Monday, September 26, 2011


Before anyone gets scared by that title, let me reassure you that I'm talking about blogging. :) Lately, every time I think about blogging, my thoughts seem too big for the keyboard. I have been hugging my experiences, thoughts and feelings tightly to me these past few weeks.

About three weeks ago, we found out my husband had some potentially serious heart problems. Needless to say, this sort of rocked my world. We found out in a very roundabout way. He had to have a physical because we wanted to increase some life insurance. We started this journey because of a "blip" on his EKG. Little did we know.

First, he went to his family doctor who sent him to a cardiologist. The cardiologist sent him for an echocardiogram and a stress test. A few days later, we were nervously waiting in the exam room to get his results.

The results ended up being no results. The tests gave an idea of what could be the problem but couldn't exactly pinpoint it. So, last Thursday (9/22), Bruce went to the hospital for a TEE - a transesophagal echo or in plain English, an ultrasound of the back of his heart.

Thankfully, we didn't have to wait for those results. While my dear husband was still out, the doctor told me some great news - no surgery because his heart valve was fine. Instead, he had a left ventricle outflow blockage - basically a blood flow problem caused by some thickened heart muscle. Because of that, my hubby would have to be on beta blockers, and would be seeing the cardiologist on a fairly regular basis. At his next appointment, they will probably strap a HOlt monitor to him for a day or two, and perhaps send him to Columbus to see an electrophysiologist. I don't know what that is either.

The weird thing was - Bruce felt and looked completely fine, even in retrospect.. Looking at him, you'd never know he had any kind of medical problem. HE didn't have any symptoms. The problem, which is congenital, was quietly ticking away inside him and neither of us had any idea there was even a problem.

It was so strange to me to know in my head that he had something seriously wrong, but to not see it with my eyes. The thought that kept coming to me was "this doesn't seem real."

This week, after gearing myself up for the open heart surgery I was sure my husband would have to have, I am sort of floundering. There's nothing to gear up for - we will just go on as we have been, albeit with more whole grains and less junk food. I suppose this feeling is a cross between relief and disbelief that life as I knew it could have changed so quickly and irrevocably. The reminder, once again, that nothing in life is for sure - that things can change from one moment to the next. The fact that I am not in control hit home once more.

I like to think if I am just organized and on top of things enough, I can control things, but as much as I'd like to think that, it's not true. It's an illusion. The same illusion that my husband appeared completely healthy.

Fortunately, we serve a God who IS in complete control. NOthing takes Him by surprise. Not only that, He loves us and is wholeheartedly for us, so we can rest in that.

God gave me this sentence throughout all this and it has been my prayer - that HIS glory will shine through us no matter what happens. "Difficult times are an opportunity for God's glory to shine through ordinary people."

He also gave us a verse the day we were nervously awaiting Bruce's test results from his stress test.

"He will have no fear of bad news; his hears it steadfast, trusting in the Lord." Psalms 112:7

You just can't get more relevant than that!
~ Blessings, Bronte

Thursday, September 15, 2011


It seems intrinsic in the telling of stories and myths, that good always overcomes evil, that the hero slays the villain, that the cowboy rides into the sunset. Look at the stories that have been wildly popular movies lately. Harry Potter comes to mind - the last installment came out this summer and people were lined up around the block at the stroke of midnight to see him defeat Voldemort. Or the Lord of the Rings trilogy where the ring and Sauron were finally destroyed.

Have you noticed the stories we love the most all feature unlikely heroes- people who seem unlikely to get through the day, never mind destroy a great villain or overcome evil. But they do. It's why we cheer them on - that could be us up there on the screen.

Even the Bible stories that fill Sunday schools around the world feature young David killing Goliath the giant. Or timid, unimportant Gideon leading the charge and winning the battle. Noah gets an ark (and some cool pets); Daniel isn't eaten by the lions and Shaddrach, Meshach and Abednego walk around in a fiery furnace.

I'm not sure where the idea has seeped into mainstream Christianity that if we just love God and follow Him we will get that happily ever after here on earth. Maybe it is because of all the Bible stories with happy endings we were told as children. Or maybe it is someone taking the verse, "All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose," and thinking that means their life circumstances will have a movie-worthy ending.

Of course, ALL Christians have a happily ever after in eternity - it's called heaven. But here on earth, there isn't any such promise. In fact, if you take a little tour through the New Testament you'll find that all of Jesus' disciples were put to death - usually in rather gruesome ways. Stephen was stoned because he spoke so eloquently of Jesus.

