25 Things You Might Not Know About Me – Link Up!

By Stephanie

brooke

1. I am an only child. Some may call me spoiled, but I would say I have a knack for being singularly focused.

2. I have three children. Jory 13, Jace 9 and Brynn 7.

3. I don’t understand “normal” sibling rivalries…good thing my husband Jarrett does.

4. We eloped to Kauai and got married on the beach

5. My favorite snack is almond butter and blueberries. Try it. It’s like a pb&j, but not.

6. My life verse is Isaiah 61, however Isaiah 43 is my “this years” life instruction

7. My family vacations in Del Mar every summer.

8. My favorite candy is Reeses peanut butter cups. Except I don’t really care about the chocolate. So I guess my favorite candy is sugared peanut butter.

9. I took my husband for a bi-plane ride for his birthday in Sedona last year. I may still be a bit nauseous.

10. I only drink one cup of coffee in the morning. It’s in a 24 oz mug, but it is still just one cup.

11. I’m training for my third annual one day hike across the Grand Canyon called Rim to Him. Yes, one day and yes, the ENTIRE Grand Canyon.

12. I love adventuresome and impromptu trips with my family. We just pile in the car and go. Mexico, Sedona, Tombstone…you name it we’ve driven it. Unplanned.

13. I grew up in Tucson Arizona.

14. I did my time at the University of Arizona. I’m not a big fan of formal education.

15. I may have a slightly rebellious spirit at times (see #14)

16. The Lord blessed me with the idea of Holy Yoga 7 and a half years ago. I’ve been doing Holy Yoga in obedience to the Lord ever since.

17. I love my husband more today that I did when I met him.

18. My grandpa is 84 and one of my favorite people ever.

19. I am not afraid of a lot of hard work as long as its followed up with a lot of play.

20. The highlight of my professional career is that it is a GET TO and that i work with all of my favorite people.

21. I have a dog, Bandit. And two cats, Kissy and Panther. My friend Megan says that if she believed in re-incarnation she would ask to come back as Bandit. She’s not kidding.

22. I am not naturally blonde.

23. I am naturally a care-taker.

24. I love to ski even though I am at best mediocre.

25. This you may know. In fact I hope you do. I LOVE Jesus.

*Check out these other blogger’s 25 Things!

Megan from She Does Justice

Christina from Complete Motions

Stephanie from The Little Way

Sue from Great Big Yes

Bri from Soul to Sole Holy Yoga

Mandy from She Breathes Deeply

Tasha from Breathing In Him

*Do you want to link up YOUR 25 Things post? You can link your post here.

What I’m Learning From My Thirteen Year Old

By Brooke

at the foot of the cross

My eldest turned 13 yesterday. I am officially the proud parent of a boy-man. I say boy- man, because we’re confused. We both know he’s definitely not a boy. I know he’s definitely not a man. So where does this leave a tenacious first-born and his momma?

Here are a few things I know about this new season of my life.

1.Puberty sucks and hormones make you crazy. Seriously. Tell me, was I this crazy at 13? Wait, better question…am I still this crazy? Don’t be offended by my use of the word crazy. I don’t mean crazy in a bad way…I mean it in a true way. Like when the words coming out of his mouth are not at all similar to anything he means or wants. Apparently puberty changes the meaning of common everyday language. See, “Never mind” is the new “you don’t care about me” and “whatever” is code for “I used to think you were somewhat cool, but now I see you are a complete noob’. What is a noob, anyway?

Perhaps I am not using words like “noob” or “never mind”, but the strategy of not meaning what I say or saying what I mean may just be a place of 13-year-old arrested development in me.

Maybe.

2. Passion for Fashion. My boy always looks good. All ways and always. He cares about his hair and his wardrobe much more than I do. Let’s just say he would never roll out of bed and slap on a headband for the entire day and call it good. We have a running joke in our home that the bathroom mirror misses him when we are on vacation.

If I am honest, puberty has this momma feeling left behind and unimportant. Hormones and growing up have me wondering what my role is and what happened to the days when my boy needed me to love him. To comb his hair or pick out his clothes (which really hasn’t happened since kindergarten) or to remind him that his teeth need to be brushed.

We were at Sea World yesterday for his birthday when a bird pooped on his favorite khaki’s. (insert roaring laughter here from everyone except for him). The ones I wash almost daily because he loves them so much. He decided in that instant that the khakis had to go. They could never be redeemed as clean and they must be replaced. We all agreed since there is no reasoning with a pubescent 13-year-old and the Shamu Rocks show started in 20 minutes.

