Girl, Go Home

“Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

John 20:21 

“This is no place for a woman.”

I remember my first day in the barn, almost 5 years ago now.

I am no stranger to working in male dominated fields. For three years after I graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in Animal Science and Agricultural Business I worked in large production hog facilities.

The looks I received when first walking into a barn varied from “welcome” to “what the…”

But once they realized I was there to do my equal share, most of those looks turned into a form of mutual respect. I say most, not all. Which was okay- it was my job to work in the barn, I’d leave God to work on their hearts.

Meanwhile, I felt a call to serve full time in Ministry, following a season of preparation. I sat on the sidelines for a good long while, until God finally took my hand and helped me out of the boat. Since then I have received my Masters in Ministry, accepted a chaplaincy position, have been a youth pastor, supplied pulpit service and am currently working through my Masters in Divinity.

The uncertainty and gravity of the decision was never one I took lightly. But there was a passion and a dream that filled, and still fills, my whole being night and day. I am not sure where we are going, but every step I take draws me closer to something that is far beyond I could ever fathom.

However, those steps often come with some degree of difficulty. Not the least of which, is the reality of entering another male dominated field. And it is not so much that it is a male dominated field but in that age old question- Does God really want women to serve as leaders in ministry?

For someone whose whole being longs to follow God’s will- the quickest way to put them under water is to imply they are not only working fruitlessly but in direct retaliation to the God they wish to serve.

Last week this issue escalated as esteemed Pastor and Theologian John MacArthur took the stage- and stance- against women preachers. Quite forcibly I might add.

Mind you reading and listening to his comments not only hurt, but at the same time drew me into a moment of reflection. I personally own and have used several of MacArthur’s works for class and personal study. For example 12 Unlikely Men… and 12 Unlikely Women. This wasn’t someone whose opinion I could just discount- in fact it is someone whose opinion I had quoted and drew conclusions from for several assignments.

As the questions and doubts came running to the door I turned the deadbolt and ran to Scripture, reviewing what I knew of Jesus, His life and ministry. He never turned a woman away. Oftentimes He worked in their lives in a way that sent them running to tell the Good News with just as much success as the greatest pastors.

I found women that Paul would mention and commend for their teaching and leadership alongside women of the Old Testament who were often charged with responsibilities in God’s divine plan to bring about salvation and deliverance to God’s people.

There are three sections of Scripture within Paul’s letters in which I believe MacArthur draws his views from. Having studied those Scriptures in class I know a few facts about them that may help clear the muddied waters. Those verses are encased in letters to specific congregations- speaking on specific issues. Most theologians throughout the past several hundred years agree that Paul’s letters were occasional and often directly sought to provide an answer per circumstance. Most theologians agree today that those moments when Paul negatively addressed women in ministry, he was more than likely writing in response to a group of women within the church who were distracting the saints through gossip and destructive talk. (Especially given the reputations of those churches in which the letters were being sent to.)

Note there are several other women Paul mentions by name in his letters, commending them in their work; Lydia, Priscillia, Phoebe, Junia… Paul never condemns or admonishes their involvement in ministry. In fact Romans 16:7 even leads us to believe that Junia was an apostle.

In short, John, I still find that you are a great teacher. However, on this point I disagree. For I find several Biblical cases to be made for a woman to serve, preach, teach and participate in the spreading the Good News. For it is all to the glory of God that we speak.

“There is no case that can be made biblically for a woman preacher. Period. Paragraph. End of discussion.”  -John MacArthur 

“They don’t want equal power to be a plumber. They want to be senators, preachers, congressmen, president…” (MacArthur). 

And personally, if it is the idea of the title which upsets you, you can keep it. It’s not the title or power we are seeking… it is Him and the lost He has ordained for us to find.

Peace John, thank you for your continued work for the Lord. I do not claim to have had divine revelation that no one else has had, allowing my conclusions to be indisputable. But do not believe I have not diligently weighed and reviewed the matter. And I am not alone in my conclusions.

