Monday, July 30, 2012


Yesterday, was my oldest son Brock's 14th birthday. We are celebrating today, however, to accommodate everyone's schedule. I think Brock is hoping to stretch the celebration out for the entire week - his friends will be spending the night sometime this week, too.

Back before I had kids, I remember glossing over the words in Genesis about one of the curses of women - pain in childbirth. It loomed rather largely in my mind the night, however, I gave birth to Brock. In fact, I distinctly remember muttering, "I hate Eve!"

Once the pain of the actual labor was over, though, and I was holding my little red bundle with the alarmingly pointed head (were they supposed to have heads shaped like that??) while the memory of the pain didn't disappear, it became a misty memory. (of course, I don't actually remember the first time I saw Brock because I was so drugged up from being knocked out after my epidural came out and the doctor ended up doing a c-section after 15 hours of labor and 3 hours of pushing - but really, it's just a misty memory now!)

What I didn't realize at the time, is that the "pain of childbirth" doesn't end when you leave labor and delivery. What I slowly realized was that I was essentially working myself out of a job.

I went from being the most important person in my tiny newborn's life to slowly being phased out. Let's face it, the older my son gets, the less and less he needs me. While I'll always be his mom (and he better say hi to me if he's ever on television!), if I do my job right he will become an independent, strong young man. I would never want him to be a "mommy's boy," tied to my apron strings.

BUT, (you knew a "but" was coming, didn't you?) that means I have to let him go. I have to smile and wave him on to the next adventure, the next challenge. I have to not allow apprehension to show on my face when he attempts things that make me cringe. I have to refrain from fixing it and making it better. He's past the point where I can kiss his boo-boos and make them all better. I have to watch as he struggles from boy to man - no easy thing in this world we live in - and if I help too much, I risk crippling him.

Like a butterfly struggling out of a cocoon - too much help and that butterfly's wings don't develop. The butterfly is crippled and often never flies. Some days, I want so badly to step in and help, but I know, in the long run, it would only keep my boy from flying.

It's bittersweet and sometimes, painful to be the mom.

The "pain" in childbearing has less to do with the actual labor and delivery, than it does about that inevitable moment when you have to push your child out of the nest.

Brock, at 14, is more mature and level-headed than I was at 20, I think. He's serious and quiet by nature, but with a dry, unexpected sense of humor. He's always observing of the world around him - it's the quiet ones you have to watch out for! ;) He's also empathetic. I remember as a toddler, he would go around and make sure all the other little kids in the nursery had a toy.

He's self-disciplined (more so than I am now, as an adult!) and a very hard worker.

Best of all, to me, is that he loves God. I have prayed for my boys the verse that says to love God with all their hearts, souls, minds and strength. I have prayed since they were tiny that they would have a love of God's Word. Brock does - he reads his Bible every day without prompting. I can't tell you how happy it makes me that he has a relationship with God and not just a religion that is his parents'.

Amazing to me - because Brock is a bit reserved and is not super outgoing - is his heart and passion for the lost. He brings tracts to games to give to the other players. He shares the Gospel with any kid who plays basketball on our back porch. I find it ironic that the boy who is so bashful is so bold when it comes to sharing the Gospel.

I am proud of the man Brock is becoming, but that doesn't mean that there are days when I sigh and get a little teary remembering little chubby arms around my neck, finger painting, squeals of laughter and the wide-eyed wonder of a preschooler seeing his first giraffe up close.

Yes, motherhood is bittersweet but I wouldn't miss out of the joy of having Brock for anything!

~ Blessings, Bronte

Friday, July 27, 2012


I love how God shows me new things in familiar stories in the Bible. I also love how His timing is always perfect - just what I need on the day I need it. He's very cool like that! :)

This summer, I've been in limbo - waiting to hear about a job that could, if everything came through, meet our financial needs. To be completely honest, I've been really tired this spring and summer. Working three different jobs with the stress of weekly deadlines and trying to run a household and keep the dog from becoming one giant mat has been difficult for me.

Add to that, the nagging feeling that plagues me that I should be doing more, accomplishing more, etc. and, well, I was feeling very weary.

I am not a high energy person in the best of circumstances. I have two speeds - slow and backwards. Seriously.

