Touching His Hem

I posted a similar version of this on Facebook when a certain memory popped up about my chronic health issues. I also wanted to share it here – because this is where I collect my stones of remembrance. ❤

12 years.

For 12 years I have struggled with an unnamed illness.

For 12 years I have been passed from doctor to doctor, from test to test with no answers and little help.

And I felt so alone, so unheard, so hopeless. Early this year, I met with a stranger, a friend of a friend, to receive some very specific prayers for healing. I had never met her and she didn’t know my story. We met at a coffee shop and, before I share my story, she tells me that she had a prophetic vision of me just barely hanging on to the edge of a boat in the midst of a storm – so tired, so weary, but doing my best to not let go.

Immediately, I cried. She saw me. No, HE saw me and He was using Bekah as a tool to speak into my heart and soul.

Mind you, prophetic visions are not something I’m familiar with or super comfortable with. In fact, the mention of prophecy often puts a check in my spirit. But, with the Holy Spirit’s discernment, I knew this was from the Most High. So I leaned in…

We talked, I shared my whole story (and then some), she shared what words the Lord had given to her that morning for me, and she prayed over me. This is just a small portion of what she had to say:

“He highlighted Ezekiel 47:12 – ‘Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.’ This is what the Lord wants for you …to be like this tree. To be ever bearing fruit through all seasons. To be healed and full of life. To remain planted by that continuous flowing stream of life to then be able to bring fruit to others.” 

I remember on that drive home, being so full of hope. But I also felt my faith waivering. What if healing wasn’t for me? What if it wasn’t my time? But I ached to be that flowing stream, to be able to share fruit with others, to give and share what I had been given. Yet, in that moment, all I could see were my aches and pains, the constant fatigue, and the never-ending brain fog that kept me from having much of a positive impact on anything, let alone the Kingdom.

Time went by. A few months passed, including a couple of different worship and healing nights. The hope was there, but still wavering, still uncertain.

I longed to reach out and just touch the hem of His robe…

For 12 years she bled.

For 12 years she was unclean and therefore unable to be in close proximity to family, friends, or even strangers.

For 12 years she saw doctor after doctor, spending every last penny to her name, with no cure and no hope.

But then Jesus.

One touch, one last ounce of hope, one gust of faith…and she was healed! (Luke 8:43-48)

But then Jesus…

Despite our move to Michigan bringing one of the worst seasons of my health in a very long time, I found myself surrounded by an amazing community and some incredible prayer warriors. I was prayed over and anointed on multiple occasions. My faith was challenged to believe and I constantly prayed, “I believe, Lord, help my unbelief.”

And His healing came.

It wasn’t instant. It wasn’t an obvious miracle. He brought my healing through friends, doctors, and alternative modern medicine.

I still have bad days, but they are few and far between. I’m functioning on a level I haven’t in probably over 5 years. Yes, it was medicine that helped. But even going to yet another doctor was a huge leap of faith for me.

But I reached out, one last ditch effort, and I aimed for the hem of His robe.

Ultimately, my healing was all coordinated by His hand and in His time.

I couldn’t be more grateful.

12 years. Her story is my story. Thank you, Jesus.

Book Rec Series 1-3

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Heeeeeyyyyy!! I often get asked about book recommendations. I thought I’d throw together a list of my current top 10, which then turned into a baker’s dozen. And by “throw together” I mean, obsess and agonize over, because narrowing all of the books I love down to my top 10 (or 13) favorites is next to impossible. I started working on that list but realized I just have TOO much to say.

Bri? Too much to say? No. That can’t be. Never. You’re thinking about the wrong person.

Oh, that’s so sweet of you! haha. But, yes, I know I have a lot to say. Sooooo – you’re going to get a series of book recs, three books at a time! Instead of my original idea of 10 or 13 all at once, you get 3. Why? Because I want you to love these books as much as I do. And it will be easier to digest if I just give you a few ideas at a time.

1- Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby and Claude King

  • For Who: Anyone who wants to truly experience God’s movement in their lives. From the “beginner” to the more experienced Christian – there is something for everyone here!
  • Group Study: Yes! I’ve done this as a work study at a faith-based pregnancy crisis clinic as well as in a Sunday school class. Both times were eye opening – SO much to learn! Recently, Lifeway developed an actual study to go with the book. Though I personally don’t have any experience with it, I imagine it would be a helpful tool: the leader’s guide can be found here and the study book can be found here.
  • Reading Difficulty: This is a rather long book, so not for the faint of heart. However, the reading itself isn’t too difficult, I’d put this one somewhere in the middle, between an easy read and a hard read. Additionally, if you want something a little easier to digest, there’s a 365-day devotional that breaks the book down into daily bite size pieces – it isn’t exactly the same but still holds all of the main ideas (I’ve gone through it twice!). You can find that version here.
  • Why I recommend it: No matter where you are in your faith walk, this book will help you grow closer to the Lord – as long as you let it. Theologically sound, wonderfully written, full of great metaphors and stories – you will walk away changed.
  • Three of my favorite quotes:
    • “God wants you to live an abundant life (John 10:10). When God gives you a command, it is to protect you and lead you toward His blessings. He does not want you to miss out on the fullness of life He wants you to experience. God’s instructions do not restrict; they free you. God’s purpose is that you prosper and live…”
    • “My primary concern should not be, ‘What should I do with my life tomorrow?’ but rather, ‘What does God want me to do today?’ As you follow Jesus one day at a time, He will keep you in the center of God’s will.
    • “If you want to be a disciple of Jesus, you have no choice. You will have to make significant alterations in your life…Until you are ready to make any change necessary to follow and obey what God has said, you will be of little use to God.”

2 – Everybody Always by Bob Goff

  • For Who: Literally, everyone. I would even highly recommend this to people who don’t yet know who the Lord is.
  • Group Study: Absolutely! I’ve read this together in a group setting where we discussed each chapter as we finished it. There is an official bible study with DVD included, here – but, again, no personal experience with it.
  • Reading Difficulty: Easy! Justin and I are very different when it comes to reading. He needs a light, easy read, with tons of illustrations (visual and/or metaphors). There aren’t any actual pictures in this book, but Bob Goff is fantastic at painting a picture for you. Justin loves this book. I would certainly qualify this as an easy read – but, most definitely, still hits hard when it comes to the Gospel!
  • Why I Recommend It: I cannot tell you how many times I have referenced the illustrations or stories in this book. It is, besides the Bible, probably one of my most recommended books because of this very reason. The illustrations stick with you, shape you, and open your heart at least a smidge more than before. I read this shortly before or during a season where I helped to launch a maternity home for pregnant young women, some homeless, some fresh out of prison, some recent addicts. The stories in this book helped me to see the women that walked through our doors with a different perspective. This book will help you love the people who are hard to love. It will peel away some of the misconceptions and assumptions we have about people. Mostly, it will help you love better. And, honestly, who doesn’t need that?
  • Three of my Favorite Quotes:
    • “I’ve concluded we can be correct and not right…I do this most often when I have the right words and the wrong heart…I’m trying to resist the bait that darkness offers me every day to trade kindness for rightness…Arguments won’t change people. Simply giving away kindness won’t either. Only Jesus has the power to change people, and it will be harder for them to see Jesus if their view of Him is blocked by our big opinions.”
    • “Catch people on the bounce. When they mess up, reach out to them with love and acceptance the way Jesus did. When they hit hard, run to them with your arms wide open to hug them harder…Don’t just gather information about people who have failed big or are in need – go be with them. When you get there, don’t just be in proximity – be present. Catch them. Don’t try to teach them. There’s a big difference.”
    • “A lot of people think playing it safe and waiting for all the answers before they move forward is the opposite of dangerous. I disagree. If our life and our identity are found in Jesus, I think we can redefine safe as staying close to Him. Don’t get me wrong. Playing it safe and waiting for assurance in our lives isn’t necessarily bad; it just isn’t faith anymore. Playing it safe doesn’t move us forward or help us grow; it just finds us where we are and leaves us in the same condition it found us in.”
  • BONUS: I actually just finished Bob Goff’s latest book, Undistracted. I can’t rank it as one of my favorites, but I still highly recommend it! Justin is reading it now, so I’ll let you know what he thinks soon!