Below are four articles that assisted me, alongside scripture, in finding peace between my place in God and my place according to various world views. These teachers are more experienced and eloquent than I am and I highly recommend all 4- through the third link down is short, sweet and goes straight to the heart of the matter- in a fashion Paul, Apostle of Christ, would applaud.

Max Lucado responds to John MacArthur

Jamie Morgan: Women in Ministry

An Open Letter from the Apostle Paul to John

Women: The Great Commission is your Permission

Living Water

And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?”

Acts 8:36 (ESV) 

I debated for years… I had been baptized as an infant in the Lutheran Church- which would lovingly raise me for the entirety of my childhood.

Consequently I had also been through confirmation at 13.

In conclusion I had given my life to Christ. I even had documentation.

But as I began moving towards pursuing a career in full time ministry, the internal nudge to get baptized grew.

Let me clarify that this was not because I believed I needed to be baptized to be saved. Jesus saved me the moment I asked him into my heart. Being baptized was not a way to “level up.”

Also, it was not because I felt my Lutheran baptism and upbringing had failed me in any way. On the contrary, I grew up strong in my faith, I had fantastic Godparents and it was that faith community that planted in me the seeds which would eventually bring me back to God after enduring a dark period.

The dark period.

What nudged me, personally, to be baptized was the dark period. While I knew I was saved, that my baptism hadn’t been “nullified” in any way… it occurred to me that I had fallen away from faith for a period of time.

I had never stopped believing in God or Jesus- but we certainly were not on speaking terms for a good two years.

God would knock and I would develop selective hearing.

As I moved out of that dark period and began to feel the call back towards my first love and pursuit, Ministry- every time I went to step out on the water, I hesitated.

This hesitation kept me in the boat for two additional years, and then in 2017 I finally made the jump, as God opened the doors that led me to being enrolled into a Masters in Ministry program. I say I jumped, I think He may of helped with a bit of a push.

Unfortunately, the doubts didn’t stop once I stepped out onto the water. There was one reoccurring thought that I offered to God every night, a question that waged war inside of me-

God I failed you, when things got hard, I ran. I fell and I fell hard. How can you really be calling me now? Can You really be calling me now? I’m not good at this, I’ve proven I’m not good at this… 

It wasn’t that I needed further assurance in God, I needed assurance in myself.

Peter encountered this. He had ran. And I believe he struggled internally with this, even with Jesus’ forgiveness after His resurrection.

So Jesus asked Peter 3 times if he loved Him. By the third time I can imagine Peter’s despair, he already doubted his own worth and now it may seem Jesus questioned it too. However, as Peter confirmed his love for the Lord, Jesus did not say “Oh, good just checking,” Jesus told Peter to feed and care for his sheep.

Jesus was putting Peter in charge. The man who ran away had a calling– Care for the sheep, because more dark days are coming, but no darkness can compete with the glory that will follow.

Peter vocally confessed his faith to the Lord and the other disciples who were present (including the self proclaimed, “one whom Jesus loved” John… Side Note: I love reading John 💁🏻‍♀️).

The point- Peter made a public declaration in front of other believers. So God put it in my heart. Do you love me? Yes Lord.

And I decided, that like Peter, I had to declare it- publicly in front of other believers. Not necessarily to the benefit of God- but because I needed assurance that I was officially shedding the days of running. God already believed in me. I needed confirmation in my own heart.

When I was originally baptized and confirmed I had not yet experienced how dark this world could be.

I knew now. This time when I made my declaration, I knew exactly what I was getting into. For as Pete and Jesus continued their conversation Jesus stated:

“Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” John 21:18

Why? Verse 19 tells us-

“Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “‘Follow me!’” John 21:19

Pete knew dark days. Jesus clarified that more dark days were coming.

And Jesus clarified that He knew Pete could handle the coming dark days. Pete’s running days were done.

So as the Ethiopian exclaimed in the verse at the top, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” I asked myself what is stopping me from being baptized?

