Feeling Empty

James 4:14 - “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

Your life is a Mist. A VAPOR.  How is God calling you to PURPOSE?

My number is 282.  My number is not better or worse than yours.  It’s just different.

My number does not save me.  It does not make me more holy.  It is not my boasting right or claim to fame.

My number is simply a demonstration of my Life-Purpose. 

Two days. It’s been two days since I’ve lived with an emptiness.

I have been alive for 536 months. I have spent over half my life, 282 months to be exact, pregnant or nursing.  In the last 336 months, I have been privileged to carry and nurture life 282 of those months.

Two days ago, our sweet little blessing, went home to be with Jesus. To us, our children are so much more than a number but if you are counting, Jesus called our 13th blessing home. 

I was hopeful and joyful to share after our first ultrasound this past week at ten weeks, that we were so humbled and blessed to welcome life once again.  Instead, the peek into my womb revealed the handiwork of the creator God who called our little one home early. And then I realized, nothing has changed!  For ten joyful weeks, the Bryant family was once again privileged to welcome and celebrate LIFE! 

Two days.  It has been two days since I have not nurtured or nourished a living soul for the past  212 months.

So many would say, you’re crazy!  You finally have some Me Time!  Take that vacation!  Enjoy your own body and space!  And while I welcome the changing of seasons, (after all motherhood is really such a short season of our life), I thankfully embrace the empty ache that I feel so deeply.

You see, my “empty” in the here and now has gifted Heaven another gain.  An eternal soul,  forever living for His glory!  My empty is worth Heaven’s gain any day and every day!

Why am I sharing this?  I can assure you that it is not to toot my own horn!  After all, 282 months have been spent clinging to God’s amazing strength to see me through.

I am simply vulnerably lifting the veil in the life of a mother as to why in the world would she sacrifice so much. To cast a bold vision that our life is but a vapor.  Are we living on purpose?

My Life-Purpose is simple.  It can be summed up in one phrase…to seize every moment of my “everyday” life to value the Eternal. To live for it, sacrifice for it, champion for it , risk for it, cast vision for it, pursue it, love it, grow in it, and die for it. 

What is eternal, you ask?  Nothing but the heart and soul of another. 

Why in the world would someone sacrifice so much for not even the here and now but the things to come? Only one reason…for the sake of the gospel, as a slave to Jesus Christ, I champion His cause, His love, His vision, all for His Glory.

This purpose starts in my own heart and pursues a love relationship with God.  For without it, I certainly lack strength and vision.  My life-purpose includes an all-out pursuit to respect, love and cherish life with this man of my dreams that I am privileged to call mine.  To overflow and value, treasure, teach, disciple, train, love and nurture the little ones in my own home.  This is the foundation needed for outreach, hospitality, service and ministry beyond the walls with which I live. To overflow into a world in desperate need of HOPE. In need of a Savior.  In need of a Purpose.

…I desire nothing more than for you to discover your Life-Purpose and calling. To walk in the peace, joy and freedom that can only be found in a life sold-out for Christ!  One of the Seven-Life Muscles that we need to be strong as we mobilize for His kingdom is to let God uncover our Life-Purpose.  This is my prayer for you!  May you find great purpose and hope in living empty for Heaven’s gain!

A Love Story Hidden in the Brokenness

Summer of 1991 birthed a new season of discovery for me. The storm that had been raging was quieted. Well, with a newborn babe in our home, I suppose quiet isn’t quite the right word. Perhaps, a calming would be more fitting.

As I settled into my new role as momma, I cherished every moment of my sweet little ones life! So many questions were answered that had haunted me for months. How would everyone react? Could I handle motherhood? Was I being selfish to keep my baby? Most importantly, what must I do to get my heart, my soul, healthy and right?

