A Pair of Socks


To you, this might just look like a pair of random socks, but to me, they are a reminder of my baby’s tender heart.

Last night, I spent some time moaning on the couch trying to avoid vomiting. I’m not pregnant, just out of shape. I tried to cure a migraine with a brisk walk/run. (I don’t run.) It didn’t work, but it did get worse. 

I put our coats and shoes away after we came inside, then laid down to try to get my churning stomach and pounding headache calmed. When I heard her crying and getting upset in the other room, I felt helpless and frustrated. Apparently, her world doesn’t keep turning very well when I take a break. 

“Just give me a second. Mama takes care of you when you’re sick. How can I help you understand that mama needs some time?” 🤕

After I ate and was feeling a bit better, I was cleaning up the house before bedtime when I saw this. My heart melted in a puddle when I immediately understood.

My girl likes to clean up and put things in their place. She insists that we accept her help, then says “dan-dooo!” (Thank you.) She likes to wear hats, but once we are in the door, she’s pulling off her warm clothes and sitting down to take off her boots before putting it all away. Once she’s all done, she reaches up for my hat and coat too. 

When I saw the socks on the floor, I remembered the frustrated sounds and wailing coming from the dining room when I was collapsed on the couch. I understood. She had been struggling to pull off the long socks, then the door wouldn’t open for her to put them away in the laundry room when she did. 

Oh, my sweet girl. I’m sorry I’m not always as fast as I would like. (Sometimes I need a mom too, or at least a timeout to get it together.) But mama sees and understands now. I love your tender heart, and I love you so much.  ❤👧🏼

©Brenda Kanagy

QOTD: Parent Edition 


Heard at my house:

Spouse 1: “Hell hath no flurry like that of stepping on a toy. Wait, what?”

Spouse 2: “Uh, that’s right, hell has no flurries because it’s hot!”

Spouse 1: “I meant FURY!”

🔷

Anonymous spouse: “I’m so done with fake or superficial. I love real people.”

A few moments later:  “But if your “real” is stupid, be quiet.” 😬

🔷

Her: “Babe, we need to get X Y Z done!” (Pay a bill, hang a light fixture, make an ominous phone call, etc)

Him: “And by ‘we,’ you mean me, right?” #guilty #introvertproblems

🔷

I was upstairs, unpacking in my own world after a long trip. A quiet man voice drifted up from the living room, where he was unwinding with a TV show, “Are you still being mature?” 😬😄 

P.S. Above photo in case you wanted to see a cute toddler wearing her dad’s beanie in Home Depot. 

©Brenda Kanagy

Overcoming Anxiety During the Holidays

Although Christmas is widely known for the spreading of cheer, the warmth of family and friends, or kindness given through the giving and receiving of gifts, for many, the holidays are tinged with painful reminders of strained relationships, financial struggles, trauma, loss, or the hole of a missing loved one. There is a lot of good happening if one looks around, but there is also a lot of noise and pressure that can discreetly chip away at our peace in the flurry of busy activities.

Colossians 3:15 says to, “Let the peace of Christ RULE in your mind.” It’s important to continually and intentionally practice the art of rest, not only to thrive in the busy seasons, but also to avoid burnout or a crash in the new year when things quiet down and the world returns to a bit more sustainable pace. Have you allowed your peace to be hijacked by anxiety? 

Here are some questions to evaluate  yourself and some practical ways to practice self care this time of year:

Are you prioritizing your responsibilities and protecting your “Yes?”  Your health and your family are first priority. If your circle of priorities is too broad, your family will suffer. If you want your “yes” to hold value where it matters, you have to say “no,” probably much more than you think. This is a hard one for people pleasers and servant hearts. Boundaries don’t mean you are a mean person or have no compassion. It simply means you can’t be a savior to people. (Plus, you can’t truly help others if you aren’t healthy.) Stewarding what is valuable starts with you. That may mean making some changes. (Example: Working less, reducing stress triggers, saying no to activities when you need sleep or to spend time with your wife or kids.) If you feel on the verge of a nervous breakdown, cut out stress while you are still healthy enough to mange it! You won’t regret catching it early.

