One Month!

Hi! Okay, here I am!

Someone asked me this week how my “sugar thing” was going and I told them- “Good, bad, I would give myself a solid D+. Ha!

The truth is that I’m trying! I definitely making a lot of consistently better choices- whole grains, veggies, etc.

But I haven’t been perfect. I was gone for a family funeral for a week and I just sorta “paused,” and then when I got back I tried to pick it up again and it’s honestly, a lot of work and not a lot of fun! It’s hard to figure out what to eat! It’s hard to say no to a box of donuts that someone brings home. It’s hard. And I haven’t been that good at it.

But after I told my friend my “grade,” I went to the Lord to ask him- would he give me the same grade?

He told me he grades in pass/fail. He doesn’t give a score. It’s either- I’m coming after him or I’m not.

And honestly, I am. In fits and starts, like a little kid trying to walk but falling down, I’m coming. And you know what? I was feeling a bit ashamed about my “fits and starts” but the Lord is not a God of shame! He rejoices over my efforts and sees where I am, and how I long to walk in a way that pleases Him, and he encourages me- the way a Dad would encourage their baby to get up and walk again.

You guys, I have no idea why God is so good to me. Honestly, my whole life has been this pattern of- I fail, I feel ashamed, after a period of time I come back to the Lord- and He’s merciful and kind to me! And yet every single time I fail, I forget that for awhile and have this idea that… uh-oh. This is the time. This time God is going to really give it to me.

But he never does! He’s always gentle, reminding me that He doesn’t condemn me, dusting me off and cleaning me up and loving me- calling me ridiculously kind things like his child, beloved, and righteous. What!

With joy and gladness, he sets me back on my feet and says: “You can do this.”

Isn’t He the best?

One week later!

Hi, guys! Hey!

So, it’s been a whole week! And I have done really well!

Truthfully, it was soooo nice having posted that, because so many people commented and messaged me for the first few days, it really kept me motivated! So if that was you, THANK YOU!

I did hit a mini crash about 3 days in- just felt irritable and hangry. But I managed to not kill anyone and we all survived.

Then about 5 days in, I was kinda bored of it- I mean, it’s no fun figuring out a different meal for yourself when the rest of the house is having spaghetti! But I didn’t go off plan!

Then on day 6, Giselle made fresh bread, and… ugh, it looked so good. I had been doing so well, and there weren’t many options in our house, and I… walked by it several hundred times. Then I cut a slice. And buttered it. And then I put some of our fancy honey on it.

And I looked at that warm, golden, glistening bit of yummy, and just…

Ugh. Knew. I KNEW it was a complete sin.

I mean okay! I’m not one that wants to heap rules on things! I have no intention of becoming Amish or orthodox!!! And I am NOT saying that piece of bread was inherently sinful and no one should eat carbs of gluten.

But you know that Romans chapter 14 talks about how we shouldn’t condemn other people for their faith choices- but we should each obey what the Spirit is prompting us. Well, I knew that the Lord had told me no, and I was just… disobeying. Because it looked so good. And the Lord is so merciful, right?

Well, I couldn’t do it. The Spirit was so present to me at that moment- I couldn’t. I walked over and handed it to Eric, and he vacuumed it up for me pretty quickly.

Maybe that’s the key. Maybe obedience is less about remembering and muscling through- than about having such an intimate relationship with God that you never feel like he’s far off. He’s right before you, and you love to please Him, and hate to grieve him.

I’m so thankful to have a whole week under my belt!! I’m so excited about what the Lord is going to do in the future! And already the Lord used last week’s blog post to connect me to several people in ways I didn’t expect! He truly does take what the enemy meant for evil, and uses it for my good!

This week, I have a prayer meeting at my house. If you have a prayer need, if you have something in your life that feels like a stronghold you want victory for, message me and I’ll be praying! I truly believe the message of the gospel is that we are meant to be free! Members of a kingdom where we are no longer slaves to sin! I want to walk in that, and I want that for everyone else, too!

Okay!

Bye!

Brianna

My personal disobedience

Hi! Hey, okay. So. This is hard to post, but here goes!
Everyone who has ever met me in person knows that I’ve wrestled my whole life with overeating! I’ve tried lots of different things and failed at them all.


