September 28, 2015

AJ’s Birth Story (6 months late!)

I have not blogged here in a long, long time.  To say that life has changed since I last posted would be a vast understatement, but those are posts for another time.

Today marks six months since our little boy was born.  How half a year has passed so quickly is beyond my comprehension, but the dates don’t lie.  I’ve been meaning to write down AJ’s birth story so that I don’t forget (although I’m not sure how I possibly could), and recently read another friend’s birth story on her blog and thought it might be fun to do the same.  I promise I’ve left out most of the nitty gritty details. ;)

Our little guy was due on April 6, 2015, but I always felt he would make his arrival a little bit early.  Of course, I think at some point or another all pregnant ladies at least wish that their littles would arrive on time (or maybe a little bit early), and then we soon find out that they just come when they’re ready.  AJ, apparently, was ready 9 days early.

I woke up in the middle of the night between Friday, March 27th and Saturday, the 28th thinking something I ate didn’t sit well, or that I was being hit again with a stomach bug (Adam and I were both hit hard with the bug the weekend prior).  It wasn’t until about 8am Saturday morning, when I realized that the upset stomach was coming in waves that I thought to myself, Hm, maybe I’m in labor.  At that point I opened up the handy app I’d downloaded and started tracking my “contractions” (still unsure that’s what they were.)

Now I’m kind of embarrassed to share this with you, but in my mind, when they say that contractions will come in steady intervals, I thought this would be exact.  So when it was 10 minutes, then 9, then 10:30, then 8:45, that wasn’t regular enough to be in labor.  Boy, was I wrong.

Slowly but surely they were getting closer together, and yet I remained unconvinced that I was in labor.  At about 1pm Adam and I decided to make a trip to Panera for a light lunch.  Mind you, this entire time Adam was 100% sure I was in labor and was pretty amused with my denial.  We had lunch together, then made our way home to wait things out.

I’m thinking it was about 3:30 or so when I first called the nurse at Labor & Delivery.  I must have been pretty low key about my contractions because, while she assured me that I was probably in labor, she assumed it was very early yet and that they would probably see me late, late that night, or early on Sunday morning.  She was the expert, so I figured that would be the case, too.  I can’t remember how many times I called her again after that, maybe once or twice, but at 5pm we decided that if my contractions continued to stay steady or get worse, I would check into L&D at 6pm.

At 5:30pm, in the middle of a particularly bad contraction, I yelled to Adam to call Katie (the nurse at L&D) and tell her we were leaving IMMEDIATELY.  I remember that car ride pretty well and the feeling that we couldn’t get to the hospital fast enough (and we only lived 5 minutes away).  I was certain I would vomit (I didn’t).  When we arrived at the hospital, I was so determined to get checked in that I told Adam we didn’t need our bags and he could come back out to grab them once we checked in (wrong answer).

From there, most of it is a blur.  I wouldn’t let Adam leave to go get our bags (which meant no headband to keep hair out of my face, probably my only regret about not having it) because the contractions were getting worse and closer together.  I remember a lot but honestly couldn’t piece it together in order very well, it’s like small snapshots over the course of the next few hours.

I had gone into the whole experience hoping that I could avoid any pain medications, but certainly open to the possibility of changing my mind.  I honestly had no idea what my pain tolerance would be because I’d never broken a bone or had stitches, or really even had hospital visits (aside from my two prior miscarriages).  So for all I knew, one taste of a contraction and all of my best laid plans would be thrown out the window.  My goal was to have a healthy baby, which sounds cliche, but is the honest truth.  I remember the nurses putting that on the white board in my room: “Goal: Have a baby! :)”

Throughout labor, I periodically thought to myself that maybe I should ask about an epidural, but each time I had the thought it was followed by this: It’s probably too late for an epidural now!  And besides, even if it’s not, you’re going to have to SIT STILL so the anesthesiologist can stick a giant needle in your spine.  NOPE.  I swear, having to sit still sounded worse than any of the contractions.  And so I powered through (thanks to some incredible support from my husband and an excellent team of nurses cheering me on).

