Dust of Life

Dust of Life

 

 

 

 

 

The picture above is of something very special to me. This is my bouquet that I carried down the isle when I married my husband. It was also important to my mother in law that I carry my husbands bible that was given to him when he was born. As you look closely at this picture, you will see those things. You will see the whiteness of the roses and the way it has been protected because my mother in law put this together for me over 10 years ago to protect something very special to me.

I do not like to dust. In all honesty, I only clean out of necessity because we like to live in a relatively clean home but dusting is not on my regular schedule for cleaning. For the sake of transparency,  it might get done maybe twice a year. You know that whole concept of spring and maybe fall cleaning, that is when I dust. So the picture below is a good representation of what my home looks like when I do dust. The whole house fills with dust particles.

Dusty-house-4601

 

I say all this to set up what happened today while I was dusting(one of the twice yearly dustings).  As I was cleaning the area where this vase and bowl sit in our home, I began to clean the bowl. I paid close attention to each crease and crevice of this so that I could remove all dust particles from its casing. As I did I saw that underneath the bowl, the actual flowers and bible are still in pristine condition. The flowers are white and have not aged with color. They are not dusty at all and the Bible is not dusty.

The overwhelming understanding of this parallel to my marriage came to me at this time. My husband and I were both believers when we married. The Lord has always been a part of our marriage. However, the Lord has not always been the number one priority. We have placed our selves and our selfish desires above the desires of the Lord for many years of our marriage and in many ways we still do this. They may not look the same as the selfish desires of our young twenties but we still have struggles related to our selfishness.

But I am able to look back on my marriage through the lens of this vase and see how the Lord has protected our marriage.  Despite all the things we have done, despite all the ways we have dragged our marriage through the proverbial mud, the Lord has protected us. At times it is dusty, sometimes so dusty that you can not even see threw the filth that we have layered on top of it. But in its core, in the covenant of our marriage, the Lord has protected us from things that could ever alter the core of we are. This is not that the Lord does not allow struggles to come our way because they do. It just showed me in this moment, that is all they are. They are just struggles and when they have come and gone, the covenant we have created with each other and with the Lord will remain clean, unblemished. Our promises to him and to each other can and will withstand what the world throws at us. It can withstand the decisions we make that layer dirt and mud on that protection the Lord places around our marriage.

The Lord is faithful to finish what he has started in us as individuals and in our marriages. This extends even further to your profession, maybe your ministries, and your relationship to his Bride(The Church)

For I am confident in this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ. -Philippians 1:6

 

Is she credible?

Is she credible?

When I find a blog/site that I love, I always want to find out as much as I can about the author or contributors. And as my audience, I want you all to have as much information as possible. My hope is that I am always transparent so that you can see I am no better than anyone else, I have my faults but through all that it is my life experiences and love for my Lord and my love for others that as spurred me on to share with you all. I hope I can be an encouragement to others.

What  you will find below are some references that have been shared with me to use on my site and for other promotional items. They are exactly as they were written from their authors and there will be others added at times or rotated in and out. After this post, you will be able to find References located on a tab in the menu. Thank you all for caring enough to read and thank you all to those who shared kind words to help provide some insight into who I am for my readers.

 

Brandi and I shared an office during our employment at Child Protective Services. To this day, Brandi was one of the most supportive co-workers I’ve ever had and I always found her to be motivating and inspiring as she truly felt passion for helping the families on her caseload. Her positive attitude is contagious and her love and devotion for God and her own family shines through in everything she does.

-Lindsay Wooten, Previous Co-Worker

 

Brandi has a heart for The Lord and a gift of writing. Her greatest desire is to use this gift The Lord has given her for His glory. I’m beyond excited to see what God does in and through her during this journey He has her on.

Ketra Hancock L.A.S., Co-Founder and Executive Director of Still Waters

 

I was honored to work with Mrs. Brandi Harris at the Department of Family and Protective Services. I observed her attitude to be caring, compassionate, and she thrived under extreme stress and crisis. She relied on her faith during challenging times at work and in her personal life. She is a thoughtful person and full of love.