It’s embarrassing, no one wants to be overweight. Also- I’m a Christian, if you know me you probably also know that I talk big talk about how God is good, and real, and how in Him, there’s hope for everything!
Well, it has been consistently embarrassing that I’ve not been able to find a key or a… solution to this. It feels like, Okay, how can I encourage people that the Lord is their help for their BIG things, when my big thing obviously just goes unchanged? It’s not like I hadn’t gone to the Lord about it! But the years just went by, and nothing was different. Okay- about five or six years ago, when praying, the Lord asked me to give up two things: White flour and white sugar. I knew it was his leading. I resisted, or- tried, a little, for a few hours. But I just couldn’t do it! But over and over- whenever I would see a new diet plan or a new idea that might work for me- I would have this inner prick from the Holy Spirit- that I shouldn’t waste my time on any of those “new plans.” I should just obey what the Lord told me. You have no idea how many times I tried! I knew it was what I should do, but I just couldn’t do it!


Then in January 2017, I somehow made it through the whole day on New Years. And then January 2. and then January 3! And then it was a week! And then two!! The thing that kept me going was that I was posting regularly on a private Instagram account that a few people followed that kept me fairly accountable.
After 40 days, I was feeling amazing. My energy was up- my whole diet had shifted a lot, just from eliminating those two things, and I had lost a lot! I mean, like 13 inches off my waist. It was CRAZY.


But I fell off the bandwagon. Like, I don’t know what happened right there- I tried to shift into “I can eat SOME white flour and white sugar,” and within a week I was just back to my old eating patterns, and regained it all.

The thing is- I really do think that for whatever reason, I have an addiction to sugar and there is this huge shift in me- when I’m putting sugar/white flour into my system, it triggers something in me so that I overeat EVERYTHING. But when I’m abstaining from it, somehow my appetite for the other foods fall into order. I don’t know why that is, and I don’t think it’s true for all people. But it seems to be true for me.


Anyway, since then I’ve been back to the same old, same old- always having a nagging feeling that I’m not doing it right, but yet not having the motivation to do something about it. Several times I’ve thought: I just need to do that again! But I try, for about 6 hours, and then cave.

In the last few months, I’ve been talking to the Lord about it more and more. I knew what he had said before- and I knew, in the back of my mind, that I should probably just do that again.

But I just couldn’t stick to it! No matter how many days I would go to bed saying that I would do it in the morning, I would get up and make it to maaaaaaybe 1pm. And then I’d give in and eat something sugary.

Anyway, I’ve been really frustrated about this. I mean, I’m almost 40! Was I ever going to get over this?

Okay, and then the last few days I was reading in 1 Chronicles 13-15. You know David? King David? He’s God’s favorite king. I mean, he’s this shepherd kid who God calls out of the sheep pen, makes into a warrior, and then gives him the Kingdom. He’s really amazing.

Well, one of the first things that happens when David becomes king is this:

There is this ark, it’s a gold box that is filled with holy things- and it belongs in the holiest place. It’s a symbol to all of Israel of God’s presence. Before David is king, there is another king- and he is basically an enemy of God in a lot of ways. THAT king fails in a battle, and the ark is stolen by the actual enemies of Israel.

Then, that king dies, and the Lord calls, anoints, trains, and installs David as HIS king. He gives David the power to defeat the enemies and push them back.
And David, excitedly, throws a big party to celebrate the Lord- and to bring back the ark.

Okay, I know this is getting long, but hear me out.

David has a parade of people, singing God’s praise, saying: YES, LORD, WE LOVE YOU! WE WANT TO FOLLOW YOU!! And in this parade is a cart carrying this beautiful ark back to it’s special home.

BUT THEN. The oxen stumble, and the cart tips, and a man reaches out to steady the ark- and then this:

“And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he put out his hand to the ark, and he died there before God.”

1 Chronicles 13: 10, ESV

And then it says that David is really angry at the Lord, and he sticks the ark in some random place for awhile.

Two chapters later, in chapter 15, David has calmed down a little, and once again- he calls a party and a parade to bring the ark home. THIS time, he calls together the priests and tells them: “prepare yourself, get all ready in this special way, because you’re going to carry the ark home on poles on your shoulders.”

You see… David, in that in between time- somehow figured out that God had a specific way that He wanted his ark to be handled.

You guys- I feel like… For a long time the Lord has been teaching me about how good He is- how ridiculously, tenderly, unreasonably good. He has been so kind, so patient with me. So good.

