Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I just turned in my first assignment for my writing class yesterday. It felt good to push the send button on my email, and I opened up my book to see what my next assignment was, eager to get started. Almost immediately doubts hit me - would the idea be any good? Even if the idea is good where will I sell it? Around and around in my head the questions and doubts whirled. I just kept telling myself I was going to do the next lesson anyway. This morning I woke up feeling blah and had absolutely no ambition - just sort of blue. Not a navy blue, just a light azure blue, but blue none the less.

I was sort of floating along in this miasma of blah-ness all day when suddenly it hit me. I should have been expecting this and I'm not sure why it took me by surprise. Anytime you start to do something that God wants you to do, it isn't unusual to get some resistence. If God convicts you to be more submissive to your hubby, you can bet that suddenly things will come up that make that very difficult. If you are convicted about patience, immediately it seems that events conspire to make you lose your cool.

Satan is usually at his worst when you are actually doing what you are supposed to be doing. He doesn't want you to succeed so he uses a variety of lies to get you sidetracked. The thing is, he can only win if I let him. So, today I am going to ignore my feelings. Today I am going to play praise music and do the next thing. :) I am not going to be discouraged or quit before I start. "With God all things are possible."

If God asks you to do something, don't get discouraged if things seem to get worse as you obey rather than better. Take that as a sign that you are moving in the right direction. Satan doesn't bother with people that aren't a threat to his schemes and plans. Remember, we are overcomers with Christ - that means we have something to overcome!
~Blessings, Bronte

Monday, June 22, 2009


"We must come out of denial about our losses,. Where formerly we had numbed our anger and pain at life's disappointments, now we must come to terms with our losses and all their accompanying emotions...Grace is freeing me to no longer minimize, justify, or deny my losses, but to face them with integrity and grieve over them. Coming out of denial about past losses has been critical to my healing process. ~ Nancy Groom

This quote was in my Bible study this morning. I am doing Becoming a Woman of Freedom by Cynthia Heald. I thought this was very interesting because I think, sometimes, in the Christian community it is almost as if people are afraid to feel their feelings. At least any negative feelings. If someone hurts us, our first response it to brush it aside as if it didn't happen or didn't hurt.

The truth is, those wounds that are not acknowledged and bound up, tend to fester. So we have people sitting in church that are covered in these small, festering nicks and cuts. Sometimes, it isn't anything big - like nobody thanked them for organizing all the funeral dinners or passed the praise onto someone else. Sometimes, it is bigger and deeper hurts. Whatever kind of wound it is, though, big or small, if we minimize, justify or deny those hurts, they tend to fester and instead of going away, they get bigger or deeper.

Why do we do this? Maybe it seems more spiritual if we pretend nothing bothers us or hurts us. BUT, we don't see this example in the Bible. If you look at the Psalms, it is filled with David crying, whining, complaining and basically just pouring every emotion he had out to God. It's interesting that by the end of the Psalm, he was usually praising God. He could do that because he wasn't filled up with bitterness and hurt.

In Psalms 116:1,2 it says, "I love the Lord, because He hears my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live." It doesn't say, God wants you to suck it up and never acknowledge your feelings or even that you have any.

Personally, I think a lot of this stems from our desire to be "nice." We tend to be passive aggressive. I used to be passive aggressive. I'd smile and nod but inside I was thinking, "You jerk!" I thought I did this because I was a nice person and just didn't want to upset anyone, but I really did it because I was protecting myself. I wanted people to like me and think of me in a certain way, and they wouldn't if I let loose with what I was really thinking! What changed me from being passive aggressive? When I realized other people were doing the same thing to me and it felt like I was being lied to. And don't let anyone fool you, saying one thing, while feeling something totally different IS a form of lying. If I tell you, "No, no, it's fine - don't worry about it" but inside I am seething and angry and stop calling you - that is dishonest to you and not very fair. You have no opportunity to make it right. You are left in the dark and wondering why I am no longer calling you.

We walk around with these facades with other believers - yes, everything is fine; yes, my family, my kids, my marriage - they are all perfect. But inside, we're dying. Our families, our kids, and our marriages aren't perfect, but we have to keep up appearances. I am NOT saying you need to stand up in church and air every shred of dirty laundry in your home or life. There is such a thing as discretion. What I am saying is that you CAN say, pray for me, I'm struggling. You can let down that facade and let people in - you will be surprised at how many there are that really care about you and want to help.

