All posts by vickibruening

the year of the Lord’s favor

 It is the beginning of a new year.  A blank slate.  A new beginning.  All things made new.   I don’t know what your past year looked like, but mine definitely threw me for a loop.  I was marching forward with all I had, giving it my all, working hard to perform and to perfect, and in a hot minute, I had to stop.  My body gave out.  Done. Kaput.  Over.  Apparently we weren’t made to carry such heavy loads and try to do it all on our own.  The gift in it all, in our pain and our suffering and our unexpected circumstances is that it then allows Papa to pick us up and hold us.  To teach us that we don’t need to do it on our own.  And to lead us on the path of abundance.  

 I hear the whispers in the stillness, dear one, this next year, it will be a year of so much goodness, so many blessings poured out for my beloveds.  It will be a year of restoration, redemption, beauty, grace, love, joy, peace, strength, and transformation.  A year of people living loved, of  dry bones coming alive, of hearts of stone being turned into hearts of flesh. 

 You, mountains of Israel, will burst with new growth, putting out branches and bearing fruit.  My people are coming home!  Do you see?  I’m back again.  I’m on your side.  I’ll see to it that the ruins are rebuilt.  The country will burst into life, life and more life.  I’ll put my spirit in you and you will live.   -Ezekiel 36 & 37


 This God man, he doesn’t purpose difficulty for us.  He doesn’t want us to live scared, angry, or sad.  The news headlines scream of 2017 as the year of anxiety, where a lot happened and it made us crazy.  But this isn’t the will of the Father.  He comes to give us life to the full.  Abundant life.  This other stuff, this hardship, this anxiety, this crazy, that is from the thief, because the thief comes to steal and destroy.   

 We weren’t meant to live like this.  And yet, this is life.  Full of just stuff that is hard.  World stuff, family stuff, personal stuff. And the two best words for 2018, BUT GOD.  But God says, you are my beloved children and I want you to live happy and wild and free.  Secure in my love.  So overwhelmed by my love and my presence that we can’t help but shout for joy and dance.  His gift to us is himself and he delights in us as his children.  Goodness, I sure do everything in my power to shield my babies from hard things.  How much more our heavenly father cares for us and wants the best for us.  The truth is, we can live happy and free in HIM.  He is holding us.  His wrap around presence is always there.  Even in our hardest moments, he is there.   

 In 2018, I plan to look up a whole lot more.  To look into the face of my Papa.  To grab his hands.  To come close.  To see the scars.  And to hear his voice of love speak over me that those scars, they are for me, for all of humanity.  I long to lay my head on his chest and hear his powerful voice say that his perfect love drives out fear.  It is finished. Done.  He carried the cross and endured the pain so we wouldn’t have to.  His whisper says baby, stop living afraid, stop living sad, stop the unbelief.  No pain, no fear, no circumstance can consume you, I won’t let it.  My ways are higher than your ways.  You just have to TRUST. 

 This year, it is going to be AMAZING, WONDERFUL, JOYFUL, ABUNDANT, REMARKABLE, MAJESTIC, AND FULL OF WONDER for all of humanity.  The world is going to break free from it’s wandering and we will be led into a place of safety and abundance.  -Psalm 107, Passion 

The stars twinkle above, his light enfolding us.   

His soft blanket of love wraps us up. 

 He holds us close and we are at rest in this love. -song of songs 8, passion 

the soul felt it’s worth

It’s been a tough year.  So much heartache and division and strife.  It’s hard for me to wrap my head around all the pain.  I can’t understand young mamas dying, babies being taken away suddenly, talk of war, disease and illness to one after another of us, an aunt dying suddenly who looked so healthy and fine just a month ago.  My head spins with the difficulty of it all.  And yet, I look up.  I look up to to the Savior who reigns, to the God man who promises protection and love.  Whose love never fails.  And I beg him for healing of my own body and arms wrapping tight around those who are hurting.  And I’ve told him that I can’t, I can’t do one more day of the pain, the difficulty.  I’ve asked him why.  Why do you save one and take the other?

