This Moment

Inspired by SouleMama

It’s the little (and big) moments…

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Welcome! I’m Brittany, wife and mama to two little girls Marlee and Hannah (3 yrs and 1 yr). This is where I tell you what I’m about and what I love, but honestly that always seems to change as time goes by. For the most part, I’m a mama just like you. My goal is to live as authentically, imperfectly, passionately and naturally as possible and to inspire you to do the same! I'm so glad you're here!

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Our 2014 Holidays!

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What fun it is to celebrate the holidays with little children at home! This year was bustling with new activity. It was really Marlee’s (almost 4 years) first year to get into the fun of Christmas, the excitement and anticipation, and it was Hannah’s first birthday in November as well. IMGP5826-018First, it was a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner at my mom’s house. Hannah’s birthday fell on the day before Thanksgiving so we combined the two into one day.

IMGP5793-012My sister went all out for Hannah’s birthday, which was so sweet! She decorated their breakfast room with a wall of streamers, balloons, and hanging decorations, pink Christmas lights and little homemade crowns for the girls to wear! Only Marlee could sit still long enough to keep hers on though!

IMGP5819-016Me and my one year old Hannah!

IMGP5846-019She loved her cake and loved her presents! Happy Birthday Hannah!

IMGP5894-001On to Christmas! Early in the month of December we went to library with a friend to visit Santa. It was so nice our local library had so many fun activities for the kids for free.

IMGP5899-002She even sat on Santa’s lap and loved it! She asked for a pony…

IMGP5931-007Christmas Eve Hannah really started taking many steps all at once. One day she even walked halfway across the room all by herself! Although we’re into January now and she still doesn’t walk more than a couple steps at a time. She has fun trying though!

IMGP5928-006Christmas morning the girls opened their stockings and played with the toys they received the night before. Marlee has yet to take her princess dress-up gown off (as well as all the accessories) and Hannah loved all her new interesting toys! We got ready for my husband’s family and a family my father in law invited to come over for Christmas lunch.

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IMGP5950-010Marlee got a pony! (Thanks Grandma J!)

IMGP5963-011After all the excitement the girls were pooped, but it was a fun Christmas at home with all the toys, food and candy anyone could ask for!

Happy New Year to all my family and friends!

 

Welcome! I’m Brittany, wife and mama to two little girls Marlee and Hannah (3 yrs and 1 yr). This is where I tell you what I’m about and what I love, but honestly that always seems to change as time goes by. For the most part, I’m a mama just like you. My goal is to live as authentically, imperfectly, passionately and naturally as possible and to inspire you to do the same! I'm so glad you're here!

Categories: Christmas | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No Resolutions, Only Eager Expectation

“God what do you have for me this year? What BIG things are you going to do in me and through me this new year? What adventures will we have together?”

These are questions I have excitedly asked myself at the close of each year for the last couple of years now. My birthday comes every December as well, so entering a new age and a new calender really are the start of a brand new year for me. A few years ago I determined that I would never be upset to celebrate my birthday. As the calender sweeps up our days and we get older I noticed it was becoming common for people to become depressed when another candle was added to their birthday cake, if they even have a birthday cake at all! Some people resolve to remove every trace of evidence that another birthday has passed- no presents, no gatherings, no sweet treats- as if somehow ignoring the day that witnessed their birth would somehow erase it. This is wrong, I kept thinking. My Father loves LIFE. Every baby embraced gets their own special day to celebrate a year of LIFE gone by, but more than that, a year of LIFE ahead. My Father loves celebrations, and He loves it when we adopt His passion for LIFE.

Also a couple of years ago, as December waned, I began telling the Lord that I expected BIG things from Him in the coming year (2012). I wanted to live life grand, expecting my abundant Father to fulfill every blessing and promise in my life. And do you know what? He did. That year, beyond what me or my husband could have ever orchestrated, we were able to spend a few weeks in Scotland, living there temporarily while my husband worked, and seeing the sights. But it was more than that. Because you see, before that I had vowed to avoid traveling as much as possible. I hated to travel. You see, the Lord did a BIG work in me. He gently loosed my tightened grip on my life- He even, in an amazing turn of events, had me go to Scotland, on a 10-hour flight, changing planes in London alone. If you know me at all, you know that that was a miraculous impossible work that only the Lord God Himself could have accomplished. And He did.

