Fox & Burrow

Seeking & Creating Beauty

God's Love: Quality Over Quantity

Bruk MarshComment

How many times have you heard it? "God doesn't love you any more or any less, no matter what you do." It's a near truth I've heard my whole life, but somehow, functionally, haven't believed. I know it, but there's still the biting feeling that from time to time, I let God down. I don't feel as though I measure up to what He desires for me, or "walk in His plans" for me, and He's disappointed. 

If you're like me, the problem isn't preliminary, fear-based good behavior, so much as later sadness in 'failure'. The feeling of lost love for being anything less than perfect has seeped into nearly every area of my life over the years, and only recently have I discovered what a lie I've been living.

Nearly all of us love people because of their weaknesses, rather than because of their strengths.
— Noelle Hancock

A few months ago, smack dab in the middle of seasonal depression, I called my sweet friend in tears. I didn't know what I was sad about, or why I was crying, or why I even called. I just needed to feel like I was with someone. She stayed on the phone, neither of us saying much, just being there, until she spoke up and changed my world. "When you go through these seasons, it lets me love you. I suddenly feel God's heart for you in your brokenness and I understand a new, deeper level of His love." 

I'm sorry, WHAT?

At first, I couldn't accept it as truth. If anything, I thought, she understands a new level of annoyance. Seriously, who calls someone just to cry? But then I reversed the roles. Something that's all too easy to forget. You can think you're a bother, until you ask yourself how you feel when she calls crying. It's far from annoyance. Much closer to thankfulness. A vulnerability that leads to a deeper understanding of love, and particularly God's love, for that person. And the more you understand God's love for that person, the more you understand His love for you, and the more you understand that while that first statement is nearly true, it should read "God can't love you any more or any less".

This is the real game changer. God's love isn't given in quantity. It's a type of love that just is. It is for you. It pursues you. It sacrifices everything. And it runs so deep, we'll spend our entire lives trying to understand it. This Easter, we'll hear a lot about how Jesus loved us "so much" that He died for us, but I think it's the slightest bit off. It wasn't the quantity of love that caused Him to give His life - it was the quality. It's the type of love that He is. And it's why it's enough for everyone. Despite what we've done or haven't done. It's not a measurement. It's a substance.

God’s unfailing love for us is an objective fact affirmed over and over in the Scriptures. It is true whether we believe it or not. Our doubts do not destroy God’s love, nor does our faith create it. It originates in the very nature of God, who is love, and it flows to us through our union with His beloved Son.
— Jerry Bridges

xo, Bruk

The Post I've Been Avoiding

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Have you ever had approximately 14,000 things to write about, so instead, you write about none? I'm hoping I'm not the only one who's been fighting this for a few months now. Seriously, you should see my drafts - this chick is all over the place. But I think I know why.

I've been in this season of thought. Reflection. Fighting myself (and God) just a little bit. Mulling ideas over for weeks at a time. The frustrating thing is that when I started this blog, I saw all of that coming. I knew I was diving straight into it, and my plan was to take you guys on this adventure with me. Like Bruk Marsh gets crazy vulnerable and tells you everything that's on her mind, profound or not, and sometimes shares a song or photo she really likes. That was the plan. Then something happened. My grandpa died. My sweet, precious, Poppy. And there aren't words for that. There's not a blog post that can express the feeling of loss and happiness and hope and love and sadness that happen in that moment, and it feels unfair to talk about anything else. Bringing it up here feels cheap, and not bringing it up.... well, if I don't I'll probably never write about anything ever again.

So here we go... to the best of my ability. My grandpa was incredible. He left a legacy of kindness and gentleness and humility. He brought life to every room. He was in love with children. He was in love with my grandma. He was in love with his kids and his grandkids. He was in love with love. He was in love with Jesus. More deeply than any person I've known. The world is lacking without him. My world is lacking without him. And even in his own passing, he's given me hope. People have shared his stories with me, and every time I glean something new. Something I didn't know he thought/believed. Things I wish we would've talked about, but I'm also glad we never did, because I need to hear them now. I could write for years about how special he is to me, but I'll leave you with this one tiny story. It may seem like nothing, but it shaped me.

