Joy to the World


Joy to the World

” Call everyone and tell them she’s here now, I guess!”

I had played the day over and over in my mind many times through the last nine months. I imagined I would be calm and in control. After all, this was my fourth pregnancy so I knew what to do!

However, because I had given birth to three other children, I also knew what was about to happen and I had been very fearful over the few months leading up to the big day.

Some time in July, during praise and worship with our church ,I made the comment to Derrick that our little girl always went wild and seemed to be energized by the worship. Derrick looked right at me and said “we need to name her Joy”.  At first I thought it was a sweet idea but wasn’t too sure about the name Joy. I was more set on Amelia with millie for short, but as I prayed about it, I felt a peace and knew that was what her name was supposed to be.

Later we both agreed on Joy Elise, meaning Rejoicing/ God is all I need. How very true for this time in our lives!

As the weeks got closer to my due date, it became clearer that we would most likely have our little Joy sooner than expected. All of my babies had been early in the past and they were estimating her to weigh more than was normal for how far along I was.

last pregnancy picture

At my last Doctor visit on November 3rd, the doctor said she expected her here any day but they scheduled an induction on the 11th just incase. I prayed very hard that I did not have to be induced. That was no fun with my son, Sawyer!

Two days after that visit, on Thursday morning, I began to feel some strong cramping. I continued to vaccum and clean and go about my day as normal until it hit me; these cramps were really strong.

After talking with some  friends, I realized this could very well be the beginning of labor. I started having contractions after that but nothing consistant.

The next morning, again, the cramps continued and felt may be even a little stronger. This was nothing that I had felt before with the others though, so I assumed I was fine. I decided to get some rest that afternoon but when I woke up, the contractions were stronger. I most defininely needed to breathe through them but once again they were not consistant. Some would be 15 minutes apart and others 7 minutes apart.

Man they hurt though and never had I had contractions that hurt like that this early in the labor.

Derrick and I began to get a bit concerned but after being sent home with all 3 of my other babies (I was in labor each time but was not progessing fast enough) I did not want to be sent home with a fourth!  I had decided we would continue on with the plans we had made for the evening until I realized I could barely walk because the contractions hurt so bad. They didn’t come that often, but when they did I struggled to get through the pain.

Within 15 minutes they jumped from an average of 15 minutes apart to 4 minutes apart!  I got up and told my husband it was time and boy was I right!! Trying to get everything ready, I found the pain increased and the preasure was unbearable! Walking to the car I knew we had a short window of time before she would be here!

Derrick sped all the way in the rain to the hospital (a 30 minute drive normally) and we both prayed. What I was feeling right now was the same way I felt right before they told me to start pushing. We were both very scared our little girl would be born in the car.

Pulling in to the ER, we began to look for where we needed to go. This was a new hospital for us because our other children were all born in Texas. I took charge and just started walking.


A sweet lady began to try to help us but was not feeling the urgency. Finally I pulled what I found to be the magic words…THIS IS MY FOURTH!! That phrase got people moving!

Soon I was being wheeled upstairs and admitted into a room.

All I kept thinking is “why do they not see I am literally about to have this baby. There is no time for all of the work up to be done.” I tried to be kind. I let them do what they needed to do. Then a STRONG contraction came and I said ” I NEED TO PUSH!” The nurse stopped asking the questions and checking my BP and rushed to get someone to check me. <finally!>

As soon as the Dr. checked, her eyes grew big and she said, “If I break your water now, you will be holding this baby in 5 minutes.”

Talk about scared to death. I was not in control at all of my emotions, of my breathing and my mind was overwhelmed with anxiety and fear. Never had this happened so fast. I was not ready for what was about to happen.

Ready or not, it was time.

Sure enough, as soon as the water was broken, the many nurses rushed to my side and I began to push.

Something felt so different this time. The pain was overwhelming. I had 2 births without epidural but something wasn’t right. Then the Dr. told me that baby was in the sunny side up position and I was going to need to work with her to make the next pushes successful.

Everything in me told me I could not do this. I was screaming as I pushed which I knew was wrong but I could not seem to calm down and I needed to get it together. It was then that a nurse looked me in the eyes and began to support me. My Doctor reminded me that all the power I was putting into my screaming needed to go into these next pushes. If I couldn’t get her out in the next few, I would be looking at an emergency C-section.

At that moment I remembered one of the songs I loved so much through the pregnancy. “You make me brave…you call me out beyond the shore into the waves”  I was definitely feeling those waves but I knew HE had made me brave.

Within two very intense pushes and lots of help from my doctor moving her head in the right position, our beautiful baby Joy was here!

me and joy

She was much smaller than they were expecting. At 7 lbs 1 oz and 20 1/2 in., Joy was my second smallest baby. She did have a good head of hair, long and slender legs and arms and fingers long enough to play the piano right away!

introducing joy

Derrick and I were in love from the first second of her!


