Saturday, November 6, 2010

Don't just plan your wedding, plan your marriage.

I remember standing at the altar on my wedding day so excited to be marrying Brian. I knew without a doubt that he was the man that the Lord provided as a husband for me and a father for Tori. We happily and wholeheartedly proclaimed our vows to one another during our wedding covenant ceremony. We began our new life together so excited to be walking our new journey together. We did not however, have any idea what that journey would look like. Reality smacked us in the face pretty early on in our marriage. Before our third anniversary we had 3 children, lost around 40% our income, and one of our children was a special needs child. Some couples don't survive financial troubles, much less financial problems on top of what we went through with Timothy. We didn't know anything was wrong with him until after he was born. Those first few months were brutal! We were somewhere everyday, whether he was in the hospital, at an appointment, or having some new test run. The more doctors we saw, the more they found wrong with him. When you have a special needs child you have to go through the processes that you would if you were grieving the loss of a loved one. You have to grieve the "normal" life you thought your child would have and come to terms with who they are. The denial phase was pretty short for me. Mostly because I didn't have time for it. I was the one at most of the appointments and nursing him through his illnesses. Brian took a little longer at this phase. I took his denial as a rejection of Timothy and I immediately put up a wall. I felt like I had to defend Timothy. The reality was that he loved Timothy so much, he didn't want to think about the struggles that his life would entail. The denial was his defense mechanism. I think most people know that when one person in a marriage puts up a wall, it creates problems. We struggled through the next few years. I'm convinced that because we trusted the Lord and were very serious in our vows to Him and each other, we stayed together. I'm so thankful that we did. The Lord has taught us so much about what love is and what it looks like. Love is a choice that we make to put someone else before ourselves. It's selfless and sacrificial. It's also rewarding and comforting. I look at my husband today and I'm amazed at the man I married. He's such a great provider & protector of my heart and our home. I see the father he's become and I realize how blessed our children are. When I said my vows 11 years ago today, I had know idea what they really meant. Not that I didn't want to, it's just hard to know what "doing life together" really looks like. I think premarital counciling falls short a lot of times in preparing young couples on how to communicate in tough times. And there will be tough times! Today, with a much better understanding of their meaning, I can say without hesitation, that I choose to continue to love Brian from this day forth, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to honor, until death do us part. I love you Brian and I'm so blessed to walk this journey with you!

Monday, October 25, 2010


For Zachary's math lesson one day he was supposed to look at pictures of different objects and then determine whether it would be better to use a ruler or a yardstick to measure. He asked me how big a yardstick was and since we had just gone over that a couple of days before, I told him to go back in his book and look it up. While he was looking, I went to go do a lesson with Tori. All of the sudden I see Zachary get up and walk outside. He returned a few minutes later holding a "stick from the yard"! He looked at me with a very confused face and said, "But I still don't know how big it is." After picking my head up out of my hands, we went back through the book to remind him what a yardstick was. Zachary had the answer to his question in his math book, but because he was so sure he knew already, he missed it. I wonder how many times the Lord feels the same way about me. How many times have I searched for answers to how to be the mother that I should be, all the time missing the answer in The Book. Being a mother is a difficult, yet rewarding job. It takes sacrifice to unconditionally love someone else. I've tried many things to get my children to behave or listen. There are so many books written with great advice, but I'm missing the point. What does loving unconditionally look like?

"Love is patient, love is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." 1 Cor. 13:4-8a.

When I look at that list, I'm overwhelmed by my inability to love my children as I should. So what's a mother to do?

The answer is found in John 15:5-7, "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone doesn not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you."

What is the fruit I will bear if I abide in Jesus?

