Written by: Alexandria Brown
Hello all you wonderful ladies out there... As I sit down to write an article on parenting I find it kind of ironic and funny.
Here I am a mom of two that are barely out of babyhood and I am suppose to write this article giving wisdom and advice to parents. If I’m honest some days we barely make it through the day. Somedays we are rushing through checking off the list and somedays we don’t even know where the stinking list is!
And then there are days where I see the Lord move through my children...and wow, just wow.
Children are funny like that. I believe that sometimes they are more in touch with what they need or feel than we are as adults, they just don’t necessarily know how to articulate it.
My favorite verse in the Bible is the passage that speaks on the power of God’s love in Romans. It tells us that nothing in all of creation can separate us from God’s love.
If that is true then I have to ask myself how come so many of us are hurting and struggling and not living out our true identities in Christ.
If His love is the most powerful thing then, why are so many people overcome with fear, hopelessness, and anxiety?
Can I put a pin in that for a moment and tell you a story?
I read a book long ago called The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman and it opened my eyes up to a whole new understanding of how to love and how to be loved. (This is not a re-write of the book. AND I would encourage you to go read it.) In the book The 5 Love Languages, it describes the different ways that we receive and give love as follows, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, and Physical Touch.
Now in our family we have quite a spectrum. There are four of us in our immediate family and we all receive love in different ways. I feel loved best when we spend quality time together and acts of service, my husband’s is giving and receiving gifts, my daughter’s is words of affirmation and my son’s is physical touch. Meaning none of us receive or naturally give love the way anyone else does. For example, my husband’s love language is gifts, he married a TERRIBLE gift giver. My son’s love language is physical touch while everyone else in the family has a 5 foot bubble around us at all times. LOL
Often times we try to show love to those around us by doing for them what makes us feel loved. For instance, if I were to try to show my family love I would clean the house, cook the food, do the laundry, do, do, do and then we would go do something fun. Where I felt love, they just felt busy. What my son craved was not to go out and do all of these fun things, but just to sit on the couch and cuddle up. My daughter didn’t need to cross off all of these tasks, but to know that we are proud of her. That she is an incredible person. That we love her and that we are so glad she is ours. When we did those things is when they felt most safe, most loved.
Love is most powerful in our children’s lives when they know that they are loved. If I could encourage you with anything today it would be to love your children in the way that they receive love and watch what happens.
Watch them begin to change and shape into the identity that God has created for them. I’m not saying that there won’t be challenges...haha, what do I know? My oldest is a pre-teen...But, I know that I can trust that nothing in all of creation can over come the love of God.
I was once told that we can only love to the extent that we have experienced love. So when we say “I love you with all of my heart,” it is not actually true because we have never fully experienced God’s pure love. The love we have experienced is tainted with hurts and faults of those who have loved us and we have loved. They shape our perspective and understanding both for the good and bad.
There are times I get frustrated with my children and I have to later come and apologize to them for the way I spoke, acted or reacted. God doesn’t love like that.
God’s love is not conditional nor transactional. It IS unconditional.
That is the love that I want to share with my children in a way that they know that they know that mom and dad’s love for them and more importantly God’s love for them is unconditional. I want my children to know that they know that there is nothing they can do to make me love them any more, and there is nothing that they can do to make me love them less. I want them to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the love of God, the true love of God is total and complete, lacking nothing and completely irrevocable.
Imagine what the world will look like in this next generation if our children more fully understood the true love of God, because they experienced and received a more pure version of love from us first.
Lord I teach me to reflect your love to my children, so that they can understand Your perfect love better than they have before.
Love ya Sis!
The Boundary of PeaceRead Now
Written By: Alexandria Brown
As I sit down to write an article on boundaries I cannot help but laugh. Me...writing about boundaries. I am the last person who should be writing an article about this. But the truth is I do have something to say.
I have written before about my house being coined “The Napping House”. A name which came about because of intentionality on mine and my families part to create an atmosphere of peace in our home.