So the year after that, after the Christmas tree was put away, I told the Lord I was expecting NEW things from Him (2013). And do you know what? That year, God blessed us with a new baby girl and a new house in a new neighborhood in the country! Everything was new! While others were resolving to improve their life, jumping on the proverbial treadmill of self-improvement, I was on my knees, expecting, asking, thanking and…waiting. And I received!

You see, this makes all the difference in the world!

New Year’s resolutions are based on human nature and our desire to be good and do good, not on Scripture. There is no goodness in this world apart from the Lord God. Every blessing you desire, every adventure your heart longs for, every relationship you seek has already been procured for you by Jesus and is in fact in Jesus Christ Himself.

Having no resolutions means you are not trying to accomplish something that has already been accomplished for you. It means the difference between resolving to do something and expecting something that has already been done. It is the difference between striving for and waiting on, and the difference between trying and simply receiving. It means the difference between struggle and hardship and joy and peace!

As we throw away the last of the wrapping paper, toys strewn everywhere, Christmas candy now hidden (so we don’t eat every last piece!), I’m waiting on God to hear what He has to say to me for this new year. I’m expecting NEW things, new POWER, more LIFE, abundant FAITH made real, and ADVENTURE in the perfect will of God.

What are you expecting this new year from our BIG God?

 

 

 

Welcome! I’m Brittany, wife and mama to two little girls Marlee and Hannah (3 yrs and 1 yr). This is where I tell you what I’m about and what I love, but honestly that always seems to change as time goes by. For the most part, I’m a mama just like you. My goal is to live as authentically, imperfectly, passionately and naturally as possible and to inspire you to do the same! I'm so glad you're here!

Categories: Celebrations | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

November Gifts

Thank you. Such simple but powerful words. It’s one of the things God desires most from us towards Him. Saying thank you requires an attitude of looking into your life through the lens of goodness. And what most of don’t realize, is that that requires a great deal of humility. To be small and empty is difficult, but it allows us to receive whatever the Father’s hand gives. Whatever He gives. To be small means pouring out of yourself your own evil disbelief, and your own prideful arrogance that you can even possibly know what is good apart from what is not. The thankfulness that the Bible speaks of is not a once-a-year thing. It’s not something we do when we get dressed up to see family sitting around a table with all the amazing food you can think of. The traditions of man seem to get all the attention while the everlasting words of God get repeated inside stale walls and received into stale hearts.

Right now, God is drawing me into deeper  understanding of His goodness and what it means to receive all from Him as gifts. The beautiful, the ugly, and what seems death to me, I receive with open hands and a humble heart because I know that I am not good. God alone is good. He deserves every thank, every praise. When His Son is revealed from heaven with all His glory, we will realize just how much thanks we failed to give. Let’s not wait.

Today I just want to share with you a few of the more simple, everyday things I really love. This isn’t a deeply profound list, but sometimes our thanks needs to begin there- in the everyday. I don’t think God will tire of our thanks, no matter how little.
IMGP5629-007This bunting I made always makes me smile. I made it last year with a cut apple and some paint while my daughter was stamping along with me. I finally finished it.

IMGP5658-005Yellow. My color of choice. These pillows instantly brighten my day, I love looking at them. And the quilt my sister made. Pieced together one by one, made from the shirts my dad used to wear. It has been used and now there stains on parts of it. It is perfect.

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Boots. I feel special in boots. Like a farmer, ready to immerse myself in whatever lay at my feet.

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A windowsill low enough, a perfect nook to display seasonal stories. My favorite ones for Fall.
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Books. I could spend a long time telling you how much I love books, but for now I’ll just tell you this book is getting me ready for the coming Spring. If the Lord wills, this coming Spring will mean chickens. It will mean learning and getting dirty, and hoping for the best and- eggs.