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" Gal. 5:22

In our culture today I'm bombarded with the idea that if I want to be a good mother, I need to make sure I have plenty of "me" time. What I really need though is "Him" time. Don't get me wrong, going out with friends and doing girl things is a lot of fun. I just can't depend on a mani/pedi to refill me and refresh me. It may be fun at the time, but when I return, everything I left is still there. The only thing that will truly refresh and refill my spirit is to abide in the Lord. That kind of refreshment doesn't end.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


"If I have to tell you one more time...!" Oh how many times I've said that, always in complete frustration that my children's ability to retain my instructions are so limited. Or how about when your children ask you how to do something. You tell them how, only to be told by them that's not the best way. At that point I'm thinking, "Yes, with all your years of experience, you know waaaaaay better than I." We feed them, teach them, and guide them all in the hopes that they grow physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Whether your children attend homeschool, private school, or public school, each year you expect them to learn from what they're taught. Can you imagine visiting someone's house only to have their 16 year old son crawl into the room and cry at his mother's feet for a bottle of milk? Yet so many times, that's how Christians approach their spiritual growth. We know what we're supposed to be doing, yet we don't want to make the changes neccesary to grow. Some changes are easy to make and others are more difficult. The growth process can be painful, but I've found that it's always worth it. So many times I've heard Christians say, "I know I should change ______, but I just can't." Around the Britt house we call that a lie straight from the pit!!
Here's truth:
"I CAN do all through Him who gives me strength." Phil. 4:13

"Have I not commanded you be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wing's of like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:29-31

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." 2Timothy 1:7

Growth looks different for each of us. Some people get saved and make an abrupt change and never look back. Some get saved and grow over time. I think the important thing isn't so much how you grow, but that you grow. I want to always be searching the Bible and learning from those wiser and more grounded in the Word than I, how to grow deeper in my walk with God. I never want to think that I've grown enough or that this is just the way things have to be. Just as we expect our children to learn from our teachings, our Heavenly Father expects the same for His children.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Timothy...a look back

Timothy was a surprise from the very beginning. After a week of the "stomach flu", I noticed that no one else seemed to be getting sick. Brian and I were very surprised to learn that child number three was on the way. We were supposed to be finished. We had a girl and a boy, which in many cases is considered to be the perfect family. God had other plans for us. After an awful pregnancy, we decided to go Nags Head, NC to celebrate Brian getting his degree from college. I still had five weeks to go and it was only for the weekend. We arrived in Nags Head with two children but came home with three. Other than the shock of delivering him on vacation, five weeks early, everything seemed normal. After our first full day of being home, however, that quickly changed. I could no longer wake him up and he couldn't maintain his body temperature. That first visit to the pediatrician was the beginning of a long journey. It seemed the doctor appointments, lab visits, and hospital stays would never end. They would find something wrong with him and when they would do a test to get a better look they would find another thing that was wrong. In those days it was easier to talk about what worked on his body as opposed to what didn't. He was so frail and weak. I often wondered if he would even make it. When Timothy was about three months old, I told his pediatrician that I was concerned that he never really looked at me. His arms and legs were also pulled tight into his body. The doctor told me that he knew Timothy had something wrong with him neurologically, but that there were so many life threatening issues, he thought I had enough to worry about. Brian and I decided at this point to bring him to our chuch to have him prayed over. Some of the leaders in our church, my Poppa, and people that we were close to gathered in a room to pray for him. I knew that as the prayers were being offered on Timothy's behalf, the Lord was at work. I could feel His presence in that room. When we got home, I took him out of his seat. For the first time, he looked me right in the eyes and smiled at me and his arms and legs relaxed. The next day when I took him to his appointment, the doctor couldn't believe he was the same child. He gathered all the other doctor's and nurse's to come see him. I told them what happened the day before and how God had healed him. They started calling him the miracle baby. The Lord didn't completely heal him that day, but I'm so thankful for the healing He did give. I'm convinced that Timothy had a severe form of Cerebral Palsy. He is now diagnosed with a mild form of CP. Since that day, Timothy has had many ups and downs. He's had four surgeries, many outpatient procedures, test after test run, and countless hospital stays. A few years ago, he was diagnosed with a high functioning form of Autism. It was impossible for me to imagine in those days the boy he's become. He went from being a boy that couldn't talk, walk, or eat to a boy that talks constantly, runs all over the place, and wants to eat all day long. Some days are still really difficult and at times I've wondered why God didn't choose someone better to be his mom. Someone told me once that they couldn't believe that God picked me to be Timothy's mom. That my sister, Ginger, made more sense. I think that's how the Lord works. He doesn't always call the equipped, but He always equips the called. I've realized that the days that I question the Lord's choice is because I'm trying to do everything on my own power. Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." Yesterday, Timothy turned 8 years old and next Saturday we're going to celebrate those eight years. I don't know what the future holds for Timothy, but I know that the One who created him does. I'm thankful for the chance to be a part of it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Failure seems like such an ugly word. We all try to avoid it, but eventually failures come our way. Genesis 2:6 says, "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.", thus sin, death, and destruction entered the perfect world that God created. Adam and Eve lived in the perfect Garden of Eden. They were able to physically talk to God and walk with Him, yet they weren't able to keep all of God's commands. It's impossible to live up to the standards laid out in the Bible. Christians are called to be holy, meaning set apart. 1 Peter 1:15-16 says, "But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy'." So what's a messed up sinner like me supposed to do? I'm trying to live the way God would have me live, but I keep coming up short. Do I listen to that voice in my head that keeps telling me, "You'll never be able to get this right! You might as well give up." As I continue my journey with the Lord I'm realizing what the real failure is. The failure isn't just about sinning, but about continuing in that sin because it's too hard to keep trying. I'm learning that it isn't about falling down, but about refusing to get back up. There's a lot of growth that comes in failures. There are things that this stubborn woman has been able to learn only through failures. When I admit to the Lord that I can't walk through this life on my own and I surrender everything to Him, it's then that I'm finally free from the burden of my failures. One of my favorite verses is 1 Corinthians 5:17. It says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" Some days I feel like that new creation all day. Then I have those days where I'm constantly going back to the Lord to be made new again. I know that to attain true holiness here on earth is impossible, but I don't want it to be because I refused to try.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Out of the water...

