Saturday, December 25, 2010

My L.O.V.E.

My love,

Before the beginning of time, I knew you. I knew what color your eyes would be, and I could hear the sound of your laughter. Like a proud father who carries a picture of his child, I carried an image of you in My eyes, for you were created in my image. Before the beginning of time, I chose you. I spoke your name into the heavens, and smiled as its melody resounded off the walls of My heart.

You are mine. My love for you extends farther than the stars in the sky and deeper than the ocean. You are My pearl of great price, the one for whom I gave everything. I cradle you in the palm of my hand. I love you even in the face of your failure. You do not have to perform for me. Nothing you say or do can cause Me to stop loving you. I am relentless in My pursuit of you. Run from Me – I will love you. Spit on me – I will love you. Reject yourself – I will love you. What you did in the past, what you are struggling with now, and how you fail later will not affect My love. You see, My love for you was slain before the foundations of the world. I have never regretted and will never regret the sacrifice I made for you at Calvary. You are worth that sacrifice.

When I see every part of who you are, I marvel at the work of My hands, for I whispered words of longing and desire and you came into existence. You are beautiful, and I take pleasure in you – heart, mind, and body. You have captured Me. You are My desire. Still, when you turn your head in shame and despise what I have made, I still reach for you with gentle passion. You are my beloved and I am yours.

Your Savior 

**This is from my trip to New Jersey during the summer of 2010. I hope it encourages you as much as it encourages me. I was brought to tears while typing it up! I hope each of you have a blessed Christmas and a blessed New Year!! :)
In Christ,

Monday, December 20, 2010

I'm SO Blessed!

Alright, so it's Christmas break and I have truly realized I am SO blessed! I am homeless, yet God has provided this awesome family that has welcomed me into their home with open arms. I have the opportunity to sleep here, eat here, and stay here for 3 weeks! I don't deserve this one bit, but our God knows how much I need this during this rough time.

December is the hardest month of the year for me because of things that have happened in the previous years. In December of 2007 is when I left my real family (read previous blogs to learn more) and in December of 2009 is when I realized the Hobbs family was no longer "family". My heart is broken right now for all of the things that have happened during this month. I am so broken right now, not only for what has happened during this month in the past, but because it will never be the same. I will never again wake up on Christmas morning with my brother and wait to wake up my parents to open presents. I will never experience that again. I will never experience the joy I had in seeing how many things my mom has bought me for Christmas. I will never experience living in a home with my real family. I will never be able to have a relationship with my mom that I don't have to hide. 

BUT, I will experience the blessings of the little things that people do for me like this box of presents I received that I am not allowed to open until Christmas from some mysterious people at school. I will experience joy in knowing that I have an awesome God that will always be there for me and He will provide for me in HUGE ways. I will be able to have a relationship with my mom even if we don't talk all the time. I will be able to be so much more thankful for what I have now versus what I had then. I will be able to stand in awe of my God and what He has done through me since 2007. I will be able to share His love with others wherever He leads me. I will rejoice in the ways God is working in and through me. Our God is GOOD!

Since I have been at college I have learned the true meaning of the Christmas season--JESUS! Christmas is not about how many presents I receive or where I am living. Christmas is about Jesus. Christmas is about the birth of my Savior. CHRISTmas is about Jesus Christ. What a blessing it is to call Jesus my Savior and visibly see Him answer my prayers! It's so awesome to be able to know that my Daddy loves me more than anyone on this planet could ever "love" me. In this period of singleness, that's what I need to realize, that God loves me more. I can't fathom what God is doing in my life, with CCH, or on Trine University's campus, but I know that it is all awesome and that it's for His glory! 

Conclusion---God is GOOD! :)

In Christ,

Friday, December 10, 2010

My Life Journey to JESUS

After posting the A Broken Family blog, I feel led to explain a little more of my family situation with you. In the process of sharing my family situation I will share with you how I have come to know Jesus! :) Yay! [Oh, and bear with me this is a LONG post, but it's my testimony, so it's not going to be short with how much God is doing :) ]

During the fall of 2007, my senior year of high school, I was struggling a lot. I was struggling with having suicidal thoughts. I was struggling with fitting in within my family of 4. I was struggling with being accepted at school. I was LOST. I had told my parents that I was suicidal and they didn't think twice about it. After telling my parents that I was heartbroken that they were not going to do anything about it. I was mad that my own family didn't care that I was suicidal.

In December of 2007 I was talking to my best friend on the phone. I told her that I couldn't take it anymore. That I couldn't take the way my family was treating me and how much they were bringing me down. My mom ended up waking up and asking me who I was talking to and I told her it was my best friend Lindsey. She proceeded to start yelling at me and telling me that I was really different ever since I started hanging out with Lindsey. I just felt attacked. I felt like my family was accusing me of doing all of these things that I have never done. I was the Assistant Director of the Fall Play and would constantly be at my high school working on the set. My family thought I was doing something else. I told Lindsey that I couldn't take it anymore and that I wanted to leave. After I got off of the phone with Lindsey I started pulling all of the clothes out of my closet. I was preparing to move out. I found trash bags to throw everything in. I didn't know where I was going, but I knew I would be going somewhere. That night I cried myself to sleep because I was scared and worried of what was to come.

The next morning I wake up to my mom and brother talking. The next thing I know, my brother had unlocked my door, threw me from my bed and restrained me on the ground while sitting on top of me and restraining my hands above my head. He verbally threatened me and told me that I was causing the family so much anguish and hurt. I couldn't breath because of the way he was sitting on me. I was frightened that he was going to physically abuse me. Eventually, I got him to get off of me.

Things were quiet and I decided to go get a drink of water from the kitchen. My mom followed me into the kitchen. Then, out of nowhere, she came at me restraining me by the collar of my shirt. She said "I don't care if I go to jail for this, it is worth it." I PANICKED! I went for the phone to call 9-1-1. While I was trying to get to the phone my mom was still holding on to me restraining me from much movement. I made it to the phone and dialed 9-1-1. My brother disconnected the phone before the call was put through. I didn't know what to do I was lost and helpless. I went to the other end of the house to the only other phone in the house to call 9-1-1. My mom was still restraining me by my collar and screaming at me. I made it to the other phone, dialed 9-1-1, somehow my mom and I ended up on the ground, I shouted "HELP ME" into the phone, my brother disconnected the phone again. I got up, and my brother and mom proceeded to tell me that life was going to be a living HELL for me for doing that. My brother reconnected the phone, and there was someone from 9-1-1 on the other line and I took the phone from my brother. The lady on the other end told me that there should have been a sheriff deputy pulling into my driveway at that time. The deputy told me to go out to the car while he talked with my mom and brother.

Some time later he came out. He didn't ask me what happened. He didn't ask me how I was doing. He TOLD me that I just needed to suck it up for the next 5 months and stay with my family. I was hurt! What just happened and why was this person not going to help me? The sheriff left and I went back inside my house, grabbed my stuff for school and left. I found my best friend Lindsey and told her to come with me to our teachers room so that I could tell her what happened. I just told my teacher that my mom had come at me and told me "I don't care if I go to jail for this, it's worth it." Immediately she took me to the guidance counselor and sat me down so that we could discuss what had happened.

I sat with my guidance counselor and teacher and told them what had happened. During the conversation my teacher realized that I had marks on my neck. Upon examination, I had several marks all over my body from what had happened that morning. The Deputy that came to my house that morning came to my high school. I shared with him my side of the story of what really happened. He asked me why I didn't share with him what had happened that morning. I told him he never gave me a chance to. After he saw the marks on my body he informed me that I had no choice but to press charges against my brother and mom. The restraining order would last at least 3 months or until the case was solved. At that point, I was homeless. My teacher, counselor, and I sat through possible scenarios of where I could live temporarily until I found a permanent home. I ended up staying with my friend Lindsey and her family. I didn't understand what was going to happen after all of this. I stayed with Lindsey for two weeks until I moved in with my friend Heather Hobbs and her family permanently.

The Hobbs family were really inviting. They knew I was going through a lot and they were there with me every step of the way. God had a plan in me living with them. Before moving in with the Hobbs family, I had never gone to church regularly, but I started going every week. I didn't willingly go to church, but I was forced to go (& today I am thankful that I started going to church then). I didn't really listen to the messages or pay attention to what was going on around me, but God was still working in my heart. The Hobbs family provided me with a home and a loving family that was there to support me. They helped me pursue my life-long dream of going to college. I stayed with them until the day I left for college on August 23, 2008.

I went to college 4 hours away from my hometown at Trine University in Angola, Indiana. 4 hours away from the drama. 4 hours away so that I could start a new life. A new life is what I started! The second day I was on campus I went to a worship session with the only Christian organization on my campus called Christian Campus House. Worship was good and I thought that I could get to know a lot of people through the organization. I started attending everything that dealt with CCH. I met my first college best friend Sarah at that first worship and we grew closer and closer as the year progressed.