Are you setting reasonable goals? Making too many commitments is a good recipe for burn out. Maybe it’s time to cut some things out and call it a (successful!) day. This isn’t an invitation to settle for mediocrity, but a reminder to give yourself grace. You aren’t an invincible superhero. Keep this in mind over the new year when people often make resolutions. You can and should be changing and getting better every year! However, whatever projects and goals are important to you, try to keep it simple, flexible, and sustainable. Remember, your value is not dependent on your performance. You are more than enough. 

Are you being intentional about rest and fun? I’m sure your to-do list, whether physical or mental, gets daily attention. Have you scheduled rest in there too? You should do something to relax and have fun every day. Maybe it’s drinking hot chocolate over a good movie, taking a hot bath, hiding from your kids in the bathroom to read a book, if you’re a mom, or escaping to the bedroom, if you’re married. 🙂 It doesn’t even have to be inactivity, but a hobby or something enjoyable that engages a different part of the brain and rest the parts that are normally working. As long as it is healthy, make it happen!

Are you worshipping? The joy of the Lord is your strength. If you feel weak, you need joy! In His presence is fullness of joy. Thanksgiving is like a secret password into the presence of God. Feelings don’t always have to match up, but it’s a heart posture that is possible, even in pain or grieving. Its not a thing of working up your own happiness. It’s a royal trade. He gets your heaviness; you get His joy. Sometimes when I’m in a funk, turning on some worship music and dancing creates an instant shift inside. 

Are you taking care of yourself physically? You are made up of a body, soul, and spirit. The health of each affects the other. Are you disregarding your physical care? There is a supernatural aspect of healing and health, regardless of where you are, but maturity knows that eating twinkies instead of wholesome meals is not wise stewardship or honoring to the miracle of health we expect for our bodies. Are you going to bed in time to get solid hours of sleep? Are you getting fresh air and drinking water? (Coffee does not count.😉 It is actually dehydrating, unfortunately.) Decreased sun exposure and lack of water are big reasons for sickness and depression in the winter time. This does not make you weak; this makes you fearfully and wonderfully made! You need that vitamin d to keep your hormones happy! It’s not a bad idea to supplement those lacking vitamins and work up a detoxing sweat with regular exercise during the winter months. (If depression or anxiety is severe or repetitive, it might be helpful to get a hormone analysis done. Balanced hormones can be a game changer!)

Are you suiting up spiritually to combat winter blues? Put on the armor of God. Learn to minister to yourself in the Lord. Pray in the Spirit. Read and listen to scripture and promises. Play worship music. This might sound silly, but I have found that I crave kid’s scripture worship music. It’s one thing to read that God is faithful and good. It’s a game changer to have those truths sung over your life, especially from the mouths of children with simple faith. It was David’s harp playing (worship) that kept demons from tormenting Saul. Spiritual tormentors can’t stand worship and can not stay in the presence of God.

Are the people you keep close toxic or building you up? Part of staying emotionally and spiritually healthy is accountability with loving friends and mentors. This is not an accountability of condemnation for your failures. It is the speaking and ministering of life that gives you momentum to overcome and be who you are designed to be. Do you have people you trust in your life that know what you are going through? People who truly know? Even though it might be tempting to become a hermit, (especially if it seems like no one can fully understand your pain) humans need profitable interaction and encouragement. Invite intimacy (appropriate for your situation) into your life. Intimacy: into-me-you-see. As far as people dragging you down with toxic mindsets, this is where changes might be helpful to protect your mental and spiritual health and growth. If someone still wants to be in your life after you put up a boundary, they will need to upgrade their behavior to match your self-respect. 

——————————-

Above the noise of many demanding, pressuring, clamoring voices vying for attention, there is one still small voice, that pierces though and silences all. The fear of God silences all other fears. In my mind, I see God raising both hands, while all heavenly and spiritual influences pause to see what he will do. In a steady, low voice, His mouth releases the word, “CALM.” His hands suppress the fires of turmoil as he lowers them, releasing the sweet presence of peace. He is the one who has given us eternal, undivided attention. Nothing else satisfies like the Father’s love and friendship.