As they were cleaning Joy, I asked the nurse, “how long have I been here?” She told me from the moment I walked in the maternity ward to the moment she was born was 20 minutes! SERIOUSLY!!

I have heard about births going this fast but never had this happened to me. It felt like something you watch in a movie. All around me everyone was rushing and spinning but there I sat just trying to take it all in.

So, instead of making the calls to tell everyone I was headed to the hospital like usual, we made the call to say “she’s here!”


Joy has been every bit of just that in our lives. The Lord has used her to bring so much Joy to our family.  We are so very thankful for our sweet spirited baby girl.


The other three can’t hug and kiss her enough! We were a little afraid Sawyer may be jealous but he has embraced his role as big brother!

joy and sawyer

Joy Elise is now one month old and I know all too soon she will be grown and ready to face the world. Until then, I will be here soaking up every minute I can of that newborn smell and late night cuddles! Welcome to the world Baby Joy. My hands are full and my heart is overflowing!

first family pic


Are You Even Listening, God?


Are You Even Listening, God?

Have you asked this question? Have you been in that place of desperation where you are crying out to God for guidance, a sign, a change or simply an answer?

My guess is you have.

This summer has been just that for my husband and I.  We have had some life changing circumstances face us and they are completely outside of our control.  In the beginning ,my faith was strong. I came to God fully believing that He had a plan for us and that His plan would fall right into place very quickly.

Unfortunalty, as time has gone on, discouragement sets in and I am caught between my faith and the lie of the enemy telling me that He isn’t even hearing my pleas for help.

I have sat beside my bed praising His name for the blessings we do have and I have fallen to my knees, face to the ground crying and begging for simply one sign that He is listening.


I have never felt more weak in my life. At times, in this weakness I have wanted to give up and fall into the pit of selfish withdrawal from my family, my friends and my God. In this weakness I find the mornings hard to start and the evenings almost unbearable to end because once again, there is not change, no answer and I am still in a place of desperate vulnerability.

There is something so beautiful about my weakness though that I am promised.

Each time he said, My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT)

His power works best in my weakness! In another version, the translation states “My power is PERFECT in weakness” Really?!? That sheds a whole new light on the distress that I am feeling.

Paul, the writer in this chapter goes on to say this;

That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

For when I am weak, then I am strong! How can that even be? It is because Christ’s power works best when we are weak. I can find comfort in the fact that at my most desperate time in life, He is able to be my strength and His power is able to shine even brighter.

I find peace in knowing my weakness is not the end of my situation but what about the answer? Still, I find myself asking, “Are you even hearing me God?” My circumstances are getting worse and yet, I am still here on my knees begging Him to change them and give me answers.

Currently I am involved in a ladies Bible study at our church and ironically it is addressing the very topic of prayer.  In this study, I have been reminded that sometimes our prayers are wrong.  Let me go into this a  little more. Sometimes we are praying the wrong prayers, maybe they are in the wrong time and many times we pray them with the wrong heart.

In our desperate calling out to God, we have to ask Him is my request going against your will, is this maybe your will but not your timing or is my heart hindered by a sin that needs to be confessed before you.

Maybe you are in the place I am in though and you know this is His will, the timing is very serious for the provision of your family and you have confessed all sin the Lord has brought to your heart…STILL NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

Nothing else matters at this point.  You are so desperate. You are continually going to God and begging for His power to intervene. If you are there, here is my humble advice. DONT GIVE UP.

There is a parable Jesus told about a widow in Luke 18:1-8. This widow went before the Judge begging for him to give her justice.  She went day and night, over and over, pleading her case. This was what Jesus said in response;

Then the Lord said, Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?’

Another one, one of my favorites on this topic is the parable of the friend at night or the persistant friend.  Jesus taught about a man who knocked on his friends door needing bread.  The friend got mad and told him to stop bothering him but the man was persistant…he was in NEED! The friend whos door was being knocked on gave in to the persistence and did what his friend asked finally.  Jesus said this in the end;

And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”

 Through these verses, God’s promises, I can’t help but believe that He is hearing me and though it seems right now, in this very moment that the answers will never come, His word says otherwise.

In the many years I have been God’s child, looking back, He has never not provided for me. There has never been a time when He I have not seen His perfect will and timing after the storm has passed. Through it all, this is my testimony, this is my story!

Right now, as I write this, I don’t have an answer, I don’t know what tomorrow will hold but I do know the promises I have been given and I choose to write them, sing them, memorize them and scream them in prayer at times in order to activate my faith and my belief.

My God is faithful!

