Tag Archives: Church

Jesus in the Ordinary

Enough time has passed that I’m no longer mortified that I did this video. I was going to share it awhile back and write a whole post entitled, “Hi. My Name is Bria and I’m Awkward”…but at the time I didn’t feel like sharing the video yet. So here it is now.

About a day after we shot the video everything came together in my mind and I figured out how I felt about the question. I texted our pastor with my modified but unusable answer. So here’s what I would have liked to say:

I think if I could go back, I’d add that I experience Christ in the risk, and in the trust. In the mess of the day to day. In the exhaustion. In the mundane it’s easy to miss all of it, it’s easy to not listen and not look but when I do, He’s there. He’s asking me to risk and trust and step out and look. Whispering that through all of the unsure, He’s right there, walking beside me, loving me and teaching me. Often through the simple. Sometimes through the grand. Always through the ordinary.


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After Church.

I have fond memories of Sunday afternoons growing-up. As a family we would attend church and, more often than not, head out for lunch after the service. There are two places that come to mind when I think back on those days; Fuddruckers and Grandma Lee’s. These were two polar opposite lunch destinations, but both equally delicious.

Grandma Lee’s was a little mom and pop joint. I remember their towering  sandwiches made with, what seemed like, the thickest slice of fresh bread you’d ever seen. The classic brown coffee cups and poorly decorated walls made it feel so comfortable and homey.

Fuddruckers was a chain burger joint. You went up to the front and placed your order and gave them your name. When your order was up they’d call your name over the intercom and you’d then put all of your desired fixings on your burger. After you were done eating you’d take your little ticket up to the dessert counter to redeem it for a cookie or slice of pie. They had some video games that kids could play while they waited for their food. This was a fun place to be as a kid and my dad would do his best to embarrass the poor worker who had to read the orders out over the intercom by coming-up with ridiculous names. The funny thing about Fuddruckers was that James would also go there with his family after church…I was probably seated close to him on more than one occasion.

Rarely were these after church outings to restaurants made by ourselves, we were usually with friends and the plans were usually made last-minute. So much of Sunday morning is about community and fellowship and I always liked that my parents made an effort to extend this beyond the church service. It’s something that I hope my kids can grow-up with and something that I’ve realized we haven’t done enough of. I know that we don’t need to go to a restaurant to visit with friends after church, this can easily be done in someone’s home. With a little planning and a little willingness to host it can be accomplished for much cheaper. Maybe I should make more of an effort to invite people over for lunch after church. Spending time gathered around a table is a great way to get to know people and feel like you are part of a community. It seems to me like Sunday afternoon was made for good food, good friends, full bellies and good conversation.


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Fragrant Blossoms.

Our church has been going through an awesome series called ‘The Spirit Speaks Through Community’ where different people from our community can talk about what’s going on in their own life or what God has put on their heart to share. James and I did this past Sunday’s service. I was horribly nervous and calm at the same time, weird combination. We took turns sharing about the past few years of our marriage; the low points, the learning, the stretching, the (hopefully) growing. It actually felt really good (when it was all said and done) to get up there in front of our faith community and be completely real with everyone. I didn’t try to be someone who I’m not and I shared straight from my heart. Considering where James and I have come in the past 3 years this was a HUGE step for us. In the past little while I’ve felt as though my heart is coming out of a deep slumber. It’s waking-up and stretching out, getting excited to be alive to the world again. I can feel it start to thrive and even blossom. It makes me smile. It’s a great feeling and I think that this was just one step that has helped it get there. Anyways, I thought that I would share the last part of what I spoke about on Sunday. I know there were a couple of people who wanted to hear James and I speak but couldn’t make it so this will have to do.I suppose you have to know the rest of our story for it to really make sense, but even if you don’t I hope you can connect with at least a small part of it. Enjoy.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything.”

James 1: 2-4

Do you ever have one of those moments where you just stop in your tracks and that light-bulb goes off and you think, “MAN, I have had a MAJOR gap in my thinking!” I’ve recently had one of these shifts happen.  For some time I’ve had a prayer for my life. My desire is that I become a woman who when you spend time with, you feel at rest. Now, that can come across as sounding odd at first, but let me explain. Have you ever known a woman who when you sit with her you’re at peace, you feel comfortable, you feel at home? I’ve known a few women like this. They are the fruit of the spirit, they are the Ruth’s and Ester’s. I encountered this a number of years ago and quickly began to desire the same thing in my life. I prayed that God would mold me to be more Christ-like so that I will, over the years, become a strong and peaceful woman.

But I found that even though this was my prayer I wasn’t willing to go through the molding process. I didn’t want to be pruned so that I would, in turn, become more fruitful. And not that it was this actual thought that I was having where I was saying, No! No pruning! It was more of a desire to have everything perfect and smooth and then somehow – one day – I’d wake-up and be Christ-like. So when James and I would go through things I would just get confused and angry and defeated and depressed. ..and then I’d get bitter and just want to turn down the dial on the whole God thing. There was NO joy in my suffering.

Then this past year I had one of those light bulb moments.

How can I expect to become a woman who genuinely and fully trusts in the Lord if I don’t live through situations that require me to trust?

How can I expect to become a woman who is peaceful if I don’t live through situations where I see God’s faithfulness?

How can I expect to become a strong, Christ-like woman if I don’t live through situations where God is challenging me and pushing me and stretching me…molding me into the woman I am praying and desiring to be?

How selfish of me to want to be a follower of Christ who’s life is full of fragrant blossoms who is in no way, shape or form willing to go through any sort of pruning process. How selfish.

When I fall into the thinking that I will mold myself, I will prune myself, I will be my own gardener – I will not cut as deep, I will not stretch as far…I will go easy on myself and the outcome will be significantly less stunning. This is the truth. This was my light bulb moment. I have a feeling that God is wanting to use these situations in my life to make me stronger and healthy, to help me to thrive.  And the thing is, with my plant, the pruning is a constant undertaking. Every few weeks I look over my plant and see what needs to be done.

I am finally able to look back on the years of our marriage, and be joyful and thankful that God didn’t go easy on me, or on James, because I can see the direction He has pointed us in, and I feel Him so deeply at work in our lives.

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He Reigns.

We sang this Newsboys song in church on Sunday and I was deeply moved by it. I couldn’t help but think of Haiti. I pictured flying over the island in the airplane and seeing all of their beautiful faces. I thought of their poverty and hunger and all of the injustice. I thought of the little kids that I became so attached to. In coming home I have felt so down about what I saw there. I am responsible for what I now know, and what do I do? What can I do?

This song reminded me that it is nothing I can do…we need to raise our hands to God and pray for the nation of Haiti. We need to feel the injustice and weep for the oppressed people. I know it sounds so odd, but I found myself singing this song to Haiti.


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For those about to rock…

Rhys has been a bit of a stud-muffin lately. It started off with Rhys wearing his suit jacket, bow tie and cowboy hat to church. Then he branched out and it was worn out to dinner, to Costco, to the dump. Now this outfit has seeped into his everyday wear. He gets upset when I suggest that maybe, just maybe, his suit jacket is a little overdressed for staying at home with mom all day. He says he wants to look handsome.

Well, there’s a girl, you see. She’s a very pretty girl and I think that Rhys has caught on to the fact that he needs to be extra special to get her attention. He needs to be set apart from all the other hum-drum boys…cuz she goes to school, you know. When he dresses up for church he says that he wants her to notice him, that he thinks she’ll think that he’s handsome or something. He gets a big grin on his face when he says this. I didn’t know a four-and-a-half year-old could be this in love.

I just hope, for Rhys’ sake, she’s into AC/DC.


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Real Life Facebook.

There’s this guy in our church, Dave, he’s really funny. James and I went to see his ‘Early Night Show With David Rae’ for Valentine’s day. It was kinda like watching Conan, but better because I was actually there and we had cupcakes afterward. Anyways, he had a few video’s and I found this one to be particularly amusing. I hope you enjoy it. For all you non-facebookers….well, just pretend you know what they’re talking about.


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here we go…

So here we go.

It’s this whole Safe or Free thing going on. You know, I should have it figured out by now…I should KNOW that when God is challenging my thinking and when he is pressing something on my heart, in the not-so-distant future he is going to ask me to step-up. He is going to ask me to walk it out. I just didn’t think that it would be this fast. I didn’t think that it would be this big. Well, it’s big to me. It’s big to me because there are so many reasons to not go; the money, the time, the kids, the money, the location, the money. And yet, even with all the reasons stacked up against it I feel it’s staring me in the face and I must be obedient and walk it out in faith. I want my children to see their mother live like that. I want to see myself live like that. I guess that’s why it feels big.

I think that now is an okay time to share because the flights are booked and that’s a pretty sure sign of it happening. In exactly one month James and I will be going to Haiti. I’m excited. I’m nervous. I’m sure. I’m unsure. But most of all I’m glad to be doing this with James. No, we aren’t taking the kids. No, we aren’t going anywhere close to Port-au-Prince. No, we aren’t adopting a child. There, did I just answer all of your major questions?

I’ve sat down to write about Haiti a few times. I’ve wanted to write about the shock of it all, the pain, the heartache of feeling so helpless, the prayer. But the truth is, every time I sat down to write something I felt so…unqualified. I don’t know why I’ve felt that way. It’s my blog for crying-out-loud, I can share my feelings on whatever I want. But this, this just felt different.

I have ‘Haiti’ written on my wrist. It’s there all the time. When it starts to fade from being washed off in the shower or in the bubbly dish-water I grab my pen and re-write it. I find it too easy to see a picture or read a story about what is happening in Haiti and then push it from my mind so that I can go about my day without the burden of the loss and the hopelessness weighing me down. It’s far too easy to just forget and not, as Ruth so beautifully put it, ‘stand in the gap’. Far too easy. When I look down and see those little black letters smudged on my skin I can’t help but think of the people, the pictures, the stories. My heart hurts and more often than not all I can muster is a quick “Lord, help them.”I can’t fathom what it must be like in Haiti right now. I can’t fathom what it must feel like to be one of the survivors of such a horrific disaster. I just can’t wrap my mind around the amount of orphans there are, the amount of people who’ve just lost their children.

I’ve never been to Haiti before. I don’t have a long history with a specific community. I know little tidbits about the country and the problems the people of Haiti face but I’ve never experienced it first hand. Yet I feel as though I have a connection, albeit a small one. The first time James and I attended our church (almost two years ago now) an e-mail was read during the service. It was an update from a team of people who Faith Covenant had just sent down to Haiti. I can safely say that my heart was stirred the moment the letter was read and I’ve wanted to join one of the Faith teams ever since.

I’m excited to go to Haiti with James, I wouldn’t want it any other way. My prayer is that this will be an eye-opening experience for both of us (You don’t go to the poorest country in the western hemisphere that has just lost an estimated 200,000 people to a horrendous natural disaster and not be affected by it). I’m also excited to share my experience with you and bring back some stories of hope in a seemingly hopeless situation.


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