We’ve dedicated every house we have lived in and thank God for it by committing to use it for ministry in whatever way He asks. We believe that we are blessed to be a blessing and to us that means that we use our house for ministry when needed. Please don’t misunderstand me - that does not mean that we have people in and out living and staying with us - our first ministry, besides to God, is to our family. And let me tell you, we have a BIG family. Whether by blood or chosen, we regularly have people over to our house. Our kids are growing and they constantly have friends over. There are always people around. And where there are people there’s ALWAYS an opportunity for ministry.
Our intention is for our house to be a place of peace, a place that when people walk in through the door, no matter what they are going through, whether they have had their best day or their worst, they can take a breath and just be. We strive to create an atmosphere of safety, of comfort, and, I will say it again, peace. We long for our home to be a place where people can let their guard down and just be. Some people recognize this and embrace it and others just kinda fall into it. It has become so normal for us to live in a constant state of go go go, that we never just stop and be.
Be still and know…
Often times we are such busy little bees that when we finally do come to a place of peace, we tend to relax, rest…nap no matter what is going on around us. Remember Jesus napping in the middle of a storm? It is not unusual for us to have a gathering with family or church or friends only for us to walk into a room in our house (usually the living room) and find someone crashed out on the couches or floor (we have a really comfortable floor LOL) hence the napping house was coined.
Now even though I love to share the purpose and plan and even testimony behind “The Napping House” that is not what this article is about…
At this season in my families life, things have been crazy for the past few months. Some for the better, some not so much. Like so many other people lives right now, it kind of felt as if we were living the story line of some terrible LifeTime television show. With glimmers of goodness and hope and shadows of pain and doubt.
Over those months we lost sight of carrying an atmosphere of peace in our home for us and for our people. We would come home and though we were glad to be home there was no sigh of relief dumping the heavy load at the door.
We became restless. Agitated. Exhausted.
It was a never-ending cycle of work, family matters, ministry…and on and on and on. We would answer calls all night long and problem solve and assess late into the night. We would rehash and plan and rehash again. We would be busy with sports and volunteering and being there for family all while maintaining and growing our businesses and ministries. We were draining faster than we were refueling.
It took a lot longer than I would like to admit to realize that we allowed the very thing we vowed to do to be put on the back burner. And the new forerunner had become the things that we were supposed to guard ourselves and our home from - the storms of life.
One day, instead of going into the office for work, I stayed and worked from home. Sitting at the kitchen table it hit me…where did our peace go?
Yes, we were accomplishing great things and dealing with terrible struggles and there was now a light at the end of a very long tunnel, AND where is our peace?
Over the last few years our peace, the peace that Jesus gifted us, had become such a normal in our lives, it wasn’t anything that we had to strive for or work at. It was a gift and something that we readily recognized and accepted. It had become a sort of boundary in our lives.
If something came up that would try to rob us of our peace we would mentally say, “Nope, my peace is not yours to take. My peace is mine to give.” Not having peace in the chaos was not an option for us. That doesn’t mean that we didn’t face storms. Rather that our peace was not a result or by-product, it was our state of living.
I remember sitting at the dinning room table that day and saying I crossed a boundary line in my life, but where?
Am I working too hard? Am I doing too much? Did I go too far?
To which I felt my spirit answer, ‘That’s not it.’
And then it hit me, my peace. I was no longer walking in and living out my peace.
I was so caught up in do, do, do that I was no longer taking time to just be.
It wasn’t a matter of not having time, I didn’t even need to make the time. My only part was to once again receive. Jesus said "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you." (John 14:27)
Have you ever seen the meme that says:
Daniel slept in a lions den
Peter slept in a prison
Jesus slept in a storm
No matter your circumstance, you can take a nap.
That always makes me laugh and recognize that true peace is not determined or affected by outside circumstances.
As I began reflect and recognize that I allowed myself to cross that boundary that I had set in my life, I started to feel guilty and ashamed. Guilty for all of my people who came into my home seeking that peace, seeking that rest that had previously been there only to find it nowhere to be found. Fragments left here and there. My people, my family leaving just as heavy as when they came through the door.
How easy it was for those brief moments for me to turn my back on the peace that I had just realized was missing. Truthfully, that is not mine to carry. Jesus is not looking for perfection, He is looking for us. He makes us perfect.
