Questioning Faith

I think one of the biggest misconceived notions about Christianity is that one can never question God.  FALSE.

The only way to grow as individuals (mentally, socially, emotionally, spiritually) is to question what we believe.  Our life experiences shape our views of the world, others, and ourselves.  It’s important to always be evolving and know that you are never a finished product.  This is especially true in the eyes of God.

Many people think that questioning God is not allowed.  On the contrary, I think God wants us to question him so He can prove his love to us, make us trust him more, understand that He sees the biggest picture, and has so much more control than we ever will.  Sometimes we may get an answer right away.  Other times it make take years.  Sometimes we never know.

As someone who is actively seeking a daily relationship with God, I can certainly say that I have lots of questions.  My faith journey can be somewhat of a rollercoaster ride.  Sometimes I am in sync with walking with God- if I obey, he rewards.  Other times I can be down in the pits and not understanding why bad things happen to good people and be angry with God.  However, when I look back over my life, I see great strides being made in my spiritual life during difficult personal times.  I see God putting encouraging people in my life when I was having such a difficult time.  I see my self esteem as child of God being strengthened when I feel I am at my lowest points.

God wants us to question Him so we can grow in our faith.  The biggest part of this journey, though, is realizing we have to continue to communicate with him.  We can’t cut him out of our lives and expect growth to happen.  Even if we are upset, we still have to talk to Him and tell Him so.  If we don’t understand, are blaming Him, or just straight up mad, He begs that we continue sharing with Him.  Detaching from God all together is going to make spiritual growth much more difficult during that time.

So, question away- just make sure you are questioning God to His face and give him the opportunity to help you grow on your journey.

love, brooke

March Day

I did something I’ve never done before… I went to a protest march. And I want to share some thoughts.

  1.  I got to hear John Lewis speak.  He is a living, civil rights legend.  I got goosebumps when he walked by and so many folks were tearing up or emotional.  He has seen so much… fought against so much… and has lived to tell about it.  He is an inspiration and I’m glad he was able to lead us today and be a part of more history making.img_0264
  2. I’m in amazement of the diversity represented today.  Men, women, moms, children, lesbians, Christians, Muslims, variety of ages/ethnicities, educations, sizes/shapes, and so much more were represented.  It was a beautiful reminder of how diverse our country is and how important it is to get out of your normal bubble/comfort zone.
  3. It was SO peaceful.  Everyone was so nice, happy and genuinely glad to be there.  People were sharing snacks, umbrellas, and smiles with folks they didn’t know.
  4. It was LITERALLY monsooning 15 mins before the rally started- and people showed up anyway.  Around 60,000 to be exact!!!
  5. There were a lot of cheeky signs about Trump- but I’m not a fan.  We are the ones who need to show how to trump hate… and it’s not through spreading more hate through funny signs.  It’s through positive, loving, and supportive messages.  My favorite example if that from today was the We love Refugees! sign.
  6. I’m so proud of my 9-years-younger sister.  She was with several of her fellow Agnes Scott alumnae friends.  It was a moment of realizing she has grown up into a wonderful woman who is helping change the thoughts and views of so many (like me!).  Love her to pieces.img_0272
  7. I’m proud of myself for doing something outside my comfort zone.  I hate crowds, waiting in lines and feeling claustrophobic.  I overcame that in a big way today.
  8. I’m grateful for my friend, Annalisa, for continuing to be a badass woman.  She reminded me today how great our democracy is by allowing anyone to peacefully protest.  I’m glad I was able to experience that with her today.
  9. Today felt like a huge group therapy session for so many.  So much of recent news has been overwhelming and made me want to stick my head in the ground.  The march was a physical way for folks who are concerned for our future and/or hurt by words/actions of our leaders to do something together.  It united the concern and allowed us to be healed together through peaceful protesting and love demonstrated by strangers.  It reignited our humanity it others and made our opinions feel validated.
  10. The reasons for people marching were so wide and diverse- civil rights, healthcare concerns, education costs, etc.  Not everyone felt the same on all issues.  Not everyone had the same concerns.  But all were supportive of the fact that all have concerns and were supporting the fear in those concerns.  It was a wonderful thing to experience and I’m grateful for the opportunity.

 

What’s Next?

That’s what my husband asked me.  I’m not really sure what is next for me as an “activist”.  To some degree, I guess this blog post.