During the show, seeing my boy 20 rows in front of us because the splash zone is a 13-year-old must, I realized I just may be the khakis. It’s not a rational fear or apprehension, because I GET IT… a boy will always love his mama, but its different now. He is growing up and I feel like the favorite khakis. All worn out and ready for dispose. His very favorite things not nearly as important as they once were.

Maybe his very favorite person not nearly as important as she once was.

3. Feeling and Healing.  One of the root things in my walk with Christ has been the healing of my deepest root of abandonment. At age 2, my biological dad walked out the front door never to return again. Like never. Ever. So clearly, I had some things the Lord needed to heal. He has…and apparently still is.

My son’s puberty has not been easy for me. I do annoyed really well. Anger is easy and my fuse is rarely longer than my pinky finger. I realized recently that as my boy grows up, he’s working his way toward leaving. He’s appropriately growing up and gaining his independence. AND with every step towards the door, my fear mounts that once he walks out, he will never come back.  That somehow he will forget about us, about me.

I see that my anger masks my fear. I see that I need Jesus more now than ever.

4. It is All Good. My life, as I live it at the foot of the cross, is dealt with at the foot of the cross. In Christ, I don’t run the risk of my need for importance bleeding over into co-dependence on my son. I am seen, heard and validated by God. He sees my heart. He leads me in the way of everlasting. He gives me my purpose and my value. He has me see things for what they really are and how my perception is just that, perception.

He teaches me in the ways that I should go and helps me be a woman who trusts Him with everything. The beating heart within my own chest, and the extension of it that beats in the ribcage of a tenacious, amazing and a little bit crazy 13-year-old boy.

Kingdom Community

By Brooke

week two

Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.

In preparing for participating the International Christian Wellness Conference, I have been pondering the idea of culture. Here are some thoughts.

What makes an authentic community? I mean, I think I know. Transparency, honesty, grace, and acceptance are all at the top of my list. The word authentic is found only twice in scripture, and its in the Message. Once in John 7 and another time in Philippians 4:8. In Paul’s charge, the word authentic is used in lieu of the word pure. So an authentic community is one that has its anchor in purity? That’s dangerous.

There are few things more controversial than individual choices and definitions of purity. Purity is an individual right, right? It’s our personal right to act, or not act in a particular way. The consequences are ours alone, right? Especially if we manage to keep others from knowing if, when, and where we fall short of purity.

Purity (like the rest of the Lord’s instruction) is not to take away joy, but to invite us into more of it. Jesus tells us this is how we should pray. He instructs us to get away with God; to find a quiet, secluded place so we wont be tempted to role play before God. Just to be there as simply and honestly as we can manage. He says that it’s in that space that our focus will shift from ourselves to God and we will begin to sense His grace. (Matthew 5:8 NIV)

Do you see that? The very first thing the Lord tells us is to get alone with Him – where we can be authentic. Where we can be seen for exactly who and where we are. Where we come face to face with ourselves in light of who He is. He tells us that that is the BEGINNING of sensing His grace. It’s there that the motives and darkness of our human hearts will be exposed. It’s the heart space that God is interested in because its the place that is deceitful above all things. He’s interested in defining our hearts as ones that are pure and reflect the nature of His Light.

I wonder if my real thirst for community is no longer one defined as “authentic”, but rather one defined as a “Kingdom”. Where everyone takes their place on their knees before the throne of God. Where everyone filters their lives through the colander of His Word. Where everyone is finding out who they are and what they are living for in Light of who Christ says they are. Where obedience is not optional, because the cost of disobedience is too much.

A kingdom community is one where grace is not the exception, but the rule. A kingdom people are ones who know the space where grace begins, and are not afraid.

What do you think defines authentic community?

vivid

Introducing The Light Banner!

By Stephanie

200x200 TLB Button

get to be a part of something new.

The get to is a fairly new perspective for me; a perspective born from a relationship with God. I mean, I have a lot going on. I have a very busy life. I have a marriage, three growing children, and a ministry. There are a lot of things that I have to do and very few I can elect not to do.

Enter stage left, The Light Banner. When the opportunity presented itself, I knew I couldn’t opt into another have to. So I sought. I asked. I was quiet.