In revelation- I knew nothing good was keeping me from making my public declaration. No, that was the work of fear and self-consciousness- of what others would think… or say…

As I was preparing to take the next step- (still hesitating but decidedly hesitating) God sent the people He knew I would need to support me in my journey to the pool.

While he sent several absolutely necessary individuals, there is one pictured in the photo below to my left.

Her name is Averie and two years ago we stood in a baptismal pool as I “took the plunge” and she helped me up (ironically by pushing me down- under water).
Today she is in Africa with a team of amazing individuals (from what I hear) on an 11 month mission trip. She is almost 3 months in- and I miss her terribly… but I am also incredibly proud of her.

I’ve included a link to her blog below.

1. So you can offer her and her team prayers as they continue their journey and embrace Matthew 28:19. What gift she afforded me in standing beside me as I was baptized two years ago, she is now giving to others in nations I can barely pronounce. My heart is full.

2. So you read her crazy stories, see her teammates and of course check out the pictures- they are stunning.

3. And so, if you are able, help sponsor her mission and the movement of Kingdom business as she and her team leave behind the comfort of home with feet covered in the readiness given by the gospel of peace. The widow threw in 2 copper coins- and we remember her today because God can take a little and change the world- in fact it’s His favorite thing. $5 dollars can go further than you ever dared imagine.

Averie’s World Race Blog

As always all of my thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Please feel free to message me or comment below.

For those of you who may be considering being baptized, or re-baptized, I implore you to pray about the decision and speak with a(the) faith mentor(s) in your life. Let God direct your heart, laying aside all other concerns aside from His thought on the matter. His is the voice to follow.

I was given a certificate and photo from my baptism- which I had framed and it now hangs in my “office.”

I have 6 degrees, a handful of rewards and professional certifications-  and I would trade them all for this one. For added all together they are but dust in comparison to living water.

Thank you mrjn Photography on Unsplash for photo!

 

We Who Have Hope

 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.

1 Thessalonians 4:13 (NIV)

8 months.

8 months since Mom’s earthly life ended and her eternal life began.

How we cried.

How Heaven cheered.

Not only a Mom, but a Wife,Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Teacher, Friend…

The titles she carried are endless just as the light she left behind is

The heartache has been acute this past week, coming in waves. It seemed they came without ceasing. One wave would break as another came in to push me back under.

I missed Mom, I missed Jamie, I missed Grandpa… Aunt Ruth… this list could extend out excessively…

And I know that everyone skimming through this post has their own list, their own list of cherished loved ones no longer on this side of Heaven.

Loved ones who withstanding the amount of time they have been gone, still seem to have, contradictorily, been gone a moment and yet an eternity- at the same time.

And the truth is that the waves never fully cease. Complete healing is not possible this side of Heaven. There are several moments when as wave after wave breaks it feels as if you’ve gone under and you are unable to break the surface. Drowning in grief, a deep murky darkness enclosing you.

But then… Jesus.

Ironically enough- my homework led me to the reminders and encouragement I needed. Reading through 1 Thessalonians for an assignment, I could hear that still small voice.

And I decided to camp there for a while, part of me taking comfort in the fact that the Thessalonian believers had needed the same encouragement back in the 1st Century as I did in the 21st Century.

Many of those in the Thessalonica Church had been gentiles in a Greco-Roman culture before they encountered Jesus through the words of His disciples. The Greco-Roman culture had little belief or hope in any sort of resurrection. So much so, that many tombs and grave markers attempted to belittle or make light of a person’s passing and consequently, life.

I’ve included a screenshot from one of my textbooks below that personally, I had to reread several times.

(Bruce W Longenecker (2019). (p. 367). Thinking through Paul: A Survey of His Life, Letters, and Theology.)

“I was not, I was, I am not, I care not”…

My heart cannot fathom a life devoid of hope. Without the hope of Christ, I would crumble.

Because I care, I care about seeing my Mom again and seeing my Best Friend again and all of my loved ones…

I care because I have not moved on. And the truth is I will not move on.