While I once questioned my value and worth, I was now motivated by something much larger. God used that little man to remind me that it wasn’t healthy to play games with my heart anymore. There was no turning back. There was only one place my heart was safe. One place that always deemed my value high. And that was only found in the safe haven, the fortress of my Savior. (Psalm 62)

Abiding in Christ and his redemptive work in my life as I treasured my summer with my little man, propelled me forward in my restored heart health. All too soon, September came along with my 17th birthday. As only God can, every detail of my senior year of high school fell into place. I was able to finish my final year going only half a day to school while a precious grandma in our church watched over my little boy.

The long days of being a new mother flew by. With one blink, we were planning my graduation, which included not only a graduation party but also a celebration of my little boy’s first birthday. Although life was moving forward, the questions swirling around my heart seemed to never dissipate. I truly believed that with a child, I would be a hard one to love. The enemy reminded me constantly how unworthy I was. My mind accepted this reality but my heart still dreamed of a man’s love that was noble and true.

There were a few lies that had lodged into the deepest corner of my heart. It would take at least two more years before those lies would inhibit my ability to live with freedom.

Fall of 1992 held the best of times and the worst of times. My older sister, my one year old son and I headed out across the country to attend Bible College. I was on fire for the Lord and still riding on the joy of His lavish grace! My new classmates found it hard to believe that God’s grace was sufficient, after all, who goes to Bible college with a baby? It was an unexpected hard season of a new layer of rejection. It was the worst of times.

There was one who stood head and shoulders above the others. A true friend who loved as God loved, not assuming the worst in me but bearing witness to God’s grace covering my soul. It was the Best of times!

My God the redeemer had not only restored my life but was about to restore my heart in ways that would take nearly two years to really accept. God’s love became tangible as my best friend became the hands and feet of my Savior. In the most unexpected way, God restored my heart that there would ever be one who could really love the broken me.

And there I was standing face to face saying “I Do” before hundreds of witnesses. And my beloved carried my little boy in his arms with my hand in his as we set of for “Happily Ever After.” Those early days were precious and a forever happy memory.

In a matter of months, my heart settled and life carried on. I was a new bride and young mother with a bundle of lies locking her heart from freedom faith living. You see, my mind marveled that God could send a true, godly man to love even me. But my heart was guarded, waiting for the day when he too would leave me.

I was shocked at my behavior, dishing out my worst to get the inevitable over. Nothing was intentional or even conscious, but my heart was living from my core. And my core believed that I was too broken , too unattractive to secure the loyalties of a godly man.

I can remember his words as they pierced through the lies that had become my truth. “I will never leave you. Not me. I love you!” I didn’t even realize that I was living from the broken until the Lord used his words to reveal my true core.

And it took a year before my heart began believing that my beloved, with the strength only available in a Heavenly Father, was committed to being on the journey with the broken me. And a true love story was born hidden in the broken, covered in Amazing Grace! God not only redeemed my pregnancy but now restored my love story.

I’m sharing my story over the next week in hopes to bear witness to the goodness of our Lord and to unveil the lies, the broken core of our very heart that hinders our loving. To protect, we push away, too many times without even knowing. Relational connection as far as the east is from the west. We’ve poured our heart into helping each and every individual, every marriage and family walk in the freedom only available in Christ. As God as our builder, we can have a foundation to help a world in need. For more of our story and encouragement for your heart and home, check out the 7LM Gym. Praying over each and every one of you.  Let God restore The Truth in your heart today!

My Pregnancy Redemption Story

Motherhood came swift and fast, much sooner than I ever dreamed.  At the young age of 16, dreaming was about all I had experienced.  That was until I found myself alone and pregnant, abandoned with nothing but the newfound knowledge of the dreaming now broken.

            I can remember like it was yesterday. Her hair was long and dark. When she would lean forward, her soft, silky hair would wash over my face. She didn’t have to.  At least not this night. But after a few minutes of pleading before bed, she set aside her “to do” list and gently rocked me for a while. It wasn’t long, but long enough to imprint on my heart the power of a mother. The power of my mother.  In that moment, I could nearly reach out and touch her love for me.  And I knew then and there that all I ever wanted was to be a mother just like her.

