Last weekend I was able to sit and have coffee with my dear friend Brooke Morrison. She sat drinking her cafe latte and eating her almond crescent while we talked about life, Jesus, and…Christmas. Yes…Christmas. Brooke is a little Christmas elf and already has her house half way decorated for Christmas and there is still more to come. I love it!!! It is just so…festive and fun. That’s how I would describe Brooke. She is festive, fun, and pours out the love and beauty of the Lord wherever she goes.
Brooke and I recently became friends when we joined her and her husband’s (Brad Morrison) life group this past February when we first started getting involved in our new church. We left our previous church that was filled with family and friends that we loved, to take a step of faith out of the familiar and into the unknown. We were alone with a very small strategic support system to get us through this transition but we needed more, so we decided to join a life group. We were blessed that the Lord led us to them.
Brooke and Brad really do LIFE with us. They know us….big stuff too. They know our hearts, struggles, wounds, dreams, and even our ugliness….and they still love us. They have been Jesus with skin on when we needed it most and that….THAT is a blessing that not many people get today….and especially not in the church, but I will leave that conversation for another time…if the Lord allows.
Me: Okay, you are a busy woman….how do you balance?
Brooke: What I have realized lately is neglecting “me” time. I still have moments….going to the grocery store by myself is pretty much my “me” time. I love my family. When I work all day I want to come home and spend time with my family. I’m very selfish with my family time. I like to be social and I like to be out….but like today we just wanted to be home and comfy in our pj’s. And that is something that I am so thankful for…Brad is the same way. He doesn’t have to go go go. He is fine with just staying at home watching netflix or a movie…or helping me decorate. Oh, I love that man. (she swoons) I would like to do more like family sunday dinners…like once a month. We just plan…not a birthday…not a holiday…but ….let’s just get together. I’ve learned that you have to make a decision to do that and plan it. If you don’t actually sit down and plan it you go 6 months without seeing a relative.
Me: Alright, so, how long have you been a Christian?
Brooke: Okay, I grew up in the church…from infancy. I said a whole lot of prayers but I actually didn’t give my heart to the Lord until I was nineteen. It was March 19th…
Me: THAT’S MY BIRTHDAY!
Brooke: It’s a GREAT birthday!! Yeah, it was March 19, 2005……so I was 19 almost 20. It was at a worship night. The worship pastor at the church I used to attend would have worship nights once a month. One night he got up and He started sharing and said, “I feel like I have a word for someone here. There’s a woman here whose whole life she has believed that she is saved but she is not.” As soon as he said that I started feeling sick to my stomach….and thinking…What? No…that’s not me. Then he said, “I just see you have a heart for the Lord and you have always loved Him but you have never made the confession and you have never made the commitment.” The more he was talking the more sick I became….thinking….I’m going to vomit. But then I was like….ok…..what is it going to hurt. So I went…and from that moment I didn’t doubt. That was my moment.
Me: That is amazing!!!! So what is the greatest lesson that you have learned in your walk with the Lord?
Brooke: (Begins to tear up)….Probably that no matter what…..(tears up again)…..that no matter what nothing I can do can take His love from me. No matter what I’ve done or mistakes I’ve made….He will always love me. I still have to remind myself of that….it is a constant. God is Love and there is no changing that.
Me: So…tell me about your Jesus.
Brooke: He is sarcastic…with me. I hear Him speak in different voices depending on what the circumstances are. There are sometimes when God is a big black woman to me….and He says, “Oh, honey I know you did not do that.” And then there are times when He is just a daddy and says, “Come here baby girl.” And there are times when He is my mom’s voice and comforting me and giving me guidance. And at times when He sounds like Brad’s voice where He is loving on me and telling me how beautiful I am. And then there are times when we are talking like we are best friends. He loves laughter. Sometimes my most spiritual moments are when I am laughing with my girls. God loves that. He loves laughing with His kids. When I come to Him in a broken place He isn’t there with condemnation, but with an….”I’ve been waiting on you.” ….not an “I’ve been waiting for you it is about time you got here”…but “I’m so excited about what we are going to do in this time together.” It is just constant. And even though He never changes it is as if I am always getting a new glimpse of Him. We can’t handle all that God has for us…it would kill us. I love that He doesn’t change He stays the same, but He is always revealing new parts of Himself to us. This last year I feel that I haven’t been diligent in my quiet time….and really it is just selfishness. I come home…I’m really tired…I can’t sit down and read the Bible with Brooklyn running around because she is at that age where she is like, “Mommy…come on. Mommy, come on.” But when I get to His feet there is no condemnation. But every moment I have with Him I grow a thousand percent. Another thing I have learned is that He says that when we walk through the fire we wouldn’t get burned…..He didn’t say we wouldn’t feel the heat. I’ve learned that even when Brad and I are going through trials together…I don’t have to be afraid. I don’t have to doubt or fear. Yeah…it hurts but I always have that hope…there is always hope. It WILL change. It may not always be what we think it should be, but it will change. Knowing that He is always on our side and that He is always for our good….(tears up)…it just gets overwhelming sometimes. I think that is one of my favorite things….to watch and see how God has done something. It is just another reminder of who He is. I’m such a sap too. It’s like five second commercial and I’m wasting a whole Kleenex box!! Brad always says that He loves how sensitive I am…because I am…I cry very easily. That is how I express my emotions. When I am happy….I cry. When I am sad…I cry. When I am mad…I cry. A lady that mentored me for a little bit. She actually gave me…I had a charm bracelet…and she gave me a weight…a dumbbell for it. She said that God had spoke to her and that He was saying that my tears were a sign of great strength. I feel like He has actually imparted part of His emotional side into you. She said that a lot of people couldn’t handle it but that God gave this to you because He felt you could handle how He feels towards people. That whole weep with those who weep…mourn with those who mourn….yeah…I take that very literally. I hurt when people are hurting. I’m sad when people are sad. I’m happy when people are happy…..and that is not a bad thing. I love how God expresses Himself with His people. I love how He loves His people. So…love…I just love love.