And He answered. The Light Banner was an invitation to a get to. It was an invitation to participate in my own formation formally with Christ. It was an opportunity to do the things He has been asking me to do. It was not a have to, but a get to.

Here’s the thing that I LOVE about The Light Banner. It is a place where I can be. Its a place where my being with, and in, Christ is actually MORE important that my doing for Him. Its a place where I can tap into the essence of who He is and in turn find out more about who I AM in Him. And isn’t that what He wants? Isn’t that what the gospel is all about? Isn’t that what  what I have been created for?

The Light Banner is a place where we allow God the space He needs in us so we in turn find out who we are and what we are living for. We are Light Bearers. 

Here is what I know about His Light. In order to be a light bearer we have to be a lightdweller. To dwell is to abide and to abide is to have everything you need without striving for more. In Christ, we are all invited to be light bearers because God, through Christ, has invited us to abide and dwell in His light.

In Genesis 1, God says  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.

God separated the light from the dark. He sets apart the things that reflect His glory. He separates. He draws the things set apart into Himself in order that they know that He is good and that in Him, they are good.

The word Light in Genesis is the Hebrew word ‘owr’. It literally means the light of day, dawning, light of life, light of prosperity, and light of instruction.

Ok, so I have a confession: I am not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree. I mean, I get by but I am confident nobody would be calling me brilliant. So here’s my latest Einstein moment. When I was studying the word “bearer” for this blog, I defined barer. That’s right. I cant spell.

The definition of barer is: without covering or clothing; to be naked and without the usual furnishings or content.  Being open to view, unconcealed and undisguised.

Isn’t the Lord good? Even in my immense lack, He makes sense of my nonsense. You see, in order to be a BEARER, we have to be BARE. We have to be women and men who are not afraid of exposure. Not afraid of being open to view, unconcealed and without disguise.

Isn’t that the real definition of being set apart? Being ones who no longer depend on the furnishings of education or status. Pedigree or pursuit. Mind or matter. Ones who care less about the contents of our bank accounts and more about the contents of our mouths which are the wellsprings of our exposed hearts.

Ephesians 5:13-14 says “But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

Light always exposes. Christ is the Light of Life that draws the sleeper to wake.

God is not afraid of the dark. Just like in Genesis, He hovers over the dark with His creative intention for light. He breathes and speaks and creates as a reflection of His light out of the darkness.

He awakens the sleepers.

Come awake with me Beloveds.

Let us stand together under the banner of His Light.

It’s a get to. 

Idolizing and Demonizing Leaders, My Stance on Rob Bell

By Brooke

truth

Recently I was asked how I felt about the techings of Rob Bell. I am aware that any ideas that I share could lead down a road I would prefer not travel. However, after spending time with the Lord, this was (and remains) my position.

 My Sweet Sisters Question: Hi. I know you are a busy lady, but if you have time please respond. I saw your quote from Rob Bell. As a woman that teaches hundreds of others regarding God’s Word I am wondering your stance on Rob Bell and his theology? I am thinking you wouldn’t put up a quote from him unless you agreed with him, but I have been struggling with some things he teaches lately that seem to be inconsistent with what the Bible teaches. I am asking you privately because I truly don’t mean any disrespect or want to cause controversy, but am just trying to process and understand some of the more “difficult to swallow” teachings. I seem to be in conversations lately with people about picking and choosing parts of the Bible or believing all of it. I ask you because of your position and I know you study much. Thanks for your insight.

 My Response: I believe all of the Bible. I believe it is all true and that every Word is Spirit breathed and profitable for teaching. Rob Bell is a man. He gets some of Jesus right and some of Jesus wrong. On this side of Glory there is NO ONE who gets it right all the time. If anyone claims to, then He (or She) is claiming to be Jesus themselves. Men base (little “t”) truth on their perception and experience with the help of the Holy Spirit to determine actual Truth. There is a bandwagon with a bullseye on Rob Bell. Rob Bell is not the enemy. I agree with some of the things he says, but since he is not Jesus and just a man, I can do that. The Holy Spirit  helps us to take everything (thought and action) and make it obedient to Christ. The Holy Spirit, knowing God the Father, teaches Jesus what to say. We are to worship God and follow Jesus. Not worship or follow man, Rob Bell or anyone else. 

 My bottom line is simply this. To make man and his teachings authority would be idolatry, but to not allow man to be taught by God would be religion…and religion is simply a glorified version of idolatry. 

So, Light Bearers, what’s your position? Share your thoughts…Go!