Friday, July 31, 2009


I have very exciting news. I submitted an article to a fairly large Christian magazine and my article made it to the second round of evaluations! I am very excited but at the same time, trying hard not to get my hopes up.

As I prayed about it, I found myself evaluating my prayer - did I have the right attitude? Was I suitable humble, yet sincere? It dawned on me that I was trying to manipulate God to answer yes about this by praying "just right."

Have you ever done that? I sometimes find myself saying, "Well, I shouldn't do THAT if I want God to answer my prayers the way I want." As if God is up in heaven waiting for me to mess up so He can say no to what I am praying about!

God really isn't weighing our performance with the blessings He has for us. There are some specific promises in the Bible that do tell us, if we do x, God will bless that. But God is not waiting with a colossal rubber stamp that says NO! if we happen to pray and not say, "thy will be done."

The truth is that God often blesses us when we don't deserve it at all. I mean, when do I actually measure up to God's standards anyway? Psalms 103: 12 says, "The Lord is compassionate and gracious; He is slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness." And He has to be to put up with me on a daily basis.

This belief that we can somehow get God to grant us blessings or answers to pray based on behavior can also work the other way. What if we are striving wholeheartedly after God, obeying Him, and doing what He is instructing and something bad happens? If you believe blessing is based on your performance this could cause you to either beat yourself up needlessly or turn to God with a shaking fist, asking why He would do this to you.

The bottom line is God's ways are not our ways. We are to listen and obey, to worship and adore, to read His Word and listen to what He is telling us. The Bible tells us He has a storehouse of blessings for each of us. I don't want to miss out on that because I am too busy evaluating my performance!
~ Blessings, Bronte

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


As I have said before, I have felt stuck for a long time. Sort of stagnant, like a pond. It occurred to me today as I walked by a particularly smelly sewer run off, that even though not much has changed outwardly, God is growing some water lilies in that stagnant water.

I still live in the same neighborhood but now I am looking for ways to serve/help the people around me. I don't live in fear, now, either. I am still overweight, but don't feel driven my food like I once did. I am taking positive steps to improve my health and the weight is coming off, very slowly, but still, I'm moving in the right direction.

I still have the same problems and issues going on around me, but somehow, they don't rock my world quite as much. I find myself calmer, less stressed by circumstances. This isn't to say that I don't wig out still, but it's definitely less than it was before.

I still am not published, but I am taking steps to follow where God has called me. He has opened the path for me, one step at a time.

Yes, as I look around in the pond I'm living in, there are some definite lily pads floating here that weren't here at the beginning of the year. God is answering my prayers, not in the way I had envisioned, but He's answering. I find myself once again realizing that God's ways aren't our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. He is moving, even when we don't see Him.

Psalms 103:1-8 "I will bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me will bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, Oh my soul, and forget not all of His benefits. Who has pardoned my iniquity; Who has healed all my diseases; Who has satisfied my years with good things so that my youth will be renewed like an eagle. The Lord does righteous deeds and judgements for the oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses and acts to the sons of Israel. The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness."

~Blessings, Bronte

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I've been struck lately with how negative I can be, even about God and spiritual matters. I've been doing this study called Me, Myself & Lies by Jennifer Rothschild. It is about what we talk to ourselves about - what exactly your thought closet is filled with whether that is negativity or worry or God's truth.

Today in the service, our Pastor preached on Psalms 1. The title of his sermon was "Are You Happy?" I thought that was a bit odd because, quite frankly, as Oswald Chambers says, I think God is more concerned about our character than our happiness. But as our Pastor went through the verses - the things we need to avoid that are listed in verse 1 and went on to verse two about what we are to do instead which is delighting and meditating on God's Word, I realized something. I had become a spiritual pessimist.

What do I mean by that? I mean, I sort of expected things to go badly. I expected the hard and difficult and ugly. Maybe it is the national news or maybe it is because five women (several who are not that much older than I am!) have been diagnosed with cancer in the past year. I'm not sure, but I had become one of those Christians who instead of having joy, had the "when is the next shoe going to drop" syndrome.

Psalms 27:13 says "I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." Without hope and joy, we despair. We wither up and become Christians that are dry. We certainly don't draw anyone to Christ. I mean, who wants to be a dried up, pruney pessimist. No thanks!

