by Brandis Trionfo
It takes about a week before, well, life takes over.
This year I was challenged by the leader of my community group to come up with one word. Just ONE word for the entire year for us to focus on.
How hard can it be to choose one word? Harder than I expected. I consulted my Bible, my best friend, and tried to come up with something clever. I kept coming back to the word intentional. It's not a fancy word and I'm not sure it's even the right word, but I can't stop thinking about it.
My best friend messaged me on New Year's Day and asked me about my resolutions. I told her rather than come up with a list of things I'd never accomplish, my goal was to be more intentional at diving into God's Word. I wanted to yell less and love more with my kiddos. And in general, I wanted to be more joyful in all I do.
Intentional is defined as "done on purpose, deliberate." I want to DO life ON PURPOSE. I want to dive into the Word of God. I want to giggle and tickle and give my kids the mom they deserve rather than the tired, stressed one they're so used to. I want to live life for God's purpose, not mine.
Proverbs 19:21 says, "You can make many plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail."
So my goal is to be intentional in all I do. I want to speak life into people I meet, I want to bring joy to myself and my children by living through God's Word, and ultimately I want to have a year that is lived FOR the Lord.
Tell me, friends, what's one word that you can use this year to bring yourself closer to God?
Questions for Reflection:
*What is one word you can use to motivate yourself for the new year?
*How can you be more intentional at being in God's Word?
Happy New Year, friends. I hope this year is wonderful for you and I hope at the end I can bring the good news of how intentional I was this year. :)
Brandis is a former Sailor turned Air Force wife, a stay at home mom to 3 kids, and a lover of rustic country decor. She misses the Navy almost daily but is so very thankful for the time she gets with her family, dogs, & friends living near the beach.
by Brandis Trionfo
The song touches me. In modern times, none of us can fathom what it must have been like for Mary and Joseph in that space. Giving birth on hay? Where were the epidurals and sterile blankets? What a miracle to know that Christ did that FOR US.
In these times, it can be so difficult to find even a moment to be still. To step away from our iPhones and technology and television. To find just a moment to breathe. To focus on our maker.
During Christmas, especially if you have little ones, at least for most of us, it's all about Santa. What he's going to bring.
Last year (thanks to Pinterest--there goes that technology again!) I learned A LOT about biblical Christmas themes. Things like how candy canes are shaped the way they are after the staffs of the shepherds who visited Christ. I've taken these little nuggets of knowledge and made it so I speak them to my kids AS we're celebrating the other stuff. I found a pin about 25 verses to read up until Christmas, to prepare yourself and your family to celebrate Him. This list could go on, but you get the idea.
I find that the little things like that will help us to slow down and focus on what Christmas is REALLY about. It's so hard to wrap our heads around the fact that Christ came for us, knowing already what would happen to him, so that we could be set free.
Isaiah 9:6 (NLT)- "For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Just think about that for a moment. The words that pop out: Wonderful. Mighty. Everlasting. Peace.
In these times, it's good to have that on your side. Take a moment this holiday season to meditate on the word of our Father. Take a moment to focus on Him and how He is preparing your way. Through the season and the snow and the gifts and the hot chocolate, remember Him. He came so that we might have LIFE. And live it to the FULL.
Enjoy your Christmas. Happy Birthday, Jesus!
Lord, I thank you for this season. I thank you that we're able to take a day to celebrate you. I thank you for your grace in knowing that we should be celebrating you every day but sometimes we fall short. I pray Lord that during this time we're able to focus on you and all that you've done for us. I pray that we use whatever tips and tricks we can find to remember what this holiday is all about. I ask these things in your name, Amen.
Questions for Reflection:
*What are some ways I can find to incorporate more biblical truth in my holiday routine?
*How can I slow down and focus on the Word?
*Do I need to carve out more time for Him?
by Brandis Trionfo
Last year in March, my sister-in-law was killed in a tragic bus accident as her Lacrosse team was headed to a game. She was seven months pregnant with my nephew and it shook our whole family very deeply.
My mother-in-law is very rooted in her faith and it hasn't wavered since the accident. I've questioned God a few times since the incident and I can always look to her to see not only how strong she is but also how God has worked in her and through her from the time I've met her until now.