Around the middle of fall semester it really hit me that people in CCH were different than me. It really hit me that they had something that I was missing. One of the senior girls in CCH named Erica was very blunt with me one day and asked me why it is that I cursed. I had no response. God spoke to me through her and from that day until now I have stopped cursing. That one step, has started a changing trend. I have changed so many things in my life since that day. During Christmas break I returned to the Hobbs house and I was reading a book called "Velvet Elvis" by Rob Bell. This book really touched my heart it shared the Gospel with me and helped me to realize I had a hole in my heart that could only be filled with Christ. I accepted Jesus into my heart!! :)

After Christmas break I started seeking God more and learning more about the story of Jesus. I met with my campus minister Travis and he helped me seek God to heal all the hurts and pains from others in my life. He encouraged me to forgive everyone for the things they have done to me that have hurt me. I wrote a list of ways people have hurt me and through a process of a couple of weeks I forgave every single hurt on the list. I forgave my brother, my mother, every single person that has ever hurt me. On my first missions trip to Dungannon, Va I felt God calling me to share with others that I had accepted Him into my heart and my life. On March 13, 2009, I was baptized! That moment I could not explain how I felt. God was soo good and I was so excited to be starting this journey of loving and serving Him.

On my way back from the trip, I called Denise Hobbs and told her that I had been baptized during the trip. She wasn't excited, she didn't even seem to care. She only wanted to know who had baptized me. Did that matter? No. For someone that has grown up in the church, I thought she would at least be excited for me.

That next summer I applied to be a missionary at Cedar Point and tell others about the amazing things God has been doing in my life. I found out that evangelism is not the easiest thing to do, but I knew that God was teaching me how to do it that summer. I was planning on going home after Cedar Point before returning to school so I texted Denise and told her when I would be coming home. She told me that home was in a different place and that her and Jamey had split up about 5 months ago. WHAT? I was 4 hours away and I had no idea any of this was going on. I knew that they were having problems, but I never knew that it was that bad. I went to Denise's condo for a couple days. It was awkward. It was really awkward. I didn't feel like I was at home, I felt like Denise didn't really care about me anymore. I felt like I couldn't even call that condo "home." I came back to school for RA training feeling very weird about what had happened a couple days before. I didn't really think about it much because I had to get into school mode.

God had been laying on my heart for a while that I needed to reconnect with my real mom. I didn't know how I was going to communicate with her or what I was going to say, so I just prayed about it. Eventually, in October, God led me to write my mom a letter in the mail. I told my mom that I was sorry for everything that had happened and that I had forgiven her. I told her that I have grown so much. That I have grown independently and that I have found my identity in Christ. I told her I wanted her to be a part of my life again. I prayed over the letter before I sent it in the mail.

On October 31, 2009 I received a text from my cousin Courtney (who is the only family member I stayed in contact with during this time) and she told me that my mom had received the letter and it was the best thing she could have ever received. God knew this was the perfect time for us to reconnect. I could not have been any more happier at that point. God had placed my mommy back in my life!

During Christmas break in 2009 I met up with my mom again for the first time in two years. This meeting was in God's perfect timing. It was not easy. It was one of the hardest things I have done to approach my mother who I had not seen in two years. One of the first things she said to me is that she just wanted to move on and put the past in the past and have a relationship with me. God answered my prayers! I was so excited to just move forward and have a relationship with my mom!

During this same Christmas break chaos occured at Denise's house. Things really blew up between her son and myself. I truly felt out of place at her home. I didn't even feel like I could call that place home. I ended up coming back to campus a week early and staying at one of the sorority houses. The entire 4 hour car ride back to my school no words were said except for at lunch, which if you know me it is really hard for me to keep quiet for 5 minutes. There was a lot of animosity between myself and Denise. In February, I emailed her about my tax forms and getting them done in time to get a grant from the school for $1,000. Basically, the conversation ended up leading to her saying that she regretted taking me in and she couldn't have said no because she would have felt bad. The conversation ended with her telling me to have a good rest of my life and that she did not want to be a part of it. I was homeless, again!