And I hear him whisper, baby I am so sorry that this world is broken.  I am weeping with you.  Your fight is not against flesh and blood, it’s against the powers of the dark world and the forces of evil.  My heart hurts with you.  I can’t give back what’s been taken from you but I can offer you the gift of myself.  I offer you peace and comfort and joy.  Baby, you weren’t made to carry such a load.  Come lay your head on my chest and let’s walk this road together.


And in his whispers, I cry out, what if it’s not enough?  What if you are not enough?  He gently lifts my head and says, but I am enough.  I am all you need. BELIEVE & TRUST.  You are seeking peace and joy in this world and you will never find out it out there.  Because peace and joy are not feelings, they are a person.  I AM the comfort you need, the peace you seek, the joy you so desperately want.  It looks different than what the world gives, but it so much better.

It’s about our souls.  Our souls feeling their worth.  He came as a baby in a manger, brought low to raise us up.  To fill us up.  We are seeking fulfillment in our spouses, in our churches, in our stuff, in our busyness and it will never be enough.  Only Jesus is enough.  HE alone can satisfy.

He alone is truth and light, power and might….

The truth is that God is our shield, our hero, he is our wrap around shield of protection.

He will fill you with more, blessings upon blessings heaped upon you and your children (Psalm 115, Passion)

The truth is Papa sent his SON to save us 

The truth is HE turns darkness into light, he promises us light 

The truth is HE loves us more than we could ever know 

How beautiful your eyes of worship, how lovely your voice in prayer ( Song of songs, Passion) 

Come with me through the archway of trust, together we will wage war in the lion’s den 

Together, always together, we will do it together, he will walk beside us 

It works much better if we go together, right…  

We cannot walk on water by ourselves 

He fills our souls with worth.  We walk next to him and let him love us.  That is the key, we have to let him love us.  We have to lay it at his feet.  In the words of Christy Nockels, baby you weren’t made to carry such a load, lay it down and we can watch it go. When we lay our lives at his feet, when we believe and trust, our hearts change, we change.  LET HIM LOVE YOU.  That is is his whole purpose.  The whole world lay in sin and error pining, pining for an answer.  And the baby came, the mighty god, the prince of peace.  He came as an answer to our darkness. He is the light of the world.

He calls you beloved.  He calls you beautiful.  He calls you worthy.  He loves every part of you.  He doesn’t care what your life looks like, he just wants you to let him love you.  To let him wrap his arms around you.  To hold you.  When we are held, when we believe in these promises, in this enormous love, our soul feels it’s worth and everything is made new.

This Christmas, my prayer is that we would allow ourselves to be held.  To be still.  To let his presence wrap around us and protect us.  The consuming fire that is our God will never leave us or forsake us, he provides all that we need.  He will fight for us, we need only to be still.

The baby appeared and the soul felt it’s worth.  The weary world rejoices! May we rejoice and be held this Christmas.  May we find joy and wonder in the baby who saves, who loves.

“I will be to her a wall of fire around her, declares the Lord, and I will be the glory within.” -Zechariah 2:5

Our New Adventure

If you’ve known us very long, you know that we are always awaiting our next adventure.  Adoption, moving, mission trips, vacations, we are just up for it all.  All in.  All the time.  Because living open handed allows for God’s glory to be revealed.  So our next adventure is to restore an acreage.  An acreage that is beautiful and amazing but just needs someone to love it, to restore it, to bring it back to life.

So we have been burning and excavating and cleaning and loving this farm back to it’s original beauty.  The amazing gift is that what is happening in the natural is paralleling the spiritual work that is happening in my life.  As I am dealing with this new normal of anxiety, God is working at restoring me to my original, to who I really am, a daughter of the king.  He is tearing down the past hurts, the anger, the frustrations and working to make things new in my life.  He is uprooting all of the old in order to make me new.  He is writing a new story over me, recreating me.  And we get to do the same thing to this farmstead.  Give it a new story.  Breathe new life into it.  Burn away the old, the dirty, the broken, and start fresh.  Create beauty from ashes.  He is doing the same to my soul and it’s the most beautiful gift.  What an honor and a privilege to have the God of angel armies work in my heart and restore me.  What an honor and a privilege to be able to live our dream and restore this farm.

I see the light and the beauty even in the brokenness, in the fires and the uprooting, their is light shining forth.  I hear HIM say, I am with you mighty warrior, just keep on going.  Uproot one more tree, one more piece of your heart.  Burn away one more pile of rubble, one more fear.  Just keep going because restoration and victory and breakthrough are yours for the taking.

I am in awe of our good, good father and overwhelmed at his grace in the gift of this land and the gift of my healing.  He is always fighting for us, working out the best for us, we just need to lean in to his presence and receive the gift.  It’s a hard fight, this uprooting, this pushing back the dark, but greater is HE in us than in the world and through HIS mighty power we are more than conquerors.   I choose  praise and joy and his presence.  I choose LIGHT.  I choose VICTORY.  He is good and my heart overflows.

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.  He will take great delight in you, and rejoice over you with singing.” -Zephaniah 3:17

Miracles of Hope-the kids of Musha weVana


I went to see the beauty of the countryside, to touch and hug the incredible people, to get the red dirt under my fingernails.  I went to be the light to the orphaned children, to love on them, to tell them how beautiful and amazing they were.  I went to give, but what ended up happening is that I received so much more than I could ever give.

I received a renewed faith, renewed praise on my lips, renewed strength.  I met the most resilient, brave, beautiful people.  They challenged me to believe for miracles and to believe that God is good even if he doesn’t bring the miracle.  They taught me to remember that God is God and that he alone brings the rains, answers the prayers, guides the life, and that even if it doesn’t turn out as we expected, he is always there, providing all we need.  His provision may just come in a way that is different than we could ever imagine.

As I hugged the children and played with them, I saw hope.  Hope was ingrained in their souls.  Despite living in circumstances that we in the Western World may see as difficult, they had so much hope.  Each child believed that they could grow up to be amazing, a doctor, a nurse, a policeman, an engineer, a teacher.  They believed, they hoped.  And one young man told us that he had hope because of the constant encouragement from the adults who cared for him, but also because we came and we loved and we always asked what they wanted to be when they grew up.  We etched that hope, that encouragement deep into their souls as we constantly repeated to them how smart and beautiful and incredible they were.  Always telling them they can be whatever they want to be.  And they can.  These children are the brightest, most courageous, incredible kids I have ever met.  I cannot wait to see how God uses them.  Papa has such good plans for each of these children.

This hope, this joy that these children have, it could not happen if they weren’t in school, if there basic needs weren’t being met. It was the most incredible joy to meet the local leaders who pour out their time and resources to care for these kids, to love them unconditionally, to give them hope.  The people I met were incredibly brilliant and it was an honor to watch them pour their lives out in ministry.  I wrestle with the unfairness of the lack of resources in a land so beautiful and rich, and with people so intelligent and brave.   Pastor John’s last words to me where to please pray for the children.  To pray because the resources are not always there.  To pray that the needs of the children would always be met.

My heart says, what if we could take these children from sustainablilty to flourishing.  What if we could give them all they need plus good gifts, gifts that allow them to be all they can be.  To flourish.

May the Lord cause you to flourish, both you and your children. Psalm 115:14

And this flourishing, this abundance, this will come as we share what we have.  As we are Jesus with skin on and we give good gifts to others.  We create hope as we share our blessings with others.  My family is so honored to sponsor Kudzay, a beautiful girl at Musha weVana children’s home in Zimbabwe.  Sponsoring her allows our children to understand  what generosity looks like, to see how we care for others and share what we have.  It is the greatest gift to pour into the life of this beautiful girl and help her to flourish.

