Posts in motherhood
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!"


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.





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.


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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 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.



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




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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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




PRUNING: When you cant see the big picture... rely on the one who does

Written by Jenna Brown

"We're coming out of a pruning season"- My coin phrase for the past 6 months. 

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I could stop there. It would be easy to stop there, and leave it at that. I've struggled to write in the past 6 months (hence the empty blog). But I cant. I know there is a message here, one to be shared, and one that will be an encouragement to many.

If you are familiar with The Bible, you will know that gardening analogies are all over the place in that thing, and it’s AMAZINGLY HELPFUL IN PRUNING SEASONS (just saying).

About 8 months ago every time I opened my Bible, it seemed to mysteriously open to gardening stories. Passages about "being connected to the vine" or "watering" or "seasons".

I've walked with God for 9 years now, so I know a bit about how he tries to tell me things.... it started to grab my attention.

"Alright God, Gardening is a thing for me now..."

If you've ever met me, I'm an "all in" kind of person.. so this would explain my next course of action...

I went home and told my husband I would plant a garden.

He reminded me that I haven’t kept more than an aloe plant alive for a year.. But I pressed on.




So, I asked my neighbor who is legitimately the most amazing gardener  (you should see our houses next to one another.. HA), if she would help me garden this year.

I also thought maybe it meant that we would have a community garden at The Nest (still do), and so I met in person with the local "master gardeners of the city in Akron" <-- yes that is a thing! They're incredible!

I read gardening books.

I started a gardening notebook and goal planning thing.

I had a gardening pinterest board.

But guys...

I never actually ended up planting a garden.


Want to know why?

I learned about how much PREP work goes into having a garden.

How much you have to know.

How much you learn along the way.

How much you have to plan for.

And how much tending work needs to be done.


AND THEN, in the midst of my planning,  I saw the connection.

God was speaking to me about gardening, because I had a garden I was tending at The Nest... one that he was showing me how to plan properly for what was ahead.



(side note: I literally just heard my dad’s voice say... "Miss (his pet name for me), 80% of the work is prep work... you gotta do it right, or else you won’t get the end goal you want)

1) Decide where Garden bed is going to be.

2) Decide what plants you want and what grows best next to one another.

3) Buy your plants and seeds, soil, fertilizer, and tools.



4) The soil get’s tilled, manure is added, other things are added to it (I told you I’m not a professional.. yet).

5) The seeds are planted

6) Water the seeds



(this is the part where I was at my friends when it came to The Nest.. the lovely waiting game)

6) The roots grow.

7) The shoots grow.

8) They sprout… YAY

9) They're pretty to look at, so you stare at them in pride.

10) You water them.

11) You fertilize them.

12) You tend to the whole garden by pulling the weeds that grew up like crazy when you fertilized.

13) You prune the large plants, pull off fruit and veggies here and there so that the nutrients can keep distributing properly throughout the plant


THE PRUNING::: (keep going)....

14) The pruned bed looks bare, weird, and kind of like you just did a step backwards when you just had a huge beautiful garden bed

15) You fertilize again

16) The garden is watered


And then.. (before the harvest)... Here's the big point:




You see, anyone can plant a garden and see the initial thing grow up the first time. It’s the ones who are willing to take the time to prune, to stick it out for the end goal, that are called gardeners.

Maybe it is weird that I am writing about this as we enter into fall, where everything beautiful dies slowly, we can all of our veggies and fruits, and get snuggly inside. Or maybe it’s not weird at all.

I think gardening is a skill, a talent, a patience analogy that is used over and over again biblically for a reason.

Maybe it’s exactly where you're supposed to be as you wonder what the HECK is happening in your life, as I just so happen to feel led to talk about pruning.

Because here's the thing.




John 15:2
“"Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me."
&& this:
Hebrews 12:6
"because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

SIX MONTHS AGO I was sitting on my kitchen floor, weeping, asking God if he wanted me to close The Nest. 

The past 4 months have been the most excruciating seasons of my life in personal relationships.

The past 10 weeks have been series after series of hard conversations in multiple spheres of my life.

I have spent numerous hours working, planning, strategizing, and PRAYING on my face about what to do in various situations at, around, and in The Nest.

8 weeks ago my husband felt like in the midst of what felt like death all around me, that he was supposed to quit his job and work full time as business manager at The Nest. Convenient. So we currently are raising support in the ministry we do here in Akron and Ellet, all while everything seemed to be "failing" around us.

I almost freaked out. Because it was all too much. It was all so lonely and terrifying, with so much change on the horizon, and I saw nothing except death around me.


AND then. I remembered the seasons.

This garden thing that kept popping up.

Perfect timing.

I remembered what happens after the pruning.

I fell on my face in gratitude that God these entire past months, had been preparing me for what was ahead. He was speaking over and over hoping that I would trust in the harvest, trust in the promise of his faithfulness, That I'd be quick to obey, without delay.

Dear friends, if you are in a pruning season. I NEED TO TELL YOU.. its for purpose.


