I’ve got the joy, joy, joy.

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A few weeks ago I decided to try a trial version of the biblical meditation app Abide at the suggestion of a friend. I’ve always believed that meditating on the Word of God is such an important part of building our relationship with him, and part of our spiritual transformation. My husband and I talk about how meditating on specific passages from our devotions is often what encourages and challenges a change in behaviour, as opposed to just reading through the Word but I struggle SO much to actually do it.

This app (in which I am in no way affiliated by the way, just sharing my experience) has been a game changer for me specifically. I can do a short 2 mins meditation – although this is not my full devotional time for the day – it does give me a jumpstart. Not only that, but it also gives me a specific passage to meditate on before I even get into my devotional. The Lord has often used these passages in the past couple of weeks to lead into what I read in the Word during my time with him.

One morning, it was a particularly tough morning – LC and I had barely finished breakfast, accompanied by multiple meltdowns – both hers and mine. I thought, I should try to do the meditation to help center myself for our day before allowing the morning to dictate the outcome. So there at the breakfast table with my head leaning on my crossed arms, I turned it on. Although I cannot remember the specifics about this particular meditation, I DO remember being called to be in His presence – what a coincidence. We let the soft music take us down a couple of notches. LC was sitting beside me on the bench, as we breathed in and out to the soft rain sounds. I felt a reminder in my heart that I need to purposely remember to just sit in the HIS presence in the midst of my chaos – to feel his grace, love, peace, mercy and joy deeply.

In 1 Peter 1:8-9, it says;

“8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

An inexpressible and glorious joy. Joy that is a feeling of gladness and fulfillment not based on our current life circumstance.

There in the midst of our crazy morning, as we sat quietly side by side in the presence of the Lord, LC burst out into laughter – that contagious toddler laughter that comes from the bottom of their souls. It was there that the Lord met me, it was there that I felt his joy, inexpressible and glorious joy. I realized that LC is a vessel for the Holy Spirit to work through, as am I. It is through days like that we are continuously refined to best serve the Lord.

Although I wish every morning would be simple and straightforward, I will continue to invite the Lord into our days, hours and minutes despite the meltdowns.

 

 

 

I disappeared…

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I disappeared, it’s true.

I melted away from the everyday, retreated into the depths of my mind and disappeared. This blog is something that always kept me going in every other stage of life, then suddenly – we hit loss – and I just couldn’t muster up any words, let alone encouraging words, to fill this screen with.

After our miscarriage in the late spring, the world went dark. I cried everyday in the shower, when I took myself to bed at 7pm, when I prayed with my daughter before placing her in her crib. I cried. A lot.

I kept telling myself that I needed to write it out. I wrote our baby Hope a letter. It helped. I wrote the hospital a letter. It also helped. I spoke to patient relations at the hospital to make sure that mishaps that happened in our experience will not happen to another. It helped. I wrote a mock blog on my word processor, but I still couldn’t publish it.

I thought to myself, I’ll share it during miscarriage and pregnancy loss awareness month – that makes the most sense. But that month came and went – and as it turns out – was extremely difficult for me. I had to take a little break off social media because I just felt bombarded with reminders and stories that felt way too familiar when I had just emotionally been able to move on – it paralyzed me right where I was.

Then I thought to myself, I’ll share it at Christmas time – I know that’ll hurt this year – it’ll help me cope. So I wrote it a few days before Christmas. It hurt. I cried. My husband cried. But I didn’t share it. It wasn’t time.

So I thought to myself – ok, the baby’s due date – January 15th. That is when I will share Hope’s story. But the day came, and it just felt too personal to share. I didn’t want to grieve publicly with anyone other than with my husband and daughter. I went to the store and bought some cupcakes to celebrate the Lord’s faithfulness in our journey on this road. We decided that every year on this day, it would be our family’s annual cupcake day to celebrate just that. As I sat in bed eating my Oreo cupcake, I still could not share the post.

I didn’t feel confident writing any other blogs without sharing Hope’s story first; how could I just pretend that nothing happened to my viewers, I felt like a fraud. Therefore, I disappeared, until I was ready to be real and share the story of our Hope.

You can read our story here.

It was important to me to be able to share Hope’s story before our next little blessing arrives. I wanted to be sure that Hope had her space – that people knew that she existed and was loved. I found it so hard when I became pregnant with this Tiny Turvey that as we slowly shared the news, people didn’t know about Hope. I found it almost impossible to “yes we are expecting” with adding in an “but we also lost a baby in the spring”. I wanted to shout it from the roof tops because I didn’t want her to be a secret, unknown and unrecognized.