The church is supposed to be fellow believers helping each other to live as new creatures here in this fallen world. We aren't called to pretend with each other or to tear each other down. We are called to speak truth to each other in love. And you know, the Bible tells us, "The truth will set us free." So, take out those old hurts that are moldering in the back of your mind and heart. Acknowledge that YES, they hurt and it wasn't very kind of so and so to do that to you. Then turn all that hurt over to God. You will be surprised at how free you feel!
~Blessings, Bronte

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


"Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things ont he condition that you believe much more in His love than in your own weakness." ~ Mother Teresa

I was finishing up Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, and this quote by Mother Teresa struck me right between the eyes. For the past few days, I've been having this running conversation with God - I am not good enough. I am certainly not holy. I often watch or read things I shouldn't. I am lazy (right now I am writing this instead of cleaning!). I am often short or irritated or petty or mean to people, particularly my family. My tongue often gets me into trouble by wagging too much. I fall short in so many ways. So who am I that God would use me? Who am I that God would tell me I was a good and faithful servant when I get to heaven? Who am I that God would choose to bless me so abundantly?

Lately, it seems everywhere I turn, someone is sick, and not just a cold, but terminal cancer type stuff. Women that are my age or not much older are dying. There are several on the mom's bulletin board I frequent. One has seven children. What is up with that? There is a woman at my church. She is only 40 years old and kids that are the same age as mine. There are people around the world suffering in all kinds of ways. Why am I exempt? Is it just a matter of time?

Turning on the news is depressing these days. I think my great-great-great-great-great grandchildren will still be paying off our national debt at this point. I won't get into politics but many of the recent decisions have me cringing and wondering how long God can hold off judgement.

So many anxieties and worries crowd into my mind, but the chief among them is I can never measure up to God's standards. I will always disppoint Him. And the truth is, I can't. On my own. But God knows that I will always be predisposed to worry. I will miss opportunities because of fear or sheer laziness. Ps. 103:14, "He knows our frame, that we are but dust." He knows. My weakness doesn't come as any kind of surprise. But through my weakness, He shows His strength. If I let Him. "Take my yoke upon you for my burden is light." Do I believe God loves me no matter what? Do I believe His love is everlasting, neverending and redeeming? Do I continue to seek Him (He promises if I do, I WILL find Him)? I don't have to worry about tomorrow or next week. I just have to live today as He guides me. I have to obey today. That's all. Each day, every hour, surrendered. That's all. "Take no though for tomorrow..."
~Blessings, Bronte

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I think I mentioned that I did this Bible study by Beth Moore called Esther: It's Tough Being a Woman. That study taught me a lot of things. For the first time, I went back and wrote down the lessons God taught me so I wouldn't forget. Have you ever done that - gone to a conference or did a Bible study and were just bowled over by the abundance of what God has taught you, only to forget it in the busyness of the coming weeks? I do that all the time. And I don't want to forget! So this time, I thought I'd write down all the things in the study that really spoke to me. There were quite a few actually, as I read them over to get ready to do this blog, but I wanted to highlight the most important ones to me!

The first one is that even when we can't see God, it doesn't mean He isn't there. Interestingly, in the book of Esther, the name of God is never mentioned, but that doesn't mean He isn't all over the story.

The second thing that hit me is that fear is never an excuse not to obey God. Esther had every right to fear going in to the king - she could literally lose her head. She was between a rock and a hard place - if she went before the king she could die, but if she didn't, Esther would die anyway with her people. Thankfully, Esther got to the place where she surrendered and said, "If I perish, I perish." The fear of death can rob you of the joy of life.

The third thing that stuck out to me was that our destiny is never about us. Instead of heady, it is humbling. Two statements Beth Moore made just hit me between the eyes: "Great lives don't always seem great while we are living them" and "To live for the greatness of God is to live the great life." I think I've always kind of had in the back of my mind that fulfilling my calling would be accompanied by a red carpet being rolled out and trumpets blaring or something. That focus is so off, it's almost funny. If I live my destiny, people shouldn't see me, they should see God.

The fourth thing that stood out to me has to do with how Satan works in our lives, if we let him. We are most prone to attack after we have been set free from a stronghold in our lives but haven't really yet arrived at God's destination for us. (that idea from Beth Moore was a real eye opener to me!) We are also most vulnerable in our minds. Satan can't touch us, unless God allows it, but he sure can whisper in your ear, and half the time we believe him! This statement by Mrs. Moore has been so helpful to me when this happens: "Respond to temptation out of your mindset rather than your mood." In other words, stop letting your emotions lead you around by the nose. Emotions are good things. God gave them to us, but they can be totally untrue. We have to set our minds on Christ and take every thought captive; otherwise, when our emotions come calling, we can easily be led down a rabbit trail that has nothing to do with reality.

The fifth thing that really resonated with me was that doing nothing out of fear of doing the wrong thing is still a decision, albeit a passive one. My boys play baseball. If the other team doesn't show up, they forfeit the game. It's the same way with us, if we simply don't show up in our lives because we are trying to protect ourselves from whatever looms in the horizon, then there is no game. We have forfeited our option to play on God's diamond, and we certainly have no chance of winning a game we refuse to show up for. Not deciding IS a decision.