But I got a glimpse here- just a little glimpse- of this: God is not someone to just… ignore. Disregard.

I mean, all this time I’ve been saying: Yes, Lord, I know you directed me to fast those two things- But I can’t! I don’t know what’s wrong with me! I’m just, I don’t know! A failure! Weak! Fix me!

And this yesterday I read this, and I’m like… ouch. It’s not a suggestion, is it, when the Lord leads you??

I’m not saying I think the Lord is going to strike me dead for eating a cookie. But I AM saying that I think the reason I don’t see wholeness in this area is directly related to the fact that I’m not obeying.

So I was like – HOW can I keep myself doing it?? When I fail every time!?

And then I realized: I’m ridiculously vain. hahahaha

Outside accountability really works for me. I mean, when I kept it up back a few years ago- It was that instagram account I was running!

So I decided to write this. To make it bold and public:

You guys. I’m not supposed to be eating white flour or sugar. I know it. If I’m doing it, and you’re around, I’m disobeying what I know the Lord has told me to do. I’m confessing right now that I’ve been avoiding obeying for a long time, and It was wrong, and I’m turning from it.

I realize that I believe the Lord has a whole, healthy life for me- but it takes obedience, and I want to walk in it! I want to see the Lord’s good will for me, not only because I want to be blessed, but because I want to be a testimony that He can work good for you, too!

I don’t fully understand all of this. I feel like I’m going to get all sorts of random responses and opinions about everything from good diet practices to “no new revelation.” I’m already dreading it.

But I’m just trying to be bold and die to my own pride so that maybe I can see some victory.

So, here I go. feel free to ask me how it’s going! Please! And I would like to try to update here, maybe every week for awhile.

Okay, that’s all I have to say.

BYee!!!!

The Judge

The truth about God is evident. Look around at the world and the sky- everything made by the hand of God compels you, in your heart, that He is real- that He exists. You can clearly see that He is good, awesome, intelligent, he loves beauty. Look at the Universe. Look at the beautiful elements of nature. You know it, deep in your heart. 

We all know it. But we refuse to humble ourselves and submit ourselves to the One who Made Us. 

And because of that- our minds become dark and confused. We claim we are “enlightened” but we are actually becoming fools- because the further we turn from the Righteous, Good, Wise God, the more we turn to wicked, pale, vile things. 

And what God does is this- He lets us go. When we turn away and reject Him, he lets us walk away. We trade the Truth for the lies that seem more attractive. We trade our safe place in his plan for our own sinful desires- and he lets us. Our punishment is that he lets us have our choice – we suffer sin and violence and wretchedness and sorrow because we, and all humanity around us, is choosing our own ways- and we reap the greed, the violence, the sorrow- from each other. 

We are backstabbers, cheaters, gossipers, quarrelers. We envy, murder, abuse. We are proud, miserly, boastful. Heartless, merciless. 

We feel bad about our own sins and so we look around at others and say their sin is worse. We point our fingers at “uglier” sins- looking for the worst to condemn so we can puff ourselves up. But we are all the same. We are all condemned, because none of us, not one of us, has walked in integrity and justice and mercy and goodness and love- none of us. 

But God is not only a God of intelligence and beauty and awesome power. He is also a God of righteousness and judgment. 

You ask- if he is righteous, if he gives judgement- where is God when bad things happen? Why does God not intervene and stop the suffering of the earth? 

It is because now, for now, it is the time of man. We are living in the in-between – when the will of man is supreme. Men are allowed to choose and their choice is- well, as you see. Raping the earth, beating their neighbors, and excluding whomever they can. The young and the poor and the powerless reap the sins of the entitled and powerful. It is not right. 

But the Lord is a God of justice. There will be a day of judgment. There will come a day when he will say, “Enough.” When he will no longer allow the wretchedness to continue. For now he is being ridiculously tolerant- far beyond what we deserve- because he knows that there are some, always, that will turn to him. 

But there will be a day, and not very long from now, when his righteous judgment will come. He will judge everyone, everything. Every action will reap its reward. Every secret thing will be laid bare. 

But listen! What can we do? We can only turn to Him now, and repent of our sinful ways. We can never repay- we can never do enough good to make up for our wickedness. The only thing we can do is to learn and know this: That the Son of God came and chose to bear our punishment in our place. Only by humbly accepting that his life was the ransom for yours can you find a robe of righteousness that will let you stand before the Great and Awesome Judge. 

