Wednesday, September 8, 2010
This is how God feels about you when you're bland. Are you lacking flavor in your spiritual walk? Are you just vanilla for God? Do you enhance the room when you gather with friends and family or are you weak and forgettable? Do you sprinkle God's love everywhere you go and leave a pleasant taste for Jesus? You don't have to be a culinary expert, just ask God to infuse you with His word.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the seasonings that enrich our food and our lives. You have given us so many flavor combinations; some sweet, some savory. Lord, show us how we can add flavor to the lives of those we touch. Forgive us for being tasteless and indifferent. We no longer want to be bland, we want to be You so that others will hunger for You. You have given us all the ingredients, we just have to follow the recipe. When we measure and integrate Your word into our lives, it's easy to reveal the heavenly banquet that You have prepared. You are the Alpha and Omega, Lord - that means that You are the one who cultivates the thirst and then You are the one who quenches it. What a glorious God you are! You are the sweet aroma among the stench of our society. Praise You Father that You are able to use us to pour out Your flavor on the world.
"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You've lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage." Matthew 5:13
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Is your knight's armor a little rusty and in need of some polishing? Well then get out the cloth and start scrubbing. Just like the silver your grandmother handed down to you, it's not going to get sparkly and shiny just by sitting in a drawer. Your husband is the same way. You may not have intentionally left him to sit idly by while you take care of the kids, the house, your job or whatever else you've committed yourself to. Take the time right now to take care of him. He's just waiting for you to carefully reveal the hidden layer that attracted you to him. However, instead of using polish apply words of praise. Instead of a soft cloth try buffing him with hugs and kisses. Make his armor shine so bright that he's reflecting you!
Thank you so much for the man that you have given me to be my husband. You have divinely put us together to glorify you, Lord. Help me to overlook his blemishes and imperfections. Instead show me my flaws Lord and give me your wisdom and guidance that I may overcome my own faults. Lord show me how I can demonstrate true love to my husband. Give me the desire and ability to make him shine. Even when he I feel he is least deserving, may I still give him the honor he deserves. Let me fulfill his righteous desires and be the wife he longs for.
"A wife should put her husband first, as she does the Lord. A husband is the head of his wife, as Christ is the head and the Savior of the church, which is his own body. Wives should always put their husbands first, as the church puts Christ first. Ephesians 5:22 - 24
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." Ephesians 6:10, 11
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Thank you for your love. 1 John 4 tells us that we must love one another, but in order to do that we must accept your love. We are so thankful Lord that you are able to love us despite all the despicable things we have done. You love us unconditionally, and now it's our turn. It's our turn to share that love with the world, to reach out to those who don't know you. It's our responsibility to show our family, our neighbors, and everyone we come in contact with who you are, God. Let us wait no more, we're done with excuses. Lift us up over the obstacles that stand in our way, remove the fear that holds us back and show us those who need your love the most. Lord, we are moms with a special assignment and we will go. We will go out in our community, our nation and then to the world to tell others three simple words: God is love.
"Real love isn't our love for God, but his love for us. God sent his Son to be the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven. Dear friends, since God loved us this much, we must love each other." 1 John 4:10,11
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Being a mom is hard, being a parent is hard. I know as a child of Yours I have failed, faltered, not listened, and have been defiant. I pray that I can be a good parent to both of my children, to parent them individually, to look at them as unique. You have created each of them purposefully, and I am so grateful for that. Help me to be a good mother, to not just try to parent them but remember to pray for them and with them. Help me to stay calm in the moments I need it, to step back and look at the whole picture. Help me to embrace 'Little bit', direct and guide her the way she needs to be.
"Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother's womb. I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day." Psalm 139: 13-16
Sunday, May 9, 2010
A good woman is hard to find,
and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously
all her life long.
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,
and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She's like a trading ship that sails to faraway places
and brings back exotic surprises.
She's up before dawn, preparing breakfast
for her family and organizing her day.
She looks over a field and buys it,
then, with money she's put aside, plants a garden.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,
is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She's skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
diligent in homemaking.
She's quick to assist anyone in need,
reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn't worry about her family when it snows;
their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing,
and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her husband is greatly respected
when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them,
brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant,
and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
her husband joins in with words of praise:
"Many women have done wonderful things,
but you've outclassed them all!"
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
The woman to be admired and praised
is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!
Festoon her life with praises!
Thursday, May 6, 2010
This particular blog post and prayer is going to be a little personal. Here Micki will share with us an event that changed her life forever. Although Micki's circumstances may be a bit different from the rest of ours, I believe that we can all see a little of ourselves in her faith journey.
Ten years ago today, my life changed. At the time, most would have said for the worse given the circumstances, but I will just say it changed. On that day, I suffered many physical injuries as well as a traumatic brain injury. The memories I have are choppy at best. I had many physical injuries to deal with that left me at times unable to care for myself. Of my four limbs, only my left leg was un-injured, this made it hard to get around as you can imagine. The healing process was difficult and long. There were numerous surgeries, months and months of very limited mobility. I don’t have very many clear memories of the time, and have very fuzzy memories of my sisters wedding. I do remember laying flat on my back unable to care for myself and thinking ‘God, did you really need to get my attention that bad? Was I that lost that it really took you putting me here on my back unable to move, to get my attention?’ Now, I am not saying He created the accident to get my attention, but wow, it got my attention and I was in a position to do nothing but listen and seek.