We sat in silence in the living room, just him and I. I was by the fire and he was across the room in his chair, Bible in lap, eyes closed. "Brookie, how's your walk with Jesus?" I could barely answer. Tears instantly welled up from that deep place - the place they're coming from as I write this - where they catch in your throat and block out your words. I think it was the one and only time I've been asked that question. I had just returned from the 'mission field' in Africa. People made a lot of assumptions about my walk with Jesus. I was almost afraid to answer, but not for him. For me. "It's not good, Poppy." I saw him tear up too. He invited me onto his lap and asked, "you know what I've been struggling with lately?" And then he told me. And honestly, I don't remember what it was. What I remember is how gracious he was to me. What I remember is realizing that my 80 year old grandpa struggles with things. What I remember is how he let me sit on his lap and be human. And how close to God I felt in that moment, knowing that He wanted the very same thing.

I don't know how to end a post like this, other than just to say thank you for letting me share him with you. As long as I've battled it, he deserves a place here, clumsy as it may be. And thank you for all the love you've given me during this time. I know more deeply how much God cares for me because of the care I've been shown by friends and family. It's a really special gift.

 

xo, Bruk 

Me & Mack & My Excessive Faith in Humanity

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It's possible that I have way too much faith in humanity to live in this city. Looking back on the past few weeks, my naivety surprises even me. I've asked two different strangers to drive my car on two separate occasions, and thank God I somehow managed to ask the two people in all of Oregon who didn't steal my car, my purse on the seat next to them, or you know... me. It took me a VERY long time to come to terms with asking people for help and apparently I've now mastered it. All of this, combined with the fact that my life is just one blush-inducing moment after another, leads me to the story that will likely hold the record for humiliation, uncomfortability, and pure shock for all of 2017. You guys, I seriously hope there's nothing that tops this, because I don't think I can handle it.

Let me introduce you to Mack. Mack and I met a few days before 2017. I was sitting alone at a table at Whole Foods when the most adorable 65-70 year old black man walks up to my table, sets down his things and, in more of a statement than a question, says "you don't mind if I sit here, do you". I mean... of course I don't mind. Are you kidding me? It was the joy of my life to sit with Mack, who I immediately dubbed my 'old man soulmate'. He told me a bit about his life, we chatted about New Year's plans (his plans included "being in bed when the clock strikes 12 so everyone knows he made it to the new year - not out getting run over by some maniac"), and we ate our lunch together. It was a scene from a heart-warming indie film. One of the sweetest meetings wth a stranger I've ever had. I told basically everyone I knew about it, because seriously, who does that even happen to?

A few days into the new year I was in Whole Foods* again and ran in to Mack. I couldn't believe he remembered me and the plans I had, and asked me all about them. We joked about how great it was that we both made it to 2017 and thank God 2016 was over and all the things. I learned a little more about his life, and he about mine. Where we live, work, etc. And this just sort of started happening. Not like... every day, but enough for me to think that he was just the sweetest old man who I really enjoyed eating lunch and chatting with. Also, I'll admit, I wondered about any (male) grandchildren he might have. 

Anyway, a few days ago I walked into Whole Foods and who do I see, but Mack across the way. He stands up and gives me a hug, happy to see me because he needs to go pick up a few groceries, and he'd like me to watch his things while he's gone. I gladly oblige, and sit, eating my lunch and dreaming of the romantic comedy version of my life where I meet the man of my dreams. We fall deeply in love. He tells me stories of his loving grandfather and how he shaped his life. He takes me home to meet the family and wouldn't you know, that loving grandfather is my very own old man soulmate, Mack! Yeah guys, my brain really went there. I even tweeted about it. 

Mack was gone for a good long time. So long I started to get nervous I'd have to leave before he got back. And thankfully so because for what came next, I could not have dealt with one more second. He came back and I told him I just had a few minutes before I had to head back to work. I asked him about where he lives and he told me about the Pearl and how it's changed since he's lived there. It was so interesting for eight minutes and twelve seconds: right up to the moment I said I had to return to work. Seemingly out of left field, he asks what I'm doing after work.

"Just heading home".

Because that's always what I do.

"You ever go to happy hour?".

..........................

"Ummmm..... no........."

*Synapses start firing warning signs.*

"Well, do you ever want to grab a drink?"

............................................................................................

"I don't drink."

YOU GUYS.

"Well how about I give you my number in case you ever want to get together?" 

BradshawOMG.gif

THIS IS NOT THE LOVING GRANDFATHER THAT SHAPED THE LIFE OF THE MAN OF MY DREAMS.

I can count the number of times I've been hit on on one hand. Okay, fine, on three fingers, so I don't know how to respond to this stuff AT ALL. Especially from a 70ish year old man. I did the only thing that a person in my position could do and put his number in my phone. Wait, that's not what you would do? I'm sorry, what? There's four thousand ways to NOT put his number in my phone? Why was no one there to tell me that before I did it? He told me to "just call him and then he'd have my number" and I said, "Okay! I'm sure I'll see you around!" and then left with the plans to never call him and never see him around and never return to Whole Foods ever again, which is a pretty big hit to my lunch routine, let me tell ya.

I did a weird shuffle back to work, crying/laughing all the way, because how else do you even respond to that? I was equal parts mystified, embarrassed and amused. Then, suddenly, struck by the fact that I've told him way too much about my life. This guy knows where I work. He knows the area I live in. I don't need to go to Whole Foods to see him again, he could show up in my life at any given moment. And it hit me, for the third time this year, that I trust people way too much to survive Portland. 

 

*Yeah, I eat there a lot. It's not a big deal, guys.

2016: The Year I Learned to Love the Way I Look

Bruk Marsh1 Comment

Just like... well... probably every woman on earth, I've taken issue with the way I look since approximately the day I was born. It's not something I've ever liked talking about, but in this last year I've gotten quite comfortable with the topic, and I feel that it's pretty important to share for a few reasons. 

  1. I'm trying super hard to be relatable, here. 
  2. Just kidding, but seriously, if we're all feeling it, why is no one talking about it?
  3. If I actually write the words "I'm over this", I kind of have to be, right? No take-backs?
  4. Learning to love myself is the platform from which I write this new blog. It's not just about looks, but about who I am. Knowing that I have the right to take up space in this world and that I don't need to feel guilt or shame about it. I have a place here.

So there I was, January 2016, staring in the mirror and picking at myself. My face. My hair. My body. Unsatisfied with the girl looking back at me and not really knowing how to change that. I had an inner knowing that God wanted to confront my insecurities, but my body and I go way back and we've never gotten too comfortable with one another, so I did the only thing I knew how and made a vague promise to the reflection - by the end of the year, I would look in that mirror and call myself beautiful. I jotted a note on my goal sheet: "Know my worth in His eyes".

Over the next two months I talked to a handful of beautiful women that said the same thing. They didn't feel it. For reasons too numerous to count, we all had this inner voice telling us we weren't enough. Men like blondes, not brunettes. She's lost so much weight and I'm just gaining it. My eyes are uneven. This stupid double chin! What might be worse is that in the brief moments that we'd overcome those thoughts, the days we caught a glimpse of ourselves and liked what we saw, there was a whole new set of lies. You're so full of yourself. How could you think that way? Don't you know that's vain? Christians don't focus on themselves like that. It was this conversation I kept having that really started to make me mad.