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My husband and our land. He’s begun the long process of clearing. Hand picking what to keep and what to burn. I love this picture because it reminds me of our heavenly Father’s care. We refuse to bring a big machine on our land to clear it out in a hurry. Instead we choose to be careful, loving, saving every tiny tree and only pulling what needs to go, sparing even the leaves on the floor. Just like our Father. Carefully choosing what to burn in our lives and what to keep. Sometimes the burning is painful or sad. Like when I saw my husband had thrown this worn and weathered wooden bench in the fire (photo below). I had a twinge of sadness, but I knew it was old and in bad condition. Now we can make room for new.

Just like our good Father. IMGP5597-012

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Blankets. But more importantly, the chilly Fall days that come for us to use them.

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Nature. Nature ever gives to us. And what nature gives to us is free and available for all to enjoy. Like this gift from a friend. Acorns from a Burr Oak, as many as I could carry home.
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Cowboy boots: forgotten, then found in a coat box in the attic. Passed down when they were too big for my little girl to wear, but now unearthed at just the time for all kinds of pretend horse play.

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IMGP5549-010And of course, my favorite of all- Christmas lights. The way they twinkle in the cold night air brings a smile to my face every time.

Take root in your own life. Be in it. See it with fresh eyes. Realize your incapacity to be good and give thanks.

“Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.”

James 1:17

Welcome! I’m Brittany, wife and mama to two little girls Marlee and Hannah (3 yrs and 1 yr). This is where I tell you what I’m about and what I love, but honestly that always seems to change as time goes by. For the most part, I’m a mama just like you. My goal is to live as authentically, imperfectly, passionately and naturally as possible and to inspire you to do the same! I'm so glad you're here!

Categories: My Faith | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

At Home in the Woods {An Update On Our House and Land}

IMGP4200-001A year ago I was a very pregnant mama hoping for a baby soon born and wondering when our house on two acres was going to be finished. We thought it might be done by the time our little girl arrived but clearly that wasn’t in the picture. Two days before Thanksgiving our little one joined us just two hours shy of being born on the same day of the month as her big sister. With a new little face to care for and mama (me) resting we wouldn’t be moving just yet. But then in the new year – providence. A new family joined our home fellowship and because of their circumstances we felt led to talk to them about moving into our home. We were planning on moving out anyway. So plans fell in to place perfectly, our new little home finished (sort of) at an alarming rate. In one weekend after Valentine’s Day we moved out of our Golden Meadow Dr house and the next weekend they moved in. And two weeks after that my husband began working out of state for 7 weeks.

There I was by myself with a little girl and a very little baby in a new house surrounded by cardboard boxes. It was February and very cold. We had no heater or central air system yet. No stove top, no oven, no kitchen sink, no washer or dryer, no closets and very little storage space. We relied upon our water well and got our drinking water from our bathroom sink. I used my trusty little toaster oven and the burner on the grill outside which I cooked on even in the cold and yes, the rain. What warmed me in those cold months were lendings from a friend and neighbor: an electric burner and a cast iron pot. I took all our dirty clothes over to my mom’s house and I had never appreciated clean clothes like I did then. When my husband came home on the weekends during those 7 weeks he installed whatever he had time for. One weekend I got a washer and dryer. The next weekend I finally got a kitchen sink. (Oh, for not having to wash dishes outside in a big bowl in the cold!) One day we had a magnificent ice storm and the neighborhood transformed into a winter wonderland. It was breathtaking. Except at 5 in the morning when the power went out- which means no heat (the little we had), no water (from electric water pump), no toilets, and no food even from my trusty toaster oven. Those first couple of months on our land proved to be memorable, challenging and interesting indeed!

Finally the icy Winter melted into soft Spring and warm Summer. We were able to enjoy the woods and their beauty for the first time, especially without having to worry about A/C or heat, ice storms and no supplies. Piece by piece our house slowly took shape and little by little it is now turning into a home.

IMGP4861-004Probably the most fun is all the creatures we’ve seen in and around our woods. This little turtle was quite a treat to see. We’ve also seen foxes, raccoons, deer in abundance, a roadrunner we’ve affectionately named “Bob”, snakes (yes venomous), Cardinals, hawks, hummingbirds, Tufted Titmice, birds of all kinds, skinks (a lizard-snake like creature), the most beautiful damselflies, and baby bunnies, which I absolutely wanted to take home with me…but didn’t.