So thank you for taking the time to read Hope’s story and for walking alongside of us as we prepare for this new adventure!

We’re missing you.

This past Christmas, we missed you.

It was different from any other Christmas before. Yes, we celebrated in a new house with our 1.5 year old and cradling another little blessing in my belly, but that is not why. This past Christmas was different because we were missing one little heart.

Our sweet little Hope Turvey.

We were shocked when we saw the 2 pink lines. We kept going back to the box to make sure that it was real. We read the instruction manual of the test over and over again to be sure we did it right. I mean, it was only our 5th test that day, but we just couldn’t believe it. “2 under 2” is what we were in for. I thought for sure we’d missed this month, but I was more than a week late so figured we should probably check. I did 4 tests on my own before calling my husband to pick up a 5th on his way home. I completed my 6th one the next morning when I woke up thinking I was dreaming FOR SURE. I couldn’t process the emotions fast enough.

I should have known when I unexpectedly gagged in the meat section of our grocery store or suddenly needed to eat all-beef hot dogs as soon as possible one warm Saturday in late April. All of the signs were there – I just didn’t connect the dots.

It took me a couple of days to process. A second baby. Were we ready? Would we ever really be ready? I slowly moved from shock to excitement. A second baby! What a blessing, a sibling for LC, another little life to fill our home.

A couple of weeks later I wasn’t feeling too well and started having sharp pains in my lower back. I had read that with additional pregnancies that back pain can increase – I weathered on and continued through my day. The next day the spotting started – I knew something was wrong. I told myself it was nothing, spotting was completely normal in pregnancy. But that was the thing, I woke up that morning not feeling pregnant. I was on edge all day as the spotting continued and the cramping started. I called the midwife’s office, who told me to head into the emergency department. My husband and I dropped LC off with family and headed to the hospital.

After a few hours in the ER waiting room – we had come to the understanding that we were losing the baby. As the wait was still hours to see a doctor, we decided to come home to continue the process in private. As I waited in the car for my husband to collect LC from my sister’s house, I was completely numb. The song “Surrounded” by Michael W. Smith played on the radio. The lyrics rang true in that moment and even more true today.

“The Word says,
“For the spirit of heaviness
Put on the garment of praise”
That’s how we fight our battles

It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You
This is how I fight my battles”

As I sat in the car alone and listened to this song, I knew that even though I’d never felt heartbreak like this before, that this process was a beautiful moment in God’s sovereign plan. We drove home, holding hands with tears streaming down our faces, not knowing what tomorrow, next the day or the next month was going to bring. We put LC to bed, suddenly loving her exponentially more than when we woke that morning.

The night didn’t bring rest, it brought pain and sorrow, physically and spiritually. The next morning, we were up early sitting on the couch in a strong silence; the kind you could cut through – reading, praying, processing – when I felt a whisper in my heart that the baby’s name was Hope. I looked over at my husband and told him – he nodded his head in agreement.  The Lord tells us that there is hope in our suffering (Romans 5:1-5) and now we have the reminder that there was literally Hope in the midst of ours.

The next few weeks were rough, like a tug of war between my heart and my mind. My heart reminding me that God is sovereign and that even though I didn’t carry Hope anymore, that He carried her instead – and my mind telling me that it was all my fault. My body failed me. I drank too much coffee, not enough water, walked too far a distance, lifted too heavy of items up and down the stairs – all lies but exhausting to weed through. The weeks were spent by taking long showers to cry and pray through, tidal waves of grief that would hit while driving around the corner, doing the dishes or anytime someone touched me.

But, in the midst of the rawness, they were also filled with love – for my husband, for our daughter, and for this child who I got to carry for 2 whole months! God chose me to hold Hope close for the precious time that she spent here with us, how comforting. The next weeks brought an overwhelming sense of closeness to our Heavenly Father, knowing that the only way we would get through this would be to rely on Him for our strength. Philippians 4:13, Isaiah 40:11, Psalm 3:3, Psalm 46 and many, many more verses were my constant reminder that we were not alone in this.

Almost 2 months later, I had a dream. We had just given birth to a precious baby girl, but she did not have any hands (the symbol of helplessness). I hugged her so close and kissed her head. I told her how much she was loved and through my tears I handed her over into the hands that were outstretched waiting to hold her. I knew that they were her father’s hands, I assumed they were that of my husband. This dream sat heavy with me. I spent time and time again in prayer, asking God to relieve me from the weight that this dream carried. Then, He did. The Lord revealed that I did hand Hope over into her father’s hands, but those were not my husband’s – they were His – Hope’s Heavenly Father’s hands.