So, the idea of a possible solution with much less stress seemed to me like an oasis in a particularly long stretch of desert. I've been struggling with how long this process has dragged on and realized, quite recently, how much my faith was resting on this job rather than God.

It's a good thing God pointed that out to me the other week because this week, I found out the job fell through. Well, it fell through in the form that would have helped us the most. I'm not sure what will happen now, and I felt an overwhelming urge to sit down, give up and have a good cry - or maybe throw something large against a convenient wall (but since we're staying in someone else's condo, that didn't seem like a terribly good idea!)

Nothing like a little bad news to make your vacation enjoyable!

So what does my little dilemma (and I realize it IS little compared to people struggling with cancer or other weighty matters) have to do with a story in the Bible? Strangely, a whole lot!

My knee jerk reaction to news like this is to freak out and either run around frantically trying to fix it OR to sit down in despair and give up. It's not that I don't want to respond with peace, serenity and faith, but old habits are hard to break.

Good thing God had just showed me some interesting truths in the story of Hagar. Hagar, if you are not familiar with her, was Sarah's maid. Sarah was Abraham's wife. Confused yet?

Basically, Abraham and Sarah couldn't have any children - despite God's covenant promise that He would use Abraham as the father of a great nation, namely the nation of Israel. That's a bit difficult if you can't have any children.

So, after years of waiting, Sarah decided she had a better idea (it's always a red flag when you start to "help" God out). She decided to give her maid Hagar to Abraham to have a child by Hagar and then Sarah could claim the child for her own.(You can find this story in Genesis 16)

Apparently, surrogacy is not a new idea. The difference is Hagar - being a servant - didn't have much choice in the matter. The only problem was, when Hagar became pregnant this caused a bit of an issue between Hagar and Sarah. Eventually, Sarah went to Abraham with the squabble and he basically said, "She's your maid - do what you think is right."

What was "right" to Sarah was apparently to treat Hagar so terribly, that the young woman ran away into the desert. You have to be pretty desperate to run into the desert.

This is honestly, one of my favorite stories in the Old Testament. Here is Hagar, an Egyptian maid - basically as low on the social hierarchy totem pole as you can get. She's on the run from her mistress who is treating her abominably (probably because of Hagar's own behavior because Scripture says once Hagar became pregnant, she despised Sara). And God appears to her. He speaks to her through an angel and sends her back to Sarah and tells her that her son Ishmael will be the father of a great nation, too.

Hagar calls God, El Roi - the God who sees me. I love this name for God. It always amazes me that God sees me. He sees my difficulties and He sees my struggles, and most amazing of all, He really cares.

This story I was very familiar with because, as I said, it's one of my favorites. Well, Hagar figures in another story but I hadn't paid as close attention to this one.

We fast forward about 10-15 years, (this story is found in Genesis 21) and Sara has had her own little bundle - Isaac. As you may have guessed, there were still some difficulties in the house of Abraham, what with the maid and her son and Sara and her son. I'm sure you can see how this would make Sister Wives look tame in comparison.

Ishmael is the firstborn, but Isaac is the son of promise. Lots of room for conflict, and that conflict came to a head during a party. (doesn't it always seem like the worst family conflicts end up being around a celebration or a holiday?)

Isaac was weaned, and Abraham decides to throw a big party to celebrate. During the party, Sarah looks over and Ishmael is making fun of little Isaac. I have no idea if this was mean-spirited or if it was all in fun, (after all Ishmael has been displaced and I'm sure there was some sibling rivalry going on egged on by the moms), but it doesn't matter. Sarah has had enough and demands that Abraham send Hagar and Ishmael away. So, even though it breaks his heart, on the advice of God, Abe sends them away.

Hagar and Ishmael wander in the wilderness until they run out of food and water. Knowing that they would both die, Hagar puts her son under a bush and sits down a little ways away so she wouldn't have to watch. Her son starts crying out. Isn't that a pitiful picture?

God appears to her again and asks, "What is the matter with you Hagar?" I'm sure Hagar wanted to either laugh or cry at this question. Wasn't it obvious what the matter was? She and her son - the son God had promised her would father a great nation of his own by the way - have been kicked out into the desert and since the little bit of provision given to them has run out, they are going to die. THAT would be what's the matter.

