Babbling Brooke

Babbling Brooke

Friday, September 15, 2017

Listen to Him

             A couple of years ago a girlfriend of mine spoke at a ladies night.  She gave her testimony, told some hilarious family stories and ended with one piece of advice that she was given that she wanted to share with all of us.  Her advice seemed so simple but it spoke so much to me and since that night has been a whisper in my ear when my own human doubts creep in. 

            Her advice..."When you feel those words from God, when you hear Him telling you do something don't doubt it, don't hush it, don't talk yourself out of it.  Just do it."  These words have stuck with me and I have tried, sometimes failed, to act when I hear or feel God nudging me to be His hands and feet. 

            This week I stumbled upon a recipe and randomly my first thought was "I should make this for my neighbor."  My neighbor has been sick so it wasn't such a far fetched idea.  My human self said things like "what if she is allergic to nuts?", "what if she is sick from chemo?", "she doesn't know I am making this what if she isn't even home?" but louder than my doubts were the words of my girlfriend, so I loaded Wells up and off to Kroger we went.  I got my produce and passed the florals, as I passed I saw the most happy sunflowers.  It was almost like they saw me too, "buy me, buy me" they petitioned.  In my cart they went. 

           That afternoon Brian and Meritt took her husband the goodies.  I honestly hadn't thought much more about it until yesterday when my neighbor walked over to our backyard.  She looked great and was feeling great which made us so happy.  Her words though, they confirmed what my girlfriend had told us that night a many moons ago.  You see my neighbor told me that friends were bringing them dinner the night that we delivered the berry crisp and flowers.  She told me that she had a brownie mix that she was going to make but hadn't yet made it.  Then she told me that day that she kept thinking as soon as her husband got home from work she needed him to take her to get flowers for the table. Before they could leave for the store Brian and Meritt had delivered our goodies.  Obviously I had no clue that she was having company and I definitely didn't know what things she needed...but God, He did!

             The things I did were not extraordinary, the things I did really weren't even my idea.  They were God's.  Thankful for the great advice my friend, Chantel, shared 2 years ago otherwise my human nature may have gotten in the way of being the hands and feet of Jesus.  I challenge you to listen and act on what God is telling you to do.  The results can be great and even better glorify Him!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Growing Pains


  As a kid my maternal grandparents lived about an hour away.  About every six weeks or so we would go and eat at their house after Sunday church.  I can remember the hour long drive felt like eternity because we were hungry and also because we knew the amazing food that awaited us.  My tastebuds would venture to say that NO one can fry okra, make homemade jam, or bake the perfect broccoli casserole quite like my Nana.  So as we drove the hour drive we wanted my dad to hit the pedal a little harder and get us there a little sooner.  There was nothing extraordinary about Sunday afternoons at my Nana & Papa's, except all the ordinary in it.  It was just the fuel we needed to fill our hearts & tummies.  We shared a big meal, laughed & talked, played a game or two of kickball or we'd sit at the table with dominoes.  Some might nap while others watched Sunday NFL, there was no agenda, no requirements, just time spent conversing and loving on each other as families do.

             When I was 9 or 10 years old I remember it was a Sunday night and we had just said our goodbyes to my grandparents.  They stood on their carport, as grandparents do, and waved goodbye as we reversed out of their driveway.  It was very normal, it had been a very normal, fun Sunday so as we reversed I couldn't understand why my mom was crying? I asked her...I remember as she wiped tears she said "because everytime we leave they get a little older and so do you." Being a child I really hadn't noticed that my grandparents had aged.  I thought they dressed like old people, and had grey hair like old people but as an innocent child I assumed that is how they would look forever.

            Fast forward to 24 years Nana has been gone for 5 years, my parents nest is empty.  There four little birdies are all adults now; my oldest brother and I both live in the same town as my parents along with our spouses and children.  My two younger brothers have taken career paths that have lead them to living further away.  One brother lives about 90 minutes away and the other, the baby brother, lives about 9 hours away.  Yes, 9 hours away.  I know that is normal and it happens to families everywhere but in my childhood head I just knew we would all live super close and see each other daily.

            A couple of weeks ago we were blessed to all get to be together for the first time in 7 LONG months.  The visit went way too fast, it was filled with eating, swimming, and laughing.  It filled our tanks with the fuel we needed to make it until our next visit all together.  As we drove off I felt the tears as they streamed warmly down my face.  I was taken back to a time when I saw my mom crying those same tears.  I think the tears come from growing pains.  The aching in our hearts that know what is coming...parents getting older, children spreading their wings and weeks (sometimes months) that stand between us all being together again.  No visit is taken for granted and it is truly a celebration to all be together doing nothing extraordinary at all.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

We Are The Body of Christ

                  It was around two months ago that my son turned 3 years old.  It was also the time where we heard the news that some long distance friends of ours lost their baby girl in a tragic car accident.  We spent the day at toys r us letting our son pick out his birthday gift, while I can only imagine they spent the day picking out things for their babies funeral.  This past week my husband and I celebrated our twelfth wedding anniversary while a precious mother of four at our church heard that her cancer is much worse.  We spent the day reflecting on the past twelve years and dreaming of our future together.  They spent the day gazing in each others eyes wondering what next step they should take.

