everything in control. His power is much bigger than the doubts we may have. When we begin to exercise this, I promise you that big things will begin to happen in your life.

Praying for you friends.

The White Girl With Streaked Legs

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            The other day I went to the gym and as I was walking out I heard two of the girls passing by me say, “Wow she’s really white, she needs to tan.” Immediately in my mind I started to point out all the bad things about me. This may sound ridiculous but I have always been insecure about being white. I have the type of skin that even if I sunburn it’s going to remain white, but it is guaranteed that I will have more freckles.

            Yesterday I had the brilliant idea to use self-tanner. The package said “Guaranteed no streaks!” Since I can’t tan, I decided this was going to be the best route to go. The instructions said that within 2-4 hours that I would have the perfect tan. Let me just tell you when I woke up this morning and examined my legs, I learned those packages lie. Literally half of my leg was bronzed while the other half was white. Not to mention there were streaks… everywhere.

            Instead of being angry about my new streaked legs, I realized there is a lot humor is this situation. The package lied about guaranteeing no streaks, while I had been lying to myself that there was something wrong with me. Ephesians 2:10 says that “we are God’s masterpiece.” I don’t know about you friends, but it’s hard for me to view myself as a masterpiece. One of God’s commandments is that we love others as we love ourselves. I definitely don’t speak negativity towards people, the way I do myself. God is commanding that we love ourselves in this verse. Just wrap your head around that for a moment.

            I believe that when we are able to love ourselves the way that God sees us, we are able to love the people around us more freely. Instead of pointing out all of the negative things about yourself, start pointing out the positive. Figure out your strengths, and your gifts. Know yourself, and start to realize that you are pretty dang cool. Even if you do have streaked legs ;)

Praying for you friends.

Thoughts from a 16 Year Old Mind

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Dear my sixteen year old self. I know you think you’re pretty dang cool, with your record collection and band t-shirt that you hide behind so well. Music is a wonderful thing, but you can’t always hide behind it. It’s more than okay to be yourself. It’s time to quit hiding in your room. God made you to be unique, powerful, and a leader. Embrace this.

Appreciate your beautiful friends more. Soak in the simple things, like driving around your one stop light town at 2 o’ clock in the morning singing to Blink-182. Soak in the times, when you’re laughing so hard, you pee your pants. Literally. Be there when your best friend gets her heart broken, and be ready to help pick up the pieces. Give thanks to God for these moments, because eventually they will just become memories.

Here comes the part you don’t want to hear. Dun dun dun. The guy you’re currently seeing… take a step away. Let it go. It’s okay to be alone, and you will manage just fine. Your self-worth is not found in men, but in the image of God. Remember this always.

Last but not least, I know you’re completely ready to get out of this town, and start your life. But your life is now. The choices you make will effect where you are in 3 years. Embrace laughter. Embrace forgiveness. Embrace heartbreak. Embrace… life. You’re going to be okay champ.

Memory

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People hold a certain power over you. Whether it’s in a certain memory, or song that triggers you back to that person. You are theirs in that moment. I have not yet understood what it means when people say “too let go”. That’s a lot to ask. I think that hardest part of moving on is having the mindset that you could have been great with that person. Because what if you could have ruled the world by convincing every stranger on the street that vinyl’s are clearly better than the radio? Or what if you actually found the only person in that world that agrees the songs say it better than actual words sometimes?

 I wonder if we only see what we choose to see. Were we really happy, or were we just convincing ourselves in that moment that we were? It was nice to pretend either way

Holes.

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I have been thinking a lot about holes here recently. Yes, holes. Normally if we see a hole we avoid stepping in it, obviously because we don’t want to fall down. For holes to be made somebody has to dig it right? I will be the first to say, that I am not a fan of digging holes because of the getting blisters on my hands thing. Then sometimes you have to fill the hole back up. I believe that this can sometimes be the trickiest part. 

