Friday, February 15, 2013

The Surrendered Heart

“The good life is the life that’s been laid down” – Trip Lee

She stood on the edge of the diving board, her posture straight, arms poised, gaze staring intently ahead in deep concentrationShe had practiced diving so many times before, but yet this one was much more different, more challenging. Yet she knew her only focus should be on jumping off of that board. With a deep breath, she jumps headfirst, arms held out straight in front of her as she dives into the cool blue water below.

Like that diver, we all experience circumstances in our lives that are challenging, and as believers we are called to step out in faith, fully trusting in God. However, many people (myself included) are in a constant tug-of-war with God, wanting to be in control of the situation. We hold on desperately until we wear ourselves out and become weary. Yet this isn’t the way it should be.

We say that we are devoted to God, but our hearts are saying we don’t trust Him. Our human nature would rather trust our way of thinking, though it is flawed. We go along according to our limited, temporal view of circumstances, instead of considering the spiritual, eternal perspective. Friends, let me say that God has a perfect plan for our lives. But how can we get to that place of belief until we surrender our hearts, dreams, and talents, to Him. Surely He knows what we need!

God is calling us to step out of our comfort zones and trust Him. Though it is not easy, it puts us in a place of intimacy with Him and matures us spirituallyA surrendered heart to God is one that yields to His perfect timing and plans. It is only when we release our tight grip on our circumstances that change can begin to take place. Many people are holding onto to burdens and are in bondage because of a refusal to give it to God. Jesus’ desire is that His children are free from those things. We certainly can’t afford to be complaining about all the problems in our lives if we are unwilling for God to change it. Jesus is like no other human. Someone may have hurt you deeply, but that will never be the case with Him. He cares for you and adores you. You can trust Him. Truth is, you won’t experience the fullness of God until you surrender EVERYTHING to Him.

Also, like the diver at the beginning of this post, we need to step out with our arms outstretched, ready to receive all that God has for us. Don’t focus on what can or can’t go wrong, focus on God! Take for instance a nurse, who is giving a scared patient a shot. She strikes up a conversation to distract them and before you know it, the shot is administered, and the patient didn’t even know it. That is God’s desire for us, to be so focused on Him while He is healing our hurts. Or take for instance when Peter was walking on the water. He had faith and knew that it was possible with God and as long as He kept His eyes on Jesus, He would never sink. There is such beauty in trust.

There are a few things that we must remember when we are wavering in trust and faith. As I sit at this computer writing this, grieved with conviction, and fresh tears pooling in my eyes, I want to encourage you of these things:
1. God has a perfect plan for our lives
Think Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. His ways are truly not like our ways, and He knows what we need more than we do. This is a precious promise we can hold on to!

2. God wants us to be conformed into the image of Jesus
Romans 12:2 tells us do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” We are no longer to uphold the standards of this world. God desires our hearts to look like His, and to embody the fruits of the spirit, which include peace and patience. Trusting in Him gives us a peace like no other, because we no longer have a hold on things, and also helps us to be more patient (especially when things don’t seem to be going our way).

3. Our emotions are deceiving
There, I said it. Too often we are told to follow our hearts, but the heart is deceitful above all other things. Our emotions are not always an indicator of reality. I know, as women, we always get stereotyped by being emotional creatures and while there is truth in that, we need to submit those feelings to Christ.Obedience may not feel right, but it is right. Act and let your emotions catch up.

4. God will birth beauty from our pain
That is a promise. It’s so easy to get discouraged when we are undergoing struggles, but God has promised to give us beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61: 3). Even more, He has promised to work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28). We can take God at His word, knowing that He will do as He said. He will never leave us nor forsake us. Think on the times where He has come through for you! (Psalm 105:5).
I urge you, put your trust in Him. Surrender your hearts to Him.As the old hymn goes, “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus”. It is sweet indeed.

Friday, December 21, 2012

At His Feet

House clean. Check. Dinner fixed. Check. Homework and nails done. Check check. Our lives seem to revolve around a set schedule, with no breaks in between. We are the multi-tasking generation. It seems to frustrate our culture to just sit still without having to check Instagram or Twitter every 5 seconds. Or to text your best friend and see what they're doing. Or check Pinterest for that amazing looking cilantro-lime chicken burritos you've been meaning to make. Oh wait. Where was I? Oh yes, we're distracted. No longer do we experience the laid back, sitting-on-the-porch-after-supper-watching-the-sun-go-down-on-the-porch-swing kinda thing. And we leave God out of the circle. We fill all of our schedules to keep ourselves busy instead of taking some time out to worship and be refreshed by the one who will bring peace and order to our lives. Jesus is the PERFECT and ONLY void filler. 

Not to completely put this generation on bast, but there is a story in the Bible that is all too similar. Enter Martha and Mary into the picture. This is a story most of us have heard in Sunday school as a child before, but it's something many of us (myself included) haven't truly grasped. 