                  As the last few weeks of summer approach my family is faced with which lunchbox to order for my kids, where has the summer gone, and will this house remodel ever be finished? While others are faced with very tough, just plain awful decisions it is almost embarrassing to think of the things that weigh on my mind in comparison of what others are having to ponder.

               Life.  While one is celebrating another is grieving.  If you have lived long enough you know that sometime in your life you will experience both.  Maybe your experience won't be the exact same but you will both experience life's greatness and also life's darkness.  If you talk to someone that has been through the valley and ask them what got them through they will tell you the grace and mercy of God, no doubt.  They will also tell you the body of Christ, the men and women that showed up and served them the only way they knew how.  The sweet homemaker that showed up with homemade bread and poppy seed chicken because she didn't know what else to do.  The handyman that showed up to fix the leaky drain because he thought it would save them from having to call someone.  The lady that always sends cards, the one that wrote the very words and verse you needed to hear.  The praying man who knew just the words to pray when honestly you just couldn't find the words to pray.  The anonymous givers who sent money because they knew it could somehow help.  These are the people that make up the body of Christ.

          What is your talent? What is your gift? I challenge you to know it and to use it.  Your talent or gift may seem small to you but when added in with others and when you are using it to glorify God it will make huge impacts on peoples lives and no doubt help to get them through the darkest most difficult days of their life.  We are the body of Christ.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Weeds to Wildflowers

     It was 3 years ago today.  I recount it all as though it was yesterday.  I was VERY pregnant with Wells.  11 days shy of him being born, to be exact.  I had reached the point physically that I did not care what pain might lie ahead; i wanted this baby out of me.  I was at the point where I was huge, swollen and insomnia was my nightly visitor.  It hurt to sit, to lay, to all hurt. Physically it was time.

     As ready as my physical body was to welcome Wells, my emotional side was apprehensive.  How could I possibly love another child like I love Meritt? How will I be able to get 2 children dressed and ready everyday? What will Meritt do when so much of my time will be occupied with a newborn? These and so many other questions and doubts ran CONSTANTLY through my mind.  Emotionally I wasn't sure it was time.

      Three years ago today Meritt and I were heading to the store to purchase some last minute baby items.  While driving we passed by a field full of (to me) yellow weeds (to Meritt) pretty yellow flowers.  From her car seat she exclaimed "look mommy pretty yellow flowers" something prompted me to pull over on the side of the road and let her play in them.  Meritt ran and picked flowers, she smelled them and explored the large field.  I smiled as I watched her little spirit enjoy life; even while smiling i was struck with the anxious pain that had haunted me so much the last several months...How are we going to do this? How are we going to love two kids equally? How is all of this going to work? I began to pray and ask God to intercede to calm my fears and to give us the strength and guidance we needed to parent two children.

        Meritt played for 10 or so minutes and I spent those minutes praying to God.  As I buckled her in the car I felt an overwhelming peace.  Many uncertainties lied ahead of us but I knew that God was with me and that assurance was more peaceful than i can describe.  I took one more glance at those yellow weeds but strangely they looked more like flowers to me now too.

      Every April & May I pass these yellow wildflowers and I am always reminded of my prayer to God.  When I see the wildflowers I smile because I remember God's faitfulness.  Wells is now 2 and Meritt 5 and at this point in life it is almost comical that I was so anxious about something that now seems so silly.  That is one of the MANY things that I love so much about God, though.  No matter how petty or small our concern is He wants us to give it to Him.  He cares for our small concerns as much as He does the big ones just like He cares for the weeds of the field as much as the beautiful wisteria on the vine. Thanks be to God for hearing it all and being there for it all.  From weeds to wildflowers He is there.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

My Christmas Wish

      With a few days standing between me and Christmas I have found myself busy with all the "adult" tasks that one would need to complete before the actual festivities begin.  I have purchased, wrapped, baked, attended class parties and last I finally decided to clean.  Today as I vacuumed my eyes glanced first to my daughter; sitting indian style in the floor working a puzzle.  I smiled as I watched her little eyes gaze around searching for her next perfect piece.  I felt pride as I watched her find piece after piece and eventually complete her puzzle.  God, please help me remember.

      I vacuumed several other areas and eventually ended up in my room.  There my son laid on the floor, barefoot, two little matchbox cars in his hands. He rolled the cars back and forth, talking to the cars as he pushed them.  He heard the vacuum and looked up to meet my eyes; we both smiled.  God, please help me remember.

