Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I recently ordered a book called Focus in the Whirlwind by Jean Fleming. (free - thank you swagbucks!) I often feel overwhelmed by all that life seems to ask of me: be a good wife, be a good mom, eat healthy (that always seems to take longer doesn't it?), exercise, spend time with God every day, clean the house, walk the dog, work, be a good friend, and on and on it goes. So, saying that I often feel at the vortex of a whirlwind seemed an understatement.

It was interesting, because I've been reading on several blogs and in books about simplifying life. That sounds so appealing to me - a simple life, pared down to the essentials. However, as I was reading this book, Fleming challenged my thinking on the simple life. She asked a very disturbing question, "The question, 'What do I mean by simple?' uncovered a disturbing possibility. As I struggled to define simple, I realized that perhaps my desire was to eliminate the hassle, to control life, to make it more manageable. Having a blazing streak of the escapist in me, was I trying to redefine life minus the stresses and pressures?"

I, like Mrs. Fleming, also have a rather wide streak of escapist in me, too. I want a life without hassles, a life where I feel in control, but if you read in the New Testament for any length of time, it becomes clear that a life of no hassles is not promised to any believer. Quite the opposite in fact.

She then added another sentence that sort of rocked my world. "The question is not, How can I do more? but, Am I doing the right thing?" Whoa! It seems every organizational type book or article is about how to get more done in less time. No wonder everyone feels stressed in this pressure cooker of expectations. I know I struggle with the feeling of never getting enough done, and not getting it done fast enough.

Finally, Fleming gave a better way to go about this quest for simplicity - because I think we all wish for simplicity, but trying to find it in a new organizational system isn't the answer. "The simplicity man seeks is not one of organization and management, but of relationship... To add Christ to our already busy life is to complicate living; to allow Christ to absorb all the elements of our life is to simplify it."

In other words, it's not simplicity we need but focus. Who or what am I focused on? The answer should be Christ. When we make our life an offering to an audience of one - God - then our lives get infinitely simpler. It's focus even in a whirlwind.

I'll leave you with one last quote from this chapter of the book. "Neither the approval nor the disapproval of people is any sure indicator of the validity of our work; our faithfulness and obedience to God stand as the true test."

Am I passing this test? Are you?
~ Blessings, Bronte

Sunday, August 7, 2011


I am a why person. I want to know why all the time. It can really drive people nuts - just ask my dear husband! :) This past week, I was listening to a Beth Moore online Bible teaching (I LOVE Beth Moore btw) and she was saying how that her abuse in her past was part of God's plan for her and that He allowed it for her good so that she could then use it in ministry. She said while God is never the author of sin, He can use awful things for our ultimate good, even if it doesn't seem that way at the time.

This, of course, led me to start asking about God's sovereignty and our free will. I was left with my brain in a tangle trying to figure out where and how these intersected with God's foreknowledge. Confused yet? Yeah, so was I!

On top of this, I was having a bad week. It just seems one thing after another keeps hitting us, and as I was looking at God's sovereignty it became sort of personal as I applied it all to my life. I mean, how was it God's will - His PLAN - for people to sin against my family? How was it His plan that after He called me and gave me a desire to write, I would have to find a full time job with benefits? I was left with this feeling of how can I trust God if I don't understand this? How can I be at peace with it all even if I can't fully wrap my mind around it?

Well, over the course of several days of wrestling with this(and honestly, this idea of God being in total control even of the bad stuff that happens has cropped up in my daily Bible study, sermons and even the Beth Moore lesson I clicked on!) I had a sort of epiphany during church (where once again this subject came up!). If I will only trust God when I can see the big picture and understand what He is doing, well, that isn't really trust is it?

It was like I was saying to God, "I'll trust You as soon as You explain Yourself to me and assure me of a happily ever after ending." What audacity! What cheek! To say to God Almighty - "Prove Yourself trustworthy to me." My pride and arrogance sort of make me shudder now when I think about it!

One thing that I have read several times in my Bible study is the phrase, "Will you trust God's character more than your circumstances." I guess I could add - "Will I trust God's character even when I can't understand how and what He is doing?" The bottom line is life is hard. Bad things happen to everyone because we live in a fallen world. However, I would rather go through it with God at my side, holding my hand even if I am walking in the dark than to walk in full light without Him.

~ Blessings, Bronte

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Do you ever find yourself asking "what if"? I do it all the time. In fact, I'm so good at it, I can work myself into a mind-blowing tizzy in a matter of seconds - from serene to freaked out in under 60 seconds! That's not quite the kind of record I can be proud of though!

At the bottom the whirling, churning of "what if" worries though is the truth that what I am really doing is not trusting God with the future. I am choosing instead, to trust myself. All my excuses - I have an active imagination so I can't help it; I need to be practical and find solutions; etc. - are just a cover up that I am allowing circumstances that haven't even happened yet to trump what I know and profess to believe about God. Ouch!

Today in my Bible study, Linda Dillow shared several verses that really hit home - that whole Word of God being a sharp two-edged sword I guess. The one is a bit long so I won't write it all here but it is found in Jeremiah 17:5-8. It compares the life of a person who trusts in themselves - "like a bush in the desert and will not see when prosperity comes but will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, a land of salt without inhabitants" - to the person whose trust is in the Lord - "for he will be like a tree planted by the water, that etends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit."

As I read those verses, I realized that I really, really don't want to be like that dried up bush in the desert. I want to be like the green tree that still produces fruit even during a drought. I don't want to blend into the dry, thirsty landscape, no different than my surroundings. I want to stand out like a green beacon, a testiment to God's faithfulness even in seemingly unconducive conditions for growth.

Another verse that stuck with me was Psalms 112:7 which says, "He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord." Can you imagine serenity and peace in the face of any news at all? That's what I want - to be fearless.

Of course, I can't get there on my own. I am weak and, well, rather wimpy if you want t know the truth. But I guess that is the whole point. I am not trusting in myself. I am trusting in God and His character, His promises, His faithfulness.

So, how do I do that practically? I think that if there is something looming on the horizon, I need to face it head on - what is the worst of my "what if" that could happen? Then I need to trust that God will be with me and carry me through even in that worst case scenerio. I'm reminded of Esther. She feared going in before the king without being summoned because he could kill her for that inpertinance. But she got to the point where she said, "If I perish, I perish." Only then could she do what God had asked of her.

The other thing I need to do is take my thoughts captive. I don't know about you, but my thoughts are pretty wild and uncontrollable sometimes and not very submissive to being tamed. But I have to run them through the filters of what is true and good and right. I have to saturate my mind with God's Word so that instead of Satan's lies, I can hold onto truth even when my feelings and thoughts aren't there yet.

So I'm left with another "what if." What if I trusted God's character and faithfulness rather than my circumstances and imaginings? What if you did?

~ Blessings, Bronte