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” 

All of us wish we could be a Mary right? I know I do. My type-A personality seems to get in the way times. Recently I was sitting down reading these words of Jesus to Martha and couldn't help but noticed the love and compassion he showed towards there. It brought me to the point of weeping. The Hebrew use of repeating words or names typically denotes it's importance. Just like Jesus wanted Martha to know her importance. Just as He said "Martha, Martha.You are anxious and troubled about many things." I imagined Him telling me, "Brandi, Brandi..." How beautiful is that? He wants us to choose the BETTER part. To spend time with Him  and be changed while in His presence. This is what we need to do as believers. No one wants an uptight, distracted Christian. We need to tune into the Holy Spirit and hear what He is saying to us. We need to pray and ask God to help us in this area. Choose the better part! :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Those Who Wait

I’m going to be honest. I’m impatient. It is an issue that the Lord knows and is dealing with me about. I don’t like waiting in long lines at the grocery store, or even when something a project I’m working on has to be re-done. However, I think in a country that is so blessed and privileged, that whole “patience” thing is unheard of. Yet it is one of the fruits of the Spirit, which obviously means that the Lord intended for us to walk in such things. We tend to overlook the fact that there are people in other areas who are desperate and in need of food, clean water, and shelter. But any, let me quit rambling.
I believe that lack of patience is a reflection of the selfish desires we have in our hearts. We want things to work out in the way that WE want it to. If something happens that doesn’t please us, we have to be mad at everything that stares us in the face.  It’s all about us. And that couldn’t be more wrong.  We have self-help books and watered down sermons that cater to our desires of the flesh. Our society tries to medicate the problem, yet this is wrong. We need to get to the ROOT to solve an issue. And the only way we can do that is with Jesus.
John 15:5 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
                Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing. We can try to change on our own, but it is the Holy Spirit that brings permanent change. It is the Holy Spirit that sanctifies. It is the Holy Spirit that brings patience. It’s a very similar thing when considering believing and waiting on a promise that the Lord gives you. 
                Take for instance Abraham and Sarah. The Lord came and told Abraham that he would have a son. Of course it seemed to be unbelievable, as both were extremely old and Sarah couldn’t bear children. Yet that word still stood. And after a period of WAITING (including having a child through Abraham’s concubine Hagar, they were blessed with Isaac. And Sarah, who was skeptical at first, now had the joy and contentment of holding her own child in her arms. Genesis 21:6 "Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” Doesn’t that just encourage you?
I believe that God used the story of Abraham and Sarah to set an example or shed hope, that even in an impossible situation like that, God came through.  To show that He is God! Ephesians 3:20 says, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us" What is that power at work within us? The Holy Spirit. He desires to change you if you’ll let Him.
                Now, you may not be waiting for God to bless you with a child, but every waiting process is like a birthing/pregnancy, that like labor, is not comfortable. But the result of having that baby, that promise, getting that job, that need being met, those plans going through, is worth all the pruning and the stretching.  Your character is also developed as well, making you more like Christ, which is the most important goal.

                I just want to encourage you to just wait upon Him. To take Him at His word. Like Abraham we all have moments where we become skeptical, but we need to usher trust back in.  He is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made. Rest in Him. He will NEVER fail you.

Friday, March 30, 2012

New Music!

I know. I haven't posted in awhile! But I wanted to share some music that I've been listening to lately! I love bethel worship, and I love bethel church. There's an incredible move of the Spirit there. Bethel music recently released a cd called The Loft Sessions, that I am absolutely in love with.

Also, Bethany Dillon released a live EP called 'For Those Who Wait'. Amazing artist! I thinkn you should check it out as well!!

I def recommend it! What have you been listening to lately?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bargain Clothes!

I admit it. I love sales. About 90% of the clothes that I have were bought on sale. Everytime I walk into a store, I automatically make a beeline for the clearance racks. It's just how I am. I love to save money and certainly have a budget for everything. I seriously may be turning into a coupon lady (but not like that show on TLC!)

Which explains how excited I was when I found a dress on ModCloth for $22!

The dress was regular 72 bucks! What a steal!

Also, I found this dress, courtesy of ModCloth as well, on sale for about 23 dollars.

Love saving money! Are there any deals that you have found lately? What are some of your favorite places to shop?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

He Wants It All

I recently listened to a song from a family group named Forever Jones called "He Wants it All". Just sitting and listening to the music, the song began to minister to me in such a profound way. I lifted my hands high and let the tears fall down my face. The song began to speak to me in such a beautiful, profound, and convicting way.

The lyrics are truly amazing. It is basically just speaking of dropping everything and seeking Jesus first. There is such a freedom in surrender. The song is definitely a passionate cry about this very subject. There is something so beautiful about lifting up your hands and saying God, I want Your will. You are God and You are working all things together for my good. I trust You! Your way is perfect.

Here are some lyrics from the song:

"And there's a God that walks over the earth
He's searching for a heart that is desperate
Longing for a child that will give Him their all
Give it all, He wants it all"
HE wants it all.
All of our love.
He wants us to share our hearts with Him.
To lay down our idols and distractions.
He truly deserves it.
He desires it.

I strongly encourage you to listen to this song and pray that it blesses you and encourages you as it did me.

Friday, February 24, 2012


We all have our times of brokenness, seasons where we feel dry and weary and could use that drink of water to refresh our spirits. We are broken, but yet beautiful so, and I believe that God uses that brokenness of ours to rely on Him, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. The God who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). He uses that brokenness to bless us, to help us grow, to keep our eyes focused on Him.

In that point of desperation He hears our hearts cry, and our plea for help.

Psalm 40 says "I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him."

I love the book of Psalms of David because of the openness and rawness of it all. He was a man after God's own heart, a God that cares for our troubles and concerns and thoughts more than anything. Many of David's psalms are extremely encouraging to me.

I just think that in our times of brokenness, comfort is there. And that is in the name of Jesus. He will NEVER leave us nor forsake us.

Psalm 34:18 "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit".