Friday, July 31, 2009

Pride and Victory

Last night the enemy was attacking me with lie after lie about my identity, my purpose on earth and my frequent failures. In the middle of a messy and tearful journal entry, I turned on the radio knowing that at least musical praise and positive radio djs would help fill my spirit with praise and combat the bombarding lies. At such a fertile and pivotal moment of my thoughts and writing, the Lord's wisdom and answers came through the dj reading a poem on the radio.

I had just written the following:

"Lord, I believe Your ways are better than my ways and Your thoughts are higher than my thoughts, but who am I? Why am I here? Has my life done anything? Am I any more than filling space?"


"My name is Pride. I am a cheater.
I cheat you of your God-given destiny...because
you demand your own way.
I cheat you of contentment...because you
'deserve better than this.'

I cheat you of knowledge...because you already
know it all.

I cheat you of healing...because you're
too full of me to forgive.

I cheat you of holiness...because you refuse to
admit when you're wrong.

I cheat you of vision...because you'd rather look
in the mirror than out a window.

I cheat you of a genuine friendship...because
nobody's going to know the real you.

I cheat you of love...because real romance
demands sacrifice.

I cheat you of greatness in heaven...because you
refuse to wash another's feet on earth.

I cheat you of God's glory...because I convince
you to seek your own.

My name is Pride. I am a cheater.

You like me because you think I'm always looking out for you.
I'm looking to make a fool of you.
God has so much for you, I admit, but don't worry...
If you stick with me
You'll never know."

This poem was read on K-LOVE radio and I immediately looked it up on the Internet and found it here, a part of Living Proof Ministries. The words spoke to me so powerfully that I re-worded a few stanzas that I particularly needed to ponder and pray about so that they are more convicting for me.

  • Because I demand my own destiny, I ignore my God-given destiny.
  • Because I believe 'I deserve better than this,' I refuse contentment.
  • Because I cannot forgive, I refuse healing.
  • Because I look at myself rather than the needs around me, I am blind to vision and purpose beyond myself.
  • Because real romance, earthly and heavenly, is work, I refuse love.
  • Because I try to promote myself, I prevent God from claiming glory from my life.

After praying over each of these heart-wrenching truths, I found the following song from my lips, heart and spirit:

"It's all about You, Jesus,
and all this is for You,
for Your glory and Your fame,

It's not about me,
as if You should do things my way;

You alone are God and I surrender

to Your Way."

I hope you are similarly blessed by this poem and revelation.

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Photo borrowed from young ladies christian fellowship

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Walking By Faith

My good friend, Lauren has a blog called Walking By Faith where she openly talks about her life, love and walk with the Lord. Regardless of the subject matter, Lauren's perspective is always the same - Walking with the Jesus, by complete surrender and faith, "Every second, Every hour, Every Day." I am very blessed and take great encouragement from the metaphorical Walk Lauren shares, but this week I've been overcome with the journey of literally walking by faith - one physical foot in front of the other.

I have been blessed to have done two mountain hikes and one trail run in the past few days. I understand the importance of adequate shoe support on hikes, but if the trail allows, I love to hike in Teva sandals, which I wore on my two hikes this week. Afternoon mountain storms were present on both of the hikes making the ground slippery as well as rocky. On my way up to Hanging Lake on Sunday, I stopped to let a woman step down from one of the seven small bridges on the way up. I stood off to the side as she timidly stepped down from the wooden bridge to the ground - her foot immediately slipped and her weight shifted wrong and she would soon have fallen if God hadn't placed me at that exact place at
that exact time to catch her waving arm and steady her once more.

After that sobering reminder of how easily feet slip, I spent the rest of my hike, and the one a
few days later seriously pondering the literal sentiment of Walking By Faith. If you've ever taken a mountain hike or walked on an icy path or simply tripped unexpectedly, you've been immediately humbled by how easily your feet can have a mind of their own and you fall victim to gravity.

Every literal step we take is an act of faith. You can have years of experience walking without incident, you can have the right footwear, you can have strong muscles and a clear path where you are headed - but at any point your feet can slip, your ankle can turn, your footing can be lost and you become as wobbly as a toddler. I take great inspiration from Lauren's stories of walking by faith through each step of life, but I would encourage you to be humbled by thinking about your literal steps each day and how they demonstrate God's faithfulness as well. It is not just a metaphor of our spiritual journey but a literal demonstration of our dependence on our great and infinite God!

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Word-Filled Wednesday: Luke 7:41-48

"Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?"
Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled."
"You have judged correctly," Jesus said.

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she had poured perfume on
my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven-- for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."
Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."

Her many sins have been forgiven -- for she loved much, but he who has been forgiven little loves little... Your sins are forgiven.

What joy with which to start this beautiful day!

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Perfect(ly Timed) Storm

Last night a storm rolled into the mountains just a cloud settled over my disposition. While in some cases the dark sky might have solidified my dark mood, last night I felt like God was validating my frustration. It felt honest and loving that the state of the sky would mirror the state of my heart and with every strong gust of wind, I felt like God Himself wanted to blow the frustration from my spirit.

I am headed on a hike this afternoon with some old family friends and I eagerly anticipate more tangible representations of God's love for me revealed before my very eyes.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Esperanza Rising

"Do not ever be afraid to go back and start over."

In the summer of 2007, I took a children's literature
class as a part of my masters studies at Vanderbilt University. I loved this class and the reading assignments felt more like enjoyable recreation than class work. One book we read was, "Esperanza Rising" about a little girl whose family immigrates from Mexico to California during the 1930s. Her grandmother provides this proverb about knitting and Esperanza learns that the wisdom also applies to life, "Do not ever be afraid to go back and start over."

I have delayed in writing this post until my new friend at had given my blog the beautiful face-lift you're now viewing. I have a fresh mindset and I wanted it to parallel the fresh appearance of The Mountain Brooke blog.

The past six months have been difficult for me. Full of transition, new people, new challenges and little consistency, I have been made to lean upon God in a more submissive and dependent manner than ever before. Some days God is less direct than others but His message to me has remained the same throughout these days of transition and frustration, "Brooke, though many things in your life are changing, I am the same yesterday, today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).

With the mindset of going back and starting again, I believe Him. I believe the next six months will be better than the last six months. I am not afraid to go back and start again. Due to several unavoidable circumstances, I drove the same route in July as I did last January... from Michigan to Eagle, I drove in a packed minivan with many worldly possessions moving to my new life in the West. In my mind, I am starting again.

This summer I bought a new car, moved to a townhome with another teacher I met through church and am in a better mindset to settle and enjoy my current life and job in Colorado.

I will be starting this school year in August -- BEFORE my teaching assistants and the children start the year, instead of trying to play catch-up in February like I did last year.

At the end of the book, Esperanza Rising, after reading about this girl's journey and growth, you learn the Spanish meaning of Esperanza. Esperanza means hope. I feel as though my hope is rising and I am believing God's sovereignty and faithfulness for every detail of my life, and all plans in my immediate and distant future.

Just now when I looked up Hebrews 13:8 to make sure I correctly referenced the verse above, my eye was caught by Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." I want that kind of faith, that kind of hope. I am going back and starting again with a Spirit of rising hope and growing faith.

Join me as my hope rises and my faith blossoms believing God's goodness and love and consistency yesterday and today and forever.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Word-Filled Wednesday!

A friend of mine always posts "Word Filled Wednesday" and she links to another blog where everyone shares verses on Wednesday.  Well, I tried to test the "blog-linking" waters this morning, and found that the woman who hosts the Word Wednesday will not do so after this week.  So, I'm not linking to a blog and don't know if this will become a weekly thing; however,  all of that to say, I still wanted to share these verses...

Lamentations 3:17-29

I have been deprived of peace;
I have forgotten what prosperity is.
So I say, "My splendor is gone
and all that I had hoped for the Lord."

I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young.

Let him sit alone in silence,
for the Lord has laid it on him.
Let him bury his face in the dust --
there may yet be hope.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fear of Deer

If you know me very well at all, you know I suffer from an unnatural and untraceable fear of deer.  If you've questioned me about this fear, I'm sure I've explained to you the following:

Horses - I am very comfortable around horses.  I understand that I am in control of these animals, I am not afraid of horses and I know what to do in order to remain safe around one or more horses.  I am in control of the horse.

Moose - Moose are totally in control of their situations and my interactions with them.  I've heard the theory that moose run the world, and I'd be inclined to believe it.  If a moose crosses your path, you are going NOWHERE until that moose decides to meander on his way.  I yield to the moose.

Deer - I have no idea what to do when I'm confronted with a deer.  The deer is afraid of me, I am afraid of the deer.  The deer doesn't know what I'm going to do, I don't know what
the deer is going to do.  The deer is SO STUPID that he startles, twitches, gets a "deer in the 
headlights" look and then runs.  When the deer runs, he is so afraid, is movement is unpredictable.  Deer will run toward what scares him, away from what scares him, smack dap into what scares him... let's roll a die to determine what this unpredictable, unintelligent animal is going to do.  The frustrating thing is that I do not know how to respond to a frightened deer.  I don't know if he's in control, and he doesn't know if I'm in control... the result is myself, a twenty-five year old young woman who is terrified of deer.

I have feared car-deer accidents since before I had a driver's license.  I used to remind my debate and tennis coaches when the opening weekends of hunting seasons were, so they would remember that the deer were on the move and they'd be on the look-out as we drove across the state to various tournaments.

People who have driven with me can attest that I gasp and break and swerve and slow down when I see a live deer along the road.  I have a talent for spotting their eyes in the dark -- probably because I'm always looking for them.

A few years ago there was a GEICO commercial where a man is out running on foot and he
 runs into a deer and he and the deer get all tangled with each other.  Their add was "You need us in case this happens with a car."  I used to comment to friends that this commercial was like someone had written down one of my fears, taped it, and aired it on tv in 30 second nightmares.

Well, I have now been involved in a car-deer accident.  Actually, one might call it a deer-car accident because the deer ran into me.  My aunt says I was in a "hit-and-run" accident -- the deer hit me and ran away.  This accident happened a little over two weeks ago.  The insurance agency totaled my car and the whole ordeal has been a frustrating, overwhelming mess to put it mildly.

Amidst the drama, I am trying to tell myself that I no longer need to fear deer.

I watched the deer along the road for YEARS with fear and trembling that they would run into me.  I never saw the one that hit me.

How true is this for many worries in my life?

I spend days, months, years worrying about things, losing sleep over issues that never materialize in my life.  The large challenges in my life usually blind-side me without warning, without the chance to avoid them, without an opportunity to swerve, and certainly no time to gasp.

I do not need to fear the deer standing along the road because I SEE THOSE DEER.  I see them grazing next to the highway - they are not running at my car.  I do not need to fear problems I foresee down the road in my life, because they are DOWN THE ROAD.  They are not blind-siding me at the moment.

The deer that is going to hit my car will be unavoidable.  No amount of fear or preparation can help me avoid that collision.  The challenges that will hit my life will be unavoidable.  No amount of fear or worry can help me avoid that challenge.

Only a strong faith and a steady dose of God's Word and Truth can prepare me for daily life - and on-coming deer.