Friday, November 8, 2013

A Time to be Silent...

"A time to be silent and a time to speak..." Ecclesiastes 3:7

My last blog post was in February.  That is a long time ago, especially for somebody who loves to talk and write!  I haven't neglected by blog because I have been lazy or too busy.  I haven't written because the Lord had given me specific instruction to be silent. 

I have struggled.

I have fought. 

I have cried. 

I have wanted to write, but these past months have been about growth.  They have been about development and about God building a story in me that at the proper time I would be able to share.  I have learned a new discipline in my life.  The discipline of sitting and listening and learning from the Lord.  I have learned that in order to be a good writer and speaker, I have to be a good listener. I have learned that obedience begins with a willingness to listen.  I have learned to become a better listener to my husband, my children, my friends and most importantly, my Lord. 

As I have listened, I have changed.  My time of listening is not over, but my silence is!

Not too long ago, I studied a passage in Revelation 12:11:
"They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and the by the word of their testimony."
Listening has brought about a new kind of Spiritual Warfare for our family.  When I read this, I knew it was time to share my testimony about God's goodness, mercy, redemption and grace.  The enemy is waging war and he works very hard at being loud and distracting when we are trying to be silent. 
I want victory.  Our testimony brings victory! When we share what God has done in our lives the enemy flees.  Satan can't compete with victory in Jesus!
There IS a time for everything, but time is short.  How are you spending your time?  Be wise with it!
"Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you."
Hosea 10:12 
 I challenge you to share your testimony with someone today-it may be just what they need to overcome the enemy in their life! 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

For I Resolve...

Sometimes I open my Bible to study and I read things about myself-as if someone looked deep inside my soul and penned the words. 

Kelly and I leave in two days for our vision trip to Colorado with our Church Planting partners, Jeff and Danielle, and some of our prayer partners.  We are SO excited about the trip, but I have to admit that I have had some anxiety over the past week.  My mind has raced, "What are we doing?" "I don't know how to do this!" "Are we crazy?!". 

I cannot imagine that I am the only "Church Planting Wife", or Christ Follower on the planet that feels this way, so I am just laying it out there and being honest. 

I resolve that I am weak.
I don't feel like I know enough, I haven't studied or read enough books on "How To Be a Good Church Planting Wife".  I don't have all the answers.  I don't have enough grace.  I don't have enough patience.  I don't have...I could go on and on...

And just in the middle of my "I don't haves..." My Sweet Jesus sends me words from Paul:

When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence of human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  I came to you in weakness and with great fear and trembling.  My message and my preaching were not with wise persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God's power. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

Seriously?!  That's it?  I can have fear and lack wisdom and not be completely prepared!  In fact, I can know NOTHING except Jesus and His story and that is MORE than enough.  More than enough!  I am so relieved!  I feel so empowered. 

I resolve that I know Jesus, and I can testify to His story and the way it has worked in my life. 

I can talk all day about the ways I have seen His power revealed and His grace and mercy poured out.  I can do this!  What's even better is that I when I do, the Spirit's power is unleashed and HE gets the glory!

  "All scripture is that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:17

God breathed these words so that I may not be afraid, and so that you may be encouraged as well. 

If you are feeling like you can't do something that God has called you to do, look to the cross. 
If you are overwhelmed with life and circumstances surrounding you, look to the cross. 
If you are lacking wisdom, look to the cross. 
If you are weak and struggle with fear, look to the cross. 

Resolve to believe that the cross was enough.  Resolve to know Jesus. that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God's power.  To Him be the glory!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Church Planting Wife

For almost seventeen years I have been "Kelly's wife".  For eleven years I have been "Zachary's, Noah's, Joshua's or AnnaFaith's Mom".  I have been "Vycki's Daughter", "Robbie, Matt and Jon's sister".  I have been junior high teacher, elementary teacher, Bible Study teacher.  I have been called MANY things and held many titles. 

This year, I will add one that will change me.  It is certainly the title that I am the most afraid of having, but at the same time, the one I am the most afraid of running from.  This year, I will become "The Church Planting Wife".

I am walking beside my partner and best friend as we follow God's call on our life to be full-time Church Planters.  Kelly and I will soon be settling into Northern Colorado to make our new home and most importantly to make disciples for Jesus.

When I was recently given the opportunity to join a book launch team for a book by a fellow church planting wife, I jump on board.  I was eager to read what someone a few years ahead of me had to say about the journey I was beginning.  Little did I know that I would open a book and read about my very own heart written by someone else!

Christine Hoover has become vulnerable and dug deep into places many of us don't want to go.  She has revealed frustrations, fears, sin, restoration, recovery and praise all in a few chapters.  Her interviews with other wives helped me to know I am not alone and most importantly, that I AM NORMAL!!  What a relief! 

I found myself wishing many times that I had this book years ago.  I believe it is helpful to wives serving in all areas of ministry.  Christine gently guides you through a heart "check-up".  Every nook and cranny of my heart has had a makeover!  I love how it is full of scripture, truth and real-life stories. 

The Church Planting Wife will be a book that is highlighted, post-it noted, wrinkled and worn in my collection.  If you are looking for encouragement...If you are looking for ways to encourage your husband...If you are needing a friend...If you are struggling in ministry..If you need a good read...please pick up a copy if this book.  You will be blessed!

I feel more ready to take on my new title.  I understand that our journey will be long and hard, but full of surprise and blessing.  We leave for our first trip to our future home on February 14th!  I will keep you posted on how things go, but in the meantime, be encouraged today.  God has a plan for you!  He desires to use you where you are.  Look for opportunities today to make disciples and love like Jesus does!

"I'm linking up with Christine over at Grace Covers Me today as she releases her book, The Church Planting Wife: Help and Hope for Her Heart, and collects heart stories from church planting and ministry wives. Join us?"

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Dreaded Day

I have not slept in a week.  Restless nights.  Thinking.  Praying.  Remembering.  Trying so hard to remember things that I don't want to ever forget.  Thinking about things I would say if given the opportunity to speak.  Wishing for one more conversation.  Longing for a visit.  Realizing it isn't going to happen.  Allowing my emotions to snowball and getting very sad.

I was dreading today.  I hate when it comes.  This year was the hardest so far, and I am not quite sure why.  The waiting is awful.  The remembering makes my stomach hurt.

Today is the day my Daddy went to heaven.

As I have thought and allowed this blog to build in my mind for days, the one thing I keep saying to myself is: "A girl needs her Daddy."  I need the Father.

A girl needs to hear her Daddy's voice. 

I need to hear the Father's voice.

A girl needs to hear to him say, "You are beautiful.  You are a princess.  I love you. You are my girl."

I need to listen when the Father says, "You are beautifully made in my image. You are a child of the King.  I love you.  You are my girl."

A girl needs to sit in her Daddy's lap, or at least next to him and hold his hand.

I need to sit at the throne of grace and receive the Father's hand of love and authority over my life.

A girl needs her Daddy to lean on when her world seems to be falling.

I need to rest assured that I can lean on the everlasting arms of Jesus and He will never allow me to fall.

A girl needs her Daddy to dance with.

I need to better recognize the many, many gifts everyday of my life and then feel free to dance in praise to the Father who gave them.

This girl needs to be assured that her Daddy sees how big his grandchildren are; how they love Jesus.  She needs to know that her little girl will know her Papa, even though they have never met on earth.  This girl's heart aches when she thinks of how he would be so proud of the boys and love that little girl.  Oh, how it aches.

Praise be to God!  The ache is always comforted.  No matter what your ache may be, He is always the comforter. 
When my aches seem to be unbearable, the Father speaks to me, tells me that He loves me, invites me to crawl up in His lap and reminds me that He is in control of my world.  I listen and then I dance.
I don't know where you are or what your hurt is, but He longs to meet you and do the same for you.
This dreaded day is almost over.  It started off bumpy, but got better and better.  I cried, talked, played, ate, laughed, remembered.  I celebrated.  The dreaded day became a day of thanksgiving.  I found joy and I received grace. Tonight I praise and dance.
What are you dreading?  Listen for Him.  Sit with Him.  Rest in Him.  Dance for Him.  
Be assured, He knows what we each need better than we do!
Oh, bless Him!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

From the heart of a child...