So in those next few moments I stepped away from my computer and asked for forgiveness for spoiling the gift that Jesus gave me. My peace, Jesus’ peace is a gift that I reclaim. It is a boundary that I re-establish in my life and in my home. No one can’t take my gift of peace, and I, just like Jesus, freely give it to those around me.
Sis, accept Jesus' gift of peace today. Whatever that looks like in your life in this season. Take the moment…receive it, open it. And maybe, just maybe…take a nap.
Photo by Kinga Howard on Unsplash
Ordinary to ExtraordinaryRead Now
Written By: Alexandria Brown
When did “ordinary” become such a yucky word in the English vocabulary?
When did the word ordinary become an insult when we talk about people, places or things? And why?
Everyone wants to do something extraordinary, ordinary is simply not enough anymore…don’t get me wrong, I long to do big things for God and His kingdom. It is not a bad thing to want to do extraordinary things in our life. It’s not a bad thing to have big goals and aspirations. It’s not even a bad thing to pursue them and work towards those big extraordinary things. That is good and great and I wish and pray that more kingdom people would grab hold of and run with what Jesus said in John 14:12 and do what He, Jesus, commissioned us to do, which is to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth.
We know the verses. We say the prayers.
Our Father, Who art in heaven.
Hallowed be Your Name
Your kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven…
Jesus commissioned us to go and make disciples and to go and do the works He had done and even greater. We are called to bring the extraordinary (heaven) into the ordinary.
As I sat, meditating and praying over this verse this week, I felt the Lord asking me this…
Are you willing to give up your view of the extraordinary to receive my (God’s) ordinary?
That question stopped my thoughts and drew my focus in and I began asking the Lord what that meant…
You see, I had been so focused on the extraordinary of what I believed God wanted and still to this day wants to do, heal the sick, bring freedom to those who call on Him, restore marriages and identities, and reunite families, that I was missing the very opportunities for those things to take place in my everyday life, my family and my workplace.
All throughout the Bible when we read God doing big and miraculous things He didn’t accomplish the unimaginable because there was some extraordinary circumstances or greatness that happened. Instead, when He worked miracles it was created out of every day ordinary things and people.
When David defeated Goliath, it was an ordinary day. A day that David loaded up some ordinary food to take to his brothers. Nothing special and yet, on that same ordinary day God used an ordinary person to do an extraordinary act.
When Jesus feed the 5000+ and the 3000+, let me tell you there was nothing extraordinary about those loaves and fish. Gordon Ramsey was not the chef of the day. Just simply ordinary people with ordinary food wiling to let God do something unimaginable. And God took the ordinary and created the extraordinary.
Seeing a theme?
God has called us to be extraordinary IN the ordinary. He has called us to be the salt and the light in the midst of our families and our workplaces, our churches and schools. I wonder how much time I have lost looking for the opportunity to do something great for God. Waiting for the next “big thing” to happen. Waiting for things to fall into place in order for that extraordinary opportunity to show its face and bring glory to God, when in fact, God is simply wanting us to allow HIM to create the extraordinary in the middle of our everyday ordinary?
What would happen if we created atmospheres of peace and love in the exact place we are? When we are at home and at work and at the grocery store. What would happen if we begin to use the ordinary everyday things to glorify God? Not just when we go to a big conference or on a mission trip or a prayer meeting. What would happen if we took God literally when He said “Go” or “Love God and love others”?
We don’t have to be the most educated or trained. I wonder what would happen if we truly let God use our ordinary selves in our everyday activities? If God could do so much with plain loaves and fish, what could He accomplish with me, His daughter, His treasure, if I only let Him?
As I sat their contemplating all of this I felt Holy Spirit asking me again,
“Are you willing to give up your view of the extraordinary, to see my ordinary?”
Maybe this is not something that speaks to you and that is totally fine.
As for me, I say yes Lord.
God I want all that you have for me. I do not want to miss the things big or small that You want to do in my everyday ordinary. I don’t want to wait for experience to have You move in and through my life. I want You, God, to use my ordinary to bring glory to Your Name.