The sixth thing that made a big difference in my own life is the fact that we can be in bondage to a person. I know in my own life, I can get so caught up in gaining certain people's approval that I get tangled up in bondage to that person. The truth is, it isn't the person but our thoughts that snare us. The only person who can handle my obsessions and insecurities is Christ. He's the only one that will fulfill every need I have, so I can go into relationship with others without demanding that THEY fulfill me. No one person can really shoulder that burden for long, anyway.

Finally, the seventh thing that encouraged me is that we are meant to be warriors for God. We aren't fragile blossoms, ready to be crushed by people, events or circumstances. The Bible tells us we are equipped for our calling. We have everything we need, even when things aren't going the way we planned or we come up against the enemy. God gave us a whole set of armor to wear, and a sword (His Word) to fight the enemy with. God assures us that even when we are waiting for the battle - that's what most soldiers hate the most, the wait!- if we are waiting on God, He will renew our strength. He's got all the bases covered.

I love how God has so many things to teach us and show us. How many times have I heard the story of Esther? That is the awesome thing about God's Word, we can read and reread it, and each time, there is something there for us to take with us that can change our lives!
~Blessings, Bronte

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Our Sunday school class just started a new series on the "end times." On an online board of Christiam moms I frequent, much of the current events discussed are centered on the economy and the direction of our country and how the "end times" can't be far behind. I could feel my anxiety levels going up as Pastor David Jeremiah talked about the reality of crude oil and how our consumption as Americans is way past our production.

I started "what if-ing" with a vengence. What will I do if we have no heat or electricity? We don't have a fireplace or even a place to cook with a grill if the weather is bad because we don't have a garage or covered porch. Living in northwest Ohio, you know the weather is going to get bad and it will be pretty cold. What will I do for water? for food? What if, what if, what if... swirled around in my mind until I had us living under bundles of blankets while we all scrounged for scraps of food in the streets. Yes, I know it sounds crazy, but honestly, I can spiral into fear-induced what if scenerios faster than you can blink an eye. It's one of the downsides of having a good imagination.

Then my mind went to, what is the purpose of writing if God is coming back. Will a new book in the world or articles or devotionals make any difference if people are going through the tribulation anyway?

Then, in the midst of my panic, I heard God's still small voice in my spirit. "Take no thought for tomorrow for tomorrow will take care of itself." And then Matthew 6:26, 27, "Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"

The reality is, once I reined in my out of control emotions and started looking at the truth, I calmed down. The truth is that God has always provided for us, not just necessities, but in abundance. Not only have we never gone without food, but we have good food and lots of choices (maybe even too much food if my waistline is any indication!). Not only do we have a roof over our heads, but our home is roomy and comfortable. Not only did a friend and my parents pass down to me some very nice furniture, but it ended up being in the colors I would have picked out anyway if I had gotten new stuff. Imagine, God not only blessed us with some nice new-to-us furniture, but He cared enough to make it in colors I really wanted. Based on my past history with God, was there really any need to worry about Him taking care of us in the future, no matter what happens? Nope!

As for my writing, God hit me with the fact that I don't have to worry about the Rapture coming if I am doing what He has called me to do. I had to repent right there for all the times I've let fears or worries or whatever hold me back. The only thing I want to hear when I stand before my Lord is "well done you good and faithful servant." If I am diligent to spend time with God and then obey what He tells me to do, there is nothing to fear or worry about. There isn't going to be a score card to see who has done the most, but I think God will look at if I have lived the life He created me to live. I certainly don't want to be like the servant with the talents who buried them for fear of losing them - I don't want to get to the end of my life and realize God had so much more for me and I missed out because I was disobedient to God's call and instructions in my life.

So, when you see those doomsday headlines or hear depressing newscasts, remember, the God of the universe is looking out of you. He has a plan and a purpose for your life and it isn't to harm you but is for your good. Because one thing you can always count on with God - He is always good and He is good all the time.
~ Blessings, Bronte

Friday, June 12, 2009


I am reading this wonderful book by Joann Weaver called Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. I got it from the library but I know I will have to add it to my permanent collection. Some books need to be savored more than once. There is a nice little Bible study in the back, and has God ever been stepping on my toes through it!

The book takes a look at the story of Mary and Martha. I'm sure you are probably familiar with it. It's the one where Mary is sitting at Jesus' feet and Martha comes bustling in and tells Jesus to make her sister get to work instead of lazing around. Jesus gently rebukes her. I have heard quite a few sermons about this, usually with Martha painted as the bad guy (or gal, in this case). But if you look further on, there are a couple more times that this family appears in Scripture - one is at an even more famous Bible story - when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.

