You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Braelyn’ category.

IMG_3709aIMG_2292I was working the concession stand the other day for my youngest daughter’s volleyball game (Broken Arrow freshman team), when I glanced out toward the gym and saw a little girl around the age of two playing on the bars by the gym seats. From the back the little girl totally reminded me of my oldest daughter, Braelyn, (who will be 19 this Wed.). In an instance, Braelyn’s life flashed before me! I stood motionless staring at this precious little girl who was oblivious to anyone around her -she was captivated by playing on the simple bars meant to help persons stepping down to a seat.

The background music at the time was an oldie by Miley Cyrus – one that when Braelyn was in middle school used to dance to – “Everyone Makes Mistakes”. I felt like I could go up to this little girl’s mom and tell her, “Everything will turn out better than you can imagine”. Even though this mom hasn’t even had the memorable privilege of putting her daughter in kindergarten yet, and even though the dreaded teenage years seem so far removed from the both of them, I felt like telling her that loving her little girl will be one of the most rewarding acts you could ever do in life.

See…Braelyn went to college less than a month ago. She is having the time of her life at her Dad’s and my alma mater – Oklahoma Baptist University. Before she left I had a lot of family and friends ask me if I was going to be alright with her going away. My answer was always, “Well of course!” This is exactly what we reared her to do – go away to a four-year college to continue her education and enjoy some freedom away from mom and dad. I was nothing less than ecstatic for her!! Moving day was a breeze…that is until her two sisters began to tear up.

Now…I am going through a grief I did not expect. Having three daughters in four years has been all-consuming! I felt as if I hadn’t come up for air since the day my first was born. I never imagined myself with an empty nest; it didn’t seem even remotely possible. I don’t want to come home to an empty house in four years which is when my youngest will be entering her freshman year in college.

Not sure I can actually pinpoint my grief completely. It may be a sense of gratitude of being all of my daughters mom and having had the blessing and oh so enormous responsibility of bringing them up in this oh so crazy place called Earth in the 21st century! I may not have gone to every game they played, ordered every school picture, volunteered at their school regularly, read to them as often as they would have liked, or given them all name brand clothing, BUT I do believe they know that I love them and that the One who created their beautiful bodies and knows them more than me loves them with an infinite love.

To all the moms who are just beginning the adventure of being a parent – I know the days are long, the messes are plenty, the money is short, and your energy is small. But know that your reward is great! Each small endeavor you invest into your child’s future really is no little thing! Enjoy as many moments in the mundane dailyness of life as you seek God in all things. He keeps you together!

Dear Braelyn,

Do you want to know why you can’t date until you go to college? You keep asking me “Why?”. You’ve asked me since you were 10 years old and you have been serious about this matter. You want to have the right to date whether you choose to date or not. It seems to me that not only do you wish you can date now, but that you also don’t like having this “rule” over you. You want to do what you want to do. You desire to have a say and a choice concerning dating in your teenage years. Somehow I hope to clarify to you my reasons through this letter.

Your Dad and I decided when we got married and before we had you -our firstborn that our children would not be allowed to date until college.Your Dad and I have not always agreed on things; he and I are opposites in a lot of ways. But, by the grace of God, when it came to the subject of dating, Dad and I are in agreement! Our children cannot date until old enough to handle their emotions and date persons whom they could one day marry. Now that I have been your Mom for 16 years, I have not changed my mind about when you can date. In fact, my decision today stands even more firm than the day your Dad and I agreed to this “rule”.

Braelyn, my feelings for you as a Mom run deep within my being. As your Mom, I held you in my womb for a solid nine months. I had you on my mind everyday of my pregnancy. I ate properly for you. I slept on my left side for you. I got “fat” for you. I prepared a room for you. I quit my job for you. I read books on how to be the best mom. When you were born, Braelyn, you were perfect. I mean that. You were (and still are) absolutely beautiful. Your little body was flawless. The shape of your head was just right. Your fingers and toes were not too long. Your skin was gorgeous. Your eyes were not too close or not too far away. Your nose was adorable and your mouth was like a rose bud. I was overwhelmed with joy to have you in my life. I carried this next thought, emotion, feeling, with me everyday…since you were born into this world so perfect and beautiful, I saw it as my responsibility to protect you from the world. It is difficult to put how I felt into words. I didn’t want anyone/anything to mess you up so to speak-to put scars on you, to hurt you, to put a mark on you. I felt it was my responsibility to keep you perfect.

