Posts in akron ohio moms
The Season of Endurance...

when I started training for a half marathon a few months ago, I said to God that I wanted this to build endurance into my body, into my bones.

Have you ever needed something so bad, or loved someone so much that you needed it/them to be a part of you? 

Maybe it was something you read that you were so obsessed with that you wanted it to become your thoughts and your words. Or someone (a child cough cough) that you love so much that you just need to nibble on them because a hug is not going to suffice.

 

This is where I was at a few months ago.

I needed endurance, and I no longer could have it be a concept, or a far fetched idea. I needed to test it and understand it, and look at it almost as a scientist looking at a test tube would.

Now, fast forward a few months, a lot of hard turns, selling all of our belongings and moving in with friends, fundraising for The Nest, and being in tough spots both personally and organizationally.... I . Am. Tired. I am kind of annoyed that I ever told God this, but I hold on to some simple truths that I have learnt along the way.

 

Endurance. 

 

When I started running, I could not even run a mile. 

Lets be honest here, I couldn't even run a half of a mile.

Tomorrow, I set out to do a 9 mile run. A NINE MILE RUN. I am going to be running for almost 2 hours.

How did I even get there?

 

By building endurance.

 

Did you notice on child number one how late night nursing sessions, or trips to the doctor, or teething was much more difficult than with number two? (maybe haha).

Endurance.

Did you notice your first week back to work from your child it felt like 100 years, and all of the tears and then by week four, it was your new normal?

Endurance.

Did you notice in your fifth year of marriage how something that monumentally would have made you ball in the fetal position during year one of your marriage, you called it for what it was and moved on within moments?

Endurance.

 

I remember when I broke my arm a few years ago, and people were in shock and awe of the fact that I just kept on with my normal life (for the most part-- holler for your meals!) and couldn't believe it. I remember an overwhelming understanding that for me to mother without an arm was one million times easier than me mothering in my first year with my son when I was struggling through PTSD and post partum depression. To have lost ability in my dominant arm temporarily felt way easier than to have my brain missing.

Endurance.

I remember in my first year of running The Nest I wanted to quit nearly every month. It all felt so overwhelming and hard and as we round out year four here in a couple of months, my desire to give up is not nearly as often.

Endurance.

 

Here's the point. You don't build endurance by not building endurance. You build endurance by having to endure, by having to persevere.  You build endurance through struggle. You build endurance through tears. You build endurance through doing hard things. YOU BUILD ENDURANCE. 

For me, the only thing I can build upon is my foundation in Jesus. He is the rock, and he is the foundation, and I have learned the secret. I can do all these things through him who gives me strength.

I can only run a marathon because he's given me legs to do so.

I can only run a ministry because he has given me it to steward.

I can only love my family because he has given me a family to love.

 

In the middle of building endurance. It sucks.

 

I distinctly remember one time on my way up to 2 miles crying as I ran because I was mad that I had committed to run this race, and was so defeated. I had a cramp and my body hurt, and I was embarrassed at how hard it was for me, how slow I was.

But I finished.

And the next time, I ran further.

AND I BUILT ENDURANCE because I did not give up.

 

I think the biggest lesson I've recently learnt is that without endurance being built beforehand to run a half marathon, I could go out there and try to run it, but there is no WAY that I would finish it. 

The race day is not at all the point.

The point of the race is what is built in between. In the hard moments, in the training moments, in the persevere moments, and how you endured.

When endurance is built into you, you will be able to persevere on race day.

 

Such is life.

Dear friend, when you feel like giving up. When you want to throw in the towel, remember what is being built into you right now, yes right this very moment even when you do not feel it AT ALL.

You will use this opportunity to persevere. 

You will look at this opportunity with hope.

You need this because it tests you, and it strengthens you, and it builds you into the person who will be able to withstand tomorrow what you could have never dreamt of withstanding today.

 

"We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." Romans 5:3-4

image1.jpeg
He's beginning to want daddy more than me....

It started a year ago when he would start to say no to holding my hand, run over to daddy, and ask him to hold his hand instead.