The same week that the waves were coming and my school assignment seemed to align with divine intervention… a TED Talk appeared on Facebook page…

Just to be sure I got the message loud and clear.

In the words of Nora McInerny, “I’ve not moved on… but I’ve moved forward with…”

I encourage everyone to hit the link below and watch this video. It is 4 minutes. 4 minutes of a message that, whether you need to hear it today or to bookmark it for a future day, you will not regret stopping to listen.

This past week we planted mums at Mom’s bench. The waves didn’t come so much that day. There was peace. And there was hope. Because in Jesus Christ we no longer have to grieve as those without hope.

That does not mean we do not grieve, just that as we grieve we recognize deep down it is a momentary separation awaiting eternal joy.

Thessalonians we get it- the struggle is real.

Paul we hear you- our hope is real, and our eyes are set.

Jesus we love you- thank you for loving us first.

Nora continues her talk, stating that “We need to remember, and help each other remember, that grief is a multitasking emotion…”

In this broken world we grieve, we move forward but we are not called to move on- we are called to rely on our hope.

We Don’t “Move on” from Grief. We Move Forward with It

 

 

Here!!

The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.

Psalm 32:8 (NLT) 

Happy Weekend Friends!

I just wanted to drop in after being absent for a week- and what a week it was!

I made a great deal of progress on my book- that’s right- I am writing a book!

And I’ve made some impressive headway- more on that as I come closer to completion!

Meanwhile I also had the honor of marrying two close family friends today, Saturday October 19th! To you both- I hope you know how much it meant to me (and my family) to be apart of your day!

As I sit here, not everything is perfect, in truth almost everything is far from what I had personally planned or expected… yet I sit here astounded by God’s great grace and love. In so many ways, so many things are wrong and then again in so many ways so many things are better than I could have ever dreamed.

Blessings and Prayers as always 🙏♥️🙌

The Roman Imperial Rule v. Paul

 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV) 

As many of you who have read through a blog or two probably know… I should be doing homework. Especially this week- as I have a huge paper due today at midnight. HOWEVER…

My mind needs a recess and I thought what better semi-productive activity than to share with all of you some of the fun facts I have taken away from my current classes!

Primarily that the Early Church was the most peaceful, loving, absolutely insubordinate organization ever to be documented. And luckily for us- it is a rebellion with no end as to be a follow of Christ automatically marks you as one in complete opposition to the powers of this world (John 17:13-21).

Now don’t misunderstand me- in no way was the Early Church seeking to overtake the Roman government, but continuously advised believers to honor authority figures, from paying taxes to praying for them.

However the Early Church did directly challenge the Roman Imperial Rule of the day… in a way that is most impressive. Not until I dove into the historical context in which our Early Church Teachers were writing and living, did I fully understand that I may never fully comprehend the courage they had.

Bear with me, remembering that the Romans were literally on a track for “taking over the world” of their day, no-one was placing bets on their downfall just yet. While they allowed certain religions to remain intact (i.e. Judaism) they were also known for punishments such as feeding people to animals, whippings within an inch of their life, various forms of torture I would rather not think on and of course- crucifixion.

The Early Church was not risking persecution from just anyone- but from the one who had proven if given a choice between maintaining power and moral conduct- power was the moral of the day.

I have spent a lot of time with Paul the last several weeks. And I, who does not generally use foul language, would have to say Paul was an absolute tough and uncompromising individual, aka he was pretty BA.

While there are several arguments that could be made to back this statement up, I am going to focus on ten ways that Paul directly contradicted the Roman Imperial Rule’s beliefs of the day. And I mean EVERYONE followed these rules and thought processes… reference reason why above…

Reminder that these are statements Paul was not shy about sharing anywhere… Including in Rome itself. In fact he specifically appealed to Caesar and in a sense sent himself to Rome. Without hesitation. Pretty sure that is under the definition of “Holy Spirit Driven.”