The physical injuries and recovery took well over two years, but that was the easy part of the recovery as I look back. The hardest part was the brain injury. It is easy to describe to someone a broken arm, leg, or knee surgery, but it is hard to describe the mental and cognitive injuries. It is hard for someone to grasp the concept of not being able to read and comprehend what the words mean anymore. When I say my head felt like it was wrapped in cotton balls and I was trying to find my way out, not many can relate. The emotional volatility I experienced was so severe. I was unable to multitask, read and comprehend it, or hold a normal conversation. Often the words that came out of my mouth did not make any sense and I could not ‘find’ the words that I was looking for.
A few years ago someone asked me how I got through it. It sounded so ridiculous to me. Why would I choose to lay there and write my life off? Just because I had challenges didn’t mean that I couldn’t get some sort of life back. I basically had two choices: to lay there and let it get the best of me or try to be myself again. When I say get myself back it was more about accepting who I had become as a result of the accident and in a way grieving the loss of my old self. I had to realize I would not and will not ever be who I was, or have the exact same personality. But I know now that is ok.
During this time, I can only credit my faith for this success. I truly believe without it, I would have not made even one-fourth of the recovery I have made. Why? It was hard work. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. Marine Corps boot camp was easy compared to the rehab and battle I did. It was day in and day out with no or very little progress. Week after week of the same thing wondering if I improved at all, days and days of crying because I couldn’t stop. ‘Brain storms’ where I was so overwhelmed I could not do, think, or function. Through the fuzz, I had to keep holding on to the fact I could ‘get better’. My then boyfriend, now husband was amazing. He accepted me exactly how I was. It was ok not to be the old Micki.
Before the accident I was lost, a bit of a risk taker, I had a career but no real commitments. I only had as many possessions that I could pack up the car and leave. If I felt like moving I could, where I ended up I would. Of course that is not what happened. I have been married for almost 8 years and we have 2 young girls. I am so thankful for my life; for my experiences. I still struggle and am reminded daily of my injuries. Many days with physical pain and every day the cognitive challenges that remain. I have recovered well and adjusted. I have been taught many modifications, but daily I have to work at them.
I am no longer bitter, I am not sorry it happened. I am grateful for my faith. I am grateful for my family. I am thankful for each day and the challenges they present. For the gift of my family and for my husband accepting me for who I am today. I look at the world with a grateful heart and I am grateful to my God for my second chance.
So many of us have our story, our battles we have fought. Today I just want to say thank you for mine. At many times in the past I have not been as forgiving or compassionate as I should have been. I am now ready to give it to you. It has taken years of you working on my heart to lift some bitterness. You are my God. I thank you for standing by me and being my companion during this journey.
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6
Monday, May 3, 2010
Thank you for the new growth that surrounds us in nature. As we look around we are reminded of Your grace and mercy in the renewal process. Through You all things can be made new again. We can have new perspectives, new desires, and new hope. Lord, we thank You for the growth that we have experienced in You. And although You have not finished Your work in us yet, we can see the growth that has taken place. You have planted the seeds of our faith and Your love has nurtured us. Lord, show us the areas in which You want us to grow more. May we be a vessel for Your nourishment and teaching, Lord. Reveal the dry, withered places of our heart that need tending. We are yet a tender flower waiting to bloom.
"The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring." Isaiah 58:11
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Today we have asked Julie to share a prayer with us. We believe that as a mother you will be encouraged by Julie's honesty and humbleness as she asks the Lord's guidance in raising Godly children.
Our 7 year old daughters are continually exploring their relationship with God and what it means. They ask us many questions about God and His nature. One specific question they have asked recently is "Why did God put us on earth first if we are going to heaven eventually? Why don't we just go to heaven first?" Most of us probably have those days where we wish heaven were a present reality. Our very thoughtful response to this question also reminded us as parents why we are placed on earth at this time. We told them that not everyone will choose to serve God and go to heaven one day. God doesn't force us to serve Him, but gives us all a choice to make. God needs our help to show His love for others, so that they might join us in heaven for an eternity with our Lord.
I pray that you will give us wisdom with our children as we are your example to their tender hearts. I pray you would help us show them your nature is not a forceful one, but very gentle and loving. We pray that your Spirit would do what we can't. Help us to show them your love so that they will understand and it would radiate from their hearts to others. I pray that we would be your light with our lives, not just our words. Let us show our children that being here on earth is not about our comfort, but about You in everything we do. May you use our lives to bring others to know your goodness and free gift of eternal life. Thank you Lord, for the tremendous gift of our children. May we guard and guide their hearts like precious jewels.
Thank you so much Julie for that heartfelt prayer. You can follow Julie and her Cushy Christianity Blog on Facebook by clicking the link below.
Cushy Christianity Blog - Julie Evans Albracht
Promote Your Page Too
Monday, April 26, 2010
Please forgive us for having looked to the world to bring us joy. We may have found happiness, but it was only temporary. Fleeting pleasures that may satisify us in the interim, but they are no comparison to Your joy. This world is filled with so many disappointments and disillusion, and yet we continue to seek after the empty promises the devil would have us desire. Father, turn our hearts toward You so that we may receive Your magnificent joy. Only You can fulfill our deepest desire to be truly happy. We long to know what it feels like to have true inner joy and peace within our spirit. Help us to overcome any sadness that we may be feeling. Show us how to replace anger with forgiveness and grace. And let us pass this joy on to our children. May we be an overflowing vessel of joy to them. Lord, despite what may be going on right now in our lives, may we put a smile on our face and a sweet song in our voice to show the world the only way to find true happiness.