WAIT what? What's happening?! (i would think to myself)

It seems like yesterday my little boy only wanted comforted by mommy. How could this be?

-----

Just a few weeks ago I was in the kitchen, my son didn't know I was home, and I overheard him in the living room talking to his little sister. 

He said

"Sissy, Daddy is so much more fun than mommy, isn't she? Don't we LOVE dad days? Mommy days are boring... aren't they sis?"

To which she replied

"Yeah mommy is boring!"

RUDE.

So naturally, I marched my 12 year old butt (disclaimer: I am not a preteen in real life, just in my emotional age at this point), and I made myself seen to my son.

He stared at me with the fear of the Lord

And I said,

"I hope you know I was in there the whole time and that really hurt my feelings."

-----

Just an example, of the shift we are going through with our sweet little boy.

Not all boys, but most boys hit a phase in their life where mommy is secretly still their love, but daddy. (or daddy figure).. he is now the shining star of the picture.

Its super healthy as boys are learning what it means to be "men" and looking to their dads, their grandpas, the father figures in their lives to see what it means to be a man in their little world.

I actually love it, even though it freaks me out as moments become years and I feel them slipping away...

----

Don't worry momma, Im not one of those who says "soak up all of these moments because you'll never have them again." I just don't believe that's true. A boys heart towards his momma is ALWAYS there. Trust me, I see it in my brothers, in my dad with his mom, in my husband with his moms and majority of grown men around me who had loving mothers.

A boys love for his momma just changes, it shifts, it grows, it hides for a bit, and it morphs into beautiful expressions in every stage.

---

Yesterday I reached back my hand while driving home to see if today would be one of the days that he lets me hold his hand (happens once a month haha), and it wasn't. He pushed it away, and i just said, "I love you so much buddy".

There's this thing that happens with girls and boys as they get bigger.

Some girls push away their dads as they develop and are becoming women and trying to find their space in the world and how to relate to it.

And some boys push away their moms as they learn what it looks like to be men.

 

My job

Is to Be consistent in loving him where he's at.

 

A wise woman told me once that with her teenage sons she started reading Harry Potter, and asking them about their video games once a week (I'm pretty sure she put that on the calendar), and when I asked her "Why?" and kind of giggled she said...

"I could literally care LESS about these things, but it's what my son loves, and I love him so much and this is how I can step into this space to show him I am still here and nurture him where he is at now."

 

And I guess that's where I am at.

Learning how to step into my five year old- going on 25's world and meet him where he is.

He likes legos, crafts,  building, deep questions, mario video games, and music... so I'll step into those spaces for now.

Knowing that if the option is there, he's always going to choose daddy to cuddle with, go to sleep with, or to play games with.

Every once in awhile I get a glimpse, when he'll lean over and kiss me on his own, or give me a big hug out of no where and tell me he loves me.... and I know my sweet babe is still in there.

But for now, I change with the season. I learn to love the laughter and excitement when we do a craft, or watch our cooking show together, or throw a ball back and forth.

Ill miss the baby cuddles, and that season, sure. But ill learn to love the one that I am in. Learning to ebb and flow with my babe, meet him where he is and learn to see what he loves so that I can show him my love through it.

Isn't that so much like Our Father in heaven anyways? We push, and pull, and glance and say I love you. We move onto new parts and passions and he follows us wherever we go, taking whatever we'll give him. 

He loves us and meets us where we are at, because he's a loving parent. Watching us grow and relating to us where we are at, in the season we are in, with his love in what interests us.

He's a really good dad.

And Im learning what it means to be a mom, that looks like him.

 

hylan.jpg

 

 

Why Families? Why is this so important NOW?
 

Written by Jenna Brown

 

Did you know that 96% of issues adults process through in counseling are rooted in their childhood?

... thats a really big number.

 

If you didn't know, 'The Nest', originally started out as 'The Mother's Nest'. 

