Thursday, August 15, 2013

an empowering rant.

This is going to be a little bit of a random post.  I have several things to cover:
  • Warning: This is a rant.  People take things too seriously.  Yesterday, I posted something on Facebook.  I recently purchased Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace Junior for Skylar to start teaching her about money in a responsible way.  For those of you who don't know, Dave Ramsey believes in eliminating all debt and his big thing is to take shears to credit cards and destroy them all.  So, I found it highly entertaining that his website accepts credit cards as a method of payment for his Financial Peace products.  In an effort to be funny, I took a picture of the kit that arrived at my house last night and put it on Facebook with a humorous comment referencing the credit card irony.  Not moments later, my phone lit up with comments from people saying that Dave Ramsey only accepts debit cards and would never encourage the use of credit cards and blah blah blah.  UGGGHH!!  Seriously?!  Guys, it was a joke.  Even if it WASN'T true, it was just a funny comment.  But it WAS true!  Please don't try to make me look like an idiot on my own timeline.  Out of all the crazy ridiculous things that people do on Facebook.  Spelling words wrong.  Not using proper grammar.  Making impulsive comments on sensitive social and political issues.  This situation made me realize how frequently I attack and judge others in a similar manner.  Let's stop tearing each other down.  We spend so much time focusing on people's mistakes.  Why not channel that energy into looking for the best in people and seeking joy and humor in the simple moments of our lives?  For real, peeps.  Let's get it together.
  • Today is Thursday.  So Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were rough.  I received a lot of news that wasn't exactly welcome.  Things were building up and I think it all snapped into perspective when my physical therapist told me that I needed to be icing my hip during all of my breaks and keeping a steady stream of Motrin in my system.  Then I was told to start using a crutch whenever I'm not working.  Not exactly the news you want to hear 4 months post-op.  There's a lot going on there that I'm not going to get into at the moment.  But the general gist of things is that I am pushing myself WAY too hard.  Physically, emotionally, mentally.  You name it.  I had a few choices to make and it meant putting myself in an uncomfortable situation.  It meant calling my manager, drawing some lines, and setting some clear-cut expectations.  It meant identifying the problem areas and taking a stand.  Since graduating from Mercy, I've encountered a lot of challenging situations.  But this week was the first time that I really saw that I had a defined choice to make and that no one else could make it for me.  I saw where I was and where I was going and I knew I didn't like it.  I knew what I needed to do to stop the cycle and I didn't like that either.  So I got to choose.  Was I going to let things happen or would I take action to change the course of events.  It was up to me.  I'm glad I made the call.  I think I finally have some clear cut guidelines that make me feel more secure in my ability to handle what is ahead.  I was immediately reenergized.  But the success of the phone call is not what sustains me.  It is the security that I have found in Christ.  Because of His strength in my weakness, I was able to stand up for myself and say to the world, "NO!  I WILL walk out my freedom.  I will not be bound and controlled by circumstance.  The price has been paid and I have been made worthy."  No matter the end result, I am empowered, confident, and courageous.  I am able to stand firm in an unstable and uncertain world.  So despite the chaos of life, I'm actually pretty excited.
  • Today marks 3 weeks until the Fall release.  That's 21 days until pumpkin spice (and a bunch of other new goodies that are going to be awesome).  You know you were dying to know.  Bring on September 5th, baby!

Monday, August 5, 2013


There's something to be said about being a part of something bigger than yourself.  Bigger than your world.  Bigger than your reality.

That's what this weekend was about for me.

A few weeks ago I received a call from Mercy Ministries asking me if I would share my testimony at an event at Seeds of Greatness in Delaware.  There was a lot to consider in making the decision.  It involved a lot of discussion with my support system and prayer with my God.  But in the end, I excitedly agreed to share my story of healing and transformation.

I've always loved public speaking, but this was different.  To reveal your deepest secrets and stand vulnerable before strangers is not the same as giving a speech.  Usually, a speech entails some sort of message.  There's an agenda.  A purpose.  A mission to accomplish.

So I guess in that way, a testimony is a speech.  There's a message of hope.  An agenda of healing.  A purpose of transforming.  A mission of saving and redeeming.