1.) Roman Imperial Rule – Heralded Augustus as “son of God,” as he considered the “son” of the Caesar who claimed to be God. (Augustus was actually adopted by Great Uncle Julius Caesar… so have fun tracking that family tree… I did not.)

Paul – Jesus, who is the messianic seed of David, actually the True Son of God.

2.) Roman Imperial Rule – The Roman Emperor = Savior of the World…

Paul – Jesus Christ is the one and only Savior of the World.

3.) Roman Imperial Rule – Emperor is a deity i.e. God

Paul – Only one true God, and He is only known through Son, Jesus Christ.

4.) Roman Imperial Rule – Worship Emperor.

Paul –  Do not worship emperor, that is idolatry. There is only one God, see #3.

5.) Roman Imperial Rule – Rome is highly favored by gods and deemed worthy of ruling world.

Paul – Our citizenship is in heaven, and everything is ultimately under the rule of Jesus Christ.

6.) Roman Imperial Rule – Proclaim the “good news” that the “son of God” Augustus will usher in new era.

Paul – Proclaim the good news of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ which has ushered in a new covenant and era.

7.) Roman Imperial Rule – We will unite all nations under Roman Empire.

Paul – There is unity of nations within the body of Christ, all are equal in Christ.

8.) Roman Imperial Rule – Roman Empire has established peace and security throughout the world.

Paul – God alone is able to establish true peace and comfort.

9.) Roman Imperial Rule – “Miscreants” are expendable through crucifixion and other punishments.

Paul – Jesus was crucified through Roman rule and overturned the verdict.

10.) Roman Imperial Rule – Rome’s Empire is sovereign and overseen by gods.

Paul – Only God of Israel is sovereign and has eternal reign established in Jesus Christ.

Yup.

Paul’s letters oftentimes receive a lot of pushback, especially pertaining to household codes and societal issues. However, when one digs deeper they will find that when approached in their historical context, they do not always carry the initial meanings our twenty-first century minds conclude.

For example: Paul’s stance on slavery.

Yes he encourages slaves to respect and work for their masters with integrity.

However, to conclude that Paul supports slavery would be completely unfounded. Why?

Paul writes that masters should look on their slaves as equals, treating them well in return, remembering that they too have a master in heaven. In Roman society that was completely unheard of… In the book of Philemon Paul goes as far as to ask that the slave, Onesimus, be welcomed back as a dear brother. This is followed by an appeal for his release so he could come and teach alongside Paul.

Paul lived in a society where 60% of the population were slaves. Meanwhile they, the followers of Jesus Christ, were a small persecuted minority. Paul wasn’t going to change the law. But he planted the seeds for change to occur in the hearts of men, trusting one day they would lead to a cultural change independent from government rule.

Paul’s other writings and teaching on the “household codes” were equally outlandish in the context of Roman society at the time. We could go more into that (and I probably will the next time I have a huge paper looming) but I have 1 more fun fact that I want to share before I sign off.

God watered Paul’s seeds, and while there are countless examples of His work throughout the centuries, lets go back to approximately A.D. 361 – 363. We are under Emperor Julian’s rule, the title/ term “Christian” has been coined and persecution persists.

Regardless of extreme opposition, Emperor Julian is nervous, he is nervous that somehow “Christian’s will take over the whole world through the stealth of their good deeds.” Don’t believe me? Luckily I screenshot it out of the text book, and yes I have the incredible book all this wonderful information came from cited below- which I highly recommend as it covers a vast amount of information, exceedingly more than I have fit in this post, and with a great deal more eloquence.

EmperorJulian&Christianity

Bruce W Longenecker (2019). (p. 367). Thinking through Paul: A Survey of His Life, Letters, and Theology. 

Well, friends, my homework calls and I have just over 14 hours to hit the submit button. I hope you enjoyed meeting Paul as much as I did!

My prayers and thoughts are with you all, as well as hopes for a great weekend!

Define Worth

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

This has been a strange season for me.

