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I’m a bit giddy over this guest blogger, y’all. I sorta have a blogger-crush on her. Andrea & I have become fast friends through the Launch Team for Jen Hatmaker’s new book, For The Love, coming out in August. We are thoroughly enjoying all aspects of this journey within the Launch Team of 496 gals & 4 guys we call the #bandoffour (bless ’em, Lord for they are indeed strong, secure men!). I’ll be talking more about all that on another post. But for now, read this incredibly insightful, inclusive & sincere post that had me saying, “ABSOLUTELY, GIRL, AMEN!” a few times. Thank you Andrea! Shine On! 

hypocrite

This morning I woke up in sort of a panic. I usually have my best ideas, most important thoughts or take care of unfinished brain business from the night before right as I wake up. This morning the unfinished brain business panicked me a little.

I started this blog just a few days ago and am feeling a bit insecure about it all. I’m writing stuff here that I know is true, but I woke up wondering if I really believe it… if I really live it. You know those people you live with who really see you ALL the time and then read what you write or listen to what you say and shake their heads wondering who you are because you’re not the same person they know? You know those people?

Well, that’s how I felt this morning. Like a big ol’ smeared mascara-eyed, bed-headed hypocrite. Because… well… I am one. So I felt like I needed to put this out there for anyone reading. Well, if anyone is reading, I try not to write what I don’t live out or at least try really hard to live out. I try to tell a part of my story, what’s going on inside of me, and it not seem like I have it together and or know it all because I certainly don’t. Just ask the people I live with. They’ll be happy to tell you I don’t have it all together. On second thought, maybe don’t ask them… just take my word for it.

I’m a professional mask wearer at times and in certain situations. I rarely let my guard down. My vulnerability braveness level is incredibly low. I’m a perfectionist in a lot of areas and wearing my mask is one I quite competently excel at with very little effort. Most of us do. Isn’t that what a hypocrite is? The word hypocrite comes partly from the Greek word, hypokritḗs, referring to a stage actor, hence one who pretends to be what she is not. Oh, did I step on some toes there? Yeah, mine hurt too.

A former pastor, who shepherded us so well in our early years and who we still love dearly, has given us some of our best quotes and sayings over the years. One time he was preaching about being called a hypocrite and he boldly said in his Texan accent, “Well, we’re all hypocrites! And I’d rather be in heaven with ’em than in hell with ’em!”

Let’s face it (pun intended), we’re all hypocrites. It’s a human condition for which there is no cure this side of heaven. Thank you, Eve… We’re all fig leaf wearin’ fakes. Hiding behind something. Not wanting to be seen or fully known. But wanting so desperately to be seen and fully known at the same time. Yeah, thank you, Eve… Some of us have our masks plastered on so tight that it would take a high-pressure power washer to get it off. So… if we’re going to do it, let’s do it together. Let’s be hypocrites together, shall we? Authentic, call it like we see it, mask wearin’ hypocrites.

But let’s at least be hypocrites who try. Hypocrites who love other hypocrites. Hypocrites who love Jesus. Kind hypocrites… always kind! I’ll write what’s on my heart. It will all be as true as I know it to be. I will try to live it out as best as I can and I hope that you will too. If you catch me being a hypocrite, point it out to me in love but expect that I’ll do the same for you because after all, it takes one to know one. Oops… did I get your toes again?

On wearing masks… I recently started reading a book by Jamie George, Love Well. He wrote this in the introduction,

“Stuck, unsure, and without direction, we live out a masquerade, hoping desperately that someone will love us and accept us when we pull the mask off.

Until we tell the story of the mask, we will never take it off.

Until we find someone who is fully present, who listens to understand, we will keep hiding.

When we tell our stories, and when we are truly heard, we begin to clean out the compost of our souls. We then begin a journey of subtraction. We courageously begin to take off the emotional armor that we have collected until we can find childlike wonder again.”  ~Love Well, Jamie George 

If we are going to be hypocrites, if we are going to wear masks, then we are still better together. But let’s also work towards pulling them off. Together. Let’s empty our plates and tell our stories. I think, no I know, that there are hearts out there that need a fill-up. I know this because mine is one of them.

Empty. Fill. Repeat.

~Andrea

Please read more from Andrea here —> Empty Plate Full Heart

In light of recent public events surrounding the Duggar family, I encourage you to also read this beautiful, gracious post by Andrea’s daughter. These girls can WRITE! —> Grace and Social Media

 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. Romans 3:10

andreastunzI’ve been a wife for 26 years. My husband, Tommy, and I did some of our best work in our 3 amazing gifts from God. I’m a mother in law of 2 stellar humans beings and a Gimi of one adorable little dude. I’m a homemaker, a traveler, a seeker, a writer, a pilgrim. I love cooking and sharing good food with others who love good food. I take pictures that tell a story, my story, God’s story. An almost empty nester. A fellow struggler. A fellow stumbler. In need of God’s grace. Oh, and coffee. Grace and coffee. Then I’m good. Oh, and a sunrise. Grace, coffee and a sunrise. THEN I’m good. Oh, and my grandson. Grace, coffee, a sunrise and my grandson. … you get the picture. 🙂 I have many favorite scriptures but my “go to” scripture which seems to encompass all I may be stumbling through or rejoicing in is always this: “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17

 

 

 

Hidden

March 15, 2011 — 2 Comments

I have a sister-in-law who is a diamond in the rough, a rare jewel of a woman. She is a treasure of love, kindness, creativity, and beauty. Read this ~ you’ll not only see what I see, but I pray your heart is captivated & encouraged as mine is whenever I’m with her or when I read her ‘hidden treasures’. She wrote this to a friend, shortly after our first niece was born.