It felt like it would NEVER be time to push.  If you’ve never labored before, it’s hard to explain this, but if you have you’ll understand:  being told not to push when you have an incredible urge to push is one of the most frustrating and difficult things I have ever dealt with.  But alas, that did not go on forever and eventually it was time to bring this baby into the world.

Adam tells me the pushing lasted maybe 15 minutes, which sounds about right given what I remember.  I wasn’t very good at following directions.  I was breathing when I should’ve been holding my breath, leaning my head back instead of forward.  I needed lots of reminding, and thankfully I had some patient people around me.  Finally, the doctor told me that she was going to have me push one more time, but then was going to tell me to stop abruptly, so I had to pay attention.  At this point I was learning to listen to what they were telling me to do, so although I couldn’t imagine why I would have to stop, I listened.  As soon as she told me to stop, I was instructed to reach both hands down (I had no idea what was happening, and at first only put one arm down, and they had to remind me she said both).  Before I knew it, my hands were under teeny tiny little armpits, and I was delivering our boy and pulling him onto my chest.  I had no idea ahead of time that I would be doing that, but it is, hands down, one of the coolest moments of my entire life. I thought I would be a blubbering mess when he was finally born, but it was more a laugh-cry of joy and relief.  I think there was a part of me that, after our two previous miscarriages, still couldn’t believe our son was real.  Well, things got really real when AJ decided that the best time to poop would be while laying on mom.  It’s amazing what doesn’t faze you in those first moments after delivery.

I could’ve assumed that this all went on for hours.  I was still kind of dazed when the doctor announced the time of birth, until Adam told me, “It’s not even 9 o’clock.”  We had checked into the hospital at 5:45pm, and our boy made his grand entrance at 8:23pm.  I still can’t believe how fast it all went.

The next 48 or so hours in the hospital are some of my favorite and most treasured.  Seeing Adam with his son, staying up all hours of the night to just stare at AJ, watching my parents meet their grandson for the first time, receiving such incredible love and care from the nurses and doctors.  All of it was and is such an answer to years of praying and pleading with God for a child.  Every time I pass the hospital (which is frequently because we’ve since moved just down the road from it), I’m flooded with such sweet memories that I hope will stay with me forever.  Labor was painful and overwhelming and scary, but its reward has been so very, very great.

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AJ, born March 28, 2015 at 8:23pm. 7lb, 19in.

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July 31, 2013

Calling all coffee-lovers!

Hi friends!  As many of you know, Adam & I are leading a team of 10 from our church, Movement NYC, to Ethiopia this October.  In an effort to supplement our fundraising efforts, we’ve set up an online store from with Just Love Coffee Roasters.  They offer several varieties and blends of coffee, as well as samplers, t-shirts and travel mugs.  A portion of all purchases made from our storefront will go towards offsetting our trip costs!

If you love coffee as much as I do (or even half, or a quarter, as much as I do… because my love for coffee is borderline idolatrous…), please consider making a purchase from our online store!

Movement NYC – Ethiopia 2013 – Just Love Coffee Roasters

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July 29, 2013

Culinary triumph.

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted anything food/recipe-related on this blog.  But, you guys… this one can’t be overlooked.  I need to share it with you.

I’ve always enjoyed cooking, usually “winging it” and throwing something quick and easy together.  Nothing too complicated, typically.  Often times if I follow any sort of recipe, it’s someone else’s.  I always wondered how people came up with recipes.  I still wonder that for the most part, but the other night I experienced a culinary triumph.  I came up with an idea in my head, and executed it that night for dinner.  I almost did a victory lap around my kitchen (which is nearly impossible in an NYC apartment, but that’s a story for another time.)