"You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound." Psalm 4:7
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Unlike what we see in the movies or on television the devil doesn't just appear to us with red horns and a pointy tail. He is more cunning than anything we have ever known. The Bible warns us repeatedly of the dangers of his schemes. And just when you think you've got the devil behind you, he sneaks back up and tries to tear you down, especially with our own thoughts. Hopefully this week as you have been praying God has shown you the places where the devil has set traps for you. Don't let the devil get in your head and try to deceive you. Stay vigilant. Be prepared. Put on the whole armor of God and be ready for the attack.
Thank you Lord for being our protector against all that is evil. You have covered us with your righteousness. The devil cannot get to us when You stand in the way. Lord just help us to keep You front and center in our lives. Don't let us become ambivilant toward sin and complacent in the world's ways. Keep us ever mindful of the ways that we are being attacked and give us the strength to stand up and stay strong in our faith. You may have delivered us from sin, but we not immune to it. Thank goodness where we are weak, You are strong. When we feel attacked let us not be ashamed to get on our knees and cry out to You, God. A battle cry that breaks through the darkness and shines Your mighty light for all to see.
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." Ephesians 6:10-11
"Be on your guard and stay awake. Your enemy, the devil, is like a roaring lion, sneaking around to find someone to attack. But you must resist the devil and stay strong in your faith. You know that all over the world the Lord's followers are suffering just as you are." 1 Peter 5:8-9
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Are you full of excuses? I can't do it. I don't have time. I'm not good at that. I don't know how. Are you using these same excuses with God? I can't pray in public. I don't have time to volunteer at church. I'm not good at sharing the gospel. I don't know how to lead a worship team. Do you honestly think God would put you in a position of expanding His kingdom without the proper equipment? The devil wants you to think so. However, the truth is God has fully prepared each of us for His calling. Look around, where are you needed? What is the Lord waiting for you to do? What have you put off out of fear or selfishness? Get off the bus, sister, it's time to put your feet to the pavement and walk His talk.
We've made every excuse in the book as to why we can't serve You right now, and for that we repent. We've let our own apprehension get in the way of fulfilling Your will. Lord, we're asking You now to show us just exactly where we are needed. Right now. Up front, behind the scenes, in the trenches - Lord, wherever You want to put us is where we will go. Let us be an agent of Your glory, an associate of Your righteousness, and a partner of Your mercy. Lord, we trust that You have furnished us with all that we need to accomplish the task. You are a big, big God. You are able to work through even the meekest of individuals. You can create a lioness out of the most timid of does. Lord give us that courage to step out of our comfort zone, to take that risk and reach out to others. Prepare us heart, soul, and body for the work that You would have us do. We're ready, Lord. Show us the way.
"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7
"I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I was reading through John during my Bible study this week and was reminded of just how much suffering Jesus Christ endured during that time on the cross. Imagine if you were asked to be placed in front of your office or home nearly naked and beaten and mocked for hours, just so your co-workers or family could live a life free of sin. I'm not so sure I would accept that proposition. Would you? Not only did Christ accept this call on His life, He did it knowing He would suffer in the worst possible way. Without complaint, without manipulation, and without even a mild anesthetic He willfully suffered to welcome us into His family. The devil wants you to think that God is a distant, harsh dictator who only delights in punishing us. The Bible proves that nothing could be further from the truth.
Thank You Lord for Your ultimate sacrifice on the cross. We are so thankful that the blood You shed has washed us clean from sin. It is unimaginable the pain and suffering that You endured just for us. We are unworthy of the grace You have given us. God, we are Your child, You have accepted us. A child that longs for Your guidance, counsel, and protection. However, we can rest in knowing that our eternal salvation is secure in You. No amount of sin will compromise that. And no works are required to fulfill it. It is a free gift - underserving. And yet Lord we are so thankful that we no longer have to worry about our eternity. We have a Father in heaven who is ready to scoop us up and hold us in His arms. Our Abba Father who loves us unconditionally. A father who wasn't just handed his child, but a Father who took great care to choose us. What joy to have been chosen by the King of Kings!
"God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure." Ephesians 1:5
"Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." 1 Corinthians 12:27
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
We all have sinned. Repeat: We all have sinned. No matter just how well we know this, the devil creeps in and somehow convinces us that we are the only ones who have sinned that much. He tells us that God couldn't possibly forgive us, we just did too wrong, our sin was too big. Maybe you're feeling like God's made exception with you. Or that God is angry with you. How could God possibly forgive someone like you? Take heart because the Bible tells us that no amount of sin could separate you from God. You are cleansed pure by the blood of Jesus.
We are so thankful that Your grace has replaced our sin. And Lord, we are also thankful that there is no condemnation with You. By Your blood we were redeemed, You paid the ultimate price so that we are no longer in bondage of sin. Let us be so filled with Your word that our ears are closed to the devil's lies. When we are armed with the truth we can clearly see the deception and false accusations the devil puts before us. We know that Your love is perfect and that nothing can separate us from Your love. We may have sinned and we regret having missed the many blessings You had for us, but Your love remains unchanged. We are so thankful that your mercy and grace are infinite.
"The Lord isn't slow about keeping his promises, as some people think he is. In fact, God is patient, because he wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost." 2 Peter 3:9
"For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Colossians 1:13-14
Monday, April 19, 2010
We've all been there. Call it denied, overlooked, or ignored - it's still rejection and it still hurts. No one wants to feel unwanted or worthless. And it is especially painful when someone you love rejects you. It is in our nature to want to be accepted and valued. And yet how do we deal with the daily rejections? And let's face it, rejection happens to each of us daily. Our co-workers, our children, our friends, and even our own spouse will reject us at times. Jesus understands how you're feeling when others dismiss you, He felt it too.
We are so thankful that you understand just exactly how we are feeling. Like us, you felt rejected, forsaken, and discarded by people. We've been told we're unqualified, unworthy and unlovable. But your word tells us that we belong to you, Lord. And You have not made us inferior. You have given us Your Holy Spirit and You have equipped us to overcome tribulation. You never overlook us, You never forsake us, and You never reject us. Thank you Father, for we are perfect in Your eyes. We have no need to look for acceptance here on this earth when we have Your unfailing love and devotion. Holy Spirit prepare us for the disappointments that we will encounter and strengthen us when we feel defeated. Remain in us to stand strong and to not let the devil steal our faith. Let us courageously stand up when we are told we are unlovable, and shout - Jesus loves me! When we are told we are disqualified, may we proclaim - I am fearfully and wonderfully made by God! And when we are told we are unwanted, may we declare - My Father accepts me just as I am!
"Everything and everyone that the Father has given me will come to me, and I won't turn any of them away." John 6:37
"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." 1 Peter 5:10
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Dear Heavenly Father,
We are so thankful that You are a loving and forgiving God. Lord we submit every area of our family to You. We ask that You be the head of our household. May we look to you for guidance and leadership. Show us how to be obedient to Your Word and fulfill the purpose that you have set aside for us. We also ask that there be peace in our home. May our words be filled with love and mercy. Let us be slow to anger, and quick to hear. Lord, let us rejoice and laugh with each other. May we freely forgive those in our home, just as you have forgiven us Lord. Thank you for the family that you have blessed us with. While our home may not be perfect, we can rest in knowing that You are, Lord. Let our front door be an entrance to solace and delight to You, God.
"He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built." Luke 6:48
Monday, March 29, 2010
Thank You so much for Your ability to heal our wounds. We have been hurt and are unable to forget the pain that has been caused. People have broken our hearts, let us down, abused our trust, and rejected us. Lord, we no longer want to just cover up those injuries, we need a complete and total healing. Help us to forgive and forget the pain that was caused by others. We submit those damaging relationships to You, God. Give us freedom from the lingering pain that keeps us from fully being intimate with You God. We want to experience the joy that comes from letting go of past hurts. People will always let us down, Lord. But we rejoice in knowing that we can wholly rely on You. Your Word tells us that You will never leave us or forsake us. Show us how to rest in that promise as you anoint us with your healing power.
"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." Isaiah 53:5
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
"... for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
This, then, is how you should pray:
'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'"
Monday, March 15, 2010
We thank You that You have not forgotten our dreams, no matter how silly. Thank You for the ability to love us and fulfill our dreams at just the right moment, and in just the right way. We may not wear a crown of jewels or fly in a rocket ship, but Lord You have blessed us in so many ways. Open our eyes so that we can truly see all of Your blessings. Fill our hearts with gratefulness and joy. And Lord, by our example let others around us also be filled with Your presence. May we raise children who are able to see joy in all things, bless those around them, and have a grateful heart. We praise You Father for the desires You have and will put in our hearts. Let us wake up each day with that same passion and eagerness to take on the world that we had as a little girl.
"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Real Mom: Brandie
I first met Brandie at a playdate. Her little boy D is so full of energy and life, you instantly fall in love him. Not to mention his fantastic smile will just melt your heart. Brandie's story is a unique one. As a single woman she decided to adopt D which would take him out of the foster care system and give him a permanent loving home. Brandie doesn't let D's special needs hold either one of them back. She works diligently to make sure that all of his needs are taken care of and is dedicated to finding an environment where D can thrive. As a mother she is patient, loving, and joyful; qualities any mother would be challenged in while raising a very busy soon-to-be six year old boy.
We hope that you will be inspired by Brandie's testimony to her faith as a single working mom. Perhaps many of you can relate to that special calling that led you to become a mom; it is one of our greatest works here on earth. And don't miss Brandie's surprise announcement at the end of the interview!
Moms Blog: Tell us a little about your childhood. Were you raised in a Christian home? Did you have a strong Christian influence or someone you looked up to?
Brandie: I was raised by a single mom who wasn't there most of the time. So I basically raised myself. We did go to church, but it never really meant much to me. I was forced to go, and to me, it was dull. My grandma, who was a big part of my life, went as well but she had very conventional ideas of how children should be and it really turned me away at the time from wanting to be their version of "Christian". I understand now as an adult that my grandma's faith is deep, that she's just very old school in a lot of ways. But at the time, that church style did not appeal to me at all, so it turned me away. I knew there was a God, but just couldn't seem to figure out how to relate to Him. I was very blessed when I went to college to become friends with some awesome people who introduced me to their own church, and it really helped show me God in a whole new light. That there were churches out there that embraced a lot of praise and worship, that weren't so somber. And that it was ok to prefer that. It completely changed my thoughts on how to have a relationship with God, and He was able to use that to draw me closer to Him.