            This little girl, all but 16, was soon now to be a mother herself. It was all I ever wanted but nothing I prepared for. Standing in the school office, when my knees nearly failed me, I wondered if they too could hear the news I had just received.  A phone call to the doctor’s office confirmed that in an instant, I would now know the same power and love as that of my mother. The test was positive.

            Faster than a game of hide n’ seek, motherhood was shouting, “Ready or not, here I come!” If it wasn’t for the fierce love of a mother for her child, I am sure that I would have let the high winds of life carry me down a dark road.  But I knew, this child of mine was worth walking the streets of light.        

            That love carried me through the days to come. Some of the hardest moments of telling my parents and church of my babe in my womb would break way to the greatest moment of my life thus far. There was no hiding, no more pretending. I was in desperate need of a gracious Heavenly Father!

 A decision had already been made.  A verdict of my guilt. And the blood of Savior who died even before I was tenderly woven together in the secret of my mother’s womb filled in the crevice of my broken heart. Amazing Grace was such a sweet sound. One who was lost was now found.

The child within me grew for all to see. Stairs and school. Stares and cruel. They became my every day. 16 and pregnant is never easy. But as the child grew so did my mother love and the gracious blood that filled in the cracks of my broken heart never lacked to comfort my soul. 

The season came when all would celebrate the birth of my Savior. At nearly 20 weeks pregnant, we traveled to my grandparents home far from ours.  The grace that covered brought joy to my heart when a girl much too young knew the tender mercies of a Savior out of desperate need. Alone I never truly was.  It was there, lying next to a tree fill of light and gifts that I felt the knocking.  It was as if my little one was reminding me of the power of a mother, a fierce love like no other would help us not only survive but begin to thrive!

Spring came and life abounded. Until that dark day when a friend’s mother passed away. And as I sat looking at the season called death, the spark of new life flittered about in my womb. Such a paradox coexisted in the same room, a secret that only my baby and I beheld.

It wasn’t long now. A decision had to be made. Adoption was the best decision or so they said. Who was I at a tender age of just 16, my only life experience the shattering of a broken dream, prepared to protect and care for a life not my own? Only the fiercest love of a mother could face the coming days and the decision that would haunt my heart till the end of my days. A desperate prayer and a whispered answer set my heart at ease as He gifted the peace for all too soon, my little one would be my own. 

The days grew long as my tummy grew round.  And the same Savior who saved my soul gifted me a community to take away my aloneness. School finals came and went when the day came to set eyes on the one who awakened my mother love.

As the contraction waves ebbed and flowed, it was as if my body was aching from the breaking within. It wasn’t right, meeting him alone.  My body defied me as I scolded it for the unveiling of my broken heart. The pain consuming and as I plunged into the deep, the fight to embrace the pain was far more than just to welcome my baby. To move forward, I must embrace the pain, the aloneness of single motherhood.  A title I never coveted and certainly never wanted.  And with one final push, we were on the other side. The pain left for another day. The broken made whole. The crashing of the waves made calm. And at first site, my heart soared.  He was worth it.  Motherhood is always worth it!


Be The Change

The eyes starring back at me told a story of forgiveness and love and a fight for survival.

He wasn’t even 14 hours old when our eyes locked, this little one of mine.  Alone in the wee hours of the night at the tender age of 16, I discovered the intoxicating smell of my newborn babe.  I cradled the tiny being that some thought I should abort. And I marveled at the new beginning that would become my everyday.

No matter how he came, he was alive, only 14 hours outside of my womb. 6,792 hours spent in the safety of my womb.

Today, the world is a buzz with the latest news of New York State passing a bill allowing third trimester abortion.  The rights of the woman trump the rights of the unborn. And the cries of the dead remain silent.

Today, I wish that I was a lawyer. One who could stand before the law makers of our land and bear witness to the value of life!  All of life!  From the moment of conception!  One live egg and one life sperm, under the direction of God Almighty, becoming One live little blessing! 

No. Matter. What.  All. The. Time.

But instead, I serve and care for the tiny little humans alive and well living in my home. 