So here it is, folks.  My very first Brittany Robles original recipe.

skilletmac

Skillet Sausage Veggie Mac & Cheese*
Serves 2 (very hearty portions)

1 1/2 cups cooked pasted (I used gemelli)
1 tsp olive oil
1 medium to large zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup diced onion (I used vidalia)
2 links Applegate Farms Sweet Italian Chicken & Turkey Sausage, chopped (I cut it lengthwise into quarters, then slice)
1 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tbsp (approx.) all purpose flour
2/3 cup 2% milk
2 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
Dash cayenne pepper

Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Add zucchini and onion to the skillet until almost fork-tender, then add the chopped sausage.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Remove the veggie and sausage mixture and set aside.

Using a paper towel or clean dishcloth, wipe the skillet out (doesn’t have to be spotless, but just try to remove any excess liquid/oil).  Over medium heat, melt the tbsp of butter and add the flour, whisking continually (this is making a roux).  Once the roux is smooth and thick and is just turning color (it will start to brown), add the milk and keep on whisking!  You want the milk to combine with the roux and thicken.  This shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes in my experience.

Once the milk mixture is thick, throw in the shredded cheddar cheese, mixing to combine/melt.  At this point, add the salt, pepper, mustard powder and cayenne pepper.  Give the cheese sauce a taste and adjust the spices to your taste.

Turn the stove to low.  Add the cooked pasta, veggies and sausage to the cheese sauce, mixing well to combine.  Cover the skillet and let heat for a few minutes.  Remove the cover and give everything one final stir.  Dinner is served!

*This recipe is husband approved.  In fact, I made it again the next night.

June 14, 2013

I can’t make you care.

I’m coming to terms with that reality recently.  The idea that my words, my passions, my heartbreak will not make you care about the things that I care about.  And to think that it will only leads to frustration and anger and bitterness.

I’m overwhelmed with the thought that there has to be more than Sunday mornings.  There has to be more than hanging out and enjoying the company of my brothers and sisters in Christ.  There has to be more than worship sets and sermons.  Certainly He has given us this community, but there must be more.  He builds our community, our family, that we might grow, that we might encourage and strengthen one another… and then?  Then He sends us out.

But will we go?  Will we risk our comforts, reprioritize our lives, put Him first, and in doing so, put others first?  Will we give of our time, our money and our very lives because the Gospel is true and because others need to hear it and see it?  Will I go?  And will I go regardless of who goes with me?

All I can do is go.  All I can do is pray that my words, my passions and my heartbreak put the Gospel on display.  Pray that in my weakness, His strength is made perfect.

After all, my words, my passions and my heartbreak are not mine.  They’re God’s.  They are the things He has planted in my heart and soul.  They’re a fire sparked in me by the love of my Savior.  The compassion I feel is a gift given to me by God.  All I can do is share that gift, and pray that He will bestow it upon others.

There is pain in that gift, there are moments of overwhelming grief and sorrow over the broken, lost people across the whole world.  The magnitude paralyzes me.  I cannot help them all.  I cannot save them all.  In fact, I cannot save any.  It is the work of the Holy Spirit.  As we preach the Gospel, He pierces hearts with words entrusted to us by God.  The Gospel is His, the words are His, the heart is His, the glory is HIS.

There are moments I’d rather run from it.  Moments that I want to slip back into the comforts of life in America.  A life of luxuries and self-centeredness.  There are moments I do, and then God, in His grace, calls me out of my comforts again.  Reminds me that He is the ultimate Comforter, and that the comforts of this world cannot compare with the joy found in serving Him with the entirety of my heart.

Jesus beckons us to lose our life that we may find it.  He calls us to abandon the things esteemed by our culture.  He calls us to live a life committed to His cause.  He calls us to preach the Gospel to a world that does not know Him.  He calls us.

By His grace, He will open our ears, our eyes, and our hearts.  He will both call us to action and give us the strength to act.

I cannot make you care.  I cannot make myself care.  But He can.

“Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:33-34)

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

June 12, 2013

A thousand times, “Yes.”