Martha has changed from the first time we see her - distracted and irritable and frazzled. Now, even though she has a houseful of mourners, she runs out to meet Jesus. This, in itself is a big change for her - leaving work to be still. She then professes her faith in Jesus, not only that He can do anything but also that He IS the Son of God. (We sometimes take the idea of Jesus as the Son of God for granted, as in why wouldn't anyone NOT believe it? But I wonder, if I lived back then, didn't have Scriptures and some man came along with that claim - would I have believed or would I have been skeptical?) Then Martha does something that demonstrates just how changed she really is - she calls Mary to come see Jesus. She calls Mary away from the preparations and people to come be still with Jesus.

Has Martha changed her personality? Probably not. She is still a bustling, type A personality, but instead of letting her personality and natural tendencies rule her, she demonstrates she has a teachable heart. The Bible doesn't say what Martha said in response to Jesus' rebuke, but based on the changes by the next time we see her, it is obvious that Martha didn't let hurt feelings or the need to be right keep her from being teachable.

My first response was, of course I'm teachable. I love to learn new things. But God gently rebuked me, too. How many times do I defend my position on some matter or correct people when I have the "right" information? Is it really necessary to correct people if it isn't something important? Why do I need to be right all the time? Would I rather be right than loving? How many times have I gotten a "feeling" about somebody and then have it turn out right - am I sorrowful for the situation or do I feel vindicated that my "feeling" was right? And while many times my motivation is to help someone, I can't deny that sometimes I just feel smug satisfaction that I proved someone wrong and won the argument or point.

Don't get me wrong - I am not saying if someone is walking around spouting false theology we should just pat them on the back or if someone is blatantly walking in sin, we shouldn't ever confront them. Priscilla and Aquilla are a good example of this - they gently rebuked and corrected a fellow believer when his preaching was off - but they did it in love. Rebuke and correction should always, always, always be done in a spirit of love and concern for the other person. The Bible says to "speak the truth in love." Love is not always all fuzzy and sweet and sometimes, if we really love someone, we may have to say something that is hard for that person to hear.

However, if any part of you starts to feel self-righteous or superior about being right and the other person being wrong, it is probably better to keep your mouth closed. Galatians 6:1 Paul says, "Brethren, even if anone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted." In other words, you better check your motives before you proceed.

Martha had a teachable heart. She was able to put aside her personal feelings, really listen to what Jesus said and let those words soak into her innermost being and change her. How many times do I resist letting God's Words soak into me and affect change because I want to be right or get defensive? May God grant me a soft, teachable heart and a humble spirit to receive even the rebukes.
~ Blessings, Bronte

Sunday, June 7, 2009


I am excited to say that summer has arrived at our house! School has been out one week, and I can't begin to tell you how much I am looking forward to 12 weeks (well 11 weeks now) of being with my kids, of not having to grade papers or rush around.

This past weekend we had a lot of graduation activities to go to. Not only did we actually have to attend graduation but my husband and I had eight parties to go to. It was a lot of fun, eating good food, hanging out, visiting, and did I say eating?

I always get nostolgic as I watch the fresh, eager faces of newly graduated high school seniors. They are full of hopes and dreams and possibilities. I remember standing there with my graduation cake that had a globe on it in blue and green icing. I really believed that the world was mine and I could do anything, be anything.

As the years go by, you lose that wide eyed optimism and big dreams are replaced by reality. But it was a good reminder to me that dreams and hopes are still mine, despite being 36 instead of 18 yo. The speaker at graduation was Senator Jim Jordan. He told this story about his favorite movie, Chariots of Fire. Apparently, the two main characters raced each other (each was considered one of the best). Little won, so this other guy was talking to his girlfriend. He was saying that since he lost and wasn't the best because "he ran to win." His girlfriend replied that "you can't win unless you run."

Isn't that true of all of us, whether we are 18 or 80? If we don't run, if we don't get into the race, there is no chance of winning at all. Paul talks about the a race that every Christian is in, that we are to put aside the things of the past and press on toward the mark, the high calling of God. It hit me that the high calling of God doesn't have to be taking on the world. It can mean being faithful in your own backyard, neighborhood or community. It means showing kindness and God's love to the cranky clerk at the store or taking the time to help a friend or stopping your to do list to listen to your child. We all have a choice. We can be in the race or we can just watch. I want to be in the race. At least then I have a chance of winning.
~ blessings, Bronte


And this means that I will actually be putting more posts up! I looked at the dates and wow! it's been a little while. I promise to do better. :) We got out of school on May 29th (which also happened to be my 16th anniversary) and last weekend was taken up with lots and lots of graduation activities. My husband and I had 8 graduation parties to attend. We also have a couple more in the coming weeks. My goal was to make it to all my students' parties and since I had only 10, I think I might make it.

I got teary as I looked at all their fresh, young faces, filled with hope about their futures. One thing that stuck out to me that the graduation speaker said (it was Sen. Jim Jordan!), you can't win unless you run.