It was at this point that God opens Hagar's eyes and she saw a well of water. You'll notice that Hagar's circumstances never changed- the well had apparently been there all along but because of her despair and fear, she never even saw it. Not until God opens her eyes did she see that the answer to her problem that was there all along.

It's so interesting to me that in the first story, Hagar realizes that God sees her, and in the second story, God opens Hagar's eyes so she can see His provision. Cool, huh?

In my own situation, it would be really easy for me to want to give up, to throw up my hands and say that I had been let down one too many times in regards to a job, but God wants me to remember that He sees me and I need to open my eyes to His resources that I won't even be aware of if I sit down and give up

In Micah 7:7, it says, "But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me."

So, instead of giving up in defeat or frantically running around trying to fix it, I want to wait expectantly for what God has in mind. His plans are better than mine could ever be, even if I can't always see it right away. Unlike people or circumstances, God never lets us down.

~ Blessings, Bronte

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I don't believe in coincidences, so when I read about the woman with the hemorrhage in my Bible study and then read about her again in a totally unrelated book, I had to believe God had something to show me. What, though, I wasn't so sure.

To be honest, I have never really thought a lot about that poor woman recorded in the Gospels as having an "issue of blood." I mean, I'm familiar with the story, but it's one of those stories I've skimmed over.

Because this unnamed woman kept popping up yesterday and today, I decided to take a closer look. If you are unfamiliar with the story, you can read it in any of three Gospels: Matthew 9:20-22; Mark 5:25-34; and Luke 8:43-48. Matthew only wrote three verses about this miracle, but both Mark and Luke went into more detail.

The story goes like this from Mark 5:25-34:

A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse - after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak.

For she thought, "If I just touch His garments, I will get well." Immediately, the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.

Immediately, Jesus perceiving in Himself that power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, "Who touched My garments?" And His disciples said to Him, "You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?'"

And He looked around to see the woman who had done this. But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction."

To begin to understand this story in all its context, we have to understand a little of Jewish law. This woman's "hemorrhage" meant she had been bleeding for 12 years. The bleeding was most likely either menstrual or uterine and as such, made this woman unclean.

When a woman was unclean, anything or anyone she came in contact with became unclean as well. This woman's physical ailment isolated her from social interaction. Her infirmity narrowed her life in ways, we as living in this modern world, probably have difficulty understanding. She had gone to various physicians and in Mark 4:26 it said that she had spent all that she had and was not helped at all - in fact, she had grown worse.

While you and I do not live in the world of Jewish law nor do we probably have some kind of physical ailment that separates us from others, I don't doubt we all have something in our lives that makes us feel isolated from others. We all tend to present a facade to other people of what we think they should see.

Church is often the worst place for this, unfortunately. When was the last time you asked someone how they were and instead of "fine," they shared that their marriage was on the rocks or their kids were acting out and they didn't know where they had gone wrong. When was the last time you said, "Hi, how are you?" and a fellow mom shared that she felt like her life was out of control and she wasn't doing any of it well?

Yeah, I haven't gotten too many of those either. We are afraid to show our real selves for fear of what other people will say - thinking that we must be the only one that struggles and somehow, everyone else has it all together.

Like this woman, we have something that makes us feel unclean or unworthy or ashamed. Satan likes for us to keep our shame in the dark and secret because then we become isolated. Like any wolf out to kill the sheep, it's much easier to prey on the lone sheep than one in the middle of the herd.

In Angie Smith's book, What Women Fear, a couple sentences leaped out at me. "We have a very real enemy who thrives on our silence. He doesn't want us to be in fellowship, sharing our hearts and seeking wisdom on how to live lives that glorify God in spite of the darkness we feel."

So, instead of being real with other believers, we try to fix it ourselves, in our own strength - without the accountability of other believers.

If you'll notice, this woman had spent a lot of money to seek out physicians to fix the problem. She had spared no expense and now was broke as well as sick. Not only did the physicians NOT helped her, but now she was worse than before.

How like us as we try to "fix" our problems ourselves. I guess that's why Dr. Phil and Oprah are so popular. Instead, though, we end up depleted and exhausted and worse off than when we started.

