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Shattered Dreams

In my daily devotional today the author, Sharon Jaynes says,

“Shattered dreams often become the pieces for a beautiful mosaic we never even thought to imagine.”

That little saying got me thinking about all the dreams I had in high school. I was dating one specific boy on and off who eventually joined the military. We were going to marry young, never have any kids, and I was going to be an awesome military wife. At one point in our relationship I was even planning to move to where he was stationed and live with him. I wish I had a time machine to go back and slap myself upside the head. Ugh, what was I thinking? I wasn’t thinking with my brain, only my heart. I was in love and nothing was going to stop how I wanted my life to turn out. With him I had it all…or so I thought.

My life now is just like the saying goes, “a beautiful mosaic I never even thought to imagine”. I’m married to the most incredible man who loves me and would do anything for me. Including looking up fart videos that he finds completely stupid but knows will make me smile and laugh aloud. We have two amazing, and I mean AMAZING, kids. Going into our relationship I was very honest with my hubby and told him I didn’t want to have kids. Thank you Lord for breaking open my heart in that area and blessing me with my two babies. Noah wakes up every morning with one goal: to make me go bat crap crazy. Skylar wakes up with another goal: to throw out as much attitude as she possibly can. But even though they spend so much time trying to make me lose my mind, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. They are my everything and sometimes I start to think about them and I get teary eyed. I never wanted kids? Man, my life just wouldn’t be complete without them.

I started working at the same daycare center as my mom straight out of high school. That was the plan, work there forever. It was a place where I couldn’t move up and rarely ever got a raise, but I loved the kids. God changed my plan into his own in January 2012 when I got fired from that job. Apparently, teachers there doing drugs while watching kids was perfectly fine but me sticking up for the kids in danger including my own son was too much to handle. But God knew what he was doing. In 2013 after we bought our house I opened my own home daycare. Now it’s 2017 and it’s still going strong and I still love it. God has taken my daycare and just transformed it and transformed me. I get to stay home with my babies while taking care of other people’s babies so they can work with peace of mind that there little one are well cared for.

Life sure can be complicated but that’s because we take the reins and we think we know what’s best. I’m so thankful that at some point in my life, before it was too late, that I handed over my reins to God and let Him do his work. My life is the beautiful mosaic that it is because of Him.

Thank you, Lord. Thank you.

 

 

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God’s Provision for Me

Today is the kick off of the latest Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies study, “Finding I am” by Lysa TerKeurst. Day one is titled BIOS & ZOE LIFE and let me tell you, this day one lesson hit the nail right on the head for me.

Those of you that know me or read my blog, know that I struggle with depression and anxiety. It has been a battle of mine for several years and I’ve cried out to God many times to just take it. Take it away and let me live a normal life. Well, as normal as normal can be. But God in all his awesomeness has been taking me on a journey lately and it has lit my butt on fire. Not literally, my butt is still intact and not burnt in the slightest. I mean he has recharged me and brought my soul back to life. The moment I’ve dreamt about all these years and finally come. I’ve realized that God has heard me all along. My journey of depression and anxiety was and is still, part of God’s plan for me. Am I over my depression and anxiety? Absolutely not, but I’m looking at life in a whole new way.

Not too long ago I was able to download a free 7-day devotional called “I Want It All” by Gwen Smith. In day one she asks a few questions:

-What big dreams did you have as a little girl?

-What big dreams do you have now?

-How do they compare?

These questions were how God lit my butt on fire. I started reminiscing about my childhood and how all I can clearly remember, as far as dreams go, is that I wanted to be a teacher. If my friends asked me what I wanted to play I would say school. Whenever my school got rid of books or workbooks they would sell them for 25 cents and I would always grab a few to take home to play with. I just loved playing school. I loved “teaching”.