If you identity with holiday related stress or anxiety, my love and prayers are with you. May you have the wisdom to steward what God has given you, and may the peace of God rule in your hearts. Merry Christmas! ❤️

©Brenda Kanagy

Note: I do not own the photos in this post.

 

Fall Shows and Seasonal Musings

During the spring and winter months, I don’t find myself longing for snow or the holidays. Hearing a Christmas song while the sun shines hot just doesn’t seem appropriate. In fact, fall usually brings out the rare melancholic side of me, as denial sets in and I struggle to adjust to a season of plants dying and the sun hiding the earth from its warmth a little more each day. 

While I am discussing the seasons’ change, I have to mention the invisible switch that inevitably triggers the “fall pumpkin mania.” I don’t like pumpkin. (Or peppermint.) The cynicism inducing cold facts are as follows: those pumpkin spice lattes everyone craves are artificial flavoring, sugar storms with little to no real pumpkin at all. I would consider being less of a scrooge if the pumpkin was at least real. I mean, come on! 🙂 I’m not a total tyrant though; I did make a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving because my husband loves it. See, I can have grace for true love and the fact that at least my pie was low glycemic and contained real pumpkin with health benefits. So there!

Anyways, all that to say, sometine post fall denial and adaption, I find myself embracing cold weather and I hit a festive vein when flurries start flying. I skip the fall decor and go straight to the season that fills my heart with warmth. (Although my sister coerced me into taking a few of her white pumpkins this year. No orange mind you. Such a dreadful color.) My tree went up a few days before thanksgiving, if that’s any indication of my favorite holiday. I’m sure all the fall lovers are horrified, but I offer no apology. Christmas and family time is far too special and jolly a season to only last a few weeks.

With the extra time indoors in the glow of twinkling lights, it feels so right to curl up with a blanket and coffee to a good movie or show with a loved one. Conveniently, this fall has produced  some good tv shows. These are the ones that have fascinated and stimulated my mind. 

Designated Survivor


If you don’t like action, political, or crime thrillers, you might not enjoy it, but the plot of this show is especially intriguing and relevant, coming out of an election season last mont. There is corruption and terrorism, but then there are a few good people trying to do the right thing in a complicated world and imperfect system. Many millenials (myself included) need to brush up on understanding of the way our government is designed to function, and this show is proving to be an incentive for farther research. I also like the close look at the personal, family element of the presidential family in the plot.

Notorious 


Another political drama, except this one shows the inner workings of the media and journalism, specifically the way that correlates with crime and the justice system. I never understood the connections or crossed paths between investigators, attorneys, prosecutors, and journalism before this show. Each have specific functions that can effect the narritive, with the hope that justice is served, regardless of the drama of the journey with all the above factors that play a role. This one isn’t exactly family friendly, when it comes to sexual references and content, but interesting story line non the less.

This Is Us

Heartwarming is the word that comes to mind with this one. Consider it your fall family favorite. The plot follows the story of three “triplets” from childhood to adulthood, and it gives a unique and personal look at the challenges and beauty of adoption, as well as the bond of family. It’s definitely not as high action as the previous shows, but it’s full of twists and surprises. It definitely captured my heart. 

The Crown 



My husband and I started this show on our week long, dreamy Thanksgiving vacation, and we now have a pact only to watch it together. I am captivated seeing the (the current) Queen Elizabeth’s story and her rise to power come to life through this show. The demanding responsibility of royal life, the sacrifice it requires, and the toll it takes on a family unit is difficult to imagine. The World War II era is one of my favorites to study, and seeing iconic history makers like Winston Churchill come to life on screen just makes my inner historian come alive. 

Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love


This last one is worth making the list, plus it is definitely family friendly. It just aired on NBC, and is still available to watch online. I absolutely loved Dolly’s first movie, Coat of Many Colors, and this Christmas special is no exception. They are true stories from Dolly’s childhood in the Smoky Mountains, and are sure to capture your heart and inspire faith and love. Considering the heartbreaking wildfires in Tennessee this week, this story is especially special. 