In general, I think the conversations are getting louder and affecting more people.  I think understandings are being expanded.  I never knew that parents of black males have to have a conversation with them on how to behave/respond to cops.  I never knew that I needed to teach my son what is appropriate locker room talk and what isn’t.  Those are just a few of my recent realizations.  I pray that others are also having them and their world views are also changing.  I’m looking forward to learning more, standing up to ignorant statements, and praying for more positive changes in our country.  I hope more minds and hearts are changed towards compassion, love and understanding of others lives.

I also hope people can find more ways to physically be involved.  For me, I’ll continue to support refugee families through a monthly food pantry complete with baby supplies.  That’s a ministry that God put on my heart to start a few years ago.  He keeps it stocked each month and helps so many each month through it.  We will also continue to support pregnant refugee women through birth support, classes, and breastfeeding support.  To hear about refugee women being pushed to have c sections because it’s easier for the doctor, is heartbreaking.  So thankful there are now organizations in place to help make sure this isn’t happening.

I also plan to be more vocal in healthcare conversations with my elected officials.  I want to provide my feedback and hope we can all be provided safe, affordable care.

What are you going to do to help our country’s future go in the direction you’d like to see?

love and learn, brooke

Then and Now

MLK weekend 2016 was the absolute lowest point in my marriage (to date).  I was battling a painful kidney stone, severe constipation (TMI- I know), and trying to stay sane while taking care of a 3 year old over a long weekend without the help of my husband.  He was hard at work prepping for a major partnership.  I remember locking myself in the bathroom and crying from pain, exhaustion, and annoyance while my son tried to break into the room at the same time.  I was so frustrated with my body and my husband for being absolutely no help when I needed him most.  And the most annoying part was I saw no light at the end of the tunnel of my husband’s never ending work schedule.

Fast forward a year and life has changed significantly- thankfully!!  We spent a wonderful weekend together as a family playing with friends, going to church, taking in a basketball game, enjoying ice cream, and playing at the park.  Besides an occasional glance at his phone, my husband was able to be very present with us.  We were all so relaxed and happy spending time together and enjoying unseasonably warm temps for January.

I am not sure that I would have recognized this past weekend as “so wonderful” if we hadn’t been in such a low place last year.  It can be too easy to take “happy” life for granted when it’s the norm.  But, whenever it’s in jeopardy, we learn to appreciate it so much more.

We (ie, me too) need to stop and be grateful for enjoyable time with family, happy times with friends, and always celebrate good health.  Just like how much life has changed for the good in the last year, we need to also remember it can change for the not so good just as easily.

All of this serves as a reminder that the only thing constant in life is change.  Next weekend could become the 2nd worst point of our marriage, or it could be the best family day ever.  Life ebbs and flows.  We have to learn to be grateful for the good moments and remember that in our lowest points, we will rise again.

For me, I will continue to be so much more grateful for the good moments and try not to take them for granted in the future.  Life seems fuller and happier with that approach.

love, brooke

Sidelines

Ever feel like you are constantly watching exciting things go on for others in their game of life while cheering them along on the sidelines… but feel like you don’t have any game to play of your own?

Some special people in my life have this going on in their life games… one has achieved so much career success and is an all around bad ass mom too, the other is a mom of two and just found out she is pregnant (with twins!), and the other is a valuable part of a thriving start up that is building an impressive international brand.  I’m a stay at home mom of one sweet little boy.  I don’t say that to put myself down- just put my life in perspective.

I don’t mind being on the sidelines- in fact, I like to think of myself as one of the biggest cheerleaders for these three folks.  However, sometimes it can feel like you want to have your own game/excitement going on in life.  It’s not that I’m jealous of these situations of others… I’m actually super happy and proud of them.

Here is what I’ve learned- life ebs and flows.  Sometimes you are in the game and sometimes you are on the sidelines.  The important part is surrounding yourself with people who will also cheer on your sidelines when it’s your turn to play.  Life is so much more wonderful when we can genuinely be happy for one another and support each other through no matter what the game throws at us.

That being said, I can’t wait to hold those twin babies this summer, toast my good friend on her career success next month and celebrate the blossoming start up next week. And in the meantime, I’ll always keep a bottle of bubbles in my fridge to pop to celebrate any of my friends or use to it to celebrate my own exciting game.

Always be prepared with bubbles!

love, brooke