Broken and unknowing of what God's plan was for me, but still trusting Him, God led me to be a missionary with Campus Crusade for Christ for the summer in Wildwood, NJ. This would provide a home for me to go to during the summer, a place to grow closer to God, to share Christ's love, and make money with a summer job. God provided. He not only provided  me with a home for the summer, but He provided me with over $3,000 in support so that I could spend the summer telling others about Him. God is so awesome. During the summer God really laid on my heart that being an evangelist is what I am called to do. Telling others about Jesus comes so naturally to me and I am able to open up to anyone. I'm excited for my future missions to glorify God's Kingdom.

This year God has been blessing me with so many things. With the prayer room I have found another spiritual gift that God has blessed me with. I have been able to draw closer to God and to truly rely on Him to heal my heart from things in the past. He has showed me that my heart needs to fully seek Jesus and not be so stuck on the things of this world. I have applied to be a missionary in Kenya or Indonesia for next summer and I am really excited for the potential opportunity to step out in faith and share Christ in a different country. Oh, and just so you know, God always provides a home for me during breaks from school. In a week I will be spending 3 weeks with Jamie, the girl who has helped in the development of the prayer room/meetings, for Christmas break. God is good. I think one of my next blogs will be about a conversation I had on the boardwalk in NJ with a girl named Miranda. Until then, God bless you.

In Christ,

Friday, December 3, 2010

Prayers for Revival at Trine

Since my missions trip to Panama City Beach in March of 2010, I have had this passion to bring some part of that ministry back to my campus at Trine University. I have tried starting a van ministry, but the administration at Trine did not approve of it. I have been praying that God would lead me to do something that would bring PCB to Trine. While on Summer Project this summer, the staff members gave us a book called Fireseeds of Spiritual Awakening by Dan Hayes. The book talks about revivals; how they start, what occurs, and the after effects. Revival starts with prayer.

Revival starts with prayer in our own devotional lives and then we join with others and pray for revival. We pray that God would equip those that know Him with the boldness to share the Gospel. We pray for the hearts of the people around us. We pray that God would move in their hearts and lead them to Him.

While in Panama City Beach, we had a prayer room set up where people would pray over those that were out on the streets and giving rides for the van ministry. We have a prayer room at the main house of Christian Campus House. I don't think it is used that often. A freshman named Jamie has teamed up with me to start using the prayer room and to start praying for revival on this campus. We have spent this week praying over the room and praying that God would lead us to do His Will in our passion for prayer. We met the other day and God just kept giving us ideas for this room. We came up with the idea to post scripture on the walls. We are going to hang up a bulletin board that people can thumb tack prayer requests to. We will have different people going to the prayer room everyday to pray over the requests and pray for a revival. We have put articles about prayer, evangelism, faith, sin, etc. in a binder that people can refer to. We found a composition notebook down there that has journal entries in it that date back to 2004. There are about 20 pages that have been writen on since then. Hopefully we can fill up that notebook by the end of school year. We are also going to be holding a weekly prayer meeting which might turn in to twice weekly. This will be a time for the body of Christ to come together and lift up the campus and lift up eachother for God's Will to be done in our lives.

The Church has many organizers, but few agonizers;
many who pay, but few who pray, many resters, but few wrestlers;
many who are enterprising, but few who are interceding.
People who are not praying are playing.
Two prerequisites of dynamic Christian living are vision and passion,
both of these are generated by prayer.
The ministry of preaching is open to every child of God.
The secret of praying is praying in secret.
A worldly Christian will stop praying;
a praying Christian will stop worldliness...
Tithes may build the church, but tears will give it life.
That is the difference between the modern church and the early church.
Our emphasis is on paying, theirs was on praying.
When we have paid, the place is taken.
When they had prayed, the place was shaken (Acts 4:31).
In the matter of effective praying, never have so many left so much to so few.
Brethren, let us pray.

- Leonard Ravenhill

This quote is from the book I have been reading Fireseeds of Spiritual Awakening. I pray we would become a people of prayer! I'd like to encourage each of you reading this blog to go out and purchase this book about revival. It will give you a passion for prayer and revival.

Please pray for this opportunity. Pray that God would equip Jamie and I with the things we need to do God's Will. Pray that our first prayer meeting this Saturday goes well. Pray that we can share our passion with others. Pray that God would be known on the campus of Trine University. Pray that the Body of Christ would have the boldness to go outside of their comfort zones and proclaim the name of Jesus. Pray that we would use the prayer room for what it is there for. Pray that God would open your eyes for the need for a revival in your town. Nothing is too big for God.

Thanks for praying!

In Christ,
Brandi :)