At the end of her own resources, this woman took a chance - she went out into the crowd (even though she was unclean) and she touched the hem of Jesus' robe. She didn't directly approached Him - she just crept up and touched His hem with a desperate faith that finally, finally she would be healed.

The woman was immediately healed. In an instant, the problem that had plagued her and made her life so miserable and lonely was gone. I can't imagine how she felt - to be healed after so long. She probably was going to slip away quietly, not noticed, but quietly rejoicing.

So, really, Jesus could have kept going. He could have just let her be healed and not acknowledged her in any way, but He didn't.

Instead, He stopped in the midst of the noisy, demanding, jostling crowd and asked, "Who touched me?" The disciples, quite naturally, looked at Him like He was a bit crazy - with all the people pressing in, how in the world could they know who touched Him?

But Jesus had a purpose - He wanted to connect with this woman, not just heal her physical body, but her heart as well.

At first glance, it seems almost cruel that Jesus would make the woman come forward, make her admit her shame and weakness in front of a crowd of curious onlookers.

Most likely, people in her village knew of her problem - maybe they talked about her in whispers and wondered what sin had brought this plague down on her, or shook their heads in pity.

So, now, He looks right at her. She knows she is found out. She knows now everyone will know about her problem and that she was out among people when she was unclean, and that by touching Jesus, she had made Him unclean, too. The verse said she was trembling, she was that afraid.

But she KNEW she had been healed and what Jesus had done for her, so she threw herself at Jesus' feet and verse 33 says, "and told Him the whole truth." She didn't leave anything out -she just laid it all out at Jesus' feet. The whole ugly truth and then she waited.

Did she think He would condemn her? Or maybe reverse her healing because she wasn't worthy - because her touch had made Him unclean too?

Instead, after she had publicly confessed her shame and told how Jesus was the only one who could heal her, Jesus gave her a new identity. He calls her daughter and tells everyone that it was HER faith that healed her.

Instead of condemning her, He praises her and sends her on her way with a blessing.

So many times, we think if everyone knew who we really were or what our lives are really like when nobody else is around, they would reject us or laugh or sneer. Worse, we think God feels this way about us when He is waiting for us to reach out to Him.

By calling this woman out, Jesus set her free from her prison of shame and secrecy. He can do the same for us. All we have to do is reach out and touch His hem and believe - believe that He is big enough, gracious enough, loving enough to clean us up and remove all of our shame.

"Now therefore there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1

So, next time you are in a group, take a chance and just be real.
~ Blessings, Bronte

Monday, July 23, 2012


There is nothing like feeling completely loved. It might be when you husband wraps his arms around you or your child climbs in your lap to give you a sticky kiss with a look that says you are the most important person in her little world. Maybe it is a friend who goes out of her way to meet a need or show you that you matter to her.

Whatever makes you feel completely loved, it's a wonderful feeling. Reams of poems and reels of film show us that "happily ever after" means that true love wins out. Somehow, those stories never end with Cinderella and the Prince having an argument over who forgot to take out the trash.

The problem is, those feelings are fleeting and reality creeps in. Interspersed with the perfect moments are a lot of moments that, well, aren't quite so perfect. Instead of a sticky kiss, your little angel slams her bedroom door, declaring, "You are so unfair - I hate you!"

Your husband makes a cutting remark or your best friend disappoints you.

Yet, we want to be loved and we long for a love that is unconditional and reliable. Especially as women, we have a deep need to feel loved for who we are - no matter what. Some of us spend a lifetime searching for that love - looking for that person who -as that Jerry McGuire movie said - completes us. We chase after that perfect person who will - finally - love us the way we desperately want to be loved.

The thing is, no person, no matter how wonderful, can fulfill this need completely. Instead of acknowledging this, though, we continue pursuing people who will fulfill this deep need in us - placing impossible expectations and demands on them.

We strive after careers or stuff or achievement to make us more worthy of that love. Instead, we end up exhausted and disappointed and just a tad guilty, like we somehow failed either to love or be worthy of love.

There is One Person who loves perfectly though - that would be God.

In my quiet time this morning, I read about the promise that God makes that He loves us and nothing can keep Him from that: "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities (demons), nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

But knowing about something and really knowing it are two different things.