My dreams now would be to be the best wife and mom that I can be. And to be the best wife and mom I can be, I need to strengthen my relationship with Jesus. If Jesus isn’t first, then life is going to be a downhill struggle. I also want to be the best daycare provider I can be. Parents have entrusted me with their children and I want them to learn and grow while in my care.

These two dreams compare in the simple fact that I wanted to teach and I get to teach. I get to lead littles on the daily and be their teacher. I get to not only be home with my own children all day but I also get to be a “daycare mom” to the kids in my care.

When my depression and anxiety strikes my brain starts wondering “Why am I doing what I’m doing?”, “Why did I chose this path in life?”. Because well, we all know kids can be very stressful and when it’s you doing it alone it can become hard to handle. You have no one to turn to to say “Hey, I need a minute, I’m going to step outside”. Somewhere along my journey I forgot of why I’m doing what I’m doing, to bring glory to my Father in Heaven. Everything I do, I do for Him.

But these questions that Gwen Smith asked lit my butt on fire because God was screaming at me that I am doing what he has called me to do. I literally pictured God in my head with some party poppers and confetti flying around all over Heaven when I finally realized what he has been banging against my head for all these years.

I am where He wants me to be and I am doing what He has called me to do.

Now back to Finding I Am day one lesson, BIOS & ZOE LIFE. I feel this ties in with all I’ve just said because Lysa talks about bios life meaning physical life and zoe life meaning fullness of life. I feel like these past years of depression and anxiety have been me living bios life. Just a shell of a person. Living but not really living. I’ve been doing my duties as a wife and mom and daycare provider but only because I have to. Since God has broken through my thick skull and I now realize that I am fulfilling his calling for my life, now I am living zoe life. My life feels full and my heart feels full of God and his goodness. I want to serve my family and serve my kids and daycare kids. It’s a privilege that I don’t deserve to be entrusted with my kids and other’s kids and to be married to my incredible husband.

I can’t thank God enough for this journey he is taking me on. He has used my pastors at my church, as well as authors and friends in my life to speak straight to my heart. I know my hard times and struggles are not over, but I know that when they do come God is there even when He is silent. These years of struggle have been a recipe for something awesome.

“God is the source of life through His provision. The enemy is the source of lies through his provision.” -Lysa TerKeurst, Finding I Am

P.S. I just realized that my pastor spoke on bios life and zoe life not that long ago as well. God, you are awesome. Seriously, awesome.

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My 2017 Goal

 

As 2016 is coming to a close I find myself asking the same question I ask myself every year, “Do I have any goals for 2017?”. The answer: Yes, I have a goal in mind! Not a goal that can be completed in days, weeks, or months but a long-term goal. A never-ending goal.

To be a happier and healthier me.

I want to be the best wife and the best mom that I can be, but I can’t achieve either of those if I don’t care for myself. This year has been a struggle with my anxiety and depression and finding the right dosage of medicine to help me out. I feel like I am finally heading in the right direction in that area and so I am stepping back and looking at other ways I can be happier and healthier.

Spending quiet time with God is one way to achieve a happier me. I struggle so hard in this area, but when I take time to read a devotional or open my Bible and read it, I can feel the difference. I want God to be front and center in my life. Always. Period. He fills my heart with hope and love and I want Him to spill his light from inside of me onto others.

Another way to achieve a happier and healthier me is by exercising. Ugh, exercise. I say the word and my body starts hurting. Around April or May of this year I began regularly exercising. Started off 2 to 3 days a week and ended up at about 5 days a week. I ran a 5k in July and I felt amazing, but then I just stopped. I’ve rarely exercised since then. In those months of exercising I can tell you I felt awesome. I felt happier both with myself mentally and with my body physically. I was seeing results as subtle as they were. Exercise made me happier. Exercise made me healthier.

The one thing I must keep reminding myself is that there will be times I fail. Times I just don’t want to spend time with God or exercise, and that’s okay. My long-term goal isn’t going to be perfect. I will muck it up but what’s important is that I don’t give up. I just hop right back into action and keep pressing forward.

