Girl, You Can Wash Your Face, But Only God Makes You Clean.

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Have you read Rachel Hollis’ new book yet, “Girl, Wash Your Face.”? This book has hit my girlfriends and many of the women I follow on social media and has given us all the superwoman feels of empowerment, self-acceptance, goal setting, goal getting, and was just an overall feel-good read.

I had never heard of Rachel Hollis before her book came out, but soon her pretty face kept popping up all over my Instagram news feed. Then my friends kept asking, have you read this book yet? No? Well, you need to!

So I read it…it made me laugh, made me think, made me cry, and made me feel. I really did like it, but I sort of felt off about it and didn’t know why.

Rachel clearly loves Jesus and gave some great advice, but I still felt stuck in her words unable to implement her mantras into my own self pep talks.

And then I read this article from The Gospel Coalition https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/reviews/girl-wash-face/

It smacked me upside the head. Have you seen my daughter do this? She goes for it, palm to face, and that’s exactly what this article did to me. Now I get it.

See right now in this season of my life I’ve been searching for identity, purpose, and happiness. Who am I? Who am I supposed to be? What am I supposed to be doing? Who do I want to be? What makes me happy? What do I love doing? And I’ve been trying to find my identity, my purpose, and my happiness through motherhood, my relationships, my job, my social activities, and through being a broken down sinner saved by grace. And I’m failing! I can’t find my place!

So when Rachel Hollis says…

“You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are,”

…I had to go back to God’s word because that just didn’t feel right to me. Because no matter how hard I’ve ever worked for anything, or how happy things have made me, I have never been enough in my own strength, and never has my own happiness kept me filled and satisfied.

So after reading the book and then reading that article, I went to God’s word. In Proverbs 19:21 it says “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” So I can do all the things necessary to achieve all the hopes and dreams and goals I could ever imagine. I can plan and make lists and check all of my boxes. I can do all the hopin’ and the wishin’, but if it doesn’t align with God’s will, it’s just never going to work. God’s will is always going to take over.

And then I read Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I can do hard things. Just like Rachel said. We are strong men and women built and created to weather storms and come out stronger with each blow. But it does not say I can do hard things because I just can. The Bible says I can do all things THROUGH CHRIST who strengthens me. We need him. We cannot do ANYTHING without him.

We are not ultimately responsible for who we become or how happy we are, and praise God that it’s not all on our shoulders. Because I just can’t do it! I can’t! I have no idea who I am supposed to be, and sometimes true happiness is just not going to be within my own reach. But God knows exactly who I am and who I am going to be, and guess what? When I trust him to help me do all the things…then the happiness will come THROUGH HIM.

Please don’t get me wrong, I really did like this book, and have so much respect for Rachel’s honesty and vulnerability in her writing. But, I just needed to go one more step. And maybe that was God’s plan all along, to bring me to his word to check her book, and to ultimately bring me closer to him.

So girl, keep washing your face, but please remember it’s only through Christ that you really get clean.

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Simply Tuesday

I just wanted to be angry today. I barely slept last night, tossing and turning as I thought and I fought with my heart and my mind over things I simply can’t control. I hit snooze on my alarm skipping my workout in exchange for a few more minutes of restless sleep. I knew I’d beat myself up later for skipping another workout, knowing full well I wouldn’t have the energy after we got home from the field tonight to make it up. But I finally woke up to the chaos of the morning running out of time to dry my hair, packing Charlie’s lunch for the field, wrestling sleepy babies to get dressed when all they really wanted to do was stay in their jammies and watch cartoons, and then making my trips to the car with lunch boxes, backpack, diaper bag, and finally kids only to realize it was trash day and the garbage still needed to be taken out. I grabbed the garbage bags as one ripped open and mice scurried out scaring the bejeezus out of me and spilling icky nasty trash all over the garage steps.

I was angry.

I was angry because I just wanted to be angry.

But God changed my heart.

He said, “Girl, aren’t you glad it was only you and I that saw you scream and jump as those mice ran out? That was funny. Smile. Farmers don’t care that your hair is still wet, you’re pretty just the same, wet hair and with no workout. Don’t worry that your kids hate getting dressed, just do what you can, soon they’ll be dressing themselves and you’ll miss these little fights. You are a strong momma. I know because I made you that way. And one more thing girl, don’t be angry. I know every one of your needs, and you don’t need to be angry.”

God changed my heart.

I didn’t need to be angry, I just needed him. I’d let my eyes focus on the waves crashing around me instead of walking with the only one that could calm them. But you know what, God was with me the whole time. He was just waiting for me to stop being angry and to start letting him work in me.

Just One Choice

img_8424.jpgHave you ever just felt different than who you’ve always been, and sort of far from who you thought you’d always be?  That’s where I am right now.  I don’t feel like Brooke anymore, which isn’t bad and isn’t unwelcome, I just feel different now, so you might not like the changed heart you see.

See I’ve always thought that if you pray a certain way and live mostly good then you’re doing okay.  But is “okay” where we meet God?  Are the “Alright’s”  and the “Just Fine’s” the places where God whispers in our ears and places hands on our shoulders?  Are we being molded if we’re “doin good”? I don’t think so.

I’m not saying we all need to stay in our messes because that’s the only way to hear God.  That’s not what I’m saying at all.  I’m telling you that the mess is okay.  I’m telling you that feeling different is okay.  I’m telling you that where you are is okay, and that where you are now is not where you have to stay.

I’m telling you that you will always have just one choice.  Just one choice in all circumstances.  Trust God, or don’t.  Trust that God will move you to the place that’s best for you or when he says move, say No, I won’t.

See, what I’m finding out right now, which is uncomfortable because I’m human, is that this life is not about me.  Not one minute, not one second, not my kids, not my marriage, not my job, not my friends, not my church, not my name, not any of it is about me.

It’s unsettling, isn’t it?  In a world that tells us to speak our minds and be whoever we want to be, here I am telling you to let someone that we can’t even see say who we are.  That all of our money, our hopes and dreams, and all of our strength will only carry us so far.  But what if I told you that our names are all Beloved and we are all the same? Our debts were paid upon a cross with his perfection, our sins covered by his blood and pain.

Someone gave their life for mine, and now He gets the say. I can force my plans and go nowhere or let Love show me His way.  So maybe that’s why I feel different.  Maybe I’ve only been living for Brooke, and for the people in my life that I could touch and see.  Maybe he’s handing me my one choice right now.  Trust myself, or give my life to the one who died for me.

 

 

 

Fall Afresh – Our First Fall Retreat

There is beauty in the fall.

The leaves are changing and bursting with colors that surely bring death. The tree is radiantly burning with fiery leaves as she prepares to let her shed descend. Then as the leaves begin to fall to the ground, as they should and as they do, the tree prepares for winter to be barren and fight to take root.

Then the air grows cold and the tree sits empty in expectant waiting. She waits as she knows the promise of the fall. She waits on that promise as the snow piles around her, and as the ice stings and freezes her tree bones. Faithfully she waits. And as promised the warmth returns a little each day. She waits in the bitter cold nights but trusts the sun to shine a little longer and a little brighter, and to carry in the Spring in God’s own time, in His own way.

Then buds begin to sprout and to grow a new thing in her. She nurtures seeds of hope and faith that will grow and grow as she faithfully waits once more. For it’s in her Spring that she thrives and blooms, as we should and as we do, for she knows the heat of Summer will soon be back and will be knocking at her door.

Then the Summer sun blazes and the change arrives with death still true.  But again she welcomes the importance of her dying self so that she can Fall Afresh, begin anew. 

She takes in the new life given to her each day and she waits faithfully on God through it all. Because she knows her purpose is to live in truth and die to self, oh she gladly welcomes the fall.

-B

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We don’t have all the details, we don’t have all the plans, but Bethany and I have a dream that is so tender and meaningful in our lives right at this very moment, that we just cannot wait any longer to share it.

Who We Are: We are calling ourselves Roving Hearts, but we are Bethany and Brooke, cousins, believers, lovers of the hearts of all God’s women, and fully recognizing that we as women need each other to hold our hands, lift our heads, and to share the word of God.

What is our Vision: Our vision is extending our hands out to women as far as God will allow us to reach through small intimate retreats where we will provide several opportunities each year to spend a weekend in God’s Word while we worship, fellowship, exercise, and grow in Christ together while enjoying the nature He created.  And also through online resources that can be used at any time to encourage, study, teach, and change hearts in Jesus’ name.

When & Where:  Fall Afresh, our first Fall retreat is set for November 9th – 11th, 2018 in Columbus Indiana, and we expect to start our online presence in the coming weeks, after Bethany has a BABY!

What We Need From You: Pray for our plans.  Let them be straight from God and not at all of ourselves.  Spread the word. Follow our blogs. Reach out to us. We want to meet you and hear what your heart is needing right now.  And don’t be afraid if we reach out to you!

Until we have our own website you can follow me here, and follow Bethany at http://www.bethanyburt.com

Just Start

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about anything IF:Gathering related, but since my first experience of IF and hearing Jennie Allen speak a good word from Jesus, I’ve never been the same.  God gave Jennie Allen a phrase, “Disciple a generation.”  Jennie obeyed and now women like me are giving ourselves permission to trust God.  We are praying on our knees that God would use us in ways we can’t even fathom.