And then- what can we do? But live a life that shows that we are bought with a price. When you have repented and run from your own sinful ways, you live a life of gratitude- spent doing here on earth what Jesus would have done- speaking for justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with your God. Then you will have nothing to fear when the Day comes. 

I hear a voice of refute that says- we are not so bad. We are not so wicked. There are altruistic and good people- and I am not as bad as some. But listen! There may be, out there. But I am talking to you. I am saying: When you hear the voice of conviction, don’t brush it away with modern talk about “false guilt.” If you hear the Voice of God pulling at you, be aware that you are blessed to be called! Don’t turn him away! He is a good Father, not willing that any would perish. He is the Lover of your Soul. He is the Perfect Friend, the One who knows you and Satisfies You- and you will find rest for your soul. 

And that thing? That sinful thing that you are afraid to give up? You’ve heard that the bible doesn’t like it. You know that Christians condemn it. Let me tell you. Is it possible that you are just afraid that you can’t give it up? I have had that fear. I’ve thought to myself: If it depends on me to fix this, I’m doomed. And so it’s easier to believe that God, if there is a God, doesn’t need me to “fix it.” That he is cool with it. 

But beloved, this is not the way of Truth. The truth is that the Lord wants good for us. Wholeness and healing and Life, and things that lead to life. When you go his way, you’ll have to lay down things you have treasured. Some of them he will give you back again. Others He will wash from your hands. But whichever it is, trash or treasure- it is safe in his hands. 

And you won’t have to “do” it, you know. He is the Master Gardener, and you are the precious tender seedling. You have no need of pushing out a tomato or forcing a leaf to grow. You only dig your roots into the truth, and stretch your face towards the Son, and say, “Lord, not my will, but yours.” 

I can’t stay silent

Listen, okay.

Okay.

I’ve been having this burning, pressing feeling inside me for a little while, and I need to let this out.

We need to get our affairs in order. The thing is- okay, we can all feel it: the season is changing. Something is right on the horizon, and things will never be the same.

I don’t know what it is- but I feel it. I know that for generations, for thousands of generations, people have been saying: look! It’s coming! Jesus is coming! or look! It’s coming! War is coming! The Messiah is coming! Justice is coming!

And to be honest, it seems risky to be doing that again, to step out on a limb like a crazy person and say: “It’s coming, guys!”

But I guess I’m just a crazy person!!

I hear the Lord saying to me that the time is short- to fill our lamps, to be KNOWN by the bridegroom because we don’t want to be outside that gate when it’s shut.

I hear the Lord telling me to tell YOU to get your affairs in order! To sell all you have for the sake of the kingdom, to live like it’s coming in the morning- you know where he says: “…make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings…” (Luke 16:9) It’s a confusing verse, in the parable of the shrewd manager, and it’s what the Lord is pulling out to me, right now… LISTEN!

None of us are righteous! None of us are ready, are we?? Are you pleased with your day, your heart, your life? Are you pleased with your giving??? Would you be thrilled to have your account pulled up, right now, before heaven??

John the Baptist said PREPARE THE WAY for the KING OF GLORY to come!! Make straight the paths!!

YOU GUYS I’M SAYING THE SAME THING! He’s on his way! The gates are swinging open and you do not want to be caught with your pants down!!

Do what you can, today, to drop your sinful, lazy ways and wash your filthy, bloody hands, because tomorrow is not guaranteed!!

__________

Come on, I know you know I’m talking to myself- I’m preaching to myself. I’m one of you, I need to repent too. You know I know!

You know I love you, you know I know how GOOD God is- how forgiving and merciful and tender he is- how much he SPEAKS for injustice and the downtrodden, but I’m telling you! Those of us who KNOW this have to then LIVE like we’re his SERVANTS, LIVE OUR LIVES IN VIEW OF HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, not like the sinners we were, but like the people he has called us to be!!!

YES AND AMEN, LET’S GO, LORD JESUS, COME!!!!!!

xx

B

This was written for you

You are so beautiful. I know I’ve told you that, maybe you know it partially though I’m also sure that you have plenty of things about yourself that you don’t care for. It doesn’t matter. You are beautiful, you are so, so valuable and precious and a treasure. I can’t write this enough, if I were to spend the rest of this letter writing just that.