Happy Holiday season! Stay warm, and enjoy your families.

©Brenda Kanagy

Note: I don’t own the photos in this post. 

Evangelical: Is Voting Your Conscience Enough?

voteVote your conscience. The phrase exploded after Ted Cruz urged people to vote in his speech at the Republican National Convention, while withholding an official Donald Trump endorsement. Since then, I hear the phrase a lot, especially in evangelical circles. People use their conscience to describe or validate their vote for Trump, Hillary, a third party candidate, or no vote at all.

While I wished that Cruz would have been able to bring party unity at that time, since the convention, Cruz has gone through a process and seems to have laid aside personal offense for the sake of the greater national issues at stake. For that, I have utmost respect, and I assume he did so with a clear conscience.

Vote your conscience.

What does that even mean? I tossed the phrase around in my mind for a while before I understood my reservation with declaring my conscience as the reasoning behind my decisions. I did a lot of soul searching, scripture researching, and talking to God. I came to a realization that may sound shocking: Tuesday is Election Day, and I don’t plan to vote my conscience. If you allow me to explain, I hope I can challenge and inspire you.

Humans are made up of a spirit, soul, and body. In my understanding, the conscience fits in the soul part of our three part being, where our mind, will, and emotions live. Look at it as a self awareness sounding board- an inner moral courtroom of our souls sending us constant signals, by which we assess choices and are freed or condemned by our values. Romans 2 describes the conscience in this way, in reference to the Gentiles having God’s law written on their hearts without even being schooled in it like the Jews were- “ their consciences bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or defending them.”

I was raised in a conservative environment that taught against any kind of government involvement, much less voting for a specific leader, so you can imagine that as little as a few years ago, my conscious was sending very different signals than it is now. As evidenced in Cruz’s situation and my own journey, I have come to realize that the conscience is not an absolute authority, without the propensity to persuasion or change, and it should not be treated as such. (If you want a scripture references to back that up, 1 Timothy 4:2 talks about a seared conscience, Hebrews 10:22 an evil conscience, and 1 Corinthians 8:7 a weak conscience.)

I would suggest that the conscience should not function as the Spirit of God in our lives, based on the knowledge that the conscience operates from one’s current understanding of truth. The conscience not truth itself; it is only a reflector of our exposure to the Truth, and is therefore subject to renewal. Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in THE LORD with all your heart and LEAN NOT on your own understanding.” Apparently, we shouldn’t be left to our own wisdom. It goes on: “In all your ways, (thoughts, decision making) acknowledge HIM and HE shall direct your paths.”

Without activity, the conscience can’t be tuned or properly tested for clarity of sound, but through continual interaction of our spirit and the Spirit of truth, the conscience is renewed from glory to glory into His likeness. Romans 12:2 paraphrase: “Don’t be conformed to an earthly or worldly thought process, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, aligned with God’s thought process.” This happens in the spirit and spreads throughout our soul’s makeup until our mind and conscience more and more reflect spirit truth. What is the result of this transformation process? The verse continues: “THEN you will be able to test and approve what is God’s will- his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

So if a clear conscience is not divine authority yet is vital to our peace with God, how should we manage it? When my conscience is not clear, I can not rest until my peace with God is restored.

First of all, lets get this right: Peace is not made in the conscience. I’m sure you all remember the moment of relief and joy when you knew your sins were forgiven. It was the righteous Judge and Redeemer who forgave your sin, but your conscience was there to bear witness to your faith and free you from the guilt. Your conscience did not make you right with God, but it did bear witness to the action that transpired and came in agreement with the Prince of Peace. The result was a clear conscience.

Salvation is a good reference point, but the concept remains the same for our growing faith and journey in God. I see a grave error in throngs of believers merely, “keeping peace with their conscience.” Peace is found in God’s spirit, and your conscience bears witness to the action and interaction with God Himself. Peace does not equal comfort or come from the absence of confrontation. Jesus didn’t say blessed are the peace keepers; He said blessed are the peace-makers. 