Last year they didn't do their big Thanksgiving celebration in light of what happened. This year they will have it again, and fortunately for us, my husband will be able to take leave so we can be with our family in Baltimore.
I think it takes on a whole new meaning to be thankful, even when times are tough. God says in the Bible, "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). We know that we're going to have trouble. We never understand what God is doing or how He's working, but I know this: If you are thankful for what He's given you, you'll continue to see how He works for you. I know that the day Kristie was killed, her entire team was spared. The only people He called home were the bus driver, my sister-in-law, and her unborn son. And every single one of those girls will go on to do amazing things; I believe it without a doubt.
Being thankful is about the little things and the big things. We're called in the Bible to be thankful. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT) says:
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in ALL circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
In a time where Thanksgiving is more about Black Friday than gathering with loved ones, I hope (in my family at least) we'll pause to remember that no matter what troubles we face, He is with us. He is for us, and we should always be thankful.
If I doubt it, I'll just look to my amazing mother-in-law, who knows beyond a shadow of a doubt where her daughter is, and where she'll be someday.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends.
How can we pause to be thankful even during times of trouble?
What or who can we look to when we feel doubt?
Lord, I thank you that we're able to gather in this season to give thanks. I thank you that you're mighty and so much stronger than I, and I pray that you will help me to remember, day in and day out, to be thankful for what you've given me. I pray that you will reach out to me and help me to give you the attention you deserve and to be aware of your presence, especially during these holiday seasons. Help me to praise you in all I do. In your name I pray, Amen.
One of the biggest changes in perspective I've had has been changing the way I thought of military spouses. I'll be honest--when I got out of the military and became a military spouse, I didn't have the highest respect for spouses. The only real interaction I'd had with them was when they came through the gate to show me their IDs, and often, it wasn't a pleasant experience.
I learned pretty quick after I got out that it was probably MY attitude that was making the experience bad and that military wives are a pretty strong bunch. We handle deployments, PCS moves, TDY's, smelly laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc. etc, all without batting an eye and usually with only one hand. Oftentimes there's a baby on the hip taking up the other hand!
God poked and prodded me a lot to change my opinion.
Once I found Him, I found comfort in a few spouses who truly had so much to offer I think I learned more about military life through them than I did in my ten years of active duty service!
If it hadn't been for one of them, I may not be where I am today. If it hadn't been for another, I'm not sure I'd have worked through the issues my marriage faced. And if not for another, I'd have never learned how important and lasting our friendships really are.
As a military spouse, I've formed unlikely friendships that will stand the test of time.
I've become friends with people I wouldn't have ever thought to be friends with before, and it's so rewarding to know, at the end of the day, that not only is friendship vital, it's biblical. God lays something on our heart when he gives us a friend--and we military spouses are lucky to have each other--because there will come a time when we'll really need one another.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 tells us:
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up."
See, once God gives us these friends, it's important that we're there for them!
Friendships are so very important. I'm thankful to have found friends who mean so much to me, and even more thankful to know that God has given them to me.
My perspective of military spouses has changed so much in the last few years because I've seen firsthand how hard it can be, but also how rewarding it is. With this, I urge you to reach out to another military spouse! Maybe there's someone in your husband's squadron or unit who seems like she might need a friend? Or maybe she's like me, and she might not seem too friendly or too keen on the idea of being friends with other spouses? Chances are she's afraid and she doesn't know how to approach other spouses. Maybe you keep seeing that mom at the playground but you don't want to step out of your comfort zone to say hello? Give it a chance! We all need friends.
Father, I thank you for friendship. I thank you that sometimes the friends we make truly become our family and in times where we aren't near family, we're able to stick by those who have walked our path with us. I thank you that you choose the people we need in our lives and give us what we need exactly when we need it. I pray that we're able to forge new friendships with even the most unlikely of people in an effort to draw closer to you. In your name I pray, Amen.
Questions for reflection:
1. Is there someone I can reach out to today?
2. What is God laying on my heart in regards to friendship? Is there someone I need to call? Someone I need to forgive?
Brandis is a former Sailor turned Air Force wife, a stay at home mom to 3 kids, and a lover of rustic country decor. She misses the Navy almost daily but is so very thankful for the time she gets with her family, dogs, & friends living near the beach. She occasionally blogs but mostly forgets at Anchored in the Air Force Life.