[ * Here are some other verses that I have been clinging to during this time that I hope you find encouraging also: Ps. 42:11,  Is. 41:10, 2 Cor. 4:8-9, 2 Cor. 5:7, I Peter 1:6-7.  If there is a scripture that you are finding comforting right now, please share!!]

Why Smiling Matters

Why Smiling MattersDid you know that simply smiling could lift an entire demeanor, raise attitudes, and impact others? Being joyful, despite circumstances, elevates our perspective and causes us to rest from stress and worry. We are more likely to talk to someone we don’t know if they are smiling.

Proverbs is a great place to find some amazing & inspiring verses. Let’s look at 15:13 & 30:

A glad heart makes a happy face;
a broken heart crushes the spirit…

A bright look brings joy to the heart,
and good news gives health to the body.

We look at these verses and wonder how such a simple expression can enable a contagious effect on our own spirits & bodies but also on others. We have the opportunity to bring grace, joy, peace and brightness to someone else’s day! That’s incredible.

I admit, I tend to be a more serious person. I do smile quite a bit but I’m almost always thinking about something which means I have a perma-wrinkle on my brow. I am joyful yet sometimes it doesn’t come across on my face.

Yet, after reading these verses last night, I want to display a softer face. A joyful face. I want to be an encouragement to those around me simply when they look at me.

More importantly, I want to express my deep gratitude and peace that God has given me through the saving faith of Jesus’ atonement. God has done a tremendous thing for me. He has saved my soul from the effects of sin and the deserved punishment of death. Do I display this effect on average throughout the day? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we had an impact on the Kingdom because people wondered why we were so joyful, why we smiled so much? Wouldn’t it be fabulous if we had the opportunity to share the hope we have in Jesus because someone remarked on how bright our demeanor is?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see others come into relationship with Him because we grew a friendship through the first act of smiling? Think of the possibilities!

While I tend to be more studious in my study of God’s Word, I really enjoyed reading these verses and pausing on them. I enjoyed that God lifted my spirit with such a simple notion – smiling. It may be the first time I recall God ever imparting such a soft, jovial, and simple thing to me.


 Holly from The Brown Tribe

Holly currently lives in Nebraska with her amazing & godly husband, sweet & smart 4-year old daughter & joyful 2 year old son. She is a stay-at-home mom who serves with her local MOPS group, and on her church’s Mission Leadership Team for missionary support. She writes at The Brown Tribe for the purpose of discipling and encouraging women and mothers. She is also a contributor for Missional Call. In her spare time she enjoys coffee, photography, exploring the culinary craft, helping combat human trafficking through awareness and is currently writing her first book. You can follow along with Holly on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, google +,  and Instagram.

Is the Romance Over?


Is the Romance Over?

Sitting on the couch, watching a movie trailer, my mind began to drift. The movie was just the kind I love; sappy romance, young love and passionate affection. Thinking back to when I first met Derrick, I remembered the feelings. One of my friends once described my friendship with derrick, before we were even dating, as passionate. We were. From the moment I met him, he caught my eye and once we started dating I couldn’t be near him enough (honestly, before we started dating I found every way I could to make contact with him.)

My husband always knew how to romance me. From the beginning, even when I was not “his”, he would leave flowers and my favorite candy in my drop box at college.  The words he would write in his letters would leave me reading them over and over until I fell asleep at night. He gave me gifts often, took me to my favorite places to eat and sang to me in soft whispers.

For the heart of an ultimate romantic, he was God’s gift!

I remember, after we were married, walking into our new apartment after work to a man fully dressed in suit and tie with a towel draped from his arm just like those fancy waiters at the top dollar restaurants. He had made dinner with candlelight and we enjoyed it together with sweet love songs in the background.

What happened, I thought to myself as the movie trailer ended. I miss that! When did it all stop and why?

I let myself sit and sulk for a moment, reliving all the memories I held so sweetly in my mind and heart, almost grieving the loss of them. Soon my husband walked through the door after a 12 hour shift with a bag from Wal-Mart in his hands. He said hello and walked back to our room. I got up to follow him, curious as to what he was doing.

Pulling out the contents he began to sprinkle scented powder on the floors and plugged in a fabreeze in my favorite scent.  Then he flashed a smile.

You see, I was newly pregnant with our fourth child and had been mentioning that the smell in the room was making me nauseated. He heard me and did something to relieve that from me.

I could have just thanked him and went on but I am so thankful that God opened my heart to see more through this act of service.

THIS is romance! 11 years into marriage, this is what true love looks like and this is what keeps us alive. It is the little things that I let pass me by so easily that, if I listen and watch, I will notice the true intimacy behind them.