In the beginning, we weren't planning on starting a non profit organization. We weren't planning on really doing anything besides having a group of moms over in my house to share a meal and talk.

We weren't planning it, but I know that it was planned long ago, long before me.

 

Through the process of our sons birth (born in 2013), I had a near death experience. From that, I moved into a season of suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and PPD (post partum depression). I struggled to bond with my son until he was about one years old, and struggled greatly in that first year after having him.

In my healing "process" I really wanted to find a space to talk about these things with other moms, but everywhere I was turning seemed to be superficial, and I felt like an outsider in my own skin. So I started creating that space instead.

Little by little more vision was handed to me and our team by the Father.

It started as a seed (as everything does in the kingdom of God),  and he has made, and is still making something incredibly beautiful out of it.

 

Little by little, we became a non profit organization (501c3).

We started programs and services.

We purchased a building (been there for 3 years now!)

We had a board of directors

A vision 

A mission

A heart

A team.

 

And little by little, things kept developing.

 

What we noticed, after we had created this "safe space" for moms to come and be who they were, and to show them the heart of God to truly nurture THEM, protect THEM, serve THEM as they poured out their lives for these little ones, was that their whole families truly needed it as well.

We saw the need of the single mom.

We saw the need of the dad.

We saw the need of the family to know who they are, and what in the world they were doing with their children raising them in this world.

 

And honestly, I saw it in myself.

When I was pregnant with our second child, Reyna in 2015, I started going to trauma counseling. This is a bit different than your typical cognitive behavioral counseling, as one part of my brain had shut off in the PTSD (which is an incredible protective mechanism given by God in trauma, however it cant stay that way forever ;)) and in my counseling, the strangest things were coming up.

I was going to counseling to truly just get me through the next birth of my next child without dying or having a mental breakdown. 

 

It was strange that instead of processing through my birth however, I was processing through my broken family history.

I was talking about the seemingly meaningless memories. Ones that some would probably laugh that were "traumatic" for me.

But thats truly where The Nest shifted.

Once again, in a story that started with me.

 

I started to see that my birth was just a trigger of something that had been hidden deep within.

Pain from my childhood that had never been uncovered, because parts of my brain had hidden it away for long time.

And I clearly had work to do.

 

Through that process, (THANK THE LORD for incredibly patient counselors and for EMDR therapy) I really began to have a heart to see this around me.

 

And somewhere in the process, God gave me this picture of a plane.

 

Blog Posts

IMG_5166.jpg

 

Picture a plane, descending, preparing for landing, checking out the runway.

Now picture the runway being your family system you grew up in.

 

God spoke to me in this season that his heart was for the FAMILY unit to be a landing strip for GOD to land as children grew, and no longer would it belong to the enemy.

 

If you talk to most individuals, they dont realize that their family had brokenness in it.

Why? well because..it was normal to them. 

This is how you get recurring cycles of abuse, neglect, alcoholism, addiction, abortion, poverty, prejudice and racism, and many other of the cycles in our society that the non profit and ministry sector of the world is adamantly trying to fix.

Which is noble.

And awesome.

I love partnering with this city, so many passionate individuals that are attacking specific issues, social justice platforms, etc.

 

But I started to dream bigger.

What if this is preventable.

What if at the center of God's heart is for every "issue" to be abolished?

(it is, in case you didn't know)

What if instead of approaching the world with bandaids, we approached it with a scalpel. 

What if we looked longer than just this generation we saw right in front of our face, and poured into the next generation that saw a bigger picture.

 

"21 For he must remain in heaven until the restoration of all things[a] has taken place,[b] fulfilling everything that God said long ago through his holy prophets." Acts 3:21

 

This phrase that I have repeated over and over again that God gave to me in my prayer closet was

"God created in families, he's going to restore in them too".

What if restoration of the world, started with the restoration of the family?

 

What if family truly is the first picture of who you see God to be?

What if God created it this way for a reason, and its NOT a lost cause?

What would happen if parents actually got a hold of that?

What if dads were empowered to show the Father heart of God through knowing their own identity, and calling that out and instilling that in their children?