3 – Story: Recapture the Mystery by Steven James

  • For Who: Creative types! Steven James addresses the Gospel in a poetry like fashion with bits of short form poetry sprinkled throughout the book.
  • Group Study: Honestly, I think you could turn just about anything into a study, kind of like a book club – but I’ve never done this in a group. The more artsy feel would require a unique group for a fit – but if you had the right people, it could be great!
  • Why I Recommend It: First of all, it is different than most traditional Christian reads. But mostly, I wanted this on the list because it is a book I have kept on my shelf after multiple moves, multiple seasons of life, multiple “clean outs” where I’ve let some other books go (*ouch*), and so much more. For whatever reason, it resonates with my soul, as it did when I first read it as a teenager, and I always feel the need to keep it. Whatever that reason may be, I wanted to share the beautiful way that Story paints the gospel, with you.
  • Three Four of My Favorite Quotes:
    • “i am drowning in awareness, / and yet never quite aware / that the chains i fashion every day / are the very ones i wear.”
    • “So God’s children became rational, realistic, reasonable, practical, pragmatic people who abandoned faith for sight and traded worship for religion.”
    • “It’s so absurd, this king of the galaxies lying in a feed box for animals, this Creator crying in a stable. Anyone can see at this point that the story isn’t man-made. Who would ever believe it? If I were making up a religion that I wanted people to believe in, I’d never insert stuff like this. Only God could tell a story this ludicrous and then claim that it is true.”
    • “judas betrayed you for thirty pieces of silver. / forgive me for all the times I’ve done it / for free.”

Happy reading friends! Never stop growing. Never stop following Him. Never stop voyaging.

Practicing Sabbath

A few months ago we decided to implement a consistent Sabbath rhythm into our family life. I have always been a fan of traditions – especially anything Biblical.

In fact, a few years ago, I tried really hard to convince my husband that we should celebrate the Festival of Booths and live in a tent for a week. While he liked the idea, he wasn’t sold on the practicality of it – working a normal work week while sleeping on the ground? He just wasn’t convinced. I haven’t completely dismissed the idea, but other things have taken forefront in our lives. Maybe I should revisit that this summer?? Hmmm…

Anyways, back to the idea of Sabbath. It isn’t something that is typically practiced by the protestant church in America today. BUT, it is one of the ten commandments! Literally the fourth commandment: “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy” (Deuteronomy 5:12). Church, have we forgotten? Have we forgotten what it means to keep something holy? To keep it set apart? Growing up, throughout high school and college, I heard a lot of teaching on how Sabbath doesn’t have to be an actual day anymore, that it is just a state of living, a state of perpetually abiding in God. But as I’ve grown older and have experienced and observed the chaos and striving that American culture cultivates, I just don’t think that this idea of Sabbath is what God intended. Honestly, this theory that practicing Sabbath is no longer necessary, is just an excuse for us to live like the rest of the world – never ending toil, make the most of every day! And by “make the most” I mean money (in some way, shape, or form). However, I believe, whole heartedly, that God intended an actual physical rest – a time set aside to focus on Him and on our well-being – a day set apart (or holy) from the rest of the week.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – who wants to sit around all day and do absolutely nothing? First of all – American culture has convinced us that not doing anything means we aren’t worth anything. Which couldn’t be further from the truth. My worth is not found in what I accomplish. Repeat that with me: My worth is not found in what I accomplish. I could write an entire post just on that subject, but that’s for another day…

The reality of Sabbath is this: it’s not about what you don’t do as much as it is about what you do do. No, we don’t do chores on Sunday (unless it’s absolutely essential). But we still do things: we hike, we spend time with friends, I write or crochet or craft, Justin draws or paints, we play family games, the kids build, craft, or ride bikes and scooters….we do things that give life instead of draining it, including glorious Sunday afternoon naps!

Nap, Sunday, Rest, Sabbath, Shabbat, Tradition, Commandments, Life
Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

And, ya’ll, it truly has been life giving. I want to share with you what our Sabbath looks like, what things we deem essential, what we like, what we’re tweaking, and then encourage you to start implementing something in your own life. The Sabbath was created for us, and it is a commandment, for a reason.

First, lets talk timing. Traditionally Sabbath began at sundown on Friday and ended on sundown Saturday (why? Because that’s how the Jewish calender counted days). We have personally adopted sunset to sunset, but have shifted our Sabbath to Saturday into Sunday. The breakup of sunset to sunset is definitely a bit more refreshing than just “Sunday” being Sabbath…I don’t know why that is, but it works better for us. Our Saturday into Sunday routine allows us to get housework and other things accomplished on Saturdays, allows for preparation Sunday night for the coming week, and gives us plenty of intentional rest in-between, three meals still included. Close friends of ours still choose to do Friday into Saturday since he is a pastor and is technically working on Sundays (sidenote, they are also the couple that nudged us to begin actually practicing Sabbath instead of just talking about it – thanks Caleb and Allie!). The reality is, do what works best for your family!

That goes for the rest of what I have to say here as well. I’ll probably repeat this later – but Sabbath is not a one size fits all program – you have to find what works best for your family!