I'd tell these girls everything I knew about beauty. About how God created them. In HIS IMAGE created them. That they were precious jewels. That everyone else saw how beautiful they are. That I couldn't understand why they didn't see it. Then I told myself the same things. I'm created in His image! I'm a treasure! I'm beautiful! You know, the stuff you've heard your entire life when you've grown up in the church. Those platitudes fall a little differently on my ears than what they're supposed to. Without getting too far into my deep emotional wounds, I equate those cliches with inner beauty. The exterior doesn't matter and if it does... well, turn your attention to lie #2.

How could I feed these girls the pile of bologna I wasn't even willing to eat? And I know I'm getting long, here, but stick with me. I'm almost done. This isn't a "how to" blog. It's not an "I made it" blog. It's a "God gave me this tiny realization that changed things" blog. Somewhere along the way He reminded me of His creation. That we stand on a mountain top and marvel. That we hike to the waterfall to be delighted again and again. That we scroll Instagram #PNWCANNONBEACHBLANKETROCKWHATEVER every chance we get to see what's out there. The beauty He made all around us. But we forget to look in the mirror. We forget to look at our friends and our family and stand in awe. We forget to look at HIS FINEST CREATION and see how beautiful we are. And rest in it.

Look in the mirror today and remember that. YOU ARE HIS FINEST CREATION.

xo, Bruk

More Than We Can Ask or Imagine

Bruk MarshComment

Welcome, welcome! Thanks for joining me here, in new blog land. If you were still with me at the old bruklynbelle blog, I don't understand you, but God have mercy on your soul. Hopefully this new spot feels fresh and cool and super mature. Like way more mature than five years ago Bruk. 2017 Bruk is smart and funny. 2017 Bruk is healthy and confident. 2017 Bruk made almond milk last night and is currently drying the leftover meal to make flour in the morning. Clearly, 2017 Bruk has it together. 2017 Bruk has been a lonnnnng time coming.

To be so honest, I'm pretty not into the whole New Year's thing. Usually about this time, I'm chin deep in seasonal depression and my cynicism is at an all time high. I'll say something like "every day is a fresh start, why does everyone make such a big deal about this one?", which kind of sounds better on paper than coming out of my mouth, but don't worry, I'm rolling my eyes too. Somehow, this year I managed to make it out of my funk pretty quickly, and I've basically been ready for this day for months. No joke, I started my "resolutions" around October, so I'm not even sure they count any more. I'll share them anyway, though, because you guys are definitely interested...

My typical resolution solution (get it?) involves a few attainable goals I'll actually accomplish, a few aspirational goals I'll never accomplish, and one or two attainable goals that I just won't ever get around to. i.e. 2016 goals:

  1. Read more news. Done. And seriously, I picked one hell of a year for that. This year I'm reading LESS news. Way less. We'll get to that later.
  2. Finish the book I started in 2013(!!!). Yeah, that's happening, umm... never.
  3. Learn the states and presidents. Here, I reveal that 2017 Bruk isn't actually that smart, she's just pretending. But for real, I never learned them and I'm beginning to think I never will. 

That's not an exhaustive list, but you get the idea. This year, my resolutions have been different. This year they've been a full blown lifestyle change, and for each and every area of my life that's drastically different, I am actually quite passionate about the choices I've made, and will likely be writing in detail in the future. That's not what today is for.

Today I sat at lunch, thinking of what I plan to do with myself this year. Conjuring ideas and imagining what could be - where I'll be December 31, 2017, and what I'll have accomplished. Trying to make my goals practical and attainable. Logical. Not setting myself up for failure. Then I got hit out of nowhere with an echoing voice in my head... "more than we can ask or imagine". It blew me away all over again. Mostly because I ask and imagine A LOT. Boy, do I imagine. But as I learn to adopt the lifestyle of Jesus, or as close to what I imagine He'd be doing today, I absolutely cannot wait to see what things He has in store. Things I haven't even thought of. Things I have thought of but not in the real life possibility way. I think He's got more in store for 2017 than we're planning. I hope we get to celebrate it all together.

xo, Bruk

God can do anything, you know - far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us.
— Ephesians 3:20-21 MSG