When he brings home my favorite desserts because he knows it will make my whole night, when he leans over to pray with me after a long and stressful day, and when he tells the kids mommy is busy and then tells me to go lay down. Romance is during the pastor’s message, when we both feel the leading of the spirit and he squeezes my hand or when he tells his buddies on Xbox live about the amazing meal he is about to consume because his wife is an awesome cook.

Don’t get me wrong, the passionate kissing and eye gazing stares are still so important and we work to bring those in as much as we can, but in this stage of life, it is about something more. Romance becomes something so much deeper. It is about knowing your best friend so deeply that you know their needs and desires and you meet that for them.

Some days it may be a wink in the middle of chaos while making dinner. Maybe it is in the hand that reaches across the console of the car while the kids are singing Let it Go for the 100th time.  For us it is in finding one another’s feet between the sheets at night before we can fall asleep.

Romance can be alive in the tiny things that so perfectly display a maturing love.

Don’t let yourself miss a chance to act upon these times and like me, don’t lose sight of the beautiful and romantic love story that is still taking form right before your eyes. Yours may not look the same as it did in the beginning but as in anything that is  growing and thriving , romance matures and changes for the better. Enjoy the ride and don’t get off too early!


Refreshed in Spirit


Some nights, probably more than I would care to admit, I am exhausted & discouraged. I may not have gotten anything done that I wanted to and yet I feel the pressure to run myself ragged in order to accomplish more. My spirit is depleted, not refreshed.

O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.” — Psalm 5:3

As a mom, I always have a list of things to get done. Most evenings I am tired and my back hurts. I just want to sit down and rest for the first time all day. However, sometimes I have a list that gets longer each hour at times. My husband, being the loving man that he is, often asks how I’m doing as he walks in from work.

Many times my response is to be exasperated and re-tell the horrors of the day, to re-hash all the ways the kids disobeyed and got disciplined. To tell him of my throbbing headache or backache and just that I’m glad he’s there to help now. Glad in the “I now have reinforcements” kind of way, not a simple “I’ve missed you and just have joy that you’re home” kind of way.

Then he, in his usual gracious and servant-hearted self, tends to step in and say, “What can I help you with?”

He then moves to either intercept kids so I can have some quiet or he seeks to know the next steps in getting dinner on the table and helps me accomplish them. He’s wonderful in that way.

It’s at that point that I’m nudged by the Spirit in my heart posture toward him: my complaining about the day, or all that I’ve done and that I’ve got so much more to do, or simply that I really want to sit down and do nothing for the rest of the night.

What I really need is to repent of this sin, to seek the Lord in these hard parts and see that I don’t need to complete everything off my list in order to prove myself to be a good mom or wife.  I need to know my worth and identity in Christ and ensure that I’m spending my time with Him, getting refreshed through His Word.

Even youths shall faint and be weary,

    and young men shall fall exhausted;

but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;

    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;

they shall run and not be weary;

    they shall walk and not faint.” — Isaiah 40:30-31

God, in His awesome faithfulness, longs for us to come to Him when we are weary. He wants to rejuvenate our souls and re-focus our hearts and minds on Him. He wants to breathe life into our perception of performance – the to-do lists and pressures which often lead to being overwhelmed and discouraged. God promises to lift us up, fill us up and sustain us with life-giving bread.  

Through this reminder from the Spirit, I am often brought to repentance – apologizing to my husband for my speech toward him and apologizing to my kids for my frustration in the child-like behavior from children. My husband’s very presence and care reminds me that I am not alone in this endeavor of parenting and homemaking. I am not on my own. While I do have him to help, more importantly I have God to help me.

fear not, for I am with you;

    be not dismayed, for I am your God;

I will strengthen you, I will help you,

    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” — Isaiah 41:10

Being a mom brings out my worst at times. It’s certainly a sanctifying phase in life but I’m ever grateful for the preciousness that God Spirit brings to my soul through conviction. I’m grateful for the countless opportunities I have to go to God, desperate for refreshment from the well of living water. I’m grateful that He’s a God who meets me where I’m at and cares enough for me to press me toward holiness.

Holly from The Brown Tribe

Holly currently lives in Nebraska with her amazing & godly husband, sweet & smart 4-year old daughter & joyful 2 year old son. She is a stay-at-home mom who serves with her local MOPS group, and on her church’s Mission Leadership Team for missionary support. She writes at The Brown Tribe for the purpose of discipling and encouraging women and mothers. She is also a contributor for Missional Call. In her spare time she enjoys coffee, photography, exploring the culinary craft, helping combat human trafficking through awareness and is currently writing her first book. You can follow along with Holly on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, google +,  and Instagram.