But when I give my testimony, it really isn't mine.  It's God's.  My life was, is, and will always be about the greatness of my God.  It is through my story that He is glorified.  His strength is magnified in my weakness.  His victory is displayed through my failure.  His peace is highlighted in my turmoil.  His blessings are abundant in my crises.

Anyone can see God in a rainbow, promotion, birth, graduation, or flower.  We love to get on Facebook and tell the world how God blessed us this week.  And that is awesome.  It really is.  But I often find that this can bring on more jealousy than hope.

But when we stand vulnerable before both our friends and enemies.  When we make ourselves available to God and He shows up in the midst of our THAT'S inspiring.  There's something about the brutal reality of such a lifestyle that DRAWS people.  Even when they don't want to be drawn.

There's no limit to what God can do through us.  Honestly, I was way more excited than nervous about sharing my life story with a few hundred strangers in a distant state.  I have witnessed what God is capable of doing in the life of a broken human being.  To be called upon to be a tool in the process is an incredible honor.  Sacrifices were made in the process, but I have never regretted walking in obedience.  And I've gotta say...there's nothing like standing on a stage next to Nancy Alcorn, opening your heart to the world and your soul to the Holy Spirit, and watching what happens in a room bursting with passion.

In my testimony I talk about all of the labels I received throughout the years.  How I used to define myself by the labels that teachers, mentors, and doctors all gave me.  But how Mercy showed me the truth.  I am not defined by any earthly labels.  I am a child of God.  A daughter of the King.

But, there IS one (and only one) label that I will cling to every day that I walk the face of this planet:

Brittany Bowen
Mercy Graduate


Thursday, August 1, 2013

the story of my nuked chocolate chip cookie.

Several things within the last hour have struck me as noteworthy:

First of all, I'm sitting here at my computer at 11:30 at night and I realize that I really have not been to the bathroom since 11:30 this morning.  This tells you something.  I am so busy right now that I actually forget to go to the bathroom.

Secondly, after the store was closed the 3 of us were still furiously cleaning for half an hour.  I had the trash bag full of expired pastries on the floor and I look over and one of my coworkers is crouched down eating pastries out of it.  He looks up at me with sad eyes and says, "This is not filling the void in my heart.  Is this what it has come to???"  We're laughing hilariously, but something about the whole situation rings true.

Is this what it has come to?

I don't know.  I mean, it's late.  I should probably go to bed.  I have to be back at work in less than 8 hours.  So I limited myself to one chocolate chip cookie.  I even microwaved it so it was kind of gooey.  Microwaving things always makes them taste better.

But despite the fact that I am indeed receiving some sort of comfort in a nuked chocolate chip cookie, the fact is that I will soon go to bed, get some rest, then wake up early enough to renew my mind a bit before heading into work again.  Even though I may rather come down with a severe case of the bubonic plague.  Because I refuse to be the one eating expired food out of a trash bag.  I've been there before.  It's not funny.  It's depressing.  And that is NOT what it has come to.

I knew this week would be a hard one.  I knew that the heart preparation required for giving my testimony on Saturday would leave my physical body and mind vulnerable to attack all week.  I knew that when I agreed to speak.  So I've been praying and I know that I am being prayed over.  I know that I am covered in prayer and that God is my strength in my moments of weakness.

It's easy to get caught up in the madness of the last few hours.  It's easy to forget about the feeling I had in the car.  I left the college just before 1:30 to stop at my house to change and be at work by 2.  I clearly did not have much down time.  But as I was listening to Kari Jobe while driving, I felt a wave of God's presence in my car.  He was there, siting in the passenger's seat.  I realized that His hand has been on every detail of the last several days.  That only He could have orchestrated things to come together as they are.

There's a lot at stake.  But I have to trust in Him.  Because I wouldn't have even realized what was at stake if He hadn't been whispering into other people's ears.  If He hadn't put my face in people's hearts.  If He hadn't planted my name as a seed in people's minds.

His hand is in it all.  So I'll snag my chocolate chip cookie BEFORE it goes in the trashcan.  I'll savor a moment and then I'll hit the rack.  He's gotten me further than I've ever gotten myself, so I think I'll leave the future to Him.  I'll just accept tomorrow as a day to scrub the floors, bathe in bleach, and study.  And we'll just go from there.