I was reading in a book the other day about mercenaries being hired to help fight in the crusades. Because this was a holy war, the mercenaries had to be baptized. As they were being baptized, they held their swords out of the water to symbolize the part of their life that God couldn't control. They were saying that God could have every other part of their life except that one. It got me thinking, what part of my life am I "holding out of the water". What part of my life am I saying that I can handle better than God. So now I am asking God to reveal to me the parts of my life that I've only said with my words He can have, but not with my actions. I know that this can be a painful process, but I also know that in the end it will be worth it. There's a saying that God meets us where we are. He doesn't wait for us to change to reach our hearts. We tend to overlook the second part of that truth. Yes, He meets us where we are, but He loves us too much to leave us that way. Anyone who has taken care of plants knows that you have to prune it to make it a healthy, thriving plant. The same is true for Christians, sometimes God needs to prune things out of our lives that keep us from being the thriving Christian He intends us to be. If you read in the Bible about the encounters that Jesus had with people, you'll see a Savior who lovingly met people where they were. You'll also see how He asked them to change and live for Him. So, since I'm challenging myself, I'm also challenging anyone who reads this to do the same. I don't want to be one of those Christians that does all the right things on Sunday to play the part of a strong Christian and then goes home and lives differently Monday-Saturday. I want to be the same person on Tuesday that I am on Sunday. That only comes from complete surrender of EVERY part of my life. I want every part of my life to be "in the water". There's a song by Steven Curtis Chapman called "Dive" I thought I would include the lyrics to his song.

The long-awaited rain has just fallen hard upon the thirsty ground
Have carved their way to where the wild and rushing river can be found
And like the rain I have been carried here to where the river flows
My heart is racin' and my knees are weak as I walk to the edge
I know there is no turning back once my feet have left the ledge
And in the rush I hear a voice telling me it's time to
Take a leap of faith
So here I go

I'm diving in
I'm going deep
In over my head I wanna be
Caught in the rushLost in the flow
In over my head I wanna go
The river's deep
The river's wide
The river's water is alive
So sink or swimI'm diving in
I'm diving in

There is a supernatural power in this mighty river's flow
We can bring the dead to life, we can fill an empty soul
And give a heart the only thing worth living and dying for
But we will never know the awesome power of the grace of God
Until we let ourselves be swept away into this holy flood
So if you'll take my hand and close your eyes and count to three
And take the leap of faith
Come on let's go

