Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Take II


You might have given up on me but I am starting the 2nd Edition of Breathe, Shine & Seek to Mend at the address above. Follow me there! It's a new phase of life. For now I am going to leave the blog open instead of private so invite others to join me too (as long as they want to follow my super random thoughts). Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Praise the Lord!

I don't know any way to celebrate Rachel's 3 years with me other than to say "Praise the Lord!" Yesterday was the anniversary of the first day she moved in with me. It's sort of crazy how a life that seemed full of risk and challenge has slowly just developed into our family. God has done so much healing, far beyond what I could have imagined!

One small example of how far we have come happened today. It represents a million such moments I am constantly experiencing. I was on the phone with Rachel's bio-mom Anita. Anita told me that she ran into Rachel's dad yesterday, who is a very creepy and bad man. She went on to tell me that she remembered something from the past that Rachel had told her about how he had threatened to kill Rachel in her sleep if Rachel told anyone about the abuse that was going on. Anita said, "no wonder she is always so scared at night." It is true. Rachel has been a restless sleeper and is very easily frightened at night, but the last month or two she is starting to change. She gets up much less during the night, she can fall asleep without me shutting every blind in the house first, and she was even able to stay home alone while Linda and I went for a walk tonight even though it was dark out. She feels safe here in her home. God is so good! Above is a picture from that first week. Wow! It feels like a lifetime ago!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sorry it has been so long since I have posted. Life gets away from me so quickly and I find it much easier to pick a new background for my blog than try to summerize life. This is, in fact, true on a larger level. When I can't quite put a finger on things emotionally, I have a strong desire to eat, watch TV & shop, things I can control to feel "good" while remaining emotionally numb... not great solutions. Since I am broke and trying to lose weight again, my idols are being challenged. I am sure every morning God is saying, "why won't Brooke just cast her cares upon me??" I know that I am needlessly carrying around anxiety but I don't know how to stop... I hate that! I wish I could just recognize my sin and then stop but it doesn't often work that way. My solution for the night is to go to bed. Sometimes I think all I really need is more sleep :-)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

...another tale of perseverance and growth! Rachel, who failed Algebra twice last year has been diligently working on her math skills over the summer. Since the start of this school year she has shown a new maturity and motivation and it seems she actually wants to pass her classes. When you have a history of doing poorly in certain classes it is easy to get discouraged and think you are stupid so I have been really impressed at her new found perseverance. Rachel has been working hard to stay on top of her math homework but the proof was in the pudding when she had to take her first test of the year. She text me a picture of the result yesterday and I was literally jumping up and down and squealing. She got a 39/40! She said to me, "I am actually remembering things." I'll be honest... that is more than I can say about Algebra.

Monday, September 13, 2010


I am a living dichotomy. All the time. Sinner & Saint among a million other small polarities I embody every day. Currently I am full of emotional energy and yet exhausted physically as I fight off a virus, a walking, talking dichotomy sitting here staring at my computer.

For weeks now I've been rubbing against two seemingly conflicting emotions, delight and despair. The more these two things have been rattling around like marbles in my head, the more I am starting to suspect that they are the result of God's powerful work around me. I am a little afraid to make this assertion. I am pretty sure it sounds presumptuous, but I cannot work out what I am experiencing in any other way. What I mean is this, I have never been encountered so many bizarre, tragic, evil, crazy situations as I have observed this year. Almost every member of our close-knit small group has some very heavy or downright oppressive situations happening in their lives. In my own biological and church family and in so many of my closest friend's families I have seen years of realational struggles rise to the surface. Addiction has climaxed, mental illness has peaked, abuse and the effects of abuse have continued to rear it's head, hopelessness has gotten a foothold in people's lives and is causing a great, slow, smoldering destruction. Marriages are crumbling all around me; young couples with unfaithful spouses & older couples with years of hurt built up around themselves. In strong Christians I have see such weakness. I have seen my fellow brothers and sisters give into sin only to be swept away by it. I have struggled along with my friends to answer the question, "how do people change?" and as we become more and more discouraged we have begun to simply as, "do people change?" I have witnessed young Christians come under hostile attack for their faith. I have seen so much hurt and so many stuck people and after awhile it's crushing, how can we fight such brokenness?