And let's not forget Paul. Paul who practically wrote the whole New Testament, didn't sugar coat his experiences. He was beaten, whipped, stoned, imprisoned, shipwrecked, snake-bit; and finally beheaded in Rome. That doesn't sound so "happily ever after" to me.

I know this sounds terribly pessimistic, but I do have a point that isn't all doom and gloom. I promise.

The truth is the Bible tells us, that as Christians, we are going to have trouble. Things may not seem to have a happy ending for us here on earth. We aren't promised that.

In fact, our life here is described as a battle. We are soldiers in an epic battle on an unseen battleground. Our lives here on earth will be hard; they will be fraught with difficulties and hardships. But knowing that, understanding that gives us a whole new perspective - the right perspective. When something happens or circumstances knock us down, we aren't disillusioned or bitter because we know - this is part of being war.

I don't know about you, but I want to acquit myself well on the battlefield. I want to hear Jesus tell me "well done, good and faithful servant." I don't want to shrink back in fear but charge with courage into the fray, holding my sword and shield high.

There is joy here on earth. God's blessings are abundant, but there aren't always the world's versions happily ever afters. We would be wise to keep our weapon at the ready, while remembering that we already know the ultimate ending to this war, if not our current battle - we win!

~ Blessings, Bronte

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Recently I decided to read through the New Testament for a couple of reasons. First, I have had this burning desire to know exactly who I am in Christ. Truth sets you free and I think, as a whole, we don't know who we are as Christians these days. Our insecurity on this topic affects how we impact the world around us. Several years ago, I spent about 18 months in Psalms and wrote down everything those Psalms said about God. It was eye opening, and it deepened my relationship with God because I saw who He was so much more clearly. The second part of that, though, is to know who I am in Christ, and to learn to stand on that truth rather than just my feelings. (which now that I seem to be approaching menopause are not all that reliable! lol)

The second reason is because I have been in the Old Testament for a couple years now. I thought it might be time to switch over and get a different perspective.

So, I read through Acts which was very interesting. It was exciting to read about the coming of the Holy Spirit and the huge difference that made in the lives of the apostles. It was amazing to see 12 men change the course of history and make a tremendous difference in their world. I also didn't realize how very specifically salvation and the Holy Spirit was brought to the Gentiles. I guess I just thought that Christ died, was resurrected and that was it, but it was so much more intentional and specific.

As I got ready to read Romans, I was a bit intimidated. I'm not a Bible scholar by any stretch, so I sent up a plea to God to help me to understand the deep truths embedded into this book. I love reading God's Word. I am constantly amazed by the way God seems to speak directly to ME through the Scriptures even though they were written centuries ago.

But I have been so blessed by reading Romans because it has shown me what a true GIFT salvation is to us. I mean, I knew that in my head, but growing up in a Christian home and surrounded by church and believers and spiritual things, it is so easy to take the hugeness of that gift for granted.

Every day I read a chapter and savor it. And every day it seems I end my time in tears of thankfulness for the huge thing that God did for me by giving me the gift of salvation. Not just a "get out hell free" pass, but a relationship that makes a daily difference in my life, that changes who I am at a foundational level that I could never accomplish by myself, no matter how many self-help books I read or how many Oprah shows I watched.

I was in Romans 6 & 7 yesterday, and one verse just seemed to leap out at me. It was Romans 6:14, "For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace." I don't have to be a slave to sin anymore. Because of Christ and my salvation in Him, I have the Holy Spirit, and now I have a choice about whether I will live under the yoke of sin. Before salvation, I didn't really have a choice. In my own power, I can't avoid sin or just decide to do better or turn over a new leaf. That is why there are so many self-help books - nobody has the true answer because the answer doesn't lie within ourselves.

This verse to me was a battle cry, a victory slogan. Yes, I know in chapter 7, Paul goes on to say that his flesh is weak and that he does the things he doesn't want to do, and doesn't do the things he does want to do. But that is just it - in his flesh. When he would try to avoid sin in his body or flesh, it was impossible. We don't have that kind of will power. However, when we live in the Spirit, we can be overcomers. We can be victorious over sin - not in our strength or power - but in Christ who lives in us.

I have said this numerous times in my Sunday school class in the past year - I am so tired of the defeatedness of most believers. This attitude of I'm just a sinner saved by grace. While this is true, it's not the whole truth. Once we are saved we become saints, saints that can turn the world around us upside down if we allow God to work through us. After salvation, the Scriptures do not refer to believers as sinners, but we are referred to many times as saints.

Isn't it time we start living as victors instead of losers?
~ Blessings, Bronte