So much has gone on lately.  The ups and downs of life have been in full force and I find myself clinging to Jesus.  Holding onto Him with everything that I have because I know it’s the only safe place.  In the good and in the bad, Jesus is constant.  And, oh, how I need Him.

God is good.  He never fails.  He is sovereign.  These are the truths that I am coming to believe more fully than ever.  That everything is grace.  His ways are not my ways.  I can’t always understand.  But I will trust in the goodness of a Savior that died to give me life until the day I breathe my last on this earth… and I know that on that day I will enter into glory, eternally in the presence of the Almighty God, the One whose love is better than life.  In His presence is fullness of joy.

I’ve found myself staring difficult questions in the face lately.  Could I accept all that God gives?  Could I continue to praise Him in the face of loss, death, cancer, blindness?  Could I?

And the answer is, “Yes.”  A thousand times, “Yes.”

I’ve come to realize something: it always happens to someone else.  Until… it doesn’t.  Until it’s you.  Until you’re picking up the phone receiving horrible news.  Or you’re sitting in the doctor’s office hearing what you never imagined you’d hear.  And you cannot control it.  We don’t have control.

God does.

Now, I can’t get into all the theological implications of what that means in one post.  I know we live in a world saturated with sin.  A world that has so often run from God instead of to Him.  And God does not force us to worship Him.  He desires honest, heartfelt worship; not robotic religious “devotion”.

I know that Jesus promised us that we would have trouble in this world.  But he followed it up with some wonderful truth: “Take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)  I know that He is no stranger to our trials, temptations and sufferings.  I know that He spoke of storms coming and that the house built on the sand fell, but that the house built upon rock was able to withstand the storms (Matthew 7:24-27).  And Jesus has proven to be my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.  I will not be greatly shaken.

Whatever the coming weeks, months and years bring, I will choose Jesus.  I will take heart, because He has overcome the world.  And I will fix my eyes upon Him, the Author and Finisher of my faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2).  And in Him, and in the truth of His word, I will find hope, strength, rest, peace and joy.

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever.  Amen. (Romans 11:36)

June 10, 2013

What are we missing out on?

Lately I’ve noticed something in myself.  Some sin in my life.  It was something I swore that God had dealt with right out of the gate when I surrendered my life to Jesus.  But that old sin is poking and prodding and I’ve allowed it to creep up in some rather unexpected ways.  God has begun to convict me of it and to reveal how it has permeated so many areas of my life.  Through this process, I’ve come to more clearly see one of the reasons God deals with those sins in love– it has been robbing me of my joy in Him.

Have you ever come across a portion of scripture and been so filled with joy and gratitude that you just love Jesus all the more?  I love those moments.  His love, His worth, His power– they just become so clear that the only way to respond is with praise and adoration!

There are passages that I believe should be stirring that up in me.  The very word of God should be capturing my affections and drawing me nearer to Christ.  These passages should secure me in my identity in Jesus and remind me of the overwhelming, all-encompassing, mysterious love of God.  And yet… they don’t.  Instead I find myself nitpicking.  I’m trying to figure out what it “means”, when what it means is plain.  It just makes me uncomfortable.

You’d like an example, you say?  Let’s take a look at Ephesians 1:3-12:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.  In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.

There is so much there to rejoice in.  So what’s the problem, you ask?

The problem is that when I read this passage I see certain “buzz words”: chose (v.4) and predestined (vv.5,11).  While these certainly won’t be a problem for everyone, they have been for me.  Why?  Because immediately my mind thinks: Calvinism and/or Reformed Theology.  Having been heavily influenced by Arminians (see: free will) for much of my early Christian life, I have a tendency to respond poorly to these words instead of rejoicing in them as I ought.  But why? (Hint: here’s where my sin comes in)… I’m fearful of what others think of me.  I’m fearful of being caught up in the “us and them”.  I’m fearful to be labeled as something or someone without even fully knowing or understanding all that lies behind that label.

