BRAVE- Update

This is probably one of the hardest things I have had to write, and I have honestly rewritten these couple paragraphs about a hundred times. Many of you have been asking, and have been emailing me about BRAVE the non-profit organization that I started at the beginning of August. I am still in awe of how within two hours of posting the website the number of people who messaged me in complete support of it. I am so thankful for that.
When I first started BRAVE I was completely sold out for it, and sometimes I literally couldn’t sleep at night because I was so excited for the impact that could potentially make within young girls lives, and the new friendships that were going to come from it. Honestly I probably annoyed everyone around me with the constant chatter about it. It was/is still completely neat how everything worked out, and the positive feedback I received back.

Please understand while reading this that BRAVE was very important to me, and is still important to me. I really wanted to take time to explain the current status of the organizations for those that have been curious. Many of you know that I spent a summer in Michigan, and I can honestly say it was one of the most life changing experiences I have ever had. If you have ever been to summer camp then you have heard of the “spiritual high” meaning when you are completely on fire for God, but then when you come back to reality and messy life situations occur, you slowly fade back into your old habits. I realize that posting this may come with some judgment, but in my complete honesty with you all, I have not made the best choices for my life that represent BRAVE as an organization. I truly want to be the best leader and role model for BRAVE that I know I can be, and at this point in my life I am not able to do so. BUT I can tell you that I am working towards that, and I have learned that these painful growing points can’t be rushed. Saying this, I have decided to postpone the event for BRAVE. I’m not sure when or how long it may be, but I do know that BRAVE is something that will absolutely happen in the future, and I truly mean that with everything in my heart. If there are any questions I would be more than happy to answer them. Love always –Brooke

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.

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.

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.”

 

Soar & Fly.

 

….”But those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings [like eagles] they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not grow faint.”

Soar on wings like eagles. I began to ponder what that exactly meant. The Lord gives us wings like eagles, not ducks, not chickens… But eagles. I know that all sounds absolutely ridiculous, but that was literally my thought process. I knew we were also compared to sheep numerous times throughout the bible, because sheep can’t function properly without their shepherd for guidance. So why eagles then?

I then began my conquest on eagle research. Yes. Eagle research. After about an hour’s worth of studying, I stood in awe of how amazing our God is. Brace yourself for this. Eagles have the strongest wings compared to any other bird. Also, when eagles have poison in them, they fly up to the highest point they can, and the sun suck’s the poison out of them. Which is what the Lord does, when sin has poisoned our lives; he cleanses us from our poison.

If that doesn’t bring your soul happiness, get a load of this. Revelations 12 tells a story of a woman, a child, and a dragon. Imagine this all, there is a woman about to give birth to a son, who is going to shepherd all nations, and all of a sudden this great fiery red dragon decides he would like to kill the infant. The Lord gave the woman a place of safety in the wilderness where she stayed for 1,260 days. The dragon is so outraged at this point, his main focus is to find this woman and kill her. Then here comes the best part of the story; The Lord gives the woman two wings of a great eagle, so that she could fly away to safety. Our God never leaves us, never forsakes us, and always provides.

This whole study, has made my soul fall more and more deeply in love with our Creator. We need to have faith that when tough times come which they indeed will, not to fret. Our savior promises us that if we trust in Him he will give us those wings like eagles. We will soar, and we will fly.

-Love, Brooke

Revelations 12:14- “The woman was given two wings of a great eagle, so that she could fly from the serpent’s presence to her place in the wilderness where she was fed for a time, times, and half a time.”

Isaiah 40:31- “But those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength ; and they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.”

Situations

Situations. Oh, situations.

Sometimes we let them get the best of us right? And sometimes… these situations literally make us fall to our knees praying out for peace.

I usually find myself saying “How did I let myself get in this situation.” Then all of a sudden it smacks in right in the face. It’s because I convince myself that I know what’s better for me, than God does. Doesn’t this sound ridiculous? How could I ever know what’s better for me over the One who CREATED me?

The answer is we simply don’t. Parting ourselves with God, is exactly how we wind up in these situations. It all starts with trusting our own feelings, and relying on self alone. I don’t know about you guys, but doesn’t it seem that we always fall back in the same situation that we told ourselves we weren’t ever going to do again? In my own experience, I always knew that God was saying “Hey Brooke… We’ve talked about this before, and you know how this is going to end up. Come back to me.” Thank the Lord for his grace, and forgiveness.

I begin to think about the Israelites, when they are traveling to Canaan in the wilderness, and how much we relate to them. God commanded to them to obey Him, and know that He would take care of them. But instead they complained, disobeyed and tried to do things their own way, and they did not take notice of the blessings God had given them. God knew what he was doing then, and He knows what he is doing now in our lives.

I don’t know personally what situation you may be struggling with, whether it be within friendships, addiction, relationships, abuse, finances, health, etc. Whatever situation came to your mind while you were reading this, I encourage you to drop to your knees, let go of your pride, and give it to the Lord. Know that whatever situation or trial you are going through God is bigger, and God is stronger, and God is fighting for you, and He loves you. We don’t have go through these things alone. Love you all. – Brooke

Exodus 15:24-26: 24 And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” 25 So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet. There He made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there He tested them, 26 and said, “If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.”

Exodus 14:14: The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” 

Forgiven

Forgiven.

Forgiven. What does that actually mean? Also what does it actually mean to live like we are forgiven? I know we have all probably heard that we are forgiven of our sins, because of what The Lord has done for us on the cross.  But do we actually grasp the concept of what this all means? Do we actually wrap our heads around the fact that when Jesus was being nailed to the cross that he was thinking about each and every one of us, and that he loved us all so much that he took each and every weight of our sins upon himself so that we can know life through Him. Do we truly get this?

A question I have been raising to myself here recently is why sometimes our biggest battles in life has to deal with forgiveness. Usually the forgiveness we don’t want to give is to a person who hurt us, who rejected us, who abandoned us. You catch my drift. But notice that all of those things I just described, is everything that Jesus has forgiven us for. I don’t know about you, but I know that I am guilty of doing each of those things to the one person who loves, and desires me the most. Jesus knows our hurts, because he has felt our hurts, and He still and will forever offer us His love, and His forgiveness.

Colossians 3:13 says: “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”  It’s vital that we remember that.  I used to believe that giving forgiveness to somebody that had hurt me would be their way of winning, and having some sort of power over me, and it wasn’t until God showed me that the weight of carrying around anger, and resentment towards people, is an awful and self-destructive way to live your life. We are able to find freedom in being forgiven and also in giving forgiveness. We need to remind ourselves that we are all children of God, and when we grasp this, the bitterness that we once felt will be replaced with love, and forgiveness that God has given us.

Matthew 18: 21-23- Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.

2 Corinthians 2:5-8 –Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him.

Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.