Love you sis,
So lovedRead Now
Written by: Alexandria Brown
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
God is not surprised by our circumstances. No thing that we walk through was, is, or ever will be a shock to God. We can not make a decision or go down a path that He has not accounted for.
This scripture tells us that God knew everyday of our lives before we even knew day one! And more than that, it says that he INTRICATELY made us for every circumstance that we would come into.
If we believe that is true then it must also follow that we recognize that God is aware of our mess-ups, our stumbles and struggles. And He was aware of them all BEFORE He sent His Son and yet, He still sent Him and Jesus still came.
God’s love for us is stronger than anything else in all creation, and we are completely, totally and irrevocably loved by God.
The truth is that God’s love is not based on you or me. We don’t get to determine or control how much God loves us. God does not love us because of who we are or what we do or do not do. God loves us because IT IS WHO HE IS.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?-Nothing in all création will be able to separate us from the love of God.”
God’s love is strong. God’s patience is more powerful than our stumble. His love is so much stronger than our frailty.
We are fully known. You are fully known. Mess-ups and all.
And yet, still completely and totally loved by the God of the universe. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son...
The God of the universe bought YOU at a cost. The Highest cost. He did not bargain or negotiate. He did not ask ‘what is the price’ or wait for a sale. He simply gave everything...
YOU are the most expensive thing in heaven & earth. Nothing, no one cost more! God named the price and Jesus willingly paid it for YOU.
God’s love for us is not something to be earned. We can’t work for it. It’s not an award, it is a gift. We only need receive it.
Jesus made it possible for us to once again walk in and through the love of the Father.
For God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son that whoever believed in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
Sis, believe it. Receive it. Share it.
There is nothing that you have done or ever will do that is to scary for God. Let Him love you today. There is nothing He want’s more.
I love you and so does He!
A Holy MysteryRead Now
Written By: Alexandria Brown
"…Jesus left on a journey to the village of Nain, with a massive crowd of people following him, and his disciples. As he approached the village, he met a multitude of people in a funeral procession, who were mourning as they carried the body of a young man to the cemetery. The boy was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow. When the Lord saw the grieving mother, his heart broke for her.* With great tenderness he said to her, “Please don’t cry.” Then he stepped up to the coffin and touched it. When the pallbearers came to a halt, Jesus spoke directly to the corpse, “Young man, I say to you, arise and live!” Immediately, the young man moved, sat up, and spoke to those nearby. Jesus presented the son to his mother, alive! A tremendous sense of holy mystery swept over the crowd. They shouted praises to God, saying, “God himself has blessed us by visiting his people! A great prophet has appeared among us!” The news of Jesus and this miracle raced throughout Judea and the entire surrounding region." Luke 7:11-17
This particular woman of the Bible remains unnamed and still teaches us powerful attributes of the character of God. Let’s start at the beginning. This was not a “planned” stop on the trip Jesus was preparing to go on. Don’t get me wrong, I believe it was absolutely and totally a divinely orchestrated appointment, just no one that the disciples were let in on. His crowd literally ran into her crowd. This crowd was mourning. This mother was mourning.
God isn’t waiting for us to get our act together to meet with him. He is not looking for us to only come when we are joy-filled and laughing. He longs for us to come to Him in the good, the bad and the ugly. “Come as you are” is not just a cute tagline when it comes to being with the Lord, but a genuine invitation.
"When the Lord saw the grieving mother his heart broke for her."
*Excerpt from TPT regarding the above verse:
7:13 The Greek word splanchnizomai denotes the deepest level of compassion. There is no greater word in the Greek language to describe the depth of emotion Jesus felt for this widow over the loss of her son. Splanchnizomai is actually the word for “intestines.” Jesus’ emotions fully identified with her grief and he cared her sorrow.
This woman did not have to say a word. She did not have to ask a question. She simply met with Jesus and He met with her. It is not recorded that Jesus asked her if she believed or what she wanted, instead we are told about the compassion of the heart of our Lord. This verse shows us that when we are hurting God knows, understands, and has compassion on us. He hurts with us. He stopped her in the middle of her hurting and reached down and grabbed her hand and did something miraculous.
With all authority and power of the Son of God he touched the coffin and declared life back into the young man! The glory, all the glory, was given to God. I love the phrasing “a holy mystery”. Wow.