Labels can be dangerous.  Not just in the church, of course, but I would say especially in the church.  I’ve become so fearful (in my sinful desires to be accepted by my peers) of labels that I’ve disregarded beautiful truths in the Bible!  These aren’t extraneous words that someone added later, and they certainly aren’t heresy.  I may not fully grasp all of the implications behind those words but here is what I know:

I am chosen.  I am predestined.  I am adopted.  BY GOD!

Isn’t that incredible?  That is really good news.  And the craziest part?  Paul says in Ephesians 2:8 that I have been saved by grace through faith– not that of myself, but a gift from God.

When I fear the label and the potential alienation that comes with it, I miss out on joy.  I miss out on the gift.  I elevate the opinion of man and minimize the opinion and truth of God.

No matter where we stand on the spectrum from Calvinism to Arminianism and everywhere in between, we should never shrink back at the incredible truths in the word of God.  May scripture lead us to know God more fully and rejoice in who He is and all that He has done.

Christian, you are chosen, predestined, adopted.  And it is a gift of God, not of yourself.  Rejoice!

January 16, 2013

Words of life for an anxious heart like mine.

Feeling incredibly thankful this morning that I can take God at His word.  He is not a man that He should lie! (Numbers 23:19) The words and promises of this world will all pass away.  Some will be kept, yes, but many will be broken.  The only sure, steadfast words belong to God.  His word doesn’t change and will never pass away (Matthew 24:35).  When He says something, I can trust that it is true – regardless of how I may feel at the time.

Take Him at His word, anxious heart of mine.  Believe that what He has promised will come to pass.  Believe that you are accepted, having been adopted into the family of God in Jesus.  You are not illegitimate, but legitimate.  You are dearly loved.  You are cared for, right down to the very hairs on your head, of which God knows the number (Matthew 10:30, Luke 12:7).  Believe that all of your sins and shortcomings were absorbed by your Savior at Calvary, and that when you stand before the judgment seat of God, you are declared, “Not guilty!”  Believe that in Jesus you have an intercessor who will not allow you to stand condemned (Hebrews 7:25).  Believe that Jesus knows and sympathizes with your weaknesses and temptations (Hebrews 4:15).  Believe that through His grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, you are able to obey Him.  Believe that obedience is good and right because He already loves you.  Believe that you were never a mistake or an “uh oh”, but that God knowingly and purposefully knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13).  Believe that even if every earthly family member and friend were to leave you, Jesus would still be enough.  Believe that your identity is not wrapped up in your ability to be everyone’s best friend, but is found solely in Christ Jesus.  Believe that trouble will come, but more than that, believe that Jesus is with you when it does, and even more, believe that He has overcome the world–take heart! (John 16:33)  Believe that though you were dead in your sins, Jesus rescued you and made you alive together with Him (Colossians 2:13, Ephesians 2:1-5).  Believe that you are chosen, called out of darkness and into the light, to proclaim God’s excellencies (1 Peter 2:9).  Believe that Jesus has gone to prepare a place for you, so that where He is, you may be also (John 14:2-3).  Believe that your treasure is being stored up in heaven and not here on earth (Matthew 6:20).  Believe that generosity is much more freeing than greed.  Believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).  Believe that these present sufferings are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).  Don’t be ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of salvation to all who believe (Romans 1:16).  Believe that when you see Him, you will be as He is (1 John 3:2-3).  Believe that it is good to wait upon the Lord, and that His plans and timing are exceedingly and abundantly beyond all that you could even ask or imagine (Psalm 27:14, Ephesians 3:20).  Believe that He is concerned for the poor, the widow, and the orphan, and that He has called you to be His hands and feet (Isaiah 1:17).  Believe that discernment is good, and that upholding God’s truth is noble.  Believe that love covers a multitude of sins, and that without love, your gifts are rendered useless (1 Peter 4:8, 1 Corinthians 13).  Believe in Jesus.  Love Him.  Serve Him.  Preach Him.  Believe in His life, death, resurrection, ascension, and eventual return.  When you sin, repent quickly, and know that His blood is sufficient, His grace abounds.  Die to yourself that you might live for Him.  Believe that when you lose your life, you will find it (Matthew 16:25).  Believe that you can bring your anxious heart, with all its prayers and petitions, before a God who hears, and that in return, He will impart to you His perfect peace (Philippians 4:6-7).