Things we love:

  • Thankfulness – at one of the meals during our Sabbath, our family takes the time to share what they are thankful for about each person around the table. We try to keep it relevant to the past week, no one is allowed to repeat something already said, and we can’t repeatedly use the same things each week. Our kids, currently 5 and 8, LOVE this. So much so, that when we forget (which happens…), they usually remind us, either during Sabbath or the next time we are all at the table (usually Monday nights). Mostly, we keep this time as our immediate household, but have, on occasion, included close friends and family if they are visiting in that timeframe. It’s always extra fun for the kids when someone else is there – compliments are overflowing!
  • Hiking – this is a life-giving activity that we alllll enjoy. The kids always ask to go hiking and Justin and I love it as well. Sabbath is about filling your tank, resting in ways that give life. Hiking is that for us. On occasion this also includes geocaching and magnet fishing – depends on our mood and where we go. And it also includes other people sometimes! What would this look like for your family? Maybe board games? Or bowling? Or something else entirely? What is something you all can do together that everyone will enjoy in one way or another?
  • No Screens – I think you and I can both admit that one of our biggest distractions or disruptions in life is screens. So, as long as we remember (oops), phones are only used AS NECESSARY – no socials or anything else – just the occasional text or call, and definitely nothing work related. Additionally, the kids are not allowed tablets or video games. We do watch TV as a family sometimes, but it is the only allowable screen time in that 24 hour period. And let me tell you, the kids are GREAT at reminding us to stay off of our phones!
  • Time with Jesus – this includes Sunday morning worship and intentional time with Him in other ways. I would say “quiet time” but time with Jesus does not have to be quiet. I read in one of Bob Goff’s books recently that his time with Jesus is when he washes his wife’s car every morning. Definitely not my cup of tea – I’d rather have a cup of tea and a eucalyptus candle. Make your time with Jesus personal and make it work for you! If it doesn’t work than what’s the point?

Things we are tweaking:

  • Community – for us this is an essential part of our Sabbath time because we love the people we do life with and we want that time to be intentional. We’re just still trying to figure out exactly what that looks like.
    • Initially, we tried to plan a Shabbat dinner every Saturday night with our closest group of friends. In that season, it ended up being a bit too much. We shifted to at least twice a month but that has also proven difficult. For now, we are trying to just use each Sabbath to intentionally connect with someone in our faith community. They are our village and we want our kids to know they have so many other people who love them and care for them. In the book Parenting Beyond Your Capacity, Carey Nieuwhof and Reggie Joiner describe this village as essential for faith building in your children. Let’s face it – kids don’t always want to talk to their own parents about things – they often need someone trustworthy and reliable outside of the household. Build that for them, build it into their lives, so that they don’t look to the wrong places.
    • Additionally, we had intended for this community time to be a bit more intentional with Scripture and discipleship, but is hasn’t quite panned out that way. Instead of Scripture readings and faith-based questions, those nights have primarily been fellowship and catching up with one another. Both are important. And we’re finding that, often, the best and deepest faith conversations happen that way anyhow: organically with the people you trust. We’re still feeling this out. And that’s okay.
  • Faith Conversations with our kids – Making this a routine is such a struggle. But we really try. I want my kids to know that I behave the way I do because of what I believe. I think a lot of people grow up being taught what to believe but they never actually see it lived out, which eventually leads to a crisis of faith. I think that’s one of the reasons why deconstruction is such a big thing right now. I’m not against deconstruction – I think it’s important to know why you believe what you believe. But too many people use deconstruction as an excuse to walk away from the faith instead of really digging in. Ideally, we want to be implementing healthy thought processes (healthy questioning, actions with words, etc.) in our children now, so they don’t have to deconstruct later. I want them to hear me talk and teach about my beliefs, but I also want them to see me live that out.
  • Sabbath “Kick-off” – Our friends mentioned above have a really wonderful tradition of kicking off Sabbath with super special hot chocolate (made from Lindt truffles). Again, as we started all of this, our big “kick-off” was meant to be our community Shabbat dinners – intimate time with friends and family. Since that hasn’t quite worked out as planned, we are back to the drawing board with how to mark the beginning of Sabbath. And it often gets pushed to the back burner in the chaos of every day life. Stay tuned to our socials – maybe we’ll figure this one out soon! 🙂

We’re still pretty knew to this intentional idea of Sabbath, so it is highly fluid at this point. We’re finding what works for our family and how we can do even better with the time we’ve been given. I don’t believe Sabbath has to look the same for everyone, it isn’t a one size fits all for each family. Why? Because we were all created differently, we were all wired differently. What brings you life might not bring me life. In fact, one thing that our kids would love to do every Sabbath is play board games. However, Justin loathes board games and they drain him. So, we don’t play board games every single weekend. But we do sometimes because the whole thing is about breathing life into our family, not just ourselves.

What could this look like for you and your family? Does 24 hours seem like too much? Then start smaller. Start with 8 hours, or 6, or 10. My suggestion is to take what you think is feasible and then add an hour or two to that on faith. God wants us to Sabbath, He wants us to rest, to fill up, to recharge. He created the Sabbath for us! If you give Him your time in the way that He asks, He will bless it! Talk with your spouse or your family about different activities you could do together, about what you would ideally like Sabbath to look like and then take one or two steps toward that. This might mean reevaluating your schedule and eliminating some of the “hurry” our culture so often encourages. Or it might mean rearranging things so that you have a solid chunk of time to “set-apart” and become holy as the Sabbath in your home. Lean into what the Lord is asking, spend time talking with Him about how it could work, and then take the next step.

Our faith journey is a process. We are always learning more and growing more. In a culture that has just about forgotten what a Sabbath even is (both in the church and out), practicing the Sabbath is also going to be a journey for those of us who choose to be courageous and take a step of faith back toward what God intended.

You can either rest or burn out. What does He want from you? What will you choose? It’s time to remember.

Embrace the Season

For a more condensed version of this post, please scroll down to the “embrace” picture below.

I want to let you in on a little secret: I hate winter. I don’t like the cold. I only like to look at snow – I very rarely want to be IN it, and I definitely don’t want to drive in it. And the lack of sunshine (especially in lake effect Western Michigan) is awful – it affects my mood which affects my physical health which affects my mood which….well, you get the idea…

But here’s the thing: Winter is only a season. And it will not last forever, which is the hope I hold onto when I wake up to yet another dreary, weary, cold, wet, damp day.

Thank the Lord that spring has finally made it’s appearance! And by spring, I mean sunshine. I am soaking up the sun every moment I possibly can…especially when there is an 80% chance of snow on Monday. What?!?

Life is full of seasons. Good seasons, bad seasons, meh seasons. Some of those seasons fly by and some of them seem to drag on and on and oooooonnnnn for what seems like an eternity.

What season do you find yourself in right now? Lately, I haven’t been able to determine the “type of season” I’m in. Is it a dormant season, like winter, where life is more restful and waiting? Or is it a season of growth, new life, and abundance? Or maybe a season of transition (more like fall) where there isn’t much going on but you can feel something new stirring, things slowly changing?

If we’re really honest, spring and fall aren’t really seasons – they’re more like periods of transition between the two actual seasons. I mean, think about it: neither lasts long – some days are more like the season before and some days are more like the season coming. Yes, there are defining features (rain and new blossoms, changing leaves, etc.) but, again, those features are transition.

But maybe transition is, in and of itself, its own type of season.

As I ramble, I realize that transition is probably the season that takes up most of my life. I feel as if most of my life has been adjusting to a “new normal.” And no, not because of a pandemic (though that was a transition to be sure). I went from college to marriage, we moved a year or so later, and then moved again. Soon after that we had our first child and then our second. Then we started a ministry (in the midst of said pandemic) and, most recently, we uprooted our lives and moved 7 hours away to a new state. 12-ish years and SO much change.