Moms Blog: Share a little about your decision to adopt a child. Where was your faith during that time? Was there something or someone that led you to make the decision to be a single mom?
Brandie: I had volunteered for three years at a shelter for abused and neglected children prior to getting D, and really, my heart is drawn to those kids. It was definitely a God-calling, to say the least. I fought it for awhile, but decided to go ahead and at least start the process and see where it went. I figured with a calling that strong, I needed to roll with it. At the time (well, and still today), my faith was pretty strong, and I wanted to be wherever God led me. To be honest, though, even believing that, I don't think I really believed at the time that what I was doing would end up with me being a parent. I was just taking the steps that He intended, and going with the flow of it, and then lo and behold, there was D. We truly were meant for each other, and I am shown that every day.
Moms Blog: Did you have any doubts about the call that God had on your life?
Brandie: I questioned myself a lot at times about the "how" of parenting a child (especially a boy!) by myself, but never really had doubts about the actual doing of it. I knew that I would know the child God had for me as soon as I saw him or her, and sure enough, upon first seeing D's picture, I knew. And, really, now, three years into this, I can definitely see the benefits to D in it. He gets all my attention. When I first got him, he was in a home with a lot of other kids who needed attention too. They loved him, but I think he was stagnating a bit. And so being able to have all my focus, has been so beneficial to him. And I see that now, and marvel at just another way that it's clear he was meant for me. There are times when things get really difficult with him, and I question if I should even vent about it to others, as I did make the choice to be a single mom, but...God never said it'd be easy. He said He'd be with me all the way through it, and I hold on to that and know that I'm doing the right thing.
Brandie: The process itself was lengthy, but it was not difficult. I did have to go through training classes, in which they try to prepare you for the child you might possibly get, giving you the worst case scenarios, but after having volunteered so long with children in the foster care system, it didn't phase me much. I had already seen it all. During this time, I was still volunteering at the shelter, and I had a lot of friend support. I didn't get a lot of support from my family until I actually got D, but I knew I was doing what was right, and that was what mattered.
Moms Blog: Was the adoption process easy or hard? Who or what helped you through that process?
The actual getting of D, was easy as well. He bonded so very quickly to me, and I have his foster parents, him, and God to thank for that. His foster parents were very experienced and so they prepared him well. They let me send pictures of myself and our house to start introducing me to him before I ever met him. And he, even at barely two years old, knew. The first time I met him, I picked him up when it was time for me to go, and he laid his head down on my shoulder, like it was the most natural place in the world to be.
Moms Blog: Talk a little about your son and how his life has impacted yours.
Brandie: D has definitely made my life interesting. With his special needs, I never quite know what the next day will bring, but to me, I love his personality, and his joy for life...and they just completely outweigh the bad. Sometimes it's hard to believe that I've only known him for three and a half years, but I can't imagine life without him.
Moms Blog: Is passing along your faith important to you? If so, what are you doing to share the word of God with him?
Brandie: Absolutely. I don't want D to have to struggle as much as I did to know who his Savior is. We pray together a lot, but also I let him hear me praying out loud as we go about our day. I want him to know that God is always there, not just at bedtime, not just at dinner time. I love sharing Bible stories with him, and talking with him about what God has done in my life. We do slack a little at getting to church, as for a long time it was difficult to find a church that could handle his special needs. The one we've found that can, is a ways from us.
Moms Blog: What would you like to share with other women who may be currently a single mom or thinking of adopting as a single mom?
Brandie: One of the biggest things, is that it is doable. There are times it hurts me to see moms who can stay at home with their kids, get them immediately after school, spend more time with them, but then I think, the time I do spend with my son, is even that much more special to me. It has been tough figuring out childcare for him that can handle him, but he's worth it. And adopting from foster care, the state has many benefits to support you. This includes (though they are based on the child's needs): monthly subsidies, Medicaid, adoption fee reimbursements, and even college benefits. With all of D's therapy, seizure meds, etc, knowing that it's covered by Medicaid until he's eighteen, is one less worry for me. The few fees I had to pay to adopt, were all reimbursed, so it's not expensive either. Well, the adoption part is not expensive, having a kiddo is, especially one who eats like a football player!
Moms Blog: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Brandie: I haven't made this super public yet, but this is as good a place as any to do it. I'm actually in the process of getting approved to adopt again. But this time it's going to be a pre-teen girl!
Brandie's photos were taken by Chera of Chera25 Photography.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
We are so pleased to introduce you to our friend Crystal. As a very busy mom of four young (and adorable) boys she understands the challenges and blessings of raising boys in today's world. Moms of boys are faced with the unique challenge to form and shape someone who is completely opposite from them. So while they may have our hair or our eyes, we may never understand why we find rocks and bugs in their pockets on laundry day.
Today we have asked Crystal to share her prayer for her boys. So if you are a mom of boys you'll appreciate her honesty and her faith with the Lord. And even if you are a mom of girls, pray this prayer on behalf of the mother of your daughter's future husband.
Father, thank you so very much for the blessing of my children. When I had 4 boys in 3 years, little did I understand the job laid forth before me. Please work through me to instill a strong and abiding love for you. There are so many opportunities each day to invite you into our home. Even though we may be busy and distracted please help us see and use each and every opportunity to talk with you, about you, about your love for us, and our love for you. Forgive me when I let these opportunities pass by without notice.
They are only young for a fleeting time. In that short amount of time, help me create men who will grow to be loving husbands, fathers, brothers and friends. When I get overwhelmed with the energetic antics of young boys, help me remember that this time is special. It will not last forever. Help me cherish each and every day I have with them while they are young. The time will come for them to leave the nest, and when they do, I pray that they will have a strong foundation with which to build their own families. Help me to help them become the spiritual leaders in their own homes. So that knowledge of the love you have for us will remain strong for generations to come.
Thank you for the blessing of my family. I pray that you would continue to be with me, helping and guiding me, in one of my most important jobs on this earth, being a mother.
"Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate." Psalm 127:3-5
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Today we just lift up those children who have been forgotten. So many children around the world have slipped through the cracks and are wandering. To the innocent baby born to a drug addicted mother, to the teenager who left an abusive home to live on the streets, they all need our love and prayers. There are children in foster care who bounce from home to home never fully understanding what it means to be loved in a secure and stable environment. There are children who have been abandoned emotionally by parents who desire drugs or alcohol over the care of their children. And to the unborn child whose mother is uncertain of her decision to follow through with the pregnancy, we pray for all of them.
Lord, we ask that You lift out Your loving hands to each of these children who are in need of love. Protect them and comfort them as they struggle to find peace in their surroundings. Let their eyes only see the beauty that You have created around them. Put people in their lives that are willing to do what it takes to provide a loving home for them. Father we ask that You watch over the unborn and that You protect them from harm. Change the hearts of mothers and fathers who may have turned their back on their children. Show them the way to get sober and clean and give them a support system to help them when it gets too hard to cope. Father no matter how dire or disheartening the situation a child faces we know that You can work supernaturally to protect their hearts. We praise You Lord, for You do the work when we cannot.
"The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: 'Don't push these children away. Don't ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in.' Then gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them." Mark 10:13-16
Monday, February 1, 2010
Thank you so much for the blessing that is our children. We pray that You will be our guide as we direct their little hearts. Let us be loving yet consistent with our discipline, let us be thoughtful and sensitive as we dry their tears, and let us rejoice with them as they find happiness in the tiniest of things. Lord, we ask that we remember to hug them often when they are little and to slowly let go as they grow older. Most of all Lord, show us how to point them in the way of You. May we be the light they need to find You among so much evil.
Lord, we ask that you watch over our children. Be their shield and protect them from harm. Nourish their bodies to grow healthy and strong. Lord, fill their minds with the things that are honoring to You. We ask that You provide them with good friends and lots and lots of joy. We trust You, Lord, that you will provide them with all of their needs. In Jesus' name,
"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6
Friday, January 22, 2010
We ask that we not forget about the Haiti people and their needs. Now that some time has passed and the earthquake is no longer the headline in the media, we need to remember that they are still in desperate help for our resources and prayers. We ask that the flood of support continue to flow into that country. We ask that volunteers continue to sign up and assist in the rescue, clean up, distribution, and medical areas. It's easy for those of us who are removed first-hand from the crisis to forget and focus on our own lives. Whether it be our money, time, or prayer it is all crucial to the Haitian people. Father we lift up those who are still physically hurting and ask that medical supplies be abundant to treat all the wounds. We ask that food and water supplies be replenished for the hungry and thirsty. And Lord we ask that order and peace return to Haiti as the rebuilding process begins. Father we know that You have not forgotten Your people, let us not forget as well.
"' Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,' says the Lord who has compassion on you." Isaiah 54:10
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Today we pray for the children of Haiti. What a confusing disruptive time this must be for them. Some have lost parents, siblings, family members, and friends. Their surroundings may be confusing and unfamiliar, as many homes are destroyed and their own 'home' looks different. Their precious lovey or blanket may be buried in the rubble and they feel all alone amidst the devastation that surrounds them.
Father, we pray for comfort for these children, for someone to wrap their arms around them, to hug them and help ease their fear. We pray for someone to wipe away the tears and read them a book or give them a toy to play with. We pray that they are fed, their medical needs are taken care of, and that they have shelter. We pray they may be reunited with missing family members. We just pray that among the chaos that these children be children.
"Then Jesus took the children in his arms and blessed them by placing his hands on him." Mark 10:16
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
We ask that you be with all the volunteers and rescue workers that are diligently sacrificing their time to help the people of Haiti. We know that the conditions are volatile and their surroundings appear bleak, but we ask that You just fill them with Your hope. Give them the energy and stamina to keep searching for even the smallest survivor. We ask that You equip them supernaturally so that they may lift debris to find life. Lord we ask that You give peace and order to that country. When so many are struggling to just find food and water, we ask that You expedite the rations so that all can receive what is necessary and then some. Lord please just wrap Your arms around those in Haiti, show them the love that You have for them. There are so many that are hurting and are looking for someone to blame, we just ask that Your light remain bright among darkness. We pray this in Jesus mighty name,
"Fear not for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
The people of Haiti are suffering, they are hungry, they are desparate. They are hurting because they have lost family members either by death or by chaos.
There is so much to pray for.. for food and provision, for shelter- as most have been destroyed or unlivable, for medical aid and supplies, for peace in their hearts, that they are being prayed for and You are there.
It is hard to imagine what they must be feeling as most of us are blessed to have what we have. Live where we live. And to believe what we believe. Father I pray that through this they may see kindness, and in that kindness- Christ.
"I pray that God will take care of all your needs with the wonderful blessings that come from Christ Jesus!" Phillipians 4:19
Monday, January 18, 2010
We pray for the people of Haiti. We can see the devastation and chaos that is being broadcast on our televisions but we will probably never know the depth of despair that those people are feeling. Lord we ask that You give them hope for a brighter future. We ask that Your people rise up and shine through when others are wanting to give up. Let Your voice be heard in the streets speaking of the good news that comes the hope in Jesus Christ. We pray for the rescue workers as they risk their lives to save those who may have been given up on. We ask that You supernaturally work in their favor to lift rubble and debris. Give them ears to hear the tiny cries that let them know to not give up looking for survivors. We're asking for miracles Lord. Please God be with them, let our prayer be an encouragement to those people who are hurting.
"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me." Psalm 138:7
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Please forgive us for all the excuses we have given You. We want to listen to You and do the right thing but we've let so many things get in the way. We know You have called us for something greater, You have laid a great plan for us and yet we have failed to follow directions. Lord let us get rid of all those excuses right now. If we are tired give us energy, if we are confused give us wisdom, if we are weak make us strong, and if we are scared give us peace. Father we may not understand all the things that You are telling us to do, but we want to be a willing vessel for Your Holy Spirit, Lord. Just as Noah listened and obeyed to build an ark when no one else was willing. Holy Spirit open our ears to hear the Lord and give us the faith to obey His command, no matter what.
"And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him." Genesis 7:6
"If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken." Isaiah 1:19-20
Sunday, January 10, 2010
On Christmas Eve Kristen particpated in the Cardboard Testimony at her church. For those who are not familiar the Cardboard Testimony is an opportunity for participating church members to line up and share their testimony with the congregation. A simple piece of cardboard is held by each individual. On the front of the cardboard is written in just a few words what their life was like before they found Christ and then they flip it over to reveal what their life is now that they have Christ in their life. Despite fears of being judged by her past, Kristen shared her personal story that Christmas Eve night. Take a look at Kristen's Cardboard Testimony:
Moms Blog: Let us begin by having you tell us little about your childhood and your Christian influences growing up.
Kristen: I grew up in a strong Christian home with my parents and older brother. My parents had met in a bible study group so my whole life was spent going to church on Sundays and then church activities the rest of the week. During middle school the youth pastor was absolutely amazing and someone I could go to for anything. He ended up moving to Colorado and the youth group in that church was never the same. High school is when I really started to rebel and my grounding would be that I would have to go to Wednesday Night Youth Group. So no matter how sick I pretended to be there was absolutely no getting out of church. It was something that I was forced to do and I went not because I wanted to but because I had to.
Moms Blog: Share a little about your addiction and what led you down that destructive path.
Kristen: Straight out of high school I had a boyfriend who I absolutely loved. His brother was a drug dealer so I was always around drugs so I finally decided to try some. I spent the next two years addicted to meth, while doing cocaine, ecstasy, and GHB for fun on the side. I pretty much lost all of my friends because I would never leave the house. I would go days without eating or sleeping simply because I forgot to. I never gave up my faith during this time I just put it on the back burner. I was not ready to be a good person yet because I thought I was having fun. I would go to church on holidays with my family but I was always high when I went. I really can only remember one time during those two years that I actually prayed. It was when I was at a dealer’s apartment. Some people had just bought some drugs and walked out of his apartment. A few seconds later we heard gun shots. This was not the first time people have come after this guy so we had to hide in his apartment for a few hours. I prayed that God would keep me safe because I was too young to die and I had too many things to still do. And for some reason he did.
Moms Blog: How did you come to turn around and decide to be free of the addiction? Who or what helped you through that process?
Kristen: There was not one specific thing that happened that caused me to stop my addiction. I just woke up one day and thought to myself “What am I doing?” This is not the life that I wanted nor is it the life that I ever thought I would be living. I was sick of always being broke and having to hide things from absolutely everyone. I had moved back in with my parents and since I didn’t sleep I would sit in my small closet all night with the door shut and my closet light on so that my parents wouldn’t know that I was awake. It was absolutely ridiculous and I knew that I could do so much better for myself. So the day that I decided enough was enough I knew I had to tell my boyfriend. We both knew that it was the drugs that were keeping us together so I knew very well that if I told him I was quitting we would break up. And that is exactly what happened. I had no friends anymore and my parents had no idea that I was even doing drugs. So I spent the next week in bed by myself unable to get out. I told my parents I had the flu and that’s why I was spending the week in bed. The only thing that I could do was pray. And so I did. And somehow I was able to quit drugs cold turkey without the help of anyone but God. After everything I had done wrong He was still there for me when I needed Him the most. You have to have complete and total faith in the Lord and trust that He will take care of you. When you put all your trust in God you will be amazed at what He does for you!
