Category: Blog

headshotby: Christian Bonner

Are we drawing people in closer to Christ or pushing them away?

A person I follow on Facebook posted a picture of a well-known Christian book being used to level a piece of furniture with the caption, “I finally found a good use for this book”.

Now I am not here to debate the book itself or if it should be read, but what I want to discuss is what we as Christians do with our freedom of speech and social media.

I get disappointed and alarmed when I see posts like these below:

“IF YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT I POST TO MY WALL, THERE’S AN UNFRIEND BOTTON RIGHT OVER THERE”!

or

A controversial and antagonizing statement, like the book one I just mentioned, with no explanation, being out of context, and especially inappropriate use of Scripture.

and

Articles being used to call out a long list of teachers/musicians with a very sarcastic comment about heresy, but are actually a few years old.

Also, I recently saw the following statement on a meme on a fellow Christian’s wall:

“IF YOU EVER FEEL STUPID…JUST REMEMBER, THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY THINK __________ WOULD BE A GOOD PRESIDENT”.

If after reading the above and you are still a little unsure why I get disappointed and alarmed please allow me to explain. To me, it seems like Christians are getting more and more aggressive in expressing themselves, especially with each other. Almost as if kindness, understanding, and grace have gone right out the window, while still demanding it for ourselves.

I fully support being bold in our faith and with each other.  As a matter of fact, here are a few places in the Bible that either encourage us to be, or tell of someone being bold:

2 Corinthians 10:1- “Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you.”

2 Corinthians 3:12- “Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech.”

Psalm 138:3- “In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul.”

Proverbs 28:1- “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.”

Acts 28:31-“proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.”

And Philippians 1:20 says, “according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body whether by life or by death.”

I like all of these scriptures and the variety of angles that boldness can take place in our lives. But I think somewhere along the line we confused boldness with aggression.

Miriam Webster defines bold as: not afraid of danger or difficult situations

And  aggressive as: ready and willing to fight, argue, etc.: feeling or showing aggression-using forceful methods to succeed or to do something

Boldness is not being afraid of difficult situations, but it definitely is not creating them either!

I also think in addition to confusing the two, we have forgotten to use what I call a Biblical filter.  Please hear me, this filter in no way should be used to water down the truth.

Like I said before, we are to be bold in our faith, but how about asking ourselves, “is what I want to say/do going to draw others to Christ, drag them in, or completely push them away”?

I understand we shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells to be bold, but when did being bold turn into aggression?

When did assuming that we all have this amazing knowledge occur, leaving no more room for grace?

How can we preach to the unsaved that God forgives all, that there is hope, and it doesn’t matter what you did, but then turn on our fellow believers with such aggression that makes the unsaved scared to come in?

As a matter of fact a family friend that is not a Christian posted a pretty intense post against Christians in response to some reactions to a recent ruling. One of the sentences she wrote says, “The amount of hatred I’ve seen on my timeline this past week is literally scary.”

Personally, I have never been drawn into someone when they are being rude, aggressive, or demeaning, why would others be? Even in our permitted ability to express our opinions, they should be expressed as just that, opinion, not fact and definitely not something that makes people feel terrible or afraid to disagree if they fall into the category of your negative opinion.

Here is what I know:

We are meant to study the Word. 2 Timothy 2:15 states, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth..”

We are to be open to correction. Proverbs 10:17 says, “He who keeps instruction is in the way of life, but he who hates correction goes astray.”

We are to teach and be taught. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

And

2 Timothy 2:23-26 say, “But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will”.

In my opinion, those last verses describe perfectly how we are to execute the above as Christians:

We are in a place of leadership and constant example, whether we or interacting in person with our friends, in full time in ministry, or are stay at home moms using social media to connect to the “outside” world. My “friends” that see my posts, when I choose to make any statement, I am leading them, whether that is my intent or not. If we wear the title of Christian, we are responsible for what we say and do and it should always draw people closer to the Lord, not push them away. The Bible says we are a light to the world and an example to other believers.

Philippians 2: 14-15 says, “ Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world”.

And

1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”

We need to work diligently to become who Christ has designed us to be.

But if a fellow believer is struggling or misunderstands something, we should walk alongside them, in love and grace. Love and grace do not eliminate the responsibility as Christians to be bold with each other but it certainly does invite us into a safe place to learn, repent and grow. And in regards to an un-believer, our treatment to them, direct or not, is just as valuable as it is to each other.

My friends, please remember to be humble in how we live out our boldness of faith. If what we do doesn’t draw people in, then it is a waste.   Weren’t we originally drawn in with Christ’s gentleness and love?

 

 

beach photoBy:  Miryea Gist

If someone were to ask you what the theme of the book of Job was, what would you say? Perhaps you would ascribe to Job the same theme the majority of Christians today give it: suffering. If you were to go a little deeper, perhaps you would describe it to be a book about God’s sovereignty in light of suffering, or of Jobs faithful obedience in the midst of immense trial. While these subjects are undoubtedly essential features of the book, they merely scratch the surface of what the purpose of the book of Job truly is. To read and interpret the book of Job as simply “the book of suffering,” would be to undermine its more significant theological themes. Because this is the way many believers have been taught to understand the book, we oftentimes unintentionally, yet tragically overlook God’s greater agenda.

There are four key themes in Job many neglect to apprehend that I intend to address in this blog. Those themes being; the necessity of Scripture, the insufficiency of man’s wisdom, theological theodicy, and the total supremacy of God. My prayer is that the disclosure of these themes will guide us to a deeper knowledge of the God we serve, and His great, and wildly overlooked objective regarding the book of Job.

The Necessity of Scripture

Chronologically speaking, Job is the very first book of the Bible ever written. This knowledge is vital because in many ways, it is the introduction to the rest of Scripture. One of the main purposes for the book of Job, is to operate as a conviction for why you need your Bible. We see the conviction of the importance of Scripture manifest itself within many of Job’s monologues. Job prays for God to care for him (7:17-19), for forgiveness of sins (7:20-21), for a mediator that will show God sympathizes with him (9:32-35), for imputed righteousness (9:2), for a resurrection (14:4-14), and for communion with the Heavenly Father (9:34-35). Job earnestly desired, wished for, prayed for, and pleaded for the Gospel. (I happen to agree with my Bible professor stating that if somehow Job were able to read Romans during his life he would simply weep hysterically, tears of immense joy). So what exactly does Jobs desire for the gospel teach us about the necessity of Scripture? Simple. We have access to the very thing Job yearned, and wept, and begged for. The questions he asked regarding the Lord’s character; His faithfulness, providence, justice, mercy, love, goodness, etc. are all found within the pages of Scripture. Job’s sorrow did not only stem from his suffering, but from the knowledge of his sin against a holy God, and the need for a Savior. Because of Christs work on the cross recorded in the gospel, we are able to live in steadfast assurance of God’s character and our salvation.

The Insufficiency of Man’s Wisdom

God is right. Every believer should agree with this statement, yet do our lives reflect this truth? The book of Job seeks to present God as right in all He does by contrasting His wisdom with mankind’s insufficient knowledge. In the book, we are introduced to Jobs three friends as they come to “comfort” him. (In reality, we see that the purpose for their visit was not one of selflessness, but of self-interest. They came not to mourn with Job, but to understand what Job had done to deserve God’s wrath in order to avoid judgment themselves…but that’s another blog for another time!) Interestingly enough, each of Jobs friends adopts and represents a worldview. We have Eliaphaz the historian who looks to the past to predict the future (4:1-5:27), Bildad the scientist, operating by cause and effect methodology (8:1-22), and Zophar the philosopher, attempting to use his “wisdom” in order make sense of, and predict the actions of God (11:1-20). All three friends claimed wisdom by offering various rationale for Job’s suffering, as well as their own methods to earning God’s forgiveness. We see however, through the Lord’s rebuking of Job’s friends that they had “…not spoken of [God] what was right (Job 42:7).” Despite his foolish friends, The Lord allowed Job to receive true wisdom from one man by the name of Elihu. He was the first man to sympathize with Job, while simultaneously revealing Job’s self-righteousness. Elihu asserts God’s justice and questions Job’s perceived right to question the Lord. He reveals the complexity of God, and man’s inability to comprehend His ways (Job 34:10). The book of Job shows us just how limited man’s knowledge truly is, and how we in our own power do not possess the resources, insight, or skill-set to understand God. Therefore, who can question any of His ways? Job proves that God is not only right when we agree. God is not only right when our lives are going as planned. God is right in the face of disaster. God is right when death occurs. God is right when our lives differ from our plans. God is right when we cannot make sense of our current situations. God is right when He withholds our desires. God is right when He allows calamity. God is right when He sends tribulation. This book is about proving God is right, in a world gone wrong.

Theological Theodicy

It is vital to note, that God is not only right in what He does, but that He is also good. This theme is especially important because it reveals the righteousness of God in that He is completely justified in all He allows to take place in both heaven and on earth. As complex a topic as it is to grasp with our own human minds, the book of Job exists to reveal God’s sovereignty over disaster, and goodness in the midst of affliction. The book of Job acts as a defense of God’s goodness and omnipotence in view of the existence of evil. As presented in the book of Job, we should not view suffering as an indication that God is unjust. Instead, we should see it as the one who is perfect in knowledge, perfectly permitting circumstances for our good and His own glory. If the Lord has approved suffering, and if He has deemed it profitable to endure hardship—it is good. And because we serve a God who is holy and perfect in all He does—a God who is incapable of doing evil—we can trust that every single event that takes place in our lives was permitted by a good God. Theological theodicy within the book of Job allows believers to experience an unexplainable peace amongst affliction, because the book of Job advocates for a good God.

The Total Supremacy of God

Unfortunately, I believe that many Christians are guilty of this common misinterpretation of the book of Job: We read the first couple chapters of the book, and automatically, (oftentimes ignorantly) assume that Satan is running the show. Many believers unknowingly apply a deistic view of God to Job by perceiving the book as a story of the time Satan had his way, while God sat back and hoped Job would be able to resist the temptation to deny his faith and curse God. If you have had this interpretation of the book of Job, you have been guilty of inadvertently awarding Satan equal power to the Father. I too, am guilty of this misinterpretation. However, observing closely the dialogue between God and Satan throughout the book, it is easy to see who is truly in control.

The book of Job revolves around two courtroom scenes with God on trial in heaven and on earth. Within the first chapter, Satan already appears before God (Job 1:6). However, Satan did not simply present himself to God, for he is unable to do so. One does not merely enter a courtroom and present himself in front of a judge without first having been summoned. It is essential to recognize God’s supremacy in dealing with Satan within the very first courtroom scene, by acknowledging that it was God Himself who not only allowed, but ordered the devil to enter His presence. The dialogue between both God and Satan in this scene only further supports God’s predominance. Satan never speaks first—God says, and Satan answers. God always starts and never reacts, Satan only reacts and never starts. One thing I failed to realize before thoroughly studying Job was the fact that God initiates everything, and that the enemy was not presiding. Only with God’s sovereign permission was Satan allowed to test Job’s faith, and only by God’s sovereign safekeeping was Job able to resist his attempts and remain steadfast. Make no mistake, not for a single moment is God not in complete and total control, not only in the book of Job, but in the universe, and in the lives of mankind. Job shows us that there is no such thing as passive allowance, but that the Lord’s dominion extends throughout every single occurrence.

Much More than Suffering

Yes, suffering is an obvious feature of the book of Job, but I hope this post has proven that it is merely the means to expressing much greater theological themes. God chooses to further His agenda via suffering, He chooses to reveal Himself through trials. He uses Job’s suffering to reveal that He is accessible (through Christ’s work on the cross) while showing the necessity of Scripture. He uses Job’s suffering to expose that He is right through the insufficiency of man’s wisdom. He uses Job’s suffering to prove that He is good, regardless. And He uses Job’s suffering to display His total supremacy and sovereignty.

Let us repent of our surface-level interpretations of Scripture, and seek to delve deep enough into God’s word, that we may begin to experience just how theologically rich an overlooked book like Job, truly is.

 

**Miryea Gist is a junior at The Masters College majoring in English with a minor in Bible. With her degree, she plans to teach middle school English as well as continue to enjoy, and further develop her passion for writing. Born and raised in Arizona, she was home schooled from first through twelfth grade, and is the eldest of two.

 

headshotBy Heidi Trask

Comfort; we all need it, we all long for it, and we all look for it. We look to all sorts of things such as food, people, and wealth hoping to find comfort. We think that these different revenues will offer and give us what we seek, but in reality, no matter how hard we try, none of these will give us the true comfort we need, the comfort only Jesus Christ our savior is able to give us.

God has been teaching me what His comfort is and how much better it is to any other source I could try to find it in. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 Paul talks about the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our affliction so that we might comfort others. The Lord is really using this passage as an example in my life. He is teaching me what it means to be comforted by Him through physical pain and suffering so that I may then share that comfort with others who really need it. Sometimes, I feel as though I have to be strong, and “prove” that I am okay because of Christ and what He has done. I’ve gone through so much pain and suffering that when others ask me how I am, out of habit I usually say “I’m doing great” or “Yeah I’m wonderful” when the majority of the time I’m barely hanging on. The work that Christ is doing in my heart and how He is drawing me closer to Him is amazing, yet, too much of the time my pride sneaks up and says, ‘hey, I’m alright, I’ve got this, I can handle it, I don’t need help.’ I disregard my weakness and try to do it (whatever ‘it’ is) on my own.

I know that this is not what Christ wants, nor how I should feel, yet too often I find myself going through the motions. I often feel drained and like there is no point. I’m learning that without Christ, I can do NOTHING on my own. Sure, I may be able to get by for awhile, but eventually I’ll be unable to continue, hit a wall, or get lost or confused. When this happens, and when trials, sins, emotions, or attacks from Satan bombard me, God is teaching me to run to Him in prayer and to go straight to His Word for comfort, guidance, and peace. In the past, I would have sought out friends, other things or people to get comfort. I’d run everywhere trying to find an ‘answer’ or solution to ‘fix’ the problem and continue on with my life. I went everywhere but Christ.

True comfort in God is found through His Word and in communion with Him. The Bible has so many promises, more than I could ever imagine, and all of them He promises to us who have been adopted into His family through the blood of Christ; they are the best source of comfort to a hurting heart. His promises, such as “I will never leave nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5b, Joshua 1:9)”, “Nothing in all creation can separate you from my love (Romans 8:38-39)”, “Come to me you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28-30)”, “I keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on me because he trusts in me (Isaiah 26:3)”, “I am your strength when you are weak, my grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)”, “I began a good work in you and will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6)”, “I have perfect plans for you for your good and not for evil (Jeremiah 29:ll)”, and “I will work together all things for good for you whom I love (Romans 8:28)” are all for me because Christ is in me.

I am His child, His daughter, His Bride. And because of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross, God is and always will be faithful to me. The more I seek and meditate on Him, the more I am able to have joy, find joy, and be joyful in the midst of so much pain and suffering. Even if my body always fails and even if I never find answers or healing, it doesn’t matter. Why? Because I HAVE Christ!

I know that I am human, that I will have days when I fall into the fear and anxiety, times that I will struggle to fight for joy, and days when I will want to give up (and do) on the fight against sin. Sin is something I will deal with and experience until the day Lord brings me home. For this life here on earth is temporary, this isn’t my home. But even when I fail, and when I fall down, Christ is always right beside me, picking me up, helping me, and upholding me with his righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10), loving me and forgiving me. What shall I fear? When I have God for me, who can be against me? What can man do (Hebrews 13:6)?

Will you open yourself up to the God of all comforts, who comforts us in ALL our afflictions? It truly is the sweetest, most precious comfort you will ever receive.

Oh Lord, my Lord, help me to continue to seek you through the Word which you have given to me, guide me where you will have me go. Give me the comfort and peace that you and only you can give. During those days and times when all seems hopeless and like there is no reason to go on, show me your Son and what He suffered for me, give me comfort in knowing that you are right beside me, holding me when I cry, and in knowing that you will never leave me nor forsake me. Thank you!

                                                                                                            Amen

 

Heidi is a single woman who has been dealing with chronic health problems and pain for several years and feels lead to share with others the comfort and hope she has received from Christ through it. Heidi wishes to reach out to not only those struggling with their own health, but to everyone that struggles with daily things like faith, hope, peace, etc. She has her own blog where she shares her heart and what Christ is doing in her life, and if you would like to know more or know of someone who would be encouraged by her writing, please visit her blog at https://comforted2comfort.wordpress.com/

lisa pic 2By Lisa Blanco

I opened my eyes and blinked a few times. Was she really awake? Was I just hearing her cry in my dream? Am I still asleep? I was stuck in the mommy fog: when you’re wondering which land you’re in, the sleep one or the awake one. The monitor crackled and gave its normal feedback, then I heard it loud and clear. “Mommy, mommy? Mommmiiieeee!”

After trying to rock Adley back to sleep, I finally brought her into our bed. She nuzzled up to me and I smiled. I was sleepy but I always like any alone time I can get with one of the kids, especially if I can sleep at the same time. But then came the gagging.

“Oh it’s okay sweetie,” I said as I sat up.

Gag, gag, I could hear the liquid making its way up.

“Alright, alright, alright,” I always say this gently to the kids when I don’t want them to see me panic on the inside.

Vomit.

After wiping off a few places. I laid back down and Adley was ready to close her eyes and sleep.

Then I heard another monitor.

“Mommy?”

Little Ernie couldn’t go back to sleep, I brought him in on the couch in our room. I kissed him and began to walk back to bed and then I heard the gagging.

“Ernie? Sweetie, are you okay?”

Up came the chunks. Twice, actually. My poor boy is only 3, throwing up is so confusing and terrifying. I still feel this way and I’m 28. I cleaned him up, laid him down and told him that mommy cries when she throws up too.

When my husband woke up with the flu also, items were soaked in puke, and our washer stopped working, I had to take a second. I locked myself in the bathroom to see if God had something to say at this point.

I felt like Moses before a burning bush, called The Flu, and God was telling me to take on the task of caring for his sick people in my house. By myself. And I was saying “oh, I can’t do that.”

“I will be with you.” I remembered he told Moses.

“But, I didn’t sleep last night. The washer doesn’t work. There will be more puke. I can’t do this!” I walked out of the bathroom with about as much faith as Moses started out with.

I really felt this was all about me. Of course this would happen to a mom, I had thought, caged in by the sickness around her and bouncing around from person to person, changing her clothes after getting thrown up on and tossing them in the “we will wash these when the washer works” pile, and trying to entertain the other kids that are healthy and going stir crazy.

I was acting like I had been dealt a bad hand, like my life was a game of cards and this week was just not my week. But God is gracious as always, and revealed to me what flu week is all about.

And I can tell you, that whole week brought more vomit, the virus finally took over me too, but God was with me.

The Lord brought us very low in weakness to show us that he’s the one who cares for our family. He’s the one who brings the sickness and he’s the one who allows it to leave. He brings it in the middle of the night or at nap time. He can allow sickness to stay for a week or 24 hours.

During a family flu, his goodness and mercy are still following us all the days of our life. Our flesh is failing during sickness, but He is our strength and our portion forever, and that is what helps us get up and clean off our sick child. The Lord being our strength, trusting his care in allowing the flu, gives us the hope to make it through a very long day. And when another member of the family announces that their tummy hurts, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ will be your strength to run them to the toilet in time, or not in time.  And the hope of Heaven where sin and  sickness will one day be no more, will help you get through the moments of mopping the floors, or scrubbing the carpets .

As the season of much sickness sticks with us and invades our homes, remember Who allows the sickness and that he’s the strength and hope for those who trust in His Son.

Now I’m off to drink some Emergan-c. Cheers.

 

Lisa is a stay-at-home mommy blogger who regularly shares how God brings her into closer communion with Him through the joys and challenges of mommy-hood.  You can read more from Lisa on her blog at http://elizabethblanco.blogspot.com/

 

headshotBy Elizabeth Ryan

Can you imagine just for a moment what it would be like if you were commanded to murder your only child to honor a ruler you deeply respected and loved?

The fear and rage at the unjust request would be, to say the least, absolutely debilitating. It would innately go against anything our maternal or even primal instincts would permit. We would die for our children and do anything to protect them and keep them safe. They become a part of us the moment God makes them known to us. He intrusted us specifically, to be their protector, nurturer, and provider of all that they would need in this world. When some of us take on this responsibility, we burden ourselves with thinking that when things go awry it must be because of something we didn’t do right or because of something maybe our kids did wrong.

It is so difficult when we watch our children face uncertain circumstances; it can sometimes be quite overwhelming. We may at times try to intercede to prevent the inevitable from happening, even to the point of of being completely frustrated and exhausted. We might even blame ourselves at times for their struggles. Often, we try to take control and do all that we know how to do ­ to make it right and easier for them.

So how did Abraham do it? How was he able to be so willing to do the unthinkable, for God whom he loved? How could God take Abraham’s only son, that he waited a 100 years for and command that he be sacrificed as a burnt offering by Abraham’s own hand? How did Abraham endure the journey knowing with every step, he was drawing closer and closer to carry out what God had commanded?

To meditate on this scripture in Genesis 22, we see a clear example of how we are to parent our children, and in that, what it looks like to have unwavering faith, trust and confidence in God’s truth and promises.

Abraham knew God, heard his voice and responded in obedience to his command. His faith did not waver, he did not disobey, plead or ignore God. …Nor did he carry the burden of the weight of the wood…He laid the wood on Isaac’s back. It was for his son to carry…(just as it was for Jesus when God laid the cross on him). They climbed the mountain together all the while certain God would be faithful to fulfill his promise to Abraham as it is written in Genesis 17:16. He rested in this, confident in God’s truth.

God wants us to trust him with this same unwavering faith. He tells us in Psalm 55:22 “cast our burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved”.

It is good to learn to sincerely fear God and not withhold anything from him, not even our own children. There is a purpose in our children’s struggles and it is important for them to endure the weight. They will learn by climbing the mountain with us alongside them, keeping our eyes on the Lord. Our steady and assured confidence in God speaks much more to them than our words could ever say.

I have learned to fear greatly a life apart from God and that only in him is where I truly find peace and rest.

headshotBy Brie Seward

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

For a moment in church yesterday we had the opportunity to ponder about the blessings, the disappointments and the events of last year. There aren’t many moments I am able to do this. This is because I am a single mom of two boys under 5. Sebastian was diagnosed with autism at 3 and Julian who is 2 loves outlets and running faster than his legs can carry him.

I exhaled as I reflected at the changes in 2015: moving into a new home with my parents, finalizing a divorce and finding my new community in Tucson.  I walk into 2016 as a single woman reclaiming her maiden name back – marching forward for her two boys and living an untraditional but beautiful life.

When we sang and raised our arms to “How Great Thou Art” I truly mean it. I mean it from the bottom of my soul and naturally my arms are raised to heaven thanking God for all He has shown me.

I have seen miracles – miracles in Sebastian and Julian. I’ve seen that you can overcome a “label”. “Autism” does not define who a boy is – God’s power shines through him and with love, support and intervention a boy can overcome obstacles and play amongst kids without a label or challenges the same way.

I have seen Julian fight for his life in the NICU and defeat all the odds when he was born at 26 weeks. He is turning into a bright, smart and funny little boy. When I stop and think that the doctor at Mt.Sinai asked me if I wanted to terminate the pregnancy at 24 weeks when my water was broken I cringe thinking that someone thought this little boy didn’t have a chance. I can’t imagine this world without him. “With God All Things are Possible” -Matthew 19:26.

When I lived in Miami – isolated from family and far away from my Christian circle of friends I laid in the arms of God each day waiting on Him to lead the way and comfort me in my solitude. Living with my husband who didn’t believe presented daily challenges, struggles and disagreements. God lead every step I took, I needed Him in my loneliness and he gave me strength for each day. I would pray through the walls of that house in Florida to give me courage and community. Going through a diagnosis of autism and Julian’s prematurity couldn’t sustain a marriage that was already weak. Discovering he had cheated paved the way to greater things ahead for me and the boys and our new life in Arizona with family, support and community. I had to leave him behind and God set me free from the bondage of a troubled marriage and a father who wasn’t lead by the spirit.

Living life with God and surrendering to what God has for you – is living life with joy, peace and passion. I will never be the same and I don’t want to be the same person I was without God. He has held my hand through the valleys and pushed me to run towards the light.

I will not fear the future, I will have peace in my soul knowing He is leading the direction of my life. He has already shown me His power and in Him I will always find hope.

“The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”Zephaniah 3:17

***

Brie Seward is a work at home mom to her two boys, Sebastian (age 5) and Julian (2). Brie was born and raised in Arizona and moved to New York City after college where she was following her publishing career dreams and worked at publications like Harper’s Bazaar and Gourmet magazines. She had the opportunity to start ecommerce websites for international fragrance brand, Bond No.9 and was part of the team to launch the U.S. website for Louis Vuitton. Her last position before she had her boys was marketing manager for Perry Ellis brands in Miami. Brie now resides in Tucson, Arizona where she is reunited with her family, cousins and community. She is a child advocate for her son, Sebastian who was diagnosed with autism when he was 3.  While Seb is at school, you can find Brie chasing Julian who is full of energy or trying to keep him out of electrical outlets. Julian was born at 26 weeks and considered a micro-preemie. He stayed in the NICU for 109 days and is now a 2 year old full of joy and showing the world he is truly a living miracle. Brie has realized the true meaning of Home Sweet Home. Through the trials of special needs, prematurity and divorce – she hopes to share with others how God always leads the way and guides us on the narrow road.