Do you have any goals for 2017?

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Desperate

Have you ever desperately wanted someone? My heart pounds in my chest as I get ready to write this post. It’s not something I’m excited about sharing, but I feel it’s something God is asking me to share. Whether it’s out of simple obedience or for the fact that someone can relate or needs to read it. I am a child of God and I want to be obedient in any way and I want Him to use me in any way he can. So, here it goes…

Back in the day I had a boyfriend who I loved and wanted to spend my life with. During our relationship, my relationship with God was very rocky. I wanted God’s help but I didn’t want to have to give anything to Him. I wanted to be able to be the me that I wanted with God just on the side available whenever I wanted Him. Let me be clear: THAT IS NOT HOW GOD WORKS. Okay? Okay. Eventually me and the boyfriend broke up after 4 years off and on together. He then started dating a good friend of mine. Me and the good friend remained friends during her relationship with my ex and everything was all right.

Then the late-night texts started. Me being completely still hung up on the ex-boyfriend responded and was happy to hear that he missed me and he wanted me and so on and so forth. After 4 years with someone and the difficulties that come with any relationship at any point in our lives, we can’t just shut off feelings. One text lead to another and one night he was texting me while my good friend was at his house spending time with him. He had promised to spend some time with me that day as well and it got later and later and I was getting increasingly emotional. I was sad and I was mad. Didn’t our 4 years trump his short relationship he had going on with my good friend? If he missed me and wanted me why didn’t he dump her to be with me? Many questions were floating around in my head. Eventually I got fed up with waiting and drove to his house. I was so desperate for his attention and love that nothing could have stopped me. I text him and told him that I was on my way and he text me and told me to not come and that it was a bad idea but I didn’t listen.

The whole car ride was like one of those things you see on TV shows where an angel is on one shoulder and Satan is on the other. Satan told me to keep driving and the angel was telling me to turn around and go home. That night I chose to listen to Satan.

I knocked on the door, we argued for a bit and then before I knew it were in a heavy make-out session. Sex crossed our minds but thankfully Satan didn’t win in that decision of the night. I left that night with a neck full of hickeys and satisfied that I had won.

I woke up the next morning in a panic. What had I done? Not only to myself but also to my good friend. Her boyfriend cheated on her, with me. I felt like such a low life and a failure as a human being. I made it a point that day to contact my good friend, meet with her, and explain everything and apologize. It was the typical crying, screaming and I think she threw a shoe at me if I remember correctly. She threw something at me, I know that. In the end my good friend forgave me and we continued being friends and building her trust with me again. She was even a part of my wedding.

I don’t know why but that story and experience has been plaguing my brain lately. Every time I think about it I just can’t believe I did something like that. That feeling of being a low life and a failure as a human being comes creeping back into my soul. But you know what? God is good. I know he has forgiven me and I look at my life now and thank him deeply for who I have in my life. My amazing husband and my beautiful kids. Ugh, I can’t imagine my life without them.

I want to encourage everyone who reads this to only be desperate for God. Desperate to know Him more each day. Desperate to be obedient to Him and to live your life for Him. Never be desperate for others and what they can give you or how they can make you feel. They will fail you, God will not.

We all do horrible things in our lives and it’s so important to move on from those things. If we don’t it just weighs heavier and heavier on our hearts and minds. There is freedom and it’s found in Jesus my friends. If you haven’t found that freedom I want to encourage you to do so. It will be the best decision you’ll ever make in your life.

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Plan and Purpose

This morning I went to the doctor for what seems like the billionth time for my anxiety and depression medication. Yet again I had to discuss how my medication isn’t working and how I would like to up my dosage. I always leave feeling frustrated and sad. I hate that I need to have medication to balance me out. I get frustrated that I need to keep going back to the doctor for this issue. It makes me sad because I look back on my life and I wonder, what? How did this happen? Why is this happening?