A year ago, my conscience made me uncomfortable with Donald Trump and politics in general because of the brutal nature of strife and accusations. I didn’t ignore my conscience, but I did put it on trial before God. Instead of simply accepting my conscience as the voice or word of God in the situation, I asked God if I was judging correctly, what he thought, what he was doing, and what the big picture was. God did not ask me to violate my conscience, but I was invited on a journey. He hasn’t changed, but I have! My conscience is still clear because I never disconnected from it while God was uploading new revelations and upgrading me with the faith to match it.

The one thing that presides over the conscience is faith. By that I don’t mean to imply that faith disregards the conscience, but faith is the things that upgrades the weak conscience to a more complete revelation of truth or God’s heart. For example, Romans 14:23 says, “Whatever isn’t of faith is sin.” This verse was spoken in the context of some people having reservation for eating meat or drinking wine. To be clear, eating meat or drinking wine was not wrong; that belief was not absolute truth, but subjective to one’s conscience freeing or condemning them, based on their current revelation or exposure to truth. Paul describes these offenses as a result of a weak faith and urges his readers to love and have grace for each other. If one’s conscience has doubt, fear condemns, and the lack of faith to accompany the action defiles the conscience and makes it sin them.

To disobey our conscience in an offense scenario defiles our conscience because of the absence of faith to accompany a better choice. Of course that does not imply that weak faith or a weak conscience is good, or that we should be content to stay in offense! I imagine Paul was saying: “Obey your conscience where you are, but don’t be permanently content with cutting off your arm to preserve your conscience. Grow in faith.”

I think we miss the point of the allegorical verse from Matthew 5:30. It says, “If your hand offends you, pluck it off and throw it away because it’s better to lose a hand than have your whole body thrown into hell.” This verse wasn’t a recommendation to be offended, as if God’s design is to walk around with hacked off limbs! How crazy! I believe this verse is also the addressing the honoring of one’s conscience. Even if our conscience can be vilely imperfect or mistaken, it is still intricately entwined with the makeup of the three part being that our beliefs and actions are filtered through in order to have peace with God. It can’t be bent into compliance. It takes a revelation to renew the mind, but if in that process, my conscience condemns me, it is better to remove the offense than completely go against the conscience’s current conviction, without an adequate revelation and faith upgrade to clear my conscience.

The conscience’s signals should be received and noted, but should then be taken to the inner throne room of your spirit before God for testing and confirmation. We keep a clear conscience by dwelling in the Spirit, who brings freedom and clarity to our inner man. The goal is to keep a clear conscience while simultaneously GROWING in faith, therefore strengthening the conscience. This renewal process happens our entire lives long.

I am writing about the conscience in how it relates to voting, and while it is obvious who I feel strongly that Christians need to back, let me be clear: I am not positioning myself as superior in conscience because my conclusion or perception may currently differ from yours on this issue. I am simply concerned that a large population of American Christians value the stability of the conscience over the faith that activates the impossibilities of the Kingdom. 

The conscience is not a safe zone from risky faith. God will not ask you to sin against your conscience, but God will call you to faith that is terrifying and uncomfortable. It may not make logical sense in your understanding, but if you follow, your conscience will adopt the peace in your spirit, and your faith will gain the revelation needed to keep a clear conscience.

In all my posts describing my support of Donald Trump and my persuasion that he is anointed for leadership, I never want to encourage someone to disregard their conscience and sin. I am not even saying you have to vote for Trump. What I am asking you to do is question your conscience against the authority of Christ and position yourself for continual upgrades of revelation. Let’s take our thoughts and judgements captive by the Spirit of Christ who lives in us.

“Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:16

Most believers are aware of the grotesque corruption surrounding Hillary Clinton, in her tenure as secretary of state, whether it was the “pay to play” practice, where her policies align with money and votes instead of what is honest and right, handling our nations classified information on a private server and destroying pertinent evidence to hide her criminal activity, or her the actions of her “charitable foundation” which accepted secret donations from nations abroad, some who also finance radical Islamic terrorist groups she publicly denounces, not to mention her adamant support of the killing of innocent children, even partial birth abortion, up to the ninth month.