Kristen: As soon as I found out that I was pregnant I knew that my life had to change. I had quit my addiction just about 6 months earlier and still would occasionally do some here and there. I figured if I wasn’t addicted and was careful not to get addicted again then there was no harm in doing some drugs occasionally. What a twisted way of thinking. I had friends with babies and they would put the baby in one room and we would go do drugs in the next room. I always said that I would NEVER be that mom and I was not about to break that promise to myself. So needless to say my whole life changed when I had my son. I truly believe that he saved my life. My ex husband is an alcoholic and no matter how much help he got and how much support he had he was not willing to stop drinking, instead he just hid it. So I removed myself and my son from the situation and became a single mom. My goal right now is to show my son that no matter what your circumstances may be you can do anything you put your mind to. He is one of the big reasons I have decided to go to college. I want to show him that even a single mom who works full time can find a way to go to school full time also. There are no excuses. I want him to grow up in church and to know that God has a plan for him and will always take care of him. His “situation” with his parents may not be “normal” but it’s important to me that he knows we both love him and that so does God. Because my parents had pushed God on me so hard it really pushed me in the other direction so I have to find a balance with how to lead my son to God. I am not sure if I will ever tell him the extent of my drug use but when he is old enough I will let him know that I had an addiction problem. I want him to feel comfortable talking to me about anything and everything and I want him to know that I will never judge him. We all make mistakes and what really matters is how you deal with those mistakes.
Moms Blog: What would you like to share with other moms who may be currently dealing with an addiction or have had in the past?
Kristen: I would want them to know that they are not alone. There are plenty of people out there who have either gone through or are going through what they are. It’s important to make the first step in deciding to make a change, especially if they already have a child. Whenever I may get a “craving” I simply think of my son. Would I be willing to lose my son over a drug? Absolutely not! God has a plan for us and I can guarantee you drugs are not in His plan. It can be very difficult in starting over but God will take care of you. I had absolutely no one to help me overcome my problem and with the help of God I was able to come out on top. If you don’t think you can do it alone then get help. Don’t be ashamed. There is no shame in trying to better yourself.
Moms Blog: What else would you tell moms who might be struggling?
Kristen: Find a good church and get involved. Having a group of friends that you can look up to and who can help you with your relationship with God makes all the difference in the world. It can be intimidating starting over but it is so worth it. I have spent most of my life going to Church but not truly trusting in the Lord. Once I decided to give myself completely and totally to the Lord my life has completely changed. I only made this decision about 6 months ago and it’s truly amazing how much can change in that short time. Before, all that I cared about was getting drunk and meeting guys. My friends were horrible influences, I had very low self esteem, and I was not happy. Now that I have full faith in the Lord and I know He will take care of me I can finally be happy. I got rid of the negative influences in my life and never looked back. I no longer need to turn to alcohol to make me feel good, and I finally have more confidence in myself and who I am. Just believe in God and see what great plan He has for you. What do you have to lose?
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Friday, January 8, 2010
Thank you so much for loving us. You are constantly with us, loving us, guiding us and protecting us. You encourage us when we were down and rejoice with us when we are filled with joy. We are in awe of Your greatness, Lord. You know everything about us - the good and the bad - and yet You never leave us. Even the hairs on our head have been carefully placed by You. And when we were in our mother's womb You knew exactly the plan You had for us. Thank You for being with us when we turn our hearts from You, as You wait patiently for us to return to Your goodness. We cannot even begin to comprehend that kind of love, Lord. You know the words we are going to say before we have even formed them in our mouths. Our future has been carefully planned by You. You are magnificent, Lord. Thank You for never forsaking us, Lord.
"How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I awake I am still with You." Psalm 139:17-18
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Thank you so much for our spouse. Although it may have been many years ago we can still remember the first time we met. Thank You for uniting us. And while times do get busy and life isn't always pleasant we want to remain the wife that You want us to be. Lord show us the ways in which we can honor our husband on a daily basis. Fill us back up with the desire to love on him they way we once did. We know our husband's aren't perfect, but neither are we, Lord. We also pray that you will protect our marriage from all the negative influences in the world today. Help us to remember why you put us together and to rely on you when we're being attacked. We lift up marriages around the world, Lord. There are so many who are hurting and have no idea what a good marriage looks like. God, let us be that shining example of how two people, despite the pitfalls can have a loving, hopeful, and pure marriage.
"Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover among young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste."Song of Solomon 2:3
"I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me." Song of Solomon 7:10
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Forgive us for becoming lukewarm in our faith. Forgive us for letting the busyness of life take over our time with You. Lord give us the time and energy that we need to pursue a more intimate relationship with You. Help us to wake each day yearning to talk with You first. And let us lay our heads each night in comfort that You are there to help us rest. Lord we ask that we be an example to our family through our faith. Let our children know that You are what is most important in our life and may they follow in our steps. May we feel a closeness with You that we have never experienced before. Bless our quiet time with You, Lord. Renew our passion. Ignite a spark in us when we're feeling complacent. Let us feed on Your Word so that we may nourish our bodies with the truth.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." Deuteronomy 6:5
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you so much for loving us just where we are. We are not perfect but Your design is. You see each one of us as beautiful inside and out and we want to see it too. Help us to realize the potential You have put in each of us. You have accurately stitched us to be without blemish in Your eyes, let us not fret over the superficial flaws. We ask that you daily remind us of Your unconditional love for us. We thank You for picking us up when we fall, for tending our wounds, and for healing our scars. Like batting in a carefully constructed quilt we soften the imperfections with Your word and back them with faith. We praise You Lord for the work You have done in us and for the work that is still yet to be done.
"You are the one who put me together inside my mother's body, and I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me. Everything you do is marvelous! Of this I have no doubt. Nothing about me is hidden from you! I was secretly woven together deep in the earth below, but with your own eyes you saw my body being formed. Even before I was born you had written in your book everything I would do." Psalm 139:13-16