There is a part of me which feels as if I have never run harder or been busier and yet, I have never felt more useless.

Over the past several months I have transitioned from full time employment as an assistant manager to an intern chasing a dream to a hopeful and expectant and eventually torn potential employee taking the next step.

That next step has proven to be accompanied by weeks of waiting, phone calls and emails. All the while I cannot get used to being home during a weekday not knowing when the next step for the next step is going to take place.

I am still chasing my dreams- but at a much slower pace… possibly a standstill… running in place if you will.

I am at the crosswalk waiting… inching closer to the curb waiting and praying for the light to flicker to the GO signal… in the meantime it is taking everything in me to keep from running into the oncoming traffic.

But why?

Looking back 6 months ago I dreamed of achieving everything I have been able to do thus far, and I would have considered standing at this door well worth the wait, for just a chance to possibly discover the direction of my next step.

However, in our “go, go, go” world, waiting is rarely looked upon as admirable place to be standing.

And I hadn’t thought it would take this long.

Not that I am not doing other things pouring into this dream… I am completing classes for Grad School, running errands, working on my writing, and helping out where I can…

But what is it worth?

All these dreams, and I feel as if though I’ve been sidelined. And while I know it’s only temporary… and a season to grow… that my “busy” doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s “busy” to be “busy”…. the voices creep in…

“Look at everything they are doing, and you are still writing papers two hours before the deadline.”

“A job, kids and a home… what have you done today? Who did you take care of?”

“You think that one day these ‘hobbies’ will pay off? What do you have to contribute that’s worth anything?”

And when I let it, it goes on and on. Until I find myself in the midst of an emotional battle closing in on a line of serious depression grounded in the lies of unworthiness and worthlessness.

Stuck in a dream I am unable to catch while the rest of the world is pressing forward.

In these moments the battle rests on precipice, able to go one of two ways.

It is terribly tempting in these moments to seek the safe options and chose the compromise. I will go back while I wait for the door to open, go back where it is safe and within my comfort zone.

But as I here the voices offering enticing terms of surrender, I here the small voice whispering lift up your shield and pick up your sword.

Where is your faith daughter? What have I said to make you consider going back? Consider compromise?

God, what am I worth? What do I have to offer? God, can’t you hear the other voices? This is… but its not for me. It can’t be for me.

What are you worth? For I so loved You, Brittany, that I gave my only son… 

… And I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made

(Psalm 139:14 = Lift Shield)

… I am created in Your image and

(Genesis 1:27 = Pick up Sword)

I will not fear for You are with me, I will not be dismayed for You are my God. You strengthen and help me and uphold me in your righteous hand

(Isaiah 41:10 = Go to War)

Friends, there are a lot of voices out there, but only one who can claim to know your worth, because He created you.

I looked up the definition of worth. According to Google worth means, “equivalent in value to the sum or item specified.”

With that definition in hand turn to the verse at the beginning of this post and hold on tight to it. What did God pay to bring you back? His Son. Guess what that means?

You are worth the price of God’s Son, you are EQUIVALENT  in value to God’s Son.

Let that soak in.

And stop letting the voices tell you any different. Your journey is yours alone. It will not look like anyone else’s, it was never meant to.

Do not strive for a busy life- strive for a full life. Somedays you will have a full schedule of running between two workplaces, taking classes, raising littles or cultivating those skills you wish to use to make a career…

Some days will be full of you just trying to hold it together during a season of waiting, or in moments of grief and loss. Others will be full as you set aside time to bond and create memories with family and friends.

My prayer is that at the end of everyday, when you lay down, you can see the worth in it. I assure you, your Heavenly Father certainly does.

Meanwhile I have one more verse- Proverbs 3:5-6, reminding you that our own minds, hearts and emotions can be misleading and swayed by lies. Turn to God for your truth, His word will remind you of exactly who you are and just how much you are worth.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6 

 

 

Thank you Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash for the photo.

I’m Listening

Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
    he’s the one who will keep you on track.