A couple short weeks later we were sitting in my daughter’s room, I was listening to my husband read her one of her books and I couldn’t help but cry. The sweetness, the softness and the tenderness in that moment of watching them together. My husband took one look at me, let out a little laughter and said “you’re pregnant.” I denied it, “there’s no way” I said. After he went downstairs, I decided to take a test. Sure enough, up came a little “plus sign” before I even had time to leave the room.

The Lord is always good and His plan is good always; even when it doesn’t feel good. Life after miscarriage is not easy, and pregnancy after loss isn’t something that I ever thought I’d experience. It has not been without heartache but I wouldn’t have it any other way. As I sit here, cradling this baby in my belly, I can’t know what tomorrow will bring but I do know Lord is faithful, now more than ever.

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I remember the day that my husband took this photo – I wasn’t feeling great, it was Mother’s day – just 2 short days before we lost Hope. I remember thinking how terrible I looked in this photo, that I’d likely never look at it again. I joked with him that this was our first photo of me holding both of our babies – it is now one of my most prized possessions. It really is the first and the last photo of me holding LC and Hope at the same time.

Gifts from my Mother

I see my Mother in me. My husband sees my Mother in me. Some people might have dreaded this day – but I did not.

I hear my Mother in my voice when I walk into my daughter’s room in the early hours, wishing her a good morning in song.

I see my Mother in me as I dance around the kitchen using cooking utensils as a microphone to bring a smile to my daughters face.

I see my Mother in me as I get down on the floor with my daughter to read her books.

I hear my Mother in my voice as I dramatically turn the pages.

I see my Mother in me as I sway my daughter from side to side, humming softly,  cheek to cheek.

I see my Mother in me as I scramble to make sure that there is a least one vegetable side in every dinner.

I see my Mother in me as I make coffee for my husband every morning out of love.

I hear my Mother in my voice as I pray for my daughter every night before bed.

I see my Mother in me as I glimpse in the mirror at the bottom of our stairs as I walk past.

I see my Mother in me as I tuck my freezing cold feet under my husband every chance I get.

I feel my Mother when I love on those around me.

I never realized while growing up, all of the little gifts that she was giving me, the ones that would last a lifetime. I am not sure if she even knew about them.

Thank you Mom, for all of your gifts, through all of these years.

Happy Mother’s Day.

MomandElsie

Honour, Love and Cherish.

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Photo by Amanda Arch Photography

Honour – regard with great respect.

Love – an intense feeling of deep affection.

Cherish – protect and care for (someone) lovingly.

Early one Saturday morning, my husband rolled over and quietly whispered,

“Bren, LC is awake.”

Although, I already knew that she was awake – because she had been awake for a half hour, as had I. Honestly, I just really, really did not want to get out of bed. There, in my exhausted, foggy state of mind, I snapped.

“Why don’t you get up with her then?”

I snared back at him, just wanting the world to disappear under my covers, with me in them. I took a deep breath – knowing full well that even if he did get up with her, I’d need to get up to feed her anyway. I crawled out of bed, only half aware of what just happened.

As I tip-toed into LC’s room, a calmness came over me, with her sweet blue eyes staring at me through the crib bars, and a smile so big that I could see it behind her soother.

“Hello sweet one.”

I whispered as I reached down to pick her up. I settled in the rocking chair and my thoughts starting coming through the fog.

“Oh no,” I thought as I heard my husband moving around in the bedroom.

I snapped at him, I used a mean and gnarly tone, this was OUR Saturday morning – the one that we’d been looking forward to all week. This was our morning to take things slow and relaxed, to enjoy each other’s company – and I ruined it before we’d even gotten out of bed. Regret sat like a bowling ball in the pit of my stomach. He told me about LC so sweetly, so lovingly. And I didn’t even SEE him this morning, I just saw yet another thing that only I could take care of.

He popped his head into the nursery, I looked up at him with tears in my eyes, ashamed of how I reacted.

“Please to go back to bed, I didn’t actually mean what I said when I woke up, I want you to have a relaxing quiet morning, just like we’d planned.”

He responded, “You can’t expect me to stay in bed after you say something like that. Obviously I feel terrible that I can’t be the one getting up with her every morning, and I appreciate the fact that you do.”

Then he did the most amazing thing…

He walked downstairs and made ME coffee. He asked me what I wanted for breakfast, he asked me what I wanted to do that day. He pulled me into his arms and told me that he sees that I am overwhelmed and wants to know what he can do to help. He loved on me. In my darkest, meanest and most snarly of moments – he honoured and cherished me in a way that I’ve never felt before. He reached into my tired, lonely and exhuasted heart and loved me with a Christ-like love (Ephesians 5:25) – even though I am flawed, broken and undeserving.