Speaking Grace

Speaking Grace

Many times we – moms who stay home with the kids all day, doing the same routine and events every day – think we have no impact or significance in anyone else’s life. We wonder how we can impart grace into others’ lives while we balance the duties of child-rearing, home, and ministry efforts.

To be sure we have immediate and lasting impact on the little lives we are training, and that is critical work as we battle for the hearts of our children, as well as with our families and friends Yet, I want to encourage us all that we have a bigger impact in our community than we might think!

First, think through your past few weeks. Do you notice any familiar faces in your daily or weekly routines? Are you engaging those whom you cross paths with frequently?

You may see them, you may even say a short greeting on your way into or out of the grocery store. Perhaps it’s the same neighbor on a regular walk you often take. Do you have contact with the same person repeatedly, even if you don’t engage them at all? It could be at church, while running errands, while dropping kids off at school, or even at restaurants on those rare occasions you treat your family to a meal out.

We sometimes miss the opportunities God gives us to touch someone’s soul with the Truth of the Gospel because we just aren’t paying attention to those we have contact with on a regular basis.

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” — Colossians 4:2-6

Here, Paul is encouraging us to be devoted in prayer, alert and grateful. He wants to see open doors so that the gospel can be brought forth clearly. Yet he continues to instruct believers to conduct themselves with wisdom & to make the most of every opportunity. Every opportunity means every opportunity.

Not only that but our speech ought to be full of grace as though seasoned with salt. That means that mouths ought to flavor conversations with grace. Us speaking with others should bring goodness, therefore other forms of speech like gossip, manipulation, lewdness, conceit, lies, etc will have a harder time being present in such conversations.

All these characteristics put together (prayer, alertness, thanksgiving, opportunities, speech, wisdom, and grace) in our presentation with “outsiders,” or those outside the faith, will help us as we converse with them. They will enable us to be effective as we respond to them. In their doubt. In their questions. We need all these qualities so that we will know how we should respond to each person.”

Pray for God’s grace in you to be made manifest toward the souls that you get to come into contact with this week. No matter how brief, my prayer is that you begin to understand what making the most of every opportunity looks like, how your speech toward others would be full of grace, and the impact that it has on the Kingdom!

 Holly from The Brown Tribe

Holly currently lives in Nebraska with her amazing & godly husband, sweet & smart 4-year old daughter & joyful 2 year old son. She is a stay-at-home mom who serves with her local MOPS group, and on her church’s Mission Leadership Team for missionary support. She writes at The Brown Tribe for the purpose of discipling and encouraging women and mothers. She is also a contributor for Missional Call. In her spare time she enjoys coffee, photography, exploring the culinary craft, helping combat human trafficking through awareness and is currently writing her first book. You can follow along with Holly on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, google +,  and Instagram

15 Things I want My Daughters to Know About Being a Mom


15 Things I Want My Daughters to Know About Being a Mom

You are so young and darling right now. It is hard to imagine that one day you too will be a mother as I am. The day will come though, Lord willing ,and in my arms I will hold the beautiful grandchild you have blessed me with.

On that day, you will become a MOTHER! The most amazing title you can have!

I have so many hopes and dreams for you as a mother. I pray you find the joy I have found in loving someone so dearly and deeply.

I pray their tiny little fingers make your heart skip a beat and their sweet kicks in your belly make you giggle with amazement.

There is so much I want you to know about being a mother but in my opinion, these are the most precious pieces I can give you.

1)Be silly.

Don’t let the demands of your day or the need to be a role model ever stand in the way of showing your kids that you can have a great time with them. Dance around, make a fool of yourself and delight in their giggles.

2) You can NEVER hug and kiss them too much.

They need your arms around them and you need it too. There is something so powerful as a touch. Don’t miss one single moment to embrace those sweet babies no matter how big they grow.

3) It really will hurt you more than it hurts them.

Grandma used to tell me this when I was sad or when I was being punished.  I didn’t believe her and you probably won’t believe me…until that first time when their hearts are broken or you have to take away something they love so much. Then you will understand. It will hurt you so much more.

4) Getting sick is not an option.

Oh sweet girls, enjoy the princess treatment now when you are sick in bed because as a mother, you just do not get this luxury!

5) Don’t lose yourself.

Far to easily you can get sucked into the mommy role which is a beautiful thing but in the midst of everyone needing you, don’t forget to keep up what you love. Don’t forget what makes you shine… and make time for it!

6) Don’t forget the man who started all of this!

That man you call your husband? Don’t forget to put him at the top of your list. Have fun with him, make sure he knows how important he is to you and never lose that sparkle in your eye for him even on the days you are exhausted. You need him. He needs you.

7)You  are Jesus to them.

These sweet little angels come into this world, eager to learn, and ready to soak it all in. They can not know about Jesus unless you show them who He is through every chance you get. When you eat, brush teeth, clean up, find ways to tell them who He is and why you love Him so much.