Although  I would love to demand change on the capitol steps, I possess the power to Be. The. Change

The Change that our world is so in desperate need of.

Facebook posts and emails have been swirling about with a demand for change.  Petitions signed.  And testimonies shared.  These are all fantastic steps toward speaking our voice.

You and I don't have government badges or sit on the Supreme Court, but we hold in our hands an even greater influence for change.  REAL CHANGE that happens from the inside out! 

What exactly do you mean? I’m so glad that you asked!

You see,

  • What if each one of us became a safe place for mothers in need?  

  • What if our homes became the haven for real relationship? 

  • What if we had heart to heart talk with our children daily, coaching and appealing to them to make choices that are RIGHT by God? 

  • What if children were equipped with the Seven-Life Muscles needed to be Right with God, know their Role, Succeed in their Relationships, Walk in their Life-Purpose, Equipped with Life-Skills, as they Learn what is needed to find Rest in their Lord?  

  • What if a mother and a daughter had such a close relationship that council and wisdom was sought from her mother? 

  • What if a daughter felt so loved by her father that she didn’t go looking for love in all the wrong places? 

  • What if a son felt so much respect from his mother and father that he stood taller, worked harder and spoke bolder? 

  • What if a child could repent before a father and mother and a God with grace so readily available? 

  • What if every home was equipped with true heart connection? 

  • What if an unwanted pregnancy was met with a reminder for what a blessing every single life is? 

  • What if we knew and believed that only God is the giver of life and would always be faithful to provide? 

  • What if abortion was stopped in our very own home?

  • What if every home in America could Be. The. Change.?

What if we could end ABORTION ONE HOME AT A TIME?

Join the 7LM Gym to equip your heart and home today!

And The Tree Bends...

It was a last minute decision but we knew it was the right one. We were only to be in Oregon for a week, as we considered if God was calling our family to minister alongside the people of the Pacific Northwest. Despite the stormy weather, a beachfront home overnight opportunity was too good to pass up.

It was my first time seeing the moss covered forest with shades of green leaving a marked bright spot on a rather gloomy day. The drive to the coast that day was unlike our coastal drive growing up in Southern California. Rocks and evergreen tree forests lined the winding road as we made our final approach.

The forest was so dense that only bits of sun could peek through to the overgrown, mossy, wet landscape. And the need for such sunlight was screaming from the roots of every tree, bending and twisting in a weird concoction to embrace a moment of this vital nutrient for growth.

It was my husband who saw it first. The heart and core of each individual in our “forest” of society will bend in any way needed to receive the vital nutrients for proper growth.

Perhaps “proper” is not the right word. Our roots are hungry and starving, bending and twisting in the weirdest way. They will grow however needed to receive these vital nutrients. Love. Hope. Connection.

It begins with our roots. Our very upbringing and the nutrients found within our home that determines the bending of our tree. Many of us are twisted in the wildest way from the lack of love received in our own home and are then tasked with in SOME Way— SOME HOW providing vital nutrients to those in our own home.

There is only one way a bent and broken tree can pass on a firm foundation with which our little trees in our own home can grow strong and tall. As vital as the SUN is to the Oregon forest, so is the SON to each and every one of our hearts. As we bask in His Sonship and soak in His love, our roots receive the vital nutrients needed to stand a little straighter each day!

This is not only VITAL to our own hearts but to those in our own home. If our children need to bend and twist to receive the relational connection and love needed for their little hearts to grow, they may be tempted to find it in the lowliest places.

A gang meets the needs of connection. The bar…a community. Drugs/Alcohol/ Porn addiction the temporary hope their heart needs to carry on.

Although these might meet the temporary needs, the long-term effects of bending and twisting to receive love, connection and hope leaves the heart longing for lasting HOPE and TRUE LOVE.

Only the SON offers that! Only He can gift us the vital ingredients to pass along the LOVE, HOPE and CONNECTION to the heart of those in our home.

Heart Connection is key! More on that to come! Let God use your broken bend to point to the true source of our only HOPE…THE SON!