Connecting with Brandi Harris

Connecting with Brandi Harris

There are several new followers to the blog and to Brandi’s writing. We wanted to take a minute to share with you additional ways that you may connect with Standing Firmly in Grace:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StandingFirmlyinGrace

Twitter: @FirmlyInGrace

As always, you are able to click on the tab “Booking the Author” if you are interested in Brandi speaking at an event you may have coming up.

Being Authentic in a World of “I’m Fine”

Being Authentic in a World of “I’m Fine”

Authentic can also be described as genuine, real, and true. There was a time in our world when being authentic was easier. A time when block parties and welcoming neighbors with warm cookies or a casserole were the norm. A time when it was safe for children to play outside until just before the sun goes down. In today’s world, I hear a lot of “we’re good”, “I got this”, or “I’m Fine”. There is so much to  be gained by learning to be vulnerable with others, learning to lean on others in times of need, and allowing others to come along side us for encouragement and to do life with. We are blessed to have a few friends in our life that can be that for us. Friends that we know we can trust. We have a couple of friends we can tell anything to and we know because of our authentic relationship with them the information is safe.  

Let’s face it, life is tough. I attended a conference a couple of months ago and one of the speakers said “if you haven’t experienced great troubles or struggles,  you will”. This comment was in reference to those who work in ministry but it is true of all walks of life. Struggles come in all forms and have differing weights for those whom they happen to. Maybe your struggle is financial, career, parenting or marriage related but our response to our struggles is what determines how those struggles will affect our life. For believers, we must attack those struggles head on and “Make War” in the words of Tedashi. We must not sit by idly and let satan win even one battle in this war. There are a few practical steps we can take to wage this war.

As with many other things, we have to be willing to admit we have a problem. Maybe we have a problem with anger ( as I do at times). I have to be willing and vulnerable enough to share this with people in my life that I trust and who that I know have these same struggles. Then there are more than one of us working together to fight this war and we are more likely to succeed if we aren’t working at it alone. Another reason to share your struggle with others is that what is hidden in the darkness can be used against you by the enemy. But you shed light on it when you share your struggles with others and darkness can not live where light has invaded. Hallelujah!

Now that you have enlisted some soldiers in your war, you have to be willing to hold yourself accountable, seek accountability, and return the favor. The other day I was having a really rough day with my son and I was in tears so frustrated. I texted a friend who I knew would pray for me and speak truth, scripture, and promises of the Lord in to my life and she did. While it did not immediately make things better, it did ensure that later on I wasn’t handling it all on my own. She was there to ensure I had handled myself appropriately and to make sure the father of lies wasn’t busy trying to tell me how horrible of a mother I was because of the day we had. It is because of my real authentic relationship with her that she is on my side.

One last part of this equation is making sure you surround yourself with people who are going to encourage you and build you up not tear you down. You could run to just anyone when you need help but say your problem is with your spouse and you run to a friend who is not a Christian or doesn’t have the same values as you in marriage. You may get advice that does not line up biblically. You may spend the whole time bashing your spouse with this friend instead of coming up with an attack plan to make sure you and your spouse are aligned to fight your battle. Satan would love nothing more than to pit you and your spouse against each other and he can very easily do that by using a third-party who fills your head and heart with things that may or may not be true but are not building you or your marriage up. Reach for those friends who will always encourage you, pray for you, and who do not have a problem calling you out if you are out of line. I have a friend who has permission to call me out any time she feels I am out of line with my words, actions, or even my line of thinking and she has helped me refocus my thoughts on the Lord and reminded me that the fight isn’t between my husband and I but rather it is between satan and my family.

We have to get to a point where we are able to take off our masks and be willing to let others know what we are about and what is going on in our lives. We have to be willing to have at least a few very close people that we can spill all our dirt too and they are our partners to help us through. We also have the responsibility to be the kind of Christians who explore further when a person says “im fine”. This is usually not a truth. It can be but it is usually a way of making small talk. We need to get in there and have real, authentic conversations with those around us to figure out if in fact they are fine, if in fact they really “got this”. I know I don’t “got this” especially not on my own and not without those in my life that help me. 

I challenge each of you this week to access whether or not you have some true, genuine, authentic relationships with others. If you do, do the work to make sure those relationships are in intact because they are important to your growth as a person and as a Christian. If you do not have these people, start praying that the Lord will reveal them to you. He created us to do life in a community setting and he wants our relationships with others to be as authentic and intimate as our relationship with Him.

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