Proverbs 3:6 (MSG) 

Tuesday.

I really didn’t want to get up that early. And I really really didn’t want to drive that far. And I really, really, really had a whole list of things to do that day already.

But the email had come in that previous Friday, and while I had never been able to accept an invitation, this was one I could actually make.

I knew I would have to go alone, everyone else would be working on a Tuesday morning.

However, this little part of me knew, I needed to be there. I wasn’t sure why. I could do homework, get my errands done early, send emails… do homework…

But I woke up at 5:30 Tuesday morning to make sure I could get Reyna out and comfortable. I dressed and gathered everything I would need for afterwards, when I started running all my “actual” errands.

The whole time the thoughts of “do you really want to do this” came into my mind followed by a quick rebuttal of, “I need to go.”

To be honest, I knew I wanted to go. But did I really need to go? Was it really worth the time I would be setting aside? … I mean I could worship here at home while listening to the Radio or Spotify….

Go. 

Okay, I am going.

In rush hour traffic down 71-S I almost turned around, “I’ll never get there in time.”

Keep going.

Okay, I am going.

And I arrived at 104.9 The River Radio station seven minutes early.

The invitation had been to a small, early morning concert featuring Chris McClarney and Pancakes provided by Chris Cakes (side note- I am not sure what or who Chris Cakes is but the gentleman serving them and the pancakes themselves were 10/10!!)

I quickly made a friend, and we bonded over talk of pancakes, life and travel and how we almost didn’t come. (Her son just backpacked through Macedonia and Albania- which are on my list and now I have first-hand insight! AND I provided her information to pass along to him on visiting Iceland and the free stopovers 🙋🏻‍♀️ ✈️)

And if the pancakes and travel talk were not enough to convince me that I was where I needed to be, worship started and Chris shared a story.

And that is when I heard it. The word I had been sent to hear.

Chris told us in the seats about how he had first started writing music for his record. He had all these songs. And he didn’t feel like they were good enough. So he prayed. He explained to God that he wanted to give Him the best of the best, Chris asked God for the songs of Heaven in which to worship him.

In not so many words Chris told us that God said… no.

Chris explained that God spoke into his heart that He already has the songs of heaven, what He was wanting from Chris- were the songs of Chris.

Chris explained that God’s put a gift in each of us, not because He wants us to be a repetition of a supposed perfection but because He knows that through us that gift is one of a kind and could never be replicated.

As Chris told his story, I heard my own. I have been writing this past week… and erasing… and rewriting and wondering is it good enough? Is it there? I don’t know God, I just don’t feel like its any good.

And while Chris talked, I listened.

I don’t want “good” words. I don’t want words which fit a scale of 1-10. I want Brittany’s words.

I don’t to hear everyone else tell the story. I don’t want to hear heaven tell the story. I wrote the story, and I want to hear Brittany tell the story. I have put it in YOU for this very purpose. 

The word I had been sent to hear.

If I hadn’t been willing to listen, I would have missed it. If I hadn’t accepted the invitation, I would never have slowed down enough. I would probably still be wrestling with the “good enough” and “not good enough” battle.

Now, when the battle comes to the door, I stop and I listen.

At the end of the message and worship session, Chris McClarney played a new song, which along with his other songs I highly recommend. The title?

I’m Listening.

I am providing a link here I’m Listening Chris McClarney Hollyn

I encourage you to listen and prepare. The word you’re waiting on, is coming, if not already here.

In the meantime thank you 104.9 for slowing me down, thank you Chris Cakes for the pancakes and thank you Chris McClarney for sharing the gift God placed in you.

And thank you to Fimpli on Unsplash for great image up top!

90 Days

We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need.

Colossians 1:11 (NLT)

 

90 days.

Some of you may remember the blog I posted at the end of June. I wrote it to let you know that I had decided (with a bit of heavenly encouragement) to participate in a 90 day fitness challenge.

The Challenge:

Follow a exercise program through 90 days.

