Thursday, May 24, 2012


As I sit here and contemplate something God just opened my eyes to recently, I wonder if I have done a post about this in the past. I'll have to go back and look later. I don't want that post (if one does, in fact, exist) to alter this one. I have recently discovered that I went from comparing myself physically (which, to some extent, I still do) to other people, to comparing myself spiritually to those in my small group. Why do I do that? I think it's just human nature, and it is also because I look up to those in my group. I adore each of them and they make me want to be a better person, to grow my faith, but then something this morning kind of altered that. I was talking to one of my friends (whom also happens to be my son's mentor) while we were waiting for my son's Kindergarten Award ceremony to being, and he was sharing with me what was going on in his world and I was thinking, "Oh my goodness, should I be doing the same thing?!?" And that's when the thought occurred to me: Why am I comparing myself and my spiritual growth and spiritual walk to flawed human beings? I love each of them like I have loved few others in my life, but they are, for all intended purposes, wonderfully flawed and beautifully made that way. I then started asking myself: Well, if you shouldn't put compare yourself to them, who SHOULD you compare yourself to? Well, the honest answer is quite easy: Jesus. I say this with a lot of weight behind it. Some people may read this and think that I hope to achieve perfection. I don't. I'm flesh and blood and born in sin and will die a sinner, but a reformed sinner, someone who is, hopefully, striving to get the sin out of my life every day. Some days I will fail. Other days I will fail miserably. And I will have some victories mixed in there as well, but I strive to not let my sin go unchecked because I have seen what that does and, well, let me just say that you will never know the hurt that your sin can cause in others if left unchecked and free to grow. So, today, I am making a concerted effort to not compare myself to anyone other than what Jesus did while He was here. And every day I pray that my life will be a bright shining beacon for the lost and the seeking, reflecting God's grace, because I can honestly say that where I am in life now is ONLY because of God's grace, and not because of anyone else or anything that I have done. All for Him - Brandy

Sunday, May 13, 2012

No Duty To Sin

Okay, let me kind of recap what I have been up to the last couple of months. God has been helping me discover things about myself and my life that I needed to remove so I could have a more authentic relationship with Him. One of those things - well, I guess this is less like showing me what I need to remove (which He has already helped me through), but more of a refinement of that lesson. The lesson I am talking about is loneliness. For...gosh...probably since puberty, I went through seasons of feeling lonely. If I was with someone when this season hit, it always spelled trouble for the relationship. The guy was never good enough. He could have been the most amazing and giving and sensitive guy on the planet, and he couldn't "fix" me. When it got bad enough, when the pressure of me making the poor guys perform to make me happy coupled with their feelings of inadequacy collided, well, the relationship ended and it was usually quite poorly. Related to this, something came across my mind yesterday - much thanks to John Piper. In this sermon, he stated, “Sin is what you do when your heart is not satisfied with God. No one sins out of duty. We sin because it holds out some promise of happiness. That promise enslaves us until we believe God is more to be desired than life itself.” (you can find the sermon here: Can anyone say PROFOUND?!?!? Seriously, I stopped sewing, rewound it, and listened again...and then again. And then I wrote it down. Now, since this is still very fresh in my brain, I may not expand on it all that well, but I'm going to give it a shot anyway. What is sin? Anything that takes your affections away from God. Food, sex, drugs, alcohol, video games, sleep, friends, family (yes, I said it), movies, sports, clothes, makeup, cars, partying, working out, laziness, money, jobs, volunteering, people pleasing....there are probably just as many to list as there are people that exist, these are just the ones that come to mind immediately. Let me take an example from my own life: Being in a relationship. Okay, God made us relational people. He created Adam, but Adam being alone wasn't good, so God created a helpmate, Eve. And things were perfect, and then they weren't. Some people in the Bible (take Paul for example) were meant to be alone. Not that they were ALONE alone, because they were relational to other people on a non-romantic level, but they were alone in the relationship department. And they were satisfied with that because they could serve the Lord without hindrance. Now, that is the right way to look at not being in a relationship. And then there is me who went through seasons of loneliness because I saw that I was alone and I felt like my "situation" (aka: my LIFE) was broken. For three months, God took me through my past and was gracious enough to show me why men in the past RAN FOR THEIR LIVES from me. Seriously, I can't say that I blame them after examining my past behavior. Needy, empty, and broken. Kind of like a train wreck with less steel involved. But then He did something even more amazing. He showed me that my life without the circumstances DOES MATTER! That I have a life that doesn't revolve around anyone or anything! And He even showed me how the life I have is beneficial. I don't have to ask for permission to quilt, I don't have anyone else to make plans for me, I don't have to deal with the finances of two people, the stresses of two people, cleaning up after more people, cooking for more people, the dreaded "in-law's", etc... I quilt when I am able (which is fairly frequently), I only have to clean up after my son and I, cook for my son and I, and I can volunteer whenever I want. Sweet set up! Does this mean that I want to be single for the rest of my life? No. God put it in me from a very young age that I want to get married, however I am not going to allow that feeling to override my love and devotion to Him. I know that there is no man on this planet that can sustain me like God can. To refine that a little more, while I will go on dates from time to time, if the guy that I am on a date with isn't as strong in his faith as I am, or stronger, I won't go on a second date with him. Though it would feel good to my flesh to keep the dude around, I know that, ultimately, it wouldn't work out. The next sin that I am working on? Food. Overeating, to be exact. This is something that is new for me to work on, but I have a feeling that God will get me through it just as He got me through loneliness. The more I allow Him to change me, the more I trust Him to do so lovingly. So, overeating will be the next area of my life that I ask God to work on with me. And I could go on and on, but I fear this is already a long enough post. I will leave you here, praying that the words I was inspired to write will help you start down the path of understanding what may be hindering you from getting out of the pit you are in and moving on to the next amazing time in your life. Much love Brandy