Join me, won't you?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

One man's treasure is another man's trash

We've all heard the saying that one man's trash is another man's treasure. I think the opposite can also be true. Let me explain. One Easter I made a cake for my church. It wasn't an elaborate cake, but it still took some time to decorate. When I got to church, I placed it on the table beside the doughnuts. Later on that morning I walked by the table just in time to see a woman place her purse ON TOP of my cake so that her hands were free to get her doughnuts. I'd like to say that I walk so closely with the Lord that I immediately saw in the grand scheme of things, this wasn't a huge deal. A couple of the ladies saw the look on my face and walked quickly to me to reassure me that it was going to be ok. For some reason I was thinking about this yesterday. I was thinking about how something was very important to me, but not someone else. It got me thinking about how many times I've blown off one of my children's "treasures" because it wasn't important to me. I'd like to become the kind of person that sees the importance in the things that are important to those I love. My children and my husband are a treasure to me and I want them to feel that way. Jesus set the example of how we are to love others. He valued people and listened to them, especially the children. The disciples tried to get rid of the children as they came to Jesus but He stopped them and said in Matthew 19:14, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

Friday, May 28, 2010

As to the Lord...

Those who know me well, know that I am not a morning person. To say that I struggle to be kind doesn't seem like a strong enough statement. On the first morning of our marriage, I told Brian that he needed to leave me alone and give me time to wake up. As each new child has entered our family, I've made sure that they understood as well. I'm sure that my family has many embarrassing stories of how awful I am to deal with in the mornings. I go about my work grumbling to myself about how much I wish I could just wake up in peace, without anyone asking me to do anything. Recently, the Lord has been revealing to me just how selfish my attitude has been. I am asking six other people to adjust everything they do for me! Jesus tells us in the Bible that we are to die to ourselves DAILY, and that he didn't come to be served, but to serve. So, I decided that it was time for a change. It was time for me to start adjusting to the needs of my family. This week I've been getting up earlier to give myself some time to prepare my heart to serve my family. I've been cooking breakfast for Brian and my children and trying to greet them in a way that people you love should be greeted. Starting this way has helped to get me off on the right foot to keep me focused for the work that needs to be done each day. I don't want to just do the work, I want to do it with a heart that is focused on the Lord. Don't misunderstand me, there are no bright beams of glorious sunlight shining through our house, while gentle woodland creatures come to feast on scraps of food and soft music plays in the background. This is a daily (sometimes hourly) decision for me to die to my selfish desires and focus on others. Colossians 3:23-24 says, "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ." This has been my motto this week that I keep repeating in my head, "as to the Lord". I haven't done it perfectly, but I've tried to quickly get back on the path when I've stepped off. So, as I go about my day cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, wiping noses (as well as other places) and tending to the needs of my family, I'm striving to do it as to the Lord.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The purpose

I've been wanting to start a blog for a few months, but I was unsure what to call it. I wanted the name of my blog to set the tone. I've been reading the book Passionate Housewives, Desparate for God. Through this book, the Lord has been renewing my passion for Him and my family. I was reading today about Mary and Martha. Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, to learn from Him and to worship Him. Martha was busy doing chores. Martha was upset with Mary for not helping. She went to Jesus to ask Him to get Mary to help. Instead He told Martha that Mary was doing the right thing. In the book the author was asking the question why can't we do both? Why can't I worship God while going about the work of my home? Then the name of my blog came to me, Mary's heart in Martha's kitchen. It describes how I want to live my life. I want to have Mary's heart for worshipping, while having Martha's drive to get the work done. I know that this may seem a little crazy, but for those of you who know me well, that shouldn't be a surprise. I'm not foolish enough to think that I won't have days that I want to pull my hair out piece by piece, but it won't stop me from trying. As Christians, we're called to perfection. Not that I am perfect, but the God I serve is and He calls me to continually strive for perfection. I'm taking the calling to be a wife and mother seriously. I'm honored to be Brian's wife and the mother of Tori, Zachary, Timothy, Benjamin, and Payton. The purpose of this blog is to share my journey, the failures as well successes.