You see, I’ve had these little mustard seed ideas that have been growing as I feed them more and more faith.  But they’ve also been shaded and stunted while I teeter on the edge of trusting God and being scared to death of failure. I’ve prayed that these tiny ideas would just start themselves. I just want them to grow and bloom and be what God wants them to be, but I haven’t had any idea where to find the starting line.

While I waited and prayed, God was placing some of the same ideas into someone else’s heart, and laying plans out right before her. She messaged me the other day and said, hey, I have a super fun super awesome super crazy idea I want to run by you, with the monkey face emoji with his little hands over his mouth. That’s how I knew it was going to be amazing!

And it was. God is so cool! She just started pouring out these plans that went right along with the ideas God had put in my heart. Here I was thinking I was Moses sent to save the Israelites, saying, “Who am I, God, to start this thing you’re asking me to do?” And He just ever so wonderfully says, “You’re not alone, Brooke, here’s my daughter, now go do what I’ve asked you to.”

So now we get to do work. We don’t wait. We just start. Grab the hands of other women and bring them alongside us. Strengthen, encourage, teach, and feed the hearts, souls, minds, and bodies of the women in our midsts. I’m so excited to see where this goes.

God is faithful. Maybe not in the ways we want him to be, or in the very moments we ask him to be, but he is continuously working for our good just waiting for us to trust him enough to wait on him.

Starting is hard. Waiting on God is hard. But God is faithful to finish the good work he started in us. -Philippians 1:6

Rocks

“Rocks are heavy and they hurt people you love. And it’s so easy reaching down and picking them up. No, I ain’t gonna throw no stones at nobody don’t wanna get hit by a ricochet. Ain’t got no room for no rocks in my pockets anyway.”

– Chorus from, “Rocks,” by The Isaacs

Charlie loves to bring me rocks. She will scoot into my office at work after a trip outside and have a new rock she can’t wait to give to me. I find them on my desk, on my kitchen counter, the bench by our front door, in our shoes, and in the cup holders in my car. My Charlie Rocks.

I don’t know what to do with all of these rocks. Usually I put them in the driveway, but I always keep a couple…after all, they were handpicked for me.

We carry a lot of rocks in our lives. Weaknesses, failures, struggles, challenges, and sins. Like Charlie, God knows the rocks we carry that are uniquely ours. He leaves them for us to find on our own, or sometimes he places them in the palm of our hands and asks us to carry them and see what happens.

But we get tired of carrying our rocks, don’t we? They get heavy and we get angry. So then we start to look for the rocks laying beside other people. We think it’s easier to pick their rocks up and cast them in their direction than it is to ask for help with our own frustrations. Our pockets become so heavy with rocks, that pointing out the weaknesses of other makes us feel better. Lighter.

But only lighter for a minute. Before we know it, we feel our backs breaking under the weight again, and our eyes are back to the ground looking for more rocks to throw. Rocks hurt people. Rocks hurt us. They’re heavy, have rough edges, are sharp, and they bring us down.

So what would happen if we took our rocks from Charlie and our rocks from God and asked for some help to carry them? God knows how heavy they are for each of us, and he’s just waiting for us to ask him to bear some of that weight. He wants to push us and strengthen us, but he doesn’t want us to try to carry heavy things without him.

So what if we do ask for help? And what if our rocks get a little bit lighter? What if God uses our rock’s sharp edges to carve out lives we never imagined?

Maybe with our struggles handed up to God, we will start to see the rocks others are struggling to carry.

Maybe we can go to them and say, friend, let me help you carry this heavy thing. Maybe they will feel lifted up. Maybe they will see a little bit of Jesus.

Maybe if we would just trust God with the rocks in our pockets, we would give him permission to carry the rocks of others through us.

Wednesday Workout 8-1 Walking with Weights

Guess what?! I didn’t do a workout today, and it was OK! We need an off day or two or three!

Mental rest, emotional rest, and physical rest are more important than doing a workout that your heart’s not in.

But, a quick workout I wanted to share with you is Walking with Weights.

This workout was my go to when I was in the last few weeks of pregnancy with both kiddos. You just need to pick up a set of LIGHT dumbbells and go for a 30-40 minute walk! If you’re not comfortable with weights, pick an even lighter weight. Light weight still makes a difference.

You can do active walking and swing the weights naturally as your arms coordinate with your steps. Think power walker! Or you can get brave for a minute and do several sets of different bicep curls, overhead presses, and triceps extensions. This is harder than you might think, so return to walking naturally as needed.

And if you hate it, skip the weights and just get outside and enjoy a walk!