If you've gone to church all your life (like I have) the idea that God loves you is not new, but do you know it deep in your heart? Has it God's love travelled from your mind to your heart?

In Ephesians, Paul wants the church at Ephesus to really get this concept. In Ephesians 3:13-16 it says, "that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge tha you may be filled up to all the fullness of God."

Again, if you are a regular church-goer, these verses might seem very familiar, but when you look at them more closely, there is a lot in there.

First, Paul's prayer is that God would grant these believers power through the Holy Spirit and not just grant a little bit but "according to the riches of His glory" or out of God's abundance. This isn't a stingy thing but an abundant thing.

Second, Paul wants them to be rooted which means to be thoroughly grounded. He also wants them to be grounded which means to lay a foundation. Paul's prayer is that we can comprehend or lay hold of, the length, breadth, height and depth of Christ's love.

And he is not just talking about head knowledge but a deep knowing in the marrow of our bones of God's love.

The result of truly laying hold of and wrapping our minds and hearts around the love of God is that we will be filled up to all the fullness of God. In other words, our cups will be full and overflowing. We will not have the need to go chasing love in places and people that can never really fill us up.

To know God's love is the foundation of understanding God's grace and mercy, of truly believing He is good and wants our best. Without this knowing - when it is just head knowledge - we participate in just another religion, rather than a relationship.

~ Blessings, Bronte

Friday, July 20, 2012


I got up this morning looking forward to hitting a neighborhood garage sale. What I wasn't expecting was the news that was all over the radio as I drove around town today - the news that 12 people were killed when a man burst into the darkened theater, throwing tear gas and spraying the unsuspecting audience with gun fire.

It was shocking and frightening.

Nobody who went the midnight viewing of the latest Batman movie expected danger to be anywhere but on the screen. Nobody went thinking it would be the last thing they ever did. Nobody waved off their son, daughter, sister or brother with the expectation that this would be the last time they would see that person alive.

But that's what happened.

Nobody knows why. At this point, officials aren't sharing the gun man's point of view, but really, is there any good reason for doing something like this? Can anyone really explain this to anyone's satisfaction?

Because of one man's actions - for whatever deluded reason - 12 people are dead. Gone. Their lives snuffed out in a moment.

On a deeper level, I wish I could explain why stuff like this happens. I wish I could explain how a loving, all-powerful God doesn't stop bad things like this from happening. In my human mind, I just don't get it.

The thing is though, even though I don't understand it and my feelings are in a turmoil, I can still know truth. In the face of confusion and horror and fear, God's truth is the one thing - the only thing really - that I can rely on.

So I can tell you what I know is still true. It's just as true today after this tragedy as it was yesterday before this happened.

God is good.
God is all-knowing, all-powerful and always present.
God loves us more than we can really understand.
God has a plan and purpose for each of our lives that fits in beautifully to His overall plan for humanity.
God is merciful, kind and patient - even when we don't deserve it.
God is forgiving - as we should be forgiving (even means forgiving a crazy man who murdered people in cold blood)
God is sovereign.
God is faithful.
God keeps His promises.

And one of His promises - even when things seem very messed up and very scary - is that He brings good out of bad.

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

My prayers are with the families who lost loved ones today.

My prayers are also with the others who were injured.

My prayers are with every person who was in that theater because not one of them will ever forget today. They'll carry the scars - physical, as well as, emotional.

But my most fervent prayer is that we will see God's goodness and His glory come out of even a horrible thing like this.

~ Blessings, Bronte

Monday, July 16, 2012


Time is an interesting thing. When we are doing something tedious, it seems to pass agonizingly slowly. I remember sitting in certain classes and the minute hand seemed to stop all together. Even though I was willing it with all my might to speed up, it just crept along.

Then, there are other periods of time - usually when we are having fun or doing something enjoyable - when time "just flies by." I will look at the clock and be shocked at how late it is - how in the world did it get to be THAT time already??

Time also seems to pick up speed the older we get. My own personal theory on this is perspective. When you are 5 years old, a year is a fifth of your entire life. When you are 50, a year is a much smaller percentage so it appears to go by faster. I don't know if this is very scientific, but it works for me. :)

I know when I was a kid, summer stretched before me like an endless vista, but now, well, I can't believe we are halfway through July already and in a little more than a month, my boys will be headed back to school. (I won't get into the fact that one will be entering middle school and the other one, high school - I'm still floating down that rive of denial!)