Then God, just like he always does, speaks to me. I open my daily devotional from Proverbs 31 Ministries and the title is “Your Problems Have Purpose”. The key verse was found in Genesis. It reads:

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” -Genesis 50:20

Am I going to save the lives of many people? Probably not. However, God can use my story and my struggles for good. Satan finds purpose for our problems. He intends to harm me. He puts lies in my head and in my heart. We have a choice with our problems. Whose side will we take to get through them, God’s or Satan’s? I know straight up that I do not want to take Satan’s side. He is a big fat no good meanie. There is a chart that I saw circulating quite a few years ago, but it comes to mind now as something that can help us when it’s hard to see that our problems actually have purpose.

God’s Voice:                                             Satan’s Voice:

*Stills you                                                 *Rushes you

*Leads you                                               *Pushes you

*Reassures you                                       *Frightens you

*Enlightens you                                      *Confuses you

*Encourages you                                    *Discourages you

*Comforts you                                        *Worries you

*Calms you                                              *Obsesses you

*Convicts you                                          *Condemns you

God’s intent is never to hurt us but he doesn’t snap his fingers and make our problems go away. He uses those times in our lives whether short or long to bring us closer to Him. He wants us to let Him still our hearts, lead us, reassure us, enlighten us, encourage us, comfort us, calm us and convict us. He wants to do a work in our lives that we can share with others.

I want to end by saying that if you are struggling, don’t give up. Cling close to God and he will pull you through. Or if you are like me, he will drag you through. Our lives are not perfect and they never will be while here on earth. Go to the doctor if you need to, talk to a friend or someone you trust, but most importantly fully lean on God through it all. He has a plan and he has a purpose for you. I promise.

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Be Fearless

I was reading in Ephesians chapter 6, and when I read verses 19 and 20 my heart just started screaming “YES!!”. Paul says:

“Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”

That is a prayer I want to pray every day. We may not be in physical chains, but being a Christian isn’t getting any easier. Most days I feel like my soul is in chains. When I open my mouth I want people to hear Jesus. I want them to see Jesus in my life through my actions. So just like Paul, I pray Jesus gives me the words and that I declare the gospel fearlessly.

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I’m Not Ashamed Anymore

I’ve noticed when God is trying to get me to do something or share something, he puts it in the forefront of my mind nonstop. I’ll feel motivated to do whatever it is and then when I sit down to do it or plan to get it done I just say, “Eh. I’ll get to it soon.” Then I continue on with my day. Am I the only one who does this? Or better yet, for all you moms out there, you sit down to do it or plan to do it and then you’re needed. God has had a message on my heart and he’s been wanting me to share it. To be quite honest I’m already bored of typing but I got to keep on truckin’. (Edit: I started this post days ago and just keep coming back to add on. I indeed did not keep truckin’.) This is for God’s glory and for Him to use however he pleases.

When my son Noah was born in 2010 I had a really difficult time. I was so excited to be a mom but it was nothing like I expected. As it turns out my mind does not function on no sleep and that part of your brain that tells you to be nice and kind just doesn’t exist in no sleep Brenna. The sad part is, my husband got the worst of it. Why are we so mean and hurtful to the ones we love most? Here we had this amazing baby boy and I was just depressed and sad ALOT. I spent many late nights and early mornings just crying on the couch. Looking up to my living room ceiling and pleading with God to help me. I felt like a failure as a mom because I couldn’t get my kid to breastfeed and had to feed him poison formula (I don’t really think formula is poison but that’s how I felt at the time because breastfeeding was being pushed on me). I felt like a failure as a mom because I was so cranky and angry. I felt like a failure as a mom because I didn’t have it all together anymore. As if I did, but you can keep things together a lot easier without kids. Postpartum Depression crossed my mind several times but I didn’t want to admit something might be wrong with me. I didn’t want having a handsome baby boy to be the reason for something maybe being wrong with me. How could a baby send you into depression and anxiety?