I know that I am not a perfect mom and have made mistakes along the way, but this I did give you. I’ve been with you every step of your life. I stayed home with you during preschool years. Yes, you did go to preschool two days a week at our church. You needed that social and learning environment you couldn’t get at home. I have cared for you in every way possible. I have seen your needs and provided for you. I breastfed you for 12 months. I gave you solid food when you were ready. I bathed you everyday. I put you in cute, clean clothes and changed you every time you spit up or got dirty. I took you to the doctor for all your well appointments so that you could get your appropriate immunizations. I kept your room clean. I gave you the foods you liked. I loved on you, hugged you, and kissed you repeatedly. I sang to you. I listened to you. I got to know you. I knew what you liked, what you didn’t, and what you said when others couldn’t understand you.I watched you sleep at night and was there in the morning to pick you up. I played with you and watched “Barney” with you. For the first 2 years of your life(which is two whole years for me), it was just me and you while Dad was at work. I didn’t stop caring for you or giving you what you needed when Skylar and Landrey were born; it just meant that you had to share me with your sisters. When you were old enough to go to school, I got you ready by packing your lunch, snack, water bottle, and backpack. I watched you get on the bus and prayed for you while you were at school. I was at home when you got off the school bus to hear how your day went and to give you a hug and a snack. I made a home for you to come home to that was clean and orderly and had plenty to eat. Home was also a place to learn and have fun through games and toys. My life has been all about you three girls. My prayers have been for you. My main prayer for you is that you will love God with all your heart, soul, mind,and strength.

Braelyn, I write all of this to say, “I love you”. “I know you”. Braelyn, to just let you date and go out with a boy is a big deal. To be alone with a boy is a big deal! To think of a boy(who isn’t a man yet) touching you, hugging you, or kissing you right now at 16 years old – breaks my heart. After all I have done for you by caring for you since before you were born, how could I allow just a boy to be near you? I can’t bear for someone to treat you with nothing but the utmost respect and genuine love. A 16 year old boy is not worthy of you right now. Your Dad and I have invested so much in you so that you feel loved, are safe, secure, warm, and cared for. Why would I stop now just because you are 16? I love you too much to let you date. I know I can trust you, I know that. What you don’t understand is that guys can bring out a feeling you have never known which makes you feel good and then you think you are “in love” when really you just like the feeling you get when you and a particular guy are together. At your age, it is difficult to understand your own feelings, that is what I am protecting you from until you are older and can discern your feelings with what you know to be true and not just feel. I want you to be wise and well prepared for the day you find a man worthy of your love, time, affection, and devotion. My prayer is that your future husband is also waiting to date until he is older and wiser and can control his feelings. I promise you this (and you know I don’t make many promises knowing I can’t predict the future, but I feel confident I can promise this to you) since you are waiting to date, you will have one of the best marriages ever known and will no doubt marry your best friend and truly enjoy being together. You will bring to the marriage a bright future instead of heavy baggage from past relationships. As you are waiting, you are  learning more about yourself and what you like and dislike and what career path you want to pursue. Life is so much more than marriage. Having a relationship with Jesus Christ takes you places you never could with a man. Jesus is your soul-mate. He loves you so much more than I can ever imagine. He will never disappoint you. His embrace is pure. His touch comforts. His hand has your name engraved on it. His dance is inviting. His ride is wild. His thoughts are on you. His eyes see your beauty. His joy is in you. His presence is exhilarating. His words bring healing. His wings are your refuge. There is no greater love than Jesus’ love. “Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain. It is beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth. Like the utmost heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King. God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress.”(Psalm 48:1-3)

The day you begin dating and find someone you want to date exclusively will be such a fun time of your life. The relationship will be healthy; it won’t bring you down. The relationship will make you a better person because the two of you will enjoy the ways in which you are alike and will appreciate the ways you are different. Your friends will approve of the relationship and will encourage the both of you to be yourselves. The two of you can grow in your relationship through different seasons and have mutual respect  for your ideas, values, dreams, and hopes. You will be honored to bring this gentleman to meet your Dad and me. There is no hurry in your life to find this man with whom you will spend the rest of your life. You have such a fun social, enjoyable, and likeable personality that many guys will pursue your attention. Take your time, pray, and stay focused on the dreams God has placed in your soul and spirit. The “right man” will only add to your dreams, hopes, ambitions – not fulfill them. He will be the person who is supportive in your God given purposes on this earth at this exact time on the Kingdom calendar. Your responsibility will also be to come along-side his God given purposes and add your insight, wisdom, and personality.

