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!

Running Hills & Heart Conditioning

4 mile run in Dollar Bay Michigan

Running hills is hard.

At the bottom of the hill, I dig my feet in and my legs start to burn as I climb up. My lungs fill with fire and I think my heart will pound out of my chest. It hurts and sometimes I have to walk it.

Then I look up and I’m almost to the top where I know I’ll surely find some relief. At the top my muscles loosen up, my breath evens out, and my heart beats steady because it has been made a little bit stronger.

The run down is easy, I just go with the slope. It’s never hard to just slide down back to the bottom, is it? The bottom is where you choose to stay or meet your next hill and start all over again.

Running hills is a lot like life.

Life is hard when we are trudging up from the bottoms of our battles. We dig our feet in and forget we aren’t climbing alone.

We forget that relief is at the top if we would just lift our eyes up. It was nailed to a cross and pierced for our heart’s sake.

Once we find Him though, we aren’t signing up for smooth roads. We still slip down fast as we go along with the flow of the world.

It’s so easy to just go along with everyone else, darn it.

But we’ve got a hope this time, a confidence that comes from a heart conditioned.

We can take our hills and ups and downs now because He’s put a new beat in our chests.

Running hills is hard.

Life is hard.

Condition your heart.

A conditioned heart is strong.

I am weak.

He is strong.

Wednesday Workout 7-11

Every other Wednesday I have a morning meeting at work which means I have to wake up at 4:15 am if I want a morning workout. Gross right? Usually, I do a quick run because I know how long it will take me and I don’t even have to think about it, but I also really love to do work out videos, because also, I don’t even have to think about it.

I want to share a few of my favorite videos with you.  I do have several Go-To’s because I know they work when I need a quick fix here and there.  Those are Beachbody’s Hammer & Chisel and Body Beast. (Sagi makes me laugh, look him up)  These videos require weights, challenge you to lift a little heavier each time, and they’re around 40 minutes.  If I want to see a little more definition here and there, I do these.

Another option is Fitness Blender.  Fitness Blender is a FREE website and they have so many different videos to choose from.  You go to http://www.fitnessblender.com and pick your desired workout duration, number of calories you want to burn, type of workout, and level of intensity. I like this site if I’m looking for something new to try.  I get bored with workouts quick, and if they’re boring I’m not motivated to do them at all.

Both Beachbody and Fitness Blender offer nutrition plans to pair with workout schedules.  When I was first starting this was really helpful because I ate very poorly!    I’ve tried a few of Beachbody’s nutrition plans, but they just haven’t worked long term for me in my season of being a busy working mother of 2 babies that has a sweet tooth.  But even though these plans weren’t really for me, they were a starting point to show me that what I’m eating has much more of an effect on me physically, mentally, and emotionally than exercise ever will. I haven’t tried Fitness Blender’s nutrition plans, but I’m sure they’re very similar.

Today’s workout was a 3.5-mile run, and I will probably lift some weights tonight when the kids go to sleep…probably.

Wednesday Eating- I’ve been intermittent fasting every day and being really good, but today I was just really hungry for breakfast so I totally ate a McDonald’s egg and cheese biscuit when they made Charlie’s order wrong.  (Charlie would eat bacon cheese biscuits every single day if I let her!)  Lunch was grilled chicken, steamed broccoli, and hot sauce, and dinner will be something on the grill and more broccoli or a salad.  I also snacked on a rice crispy treat and some almonds, and I drank a ton of water.

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Morning run views. I’ll wake up for this.

My Songs

Part of taking a break from social media was to work more on the music I’ve been writing and making it into songs to record. I’ve been writing songs and poems for a long time, but haven’t given them much of chance to be heard or shared at all.

Here are two of my recent songs.  Maybe I’ll be brave and share videos for you to hear them later…Maybe.

Back

Sometimes you just get lead to places that ain’t so fun to go.
They take you back to lovely faces, of people you used to know.
It’s those times you wished you turned the wheel and headed the other way.
But then something deep inside you said toughen up and stay.
So I stayed, and now here I am.
And I won’t look back and see the hurt that made me run the other way.
I will only see the beauty in this place that begs me, stay.
Here’s my heart, can you feel it beating all too fast.
Because I’m back here in this place and I’m staring at your face.
Hoping this moment will never pass.
 