You are probably wondering why the heck I am talking about holes right now. It’s not that I find them particularly interesting, but the fact that I have these holes in my life. But these types of holes have their own specific name called, pain, suffering, depression. Every hole begs to be filled up, yet I kept filling them up with the wrong type of soil. Specifically labeled; relationships, lust, busyness, and to sum it all up … Sin.

I would see the hole, yet I continuously chose to fall within it. Before I knew it the hole was closing up, and I couldn’t breathe anymore. But then one day rain began to fall, and all that rotted soil began to wash off of me. This rain was the forgiveness and healing of Jesus Christ.

I wish the story could end here, and I could tell you that there are absolutely no holes left in my life. But I would be lying. I still deal with these holes on a daily basis, but the difference is now I have the guidance to avoid filling them with the wrong type of soil. Restoration is not something that happens over night, but those certain holes are being refilled with what is true, lovely, and pure.

Whatever type of hole you are struggling with, I urge you to fight against it. Choose light over darkness. Let Jesus fill you with love, grace, and freedom. It’s easy for us to fall into back what is comfortable, but when you choose to let Jesus fill you up, your life will be flipped upside down in the absolute best way possible. I assure you that Jesus is always better. 

Praying for you friends.

Above All Else…

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I have been told all my life that it is vital that I guard my heart. Guard my heart in relationships, friendships, situations, etc. We teach that in church, Sunday school and many times that is the advice we receive when entering into a new relationships and friendships. But do we actually grasp what this means to guard our hearts?

While I was pondering this thought today, I began to examine my own life and my own hurts that I have went through. Most of these hurts came from the truth that I wasn’t guarding my heart. I dove into unhealthy situations because of my own selfish desires that I was going to make this work. No matter what the consequences would be. We are completely self-destructive when we do this, and I know that we have all been there at one time or another.  Again, I ask the question what does it actually mean to guard our hearts?

Proverbs 4:23 says “Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.” When I see this verse I am reminded that most of the hurts that I have caused is from what I have kept inside of my heart.  I have learned how vital it is to stop and examine my own heart, and let go of any bitterness, or pride I have stored in it. This begins firstly with the confession of my sins.

We find our freedom, in the forgiveness that God gives us Psalm 51:10 says, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” When we have God’s spirit living inside of our hearts, we are able to have the discernment God provides us to lead us in the right steps of life. What we have in our hearts flow the springs of life.

My encouragement is that we all take time to truly examine our hearts and to truly mediate on this last passage from Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Have a great week friends!

-Brooke

Thoughts & Walls.

It’s definitely been one of those weeks, where every single one of my thoughts are running wild and rapid throughout my mind. I start to envision the possibility of the way certain situations will turn out in multiple scenarios, and replay them over and over in my mind. By the end of the day, I am about ready to hit my head against a wall. I’m sure you friends have never been there right?

I think the major part of this problem is, that we become stressed and overwhelmed because we aren’t including God in our thought life, and the situations that we allow to run wild in our thoughts.  I am wanting to hit my head against the wall, because in these thoughts I am the one in control. Which means I need to be smacking my head against the wall, and there would also be a lot of other people hitting their heads on the wall too when I attempt to take the lead. Basically there would be a lot of damaged walls, and a lot of bruised heads. It would be a vicious cycle.

2nd Corinthians 2:5 says, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  I find this verse so comforting friends. Every argument, every pretension, and every thought we take captive and give it to God. In return we find the peace we have been searching for.

Our thought life is so powerful, and it eventually reflects our actions. We need to make our every thought, pure, and lovely, and accepting in the eyes of our Creator. When I wake up some days, and my thoughts are running crazy about the day, or the future, I literally have to say out loud “God, I am not doing this again today.” We know that when we rely on the Lord for strength, that He remains faithful and that He conquers all.

I love you all.

-Brooke

Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect”

Philipians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things”

2nd Corinthians 10:3-6 “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”