So, yeah, transition is definitely a season. Spring, Fall, I apologize, I take back what I said before. You are real seasons. And, apparently, those transition seasons are where we spend most of our lives, well, at least for me.

But I digress. The point of this post wasn’t to debate what is or isn’t a season, or even to talk about transition. Rather, I wanted to talk about embracing the season you may find yourself in – good or bad, winter, summer, or somewhere in-between.

Now let’s be real for a second – who in their right mind wants to embrace a difficult season?!? No one. No one wants to do that.

The thing is – hindsight. Often, those difficult seasons, when looked back upon, are the seasons where we have seen the most growth, when we have become more of who we were made to be, where our testimony adds another chapter.

Justin and I entered a very difficult season a few years before the pandemic. Things had seemed to be going swimmingly well. We had great friends, a wonderful church, and family planning was on track – we were pregnant with our second! Fast forward 6ish weeks and everything was flipped upside down when very close friends of ours decided to leave our church and, by default, our relationship. One week later, at 12 weeks pregnant, we suffered a miscarriage. I remember sitting in the ER, part of me in denial, part of me angry, part of me overwhelmingly sad. I can still see Justin, sitting in the tan hospital room chair, up against the beige wall, the white and blue curtain pulled closed beside him, holding his head in his hand: “Why is this all happening to us? Why now?”

And that’s how it felt. In one of our most difficult moments, we didn’t even have our friends to depend upon. This wasn’t how everything was supposed to go. I even wrote a post a few weeks later that expressed my anguish and my struggle with why we didn’t get the miracle.

While, in no way, would I ever wish to live through that season again, I have come to appreciate how God used it to weave a greater story than I could have ever imagined. Which, by the way, is what He promises in His Word (Romans 8:28, Ephesians 3:20).

God will use the difficult seasons to make us stronger, to teach us what we need to learn, to helps us grow closer and closer into His image. Here are just a few of the things that season has done for us:

  1. I have been able to walk alongside others who have suffered a miscarriage (1 in 4 women) and I talk about it openly and often so that it is no longer a taboo subject.
  2. I have been able to discuss the value of life with my children through the memory of the child I never got to hold. We have a picture of a baby sea turtle making its way to the sea on our gallery wall to remember that child, as well as a box with ultrasound pictures and other small mementos of that short time. My oldest will ask to look at the box all the time. And each time we end up asking deeper questions.
  3. We now look at conflict within the church much differently and know that handling conflict or offense Biblically is literally the best and healthiest way (Matthew 18:15-22). You cannot walk away from the issues. I am a huge advocate for dealing with offense instead of letting it fester or ignoring it and pretending it didn’t happen. My first question in these situations is always: “Have you talked to that person?” Because I have seen, repeatedly, what happens when you don’t. I’ve seen what happens when people assume one thing or another. I have seen the grape vine of gossip that twists what was said (or done) into something out of proportion. Sometimes, Often times, because we don’t have the boldness to face the conflict, it escalates into something irreparable. (A great resource for this is the book The Bait of Satan.)
  4. Healthy church leadership is hard to come by and should be valued when it is.
  5. Being the pastor’s family, even as adults, is a extraordinarily difficult spotlight to be in. There are always expectations that won’t be met, there are unending heavy matters to attend to, and the weight of it all is ever present (especially for the pastor).

I am eternally grateful for how that season shaped me, for how God used what wrecked me, to make me a better version of myself that looks a lot more like Him than it used to. I should clarify: Do I believe that God caused these things? Absolutely not. But did He turn the fallen and broken pieces of our life into something beautiful and worthwhile? 100% yes.

Did I have to go through those things to learn some of the valuable lessons that I have? Maybe. I certainly wouldn’t be who I am today without having suffered through that season.

Did I embrace that season? Probably not. But I have now.

And maybe that’s where you are. Maybe you are in a season that you cannot fathom embracing – be it heartache, a cancer diagnosis, loss of a loved one, a natural disaster, or something else. Maybe this season feels like four winters in a row – with no sunshine in sight. Embracing that sounds bizarre, even asinine.

Embrace, Hopeless, Can't go on, help, hope, love, seasons, change, difficult, hard life, cancer, death, miscarriage, alone, empty, give up, suicide, not alone
Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Think of it this way. An embrace takes two objects – you have to embrace something be it a telephone pole or a person. For this illustration, let’s assume an embrace involves two people. What if embracing the season means finding yourself in an embrace with the Lord? Some seasons we need to embrace Him for dear life – like a child who hasn’t yet learned how to swim, arms wrapped tightly around His neck, immovable, white knuckled, and afraid to let go – He is your lifeline to surviving the tumultuous seas around you. Or maybe you find yourself at the end of your rope. There isn’t any strength left, you want to give up. Friend, all I’m asking of you in this season is to lean into the embrace. Lean into the arms of the Father, let Him hold you up, let His strength be what keeps you afloat. It’s still an embrace if His arms are around you, so lean in.

One way or another, embrace the season, even if that means barely holding on. I can promise you two things:

  1. God will take the worst season and use it for good (so long as you truly love Him, see Romans 8:28).
  2. This season won’t last forever. Spring is coming. Sunshine is just around the corner and the flowers will bloom again. Hold on, friend, hold on.

Hold on.

Open My Eyes

Imagine with me for a moment:

Your eyes slowly blink open. It seems early yet but something feels…off… As you stumble out of bed, your mind clearing a bit more, you notice an odd stillness. The birds aren’t chirping, the typical morning noises are oddly absent. Instead, you become aware of low rumblings of noises that aren’t typical, not in the morning, not ever…

You make your way outside only to find that through the night, the enemy has invaded your camp. You are fully alert now, taking it all in. You knew that people were after the prophet you serve, Elisha. But you had not clue they were THIS close. They have completely surrounded you on every side and their numbers are exceptional. How you will ever survive this is beyond imagination. You immediately call for Elisha, completely unsure of how this will ever work out okay…

Do you ever feel like this young man? Living life as usual, until one day you awaken to find that everything has changed. You are now facing a near impossible situation and no matter which way you look, there doesn’t seem to be a way out. Sometimes, it is earth-shattering, life-changing news (cancer, death of a loved one, etc.). Other times, it is small things like losing one more account at work or not getting the answers from yet another doctor or ______________ (insert any “small” thing that set you over the edge here).


When Elisha comes to the Gehazi’s beckoning, Elisha doesn’t panic at all. His response is this, a simple prayer:

“O Yahweh, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.”

2 Kings 6:17a

Wait…what?!? Open his eyes!?!? They are clearly open, observing the enemy encamped around them, swords and shields glinting in the morning sunlight, horses impatiently stomping their hooves in anticipation…but Elisha saw more. He saw the spiritual realm, the heavenly armies, and interceded on behalf of Gehazi, his young servant, so that he may see as well.

And Yahweh opened the eyes of the young man and he saw; and behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. And they came down to him…

2 Kings 6: 17-18a

Ultimately, this battle is won when Elisha also prays for the enemy to be blinded, another prayer that God immediately answers with a resounding “yes.” The full story can be found in 2 Kings 6.