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The beauty of the natural world around me here never ceases to take my breath away. Truly. I’ve seen spider webs more beautiful than precious gems, sunlight glittering the earth like rays of gold, the quiet of the woods, the rush of the wind through the trees, the stamp of deer feet, the familiar call of the owl every night. It is an endless symphony of sight and sound- music for the soul.

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Nine months after moving in, where are we now? Well, after 6 months of washing dishes by hand (by choice at first), we finally got a dishwasher. We had a new line dug so we could have internet access to our computer and even though it was a pleasantly mild Summer, my husband and his friends helped us install a central A/C and heating unit. My handy husband built us a beautiful tall bookcase for our one humble hallway, an outside stairway to our attic, and created more storage in our attic so we finally have room to spread some things out. I’ve unpacked almost every box, cleaned and organized and continued to give away many of our things to make space in our less than 1200 sq ft home. We have one “family closet” above our washer and dryer. I’m surprised at how well this serves us. Only the clothes that absolutely have to be hung up are, and everything else is in drawers.

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With all the construction our yard was quite a mess, but with our basic needs met we’ve finally been able to put some effort into creating a cleaner and more inviting outdoor space. First all the piles of construction debris had to go. Some we hauled off, most we burn in makeshift fire pit. Then, my husband began grading the land around the house, filling in holes, flattening slopes and making even ground. It doesn’t sound like much, but what a difference it makes.

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He even had a little help!

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And we got a cat. Her name is Kit. It’s short for Kit-Cat, and while we were a bit reluctant at first to take on another animal (I really thought I didn’t want anymore pets) I’m glad we did. She beautiful and when she’s not climbing our windows (literally) reminding us to feed her, she’s sweet and affectionate and even follows us on our walks.

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This house my husband built was supposed to be a garage one day. One day we’d build a larger home and turn this one into a garage or workshop for my husband. We still might one day. But everyday we’re letting that go a little bit more. Every day we’re adding comforting touches here and there: a rug, pictures on the wall, coffee table and hooks in the hallway for our jackets, and everyday this little house is looking more and more like our home.

So what’s on the horizon for our land? After much thought and debate, I think we have decided to clear a bit more of the underbrush only (sparing every tree) on our property. I love the dense wildness of this untouched acreage, but the woods are even too thick to take walks through in many places because of the Yaupons and vines and bushes all tangled over each other and it is not a very useful space. We’d like to try our hand at raising chickens in the Spring, and even maybe one day, a goat or two. If that’s to be in our future, we definitely need a little more useable space. And I can’t wait to see where that will take us next!

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We came here to live more simply. Our goal is to be completely debt-free, keep our expenses low and enjoy the beauty of this land, our children and each other. Every day we’re finding this more a reality. We’re learning that “things” don’t make us happy, but God satisfies with the work he gives us (even if it is difficult at times). There is grace here. Grace in going where God leads, grace in letting go, grace in working with our hands, and grace in quiet living.

Welcome! I’m Brittany, wife and mama to two little girls Marlee and Hannah (3 yrs and 1 yr). This is where I tell you what I’m about and what I love, but honestly that always seems to change as time goes by. For the most part, I’m a mama just like you. My goal is to live as authentically, imperfectly, passionately and naturally as possible and to inspire you to do the same! I'm so glad you're here!

Categories: Our Home | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Glimpse of a Home Church Fellowship: No Duty, Only Desire.

A sliver of moon low in the sky.

A little house with green floors sitting in an open green field.

Windows alight against an expanse of black sky.

Stars twinkling overhead.

An invitation to come- come experience the Body of Christ.

A group of people come together:

Young people, old people, children, babies;

Familiar faces and new ones pour into this house filled with love.

Empty tin dishes once filled with piles of warm food for a hungry crowd.

Hearts and stomachs full from feasting together.

These aren’t just the people I worship God with, they are family.

Babies crawling underfoot.

Knowing smiles passed across the room.

Guitars played by experienced fingers;

Heart strings plucked, tuned to praise.

We’re all here for one reason: we love Jesus.

This isn’t going to church- we are The Church.

Bibles and hearts opened to receive whatever He may have for us.

A Saturday night spent in waiting adoration for the One who saved us all.