I want to say, before I go on, that I know I’m not perfect- I know I’m not close to perfect. I want you to know that as I write this, I’m not writing from a place of – “Follow me so you can be like me, I really have my life together and you can too!” I’m not even a little bit like that. The world seems full of people who have that message. So many webcourses, so many facebook ads full of women with workout plans and “hustle” plans and housecleaning plans, web seminars and coaching and all kinds of things where they claim that if you just take their 30 day course, or sign up for this introductory session, you too can be Just Like Them. Long haired, ship-lapped, big bootied and blessed.

I’m not saying that.

As I write this, I have a sink full of dishes and a porch floor covered in dried dirt. I am overweight and my bed is unmade. I have less than $1000 in my bank account, and my husband and I definitely bickered before bed. I’m not here to sell you my lifestyle- I’m not here to sell you me. I’m not writing this so that you can be impressed by me, and so that I can say- Hey! Here’s some advice! Are you hopeless? You don’t have to be, because I can give you the map to end up like me!

I’m not doing that. Because guess what? I already know you’re probably more put together than I am. You probably have a better workout regimen, better teeth hygiene, a bigger retirement account, and, to be honest, less irritability and laziness than I do. And I say that with utter, absolute honesty.

I’m not saying that to be… shocking. I’m saying it because I want you to know that I’m writing from a place that is not ME. I’m not writing about ME. I’m writing this about Him.

He loves you.

He looks at you, and loves you. I can’t say this enough, enough, enough. He loves you.

He doesn’t care if you’re a wreck, a screw up. If you’re behind on bills, soaked in debt.

He doesn’t ask you to fix yourself.

He just loves you.

He sees- I mean, he really, really sees. He sees where you’ve been abused and neglected and wounded- and he also knows the reasons you blame yourself, and where you’ve been horrible, and he loves you. LOVES YOU. He’s tender towards you, he really is.

I’m writing this to tell you that- I am no prize, I mean, I’m ordinary low-class, bad housekeeper, middle aged- and he treats me like I am his prized treasure, not because of who I am, but because of Who He Is. That is my God.

I’m writing this to you, today, to tell you that that is how He longs to be with you. He longs to love you, to caress your wounds, to heal your broken heart. He longs to fill your emptiness and satisfy your longings. He sees the dreams and the destiny and the gifts inside of you (-that HE put there, long ago-) and he doesn’t call them useless or wasted!! He rejoices in your future, and he doesn’t call it impossible or hopeless.

The thing is- I know you know. I mean, I know you think you know. I know you’ve been to church, you’ve heard about God, you think you know. I know that you have had some rotten experiences with people who say they are “God’s people.” I know. And I’m sorry.

But there is no difference in that, and the terrible gyms you’ve quit. Just because one gym was crappy doesn’t mean you give up exercising. The Lord is God, whether his people do what is right or not.

People aren’t perfect. But He is. I’m not perfect, but HE IS. You aren’t perfect… but God Is. His Son Is.

His perfect love casts out all sin. Casts out your sin. Throws it as far as the east is from the west. He doesn’t come to condemn you, he comes to pick you up, clean you up, fill you up, and set you up on the Rock where you were intended to live.

He doesn’t ask you to be perfect before you come to him. He doesn’t want you to “clean up” your life so that you can come to him. That’s the old way- that’s the old model. “Clean yourself up so God can talk to you.” That’s the old, religious mindset of the Old Testament. It had it’s place, it did- but there is a NEW Testament now. A NEW day- where God himself walks in the dust, and you, bloody and unclean, touch him, and instead of dying instantly of a lightning strike, he turns and looks at you with eternal eyes and says, “Daughter, your faith has made you well.”

He reaches down into the mud, and opens your eyes.

He kneels down in the sand, and writes a new name for you- a new future, where you are no longer ashamed, no longer full of fear, no longer a laundry list of things you’ve accomplished or failed at- You are Something New. You are a New Creation, born not of flesh but of Spirit!!!!

I’m writing this, dear, dear sister- beloved, chosen of God, daughter and friend… I’m writing this to tell you that if you’ve been longing to be filled, He is the source of life. If you’ve been hurting for love, he is the wellspring of hope. He calls you, beloved, to run on the heights. He calls you, beauty, to put away your amusements, your temporary fixes, and to take his hand, and climb towards Zion.