I would love to ask you to do the same, to partner with the incredible people of Marondera, Zimbabwe and share your resources.  Give hope.  Give flourishing. Give abundance.  Sponsorship is $40/month.  Which is equal to not eating out one time a month, or not buying that cute shirt we saw on that online boutique, or not buying that second coffee every day.  Small sacrifices on our part equate to incredible joy and blessing for others.  I am only asking for your partnership because this is REAL, because I have seen and touched and been changed and I can’t UNSEE and my heart just longs for good gifts for these precious beautiful children.  The tears flow easily as I have been typing these words and when I think about my time spent with the gorgeous babies.  They deserve our sacrifice so very much.  If you feel led, head over to Help One Now and click on sponsor a child.  The kids of Musha weVana need our support. With Help One Now’s 5 time sponsorship model there are over 300 empty sponsorships  for these kiddos.  Sponsorship ensures the kids are able to go to school and have their basic needs met.  As more sponsorships are filled, it will also help provide a much needed vehicle to help with reunification and transportation of the kids, agricultural training and trade school opportunities for the older kids, counseling services, and better educational opportunities. As we pour into these children through sponsorship, we are allowing them to dream and hope and have a future.  Sponsor a child today and give hope.  It is holy work and  you will be blessed for your generosity.

My prayer is that we would be a people who answer the call when needs arise.  That we would live with reckless abandon, giving it away, sacrificing to help others.  I pray that we would see that what we have is indeed not ours, but the Lord’s and that as we allow him to use it for his glory, blessings will be poured back to us. May we believe in his miracles, in his provision and give radically with arms wide open.

“Give and it will be give to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38

Just Breathe

My days look slower in this season of life.  I have more freedom to meet with friends, to sit and talk with my love, to take care of my body, to write.  I am so thankful for this gift and I could easily say it’s because the kids are all in school.  And that circumstance has provided this gift.  But in reality that’s simply not true.  My slowness is a condition of my soul, not of my circumstance.  You see I can still easily make my days dysfunctional by trying to prove myself and checking off my to do list.  I can skip lunch and get distracted and get frustrated and make my day a whole bunch of yuck whether or not the kids are here.

What has changed is that I don’t feel like I have to prove anything to be known.  What’s changed is that I am content with being small and simply remaining in HIM.  Not looking to the right or left but just taking the next right step, the next action he asks me to take.  Sometimes that action looks like doing something, but often it just looks like loving my family and loving Jesus.  I have long been an advocate for action.  Ever since I was baptized, I have freaked out for Jesus and tried to get everyone else to do the same.  I mean everyone MUST adopt right!!!  This is my passion but it has taken me years to realize it’s not everyone else’ passion or calling.  And I do that with everything and Jesus is kinda asking me to chill a bit in these days.  Because He’s got this.  Not me.  If something is going to succeed, there is nothing I can do.  And if it is going to fail, there is nothing I can do.  His ways are higher and he will see to it that his purposes are not thwarted but fulfilled.

I am beyond grateful for what he is teaching me in these days.  I can just simply BE.  I can just be in his presence and chase after him and I don’t have to do anything else.  When he calls me to action, I can walk forward in it as a brave warrior and live it out with ease, knowing that it is all in his control and that I have nothing to prove.








My past has been defined with easy anger and shame.  With spinning my wheels each day to check off a list and feeling like I am never getting anything done.  The shame would settle on me like a heavy backpack.  I wasn’t really living.  I was trying to prove I was worthy and that I could do this life.  The truth is I can’t do this life.  I can’t do it all.  I fail at it every day.  But God.   My Papa can do it.  He gently grabs my hand and says, walk with me.  Together, we can.  The more I slow down and invite Jesus into my life through scripture, worship, books and study, the easier the yoke is.  He promises us that his burden is light and his yoke is easy, I think the problem is we sometimes don’t know how to get to that space.  The space where we really truly surrender and give it all to him and TRUST him with every piece of our lives.  Instead of inviting him in and seeking him first, I would yell at him in anger because things were so hard and not going my way.  I would ask him why he would do this to me?  Why did I never have time?  Why was I always so frustrated?  Oh and the hard truth, the life giving truth, is that my life was out of order.  I was seeking to control instead of waking each day in surrender.  I would put ME first instead of Jesus first.  I would try to do it for him instead of with him.