God gives and takes away. He gave sight to Gehazi, spiritual sight, to see the heavenly realms that were already there. And he took away physical sight from the enemy so that His purposes and plans would prevail.

The Hebrew word used for “open” in Elisha’s prayer is paqach which literally means “to open the senses.” While there is emphasis on the sense of sight here, I imagine what Gehazi took in was more than just with his eyes. Elisha prayed for his senses to be opened, for him to be able to take it all in. I imagine he could hear the braying of the horses, the crackling of the fire, feel the heat emanating from the chariots, the weighty presence of the angel armies… Once the Lord opened his senses, there was no denying the reality of the spiritual realm. Even though it has been there all along, Gehazi could fully experience it’s existence in that moment.

That heavenly, or spiritual, realm didn’t just exist in the Old Testament. It exists today. Oh, that we may see with spiritual eyes, that we may know the power and strength that surrounds us at any given moment.

Our eyes see the physical results of the MRI, the X-ray, the CT Scan. Our hands feel the heaviness of the death certificate that makes it feel so final. Our ears hear the screams of children as yet another shooting takes place. We smell the smoke of wild fires out of control. And we can taste the salty tears that fall as we take it all in.

Heaven, Realm, Spiritual, Heavenly, Reality, Elisha, Bible, senses, open eyes, tragedy, impossible, cancer, death, war, unimaginable
Photo by Kat J on Unsplash

The physical senses are all too real when we’re faced with the difficult, daunting, and unimaginable. But the greater reality we have, as Christians, is the very real spiritual realm surrounding us. No, that doesn’t mean we won’t face any battles. We will. Gehazi and Elisha still woke up, unexpectedly surrounded by a vast enemy army. But they were never alone. Just as we are never alone.

The next time you are facing the unimaginable, the next time you see the test results, or taste the bitter tears, or hear the funeral parlor music – open your eyes. Pray to see the spiritual reality that is yours!

No, we may not actually see angels or chariots of fire. But, I believe that when we ask God, He is pleased to allow us a taste of what the spiritual realm really is – whether it’s a supernatural feeling, a small breeze, a blinding flash, or something else entirely. He will remind you that you are not alone. Whatever you are facing, whatever path you have ended up on – you are surrounded by those very same horses and chariots of fire. Remember, they didn’t just appear when Elisha prayed, they had been there all along.

You matter. You are loved. You are not alone.

Father, I pray that you would open our senses to see, hear, and feel Your reality. May we be more aware, more observant of how You are moving. May we be more aware of the reality of Your presence and the armies You have surrounded us with. For those of us who are facing what seems impossible, for those facing anxiety, a cancer diagnosis, homelessness, financial turmoil, or anything else – open our eyes, Lord, open our eyes. You know who needs to see Your reality in this moment. In the name of Jesus, I pray, open their eyes.

Revival Starts Here

This post was mostly written shortly before the revival at Asbury ended (is that even the right word? resolved maybe?).

As I entered our worship center a few Sundays ago, my heart was longing to be at Asbury instead. In fact, most of the past handful of days I had been daydreaming about how I could make it happen. We actually planned a vacation to Kentucky about a month ago, but it isn’t until the end of August! Right now, mid-winter – we’re dealing with work schedules, school, crazy Michigan weather, and various other commitments (because…life). Practically, it just wasn’t adding up…

As worship began that Sunday, over 400 miles away from Asbury, my heart wasn’t quite in it. I love our church, SO much. But that morning I just wanted to be where His presence was, where the thousands of people from all around the nation (the world?) were gathering because they wanted or needed more of Him. I wanted to be in a space where everyone wanted to be there, not just because it was a part of their usual routine or something they were supposed to do.

And then the conviction came. First, it was a gentle nudge to be present in the moment instead of wishing to be somewhere else. Worship Him in the here and now, where I stand. So, I did. Then, as we began to sing Waymaker, I was reminded of the very real truth that God transcends time and location.

“You are here, moving in our midst
I worship You, I worship You
You are here, working in this place
I worship You, I worship You
You are here, moving in our midst
I worship You, I worship You
You are here, working in this place
I worship You, I worship You…”

(emphasis added)

Yes, revival is happening in Asbury (and other places around the country) but He is HERE, His presence is HERE, the Holy Spirit is HERE! Revival starts within myself. And friends, that was one of the most powerful moments of worship I have had in a very long time.

Photo by Christian Dubovan on Unsplash

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know there is something special about believers gathering in one place. I have no doubt that being at Asbury would impact me in ways I cannot even begin to imagine. But I don’t have to drive seven hours, or make a special trip, to be in His presence. He is HERE. He is with me, He is within me!

Oh, how often we take that for granted. Oh, how often we miss the revival that is possible every single day.

I’ve seen so many comments and memes about whether Asbury is genuine. I’m sure we could debate all day. One of the biggest “criticisms” I’ve seen was a comment implying that Asbury was not the real thing: True revival begins with repentance. If you’ve read any of the stories I have, you know that this IS happening at Asbury. Repentance is how a single hour of chapel lasted over two full weeks. Repentance of a few twenty-somethings, striving to be more Christ-like, has sparked a nation-wide revival!

Yes, dear Facebook troll, you are correct, true revival does begin with repentance. That statement rung loud in my mind as I continued to worship Sunday morning. True revival, whether for a nation, a city, or an individual – begins with repentance.

If, like me, you long for that sweet, sweet taste of revival – start within yourself. Search your heart, seek His repentance, and watch the fire of revival ignite, burn, and spread. True revival may not always capture the attention of mainstream media or social media…but it can still change your life, your town/city, and our world!

True revival starts with you. It starts with me.

I challenge you to approach worship this coming Sunday with this attitude: God is moving HERE and NOW. Allow Him to move in you. The spark within you may be just what is needed for a blazing fire of repentance and restoration within the church body He has placed you. Don’t hold back, don’t quench the fire – allow Him to move, allow His presence to overwhelm you, allow a revival in your own soul and see what He can do with it.

What Heaven is Like

This past year I read through a daily devotional by John Eldridge called Restoration Year. Going into 2022, we were leaving a difficult season of our lives. I was wiped out, struggling with depression, exhausted from burn out and criticism, and so much more. Restoration Year popped up in my “suggested” during Christmas shopping at the end of 2021 and I immediately knew I needed it for the coming year. God had spoken a season of rest for us, but I wanted that rest to be productive. I didn’t want to come out on the other side of our “rest” not feeling restored. While the devotional itself has not been earth shattering or life altering, it has caused me to reflect in some new and different ways.

One reflection, specifically, is that of how I view Heaven. I want you to take a minute and ponder that with me for a moment. Seriously – close your eyes and envision what you believe Heaven will actually be like.