So don’t miss out! Don’t delay, don’t tell yourself you’ll do it this weekend or when this episode is over. If you can hear him, if you can feel the Spirit pulling at you as you read this then RUN to him! Turn off that tv, throw down your phone, and say “Speak, Lord, I’m listening!”

May 21, 2020

I heard the Lord today, and this is what He said:

 The days are short. There is so little time. Time is not eternal- it is finite, it is temporary. And there is only a little bit, like the tiny edge of the sun as it grows brighter before it is fully gone at twilight. 

Come to me, come to me, all you who are weary. You’ve heard my voice in the night, you’ve heard me calling you. Don’t run away any longer. The days are short, the night is nigh, and you have only one chance left to hear my voice. Don’t turn away- run to me, run to the Father. I and my Father are calling you home, and there is so little time. 

The King is Coming

I used to wonder when the Lord would come back. I mean- what was taking so long? The early disciples thought it would happen in their lifetime, and every generation since then has probably thought the same.

But 2,000 years later, here we still are. Are we any closer to the end?

A while ago, I was praying about this, and I had a picture- a vision- that came to me that answered, at least a little, this question.

_____________________________________________________________________________

The people of the earth are like sheep grazing on a mountainside. Also on the mountain, there is a safe place- a shelter, in the fold of the Shepherd. It is enclosed by a gate, and the Shepherd himself stands in the doorway, calling.

On the horizon is a storm- a vast, black, thundering thing that is set to destroy.

And the Shepherd calls.

Any who hear His voice can come, and enter the fold, and find safety in his care. Many lift their heads at their names, but not all come.

But the Shepherd knows his sheep. He knows each one- who will come, and who will ignore him. He calls, and he watches as they come-

Two thousand years of coming.

And still the storm is coming- on the horizon now, just over the valley, and He is still calling-

Come, come, come…

And when the last sheep, the last one that will come DOES come, He closes the gate, and the storm breaks.

This is when the end will come- when the last sheep comes home.

________________________________________________________________

In John chapter ten, Jesus says:

Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 

John 10:7-15

So where are you, today? Are you safely in the fold?

The King is coming. The earth will not last forever. Hear his voice today, and come to Him.

Noelle: a Christmas Story – an audiobook!

Hey, everyone! I am super excited to tell you that my Christmas novela, Noelle, is available on Audible as an audiobook!

If you’re looking for a sweet Christmas story to listen to this week, this might be the one for you!

Noelle is a dancer at a ballet company in New York. She has a tidy life that is right on track – she’s up for promotion and the biggest role of her life. But as she prepares for the annual production of A Christmas Carol, her mother suddenly crashes the party. 

Barb is bohemian, bossy, and has just had surgery, and that means she can’t live alone for a few weeks. Will their tiny apartment be able to hold two strong personalities? 

Escape into the world of plies, tutus, and the giant tree at Rockefeller Center. Come dance with Noelle: A Christmas Story.

It’s also available in paperback and on kindle!

Merry Christmas!

Waiting in the Wings

When I was a child and a young teen, I loved theater and music and ballet. Most of my daydreams were about some day pursuing it professionally. But when I was around 16, I really felt as if I began to understand that God was real, and he had a will for the Earth and for me. I was overwhelmed at the repercutions of this thought, and that the proper response on my part was to “find out the will of God, and do it wholeheartedly.” (As Maria said in The Sound of Music.)

In my earnestness and naivety, I decided that pursuing the Fine Arts was probably out of my own pride and selfish desire to be on the stage. So I threw away my Shakespeare books, my pointe shoes, and my showtune CDs. I wanted to be sold out for the Lord.

I threw myself into working at the church- I did anything and everything, I was there whenever the doors were open. I taught Sunday school and kids club, I worked in the nursery, I was on the worship team singing, playing flute, guitar, piano, bass, even violin badly. I took a turn cleaning once a month. I hosted a small group, I wrote and coordinated a VBS and a few Christmas plays. In the summer, I worked at a Christian Camp. As I got older, I was an assistant youth leader, a worship team leader, a ladies bible study teach, and after school Bible club coordinator.

I married fairly young and had three children immediately, and before very long I was homeschooling them. I was still often, and always doing everything I could for the Lord. I mean… every so often, I would remember things like ballet and art and music, and I would feel a little sad because I didn’t have it in my life. and honestly, as the years went by, I began to feel not just sad but a little… Miffed. I began to notice that there were Christians who love the Lord wholeheartedly who were pursuing Fine Arts. Going to college for it, pursuing careers in it, even working in the church with it. But I was a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom, and I felt as if I had foolishly made a sacrifice that was unnecessary and unnoticed.

