New Life is Starting at Every Ending…


picsvsomToday, I along with my incredible classmates graduate from Victory School of Ministry.  It is hard to even form words for how these years have been, but perhaps the lives we live will tell the story better than any words ever could. This is the end of a season for many of us. Some will be coming back and others will be moving on, but no matter where we go in life we will always take a bit of each other everywhere.

I have learned so much and God has changed me in so many ways. As I step out, I know that a new life is starting at this ending. This was only the beginning. It has been such an honor to be part of this group of God’s elite! Everyone is uniquely gifted and has different strengths – but as was said before, you go fast if you go alone, but you go far if you go together. I’m so honored to privileged to have walked with each of these people as a class and as a school.

History

To my class: I believe you will go far. I believe in the dreams that God has put in your hearts. I believe in and I’m committed to praying for you and the destiny that you will fulfill. I am incredibly proud of each and every one of you. I love you dearly. We’ve all had our ups and downs. None of us are perfect. But even with all that being true, we love each other and we have each other’s backs. It has been an honor to grow, to fight, to pray, and to stand with you. No matter where you go, you have my prayers.

To my first year class: I am so incredibly proud of every single one of you. God has done incredible things in your life this year! I’m looking forward to seeing what more He does in each of you. Remember to stand firm. Be challenged. God has so much in store for you. You are all in my prayers. It has been an honor to serve with you. I love you all.

To my leaders: Thank you for calling out the potential that is in me. Thank you for challenging me to be more than I thought I could be. Thank you for the grace that you’ve shown, for the prayers that you have sown, for the wisdom that you have imparted, for the love that you have given. I really do feel the weight of the responsibility of the prayers that were prayed over me – heard and unheard, and also for guarding the sacred trust of everything that has been poured into me these last 2 years. I feel the weight to walk out in the fullness of all that has been brought forth in me.

With nothing left to be said, but all to be lived:  Live. Pursue. Love. Endure.

“Be the Bigger Person!”


“Therefore, you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:38 (NKJV)

“Be the bigger person.” I’m pretty sure that everyone has heard that phrase at least once in their lifetime. When you’re little (and sometimes even, not-so-little), and someone is teasing you or misbehaving or is bothering you and everything in you wants to get them right back, this is what keeps you from doing so. You decide to be the bigger person and be nice and extend grace (or just don’t retaliate).

In a way, Jesus told us to do the same thing. In Matthew 5:48 He tells us to “be perfect, just as your Father in heaven…” The word “perfect” in the Greek is teleios which can mean “full-grown,” “adult,” and “mature”. So in essence, we aren’t commanded to live a sinless life in all righteousness and holiness. We are however, commanded to “be the bigger person.” In context (verses 43-48), we are to love our enemies, bless those who curse us, do good to those who hate us, and pray for those who persecute us. We are to love the unlovable. It is easy to love people who love us – anyone does that. But to love those who treat us badly isn’t always easy, but we are called to it and in doing so, we love with the love of Jesus.

When have you had to consciously “be the bigger person” and love with the love of the Lord?

“Let Brotherly Love Continue…”


I have never been less aware of my single status or more aware of how loved I am.

First thing this morning I had such a blessed time with Jesus and in the presence of God. I never thought it would go this way, but lately I have been studying love – perfect time of year isn’t it? But today I was studying on what it means to truly love God. What does that look like? What does it mean?

John 14:21 say this: “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” 

That is what it looks like to love God. Throwing off the religious mind-set that makes the Word of God a book of rules and thus a duty to abide by, we then can see that when we abide in love, we then have a desire to obey the commands of God.

And just what are His commands? Matthew 22:36-40:

“36 ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ 37 Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” 

Summed up: Love God and love people.

No sooner had I finished my Bible study this morning to get ready for school than I find this gift on my doorstep!

Valentines2013-2

 

A rose and chocolate. I was pleasantly surprised. Attached to the rose was a sweet note and this is what it said:

“Brittany, We are giving you these gifts on this special Valentine’s Day to honor you. You are such an amazing, beautiful, and loved woman of God and it’s a privilege to be considered your family. Love, Your VSOM Brothers   Hebrews 13:1 – “Let brotherly love continue.”

Being single on valentines day does not exclude you from being loved or being special. God touched my heart this morning, and then my amazing and thoughtful classmates, my VSOM brothers gave an expression of their love with this sweet surprise. (I call bragging rights, we have the best guys!) This day has been most incredible. Our corporate prayer time at school this morning carried a sweet atmosphere of God’s love and I finished the day off after school with a dear friend at the Prayer Center. It has been a beautiful day filled with love. It’s not about the gifts, but about living out the love of Jesus – which is truly living out the Jesus that is in us. How can you express that love to someone this week?

To My VSOM Brothers: Thank you for your thoughts, your gifts, your prayers, and all the ways that you express your love each day. Thank you for living out the love of Jesus, by which your loving us shows a great deal of how much you love Him. You are amazing and anointed leaders that exhibit godly character and I am so blessed to have you in my life. I am proud to call you family. I love you all and you are dear to my heart! Bless!

Unsurpassable Worth: Radical Love in Action


When I asked God to give me His heart today, I didn’t realize just how much it would break.

I don’t believe I fully comprehended the weight of my request, but He granted it. As I went around town and went through my day, I realized that it was anything but normal. I began to see people like I have never seen people before. My heart ached for them to have the hope that I do.