I thought that we were going to have a terrible Saturday but because my husband chose to see through the cracks of my tone and understand where I was hurting, we had the best Saturday ever. We had coffee and breakfast, we took our daughter to the park, we aimlessly wandered through Wal-Mart, we read the Bible together and then he made ME dinner. What could have been a day where we tore each other to shreds using passive aggressive jabs and comments, as we have done on days before this, he chose differently – he chose to love on me instead.

And what a beautiful day it was.

Friendship 101

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I love friendships. This Christian life is not one that was designed to be lived lonely (Ecc. 4:9-10.) Sometimes being a friend or making a friend is a challenging endeavour that seems overwhelming. Will people like me for who I am? Can I be honest? Will I be able to reach that vulnerable place where friendships blossom? Perhaps you’re struggling with exactly how to be a friend. Thankfully, there is no shortage of direction in the Bible on how to create long-lasting friendships.

Humility. The Bible is consistently calling us to be humble. This is where a friendship begins. Philippians 2:3 tells us to “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in humility, value others above yourselves.” Any friendship based on what you might get out of it, is a dangerous place to be. We want our friendships to be based on honesty and truth, not built on misguided intentions and deceit.

Listen. We are not the Lord. We do not have all of the answers, nor are we suppose to. Having the ability to listen – without thinking about what you are going to say next – is an important pillar in friendships. The best way to invest into others, is to ask about their life, listen intently to their answers, and then ask some more. How would we get to know someone deeply if we only talk about ourselves? Ephesians 4:2 calls us to be “humble, gentle and patient.” It’s important that we ask each other questions like “how are you?” and allow the opportunity for them to give an honest answer, not just the polite one. 

Stop gossiping. I’ve decided to “bold” this one – because it is just THAT important. This is a hard one, especially for women, myself included. I could honestly do a whole blog post just on this topic and how damaging it truly is. It’s so easy to use gossip or the latest dirt as your “in” to a friend group. But what are we sacrificing for the ease of acceptance? Our honesty? Another’s trust in us? Another friendship? In Romans 14:13 we are told to stop passing judgement on one another and to firmly decide to not put a stumbling block in front of one another. I think that it’s safe to say that bringing gossip into your friend group is you choosing to put a stumbling block in front of your friends, it’s not fair to anyone, especially the one being gossiped about. What is considered gossip? Any comment about somebody or a situation that you’re not directly involved in, anything that you would not say to an individual in a face to face conversation, and anything that was said to you in confidence by another. In Romans 12:10, we are called to “be devoted to one another in love” and to “honour one another above yourselves.” Is gossiping following through on these directions? Even more so, in 1 John 3:18 it says “My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.” You must CHOOSE to serve and love your brothers and sisters in Christ, in an honest and supportive way.

Build each other up. This one goes hand in hand with the previous. Remember as a kid when grown ups all around us would be like “actions speak louder than words.” And if you were anything like me, you’d roll your eyes into the back of your head and think “blah, blah, blah…” But yet, here we are. You can say “I love you”, “I’m praying for you”, “you can trust me” and everything that goes along with that – but those words are empty without action. To build strong friendships, we need to be building each other up in Christ. It literally says in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, it says, ” Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…” I would say that direction in itself is pretty self-explanatory.

Disciple one another. As a Christian and a friend, it is important to be honest and truthful with gentleness and love (Ephesians 4:1-3.) If your friend is struggling, it is so important to walk alongside them through that – but also to be truthful. It says in Proverbs 27:17, “iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” We have the responsibility to help our brothers and sisters around us to further their relationship and journey with Christ. Challenge each other and hold one another accountable for your actions.

Forgive. Hurt happens. Mistakes happen. Be willing to forgive others and be forgiven by others (Colossians 3:13.) There’s that old saying that continues to ring true, day after day, that another’s poor and hurtful actions towards you, speaks more about them as a person than you. I’ve been in the position of hurting others during in the deepest and darkest area of my hurt – it’s no excuse, just truth. I had to accept that I had done wrong by my friend and wait for her forgiveness. I have also been in the position of being hurt by loved ones. It comes down to an understanding that no one is perfect – we are all sinners and flawed by our human nature. But Jesus Christ’s love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8.) Let’s out-honour those who hurt us, by lifting them up in prayer.