     As everyone has warned, the older my kids get the faster this life is going.   I really do try to drink it all in.  The tender, sweet moments and the moments of discipline. The good and the not so good.  The days when they are healthy and full of energy and the days where they need to lay on me and get well.  God, please help me remember.

    Today my two year old asked "Mommy, what Santa bring you?"  I laughed and told him once you are married Santa doesn't come anymore.  Not even sure he understood what my answer meant.  Today I have caught myself asking "what would you want if you could have anything?"  And today as I vacuumed my answer was clear as a bell...God, help me remember.

     This phase of life it is busy.  This phase is full of joy and pain.  This phase is tiring.  This phase is more fulfilling than I ever dreamed.  This phase is full of guilt.  This phase is full of these little people teaching me BIG Christ like lessons.  This phase makes me want to be the best I can be.  This phase makes me yearn for their bedtime to hurry up; then come downstairs only to miss them.  This phase is full of all the feels.

    More than anything I just want to remember it all.  God, help me remember.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Squeezing Tightly

               In June a new workout place, called Pure Barre, opened here in Jackson.  I have heard things about this franchise for years and always hoped that Jackson would get one.  When I heard the news that Jackson was getting one I could not get signed up fast enough.  It is much different than the running or interval training I normally do.  The classes last 55 minutes and they are HARD!!  Just when I think that I can master something I find that they change everything up.  It is addictive, challenging and most importantly IT WORKS! My strength and stamina have improved immensely and I truly look forward to my classes!!

               The reason I bring up Pure Barre is because in every class we do thigh work. We do all kinds of things but sometimes our instructor will tell us to zip our legs together so tight that "even a $100 dollar bill" couldn't slip through.  Everytime I look down at my thighs, squeezing them so tightly and picturing a $100 bill. My mind is constantly wandering and recently after class I was thinking to myself "what are some other things that are important that I would want to hold on tight enough to so that it wouldn't slip through my grasp?" Many things came to mind...My debit card, my car keys, my wedding band.  As my mind wandered the things got more personal and more real.

               I went from thinking of things I would hate to lose and drifted to relationships, to people that I love.   I thought of my kids and then the stabbing pain hit my heart...they painful reminder that they are mine for a short time.  No matter how hard I squeeze, no matter how hard i hold on these days of children at home are zipping by.  As all of us moms already know; these days are hard but gosh they are such a gift.  I am reminded that though I can squeeze with all my might, each day is another day older and another day closer to them leaving my nest and becoming their own adult self.

              So today I will hug them a little longer, I will let them see me do something for someone that cannot repay me, I will read them one more story, I will tell them how deep & wide & vast the Lord's love for them is, I will let them help me cook even though it will make a huge mess, I will teach them to love EVERYONE without restraint, I will pray in front of them & with them and I will tell them of the wonderful things that the Lord has done and is doing in my life and in the lives of those I love.   And even though I know it won't work, I will keep squeezing tightly.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Her Village

             I recently read a post from a fellow mom friend.  It read

"I am in need of encouragement.  I don't need or want advice, just encouragement. Between a strong willed, potty training toddler,  a new baby & a husband out of town with work I am just struggling.  If some of you can just encourage me and tell me that I can do this.  I just need encouragement that I can make it through the rest of this day..."

         As I read her words I felt the vulnerability in her words, I pictured tears rolling down her face as she typed, I saw her sitting on her bathroom floor with the door shut trying to hide herself for just a few seconds.  She had probably considered typing those words before but was worried of being judged for needing/soliciting encouragement.  But the time had come, she had reached a point that she was more than ok to admit that she needed her village.  And boy did her village show up!

         Much like a line to a new release movie, was the line of mom's and friends writing the most beautiful, encouraging words.  Mom's confirming that they had been in her very place and now several years later were living proof that she would make it through, mom's offering to keep her kids for a couple of hours so that she could shower and have some time to herself.  She had friends that said they might not be a mom but they wanted to share verses that had been just the encouragement they needed on days that felt impossible.  This mom who a couple hours before had been on the brink of throwing in her towel was suddenly being flooded with her village.  They were filling her up emotionally, spiritually and physically.

        In a world where Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook exist it is so easy to see pictures of people's good days and hold them up beside our bad days.  In a world where everyone has an answer and a solution it is so easy to feel as though you are the only one failing at this mom thing.  In a world where it doesn't seem you could ever take to social media to post about your REAL struggles...the post is there.  A vulnerable friend who puts her insecurities aside and asks for help.  And as warm as her cup of coffee is to her lips so are the words of her dearest friends.  Much like a small village that has to work together to survive she finds her village of friends lining up with encouraging word after sweet encouraging word.  She smiles and picks herself up off of her bathroom floor and she KNOWS that she can finish today.

       May we all be transparent vessels that share our struggles with our village, for we were never meant to bear our struggles alone. May we all be encouraging to the friends in our village.  In a world where it is so easy to tear each other down let us do what feels good and build each other up! May we all work together to have a successful village where I am weak, you are strong.