How many of us came out of, are in, or are headed into a season in our lives where we could use some holy mystery? When we long for the glory of God to be tangible, touchable?
Sis, if I could leave you with anything today, let me leave you with this…meet with Him and let Him meet with you. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He will carry our sorrows if we let Him. He longs to bring us His comfort, His peace, His joy. The Bible says the Joy of the Lord is my strength. Look for the holy mystery in what He is doing and we will receive strength.
He sees you. He knows you. He loves you. He’s with you.
Written By: Alexandria Brown
Anna: There is little scripture written about her and, still, this prophetess had the privilege of seeing the Savior. Anna saw this tiny baby called out and thanked God for the Savior to be. The prophet Anna lived a life of worship to God. The Bible tells us first that she was a prophet, that she was married for 7 years and became a widow, and after that seven years she devoted her life wholly to God until the time see saw Jesus. When she encountered Jesus, Anna was 84. That’s a lifetime of worship.
Anna had a glimpse, a glimmer of understanding, of just how much God loved her and what that meant and she chose to love God and worship Him in return. I believe Anna understood that God loves to give gifts to us and she recognized that encountering the Savior was a gift for her.
All through out the Bible we see scripture after scripture that reveals to us "if we ask…"
I believe for myself that sometimes…sometimes I don’t ask because I am afraid of not getting the answer that I am looking for. "What if it doesn’t happen?" "What if I don’t deserve it?" And I’ll admit, sometimes I allow that to shift my perspective of what are “acceptable” and what are “unacceptable” asks of God depending on my behavior. I begin asking according to what I believe I deserve rather than asking from the place of beloved daughter, precious treasured one.
Anna lived, breathed, spoke, and stayed where God’s presence could be found. She devoted her life, all her life, to God. Fully surrendered, fully committed. She intentionally surrendered herself to God. It would be safe to say that Anna did not only talk about God, she lived it. She breathed it. She moved in it.
The key to power & authority is proximity to the King and with proximity to the King you get intimacy with the King. And because of Jesus we all have access to God in a way that Anna never did. We have access to the presence of God whenever and wherever we are. Still intimacy is not created by one night stands. Intimacy is created when we continuously surrender, submit, and allow access into every part of our lives, both with people and with God.
Intimacy & presence is where we begin to develop the heart knowledge that God’s love for us is not dependent on the words we say and the things we do. That’s what the Bible means when it talks about the unshakeable love of God. There is nothing we can do or say to make God love us any more and there is nothing we can say or do to make God love us any less.
Anna knew that God’s love was not dependent on her, but how she received and accepted God’s love was up to her response. Anna had decided that her life was going to be a “living sacrifice” as we read in Romans 12. Anna spent her time worshiping, praying, and seeking the Lord. She devoted herself to ministering to the King of kings and Lord of lords. She made herself an offering unto the Lord and the Lord blessed her.
Not all of us are in a position where we can drop everything and spend our day at the church. We have jobs, families, and ministries. Still God gives us the incredible opportunity to spend our days at the tabernacle of His presence because of what Jesus did and the Holy Spirit in us. The Bible says that we are the living temple of the King! We don’t have to spend our day hanging out IN the presence of God, because we have the opportunity to spend our day WITH the presence of God. We get to invite Him into every moment of every part of our day. WOW!
I have heard it said, "If you’re confused about who you are supposed to be and what you were created to do with your life, try ministering to the Lord." Spend time in His presence. Please, please, I double dog dare you! Pray. Worship. Lean on the Lord. He wants to see you. He wants to know you. And just like He did for Anna He will show Himself to you.
Photo by Danie Franco on Unsplash
Woman at the WellRead Now
Written By: Alexandria Brown
Most of us have heard about the woman at the well. There is so very much to unpack in that small section of the Bible and there are mountains worth of truth in every verse.
The Lord has place those scriptures on my heart for what seems like a very long time. Diving deeper every time I read it. Every time I meditate on it. Even waking me up from my sleep with new revelation from those scriptures.
That’s where I want to start.
I was speaking with a group of people on a zoom recently, let’s start there. Let me explain the scene.