Please don't get me wrong. I know there are hard things in life. You might get diagnosed with cancer or suffer the loss of a loved one or the end of a marriage or lose your job. Those are hard things and Jesus never said take up your bed of roses and skip after me with lollipops. I don't think positive thinking keeps the hardships of life from not happening, neither am I suggesting that you live in a state of denial of the realities of life.

However, the Bible also tells us that hope deferred makes the heart sick. Do I wake up in the morning expecting to see the goodness of the Lord or do I expect bad news or a disappointment? Do I have joy in the many blessings He gives me or do I only see the negatives and what could go wrong? Am I the type of Christian who is suspicious of the joy in others because I think it is more spiritual somehow to be miserable?

In Nehemiah, it says the joy of the Lord is our strength. I think this is what it means - when we look for the goodness of the Lord in this life, our focus is up, not down on the rocks in our path or inward at the issues in our souls. We see the answer, not the problem all the time. I don't know about you but I think I'm going to throw away that bin in my thought closet that contains all the pessimistic might be's and replace it with the joyful expectation of God's goodness box.
~Blessings, Bronte

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I signed up for my writing class a few weeks ago. When the materials finally came, I don't know how many times I looked at the little note that came with it that said I had until July 8th to return it. There have been several times that I seriously thought of boxing up my instruction book and sending it back. Things like, "You'll never be able to do this" or "It's too hard!" or "When will you ever have time to do this and do it right?" circulated in my mind. I have to say the last couple weeks since I got my materials, I have had more negative thoughts and actual physical issues than I have had in a long time.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. It seems when you start to do what God wants you to, Satan is right there to discourage you and try to distract you onto a rabbit trail. In fact, I should have been preparing myself for the attack, but I wasn't. I was sort of blindsided by the negativity and issues that cropped up.

But I made it - it is now too late to turn back. My time to decide is over. I have to press on toward the goal. This doesn't mean I am suddenly full of confidence or brimming with purpose though. But it does mean I am committed to seeing this through to the end.

With this sort of luke warm enthusiasm, I went out to get my mail today. I noticed a card addressed to me. I didn't recognize the address and wondered who could be sending me a card. I'll be honest and say, I was hoping it wasn't another wedding invitation - we have three coming up in the next month! (not that I am not thrilled for all of them of course!) I opened it up and there was a wonderful, encouraging note from my Bible study leader. We just started a new one this past Sunday. She specifically mentioned my writing class, encouring me and saying she would pray for me! It was just what I needed today to spur me onward.

God's timing is always just right. It also reminded me that when God nudges me to send a card or pick up the phone, I should do it! You never know if that little card or phone call will be God's way of answering someone's prayer who is just holding on.
~ Blessings, Bronte

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


What do I mean by those people? I mean the people who start to resemble their dogs! I dont' mean I look like Kipper - he is lean and elegant with long, flowing hair. I am short, round and have short, curly hair. What I mean is my personality is similar to my dog's. I started a new Bible study and as an ice breaker, we had to say which dog breed we were similar to. As I started to think about it, I realized that I was remarkably like my collie, Kipper.

We both are friendly and enjoy meeting new people. However, while we like about 98% of the people we meet, there are times we take an instant dislike to someone for no apparent reason. We just get a bad feeling.

We both tend to follow the rules but have a stubborn streak once in a while. Neither one of us likes to be manhandled into doing something, and if you get harsh with us, we tend to shut down. We both tend to bark at "boogey men." For Kipper, that means scary trash cans or rolls of old carpet. For me, that means imagined fears that aren't really a threat at all.

We are both pretty loyal and quick to forgive. But we never forget. Neither of us likes the heat and would rather hang out in the house with our loved ones. While we are laid back, we do get bursts of energy. We both are quick studies and like learning new things.

Actually, it was kind of scary to think of all the ways I am similar to my dog! I mean, who would have guessed. But there are some things I can learn from this. While most of the traits aren't too bad - I mean who minds being loyal - the one thing that hit me is how we both bark at phantoms. I wonder how many times God is thinking, It's just a harmless roll of old carpet while I am "barking" about it and on full alert. When I am walking Kipper, I know when things are harmless but he doesn't always because they surprise him or he doesn't recognize them. The same is true for me. God knows what is harmless and just looks scary.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths." Isn't God awesome that He can use something as simple as a dog to bring a verse to life?
~ Blessings, Bronte