A glimpse into the heart of Miranda Joy Brower…

I just found this card I had written to a friend that I had forgotten to send, (don’t worry, I’m sending it today)I thought that what I wrote was worth sharing….

Here it is (with some editing):

Emma Joy was born yesterday, she is so precious. It is such a weird concept that yesterday, she was inside of Melissa, alive, and now, she is outside of Melissa, alive. She is so beautiful. It is a seemingly small shift from IN to OUT, yet, it makes all of the difference.
I have been pondering the phrase, “Hidden in Christ in God,” If we are inside of Christ, who is inside of God, how much more protected can we be?
A baby has everything it needs while it is living inside it’s mother’s womb; it is safe, provided for and loved. There is no lack. The baby is free to BE.
It doesn’t wonder where it’s next meal is coming from, nor where it is going to live. It just nestles itself inside it’s momma’s womb and concentrates on it’s one job; to grow. To become.
Hidden away in the deepest place of it’s mother, the baby becomes!

Oh the Beauty!
Hidden in Christ, in God!
To grow! To become!

This is our story, we are hidden. We are becoming!

There is a God, He has a Son and His affections are on you.

My next question is: What are we becoming?

Oh, my beautiful friend, I pray that you experience the overwhelming goodness that is found in Christ Jesus our Lord. That you may be filled with the fullness of Christ. That you would be rooted and grounded in His incredible, earth-shattering, mind-blowing love. That you may see the width and length and depth and height of His love.

So I ask you to take a moment to look within yourself. What are you becoming? Are you experiencing God’s overwhelming love? It’s there. Allow it to be birthed within you by receiving the fact that you are adored & accepted simply because you are His.

Shine On Sisters!

Danielle


Light The Way

January 13, 2011 — Leave a comment

He’s talented in many areas. At the forefront of his talents is the way he loves his family. But the dude’s got such a way with words… be inspired, be encouraged, and be moved. Oh yeah and after you read this, be sure to visit his blog for more insightful posts. Mike Brower’s Blog

~~~

Do you ever wonder where you are, how you got here, or where to go from here? I do. Some days…All. The. Time! I seem to have this internal curiosity that goes unfulfilled with the answers I come up with. While helping my sons to get ready for school this morning, I happened upon a bit of insight that I believe will help.

In the midst of lunch making, snow boots finding, and a bit of yelling, I shared a Bible verse with my boys. In sharing with them, I received a new revelation on this simple text. The verse:

Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet,

and a light to my path.”

This verse has been a long time companion for me. I fondly recall knowing that this was my mom’s “favorite verse” from the Bible. When I was a young boy, my dad created a wall plaque of this verse from a simple board and routed letters – he and I “made” it together! I remember this verse hanging by the front door of our home, most visible when going out into the world.

...and a light unto my path

I’ve often thought of the verse and prayed that it’s truth would be real in my life. I’ve thought of the verse’s meaning and interpreted it to mean that God’s word will show me where I am, and show me where I’m going.

This morning as I was reading to the boys and talking a bit about these concepts, a new light shone on this passage. It was a welcome insight to start the day.

Not only does God’s word show us where we are in this life, his word reveals the path to travel on. There’s a subtle difference here. The focus is no longer on where I am going. The focus is on where I am supposed to go!

An image came to my mind’s eye. Picture midnight in a Narnian woods, or perhaps the spooky woods from the Wizard of Oz. I was alone in that dark wood, my lantern in hand, I could see a few feet out. I knew where I was at. The air was black, heavy, and a bit spooky. As I looked about for direction there was none to be found. I could not see anything beyond the light of my lamp and all signs of direction were gone.

As I pondered the verse, something began to appear in the woods of my mind. A path way extending from the edge of my lamp’s light woven out into the darkened grove. Slowly the glow grew out before me and I became aware, not only of where I was, but where I was to go.

God’s word is available to us to reveal our current condition, and to show us where to go.

I was encouraged by this simple adjustment. So often we wonder if we are focused where we’re supposed to be. Are we headed in the right direction? Are we following Jesus in the way that he’s called us to? We ask, “How do I know God’s will and plan for my life?”

Today this little verse near the center of the Bible reminded me that we’ve been given a letter that answers our question. The path has already been illuminated. We need to intentionally see it.

Blessings to you in your quest!