8) You will never feel adequate enough.

You will always wonder what else you could be doing, why you can’t seem to do it right or how you must be ruining them. A little secret though, that is part of being mommy. You want to give them the VERY BEST and with God’s guidance you will do just fine!

9)Don’t compare yourself to that other mom.

It is so easy to see or read about what other mom’s are doing because you just don’t measure up.  Don’t buy into that lie, sweetheart. You are the mom those sweet babies needed and God chose you to be their mom because they needed who you are. You posses all the qualities you need to be the mom they need! Be YOU!

10) Listen, Listen, listen!

Start when they are young so that when they are older they know you will be there. Listen when they have grand stories to tell you. Listen when they repeat the same word over and over again and you just know you’ve been waiting for it to end for at least 30 mintues.  When the hormones start raging and the temptations are strong, they will know who is ready to listen when they are ready to talk.

11) Make friends too.

You will need someone to cry to who understands and you will need someone to laugh at you and say “Me too!” Having a friend, a real friend, in this stage in life is crucial. They are hard to find, but with prayer, the Lord will lead them to your life. Be ready to welcome them in!

12)Give yourself grace.

Some days you may not make it out of your pj’s. Other days you might not feel like being needed at all. It is ok. Let the feelings come and then let them go. Start over the next day. List your blessings and begin again!

13)Sometimes you DON’T have to clean.

You will find that the house can be destroyed within an hour! You may spend all night cleaning only to find they woke up and destroyed it all!  There is a time to clean, and a time to sit down and rest or read a good book. There is a time to work together organizing the pile of toys and a time to put on the bathing suits and run through the sprinklers.  Stay sane but don’t let it consume you.

14) This too shall pass.

Cherish every minute you can. Study their faces as often as possible. Remember the curve of their sweet puffy cheeks or the way their tiny bottoms look in those diapers while they run. memorize their sweet, soft hand in yours because before you know it, the years have passed by and as special as each year and stage is, your heart will cling to the memories from before. Hold on to as much of them as you can.

And for the most important thing to remember…

15)Make your relationship with Jesus Christ the top priority.

Hopefully you hear this from me constantly and I pray you witness it in my life but the only way you can make it through these years with joy and success is by talking with your Heavenly Father daily (sometimes minute by minute). No matter what trial you face, and you will, or how long the day may seem, He is there waiting to fill you with peace and strength. I know this all too well and sadly I know what can happen when you take your relationship with Him for granted. Cling to him. Make every effort to step away for even moments at a time to visit with Him.


Well, as I said in the beginning, there is so much to know about being a mother. Right now, where I am as your mom, this is what I know and this is what I pray you remember.

Your going to shine as a mom! You’re going love it! Those nights when you get no sleep because a stomach bug passed through all the kids at once or those days when you and your husband can’t seem to say a word to one another without interruptions from all ends…I promise they are worth every moment. You seem to forget every bit of inconvenience you face when you hear “mom, I love you.” And oh baby, I will be so thrilled to hear about it when it happens! Call me!



Your momma


Finding Joy in Every Season

Finding Joy in Every Season

Life is full of many changes. As a child, I remember feeling like I would never “grow up”. I would never be in the youth group. It would be forever before I could drive and school was never going to end.

In college, that boy was never going to ask me out and once we were finally together, it seemed like forever before we would be engaged.  The six months before the wedding felt like a year and then all of the sudden life started changing.

Now each day felt like a lifetime, working all day and waiting to be together, but the nights together went so fast.  The weekend; even faster. Before I knew it, I had baby fever and after trying a year and a half, I thought I may never get to be a mother. (well, God just has to chuckle at that one I am sure!)

In 2009, just 5 years after we were married, I did become that mother I was dreaming of and that is the moment time sped up! No season has stayed the same since and every month holds a new kind of normal.

There was the full time working mom stage. Next, the “I can’t believe we are already pregnant with the next one…surprise!” stage. Then the dream come true stage where God allowed me to be a stay at home mom. Soon I was in the “daycare mom” stage where I had a house full of kids at any given moment. Soon, I was pregnant with my third and yet again another stage hit…survival mode!

Being a mom of three brought less babysitting and many days of trying to get some kind of order into our new lives. But, soon I conquered that stage and became comfortable.  We soon moved to a town where I knew no one and from there began the “will you be my friend, please” stage! That’s where you are begging God to bring someone along to walk this road with you.

My prayers were answered and I found some of the best friends of my life in that time. Next, I began the homeschool mom stage (which I am still very much learning how to be in), but most recently I have been in one of the best stages of my life. I guess you could call it the inspired/spiritual growth stage.