For the last year, God has been giving me a picture of my hands outstretched, nailed to the cross.  I kept thinking that meant he wanted more from me.  That I needed to do more for him.  I see now that what he meant was that he wanted ultimate surrender.  That he needed to hold my arms down so that I would stop trying to be in control and that he finally could be.  So thankful for this God who chases us, who loves us, who teaches us, who holds us down so that he can get to us.  All he wants is for us to know his deep abiding love.  His unending love.  All he wants is for us to live life to the full.  That’s what he came for.  And all I did was run and try to control my own outcomes.  I didn’t let him love me how he wanted to.  

Beloved, he wants to hold you in his arms.  He wants to breathe life into your weary soul.  He wants you to stop trying so hard and to just rest and be.  He wants you to know that no matter how hard life seems, he’s got your back.  He just wants you to seek him and to call him Papa.  He just wants you to lay it all down at his feet because he is strong and mighty and he can carry the load.  He just wants you to cry out for him because he is aching to fill the void you feel.  He wants to fill the emptiness with his love, with his power.  He wants you to know that all you need is Jesus.  He parts the Red Sea and feeds the five thousand and raises the dead.  He can provide any miracle you need.  Just ask. And want him more.

Love freely.   Live wild.  My beloved warriors. Jesus is  ENOUGH.

**This is my story, these are my words given to me by Jesus, however they have been heavily influenced by incredible men and women of God.  God knows my love language is reading and so he gave me certain messages that he needed me to hear through books.  Please check into these resources for further study on the subject of surrender, peace, living small and being present.**

Present over Perfect

Nothing to Prove

Chasing Slow

Wild in the Hollow

And check out Eugene Peterson.  Look him up on you tube and listen to his interviews.  He is incredible.  Currently reading his book, the Contemplative Pastor.

Light > Darkness

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.

-Genesis 1 1-4

The setting sun shines through the clouds turning them purplish pink.  The rising sun peeks over the horizon just starting to shed it’s light on a brand new day.  Light that comes and light that fades away.  Light that brings beauty and hope.  Every time I see the sunrise and sunset, which are my two very favorite times of the day, I’m reminded of God and his light.  And how he is light and nothing can overcome it.  “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.” -John 1:5.  I study these words and meditate on them and allow them to sink deeply into my soul.  I pray over my kids each morning asking them to be the light.  To be rainbow in someone’s cloud that day.  To light up the dark and broken places.  I long for Matt and I to have light creep out of us as we go throughout our days.  No striving, just simple light.

We have been reading the Jesus Storybook Bible each night before bed.  As I read it is a reminder to my soul that there are no winners and losers in God’s kingdom.  No one is in or out.  Everyone just is.  Everyone is HIS.  His creation.  His love.  He created us and he lost us, but he pursues us and rescues us back to him.  Even if the soul seems dark, there is light shining through the broken heart. We all long for our creator.  Our Abba Father. Some just run longer than others.  This story, this beautiful story of a father’s love for his children, it stirs up in me a joy, an unending joy.  Because it’s not our job to fix people we love.  Or make them do something.  We have one task and that is to love.  Love recklessly, love freely, love with pure joy.

I think about my children and my husband.  And how no matter what they have done, he, an earthly father, would pursue them back to him.  Over and over.  We speak it over them each night.  You know Jesus loves you right?  You know it’s unconditional right?  A no matter what love right?  If you mess up, he still loves you, always and forever.  Because that’s the true gospel. And if we as mere humans pour this truth onto our children, how much does the holy of holies, infallible God lavish us with this truth, this love.



So this bright bright beacon of light, this God that never gives up on us, this truth that is always the same, it’s always there, always shining.  Why then do we seem to be so afraid of darkness, of brokenness? Maybe the real truth is, what the world sees as broken and out of reach, what the world is afraid of, this darkness, is what actually heals us and makes us new.  Maybe it’s not so much about us bringing the light as much as it is about the light chasing us and we become born again and again and again into the light over and over and over.  Pete Rollins says that by entering into the brokeness we are born again.  And we should give our lives to such pursuits.  On my walks these days, I see beautiful trees with golden leaves.  Each leaf lit up by the sun’s rays. I see a tree that is not dying, but being reborn.  Going through change and mess in order to be born again.  To be made new.  May we do the same. Over and over again.  Allow the brokenness to minister to us, to make us new.