What would that do to a fatherless generation?

 

What if mothers were nurtured, cared for, and no longer oppression so that they could be the beautiful picture of the holy spirit that they are meant to be to their children? as comforter, nurturer, constant, teacher?

What if marriages looked like Jesus' relationship with the church. His dedication, his commitment, his covenant?

What would this next generation look like?

 

I saw this often, and most of you know. In the VERY beginning (like day one) of The Nest (then known as The mothers nest) God gave us Isaiah 61 that this would be our cornerstone.

Our dream was to make MIGHTY OAKS out of mothers, fathers, and children.

and I say this often.

 

The OAK tree is already within the ACORN.

It just needs planted in fertile soil and WATERED.

We get to be a part of the watering at The Nest.

We get to be the soil for many.

 

We know that the oak tree, that mighty oak, that beautiful picture of covering for children to enter into, majestic in its beauty, is already within the people who walk through the door, no matter where they are at with Jesus.

 

We know that it is within everyone to become that mighty oak.

We know that the way the kingdom works, is that God has already PUT THAT IN there.

If he put the ability for an oak tree to come from an ACORN.

how much more would he have put the ability for a FAMILY to show the heart of God within it?

 

So what do they need?

A little watering.

A place to be planted.

A place to grow.

And a place to provide shade.

 

Here we are folks, The Nest.

 

What started out as no "vision", and just a simple weak "yes"  has become something that I believe flows from the original intent of God's heart. It has NOT been easy, and most definitely has NOT been perfect, but I am proud of what The Nest stands for and is today.

Why? because I know its my Father's heart.

His heart to nurture, protect, call out identity, and create a safe haven for this next generation.

 

Let me ask you friends,

to dream a bit bigger with me.

So often we put our minds in boxes, into systems, believing that all we could ever do was provide a bandaid. (which are important, because you bleed out without the proper bandages ;)) 

But what if we prevented the cut in the first place?

 

What if our children didn't have to sit in counseling offices for trauma healing?

And even if they did, what if we didn't waste time on the fruit of their lives, and got to the root of them.

IF EVERY CHILD IS PLANTED INTO A FAMILY, AND EVERYTHING IN THE KINGDOM IS THE SEED, WHAT ARE WE DOING ABOUT THE SOIL?

 

Dear friends,

dream bigger with me.

See that preventative is the heart of the Father.

That once we fix the root, the fruit will take care of itself.

 

"So if the tree is good, it will produce good fruit; but if the tree is bad, it will bear only rotten fruit" Matthew 7:18

 

oak.jpg

 

24 “Everyone who hears my teaching and applies it to his life can be compared to a wise man who built his house on an unshakable foundation.25 When the rains fell and the flood[acame, with fierce winds beating upon his house, it stood firm because of its strong foundation.

26 “But everyone who hears my teaching and does not apply it to his life can be compared to a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 When it rained and rained and the flood came, with wind and waves beating upon his house, it collapsed and was swept away.”[b]

 

 

Matthew 7:24-27 The Passion Translation (TPT)

What I've Learned About Family- By Kinsey Rings

By Kinsey Rings

I was born into a broken family. My parents divorced when I was 9 months old. As a child, I had a deep desire to see my parents get along, to work out their problems, and to be a family again. As I got older, I used to see couples arguing in the grocery store, and I was so deeply hurt, begging God that they would not treat each other that way. I knew at a young age that family could not exist without a true love and respect for each other. I just did not know how that was possible. As I grew up, a deep anger grew in me watching families be completely busted apart, to hear my friends at school confide in me that their parents were getting a divorce, or that one of their parents was having an affair, that their sibling had become an addict, etc. I became angry. I hated seeing families torn apart. I hated that the enemy was trying to take something God so carefully and preciously created. I decided I didn’t really want to get married, or have a “family” because all I saw around me was brokenness and hurt.