Now rest, anxious heart.  Cease striving, and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).

January 3, 2013

Our Hope.

I have not blogged in a long while.  That seems to always be the case, and then I show up with a random blog post every now and then.  What I’m about to share with you is something I wrote at the beginning of June and wasn’t sure I’d ever share.  Today is a heavy day, and I feel compelled to share.

For those of you who do not know, at the end of this April, Adam and I learned that we were going to be parents.  This is something that I had dreamed of for as long as I can remember.  We were both so thrilled and couldn’t keep it to ourselves.  We started telling our family immediately, and slowly began letting our friends in on it as well.  It was certainly an exciting time.

Just after Memorial Day weekend, we learned that I had miscarried.  In a lot of ways I’d braced myself for the worst news, and then it came.  No matter how much you brace yourself, it’s a blow you never want to have to take.

Through grieving the loss of our child, I have experienced the peace of God in a very real sense.  It wasn’t just an idea or something I talked about, it was my reality.  Friends and family who have also miscarried shared with me and it helped to feel less alone in my grief.  The following are words I wrote just a few days after my miscarriage, and words that I pray will bless and encourage whoever may be reading this post.

For those of you who are friends and family and who are learning about this through my blog post, I feel the need to apologize.  I’m sorry that this is the method through which you are finding out.  Honestly, it was hard for me at the time to even have to tell anyone, let alone have to tell people who hadn’t even known I was pregnant to begin with.  I so appreciate your being gracious to me in this, and I hope that you can understand.  Thank you in advance.

Today would have been my due date.  Instead of welcoming Baby Robles into the world, I will go back to a normal day at the office.  It is, as Shauna Niequist calls it in her memoir, Bittersweet, “the day of what might have been.”  And yet what is, is.  This is my life, and it is a gift, hard things and all.  God never promised that I would be exempt from suffering.  But (and what a “but” this is), He has promised to be with me always.  He has promised to never leave nor forsake me.  He is near to me now, and for that I am incredibly humbled and thankful.  Only Jesus.  He is our hope.

Dear Family and Friends,

I wanted to take a moment and thank you all for the incredible amount of love and support you have offered Adam and I in the past few days.  They have not been easy, and I’m still not sure how best to process the fact that we will no longer be welcoming our little one into the world at the beginning of the new year.  We were both more excited than we can say, and were so anxious to share that joy with each of you.

I don’t know why God allowed it to happen and I refuse to plague myself with the questions we will never know the answers to this side of heaven.  I don’t pretend to know the mind of God.  So during this time, we are instead choosing to meditate on what we know to be true of God.  We know that God is good, that He is a loving, gracious and unfailing Father.  We know that He promises to work all things together for good for those who love Him.  We know that He is able to do ALL things, including that which we deem impossible.  Yes, we do know that He had every ability needed to allow our baby to grow and be healthy and to come into this world as we expected.  But we also know that God, in his infinite wisdom and love, did not allow for that to happen.  We rejoice in the midst of our suffering because we trust that His plans for us are good, even when they are not easy.

Jesus is not far off.  He is with us.  And beyond that, He is no stranger to our suffering.  God’s word says that Jesus was a man of sorrows, well-acquainted with grief.  We believe and trust that as we grieve, He grieves with us.  I’m reminded of when Lazarus died and Jesus came to his friends who were mourning their dead brother.  The shortest (and one of the most profound) verses in the whole Bible: Jesus wept.  He wept then, and I believe He weeps with us now.  We live in a world that is broken, suffering the effects of sin and death.  But we know that sin and death will not reign forever.  We look forward to the day of Jesus’ return, when the wrongs are put right again, and we reign together with our glorious King.  I, for one, am comforted by the promise that He will wipe every tear from our eyes.  That’s good news for a crier like me!