Me: So…you ARE pretty much Christmas in a body.
Brooke: Pretty much!! If I could live in Christmasville I soooo would!!! This is the one time of year that even for a minute people remember the gift of giving and remembering each other. I love watching people open a present that they didn’t know about about. I love it!!! I love making people happy. My favorite words are love and hope. I feel like I have been given my hope. Brad and Brooklyn were my hope. My life verse is Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” That was my hope…that someday I would have the desires of my heart. That one day I would have a husband that loves and adores me, and for a daughter. I LOVE my boys but I prayed for a daughter. I have that hope and now I am into spreading love. Which is another reason I wanted a life group…I wanted to be able to fellowship with people. I say the three C’s….cookies, coffee, and conversation should always be happening in my house…emphasis on the cookies.
Me: I would emphasize the coffee.
Brooke: So yeah…I just love.
Me: That is how we will end it….she loves love.
I love Brooke’s heart and understanding that she is a DAUGHTER of Jesus. She doesn’t just know that Jesus is her father…she KNOWS it and OWNS it!!! If I was to ask Brooke, which I should have asked her this, “Whose your daddy?” She would have said….JESUS. He is my daddy!! I’m gleaning this from her because I am in a season…this season has been going on for about 7 months now…but a season of really coming to an understanding of my identity. I am a daughter of Jesus. Yes…His DAUGHTER. I am a daughter of the most high King. Think about that. When we know our identity in Christ…then the fun really begins and the religion ends.
Now the next gleaning from Brooke was what her mentor said to her, and that her tears were a sign of strength. I have JUST learned this THIS year. Crying is GOOD!!! I used to think that if I was crying about something that I wasn’t being tough enough and that I should quit my blabbering and pull myself up by my boot straps and keep on keeping on. I will pretend to be strong and slap a scripture over it and say something holy like, “I will NOT let Satan steal my joy!”…and use that as my excuse not to mourn…not to cry. It is wrong…it is prideful…and it is harmful to you and the others around you. We MUST cry and mourn. It is a step in the process of healing that the Lord wants to walk us through. We can’t receive full healing until we have actually begun to mourn….because when we mourn He promises to turn it to dancing. The Lord also PROMISES that when we sow in tears we will reap with JOY!! We can’t skip the tears process!!! Plus there IS STILL joy even when we are crying. There is STILL strength…IF…Please catch this….we are taking those tears to the Lord. If you are just crying to cry, stir up drama, or crying about your hard times all over facebook and any other form of media to get some kind of sympathy card…you will never reap the fruit of joy. Only GOD, Jesus Christ, can turn tears of sorrow into true joy….TRUE joy. Now…I cry. I cry to my Savior and mean it. I cry to my husband and let him know my honest and true struggles with full disclosure. I cry to my selected friends whom I can trust with my heart. I cry, and that makes me strong.
I am so blessed to have a friend like Brooke that cries. Seriously!!! The Lord knew that I needed to learn a lesson in crying the right way, so He surrounded me with sweet friends like Brooke, Courtney Watkins, Denise Lee, Erin Sullivan, Jerri Benjamin, and many more…all of whom I have been able to glean this lesson from them on this blog. Crying women rock….when they cry the right way…and these women do. They do it with style.
Last, this statement right here, “…even though He never changes it is as if I am always getting a new glimpse of Him.” As I typed this statement it sent my mind spinning into how glorious and awesome the Lord is. What would be something that never changes yet we can always find new glimpses of it. The universe came to mind and the infinite amount of stars and galaxies. I know that they are moving and changing but that is the only thing that I could compare it to. We are always finding new glimpses of discoveries found in expanses of the universe, and it breeds more curiosity to find even more discoveries. I want to be that. I want to always be curious about the Lord and press in to find and discover new things about Him and who He is. I want to have a “new glimpse” of Him daily.