This, from my heart, as the heart of a child, longing, waiting to be sponsored:

I am a child that could have lost my way,
But you came along and have saved the day!
I was hungry, lonely and my future looked dim
My family and I cried out to the Lord and trusted in Him.

I had friends who had sponsors and it changed their lives
I wanted that hope and joy in my life.
My mother would bring me to the church each week
In the rain, cold or hot, on our knees we would seek.

A sponsor from Compassion would mean hope for my nation.
With sponsorship, I believed I could change my generation!

"Father, please!" I would pray. "Open their eyes to see."
"I am cold, hungry and hurting and they can save me."

Every week for one year, we would make the walk to pray.
On our knees crying out and believing in the day.

When I received the letter that a family chose me,
We rejoiced and celebrated!  It was a time of jubilee!

I had hope!  I had a promise!  I knew my future would be good.
God had answered my prayers, just as I knew that He would!

My sponsor family is special.  I love them with all of my heart.
They have given my family a brand new start.

They sacrifice to send money for me.
I now do my best to work hard so they can see
It is worth every penny-none of it is wasted.
Because on my heart a promise a had been pasted,

"Child, you are precious, you matter to me.
I heard your cry and I heard your plea.
Do not worry about your future, I have touched some one's heart
They will be Me to you, you have a new start.
When things are hard and you feel scared
Read the letters that your sponsors have shared.
They will love you like you are their own
And though they are far away, you are never alone."

Pictures and letters may be all that I have for now,
But I will dream daily of receiving my crown.
I now know Christ personally, because you gave.
And we will worship together in heaven one day!

At this moment, 2, 574 children have been sponsored this month!  We still have 534 children waiting!  This poem could be their story and you could be who they are praying for.  Will you please consider sponsoring a child? It has truly changed our family!  If already sponsor, will you please send this to them?  Let's be Jesus to the world and work together to rescue them from poverty in His name!  I believe we can do it.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dear Lord Jesus,

Dear Lord Jesus,

I just love that for the next few minutes my world will stop.  I will not answer phone calls, text messages or emails.  I will not be interrupted by children.  I will not change laundry, stir dinner or pick up toys.  I love that the things that keep me too busy all too often are being put on the back burner.  For this moment, I want to focus on You and the gift you have given my family in Natalie.

When we received the news that there was a little girl in Ecuador that needed a sponsor, we were thrilled!  We knew that she needed us, but You knew that we needed her.  Your timing was perfect in sending us her picture!  As I prepared to lead a Compassion trip to Ecuador, you provided a way for our entire family to have a part!  Who knew that three little boys could have so much fun shopping for a little girl at Target!  Thank you for softening their young hearts to her.  They would have bought out the store if we could have afforded to!  It was precious to see them so carefully choose pictures to put in an album for Natalie.  You gave us an opportunity to once again talk about how much You have blessed us. 

Preparing, praying, shopping and packing for my trip did not in anyway prepare me for what You had planned.  I claimed Jeremiah 33:3, "Call upon me and I will show you great and mighty things declares the Lord." I believed You will all of my heart. 

Lord, we both know, that it had been a long time since I had so deeply desired for you to do a work in me.  I am so thankful for the mess that You made of me in Ecuador. 

I arrived at the church that Natalie attends and was greeted by several hundred children. I scanned the crowd for "our Natalie's" face.  Only You could ordain a moment like the one we had!  I will never forget the sound of my name being called by an unfamiliar voice.  I looked up to see a woman smiling from ear to ear and her words will forever ring my ears, "Brandi, my Natalie es su Natalie!"

The immediate bond that Marybelle and I shared is like none other.  Her Natalie, was also my Natalie, our Natalie, YOUR Natalie!  I understood love on a whole new level.  You opened my eyes to see just how needy I am, while allowing me to love and help the needy. 

Oh Lord, even now, I cannot contain my tears as I think of the hugs, stories, pictures and laughs that you gave us to share.  The four days that I spent with that family are by far, some of the best of my life. 

Lord, always remind me of how You answered prayers in both of our lives.  For Natalie and Marybelle, you gave them a sponsor.  You gave them hope by giving them to us!  Our family has been transformed by learning to pray for them and learning to make sacrifices (even though they are small) in order to send our monthly commitment.  You have helped us to take our eyes off of ourselves and to see and care for those who have less than us. 