Mrs. Clinton plays heavily on the the emotions of voters- whether it is women, the LGBT community, African Americans, illegal immigrants, or the poor. Democrats rely HEAVILY on these voters, particularly “minorities” as they call it. Paint enemies using the discrimination card, warm them with empathy, coddle the entitlement, and present the idea that theirs is the only party who truly loves and champions the downtrodden and oppressed, whether the policies prove to sustainably empower success or not. Do women and black lives matter or just their vote? What about unborn women and unborn African Americans? 

Millions of dollars have been and are dumped into this giant hole of welfare for example, and what is the return? More poverty, more illegal immigrants getting free benefits in sanctuary cities, more drug/gang related crimes in these cities, and more racial tension. Hillary plays the compassion card when it comes to refugees, but what do we have to offer them? Reports show that many immigrants are being resettled far from D.C. in low income/high poverty towns much like what I just described. It all sounds good on paper and in eloquent speeches of empathy, wit, and poise, but it DOES NOT add up in real life. Benghazi, Obama care, (which is falling apart, by the way) heightened crime, violence against law enforcement, out of control national debt, (which will sink a country without extreme intervention) and escalating terrorism are only a few problems Hillary glosses over.

If democratic policies did not exploit minorities for votes, then why is there a push for voting rights for felons and illegals? Guess who they will vote for? The party who offers a free pass at life, of course. Say hello to socialism! No country adopting these principles can uphold God-honoring democracy.

Those who are and/or feel oppressed are voter targets to the Left, but let me tell you one vote that Hillary is not counting on: YOU. Evangelicals. Christians. Believers. I can almost promise you that Hillary and her party will be more than happy if Christians sit this election out.  Again. Why? Because the silent evangelical vote is more than enough to push Donald Trump’s numbers over the hill necessary to beat her. The silent evangelical vote in this country far exceeds the numbers needed to elect a president that will defend their values and constitutional rights and reflect God’s principles in a government of democracy. Hillary’s scandal and crimes will not hurt her elect-ability as long as the offended continue to cater to her empathy and as long as there’s a big NON-VOTE from evangelicals from the same motivator. 

How can we, the people of hope, stand by and let the Left make empty promises to the poor and those who feel oppressed, while continuing to make policies that keep them stuck? We are the missing key here, and it is time for the church to be activated to unlock the wisdom of the ages that has been paralyzed in culture for decades. We are not victims of culture. We create culture by the Life inside of us.

This is not the time for “lesser of two evils” arguments. A corrupt liar or a big mouthed billionaire is the choice, they say. That type of mentality will never get even the right good leader into office because even the best of men are “lesser evil.” Remember that God called a womanizer and a murderer a “man after His own heart,” and we think God is stumbling over Donald Trump’s humanity even when it is clear he is a powerful leader that is open to God? 

Hillary’s main point of attack against Trump is his temperament. Did you get that? His TEMPERAMENT. Her TV ads repeat over and over and over and over again the sound byte blunders of Trump’s intense debut into the political arena, fueling the offense of the offended so that NO ONE will be able to forget or forgive in an era of hyper sensitivity and political correctness. “Temperamentally unfit” is the line driving home the point that he lacks empathy, compassion, humility, kindness, and all the trademarks Christians are comfortable putting their stamp on. Even if a million areas of actual corruption and weakness in Hillary’s leadership are now exposed and in the open, it won’t matter if she can make sure evangelicals don’t vote for Trump who has a chance at turning things around, and yes turn things around for them.

When I say there is forgiveness for Trump’s sins and mistakes, I mean that for Hillary as well. The distinction to be made between the two choices with a shot at the presidency is that while Trump may have a lewd history and a brash tongue in his personal life and entertainment career, Hillary’s failures are a reflection of her career in government and where she wants to lead our country in the future. One committed treason in government and the other said mean things. We are the deciding factor.