In this time of my life I have heard a calling from God that has left me excited and literally spiritually hungry for His word. I found a passion in writing and found a voice.  The joy that I found in stepping out and following God by sharing my words has been inexplicable. I have met inspiring women of God, learned so much about myself and God’s love for me and I have become stronger through it!

This has been a good season!

However, in keeping with the rest of life, things change and God had yet another stage for me to enter.

Mother of four!


Coming in 2015



Yes, in early March, we found out I was pregnant with our fourth little blessing. My heart was and is completely overcome with gratefulness for the gift that we have been given.  Along with this stage though has come yet again, morning sickness, fatigue and feeling like a failure in so many ways.

I’ve been more sick with this pregnancy than the last and as you can imagine, being pregnant and sick with three little people around you can bring about a stressful and less than desirable day.  I went from waking up excited about my day to hoping I could just skip it all together.

My desire and even sometimes ability to read the scriptures, I once found so comforting, has been weak. I also have had little to no desire to write. Oh, I have had so many ideas come along and I have even opened the computer only to close it back and lay my head down in defeat.

This has been a difficult place in life and while many days I have given in to the feeling of hopelessness, I fight to remember this is yet another season.  Another amazing season in my life that is leading me into the next.

Especially as moms, the seasons are changing rapidly and we really have to learn to stop and see the beauty in each one, because before we know it, it is over and we can never get it back.

I know this because I think back to those years of working away from my precious first child. I felt like every day would be the end of me. I cried all the way to work almost every morning, crying out to God for some answer to this.  Yes, it was hard! I am so happy He answered my prayers but there was a beauty in that season I was in.

The beauty?  It was just me, my husband and our sweet little child I had prayed for so strongly. Just us! How calm and peaceful and amazing those 21 months were. I look back at some amazing evenings, weekends and days off!  Picking her up was the highlight of my day. It was a season full of pain yet overflowing with blessings and love.

I can’t get that back. Those days of one child are over. I praise God for where He has brought our family but If I am not careful, I will miss the beauty in the season I am in.

So, right now, some of my plans may have to be put on hold.  That Influence conference I was dreaming of and saving for may have to wait for a year or two. School this fall may have to start a month or so early in order for us to get a good start before the baby comes in November and that big vacation we were hoping for this year may have to be scaled way back.  But, this fall, when we go to cut down our Christmas tree, God is adding another little friend to our favorite tradition. I get to enjoy the priceless scent of a babies bald head once again and my arms are so eager to be full of all the love my home will hold.

Yes, this is a hard season. Kind of like winter. Winter can be tough, all the bundling and waiting for the car to warm up. Risking the bad streets of ice and cloudy days, but without winter we wouldn’t experience snowball fights and hot cocoa on a cold night. There wouldn’t be the comfort of soup on a frozen evening or pictures on a snow day! Every season brings joy and the stages and seasons in life are no different.

Enjoy this season you are in. Find the joy in the stage you may be facing.

Solomon understood this well and I’ll end this with the encouragement and wisdom he gives in Ecclesiastes 3.  He starts by saying “For everything there is a season and a time for every activity under Heaven”. He goes into some of those times but I love what he leaves us with here: (verse 11- 13)

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.  So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.  And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.



Prayers of Honesty

I had just left my sister-in-law’s house and was driving home thinking about the encouraging and godly conversation we had during Girls’ Night. As my thoughts drifted, I began thinking of another family situation which has been a difficult one.

I decided long ago that when a person or a situation comes into my mind like that, I would stop thinking to pray right then for whatever it was. Therefore when this other family situation came raging into my thoughts, threatening to take away the joy of friendship I had been praising God for moments earlier, I began praying.

Prayers of Honesty

My prayers quickly went from, I dont know what to do, God, to PLEASE SAVE THEM!

My prayer became one of fervent urgency. I cried aloud to my God, with boldness and strength and pleaded with Him to show His glory and power in their lives.

Then I realized that it was the first time I had prayed about the situation with such passion. As I thought on that, I became convicted that while I prayed about it before, and while I always tried to follow Christ’s leading and pursue righteousness, in my heart I had doubted that He would actually work.

I believe in the God who created everything from nothing. I believe in the God who raises the dead. I believe in the God who uses the lowly for some major displays of His glory. And yet, in this particular situation with this particular family, I have not believed that He will redeem things. I’d long ago lost hope that it would get better. I have been apathetic and depressed as I have seen the situation get worse over time.

In that moment, with the conviction laying bare in my heart, my prayer quickly changed to streams of tears and confession. I confessed my unbelief in God’s goodness in the situation. I confessed my unbelief that God really cared. I confessed that I had been pessimistic toward God’s ability to do change things. I confessed my unbelief in their redemption, as if anyone is outside of God’s reach.