While we were in this zoom meeting my family and I had been living and working from our trailer while we had an extended stay at a local lake. We like to work with the crashing waves in the background and my husband is nice enough to commute straight from the lake.
Our trailer isn’t big and fancy like some. In fact it is an older trailer that my husband and I have remodeled over the last few years. We have one big open space that is the living room, dining room, kitchen and where our kiddos sleep on portable bunkbeds.
This particular morning was rather windy at the lake so I took shelter during our computer meet up at the table in our trailer. Half of my background was our where couch is situated, it was previously cleaned and fluffed with our “Beyond Blessed” pillow perfectly in place had our cute pictures hanging on the wall, and a cuddle blanket neatly thrown over the side of the couch. creating a nice backdrop from my table temporarily turned desk.
On the other half of the screen was our children’s disheveled portable bunkbeds. With pillows and blankets piled up and stuffed animals hanging over the sides of the bed ready to fall to the floor at a moment's notice. Not organized nicely. Not picture perfect. Messy.
During my zoom meeting I found myself constantly consciously and unconsciously leaning toward the right side of my computer screen trying to cover up the mess of the disheveled bunkbeds while displaying the left side background of the cute couch and photos. I was so busy trying to hide the mess, worried what others might think, that I never could get to far away from it for fear it would then be seen on the screen.
It was then that Holy Spirit began speaking to me. He reminded me of something He spoke to my spirit many years ago.
“When we water down our testimony, we water down our God.”
When we are focused on hiding our past, our mess, we can never move very far forward. We become so focused on obstructing the view of our past, trying to hide it, that we get stuck never able to take more than a few steps ahead. Sometimes we even take a few steps forward away from it and then step back. Because if we are not standing in front of it hiding it from people, who knows what people with think?
All the while the words "If they only knew what we did, said, were…" floating in our head.
Back when I received that word above my bubble burst.
It was almost as if Holy Spirit was saying to me "Sis, you ain’t special."
Don’t miss understand me. I am unique and divinely loved by a perfect Father. He calls me His Treasure. He was beaten, died, and rose again for me. I know that, I trust it and I live from it. AND… my situation is not unique. I am not the only person who has gone through hard times. I am not the only person who has had to deal with difficult situations, circumstances, consequences, and hurts. I am not the only person who has made terrible, damaging decisions.
I did not just magically appear in the position that I am in my life spiritually, physically, and emotionally. It is a result of a constant surrender and trust in what the Lord is doing in my life and the life of those that have gone before me that I learn from each and every day.
I am where I am at because I was willing to look at my mess and say, "I want something more. Lord will you help me?"
I am at where I am because those who have gone before me performing and receiving signs and miracles in their health, in their families, in their marriages. I am where I am at because of the testimonies of people that I know, people that I have seen, people that I have read about. I am at where I am at because if He could do it for them, He can do it for me.
That’s what I mean when I say if we water down our testimony, we water down our God. It does not mean that we control God. Far from it! It means when we try to hide our past, when we try to put those stained glass windows up around our life and make everything pretty and neat, we may be leaving those around us feeling hopeless and alone, not seeing a way out.
In John 4 we see that there is a Samaritan woman coming to Jacob’s well in the middle of the afternoon and it was there that she met Jesus. The scriptures go on to give us insight as to why the woman was going to draw water, a strenuous task, during the hottest part of the day. This woman had a past to hide from.
Jesus, of course, didn’t shy away. He met her right where she was. He didn’t tell her to "get her act together and then come talk to me." He didn’t say "you are too dirty" or "you're not good enough." He didn’t even define her by her past, but instead He told her who He was and invited her to worship Him!
All at once, the woman left her water jar and ran off to her village and told everyone, “Come and meet a man at the well who told me everything I’ve ever done! He could be the One we’ve been waiting for.” Hearing this, the people came streaming out of the village to go see Jesus.
Sis, let’s be woman who use our testimony to bring hope to the hopeless. Let’s step away from our past and into the healing future and Kingdom that God is calling us into. Let’s break that fear that has held us in captivity for so long, if they only knew…
Let’s extend that statement while we do that.
If they only knew…what God can do.