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” it’s a verse that a lot of us learn while we are very young, but as the years went by, I began to feel as if the Lord had forgotten me. That I had given him the thing I loved best, I had thrown my lot in after him, and in return he had forgotten me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my children. I have spent 16 amazing years with them so far and I would not trade any of the time I have been blessed to spend with them. I thank the Lord everyday for them and for my husband, and I am not unaware that there are women who will never enjoy such a blessing as I have in them.

7 years ago, we moved to this area, primarily because my husband had always wanted to pursue more agricultural endeavors, and we would have land to work with. At that time, the Performing Arts and Fine Arts were, to me, completely off the table of my life. I was trying at that time to accept that they were never going to be a part of my life. I had given them up, foolishly or not, and I just needed to come to terms with the fact that they were never coming back.

I was not having an easy time of it. I was trying so hard to be this person I thought I should be, but the harder I tried, the more I failed.

One day, I went to visit a friend who lived in the area. she had a very large Garden in her backyard, and we were walking by admiring it. I also had a very large garden at the time. When I say large I mean a half an acre. at the time, I tried to plant, tend, weed, harvest, and can all of our vegetables every year, and I hated it. Every part of it. but I would grit my teeth and try to make it happened, because for some reason I thought that’s what I should do. well, on this day, as I was walking with my friend admiring her garden, I was trying to figure out why her garden was so beautiful and mine was never. I asked her how much she worked in her garden. You see, I used to set my timer and tell myself that I had to work in the garden for an hour everyday. I would go out there and weed and rake and hill potatoes, and I would watch the clock go and just wish for the hour to be over. But no matter how disciplined I was, my garden just never looked as nice as hers did. And so finally I asked her how much time she spent in her garden every day. Was it half an hour? Was it an hour, was it 3 hours? What would it take, what would I have to do to succeed at this Garden thing? And do you know what she said to me? she said, “Oh, I have no idea how much time I spend. I’m always out here. I just find myself wandering out here and before I know it hours have gone by.”

Something clicked in me right then. I realized that would never happen for me. My heart wasn’t in that garden.

But when I realized that, I began to realize that there were things I did find joy in. There were things that I would pursue where the hours would just fly by.

Something shifted in me that day and I begin to realize that I was not my friend. I was never going to be that farm wife that I was trying so hard to be- and it was okay. It was more than okay! Somehow, at that point, something started to wake up in me that said that it was not just acceptable, but good if I begin to understand who I was created to be.

Honestly, over the last few years I have felt as if I am slowly unraveling a strange cocoon made of layers of things that I have tried to be, things that I have thought I should be, things that I have never been able to accomplish, and underneath it all it turns out that there is just a happy little girl who loves to sing and dance.

The strangest and most wonderful part of this story today is that in the middle of this very rural area of New York, in a place where you never think there would be, there is a performing arts center that is so excellent it is astounding. In the last few years I have sung in the concert version of Les Mis, played Miss Hannigan in Annie, and tonight closed the last performance of my second Christmas musical- and that’s not all. Besides being full of talented and skilled professionals, it is also a ministry that bases every production, class, and performance on proclaiming the good news of the Lord!

I can’t over emphasize how unusual this is. The performing arts department at Family Life, in a little town that happens to be a short drive from my house, is easily as good as the theater companies in most small cities. It has been an honor to have the privilage of being part of their productions.

Before a performance, as the overture is playing and I am waiting to go on, I stand in the blue light of the wings, looking up at the tall velvet curtains, with a hundred million particles of joy pulsing through my veins- because every happy dance number, every beautiful chorus, every satin costume and silly prat fall and tender dramatic moment feels like one after another after another shining, bright Christmas gifts from the Lord directly to me- Him saying, “I didn’t forget you. I didn’t take lightly what you gave up so long ago. Look what I was planning this whole time.”

All these years where silly me was thinking he brought me to the desert to die, He was always preparing a place for me.

Truly, truly. He gave me not only the desires of my heart- but in all these years, he has become my delight. I really, truly believe ever word of the familiar Psalm-

The Lord is my Shepherd. I truly have no wants. He has brought me to lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside the stillest waters. He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name sake. He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies, He annoints my head with oil.

My cup runs over.