A bottle of wine sitting on a table. A cracker laid out on a kitchen island.

Plastic cups passed around the room. Crumbs on the floor. Blessed communion.

This is holy ground. In our everyday ordinary, we are sacred.

There is nothing fancy here.

No fancy clothes. No fancy music. No fancy lighting.

The air is warm with the presence of bodies.

Children gather around the patio in the dark to hear a Bible story.

Patio lights shine on their shining faces, receiving the word of God.

No schedules, no volunteers, just hearts willing to serve the Body of Christ-

Even its smallest members.

As I walk across the damp lawn in late evening hours, moon overhead,

Bright lights in the windows calling out to anyone who might see, “Come inside,”

And my heart is so full I can barely breathe.

Worshiping Jesus, fellowship with my many brothers and sisters, receiving the word of God,

It is always filling, never taking; inviting, never demanding.

This is not a church, it is The Church, just one part of the much larger Body of Christ.

And it is so good.

I wonder, how many others are tired? How many others think worship is just a song you sing?

How many others need to leave their fancy clothes behind and just come as they are?

How many others need to leave “church” to experience Jesus?

As I wonder, I am still so grateful because I am here, and I needed

Just as so many do, to give up the obligation of duty

And just to come, experience Jesus, experience His Body, The Church.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome! I’m Brittany, wife and mama to two little girls Marlee and Hannah (3 yrs and 1 yr). This is where I tell you what I’m about and what I love, but honestly that always seems to change as time goes by. For the most part, I’m a mama just like you. My goal is to live as authentically, imperfectly, passionately and naturally as possible and to inspire you to do the same! I'm so glad you're here!

Categories: Jesus, My Faith | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This Moment

Inspired by SouleMama

 

It’s the little moments…

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Welcome! I’m Brittany, wife and mama to two little girls Marlee and Hannah (3 yrs and 1 yr). This is where I tell you what I’m about and what I love, but honestly that always seems to change as time goes by. For the most part, I’m a mama just like you. My goal is to live as authentically, imperfectly, passionately and naturally as possible and to inspire you to do the same! I'm so glad you're here!

Categories: This Moment | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Autumn Maple Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Soup {Grain Free, Paleo, Dairy Free, Vegan}

squash soup

Leaves are falling, spiders are out making magnificent spider webs, and I’m pulling out my daughter’s leggings and jackets. I can’t believe it, Fall is here!

I’ve been feasting on all kinds of squash all Summer long actually. It’s mild on digestion, easy to cook and prepare in different ways and my replacement for many tomato and nightshade dishes (nightshades are tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, tomatillos, and spices like paprika and chili powder) that I now avoid in my diet.

This beautiful squash soup recipe was inspired by Panera Bread’s new squash soup on their menu this Fall. We don’t eat out a lot, but my girls and I stopped there one day before running errands and I thought I would give it a try. I usually prepare a savory butternut squash soup at home, with celery and vegetable stock with a hint of onion and black pepper, but this thick sweet squash soup made my day and I just knew I had to recreate it! I had no idea what was in the original recipe, so I played with some flavors and I think I got it just right!

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You can serve this mashed right from the soup pot, or blended into a smooth puree in your blender. I was too impatient to heat up my leftover soup so I just ate it cold straight from the fridge! Anyway you have it, it’s delicious!IMGP5195-005Maple Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Soup {Grain Free, Paleo, Dairy Free, Vegan}

Ingredients:

- 1 large butternut squash

- 1 can 100% pumpkin puree

- 1/4 c to 1/2 c pure maple syrup

- 1 c natural vegetable stock

- 1 c dairy free milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)

- cinnamon for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Poke butternut squash 3-4 times with a sharp knife about 1″ deep. Place whole squash on a baking sheet and bake until very tender. Cool.

2. Once squash is cool enough to handle, cut in half with a sharp knife, scoop the seeds out (and discard) and scoop the tender flesh out into a large soup pot.

3. Add vegetable stock to squash in soup pot and bring to a boil. Let simmer until squash is extremely soft and tender and does not resist mashing. (You may need to add a little more stock or water if 1 c is not enough for the size of your squash.) If your squash came out of the oven already super tender you may need to skip simmering. Mash well in pot.