-Harriette Barron, Author of Coffee Time with Daddy: My Road to Recovery

 

I have known Brandi Harris for more than 5 years and I can truly tell you that she speaks from the heart. No matter what she says you know it is her honest opinion. She is a great person and inspiration. I can trust that anything I share with her (even some of my most intimate thoughts) will be taken to the grave and she has always given me her undivided attention. I have shared things with her that I have never shared with others and I have no regrets because I know she does not see me differently and she does not pass judgment on me. One of the quotes that comes to mind when I think of Brandi is this, “What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right”. I say that because Brandi chooses not to tell you what she thinks you want to hear or what is acceptable. She is going to tell you what she thinks and she is always leading with her strong heart and faith.

-Susan Oxford MSW, Previous Supervisor and Mentor

 

I met Brandi as one of my students in my first year serving in Youth Ministry. She has always been very bright and wanting to grow and learn as much as she could about God and how to live the life that He wants for her. She has grown into an incredibly wise woman of God, who longs to share her wisdom and talents with other women. Her passion is to mentor women to become the wives and mothers that God has called them to be in their homes. I count it a blessing, to now serve with her as co-leader in our Lace Women’s Ministry.

-Rima Griffin, Co-Founder and Leader of L.A.C.E Women’s Ministry

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones…

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones…

But words will never hurt me.  That is what I was told as a child and I am pretty sure I was made to say it back as if it were a mantra I would always need to remember. But it wasn’t true. I have never had a broken bone but I have had many hurts that were a direct result of people’s words. I have also been the cause of pains felt by those I care about because of the words I chose to use when talking to them, especially my children.

I recently have made a new friendship with wonderful mom over at Hands Free Mama. She has so much truth to share with the world and she has had some amazing opportunities to share lately. She is genuine and cares deeply about the families she is hoping to impact by sharing her stories and her journey. I am blessed to call her a friend in this journey of motherhood.

On December 11, 2013, I was up late at night because I was unable to sleep. I came across an article written by the Hands Free Mama entitled The Bully Too Close to Home. It peeked my interest and I was the only one up at 2am so I read it. I highly  encourage you to do the same, Even before you finish reading my post.

As I began to read the article, I immediately knew that it was going to be significant in my life. Her words all at once comforted me while also calling me to the carpet on the way I speak to my children. I can not express to you how convicting her words were for me. If you struggle like I do with the way you speak to your children, then she has such encouraging words about how we can get on track. It won’t always be easy but you can always start over each time you mess up.

The night I read the article I did so through drenched eyes. After I finally made it through to the end of the article, I spend the next 10 minutes on my knees bawling before the Lord about this inequity in my life. I don’t want to be the bully in my home. I want to create a safe haven for my children and for my husband. I want more than anything to encourage them and build them up at all times but many days it doesn’t come out that way.

I am so thankful for being part of a family that does Grace and second chances. My family does not hold it over my head if I make a snap judgement, or snap at them, or treat them like they should already know how to do some things better than others. They just simply say they are sorry and we move on. I know the benefit of apologizing for my behavior as well. And I know the importance of being intentional with them so that they know I want more for our relationships together.

When my oldest was out for school, we had truly the most fun we have ever had together at home. I chose not to be the Bully. I chose not to assume because his brother was crying that he must have done something to him. I sat aside time special just for him each day and I enjoyed it so much. I know he did as well. We went most of the Christmas break with no yelling. Praise the Lord!! Just calm reassurance. It was truly so amazing that I did not want my son to return to school, which if I am being honest, is not the norm. I am usually ready for him to return because the two of them are driving me crazy. But not this time. I soaked up every minute I could get with them, gave them lots of hugs, snuggles, played games, and just spent time together. These were the things that helped me from being the bully in my home.

I feel that this year is starting out better and I am going to continue to be intentional about building up the relationships with those closest to me and not doing anything as far as I am concerned to tear them down. There will be plenty of people in the life of my children that will hurt them with words and I am resolved not to be one of those people. Grace is extended to us each day and in my endeavor to live a more Christ-like life. I want to be extending that same grace to my children in allowing them room to make mistakes.

Thank you Hands Free Mama for sharing your struggles and words of encouragement. And thank you for allowing me to share what your post, The Bully Too Close to Home, has done in my life. I thank the Lord for the friendship he is building in us as well.