Time is one of those things that we never seem to have just the right amount of though - either we don't feel like we have enough or it sits heavily on us. The thing is though, we all have the same amount of time each day - 24 hours. A week doesn't change either - it's always 7 days. There are always 12 months in a year and unless it's leap year, the number of days in the year stays constant too.

Over the past few years, I've been learning to trust God in our finances - even when the numbers don't seem to quite add up, He always provides. I don't mean to say that there aren't times when I have momentary qualms or wonder how we will afford x or y, but based on God's continued faithfulness I know in my head at least, there is no real reason to worry.

My time, however, I am learning I'm a bit more of a control freak. I've felt God calling me to write, and the truth is, despite the best of intentions, I have not been nearly as consistent in fulfilling this call as I should be. In fact, weeks will go by when I do not pick up my pen or sit down at the computer to work on my writing.

I was sitting in church this past week, and I was chatting with God about how I wanted to do whatever He wanted me to do. I felt in my spirit a gentle chastisement - "Oh really?" the Spirit seemed to say, "You haven't been doing what I've already asked you to have you?"

I knew He meant my writing. I mean to do it. I want to do it, but it's so easy for me to push it down to the bottom of my to do list because other things seem so much more urgent and pressing. I have weekly deadlines, not to mention a couple other jobs during the school year and a household to run. (For some reason, my family wants to eat three times a day and insists they need clean clothes).

It's really easy for me to justify my lack of obedience by calling it "being busy." The truth is I have 24 hours in every day just like everyone else. The truth that God showed me, as I sat in the church pew this week was that I didn't trust Him with my time. I was afraid, if I made my priorities the same as His, I just wouldn't have enough time to get everything done.

God tells us, though, in Phil. 4:19 that He, meaning God, will supply ALL of our needs, according to His riches in Christ Jesus.

This means time, too. This means that despite the fact that I have a deadline each week, I can still make my own writing a priority most days. If God has called me to this - which I believe He has - then He will provide the time I need to get everything done.

I know it certainly is not getting done with ME trying to be in control all the time. God blesses our obedience, even in the small things. We are supposed to give our first fruits to God, and I believe that means our time, too. I also believe sometimes we expect more of ourselves than God does. Is it even really possible to do 50 different things in one day and are we setting ourselves up for failure by setting the bar impossibly high?

It's just so tempting to do the urgent first rather than the important, but my goal is to trust God with my time, just as I do with my more physical needs.

I'm excited to see what God will do with my willingness. There is a verse in the Old Testament (of course I can't remember where it is at) that says God is looking throughout the world for people who will follow Him. I don't know about you, but I want to be counted in that number.

Just be sure to remind me of this the next time I am freaking out about a looming deadline!

~ Blessings, Bronte

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Does it ever seem to you that everyone talks about goodness happening in the future - in some far off place beyond this life? I don't know about you, but I could use a little goodness in this life.

The Bible doesn't promise us ease and a life without troubles, but neither does it say that all God's goodness will only be available once we cross onto the heavenly shore either.

Once again I was doing my Bible study - I really love that Shelia Walsh directs her readers to the Psalms so often. I love the Psalms - they seem to speak to me like no other book in the Bible for some reason. Maybe it's because they are so real. It's not all pretty words - it's true feeling and emotion. Yet, it is also truth.

Anyway, I was looking at Psalms 27. I'm guessing that you may have heard the first verse of Psalms 27, but I want to share a few more with you. "The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread? When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and my enemies, they stumble and fell. Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war arise against me, in spite of this I shall be confident."

Doesn't that sound wonderful - to not fear or tremble even if a host of enemies surrounds you, to have such confidence in God that you have no fears. How does David get to this point?

The answers are in the next verses. In verse 4, it says, "One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His Temple."

The reason David can be fearless is because his greatest desire is to dwell or abide in God's presence. To be in the house of the Lord was to be in God's presence in David's day.

In verse 8, it says, "When You said, Seek My Face, my heart said to you, Your face, Lord will I seek."

I love the way David longs for God's presence. David, who was weak and frail. David who committed adultery and then committed murder to cover it up. That David - that's the one who was fearless because, despite everything, David knew where his source of strength and sanctuary really was.

However, my favorite verses are at the end of this Psalm in verses 13 and 14. "I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord."

David could be fearless because he made the decision to abide in God's presence and because he had hope. He had the hope that God would show him goodness, not just in heaven but here on earth, too. This allowed him to wait on God and to be strong and to take courage.

The Bible says that hope deferred makes a heart sick. Have you been waiting for something for a really long time? Maybe for a wayward child or a distant husband? Maybe the thing you are waiting for is more practical - finances to turn around or health to improve. Is your hope just about gone? Maybe it's time to renew your faith that God WILL show you His goodness in this life - just maybe not in the way you envisioned.

I once read that Satan can't deceive many people to really believe God doesn't exist, but he CAN deceive them into thinking God is not good.

Do you believe in God's goodness?
~ Blessings, Bronte

Sunday, July 8, 2012


It never fails, on the day I have a million and one things to do, my neighbor shows up on my doorstep or calls my house for a long chat. Some days, I can greet her with a sincere smile and really listen, but other days, I feel the urge to hide in a back room and pretend I'm not home. It's not that I don't like her, but she's never in a hurry. The sad truth is, some days I just don't feel like I have the time for her.

The thing is, most days I have somewhere I have to be, six things to do before I get there and I'm already five minutes late.

Or at least it feels that way.

I always feel like I'm in a rush, like taking time to eat lunch with a friend or dropping by to visit my parents on a whim will somehow put me miles behind and I'll never get caught up. That if I take time to really listen, I'll become terminally unproductive.

Lately, I've been looking around at my life and realizing that it is filled up with things I don't really enjoy all that much and missing things I do enjoy. I don't mean that in a complain-y, whiney way. I mean that in a "take stock" sort of way.

Sometimes, you have to take a deep breath and really look at your life to see if you are being intentional about how you spend the time God gives you.

In my head, I know the things that are important - things like relationships and stopping long enough to take in God's creation and being thankful and really listening to the person who is hurting or lonely or upset.

But the urgent is a hard task master. It makes it easy to justify shoving those truly important things into the background. So, instead of focusing on my husband or my kids or my family or my friends, I frantically run to accomplish the things on my to do list. I'm not saying they aren't important. After all, I work. There are certain things I do need to get done each day and each week.

However, rushing through my days, feeling five steps behind all the time isn't good for me and it certainly does absolutely nothing to put the important things in a place of priority in my life.

I'm a little afraid I will arrive at my own funeral about 5 minutes late because I needed to "just finish up this one thing" before they wheeled me in.

This year, my goal was to be intentional. I guess that would mean being intentional about how I spend my time, too. I find myself wasting a lot of it in a weird sort of procrastination. It's like I know I have a lot to do, but I feel overwhelmed, so I just avoid it until I'm down to the wire. Then it's crunch time and any margin in my life has been swallowed up, leaving me gasping to meet a deadline.

It's interesting that Jesus who only had a little over three years to accomplish His entire ministry never seemed to be in a rush. It's not like He was lazing around munching on loaves and fishes, but instead of rushing here, there and everywhere, He was purposeful, intentional.

He had time to talk to the woman with the issue of blood who touched His hem. He could have just walked on, but He stopped. He had time to not just heal people but stop, see them and touch them - even the ones that nobody else would touch with a 40 foot pole.

He saw people. He listened to people and really heard them. Even if He had not healed them in a physical way, how much did He give to people just by looking them in the eye and letting them know that someone, anyone heard them and actually cared?

Yet, He had a job to do, too, but despite the clock ticking, He never put the task above the person.

We'll never know what it means to that person we really listened to. We'll never know the encouragement that person received when we made the time to call or send a note. We'll never know that we were the only person who had a kind word for the elderly woman we stopped long enough to chat with in the store.

So, I guess all this is to say - to be "free indeed" I have to throw off the yoke of my to do list. I have to be get rid of the feeling that "I never do enough." God supplies all my needs - and that includes time.

As Dante said we "get lost in the wilderness of daily cares." My goal is to take out my map and not get stuck there!

~ Blessings, Bronte

Thursday, July 5, 2012


I was working on my Sheila Walsh Bible study again, The Shelter of God's Promises, and she directed the reader to Psalms 37.

What I love about God's Word is that you can read a verse or passage one time and it's nice. Then you stumble across it again, and suddenly, the words leap off the page and whap you upside the head.

There is no comparison to the Bible because it is the LIVING Word of God and it testifies with the Holy Spirit that resides in us. Get the two together and that is something that never fails to amaze me.

Well, when I read Psalms 37 the passage seemed to come alive in a way I'd never seen before. And I've spent a lot of time in Psalms over the years.

I want to look at the first five verses because those are the ones that really encouraged me the most.

Do not fret because of evildoers,
Be not envious toward wrongdoers.
For they will wither quickly like the grass
And fade like the green herb.
Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him and He will do it

The first thing that stood out to me was what I am NOT supposed to do - that is fret or be envious. We are not to fret. The word fret is a little misleading here though. When I think of fret, I think of a grandma-type person wringing her hands. This word actually means to burn or become hot - in other words don't become angry because of evildoers. The other thing we need to avoid is being envious or jealous of wrongdoers.

I know that sounds a little strange - who envies someone who does wrong stuff? But have you ever been around a person who breaks all the rules and treats people terribly, yet everything seems to go smoothly for them? Yeah me too! It can be exasperating, and we can find ourselves envying the ease with which they appear to go through life. However, God tells us that they will wither and fade eventually. Their apparent good fortune on this earth won't amount to much in the next if they are not a believer.

Then this psalm gives us a series of commands: trust, do good, dwell, cultivate, delight, commit and trust. Seven little commands that spoke to me in a big way.

I've been feeling a bit stuck lately - living in limbo land waiting on some answers from God that seem very slow in coming. Have you ever been there - when the wait seems to stretch on endlessly? If I wait on anything or anyone but God, that wait becomes wearying and tiresome.

BUT, if I do these seven things, I'll be waiting on the Lord instead. That's when when the wait becomes a blessing instead of a burden.

You'll notice that this set of commands is book-ended by the word "trust." What does it mean to trust? In this case, the literal meaning is to have confidence in. That makes me stop and wonder - what is MY confidence in? Is it in my own abilities and wisdom or is it in God?

The second command is to do good or accomplish good. When we are waiting, that doesn't always mean we are passive and inactive. We are to be accomplishing good (as opposed to being angry or jealous!).

The third command is to dwell in the land. That means to abide or settle down in the land or the place you happen to be in. For me, I often feel myself straining against abiding and settling in - I want to DO something and GO somewhere. Instead, God is asking me to dwell or abide right where I am at - where He has placed me.

The fourth command is to cultivate faithfulness. The word cultivate means to tend. As someone who gardens, I get this picture in my head of coaxing small green shoots to grow and flourish. Those baby plants or delicate flowers probably wouldn't survive without my care. Faithfulness or steadfastness needs that same kind of care or it will wither. It's not something that just happens. I have to purposefully cultivate it in my life.

The fifth command is to delight in the Lord. Once you are trusting Him and doing good and settling down where He has placed you and cultivating faithfulness, delighting in God comes pretty naturally. This word actually means to be soft or delicate with someone. What an interesting picture that we are to be soft with God. We aren't to let bitterness or self-protection form a crust over our hearts. Instead, we are to remain soft and pliable so He can continue to work with us, molding us into His creation.

It isn't until we are doing these five things that God can give us the desires of our hearts because until then, our hearts desire what isn't good for us. It only seems good to our all too human eyes.

The sixth command is the to commit my ways to God. That's much easier when I am soft and not hard. This word means to roll together, and way means journey. I am to roll together my journey with God's.

I don't know if you've ever done any baking, but when you roll ingredients into the batter, it makes something that is better and different, yet still essentially batter. When we roll our journey into God's, we become better. I am still me, yet "I'm a new creature and old things have passed away and I'm new."

Only God can keep you uniquely you, and yet perfect, mold and sanctify you at the same time into someone that brings glory to God, someone who God sees as blameless.

That makes delighting in God pretty much a no-brainer!
~ Blessings, Bronte