I cried out for God to forgive my unbelief and also to heal my unbelief.

As my prayer ended and the tears ceased, I became so thankful that God would use those moments of raw honesty to reveal where my heart was at. I had hardened my heart in the name of self-preservation without even knowing it. It felt so good to be honest and come clean with the Lord who knows it all anyway.

I am reminded of David’s countless prayers revealing his heart’s despair. Oh, how God uses those moments to strengthen and encourage our hearts toward greater trust in Him!

“To you, O Lord, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me, lest, if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.  Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary.” Psalm 28:1-2

Holly from The Brown Tribe

Holly currently lives in Nebraska with her amazing & godly husband, sweet & smart 4-year old daughter & joyful 2 year old son. She is a stay-at-home mom who serves with her local MOPS group, and on her church’s Mission Leadership Team for missionary support. She writes at The Brown Tribe for the purpose of discipling and encouraging women and mothers. She is also a contributor for Missional Call. In her spare time she enjoys coffee, photography, exploring the culinary craft, helping combat human trafficking through awareness and is currently writing her first book. You can follow along with Holly on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, google +,  and Instagram

Tell The Storm How Big Your God Is

Tell The Storm How Big Your God Is

Fear can be debilitating. It can be downright paralyzing and I think that’s a good reason why our enemy uses it so often to deter us from following, or even seeking, after God at times.

Two stories in the Bible deal with fear, yet the two are drastically different in the building of character within the children of God.

First, take a gander at Mark 4:35-41,

“On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’

The disciples were focused on their situation, on the storm and the perception that Jesus did not care about whether they lived or died. The circumstances determined how they related to God and also how they viewed His power. They pleaded with Him for help and when He did calm the storm, they were fearful of Him still.

How many times do we approach God like this within our own lives? How often do we worry, doubt and fear about our circumstances?

Let’s look at the other story, found in 1 Samuel 17 (please read the passage in it’s entirety. I had to whittle it down for this post),

“And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered, and encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in line of battle against the Philistines. And the Philistines stood on the mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with a valley between them. And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span (over 9 ft tall)… He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, ‘Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.’ And the Philistine said, ‘I defy the ranks of Israel this day. Give me a man, that we may fight together.’ When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid. (vs 2-4,8-11)
And David left the things in charge of the keeper of the baggage and ran to the ranks and went and greeted his brothers. As he talked with them, behold, the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, came up out of the ranks of the Philistines and spoke the same words as before. And David heard him. All the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were much afraid. (vs 22-24)

And David said to the men who stood by him, ‘What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?’ (vs 26)

When the words that David spoke were heard, they repeated them before Saul, and he sent for him. And David said to Saul, ‘Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.’ (vs 31-32)

“And David said, ‘The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’ And Saul said to David, ‘Go, and the Lord be with you!’ (vs 37)

And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. And the Philistine said to David, ‘Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?’ And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. The Philistine said to David, ‘Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.’

Then David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand.’

When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David. Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.” (vs 41-51)

David approached the scenario an entirely different way.

Instead of being responsive to his circumstances, he was defensive of the children & character of God. His entire offense was in trusting that the Lord is faithful and that it is the Lord who will overcome the battle for him.

In both stories, God did work. He showed His power and overcame both situations. He took care of His people, even when they reacted in fear instead of trust. 

The difference between the two stories is the confidence and faith of the people God was with. David was strengthened by his faith, while the disciples’ hearts faltered in knowing they were in the presence of the One who controls even storms.

Don’t get me wrong, God wants us to be honest with Him and to lay our burdens before Him (1 Peter 5:6-11). But He wants us to trust Him more than fearing our situations. The epitome of this type of trust is found in Matthew 26:36-46 where Jesus, in the garden of Gethsemane, lays his troubles before His Father and yet still settles his heart to trust Him.

It is not a sin to be afraid. But what do you do with that fear? Do you exhibit your faith in the Almighty God who is good, who is with you, who knows your every need, and who overcomes battles for you?

Psalm 34 is a wonderful passage that exhibits the character and goodness of the Lord!

Let us not tell our God how big our storms are, instead let us tell our storms how great our God is.

Holly from The Brown Tribe

Holly currently lives in Nebraska with her amazing & godly husband, sweet & smart 4-year old daughter & joyful 2 year old son. She is a stay-at-home mom who serves with her local MOPS group, and on her church’s Mission Leadership Team for missionary support. She writes at The Brown Tribe for the purpose of discipling and encouraging women and mothers. She is also a contributor for Missional Call. In her spare time she enjoys coffee, photography, exploring the culinary craft, helping combat human trafficking through awareness and is currently writing her first book. You can follow along with Holly on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, google +,  and Instagram