What does it look like? What does it smell like? Sound like? What have you been taught? For most of us, the ideas that initially come are those of a life-long worship service. Depending upon your earthly experience, that could be a good thing….or it could be a not-so-great thing. I haven’t been taught much about Heaven, but if I was 100% honest, before really looking at Scripture, before really contemplating all that God has promised – I wasn’t so sure about Heaven. And there was a part of me that questioned what an eternal worship service would be like… Wouldn’t it get boring? Wouldn’t I tire of the same thing over and over and over…literally forever?? And then that voice would nag, Are you serious? How could you ever get bored worshipping Jesus? You’ll finally be in His physical presence after all. No more pain, no more tears. What more could you ask for? And then I would push those thoughts away and move on to something else. Because, after all, at the end of the day, I knew Heaven would be more than I can imagine, so why concern myself with it now?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love me a good worship service. Our multi-site church hosted a joint worship night a couple of months ago. And I STILL feel the specialness of that night. There is something about God’s people coming together to worship because they want to, not because they feel obligated. There is something about singing together and praying together and believing together… “Where two or three are gathered, I am there“(Matthew 18:20). God is always with us, but His presence really begins to show off when we gather together, especially when we gather together for the soul purpose of worshipping and praising Him. And, in those moments, when I’m knee deep in His presence, tears streaming down my face, surrounded by others in the same position, I don’t mind the thought of an eternal worship service. It will be 10x what it is here on earth.

But, you guys, it will also be MORE!

So. Much. More.

Yes, I’m sure we will worship Jesus forever and always. Not just with singing but with our creativeness, our art, our discovery of the beauty He intended for us. Restoration Year has opened my eyes to all that Heaven can be. And the reality is, that even these visions of Heaven on earth, even all that I can imagine, is nothing compared to the reality of what Heaven on earth will actually be.

Two of my new favorite views of Heaven are below, but it is only the beginning of possibility. Dream with me for a minute?

First, I picture a campfire. Not just any old campfire, but the early fall campfires where you sit for hours to soak up some of the last bits of nice weather, where story after story is told and your belly hurts from laughing so much. THIS is community. And if you’ve experienced it, even once, you know how truly wonderful those moments can be. It feels like a little bit of heaven on earth. And, my friends, I believe that’s because it is. When the end of our current world comes, heaven meets earth, and the earth is made new – I fully envision us sitting around a fire with Paul and Peter, laughing at some of the shenanigans they got into on their missionary journeys. Then crying tears of joy moments later as they recall the miracles they experienced first hand. Or another fire where Mary shares the inside details of what it was like to raise a toddler who was, quite literally, God – she will share those moments where He made her chuckle but also share the weight of what it was like to parent the Messiah. Those stories are only the beginning. I truly believe we will have an eternity of so many unbelievable stories. Stories that make us laugh, make us cry (tears of joy, of course), stories that will remind us over and over and over of how wonderfully beautiful His restoration truly is.

And those campfires won’t get rained out, we won’t run out of fireside snacks, and every single relationship around that fire will be exactly what it was intended to be – no worries, no pride, no shame, no conflict – pure, beautiful, fully restored community.

My second view of Heaven is that of the beauty of a restored earth. This is multi-faceted. This includes all of nature – from animals, to canyons, to forests. We will see nature as it was created to be before the fall. We know that the Bible says the lion will lay down with the lamb. But I also believe that means I will be able to snuggle with leopards and run through the field with gazelles and….and…and… the possibilities are literally unending. I mean, I’ve always wanted to go to one of those hotels where I can feed a giraffe through my window or dine on the balcony as they graze around me. That will be our reality.

And it’s not just the animals, it’s all of nature. God gave us beauty to enjoy here on earth today. And you don’t have to look far. There are literally hundreds of state parks and national parks around the country that showcase the wonders God has made for us. Not to mention the places around the world. And that’s beauty on a vast scale. What about the beauty of a backyard sunset? Or the hope and joy that stirs in us when a butterfly lands on our shoulder or a new bird stops at the feeder.

Our family is fairly outdoorsy. While we aren’t avid campers, we do love to hike, adventure, and explore new places. The kids already have their favorite trails that they will ask to go back to time and time again because of something that sparks life in them. There’s nothing quite as exhilarating for me to go to a national or state park and reach that lookout point you were hiking towards. Justin and I hiked Angels Landing in Zion National Park during our tenth anniversary celebration. Now the hike up was beautiful, but very challenging for out-of-shape, chronically-ill Bri. I can’t tell you the amount of times we had to stop to take a break so I could just catch my breathe. And while the view at the top was what awaited us, the beauty along the way was also breathtaking. To walk along the flowing stream and see the water slowly ripple along the edge. Or to walk through the canyon walls, with ledges high on either side, noticing the etching of the rock, or catching areas where the water was slowly seeping through. To step on tree roots that were strong enough to withstand the winds on the side of the cliff face.

But when we got to the top, those views, that moment – absolutely breathtaking. To stand in awe of how small we really are, to be amazed at the sheer beauty of looking across the landscape… Those moments are what heaven will be like. The take-your-breath-away, absolutely unbelievable mountain top moments. God created that beauty. And we get just a taste of it on this side of eternity. Can you imagine what it will be like when nature is fully restored? When we have unlimited access to the entirety of His creation? We won’t need plane tickets or permits. I mean, I’m not sure how we’ll get to all of the far-off and exotic places. Teleportation? Flying? I can only imagine. But what I do know is that the most beautiful things we can imagine will be at our fingertips.’

Heaven, Eternity, New Earth, Beautiful, Adventure, Worship, Art, Creativity, Nature, Beauty
Photo of Angels Landing in Zion National Park by Joshua Gresham on Unsplash

My view of Heaven today has been greatly expanded. Someday there will unlimited exploring and adventures. And when I’m exploring I won’t have to worry about my chronic pain or fatigue getting in the way. Plus, when I come across that herd of mountain sheep, I won’t be nervous that one will charge at me with those massive horns. I’ll be able to walk right up to them, full of confidence in knowing that danger no longer exists.

All of this talk about Heaven and I haven’t even mentioned feasts or the fact that we’ll have all the answers. Because those two things are also incredible!

For now, I want you to grab a journal or close your eyes. What are the things that truly bring you life today? What would it look like for those things, those people, to be fully restored? That is a closer version of what Heaven will be like than anything else we can imagine I think.

Sure, there might be streets of gold and pearly gates – but that is only the beginning of the beauty that awaits us on the new earth.

The most beautiful, life-giving moment or place you can imagine, but fully restored and whole, WITH Jesus at your side. Can you just begin to imagine?

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When God Makes you Laugh Out Loud

God speaks. I take a few days to realize it. And then I laugh out loud.

Anyone else??

For one, I can be pretty dense sometimes. But also, I think He is subtle on purpose: so He knows we’re listening, but also, because He has a sense of humor. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise… Seriously, if someone is offended that you believe God has a sense of humor: “ain’t nobody got time for that!” He created a sense of humor!! And I can guarantee you, He loves to laugh.

So let me tell you the story this time….

For *ahem* awhile, I have felt a nudging to become a licensed/ordained minister. But I never really felt like the time was ‘now.’ And I firmly believe, though I may be in denial, that it wasn’t the right time until…well…I’m getting ahead of myself.