On the other hand I see the Lord really working in people. There is something beautiful and dynamic happening in our small group. There is real relationship, real challenge, real conversation and real change. As I observe Rachel's life I am constantly blessed and shocked by God's faithfulness and the miraculous forward movement I see. He takes my small faithfulness and multiplies it daily. I delight in watching the young energy and friendship between Rachel and Desiree (the other kiddo who lives with us). Desiree could not be a more perfect fit for our family and it is a real joy to have her in our home. I delight in nurturing them, it feeds a part of me God created, and I enjoy the gift of mothering. I am blessed by my pastors who Shepard tirelessly and yet don't seem discouraged. I feel blessed because in the midst of all this wartime ruble I have been given so much. Through all this hardship God is also opening new doors of conversation with those around me. My faith is beginning to contrast the World more which is a hard thing, but a good thing too. Also as I walk among those who are living through great struggle there is an intimacy, a trust, a one-anothering that has developed. The raw situations have brought us such honesty with one another and God has blessed us with such faithful friends. The elders have given me the responsibility to coordinate community development in our church and I feel very passionate and excited about this, and yet I fight discouragement almost before I have even begun. So as you can see I am filled with delight but despair is nearby.

As I think about the intensity of these two forces, I cannot help but feel convinced of a Spiritual battle taking place. One thing I learned through the first year I had Rachel is that God calls his children to step out in faith and what he calls them to is much more than they could ever handle on their own. He does this so that He may be GLORIFIED. It feels as if Satan is trying to tear down that which is good (families, marriages, small groups, churches, friendships) but the beautiful thing is that God is his great wisdom is using Satan's attacks for his purposes. He is bolstering friendships, he is taking away the superficial and replacing it with truth, he is forcing our hand so that we must deal with our sin, and the sin of our neighbor, he is making us weak so that his power can be made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9), he is making us foolish in the eyes of the world to shame the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27), he is giving us perfect love which casts out fear (1 John 4:18). We must fight despair. I feel like I have legitimate reasons to feel overwhelmed by the brokeness around me but that is why I have been praying for the Lord to keep me from despair. What I am finding is that I can feel his Spirit at work in me. I am weak, and I feel capable of being swept away by sin or depression or apathy as quickly as the next guy but I feel his voice saying "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." and like Paul I say, "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Never Give Up

I love this story in the New York Times about a South Korean woman who finally got her Driver's License after 960 tries. This is a real inspiration for perseverance!


Saturday, September 4, 2010

ice cold water

Most my posts these days, limited as they are, are simply catching people up on the happenings of my life. I try to hit the big things but as we know life is made up so much more of the small things. When I first started blogging I shared my heart a lot more. I was going through the intense journey of becoming the most unusual sort of parent and I was often alone because it was a unique & demanding journey. Having a blog allowed me to sort out my feelings and to share honestly. I also felt the Lord's presence during that time. He was able to be with me when no human could. My blog gave glory to the one who took me through such a transitional time with so much joy. Sometimes in life we have clarity of purpose. We encounter a season that is intense yet the emotions run deep and clear and can be felt like ice cold water running through our veins. More often in life I have felt like my emotions are in an underground cavern. I feel the rumblings of sorrow, or joy, or confusion, or inspiration, but I am too busy or too numb to really experience it, much less write about it. I am swept away in the current of a full life and in the small coves and islands of time away from the rushing of it all I just catch my breath and away I go again. Even when I come to a full stop I don't know where to begin sorting it all out. The ins and outs of my life as a mother, daughter, sister, friend, single woman, working woman, sister in Christ, bring up so many thoughts and feelings... how can I put that into coherent thought? I think that is the beauty of writing though. It forces us to bring into some order that which is so complex. It does not allow for us to shrug our shoulders and go on without making a point. Just a few weeks ago I felt so insanely over committed and full of unexplainable emotion that I thought I was going to burst. Somehow over the last week I am starting to feel alive again. With the fresh start of a new school year and having accomplished a great number of things that needed to be done, I have relaxed inside. I also attribute this shift to a little bit of much needed alone time and a few nights of enjoying an outrageously good time (needless to say, in the form of dancing). Some of this depth of feeling is also a mystery, there is a spiritual battle raging in all of this and even though I don't always know what is what I know my spiritual state drives my emotional life as well. So what is the point of this post you ask? The point is that I have the ice cold river of emotion running through my veins right now. I would have a lot to talk about if you and I could have coffee at this moment. I am full, and that doesn't mean I am all rainbows and butterflies, it just means that I am feeling things and thinking things and I am ripe to share, in other words I could talk your ear off. I hope to post with more depth for awhile, not excluding the posts about events, but including more of my thoughts and feelings about life along the way. I say this with some fear that come the race that is next week, this inspiration may be gone, but I know how I value the blogs of others who share in this way (Paige, thank you for reminding me of that recently) so I hope I can follow through. I love and miss so many of you who are far away (or who are close and I rarely see) and I am glad for the safe circle of friends who read this and will, I hope, read it with grace.