Sometimes you’re far from who you’ve been.
And that’s just who you should be.
Sometimes you find that holding on is the thing that sets you free.
It’s those times your heart takes over and fights your pride just to stay.
You could leave here now heartbroken but forever lose your way.
So I stay, and now here I am.
And I won’t look back and see the hurt that made me run the other way.
I will choose to see the beauty in this place that lets me stay.
Here’s my heart, can you feel it beating all too fast.
Because I’m back here in this place.  I’m staring at your face.
Thank God for the things that lead us back.

Pick Me Up

You tell me go home and you tell me don’t call.
But now I’m all alone and without you, I fall.
Can’t you see all my pieces scattered all around?
Because without you I’m useless, yeah I just keep breaking down.
No, I can’t do this anymore.
I’ve gotta get up off this floor.
Oh, won’t you come and pick me up?
You said that I should just change, that I’m not what you want.
But baby, we’re all the same, I can’t be something I’m not.
And maybe I’ve got some secrets written on my heart.
And maybe it’s all our secrets that make us just who we are.
I’m not gonna do this anymore.
I’ll get myself up off this floor
Oh, don’t you come and pick me up.
I thought I could just trust you, and I could give you my heart.
But I was wrong yet again, I should have seen from the start.
You took piece after piece of me, all for yourself.
You took all of the best of me and put it high on your shelf.
You’re not gonna do this anymore.
No, I’m stronger than before.
Oh, don’t you come and pick me up.

The Experiment

I love social media and how it connects us. I love staying in touch with old friends and building relationships with new ones. But I want to do it face to face right now, not in my pajamas watching Impractical Jokers on the couch.

I want to sit at tables and grab hands. I want to open my front door with arms open for a hug. I want to take walks and talk about hard things. I want to hear people laugh and wipe my silly happy tears as I laugh along with them. I want to see hearts beating and watch lives change.

I love to look at your pictures, laugh at your memes, and read what you have to say, but right now I think I’m supposed to do a little more than scroll through peoples lives.

I feel called to go out and meet you where you are, show love, have faith, hold you up, let you hold me, mend heart’s, and keep digging deeper into my dream.

I continuously feel lead to do things that God knows I think are scary. I’m shy and quiet and am most comfortable with my own thoughts and my own voice. But still, he says go do this, Brooke. I’ll be right here with you and I’m not giving you another choice.

I’m going to take some time for people, some time to write and sing. It’s going to be really good.

So goodbye social media, just for a little while. God’s got an experiment for me. I think he wants me to make people smile.

You can still catch my blog on Facebook, WordPress automatically posts my published posts!

Wednesday Workout

Happy Independence Day!

It’s a holiday and even though we may have the day off work, we typically have a full day of fun, family, food, and fireworks leaving little time for a workout.

I have three tips for holiday workouts.

1. Wake up and workout.

Just get it done right away!

And make it something simple that you don’t have to think about. On holidays I tell myself 3 miles or 30 minutes. So I either run three miles or do a 30 minute video.

It gets your day started off with a good mindset, gets you going, and then you have the rest of your day to relax and have fun!

2. Eat the yummy food!

But eat smarter, and drink LOTS of water.

I still eat the burgers and brats and dips and all the good things, but I pass on the chips because I know I can’t just eat a few, and I pass on the buns! Instead I eat veggies with the dip and wrap my burgers in lettuce.

And I sub water for all the drinks, usually flavored with grape crystal light because that’s my weakness.

3. Don’t beat yourself up!

So what if your workout isn’t great or doesn’t happen. Maybe you indulge in a little too much food. Recognize it and work harder tomorrow!

My workout today was a 3 mile run and a quick set of 25 push-ups, 50 crunches, and 1 minute planks on each side.

This picture isn’t from today, but I didn’t wear red white or blue this morning…oops!