The day your Dad walks you down the isle on your wedding day will be one of the most beautiful days of your life. You will know beyond a shadow of doubt that the man waiting for you at the altar will be the man of your dreams and the one you will glorify God with together. You will be ready. You will be prepared. You will be beautiful inside and out. You will honor your King.

Your dating years will come. I promise you are not missing out on anything just because you are not dating in high school. Actually, I take that back. You are missing out on a few things: confusion, broken heart, wasted time, vanity, loss of friendships, depravity, insecurity, and low self-esteem. You are not going to be labeled as a “freak” because you aren’t dating in high school. I wholeheartedly believe you will be envied (Psalm 119:1-2)!

When you were a baby all the way to your 5th grade year, as I would pray with you and over you at bedtime, I made it a point to place my right hand over your forehead as I prayed especially that your sleep will be sweet and peaceful (which are the two adjectives God says He blesses His children with when they sleep in Psalm 4:8 and Proverbs 3:24).

Braelyn, today, March 18, 2012, I spiritually put my hand over your mind and heart and pray this blessing over you:

Dear Heavenly Father, You’ve known Braelyn even before You created the world. You know her fully well and adore her. She is your precious child; cared for and loved by You. Father God, preserve her very life. Protect her from evil. Surround her with a hedge of protection. Bless her going out and her coming in. Send your angels to minister and protect her. Let her know she is beautiful, love, safe, secure, pure, treasured, and esteemed in Your sight. May she receive the love you offer as well as the earthly love of her parents. Give her wisdom and discernment in all her relationships. I pray that in her pursuit of You, she finds the man You have ordained for Braelyn Ann-Mary to marry. May their marriage ultimately reflect Your love for the church, the Bride of Christ. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. To You be the glory both now and evermore. Amen.

revolve tour Revolve was awesome!  Natalie Grant was my favorite performance!!  I had a blast being there with my daughter, Braelyn, and all the other sweet girls from our church.  So cool to worship with godly girls!  The girls’ favorite performance by far was Hawk Nelson…I can hear them screaming now even as I revolve '09 type this!!  If anyone on stage mentioned “Hawk Nelson” the crowd would break out into this ear-altering, exuberant, piercing cheer.   To say the least, the crowd would go nuts.  It was fun!! If you notice the girls on the front row of the group pic, they are wearing the latest Hawk Nelson t-shirt.  I had read before I went to the event that there would be a “Parent Room”.  I just laughed and thought that was ridiculous.  Little did I know…the room ended up sounding quite appealing to me at one point!  I didn’t go, though…I lasted through the entire thing!  But, maybe next time, I may throw some ear plugs in my purse!

What was your favorite Revolve moment?

Using the coupons my girls got from the library’s reading program we visited the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks today. This was my first visit.  I highly recommend it.  Not only did I take my 3 girls, but I also brought along one of my oldest daughter’s good friends as well as the baby girl I babysit twice a week.  We marveled at every single fish, turtle, anemone, and all the fascinating sea creatures God so creatively designed!  One creature was called a sea cucumber. Check this out… a sea cucumber in self-defense can eject internal organs at it’s predator, then grow new organs!  Crazy, huh?

At the end of the aquarium there is a large pool full of sting rays that are swimming  right below our noses.  If we wanted, we could have reached our hands into the pool and caught one. One of the things that comes to my mind immediately ( and maybe yours as well) when I see a sting ray or hear about one, is the tragedy that occurred to Jeff Irwin (Crocodile Hunter).  Anyway…as all 6 of us girls were peering into the pool, a role reversal came about.  I was holding Marlee (baby girl, 16 months old) so that she could see the “fishees” swim.  My oldest, Braelyn, got so nervous and concerned for Marlee.  Braelyn told me numerous times to “hold her tightly”.  Instead of me telling Braelyn not to get so close or to not touch the water, she was instructing me.  You see, Braelyn (being almost 13) had a rational fear of the consequences of touching the sting ray.  She also knew, Marlee did not.  Marlee had no clue that if I dropped her, life and death were at stake… not just with the sting rays, but with the water as well.  I am so proud of my daughter for feeling for someone else.  Braelyn had the heart of a parent for those few moments.  That is definitely one of our jobs as parents is to forsee danger then help prevent our child(ren) from entering the danger. In the same way, Our Heavenly Father can see things we cannot. He knows things we do not.  He loves us infinitely.  He warns us.  He sends the red flags.  May we be so careful to listen to His tender voice that we stay clear of the danger zone and instead marvel at His wonders!        string ray

Jennifer Johnson

jenn pic

Books I’ve Written

Ministry Verse

"To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen." -Revelations 1:5b-6

Follow me on Twitter