I believe that God uses all things for our good and His glory.  I believe that, though I may not see it now, this time in our lives is no different.  Our prayer is that God would use this to draw us closer to Himself, to root us more deeply in the truth of His word, and to do the same for each of you.  If any one of us might taste again (or for the first time) the goodness of God in Jesus, then this time and our pain are not in vain.  Our ultimate joy, and the reason for our hope, is Jesus.  We continue to rejoice in Him, and invite you to do the same.

We love you all and pray God’s blessing over each of your lives.  May you know how deeply God has blessed us in you.

Grace and peace,
Brittany and Adam

March 15, 2012

Kony, Invisible Children, and growing weary.

Honestly, I am so weary of the Kony 2012 debate.  I am borderline discouraged.  I am thankful for the awareness created but so over the backlash.

I feel like my reaction to the backlash was way over the top.  At the risk of embarrassing myself, I’ll tell you that I was in tears as I talked to my husband about it (yeah, he’s a trooper).

So, why on earth was that my reaction?

It’s not that I disagree with using a lot of wisdom in discernment in choosing what causes and organizations to support.  I absolutely believe that we need to hold these organizations accountable for the work that they do and the way they utilize resources.  But there’s a difference between being just plain mean and using wisdom.  And I honestly feel like Invisible Children got raked over the coals by a lot of people.  You may not agree with their methods, but let’s not question the authenticity of their desire to do something to help.  I know, I know– just doing something isn’t always better than doing nothing if that something proves to be harmful.  I guess I just don’t believe that these guys are as careless as the media and several people have made them out to be.

All of that in mind, I still don’t think that’s why my reaction was what it was.

I felt for Invisible Children.  I know the frustration of feeling so passionately about something and wanting others to care, or at least understand.  On the stats page for this blog, I can see when people click on links.  I’ve written posts asking people to get involved with certain organizations and causes only to see that no one bothers to even click the links that I post, even if a hundred people read the blog that day.  I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I can’t force people to care about things, and I also can’t grow bitter about the fact that they don’t.  I know that there are causes othersare passionate about, that I’m simply not.

But when Invisible Children found a way to make more people than I thought possible finally care about something… that was huge to me.  I wanted to celebrate that fact.  So when others couldn’t even acknowledge their success in that, I was frustrated and upset.  It honestly felt like there were naysayers who were only there to be naysayers.  I saw so many posts and blogs pointing out all the flaws of Invisible Children and the Kony campaign, and I was disheartened.  What about collaboration and encouragement and acknowledging the fact that these guys really do care?

I don’t really know how to wrap this post up because I’m still not really sure what to think or feel about this whole thing.  So here’s my two-cents:

Be thankful that Invisible Children stirred millions of people to care about suffering and injustice.  Pray for Invisible Children, and all organizations seeking to serve the suffering and the marginalized and bring awareness to those of us who can’t even really imagine what all of that means.  Find something you’re passionate about and seek ways to serve.  Think critically and look at all of the angles and don’t demonize the people you disagree with.  Be humble, both in your own serving and in your viewpoints on others who do.

That’s all I have for now.  Feel free to join me in this conversation, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I’ll leave you with this verse that has constantly come to mind amidst all of the noise:

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

Galatians 6:9

March 12, 2012

Guest Blogging

I have a weird history of making friends on Twitter.  I know, don’t judge me.

Well, anyway, I have a new friend named Nicole.  She’s awesome and we get each other.  What makes her even more awesome is that she asked me to be a guest blogger on her website, and my post is up today!  My post is inspired by Jen Hatmaker’s book, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.

Head on over to Nicole’s website to check it out, leave a comment, browse her awesome posts, and come May, maybe you should buy her new book.