What would people think?

That was the question that kept popping up in my mind. So I ignored the depression and sadness. No one except my hubby would know about my sadness because around others I like to put on a brave face. Not to lie about who I really am or to be fake. Just because it was no ones business. I hate bringing people down with my own personal problems. You guys, it wasn’t until Noah was about 3, maybe 3 1/2 years old that I got help. It was the longest 3 1/2 years of my life. I had so much sadness and so much anger and frustration. When they say that a momma’s attitude runs the house, that is truth. I put my little family through so much all because of pride and anger and frustration. I put myself through so much because of pride and anger and frustration. Turns out I had depression and anxiety. Very mild cases of both in the broad spectrum of things and what people go through but to me they were life shattering.

My sadness didn’t end when I started medication. I remember coming home from my doctors appointment and crying. Crying because I felt broken. Crying because I needed medication to alter my mood. The one thing that people who don’t have depression or anxiety don’t understand is that (at least for me) you can’t control how you feel. I could acknowledge my bad mood, but couldn’t get out of it. I still struggle with this, but feel I have gotten better. I couldn’t control my anger and frustration. So many times I would lash out and then when I would calm down my brain would recap and then think about what I did, instead of thinking before acting. I kept feeling out of sync and so me and the doctor played around with different doses and a couple different kinds of medication. With that comes headaches, sleeping problems and blah blah blah. For medicine that is supposed to help you, it causes problems until you find just the right kind and dose for you.

Because of those 3 years I decided I was done having kids. Noah would never have a sibling because I just couldn’t do it all over again. Then God did some chiseling on my heart, just as he did when I first got married about never wanting kids. The idea of having another baby began to excite me and scare the poop out of me. In my mind I was preparing for the same personal experience as when I had Noah. Even though I had been told countless times that no two children are the same, I just didn’t believe it. It got to a point where I had to put total control in God’s hands. I needed to stop trying to control my life. I knew if I didn’t have another baby I would regret it. Don’t get me wrong, if God only blessed me with Noah that would have been fine as well, but the thought of expanding our family made me giddy.

So we did!

In July of 2015 our daughter was born. She has surprised me since day one. From the moment she entered this world (literally) she has been extremely chill. When she first seen the  light she let out one faint cry and then was like eh, I just want to sleep. She LOVES sleep. Some moms might be reading this and thinking, *Yeah, I hate you* but her love of sleep has been a lifesaver for me. (Reference to earlier when I said my mind does not function on no sleep and that part of your brain that tells you to be nice and kind just doesn’t exist in no sleep Brenna.)

I believe God knows what he is doing, all the time. Skylar’s extremely happy personality is what I needed. It has shed more happiness on my life. It has helped me heal a bit more. Plus a mother daughter relationship just has a special effect on you anyway. To be 100% honest it’s made me want to have 500 more babies. <- That I do not mean literally. 🙂

I love both my kids so much. With Noah I learned a lot about myself as a person and I continue to learn. Him and I have the exact same personalities. We clash, A LOT, but we love each other so much. With Skylar we just have this special bond. She reminds me to chill out and enjoy life. That even in hard times to just try to smile your way through, just like she does.

I guess the point I’m trying to get across is: God is working in our lives. He can pull us out of the deepest trenches. We don’t have to be ashamed of our problems. God uses our lives for good. In todays world, we all need some light in our lives. Sometimes that light is what others shed on you. That’s what I want to do. Share the light and shed the light. I thank God that he loves me enough to keep knocking me down and building me up. I keep growing in my walk with Him. To keep blessing me day after day. When I look at myself in the mirror I see a messed up woman, but when God looks at me he sees His child that he loves and wants to use for His glory.

Thank you Lord for never giving up on me. He will never give up on you. I promise you that.

He can change hearts and he can change lives. We just have to let Him.

 

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