When we moved to Michigan at the end of November, we were both very certain that God had called us to a season of Sabbath. And it has been just the refresher that we needed. I started feeling a nudge to start doing something maybe a month or two ago (writing this on May 2, 2022). But I couldn’t decide what. I love to sing, I like working with kids, and, of course, helping with the coffee bar would be right up my alley…analysis paralysis right?

On the last night of the first small group we attended at our new church, the ice breaker was posed: ‘What is a secret/hidden talent that you have?’ I, of course, was first after the hosts (our pastor and his wife) and could think of absolutely nothing even though I was in a room full of almost perfect strangers. So I asked to pass until everyone else went. Justin kept pushing for me to talk about preaching.

BUT, even though we had purposefully chosen a church that affirmed women in ministry, I know individuals don’t always agree with everything within their church’s belief system (it’s the fundamentals that matter!). And I also know there are people that feel very strongly about women in ministry and I am NOT a confrontational person. In fact, I am very much the opposite. I didn’t want to ruin the budding relationships in the room by throwing in this somewhat controversial topic.

It finally came back around to my turn….I mumbled something about singing and, without thinking too much, mentioned that Justin wanted me to say I could preach. I explained about filling in for my dad at our home church, blah, blah, blah. Our pastor smirked and mentioned something about always having a sermon ready….

And that was that.

Or not….

My mom came to visit over Easter weekend just a few weeks later. I, of course, had to share with her how our pastor is a ‘chicken whisperer’ because my dad, also, loves his chickens. She decided to strike up a conversation with him after service; I came over and heard something about me being able to preach. I made an off-handed comment about how he was supposed to forget that information and then I was off to chasing down my kiddos again (they have certainly become comfortable at our church in the few months we have been there…).

My mom and Gi headed out the next day and the kids and I spent most of the morning being a little homesick and melancholy (let’s be honest, even though we know this move was very God led, it isn’t always easy being 7 hours away from people you love). The afternoon was much the same. It was raining outside, I was curled up on the couch trying to talk myself into reading a book instead of turning on the TV or picking up my phone….when I got a message…

It was our pastor: “You mom mentioned that you have a calling into ministry. I’d like to hear about that some time.”


Hmm. Thanks Mom.

That week after Easter was a whirlwind of emotion. I sent him a long message about how I didn’t know what that looked like in our current season or if I even could right now. Looking back, even a couple weeks later, I can definitely see my fear and lack of dependence on God in that message.

So, I send a long video message to my close friend and mentor back in PA (thank the Lord for Marco Polo) expecting her to sympathize with the situation. Nope – much like when I told her about a potential move to Michigan….she responded quite differently than anticipated. She basically told me it was time to get off my butt and take the next step. I would say it was a bit more polite than that….but she knows when I need to bluntly hear the truth…

Here is the part where it becomes a bit humorous. I had been studying the book of Jonah for the past two weeks without thinking anything about it. Because mom life takes priority a lot of the time, I hadn’t gotten past the first chapter. As I was writing down notes from different commentaries, God reminded me about the book, the very chapter I was studying: Jonah, the prophet that ran from his calling. I started laughing out loud. I think my kids might have thought I was a bit crazier than normal…. But I got the message: It was time: don’t run, lean in.

And so I’m moving forward, even if it is one baby step at a time. Our pastor is already working with us in small ways to prepare for this next journey. I’m terrified. Why? I’m not a huge fan of public speaking. But mostly? I’m a people pleaser. And I know that women in ministry have to have thick skin because criticism comes hot and fast. People are passionate about women not preaching (and apparently not wearing pants or having pixie cuts *insert eye roll here*).

Our family motto, however, has been “Do it afraid.” So I will. I may be trembling, but I’m taking the next steps because I know that HE has called me and HE will never leave my side through it all.

Whether that looks like full time pastoring or simply speaking on occasion while I do ministry in other capacities, I don’t know. Do I actually need a license or ordination? Or does God just want me to be more active? Again, I”m not 100% sure. What I do know is that I have to keep taking the next step.

Instead of running in the opposite direction, making up excuses, allowing fear and the enemies lies to get in the way – I will take the next step, even though I can’t see the whole staircase. He is calling me into the Great Unknown and I cannot wait to see what lies ahead!

Update: It has now been almost 9 months since I originally wrote this post. I can’t say that God has revealed much more to me in this season. I am definitely more involved with our church and I’m being super intentional about shepherding the people God has placed in my life. For now, I am trying to lean into what He is doing, move when He moves, wait when He waits. One step at a time. If I overthink things it can be a bit disastrous for me and everyone else in my life.

Let me know in the comments or an email or on socials how God is moving in your life. I’d love to be praying over that with and for you!

Stones of Remembrance

Writing is how I remember. God often told His people to do things “so that you remember” – stones in the Jordan river (Joshua 3:13-4:3), the celebration of Passover (Exodus 12), communion (Luke 22:19-20), and many more. And let’s be real for a second, even with those symbols of remembrance, His people still had (and have) a hard time remembering…

Photo by Pierre Ducher on Unsplash

Honestly, though, isn’t this why we keep momentos or collect items from gift shops? Ticket stubs, sand from beaches, keychains – we keep something to specifically remind us of that trip, that moment, that event…

Yes, I do keep things (probably too many according to my husband) – but, mostly, to remember, I write. When my kids were babies I wrote a monthly blog post for each of them. Every once in awhile I will go back to that blog and read over different things. It is astounding how much you forget in so short a time!

I also blog about our journey, *ahem*, our voyage in following the Lord. I’ve kind of always done this off and on throughout my years. But I became really intentional about it when we began to feel the Lord leading us to reach young adults and open a coffee shop (that particular chapter of our lives starts here if you are interested in reading about it). It’s really how this whole “Voyage Together” blog got started. There were too many “coincidences” happening that I didn’t want to forget. And when I say “coincidence” I mean, without a doubt, God moments. We don’t believe in coincidence in this family. God is constantly on the move, and we can so often dismiss it as something else… When we have what the world would call a coincidence, we recognize it as a God moment. Sometimes those moments are a HUGE deal, sometimes we’re left wondering why things lined up the way they did. But I am always certain God is up to something and those are the moments I want, no need to pay attention to. Those are the moments I need to remember. So I write them down, or should I say type them?

Often times I write down the mundane as well, or rather, what seems to be mundane. Because when I go back and read it again I can see how God used those mundane, day-to-day moments to shape our lives. Hindsight is 20/20 right?

For instance, my husband and I ran into the same person two days in a row in two different towns in two very different places. Those impressions stick with us. We don’t really know why God chose to cross our paths, but it has put that person at the forefront of our minds, and we have been consistent in prayer for them.

Think about all of the memorials you have seen over your lifetime. For wars fought, for veterans, for lives lost… One of the most impactful memorials I have ever been to was in Oklahoma City of the bombing that occurred in April of 1995. They thought through everything for that memorial. It was all extraordinarily intentional. The one thing that will never leave my mind are the chairs. Where the building once stood, there is now a chair in the lawn for each individual that lost their lives, including smaller chairs for the children, each illuminated from beneath at night (seen to the left in the picture below).

Why do we do this as a society? Why do we create memorials? Because, we want and need to remember, but for some crazy reason, it is so easy to forget.