God is too big and too good for us to keep that to ourselves! There is a deeper healing in the openness. Step out. Step in. Trust.
Love you sis, really!
Photo by Call Me Fred on Unsplash
Written by: Alexandria Brown
Every single one of us has reached some point in our lives when we were fearful. Whether it was something new or old, we have all been there. Living in a fallen world, none of us are able to escape the reality of fear alone. But let me tell you a truth...
God does not expect any of us to live in fear! In fact, He commands us not to live in fear at all!
Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
So if God commands us to live without fear then there must be a way to do that...
After all God is not waiting for us to fail, He is waiting for us to succeed. So how do we do that?
Well in my experience, the devil attacks areas of strength in our lives.
And the best way to mask something is by hiding it with the complete opposite. The exact counter-part. Camouflaging our strengths as weakness.
I think about the movies where the mom has a bag of deliciousness hidden inside an empty bag of broccoli. Broccoli is also known as the opposite of deliciousness! LOL!
How many times has the enemy used that bag of broccoli (fear) to hide our deliciousness (that power, love and self-discipline)?
God tells us, “Do not be afraid,” over and over again. He doesn’t tell us that we are supposed to just deal with it. No, on the contrary, He says that He has given us power and love and self-control and peace, His gift of peace. The kind of peace that doesn’t make sense. The devil has just stuck all of those gifts from God in a broccoli bag!
So I hope we can agree at this point that the spirit of fear is not of God... but like we said earlier that is still something that every one of us deals with. So if God tells us not to fear and that God is a loving God who is not waiting for us to fail, but rather He is waiting for us to succeed, then how? What are some practical steps to get rid of fear?
How do we get to that strong and courageous part…when our spirits are at peace and we trust Him better, more fully?
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, (Throw/cast out with force)
I think so many times we are so worried about getting rid of the bad we forget to fill ourselves up with the good first! We throw the nasty broccoli out without recognizing the deliciousness we have access too!
I don’t think we need to get rid of fear for us to live fearless lives. I believe that we need to fill ourselves with love and let love do the work of throwing fear out of our lives with force.
When we quit focusing on the fear and bring our focus on the perfect Love of God, the courage, strength, peace, and power that we already have becomes fruitful in our lives. In Romans 8:38-39 God’s love, perfect love, is the biggest baddest weapon we have at our disposal, let’s use it!
So when we go through those tough moments when we feel fear creeping in, it is then we need to remind ourselves to draw near, call on and stand in the Perfect Love of a Perfect Father.
By Alexandria Brown
Lois & Eunice. Their one and only mention in the Bible is in 2 Timothy and it is a side note to impact the world for generations.
Paul to Timothy;
I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
2 Timothy 1:5
One sentence. One reference. One statement and inside it reveals so much. As I sit here meditating on this scripture, I can’t help but wonder at it’s significance. You see Timothy was not simply another Christian. He was not simply a fan of Jesus, he was a follower of Jesus. Timothy was active in His surrender to God’s will and plan. He pursued God’s kingdom and loved those around him well.
In that one statement Paul reveals to us that the belief, the trust, the passion that Timothy had was passed on and fanned to brighter by Timothy's grandmother and mother. They were the ones to reflect God’s love to Timothy. To reveal the nature of God and nurture the understanding of who God is, not just in words, but in actions. Lois and Eunice regularly reflected the character and nature of a loving God. A God who loves us unconditionally. A God who surrounds us when we are weak and gives us strength. A God who walks with us and guides us.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
We see that statement of scripture everywhere. It’s on decorative pictures, coffee mugs, and t-shirts. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with any of those things. By all means have them, wear them, and, most importantly, I pray that we live them. In one sentence we are told that Lois and Eunice brought this scripture to life in their family. Lois and Eunice lived this scripture out in their own homes. This single reference of Lois and Eunice should be an encouragement to do just that in our own families, in our own households.