Lastly, in 1 Peter 3:8 we are called to be “like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” These are the beginnings of a great friendship. Be aware of who you surround yourself with, its common knowledge that those around us greatly influence our decisions. 1 Corinthians 15:33 even says, “do not be deceived, bad company corrupts good morals.” Seek out wise and honest friendships, ones that will stand the test of time. Popularity does not equal good friendships. It is better to have one GREAT friend, then to have multiple acquaintances. So take some time and invest into one another. Meet your neighbour, make that coffee date and most of all, bring your friendship needs to your Heavenly Father and lay these budding relationships at the foot of the cross.

Who am I?

blogphotosmallI’ve been debating what I should write for my next blog post. I have some ideas coming up but they require a little more research before I am able to finish them. Then it hit me, I don’t think that I’ve fully introduced myself yet.

Hello. It’s so wonderful to meet you – thank you for following Let go, Fear less, Trust more. My name is Brenna. I am very imperfect and flawed – made perfect only through the grace and love of Jesus Christ. Here is my testimony.

I was born and raised in a Christian home, surrounded by loving parents and 3 sisters. I first accepted Christ during a church day camp when I was 8 years old – although, I had a  biblical understanding of what Jesus had done for me, I had little practical knowledge of my own death and destruction in the world of sin.  I lived an amazing youth – filled with demonstrating the love of Jesus through friendships, school and summer camps – both as a camper as well a counsellor. Those were the days. The joy given to me by Christ was totally contagious. It was a time in my life where the only emotion that I ever really felt was this high of happiness.

Unfortunately, after this high of happiness – there also came a time of deep, DEEP lows. In my early 20’s I was in a relationship that started out great, but time told a different story. When that relationship had finally come to an end – I was totally different. I doubted my value as a woman, my belief structure, that my opinions even mattered and most importantly, I doubted that I was even saved (HOW could a God who claimed to love me so much, allow me to go through a relationship that caused so much damage and hurt?) I decided that if this was what male Christianity was, I didn’t want anything to do with it. I walked away – far, far away.

It was easier to feel nothing at all then to deal with the deep sense of emptiness in my heart. So I did. I felt numb for a whole year. I faked the laughter and smiles – all while crawling into my bed alone and in tears every night. I lived solely to survive. The faster I was going into the ground the better. I hurt people. I hurt my friends with my lack of loyalty and honesty. I crumbled from my very core. I lived in the darkness without Christ for the first time in my life, jumping from one temporary high to the next.

One night, in a dream, I saw myself from the outside looking in. I saw just how desolate my life had become. The next day, I emailed my pastor, “asking for the friend…” as I sought out a female Christian counsellor. I was able to connect with one, who was so kind and compassionate. She walked me through the trauma that I was refusing the deal with – it was hard and painful – worse than the feeling of numbness. She helped me work through what God’s truths were against the lies that I had been fed in the past. That I was  loved SO deeply that Jesus gave himself up for me. That my worth would never come from those around me, men or otherwise, that the only value that would ever matter was my value in Christ – created in his own image (Genesis 1).

I slowly started to come back. Nearing the end of 2013, I went over to my parents house – and as I was watching television with my mom and dad, I asked, while feeling so small, if I could move back in with them. My parents have never, ever not been there for me. My dad, although I could see on his face, a slight disappointment as they were so close to finally being empty nesters, turned up the television and responded with “hmmm, where are we going to park all the cars?” There was never a question of whether I would be welcomed back home for him, there was only the logistics of vehicles to think about.

Finally back home, where I felt much more accountable for my actions, I had a dream. A crazy dream, that even when I woke up, I couldn’t get out of it. There was noise, static and the sound of battle. I had overwhelming sense (tears streaming down my face, just as I’m remembering this moment) that the Lord was fighting my demons for me. He was literally fighting my battle for me because I was too weak to fight for myself. He LOVES me, He CARES for me, He FIGHTS for me. I am worth more. It was there, in my midst of this, that Jesus Christ became my Saviour – when I lived through death, destruction and despair – he fought for me. It was here that I understood the meaning of the Gospel. It was here that Romans 8:37-39 became a reality.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, no powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (CSB)

I gave my life back to Christ, wholly this time, aware of the desolate despair that awaited me without him.

Shortly after this, my husband and I started dating, then were married 6 months later. A man, that God was working in and continues to work in, a true man of God – not afraid to show his vulnerabilities to the me and to his Heavenly Father. A man who loves deeply, leads fiercely and serves humbly. A man, who I didn’t think existed, was here before me. He was waiting for me just as the Lord had promised.

We continue on our adventure together, both growing and thriving in God’s grace. I never, ever would have imagined that I was worthy of this life that the Lord has blessed me with, because on my own, I am not – but with Christ, I am.

Thank you for reading my testimony, for following my story and for living to thrive in Christ alongside me!