Family Picture

Family Picture

Monday, December 22, 2014

Writing The Story

I feel like God has been putting stories on my heart a lot lately. Many times the thought has come to my mind that stories need to be shared more.  In churches, to each other, on blogs, in books.  Stories, our stories allow us to relate to each other and to grow from each other’s experiences. 

And God’s story.  Well his is the biggest, greatest most amazing one of all.  And the best part is that it is true.  The bible, HIS word is not just some book that is a great read.  It is living words that are all true. One night as I was reading Ann Voskamp’s, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift, to my littles, HE whispered it to me.  The amazing beautiful truth of his story.  He said this is real.  I made you and I love you and I chased after you to reconcile you back to me.  It is my love story for YOU.  And because I made you to walk with me, I had to send my son to die for you to get you back.  It was the only way.  And it really happened. This isn’t just a great story.  It is TRUTH.  Just like your story is true and real. 

And like Ann’s book, this is truly THE GREATEST GIFT.  The story of Jesus.  I realized I wanted to share it not because I ever want to “convert” anyone but because I believe in the truth of this story.  And I am excited to see it unfold.  To see how God changes lives as he reconciles us back to himself through Jesus. 

But sometimes we want the story HE is writing to be different.  Why did Jesus have to suffer and die on the cross.  Couldn’t GOD have come up with a different way to bring us back to him?  Why the suffering, why the heartache?  What about in our own lives?  I often long for a different story or more to my story.  I am jealous of the story he is writing for others.  I want their story.  It looks easier, more joyous, more fulfilling.  And then he whispers that the story he is writing for me is perfect.  Because he is the author.  And I need to open my hands to all that he is writing for me.  And receive each piece with joy.  Even if it isn’t what I want.  His ways are higher.  His story is greater.

Just the other day I was listening to Sarah Grove’s song, Open my hands and I suddenly realized that I had sat real close to her as she taught at the orphan summit I was at last May.  And I remembered her words.  That stories are not a commodity in the kingdom.  There are enough ears to hear.  And that we need to be sharing our stories, our hearts through writing, art, song.  God was speaking again. Speaking to me about stories.  Telling me that I need to share.  That YOU all need to share.  That stories need to be shared everywhere.  And that HIS story, HIS love story needs to be spoken again and again.  Only because he loves us so so much and longs for us to receive that love. 

As God writes your story will you share? Will you bless us with what HE is doing in your life?

So crazy thankful for a GOD who writes the most perfect of stories. Always.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


**It is never easy to bare a soul, to tell a story that makes you vulnerable.  But when it is SO good, sometimes GOD quietly says, use your voice.  So as I preach MY grace story, I ask for grace upon grace poured out as well.**

You guys…I have a story to tell.  A story that I hope most of you know deep in your soul and can say ya that’s old news.  A story that I fear is not preached enough from pulpits, not told enough in homes.  A love story of God’s grace and freedom.  So I have known Jesus my whole life.  I have believed in him, known the story of the cross.  But I haven’t found true grace, life giving grace until about 2-3 months ago.  And know that God has revealed it to me, I want to shout it from the rooftops!!  I’ve read about it, I’ve read about the people who become so infatuated with the love of God that they go and tell everyone.  They just can’t hold in such good news.  I’ve heard of it, when they are told the story and they are then baptized and then they go and run and tell everyone.  I’ve heard of it happening in days like these, I’ve read it in the bible.  And now it is finally my turn.  God’s love has gotten a hold of me so fiercely that I want everyone to know.  But my heart aches, my heart aches because it’s the brother in law saying that 90% of American church preaches the negative message.  The sinner message.  Where is the saved by grace, furious love part?  I feel like it is time to start over.  Start fresh.  He has given me that opportunity and I hand it over to all of you.  To a hurting world.  To hurting souls. 

I have always knew of grace but never was really able to embrace the freedom and love that came with it. I always thought it was only if I was holy and good enough could I receive it.  It was only when I let go and could truly say to God that I would never be good enough but that I knew his grace was more than enough that I could experience true freedom, true life.  I walked around only halfway loving my kids, my husband, my family because I was only allowing myself to experience halfway love from God.  I wouldn’t allow myself to truly allow God to work in my life.  Because I surely wasn’t good enough.  I messed up every single day.  How can he really love me?  And man this is an awful place to live from, all pent up, trying harder, using your own strength.  Instead of just letting go and letting God.  But the scary part for me was that I thought I was letting go and letting God.  I just couldn’t wrap my head around his crazy love and grace and that he loved me just the way I am.  And so he has slowly and carefully and widely opened my eyes.  Opened my eyes to an incredible love that I am so thankful for. 

And so it is the woman at church who I love so dearly who came to me in her fleshly body with the words of Jesus.  I love you.  Stop being so hard on yourself.  And she wrapped me in her love and showed me just how much Jesus longed for me and loved me.  And although she came to me in the flesh, I know it was God making himself real through her to me.  To truly knock me over the head and SEE.  I am a stubborn sort and so he had to use all means to get through to me. J  And you guys this changed everything.  Everything.  How I love, how I receive love, how I experience JOY.  And man I am so so grateful.  Beyond words grateful.