Ladies, it does not matter if you are a mother in the natural or not. Please do not get hung up on that. I do not believe that there is a stipulation to that role in this single sentence. I believe that we, as women, are called to this role. We are called to nurture and reflect the character of a loving God. One who picks us up when we fall (Hosea 11:3-4). One who knows the most intimate parts of us (Psalm 139:13-16). We were never meant to do this walk alone. We have always been intended to use each other to be with each other. We are not all a foot, we are not all the fingers, we are the BODY of Christ. We were made to surround, nurture, and reflect God’s perfect unconditional love to those we surround ourselves with and those we encounter. We were made to, with the guidance of Holy Spirit, help shape and support each other in our faith walk.
I did not come from a family that has lived generation after generation believing Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Actually, I can remember when those in my family got saved when I was young. I can remember our lives before Christ. I can remember a switch in the lives of my family once we accepted Jesus. And, more than anything, I can remember the love that drew us to God shown from those around us. They did not hit us over the head with scripture or try to scare us into believing God. They simply reflected God’s love for us. They lived it out. They walked the talk. It is not enough for us to talk and speak of God’s unconditional love, we must live it out. That is what draws those around us deeper into Christ.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Father, I ask that You reveal to every woman that reads this today who You have placed in our lives for us to surround with Your unconditional love, to build up, to uplift, and to support. Father, give us wisdom and love to release to those that we encounter both in our own house and outside of our roof. Help us to reflect Your grace and lead them into a deeper more personal understanding of Your character. Help us to draw nearer and nearer to You Lord, that we may pass Your love on from generation to generation just as Lois and Eunice did. Start with us Lord. We thank You for all this and more. In Jesus name.
Photo by Paige Cody on Unsplash
Hagar: The God Who SeesRead Now
Sometimes I wonder if I could count the times that I have given control of situations, circumstances, family, and friends over to God only to, later, take it right back. Then I think twice about it and say, "Better I don’t know." I don’t know about you but it seems like too often that’s exactly what I do. I declare and decree, I submit and agree to, only in a year, month or sometimes even the very same hour, take back my false sense of control and micromanage God. Or, rather, I try to.
In Genesis 15 we read about a conversation that Abram and God have. God tells Abram that even though he and his wife have had no children in all their years, He, God, told Abram that he will have as many descendants as the stars. “And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith.” Genesis 15:6
In that moment Abram gave control over to God. He sacrificed and he trusted.
But our story is not about Abram.
In chapter 16 it starts out with Abram and his wife Sarai trying to take back that very same control they just trusted over to the LORD in chapter 15 and they hatch a plan. Sarai tells Abram the Lord has kept her from having children, to go sleep with her Egyptian slave (Hagar); perhaps she can build a family through Hagar.
So he did. And the plan seemed to be working to because Hagar did, in fact, get pregnant. The Bible tells us that, once Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to despise Sarai and, because of this, Sarai mistreats Hagar. Hagar is mistreated so much that she decides to flee from her mistress Sarai.
I can only imagine the pain and chaos that had to be surrounding Hagar, as she was pregnant and alone. Hagar was a slave. She did as she was told. She had little to no control in the matter. I imagine her being hurt, maybe a little angry. I imagine her having sorrow and worry surrounding her. I imagine her not knowing where to go or what to do from there.
I have never been in Hagar’s shoes. I have never been a pregnant slave running from my master. And, still, there have been times in my life that I have been left feeling broken and in pain. There have been times of extreme chaos, sorrow, confusion and heartbreak, not knowing what way is up or if there would ever be way out of it. And it was in those times, like Hagar, God met me.
In verse 7 the Bible says The Angel of the Lord found Hagar and asked her where she’d come from and where she was going. Hagar tells Him that she is running away from her mistress, and The Angel speaks with her. He tells her to go back, submit to her mistress and gives her a promise. A promise that her descendants will be too numerous to count. After The Angel speaks to her…
She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Genesis 16:13
“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalms 139:16.
Sis, God is not surprised by our circumstances, whether they were of our own making or not. He knew exactly what we would go through long before we were ever even born. God sees our every struggle and He sees our every triumph. He is the God who sees you. Right where you are. And He is the God who chose you. Let Him love you right where you are today. Let Him be the “God who sees you” today. Meet with Him.
Receive His Love,
WRITTEN BY: ALEXANDRIA BROWN
Photo by Luis Galvez on Unsplash
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