A few years later, God transformed that anger and edge in me and gave me his heart for restoration.   HIS heart for families. His heart for the brokenness I saw around me. He healed parts of me that I never knew could be healed. He told me that my family did not have to stay broken, that He was a healer and redeemer of the deepest brokenness and even sin.

I listened to him 2 years ago when He called me away from school to learn more intently about Him and his heart. And I followed him when he called me to work for the restoration of families here in Akron, at The Nest.

IMG_2065.JPG

I have worked at the Nest for a year now, wow! Going from an intern to now the assistant director was a big step in my understanding of the family and what God is doing in the realm of family. I have recently gotten married (like really recently- we celebrate a month of marriage in 10 days!), and through the engagement process, and our wedding day,and the few short weeks we have been married,  I have learned more than I can write here about family and God’s redemption and goodness. He took two very different and broken people and made them whole through His healing and redemption, and gave us each other as a gift, our marriage as an outlet to the world to scream “God is good and he can redeem anything, he can radically change your heart and your family, just come to Him and ask!!!” I have watched the relationship between mother and child and marveled at the ways God so carefully has established that bond. I have wept over the children in my care at the Nest who do not have a dad present in their life. I have recently watched our building and organization become a home away from home for moms, dads and children on Monday nights, when every floor of our building is bustling with moms group, dads group, and tons of kids running around upstairs laughing (okay crying too…) I have worked many hours behind the scenes putting on events, cleaning rooms, preparing children’s activities, and praying so hard. Because of the love I have for every person who walks through the door at the Nest, every tear, every prayer, every hour spent scrubbing toilets, vacuuming up goldfish that have been smooshed in the carpet, and cutting out tiny bits of paper for crafts at story time has been so worth it.

IMG_9830.JPG

I love the family unit because God loved it first, and set it up.

God so intricately designed the conception and birth of every human on the planet. I rejoice over his care for every baby. For every mother. Every dad. Every marriage, every relationship.  And I count it an honor to get to care for the families we have represented at the Nest, by pointing them to their Father, to the source of life and healing and restoration.

God has shown me so many things about Family. That he is the author of every redemptive story, and that every “broken” or hard family situation can be made right only in him. The things that wreak havoc on families: addiction, sickness, infidelity, abandonment, poverty, even wealth...do not have to define the outcome of a child’s life, or a mother’s life, or a dad’s life. I have seen God heal marriages. I have seen him heal sickness. I have seen him restore what the enemy has tried to steal, and I won’t ever doubt what He can do with someone’s “mess” ever again.

IMG_6021.JPG

I’ve learned that there is no family situation or dynamic too difficult for God to breakthrough. That the only way any brokenness can be made whole, any family hurt healed, is through the restoration and healing only God provides.

I have learned that in Him, we have access to a PERFECT Father. For the ones who never had a dad, or whose dad was never able to care for them, or even who hurt them badly, this is the best news ever. He is a dad who will never abandon, who will never disappoint, who will never change His mind about You.

I’ve learned that family is certainly not only just the people who you are related to. I have loved getting to know our foster and adoptive families. Those who have taken a step into the unknown, purposefully exposing their heart to pain and possibly heartbreak, to love those that need love the most. To take a child that is not theirs biologically, and love them and raise them as their own- is one of the most beautiful reflections of the heart of God. I have loved watching family expressed this way. I have loved seeing this same love through step-parents who love kids who are not their own, who take on the task of raising them and loving them.

21314617_851338338359270_9034657155542836295_n.jpg

I have seen a family form at The Nest for anyone who comes through the door to be a part of, by working through hard things, praying for one another, listening to one another in some of the most vulnerable moments of life, speaking TRUTH over each other, going over to each other’s house simply just to clean, bring them dinner, or watch their kids.

IMG_8393.JPG

At the Nest, we love every person just as they are. We love them enough to show them the family that is there for them, and the healing and redemption that can be brought to their lives and the lives of their families, in many big and small ways. We walk alongside of them through the hills and valleys of their life, just as family was created to do.

 

It is an honor to be apart of the work the nest is doing in the lives of families

 

IMG_6086.JPG