And so YOU ALL need to know over and over and over that God loves you!!  More than anything in the whole wide world, HE LOVES YOU!!  With a never ending, pursuing ferocious love.  He doesn’t love you just when you are good.  He loves you always.  When you mess up, he picks up your broken pieces and hugs you.  He doesn’t even ask what you did or why, he just wants you to run full force into his arms for a HUGE hug.  He wants you close, in his arms, to be fully loved.  He wants you to know the true freedom that comes from knowing and understanding his gracious love.  People, don’t live trying to be perfect and holy and in a box, just live fully YOU!!  Live outside the box, in a huge grace filled, freedom filled GLORY story.  God has given it ALL to us.  Not just a little bit, but every single thing.  Every experience, every person, every nature beauty, every story.  It is all his GIFT!!  And he just asks us to breathe deep, to accept the gift and to walk with him through it all. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014


Who knew three boys could flip your world upside down in an instant?  Who knew three sweet, amazing boys could teach you so much and fill your life with miracles that you don't even have words to describe it all.  God knew.  And he knew how blessed our life would be.  And he knew that the journey would be a struggle.  But his Grace is enough.  Grace to heal wounds that are deep for all.  Grace for boys who are scared beyond words and behave in ways that turn your world upside down.  Grace for parents that are stuck in fear, stuck fighting the enemy.  Grace for the mistakes made. Grace that teaches hurting boys and hurting parents what love really looks like.  Because we can't love when we are hurting and broken.  And we ALL were.  But his LOVE covers all.  And his LOVE brings inner healing and JOY to hurting boys and parents who need to confront wounds from long ago.  The first year was filled with GRACE, LOVE and JOY.  God's provision because there was no way we could do it on our own.  We tried and failed.  But he picked us up every time, offered grace and loved us.  And he brought us through to the JOY moment!!  The moment where we ALL understood how to really LOVE.  Because we have taken on the spirit of adoption instead of the orphan spirit.  We have shouted with JOY that we are ALL sons and daughters of the king and we are all worthy!!  Thank you Jesus!!  

This was the hardest year of our life, but by far the most fruitful and the most amazing!!  Because God shows up when we depend totally on him for everything.  God shows up in our most broken desperate moments.  And he wraps us in his unfailing love and walks through the valleys with us.  And brings us to the mountaintop and opens our eyes so we can SEE!!  So we can SEE who HE really is and how deep his love is.  We love these boys with all of our hearts and all 5 of us original Bruening's are beyond blessed by three boys from the Congo.  And LOVE and JOY abound in our home and we are forever blessed and thankful for God's provision of GRACE and LOVE.  

Who knew opening your heart to God's will could bless you so fully, could produce miracles beyond measure and could bless you with unspeakable joy?

GOD KNEW.  And I am so thankful we said yes to his call for our life.  Forever changed and bountifully BLESSED!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A prayer for adoption in 2014

 I don't really WANT to blog.  I would rather just stay silent.  I don't really want the entire internet to know my heart, my story, what is going on in my life.  That makes me too vulnerable.  But God.....he wraps me in his arms and says it is ok to be vulnerable, he will protect me, and I feel the need to FIGHT for adoption and what it is these days.  And to be in constant prayer over it.  My heart for adoption in 2014:

Adoption is not a thing

Adoption is not a fad

Adoption is not a choice we make because we want a colored baby

Adoption is not closing our eyes to corruption because we feel like we need to rescue a child

Adoption is God's heart

Adoption is opening our eyes to the reality of how we can best be of help to the children and sometimes that means that ADOPTION is NOT the best option for children

Adoption is just a word, a word that is overused, that has become wordly and negative

Adoption is God's heart because adoption is caring for the least of these, the widow, the  fatherless, the poor

Adoption is about really truly listening to God, hearing his heart through prayer and scripture

Adoption is praying for wisdom in how to care for the children without parents, who have special needs, who are older, who are siblings and are many, who NEED a family

Adoption is asking God what we are supposed to do for these children, what is the best option, do we sponsor them, do we bring them into our family, do we help others bring them into their family

Adoption is begging God for wisdom and a piece of his heart to know the HONEST and TRUE answers about caring for the poor, the widow, the orphan

Adoption is an action that covers so much more than just bringing a child into your family, it is also caring for the widow, the poor, it is giving grace to the cultural stigmas that won't allow families to keep their children

Adoption IS living the gospel out loud

Adoption has become romanticized, wildly popular and has a BAD name these days

That is NOT God's heart

His word clearly states to care for the least of these

It is the WORLD that has corrupted GOD's way

We need to have open eyes and hearts as we work to care for the poor, the widow, the orphan

Let us not enter into corruption but research and pray for wisdom

Let us not say we are NOT going to adopt because of the things adoption has become

Let us study the scriptures and pray and pray and pray that he would show us CLEARLY his heart for the orphan, for these children

Let's not give up because that is what SATAN wants


We are called to make it that way

With peace, joy, love, grace, kindness, wisdom, and a fighting heart

A heart that fights to bring God's kingdom to EARTH


That is my prayer for 2014