Today I saw the beauty in the nameless face like never before. Where I used to see faces, I saw a story and how each has a chance of a redemptive end. That starts with love. And in feeling the weight of God’s heart today, I found a love for people deeper than I ever had before. The things that God allowed me to see and feel – I know that He truly gave me His heart – I went home and I wept.

In view of the state of this lost world, my heart broke. With a renewed sense of love burning in me, I was burdened for these people. I saw their hurt and felt their pain – and realize love is the only thing that can heal those wounds. Love unconditional. Love that can only come from God. Love that transcends all. The love that sees their unsurpassable worth and that died for them as He did for me.

O that Christians would truly love with the heart of God. But too often we take the place of judgment instead of love. The lost world, to a great degree forms their view of God based on the character of those who profess to know Him. This world knows God as a God of judgment because we judge, and does not see the God of grace, mercy and unconditional love because we don’t carry it ourselves.

Judgment separates. Love unites. 

A few weeks ago, one of my teachers/pastors at school told our class this: “We are not God-like in the way we want to love. You want to be God-like in the way you judge. This should not be.” (Pastor Marcia)

The essence of sin is we attempt to play God. Every judgement we think, suppose or act upon supposes that we are in a position of superiority.

As Christians we are seldom known for our radical love. We fail to abide in love. I believe that part of this is we have lost sight of the unsurpassable worth that people have. We have become promoters of good over evil instead of lovers of people.

How can you love deeper today?

How can you show the radical love of God today?

21 Days of Never-the-Same – Day 20


photoAs I have been studying the Proverbs 31 woman verse by verse, I will admit, I cannot read that passage and not think of my mother.

Two verses that I really want to highlight on are 27-28:

“She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” (NIV)

My momma is always doing something. She is actively involved in our lives on a consistent basis (that includes even my brother and I who are away at school). With 5 kids that cannot always be easy, but she does an amazing job.

My momma has many fine qualities and is a woman of character. When I think of my mother, the first thing that comes to mind is her strength. She is always like a rock in the storm. She has a strength about her in all she does. She tells you like it is. And she’s grounded. Momma is solid and is a woman of virtue.

Something that really blesses me about my mother, is the love that she and my dad have for each other. There is no better team, and no greater gift that my siblings and I could be given than that.

Even this being said, I feel like I cannot adequately describe my mother. I can never thank her enough for everything she’s done and for everything she is.

The worth of a mother goes beyond what words can describe. 

I am beyond blessed with the mother that God has given to me. I am proud to be my mother’s daughter.

Beyond that, as I have grown, my relationship with my mother has changed in many ways…it has had its stages, but what comes out of it is more than my mother being my mother –  my mother has become a friend. And I am so amazingly blessed to have her.

Thank you, Momma for all you do and all you are to me. Your worth is far above what can be expressed. I love you dearly.

 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all…” (Prov. 31:29)

100_3944

21 Days of Never-the-Same – Day 18


pastor

Pastor Jeff Marshall and his wife Cathy – New Day Assembly of God, Upper St. Clair, PA

When I look back, I realize change is a good thing. I am not a big fan of change unless I am the one who is controlling it – and with that, there being a good reason for the change. But there have been times in my life where looking back, it was change that allowed me to be who I am today. I’ve written about a lot of different things thus far…and a lot of them have much to do with a change that came about 8-9 years ago.

I grew up in a non-denominational church…then after all those years and memories, God called us out and brought us to New Day. I did not want to leave where I had grown up and will admit I did not have a good attitude about visiting other churches for the time that we did. God was good to us though, and from the start there was something about New Day. I loved it right away.

The years I have been there shaped so much of who I am today. Pastor Jeff is such a wonderful shepherd of His congregation and he and his wife, Cathy, have set within the church an atmosphere of family. It is home. It is warm. And it is where I began to see Jesus with my own eyes and where my faith became my own – not just something I was raised in or taught, but something that makes up who I am even today. I believe no matter where God may call me I will always carry a bit of New Day DNA in me.

There are so many defining moments that come to mind from New Day. I grew up there. Those people are like family to me.

God has met me at that altar numerous times when I took a step of faith and came forward.

I learned what it is to worship in spirit and truth and even to have a freedom to do so through dance.

I have been blessed with incredible people in my life who have poured into me and been an example to me in my faith-walk.

I have witnessed the mark of the ministry in this church.

It was here that I was baptized in the Holy Spirit.

It was here that I practically lived some years, being there almost every time the doors were open.

It was here that God met me and changed my life forever…a new day, a new chapter…

So much of that is because a man was obedient to the call of God on His life…even when things got hard, he didn’t quit. He is a man so compelled by the love of Christ that he stands where he is today. Thank you, Pastor Jeff and Cathy for obeying the call of God to shepherd the people of New Day. You are all like family to me and an immense blessing in my life. Thank you for all you’ve done and for standing strong and waiting on God even when most people would have quit. I honor your place in my life and I thank God for you often. Love and Blessings!

21 Days of Never-the-Same – Day 14


Something that I have learned over the years and that I become all the more convinced of as I get older is that it really is the little things in life! Like the little moments that you have to capture with your heart.

Tonight that is exactly what I got. One of those little things. My sisters and I baked some cookies…and maybe had  a little flour fight afterwards.

flourfaced

 

Having a little fun with my sisters — priceless. It is the little things such as this, that mean so much. At the end of the day, it is these kind of things that make me want to smile. 🙂 I am so blessed!

Take time to recognize the little things in life around you. Things that could seem to be so mundane, but really are an opportunity to be made into a moment that your heart will want to capture and to memorize.

Bless!

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: