Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Son Shines Through

This spring has been full of storms. I'm so thankful that the sun always seems to shine through in the end. I'm thankful for the many that have reached out a hand to help those around them, and those far away. I'm thankful for hearts who dare to listen to God's gentle whisper. After all, we are His hands and His feet. We were called to serve Him.

Prayers continuing from Alabama, to Joplin, MO, to my neighbors two doors down.
Thank you God, for your love is new with every morning. Thank you for always making the Son shine through in the end.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I had a small break through today. I realized something. Why today? Well, because God is very good at hanging around and waiting for us to wise up and listen. He loves us so much and He hates to see us hurt. So, if that means waiting until we are in the shower or driving home from work to have five minutes of uninterrupted time with us, He will. 

He opened my mind to something today, and I think that the reason that He did, was because this part of my life that was quite senseless and unnecessary. 

Calm down. Don't get all worked up. I wasn't wrapped up with the mob or anything. I was, however putting unrealistic standards on myself. I was using the wrong measure of success. Ok, yes. Writing it down and saying it out loud does make it sound silly. I admit it. 

Here: I'll explain... but it will take a while. Sorry, but you know I'm a talker.

Several factors come into play here, and they all start with this: I have been called. That fact, in and of itself can absolutely positively be misinterpreted as pious or boastful. I hope that you will open your mind though, and continue reading, because I believe that you have been called also. We all have, so you aren't off the hook here. ;) The thing that God has called me to do is to serve. To minister to people. To go spread the good news. I believe that someday I will speak to large crowds of people. I believe that God has whispered this to my heart many times. I do, I will admit, have a pretty amazing testimony to share. Also, anyone who knows me will tell you that I love to make people laugh, and I am a Class A ham. I love to be in plays and do skits, and I'm not anxious in front of people. As for the "when", I don't really care. Waiting isn't an issue for me. I think that the scripture in Song of Solomon can be applied here:

Song of Solomon 2:7 NIV

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

After all, I do trust God's timing. My kids are very young! I waited a very long time for them. I enjoy being their mama every single day. Whatever God has planned for me as a public speaker will come along when the doors are ready to be opened, and I am very, very okay with that. It will be a great ride when it happens, but until then, I will wait. 

Okay, so this is all nice, but what does it have to do with the topic at hand? What is the mystery character flaw that God refined today? Okay. I'll spill it.

There is another part of my personality. A part besides that, love for people and onstage charm. (Did I mention that I'm really humble too?)

A desire to be liked. Yes, we all want to be liked, but I'll take my statement a step further. A NEED to be liked. Well, needed, I should say, since I have had that talk with God today. What good is divine intervention if we don't apply it to our lives! Okay. Let's try that again... I NEEDED to be liked. 

Let's break it down a little.

It wasn't that I was measuring my self worth by people. I know that the King of Kings chooses to memorize each of my many smiles, and that they make Him smile in response. My worth is much, and it is in Him.

It wasn't that I felt unjustly self satisfied when people would need me, or ask for my advice. I praise God for using me as His tool, and for each time that I make a difference in someone's life. Thankfully, I wasn't swimming in pride.

It wasn't even that it just made me happy to be liked. Everyone likes to be liked, but I know that true happiness can only be found in Jesus. 

In their own ways, each of the things that I listed can be true for any of us, to some degree, but none of them was my issue. 

My real problem was this: I felt that being unliked (or not being really really liked) was equal to failure. Now we are back to the "sounds silly to say it out loud" part. Nonetheless, here are a few examples of the lies that I was allowing to live in my head:

1: So and so does not read or have interest in my blog = I'm not writing well = I have failed. 

2: What's their name does not want to hang out with me/ be my Facebook friend = I'm not a good friend= I'm not being an example of Jesus to them = I have failed.

So here is what God had to say about it when He and I talked today. I've gone to the liberty of writing it out in skit form to follow the theme of the first part of this blog. I hope you enjoy!

 A short skit, about a girl who finally "gets more".
staring: God (as Himself), and Me, (as myself)

Setting: It's afternoon in the present day Midwest. My kids are having rest time and I have sneaked away for a shower.

God: (gently) "Who is it that you say that you want to be like, Brandi?"

Me: Washing my hair, "It's You, God! I want to imitate Jesus!"

God: "Well, how well was/is Jesus received? Does everyone 'like' Him?"

Me: (Rinsing) "....noooo.... Lots of people didn't/don't."

God: (Patiently),"Does that change His value to you?"

Me: "Of course not!....Okay, God. I get it. Being like Jesus is my goal. I need to keep my eyes on the finish line." (feeling smarter, and grabbing my Oil of Olay)

God: (Still, ever patient), "Did Jesus worry about these things during His ministry? Did He doubt that He was reaching people?" (Implies:This is doubting God)

Me: (Washing my face, and sort of hoping that this was all that God had to say to me, since my toes were starting to hurt a little) "No, He didn't. He was confident in You, Lord. Really, I get it...".

God:"Brandi, what was that you said about me on your Facebook status last week?"

Me: (still exfoliating), "Um, I wrote, 'Love God, love others. Yes, it really is as simply said as that". (I remembered that I chosen my words well when I wrote it, because it is in fact easily said, but not so easily done)

God: (Still patiently), "So, let's recap: You want to be like Jesus, and your life philosophy is, 'love God, love others', right?"

Me: (Just sort of standing there, letting the water run), "Yes God".

God: (Full of compassion & grace), "Have I given you a Spirit of failure, or of fear of failure?"

Me: (Lifted) "No Lord, you haven't. {insert giant light bulb here}You simply asked me to love, in Your Name." (smiling, and breathing a nice long sigh)

God: (Smiling, almost laughing with excitement) "Daughter, My silly girl, go write a blog and share the wealth".

Point taken. Sometimes God puts on my heart to write a blog. Sometimes He tells me to smile at that woman in the store, and sometimes He asks me to love someone who the world has labeled unlovable. Trying to be like Jesus while trying to love God and others is what God has asked of me. I am only asked to do that part! I am not responsible for anyone but myself. How others chose to react to me is completely between them and God. He may smile at them, or He may end up having a talk with them. Either way, neither success or failure should be defined by anyone's reaction to me. 

So what if I never get @brankamkoie mentioned in Twitter. Who gives a tweet? (sorry, I had to) It isn't failure if I don't get loads of comments, or if so-and-so never comes around. Success is touching one heart. Success is being the love of Jesus to one person. Success is making a difference in one life at a time. Failure would be if I did not continue this race. Failure would be if I had let water get in my ears during that shower today. Ironically, that's the beautiful thing about God. He will never, ever give up on you, even if you do fail.

Keep your eyes on the finish line, friends. We have a pretty good Helper, Who is willing to carry us there if we let Him. Now go succeed!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Kid Stories Of the Week

Ok friends, this entry is strictly for laughter's sake. I hope that you will find these as funny as Kamran and I did. We got a good chuckle out of each. Enjoy! (Let me know if you like this, and I'll consider making it a regular weekly post.)

A Random Conversation Between Grant & His Mom
(Setting: Grant was in the bathroom.  I was in his bedroom down the hall getting things ready for bedtime. The entire conversation took place through raised voices, so I guess that's why we elongated the words.)

Grant: "MoOOOom!"


Grant:"I like seahorseeees!"

Me:"(???).....You do?... Okaaaay."

Grant:"Yeaaaaah, I do like them, but not scary cloooowns!"


Addison quote of the week:
(In a calm and thoughtful sort of "warning" tone
"Graaaaant.... You're making me bossy."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Well balanced

Our daughter is intelligent. Obviously, so is our son. Everyone knows that their children are geniuses, right? Well, the kind of intelligent that our daughter is is worth blogging about. She has, since infancy achieved most all intellectual development months and months ahead of schedule. 

Addison could keep rhythm with music before she could hold her head up. She tapped her foot perfectly in time. This is something that I still haven't figured out in my  thirties. Within the genre of music, we are also amused at how quickly she picks up on lyrics and tunes of songs. She knows them and recites them in no time at all- sometimes months later.
She could recite the alphabet before she could walk, and was sight reading hundreds of words before she was potty trained. (Ironically, she was a late trainer though.)

At times, the thought of her being so bright scares me to death, in hopes that I nurture her in the ways that she needs. For the most part, I'm pretty sure that we are doing a good job with both children. They both learn by leaps and bounds, and that is just our normal.... 

Still, it does blow me away from time to time when our daughter exhibits a new or improved behavior. Today I sat down at my computer to answer some emails that needed attending. Addison persistently begged me to let her sit on my lap and type her name. I gave in and let her have a few minutes. Once again, I was surprised by her. She typed all of our names, and then began sounding out basic words and typing them as well. I didn't know that she could spell some of those words! I praised her and sent her on her way, careful to not go overboard on the praise, thus making our son feel inadequate in spite of being an otherwise very smart three year old. You know, keep it simple. Keep it positive, and keep it balanced.

Fast forward ten minutes. I finished my emails and went back into the living room to work on laundry. That is when Grant let out a gasp. He spotted a dark blue, errrr I mean, "INDIGO" streak of colored pencil drawn on the living room wall. I looked over to Addison just in time to see her tuck her chin into her chest. Guilty.

So, once again it all comes down to balance. As a mom it is my job to balance. I must balance play time with clean up time, and t.v. time, (even if it's educational!) with play time. Time with just Grant and Mommy is balanced with time with just Addison and Mommy. If we are going to have a cookie, we have to make sure that the rest of our meals are... "well balanced". You get my point. God is everywhere at all times, but I am not, so I try my best to balance my responsibilities while trusting that He is overseeing the whole thing. If I do a good job, then not only do I honor Him in the end, but I also succeed at not driving my family off the side of a lopsided life.

So, why did my little whiz kid draw on the living room wall today? That's easy: I would say, because she is a four year old child! She and I used a magic eraser to clean the wall, and she promised to write on paper next time. Honestly, I would say that she is showing signs of being pretty well balanced. What do you think?