I love that our children consider Natalie their sister.  We cannot get enough pictures of her.  We cannot get enough letters from her.  She is deeply connected to our hearts.  She belongs to us and we belong to her.  Father, how beautiful that You made us for each other!  We are a perfect match!  When you knitted each of us together in our mothers wombs, You had us pictured together!  You made us to care for and pray for each other.  You made Marybelle to be my precious friend and Natalie to be my other daughter. 

Thank you for placing a burning desire in my heart to know more about Compassion International.  Thank you for making a way for me to visit Ecuador and hold our precious Natalie in my arms.  Thank you Jesus, for making a way for her to attend school, go to church and have food and clothing.

You shared every moment with us.  You ordained every conversation.  You made a way for dreams to come true.  I ask you now, as I cry my eyes out, please Father make a way again.  Make a way for Natalie and her mother to be encouraged today.  Make a way for good meals to be on their table.  Make a way for her to get a good education.  Make a way for them to feel safe.  You CAN make a way, when their seems to be no way!  I trust in You each day to make a way for our Compassion family.

One more thing, is on my heart Lord.  Our sponsorship for Natalie and the Child Survivor Programs through Compassion are not enough.  Will you please prepare another family to be connected to us?  Will you please provide families in America, to provide for those in need around the world? Will you touch another heart today and give them the courage to step out in faith and sponsor a child?  You always make a way for us.  We never feel like we are going without, and yet our little donation impacts an entire family each month.  Thank you for your provision and thank you that I can trust you will provide for them. 

Open our eyes to see the world as You see it. Open our hearts to love others the way You love them.  Open our minds to grasp how amazing your plan is.  I need You  Father.  Natalie needs You.  I will forever praise You for allowing us to see that we needed each other. You planned our connection before we were born!  You are too good to me!

It is in the Sweet Name of Jesus that I pray, Amen.

If you are interested in sponsoring a child, the Lord already has one chosen for you!  You may do so at

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Vision of Hope

"It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end." Deuteronomy 11:12

My eyes are drawn to the people and things that I love and care for.  Nothing makes me smile like a great picture of my family!  I love to look at pictures of my children all dressed up.  I love to look at pictures of them being silly and accomplishing great things.  I enjoy looking at sunsets, mountains and still lakes.  It makes me happy for my eyes to settle on a plate full of delicious food and it is especially delightful for my eyes to see a butterfinger blizzard from Dairy Queen!

What we see with our eyes has an effect on our heart. 

This passage of scripture tells us that "the eyes of the Lord are continually on the land".  The Lord Jesus cannot look at the land we live in, the land He cares for, and not be moved. The inhabitants of this land are his dearly loved ones.  The ones made in His image. 

What He sees with His eyes, effects His heart.

This month is very special to me.  It has the potential to change the way thousands of eyes see this land and their future.  This week kicks off "Blogger Month" with Compassion International.  I am a part of a team that has a goal to get over 3000 children sponsored during September 2012.  Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be prayerfully pouring my heart out to you.  It my desire to open your eyes to a tremendous need and an incredible way you can impact the world and generations to come!

Today, all I am asking, is that you look with your eyes into these  You will see eyes that are longing for hope.  Eyes that are hungry.  Eyes that have dreams.  Eyes that need Jesus.  Eyes that dance.  Eyes that cry.

The three minute video will inspire you to consider looking at might even bring a tear to your eye.

Will what you see with your eyes effect your heart?
Of course, my dream is to get hundreds of children sponsored.  There is a greater calling though.  It is one that asks you to look at others like Jesus does.  Is is a calling that Christ has given us to care for those in our land the way He does.
If you cannot commit to $38 a month to sponsor a child, will you please commit to pray?  When I had the honor of meeting Natalie, the little girl that our family sponsors, I will NEVER forget the words her mother spoke to me. 
 "Brandi, we have prayed for you before we knew you.  We have prayed that God would send us a sponsor.  Brandi, you are our answered prayer."
You may be the answered prayer for a child, or you may be the avenue that God uses to inspire someone else.  Please visit and see for yourself.  It is a small sacrifice that can give a vision of hope to a hurting and dying land.
Compassion International is releasing children from poverty in the Name of Jesus...will you please consider joining us?