While my summer filled up fast and I lost track of many of my goals and set plans, I am happy (and a bit surprised) to report that I completed my 90 day challenge!!

Don’t misunderstand me. This was a victory that was hard won, and not without its setbacks. (I am not sure what happened during week 8- but I am sorry to say that I know exercise did not.)

BUT… I didn’t give up. I didn’t give myself the usual out of “well, I blew the week, might as well wait till __________________ and start all over again….

I didn’t go back to week one. I didn’t even sit around and think about going back to week one. I looked at the schedule and I started week 9.

Understand, I am not one to skip and move on. And every fiber of my body just wanted to “repeat week 8” and just finish a week later. What harm could it cause? I had already lost the time. It felt like skipping a chapter in a book. (If you know me, you know the gravity that suggestion conveys).

While staying on week 8 may have been a good compromise between moving forward and starting over, had I not pushed forward I would not have learned two very important lessons.

  1. I realized that I could physically do Week 9 even though I had not successfully completed week 8.
  2. I realized that I would have been more prepared for week 9 had I completed week 8.

And as I recorded the week’s exercises and times I had a moment of clarity as a lightbulb went on.

Exercise is not the only thing I always “wish I did more” yet always “lose the time.” While I am able to keep myself disciplined in accordance with work and school… exercising is not the only “more personal” goal I have a tendency to put on the back burner when making it “fit” just feels too… hard.

(i.e. turning all my notes and drafts into the blogs I long to write.)

You see often (almost always) in life when I experience a set back- when I fail where I had planned to succeed- I sit back. I hesitate. I start to head back to the starting line.

And that makes absolutely NO SENSE.

When I stubbled or fell in a cross country race I didn’t go back to the starting line, or back to the last place I had sure footing, I ran forward. So why do I insist now I have to finish it (whatever “it” is) in one successful awe-inspiring swoop?

Why is it that I decide to put my goals and dreams in an unnecessary form of “detention” until I deem myself capable of attempting the pursuit again?

Maybe you can relate?

And all this had me thinking… what goals have I set for myself that instead of moving forward I have started back towards the starting line or worse- resigned myself to where I fell.

The lessons we learn from falling only take effect after we get back up.

So I am beginning another 90 day challenge. Actually, I am beginning several 90 day challenges.

Writing, Speaking, Studying, Budgeting… and setting the boundaries that will allow me to run towards them. (Also exercising – watch out week 8!!)

And while obstacles may still litter my path, and I still may miss week 8, I won’t be turning around and I won’t be staying down.

But in a holy and defiant endurance and patience I will run my race, and I bid you all to do the same!

We will probably come out with a few scrapes and bruises, I at least will definitely be a bit winded, but when we look back we will see progress. And whatever “defeat” there was that attempted to keep us from moving forward, will be trampled in the dust.

And an important 3rd lesson: Dream Big and Take Baby Steps.

My 90 day challenge for exercising was not a two hours a night 7 days a week regime. It was doable and flexible and fit in my schedule while still pushing me to make the time for it and commit to completing it at 100%.

However, not only can I run a 5K outside again (take that MS Heat Sensitivity) BUT I was able to shave 7 minutes off of my time. And while I won’t be doing any major weight lifting competitions anytime soon, I can feel strength returning to my arms and legs.

This is not 90 days of make it or shame it, it is 90 days of reaching for the stars and reaching for a hand up when you find you’re struggling to get up on your own. Make perfect plans and remember that you’re not perfect and accept that that is okay.

God asks for a little, and our little can do far more than we could ever imagine. Oftentimes it is in our weaknesses His strength prevails. So take a deep breath and dive in. Let yourself laugh and cry when you need to. Don’t go back to the starting line, your starting line moves with you and is wherever your progress has brought you. (However, never skip a chapter in a book… I am still hard pressed to imagine a time when that is okay…)

Cheers to the next and last 90 days of 2019! Let the race begin  continue.

Photo by Hanna Viellehner on Unsplash