4. Add can of pumpkin puree and dairy free milk. Stir to combine and keep heat on simmer. Start off adding 1/4 c maple syrup and do a taste test. If you like it a little sweeter add a little more maple syrup up to a total of 1/2 c. Add a bit of sea salt to taste if desired. Add additional milk to your desired consistency. If you like a thinner soup, add more non-dairy milk.

5. Stir and mash well and heat through. If you like it a little chunky then serve as is. If you prefer a smoother soup, take off heat, and let cool slightly. Pour in blender and blend until smooth. (You may need to do this in batches).

6. Top with cinnamon and serve hot! Enjoy!

 

Welcome! I’m Brittany, wife and mama to two little girls Marlee and Hannah (3 yrs and 1 yr). This is where I tell you what I’m about and what I love, but honestly that always seems to change as time goes by. For the most part, I’m a mama just like you. My goal is to live as authentically, imperfectly, passionately and naturally as possible and to inspire you to do the same! I'm so glad you're here!

Categories: Food & Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Farewell Summer! {Our 2014 Summer Vacation Photos}

I had planned on writing this post today and saying “farewell” to Summer. Everyone, it seems, is ready for the new season. The stores are lined with pumpkins and jingle bells ring faintly in the background. The smell of cinnamon-this and chai-that waft through the air, and interestingly enough, today is the first day of Fall. So today is the perfect time to reflect on our Summer beach vacation, the salty smells and ocean breezes and begin to look forward to the last three months of the year with even more family memories yet to enjoy.

IMGP4948-001IMGP4950-002IMGP4971-003IMGP4991-004IMGP5043-006IMGP5044-007IMGP5045-008For all you brought us, Summer, we’ve enjoyed your warmth and sunshine, your sand and salty water, and we look forward to the warmth you’ll bring us next year. Farewell!

Welcome! I’m Brittany, wife and mama to two little girls Marlee and Hannah (3 yrs and 1 yr). This is where I tell you what I’m about and what I love, but honestly that always seems to change as time goes by. For the most part, I’m a mama just like you. My goal is to live as authentically, imperfectly, passionately and naturally as possible and to inspire you to do the same! I'm so glad you're here!

Categories: Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m a Liberated Woman!

Have you joined the ranks of liberated women? I have! Jesus Christ has liberated me (praise God!) from so many things I didn’t even know I needed to be liberated from. I truly believe we don’t even realize we are in any bondage, in any chains, until He releases us, we taste the freedom, then look back and see that dark and dingy prison cell we were living in. And Christians can absolutely be in chains too, even though the salvation of their souls is secure. In every new area of my life that Jesus reveals my liberation to me, I look back and can’t believe I was in chains and didn’t know it.

The liberation this world offers (and at one time I certainly thought it was liberation) is a lonely place, full of illusion and darkness. God’s freedom is bright and lovely, and full of the good fruit of joy and peace. So how has Jesus liberated me?

Jesus Christ liberated me from…

…the requirement to follow a law- any law, whether the Old Testament law or any new human law, dietary law, or formula for my life.

…the need to be equal with my husband. God’s design is perfect and full of joy.

…the need to have to outwit death. I do not have to be afraid of death or strive to find perfect health. I will live forever.

…the need to have all my needs and desires met. The more I give my life away to others, the more of it I gain.

…the need to have a purpose that is desirable to the world. My purpose is in God, simply knowing Him and loving Him.

…the need to have to save the world and everyone in it. Jesus Christ already did that. I’m here to do what the Father tells me.

…the need to have my life be about ME. Praise God! On the cross, Jesus liberated us from not only the power of death and sin, but from OURSELVES. The less I focus on me, the more joy I have.

I’m a liberated woman!

 

Welcome! I’m Brittany, wife and mama to two little girls Marlee and Hannah (3 yrs and 1 yr). This is where I tell you what I’m about and what I love, but honestly that always seems to change as time goes by. For the most part, I’m a mama just like you. My goal is to live as authentically, imperfectly, passionately and naturally as possible and to inspire you to do the same! I'm so glad you're here!

Categories: Godly Femininity, Jesus | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments