Tuesday, December 21, 2010


God recently answered a pretty substantial prayer request of mine - He just blessed my socks off. I am in awe of how good He is to me - how patient and gracious.

When I read about the Israelites, I always get a bit impatient with them. It seems God does something big for them, and it is not a week later and they face a similar situation, and they start whining again and want to go back to Egypt - imagine whining about wanting to go back to being a slave. Imagine forgetting that only a few days before God had miraculously provided water or food or deliverance from an enemy.

But am I any different? I could fill a book with all that God has done for me and my family in just the past few years. If I wrote down all His blessings to me, I'm sure it would be pages and pages - in fact, I have quite a few of them recorded in my journal just to remind me.

Isn't it interesting that in Old Testament times, God often had His people build an alter or some other kind of remembrance of His goodness. You wouldn't think they'd forget something like the parting of the Red Sea, but it was only a few days later that they were freaking out at Mara with the bitter waters sure they were going to die of thirst.

God has provided for us in numerous ways over the years. Not just monetarily either, but that way too. I recently had found out that I was going to have a large-for-us medical expense that would be long term, and I knew I had a choice. I didn't FEEL like trusting God. I actually felt like completely wigging out, but I grasped onto God's hand and said, "Okay, I'm going to choose to believe that You will provide for this, but remind me when those feelings start welling up!"

I really had no way of knowing how God would provide. Well, the answer came through work. God was providing not just what was needed but over and above that too!!! It all started when I obediently stepped into the unknown this summer by quitting my job. Without that first step of obedience, God could not have blessed me with my job that will start in January. He reminded me of that too - "See what happens when you actually listen and trust me?" It's sort of embarrassing how often I need to be reminded though, but maybe, just maybe, I'm "getting" it.

The bottom line is I really don't have to worry because the God of the universe has my back. When He is my corner who can be against me? What do I have to fear? He will provide all my needs from HIS RICHES, not just the leftovers. He delights in me and every good thing I have comes from Him. He also works ALL things for my good if I let Him.

He sure has showed me recently the truth of this verse, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They will mount up with wings as eagles; they will rest and not be weary; they will walk and not faint."

So, if you are facing "bitter waters", hang on because God WANTS to refresh you with His clear, sweet water in His time.
~ Blessings, Bronte

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


You know those people who after about a week of vacation say, "This as nice but I'm ready to head back home and get back to work"? I'm not one of them. I could be on vacation for a whole year and still not be tired of it. I LIKE lazing around and having fun. My husband is the opposite - too much relaxation and he starts to get twitchy.

The truth is I am, by nature, inclined to be lazy. On my best days, I am a slow mover. I am not a morning person, so as much as I wish I could leap out of bed and hit the ground running, it just doesn't happen. I get out of bed, but it is more of creaking to an upright position and then shuffling down the hallway - especially when it is cold out!

Of course, as a wife, a mom, plus the other things I do, I can't laze around all day. I have to get things done. So, I have at to-do list. If I didn't have a list of things I needed to get done each day, I'd probably wander around in circles and putter my day away, not getting anything accomplished.

Maybe this is why I always seem to feel slightly guilty - like I am never doing enough or doing it fast enough. Almost every day I think "I should have gotten up earlier," or "I should be going faster than this or have more done by now!"

God is teaching me though that my pace is okay. It's okay not to be speedy gonzales or the energizer bunny. Slow and steady does win the race - eventually.

This week, my Bible study characteristic is patience. You may be wondering how my guilt complex over not doing enough or doing it fast enough ties in to patience. Here's how - today's lesson was about patience with other people.

At the risk of sounding self-righteous, I am usually pretty patient with people. Normally, I am not one to be easily offended. I don't automatically assume that the person with foot in mouth disease is intentionlly trying to hurt my feelings. Even if it does seem intentional, I really do try to understand WHY the person is acting or speaking that way. It is the way I have compassion and can then be gracious.

Not that I am perfect. I can certainly get angry with people and I can hold a grudge - particularly if you hurt one of my loved ones. And don't even think about messing with my kids! lol But overall, patience with people is not usually something I struggle with.

EXCEPT in two incidences - when I am completely hormonal (better known as pms) or if I am super stressed because I feel overwhelmed by my to-do list. The first, I just know that my feelings are hormonally induced so I just try to not talk that day or two! lol

But the other, I have control over. Generally speaking, the actual things I absolutely have to do are not all that overwhelming. BUT, the pressure I put on myself to do this and that and the other, can make me into a frazzled mess. Not to mention, my bad habit of procrastinating until it DOES become a time crunch, thus making me stressed out. This makes me much more likely to be impatient with someone and snap at them, or worse, just not want to have to deal with them at all. Not a very loving attitude is it?

I would love to say that I love others so much that my list of to-dos takes a backseat when I see someone in need, but that's just not true. Too often, I sigh to myself and feel resentful or annoyed that someone is taking up my valuable time when I have things to do! But if you look at Jesus in the Gospels, He always had time for people. And let's face it, if anyone had a short time table, it was Jesus. Just three years for His earthly ministry, but you never see Him portrayed as frantically rushing anywhere.

I want to be like that - gracious and kind; not frazzled and irritable. But to do that, I need to do two things - take a close look at how I AM spending my time and then ditch the false guilt. As I said, my natural inclination is to putter and procrastinate, and laziness is not too much of a stretch for me. So, I need to look at how I am spending my time to see if I am using it wisely. If I am, then I need to get rid of that guilty sense of "do more and do it faster." Satan would love for me to always feels so frazzled that I never have time for anyone or anything BUT my to-do list.

But God has a different plan. After all, "God is not the author of confusion but of peace." I Cor. 14:33 Together, God and I are finding my stride - productive but not stressed out so I can be gracious to those around me.

~ Blessings, Bronte

Monday, December 6, 2010


Self-control, that is. That is this week's character attribute. To be honest, I've been kind of dreading this week since I started. This is an area that I struggle with A LOT!

It seems all my struggles with self-control center on my mouth. At one time, I couldn't control what I put INTO my mouth. I stuffed food in there to numb any negative feelings I might have. My scale will tell you just how many feelings I stuffed down and for how long!

God has done a real work in my life in regards to my food addictions. I still have days that I eat too much or get unbalanced. It's easy to do this time of year. But overall, I no longer am driven to eat. Usually when I start feeling that I want to eat everything not nailed down, that is a signal to me that I am feeling something uncomfortable that I don't want to deal with like anxiety or fear or worry or anger over something. Even though some feelings can be a little overwhelming at times, I am so thankful that God has set me free from that numb person I used to be.

I still have trouble with my mouth though, but these days, it is what comes OUT of it that is the problem! I am a verbal person. Ask anyone who knows me and you will probably hear that I am a talker. Being a writer, words are my medium. Like an artist with his clay or charcoals, words are how I process things, how I discover things, how I work through what I really believe and why. I am the typical think-out-loud type. And yes, I will admit it here, I do talk to myself. I pretend I'm talking to the dog so nobody will think I am crazy if they overhear me. lol

There are two sides of this coin that I struggle with - on the one hand, it seems so much truth is swept under the carpet for the sake of appearances or putting on a show. I despise fakeness so I tend to "let it all hang out", but sometimes, I let too much hang out. I have to remember that in my quest to be "real", there are others in my life - people I love and I am close to - who are NOT "let it all hang out" types. I can never let MY honesty become THEIR embarrassment. It's a hard line to find - sharing but not hurting my loved ones in the process.

Then there is the processing I do. I am one of those people that need to talk things through. However, this can shade into the area of gossip if I'm not careful. I'm not saying I am above gossip - sharing juicy tidbits just for the sake of sharing them or talking about someone in a negative way. Generally though, when I stray into gossip, it is inadvertant because I am trying to work something through in my own mind.

The Bible has a lot to say on the topic of what comes out of our mouths. Two verses though have stood out to me as I have been praying about this area- the truth will set you free and what comes out of our mouths is the overflow of our hearts. I think they address both areas that I struggle in too. Truth is important. I personally believe that we have way too many passive-aggressive people in our churches - people who smile and say, "Oh everything is fine," but inside sort of seethe and fester about perceived wrongs, or they don't want to let their mask of perfection slip. What would people say if they knew whatever it is that is causing them shame?

However, truth spoken has to have the right motivation. This is where the second verse comes into play. What is in our hearts comes out of our mouths eventually. We may try to hold it in, but eventually it will burst out - usually spilling ugliness on anyone unlucky enough to be in the vicinity. Maybe you have never done this, but I will confess that recently I found myself talking about someone in a not too nice way. I knew immediately after this conversation that I was wrong - motivation was wrong, the way I said it was wrong, even just saying it was wrong. As I repented in tears, I vented my frustration with God. "Why do I keep saying what I shouldn't? Why can't I just shut up already?"

God, who is always gracious to show us truth and the right way when we ask, impressed on me that it was my heart that was the issue, not my mouth. My words, just like my eating used to be, were a symptom of a deeper problem. The person I had talked about had hurt me by her actions. In truth, I was upset with her but had never confronted her about it, so what came out of my mouth eventually wasn't too nice. I had a choice at that point - I could confront her with the truth or I could let it go. I decided to let it go because really, it wasn't that big of a deal. I'd just gotten my panties in a wad over something minor. But I had to address it, deal with it and move on; otherwise, I was in danger of spilling ugly words again.

The truth is I want my words to encourage others. I want my thoughts and speech to please God. But as Paul says I often don't do what I want to do; and do what I don't want to do. So this week, I will start praying a few verses that deal with my mouth.

"Let the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight; O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer." Psalme 19:14

"Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep a watch over the door of my lips." Psalms 141:3

"Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances." Proverbs 25:11

I'm praying that the words that come out of my mouth will please God and uplift others. Fortunately, I serve a God of miracles! :)
~ Blessings, Bronte

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Supposedly, I have a decent IQ which is why I wonder why it is the simple truths that seem to take me so long to really "get." I am doing this 40 Day Character Makeover. It has been interesting yet painful, too.

One thing that I was feeling so much of was guilt - guilt for not doing more or getting started in the morning sooner or excercising the way I should or, well, you fill in the blank. I spent many if not most days, totally wound up about what I WASN'T doing even as I was tackling some other task.

It was about a week before Thanksgiving when I was frantically scurrying around the house cleaning and feeling guilty because I wasn't writing that it was like God smacked me upside the head. Why in the world was I feeling guilty for cleaning my house? Then later the same day, I was packing my son's lunch and it struck me with full force that THIS was a ministry. This was important. Packing a lunch is a somewhat humble and certainly mundane task. But what if I didn't?

I kind of had this idea that all the things around the house like cleaning or packing lunches or making dinner were necessary evils - like I needed to get through them as quickly as possible to get on to my "real" calling which is writing. But God stopped me in my tracks as I spread peanut butter on a slice of wheat bread. THIS was ministry, too. Making our home clean and inviting; spending the time to give my kids good, nutritious lunches and maybe sending an encouraging note along - those things were just as important. They were the little things but they mattered. God was counting the little things too, not just the big or showy.

In a bigger way, I realized that a lot of my life has been controlled by false guilt - this sense that I was never doing enough and certainly not doing it fast enough. I tend to be a slow person. Nobody will ever accuse me of being an energizer bunny or being a whirlwind of activity. But guess what? That's okay. Everybody doesn't have to move at the speed of light. I don't have to live my life in a hurry to get to the next thing, so much so, that I am missing out on the present.

Since then, I spend an extra 10 minutes to prepare my kids' lunches. I include a note with a Scripture or just to say I am thinking about them and have prayed for them. I put on praise music when I clean the house. I don't know that I will ever enjoy cleaning, but now I don't see it as something to whiz through as quickly as possible or an interruption in more important things - I see it as a way to serve my family. To serve and to minister doesn't mean everything has to be something "big". It really is the little things that make all the difference.

"Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for man, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve." Colossians 3:23

~Blessings, Bronte