To many of us have sought out to make the God of the universe in OUR image, instead of submitting and allowing the GOD of the universe fashion us into HIS image.


Do not be afraid.

He does everything with purpose, and if it's something that wasn't in his design for you.. he will bring purpose OUT of it if you let him.

He’s more intricately involved in the details of your life than you could ever imagine.


Our pruning season at The Nest..

Was an entire summer dedicated to seemingly one million behind the scenes conversations, gigantic sticky notes up on the wall of all the issues, solutions, strategies and possibilities you could ever imagine.

We talked merger with other organizations.

We talked selling our building.

I cried, and shook. I was angry and sad. I lamented, and felt lost a lot of the time.

There are things I cannot even mention in a blog post, that I went through leading this organization this summer, that if someone told me 4.5 years ago I would have to do, I would have NEVER said yes.






It’s the best space to be. 

In pruning, you are at the mercy, at the very hands of the true MASTER Gardener.

He is the BEST pruner.

He knows what needs to go, and he knows what needs to stay.

He cuts the withering leaves off with gentleness, and care.

And he waters at just the right times.

He fertilizes with the best nutrients,

and HE HAS THE VISION in his head of the END result.

The finished garden.


For those of you who have ears to hear this, the point of what I am saying.. HEAR IT, because in the midst of what felt like death all around me….

THINGS shifted.

The big vision came.


In the pruning season, the shift is never the moment you "start to see the shoot come out of the ground".

Because "blessed are those who believe without seeing".

The shift.. is in your heart, friend.

When you realize you GET TO join in your master's work. That you also GET TO plant a garden. And you GET TO learn from the BEST master gardener in all of the land.

That even though when you see a bed full of dirt, worms, a few weeds, and... nothing else, you keep watering.


Because you remember that you planted seeds all over that thing.

That you tilled that soil faithfully.

That you put the good stuff in there to make it grow.

So now you water, and you wait.

The pruning season in life... feels a lot like that.

Going back to the bare ground with tiny little shoots in it.

Making sure that soil is nutrient rich.

That you've prepared yourself for the "vision" that this is going to take awhile for the seeds to sprout and come out of the ground... but sure enough your vision stands firm. You WILL have a garden.

This vision is what drives you to water everyday.

This is what drives you to weed.

This vision is what drives you.


That was my summer.

In my garden called The Nest.

Back at the bare ground/ soil with my faithful shoots.

Soil being tilled up, nutrients being poured back in.

Planting seeds like a mad woman.

Watering it day and night. Waiting for the shoots to come up like God promised they would.


The perspective shift. Is never the moment you see it all happening.

It’s before that.

It’s the moment where you believed that it would come to life like it always does.

This summer, as an organization, we cut some services, some classes, some programs at The Nest. We kept our CORE main groups, the exact same that they've always been, and spent time investing in our leaders.

This summer we also refocused our attention on an entire section of The Nest that was lacking. Our ability to train and pour into leaders who are Christians at The Nest was struggling. Giving good training to share the hope that they have in Jesus with those around them in non threatening but real ways, became a priority again.

This summer we changed our official documented filing to religious at The Nest allowing us to do both A & B effectively to serve all groups of people who are coming to The Nest where they are at.

This summer we cried and pounded our heads into walls a lot.

This summer I had a lot of tears I was fighting back as I watched things die that I had spent hours and years helping create.



This summer I also saw a team of leaders who are SO grounded be SO excited about where The Nest is headed, and more all in than I've ever had with a team before.

This summer we saw people get healed from physical illnesses and mental illness through the name of Jesus.

This summer we led a few friends to relationship with Christ :)

This summer WE GOT TO dedicate our time to hear God's heart for The Nest, and what he was actually going to do, and where we were headed.

This summer we teamed up with YWAM akron as a couple (Brandon and I), in hopes to bring deeper further training in the future to our families ministering to the heart of Jesus every day at The Nest.


I've never felt so stripped down in my entire life of myself than this summer... in ALL of the ways that I needed.


I've also never felt SO sure that the season we are headed into is one of absolute favor, provision, freedom, the miraculous all around us, and that a movement is being birthed right here in the midst of the bare soil with tiny shoots.

Months ago, God gave me that vision of the garden. Before we ever started being pruned away.


Because he's a good Father, and he always wants to speak.

Are we listening?


So my friends, as we close out a season of pruning and we THANK GOD for his discipline, his pruning, and his heart to get us to rely on him... we encourage you.

In the midst of the bare ground.

Can you take a step back?

Can you see the big picture of what he’s doing in your life?

If it feels like he's "taking away" , he may be.

But rest assured in the "big picture" of the garden.

That the soil has been tilled.

The fertilizer is in.

The seeds will be planted if you "say yes" even in this dark season

and the refreshing water will cause them to sprout up and grow.


Fun fact? for those of you who have been around The Nest for the past 4.5 years, you know that we have been all about Isaiah 61.... have you ever caught what the ending statement of that chapter is?


" For as the soil makes the sprout come up

   and a garden causes seeds to grow,

so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness

   and praise spring up before all nations."

Isaiah 61: 11