I want to encourage you to find a way to remember. God knows our memories are faulty, which is why I believe He so often encouraged His people, His followers, to DO something to remember. Actions and visuals stir something more in our minds, I think they alter our brain chemistry just a bit or create a red flag somewhere in our grey matter so that the memory is more lasting.

What has God been doing in your life? What “coincidences” have stuck out to you?

Find a significant way to remember them. Below there is a practical list of ideas. Some of these I have actually used, others are just me brainstorming. But that’s the idea: Get creative, do something that works for you! We were not all created the same and so sometimes it takes something incredibly unique to work for you.

  • Memory Jar – write little moments on slips of paper and place them in a jar – set aside one day a year/month/quarter to go through them. Keep the ones that still stick out.
  • Write on literal stones – you’re very own stones of remembrance
    • Stack them up and glue them together
    • Throw them all into a pot, bucket, or vase of some sort
    • Add them to your landscaping or garden area
  • Take pictures and actually get them printed! I know this seems obvious, but I think, especially for our generation, the printed part can be hard to follow through. But don’t just take any pictures – take pictures specific to your faith journey, even if they don’t make sense to other people. Then maybe put them all together in an album for the year or the month. I’ve recently started using Chatbooks for our family pics and subscribed annually to their monthly books – it makes it so much easier to be intentional when they remind me on my phone (If you want to give them a try use this referral code for $10 off: BRISHERMAN-FQ3G They even have an app which makes things twice as easy: download the app here)!
  • Stick post-its or Scripture or something on your fridge or your mirror or in your car. Really want to remember something? Make sure you see it every single day.
  • Start your own blog! You don’t even have to make it public – blogs can simply be personal storage for your own thoughts, ramblings, and memories.
  • Keep a journal – old school, but SUPER effective.
  • Record short videos on your phone to look back on, a vlog of sorts
  • Create a paper scrapbook – write down memories, keep ticket stubs – get as creative as you want here. Use different colors or patterns to represent different things. I haven’t done this yet….but now that I’m thinking about it, I just might. After all, I have a ton of crafting stuff just waiting to be put to use in my basement. 😉

No matter what you do – make it work for you. Maybe you try something for the next few months and it just doesn’t work. That’s okay – try something else. Maybe what worked for remembering last season doesn’t seem to work this season. I have been there. Writing didn’t always come easy over the last few years, so I had to find other ways to remember in that season. It’s okay to shift gears. It’s okay to start something new. The point? Find something that works. Find a way to remember. Even if it means building a pile of stones in your backyard…

Note to the Reader: In an effort to monetize the blog so that we can take this “thing” further and reach more people, we have begun to include referral links. Anything linked is highly recommended! Thanks for helping us to further the Kingdom.

Journey Back to Writing

January 30th, 2022

Writing. It, historically, was an outlet of mine. And then life happened. I had my second child….and still *kind of* kept writing. Post-partum depression hit HARD at 6 months. Less writing. We opened the ministry we had been working so hard for and dove in. Even less writing. COVID hit. Between my depression and trying to keep the ministry afloat, I didn’t want to write anymore. I didn’t want to do anything.

A lot has changed since then. I sought counseling from a licensed therapist (if you’re on the fence -do it! In case no one has told you – you can have Jesus and a therapist too!), Justin received a very unexpected job offer out of state, God continued to lead us in that direction, and, before we knew it, we left everything we knew behind and relocated to Michigan (where, thankfully, we do have some family).

While my depression is under control, and we have found ourselves in a true season of restoration, I’m still not finding the urge to write. But, during communion at church this morning, I was convicted that sometimes we need to do things we don’t necessarily feel like doing. I miss writing, but I still don’t feel like it. However, I do believe it is a passion, dare I say, gifting, that God has given me.

So, I’m writing again. Even if I don’t feel like it. For now, I’m not publishing, or sharing, or awaiting anyone’s feedback or accolades. I’m writing for me and for Him, for the benefit of my soul. Do I want to use this outlet to further and strengthen the Kingdom? Absolutely! But I feel the conviction to wait for His timing. I’ll write….and save the draft….and write some more. Maybe someday the world will see these inner thoughts of mine or maybe they won’t. And that’s okay.

Even just this much writing has given me life. I’m excited to see what comes of it. I’m aiming for 10 minutes a day – I’m sure sometimes it will be more, I hope so.

Until tomorrow….

October 31, 2022

Fast forward almost a full year and I still haven’t written like I wanted to. I have written some things – some posts saved in my drafts for a later time, some posts that I wrote only for my heart that will never be published…but still not much.

Both kids are now in school for at least 4 days a week for a few hours. And that leaves me with some extra time. While I still don’t often feel like it, my more realistic goal is to write at least twice a month. So far, that has been going well.

Today, the one book I’m reading through, 100 Days to Brave, mentioned our online life and how we use that to further the Kingdom. She spent a big chunk of those two simple pages discussing the blog she started. How she used it to write for herself, to share her story with a few close friends….but how, somehow, strangers started reading her blog. And then she was able to share Jesus with so many more people.

I don’t know if blogging is still the trend that it used to be. Do people still read these things? Or do I need to be making 3 minute videos for TikTok? Ha! Writing is definitely more my game…so I’ll stick with that…people still read..right?

Regardless, that reading today reminded me that I need to be intentional about writing, I need to do the things that I don’t necessarily feel like doing. I am confident that passion will return – because I know God has gifted me in this area.

So my challenge for you today is to do the thing you love. Don’t really feel like it? Do it anyways. Has God gifted you in areas that you aren’t really spending time developing? Make the time. Dig in. Feed the old passion, revive your gifting, fight for ways you can expand the Kingdom of God in your own unique way!

For me, it’s time to write…

What does that look like for you?

December 8, 2022

Just over a month later and I’ve been surpassing my goal of writing twice a month! In fact, Thursday mornings have become my writing days. And, honestly, they give me so much life.

Mondays usually hit hard at some point. In the morning, rushing to get everyone ready and out the door. Or in the evening when we’ve finally accomplished the day and felt the full force of “being back in the swing” of the week. Monday always ends up feeling like a Monday. Am I right?

But I find myself, now, pushing through. By Tuesday afternoon (if not before), I am looking forward to my Thursday writing time. It isn’t always productive. And it definitely isn’t always earth shattering. But it is always life giving.

I drop off Obi (my youngest) for his short day of preschool in the morning and then I drive down the street to the coffee shop. Then, with a latte in hand (most likely chestnut praline this time of year), I find a table, set up my laptop and dive in.

Most of those days I am reading and rereading my drafts to make sure they express exactly what I want to say. Anyone else an overthinker? But other days, I feel inspired, and write something new. Sometimes, I’m prepping social media posts.

But no matter what, my creativity has an outlet – the creativity that God has given me. He has gifted me with a purpose and He has gifted YOU with a purpose.

As noted above, what are you doing with that gifting? Find a way to make it a part of your routine. Even if it’s only for you. The more life-giving activity you find yourself in, the more likely that will overflow to the people around you! Which is exactly what God intends…