The homeless man, the crack addict, the inmate on death row, the starving child in Africa, the rambunctious foster child, the single mom, the “hoodlum” with his pants hanging low, the black lives matter movement, the LGBT community, the alcoholic, in each of these is found beauty and brilliance. A darkness penetrated by God’s holy light. God’s grace poured out. His love is so deep and so wide and long in all of these places.   But it’s easier to run to our comfortable homes and lives rather than embrace the beauty in the brokenness. It’s easier to hide behind church walls rather than follow the holy spirit’s leading.  Because I promise you that if you follow your heart you will end up chasing after every single one of these things.  You will long for the margins and the mess more than your comfort and your bible studies.  Jesus spent his time ministering to the darkness, shining his light in these broken places.  We are called to that too.  To be broken and poured out over and over.  Because the light shines the brightest in the darkest places.

I once listened to a friend say that Jesus would be living with the drug dealers, the addicts, the ones living in dysfunction.  That that’s where we should be if we are really living like Jesus, right in the thick of it.  And sometimes the church, the ones who say they love Jesus don’t respond that way, we don’t love freely and radically, instead we puts on a cloak of holy and ignore and judge those we deem to be on the outside. This attitude chases people away from church doors, from Jesus, the very light who loves unconditionally. What if the messy broken places that we run from are actually the one thing that saves us?  What if the messy broken places turn out to be the ones filled with the most light and the most joy and where God is working in the greatest of ways.

We are never meant to hide the light inside of us.  And we all have it.  Souls that illuminate.  Let’s shine brightly with each other, for each other.

“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. -Matthew 5:13-16

The kids and I stood in our driveway underneath the stars marveling at the beauty they bring and the way they light up the night sky.  The stars whispered to us that we need not fear the darkness, the broken places, because the light has overcome the darkness.  Go mighty warrior, shine your light, be brave for Jesus and never fear the darkness.




Upside Down Kingdom

What is Be the Bridge?  What is the point?  Why?  How do we continue running this group with grace and help it to grow?  How do we create a community movement where we all have different views yet come together without divisiveness and just love each other freely?  How can we create awareness and understanding without people feeling like we are ganging up on them?

These are questions I have been asked and that have been going through my head.  Especially lately with all of the hard things happening in our nation.  I wanted to share my heart about Be the Bridge in order to maybe make it a little more clear what this is all about.  Why I started it.  What it means to me.  And what my hopes for this beautiful little group are.

I have written a bit about this in a previous blog post and so some of my words may be on repeat, however I just feel like I need to take this subject a bit deeper.

Be the Bridge is a racial reconciliation group based on Latasha Morrison’s racial reconciliation guide.  It is just a series of questions designed to foster conversation about race and justice.  The guide is intended to cause awareness and understanding among a group of people.  The hope is that if we start small and can break down misconceptions for even one person, we are making progress. And this progress in communities across the U.S. creates an explosion of unity as prejudices leave and love takes over.

I was at the IF:Gathering when I heard Latasha speak about Be the Bridge.  I felt God saying very clearly that I needed to start a group like this in Charles City.  He had been tugging on my heart for a long time around this issue and I felt he was saying, go for it.  That he was asking me for obedience, to just go and do it even if it didn’t make sense. So often he asks me to do things that don’t make sense.  I am usually obedient because those things that don’t make sense usually turn out to be the most amazing gifts I could ever experience.

My heart for Be the Bridge is that we would come together to address some hard topics.  That we would create awareness around the issue of race.  We are so blessed to live in a community where we are fairly open to all of the things.  We don’t always see overt racism, but sometimes it’s just the little things.  The N word that is said to a child in school or to my husband in a store.  The way that some black kids just want to be white because that’s what they see as being “the best.”  The cultural narrative in our city and in our nation is that white is the best.  If you are white, you have privilege. You’ve never experienced slavery or segregation or had to name your children a certain way so that businesses couldn’t tell they were black by their resume.  It’s just a different way of life.  And in my heart I think it’s important to be aware of the difference.  To acknowledge it, to lament.  And then to do what you can as a white person to change the narrative.

I want it to be clear that my heart for racial reconciliation work is not about making white people feel bad because they have privilege.  This work is not about being divided between lives that matter. African American lives matter, White lives matter, Hispanic lives matter, Police lives matter, Asian lives matter, Muslim lives matter, LGBT lives matter.  We are created in God’s image.  Imago dei. Every one of is special and unique and amazing.  And we should be able to come together to discuss issues without our own agendas getting in the way.  This is hard though. Really hard.  I have to constantly remind myself of what I’m fighting for and that I can’t get upset because other people don’t share my view point.

Some lives haven’t been equal in our society along the way.  Some lives have been oppressed.  Some lives have been treated differently.  Racial reconciliation work seeks to just change that narrative. We all have prejudices, misconceptions. We all think a certain way when we see a certain person.  It’s just human nature.  But man, when you can get into relationship with others and hear the story, your heart is changed.  You can’t know what you don’t know.  So when I sit down with people from other cultures and hear their stories, a whole new world has opened up in my life.  I long for this for my family, for my kids, to leave this kind of a legacy.  A legacy that says we long for eyes wide open to all situations.  We need to hear the stories from the police point of view, from the Muslim parent, from the African American, from the kid who is growing up gay in a small town.  Engaging in the stories, the relationship allows us to have a broader perspective of life.  We don’t shut ourselves up in a box, we climb out, eager to learn new things and be different people.

What if our community focused on a different curriculum in the schools that was more multicultural?  What if our community focused on hiring teachers of all different ethnicities?  What if our community focused on having multicultural workplaces?  What if our community had churches that were multicultural?  For the love.  The church.  It should be the first place that works on diversity and sadly it’s the most segregated day of the week. I just see huge change if we are all together as one, instead of split up at the lunch table.  I just think we have a small bit of work to do in rural Iowa.  In our city.  In our nation.  There are some definite injustices happening.  And we can choose not to see them or we can engage and do the hard work.

We have to work through all of this with grace and love.  And it’s hard.  We have some craziness going on in politics and it’s just creating too much division.  What if we all just came together and had a conversation and we disagreed but at the end of the day could say, I LOVE YOU.  Because love wins.  That’s what Be the Bridge is all about.  Come even if you don’t agree. Come if you don’t think you will fit in.  Come if you don’t understand. What if we just united together as a community for the common cause of love.  I mean goodness, I think the world needs that right now.

Jesus didn’t say follow me and then stay in your own group.  He didn’t create us to be separate but to be united.  He came and showed us an upside down kingdom. One where the least are the greatest.  And maybe that’s what Be the Bridge is really about.  Making the least the greatest.  Empowering people groups.  Empowering black men and women.  Supporting police because their job is the hardest ever.  Creating home ownership and jobs and power for those least likely to ever have these things.  Telling a young kid that he is black and that he matters.  That he is exceptional and amazing and he will do great things.

I want it to be clear, that if you don’t agree with all of this bridge building stuff, I love you.  That if you need to ask some hard questions, I want them to be asked.  That if you need to get something off your chest, it needs to be said.  We have got to RUN after the hard.  We are better together.  We have to hear each other from all sides.  And we have to allow it to be heard. My stance is that black lives do matter and this is a people group who has been oppressed and I need to use my white voice to stand up for them.  Because I love them dearly.  Because they are MY SONS!!  My heart is not for that heart cry to cause divisiveness but instead for it to create a meaningful conversation where we can work through all the issues.  We are all powerful.  So damn powerful.  A breath away from victory.  But only if we work together, love together, do life together.

Join our local Be the Bridge Facebook Group.  Come to a meeting.  Or start your own group.  Can you even imagine what our city and our nation would look like if we are so unified and FOR each other? It would be heaven on earth.  Holy ground.  It’s happening.  Slowly but surely.  God’s spirit poured out.  Let’s do this thing!!

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us.  Love like that.”  Ephesians 5:1-2 MSG