It is not a choice between which candidate’s humanity our conscience can be the most comfortable with; it is about our children and the future of the nation they will grow up in, which will be very different depending on the justices the new President will appoint in the highest law in the land. (The Supreme Court) While a non-vote or a third party candidate vote may comfort personal conscience, at this point it is a suicide mission for the country, which is at a crucial crossroads. THE COUNTRY. Trump has yet to prove his mandate with action in office, but Hillary has made it clear that her mandate is not compatible with values that honor God in government. Trump has, and he has many godly leaders surrounding him and speaking into his life. Can evangelicals take a leap of faith and act on their hopes? We pray for godly leaders, but who will elect them? The godless? Will God supernaturally do the job he has empowered us for or will be act in

Please understand, as a believer myself, I’m not personally putting this out there to coerce or make you feel trapped. These choices should be made of free will and in faith combined with a clear conscience. I am however exposing the lie that manipulates believers into passivity. Regardless if people are aware of the powers at play or not, deceptive control is the way the enemy works, but it is not how God works. There are so many offended people voting for Hillary, and there are so many people withholding a Trump vote for the same reason: offense. Guys, this is not the mark of Christ. We don’t live in offense. We operate in the spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. There is a spirit of offense and fear and pride blinding eyes and tying the hands of Christians this election, and I stand against that. 

On Tuesday, I am not merely voting my conscience. I am going to vote from my faith, based on my current revelation, with my conscience bearing witness to my peace with God. I hope you find peace in your decision too. 

We are not trapped by choices between contrasts of human flaw. We are empowered to see the greater picture. We do not have a case of moral superiority. We are established in our royal identities and can see it in others as well, even prophetically if they are not walking in it yet. We see our own weakness, yet embrace His strength in ourselves first, then in others. Trump is only a man, but one I believe God’s hand is on for our nation’s leadership. I ask all evangelicals to examine your hearts and ask the Holy Spirit if there is truth in what I’ve said. It’s God’s desire that we would walk in faith, (not fear- which is delusional in nature and action) combined with a clear conscience on Election Day, confident in the season and the word and heart of the Lord being carried out in the United States of America. May the Prince of Peace have his way in us first and in our nation. God bless.

©Brenda Kanagy

Evangelical: The Kingdom in Government

Here is a little perspective on where evangelicals currently fall in the political process.

Only about 50 percent of Christians in America are registered to vote.

Of those, only 50 percent show up at the polls, meaning 75 percent of all Christians are not taking advantage of one of their greatest privileges.

If every Christian would register to vote and then do so, candidates who share their beliefs and values would win the presidency in a landslide.

I hear Christians dialogue and question the importance of our nation or getting involved in our political process. Some feel petty discussing the policy of managing our privileged, first world reality while grappling with compassion for second and third world countries, enslaved by poverty, war, terrorism, or communism.

Why should God favor us over the poor in Haiti, the disenfranchised in Venezuela, or the persecuted in China? These are heart rending questions that deserve heart rending consideration. I never want to imply that we matter any more or any less than the raped women and mutilated children in Syria, but I find that there is a vast lack of vision and understanding of the importance of our own nation’s health in the world spectrum.

If you glean the impression that I think America is especially important, it’s true. I do think there is a special favor and preservation on our nation because the founders not only put the honoring of the one true God in writing, despite the flaws of our founding, the nation’s system was fashioned after a kingdom principle: democracy. 

Don’t we realize that the people in oppressed nations would love an opportunity to choose leaders who will allow them to live and choose and worship God in peace without terror? Yet American Christians utterly squander the sacred honor and responsibility of democracy. This is our nation, and it is not only our responsibility, but a privilege to vote for candidates and platforms who steer the ship in ways that protect and value God’s principles. Let us not be the nation that didn’t know we were free until we are in chains, powerless to advocate for others who depend on us.

I also hear Christians argue that the church in the new testament didn’t participate in governement. Here’s a thought: They didn’t have the option. Governments were dictaterships! What little involvement citizens could have in government, John was heard telling soldiers to be content with their wages, tax collectors to be honest and only collect what is owed, and Jesus instructed believers to pay their taxes. If Jesus meant that his kingdom is not of this world the way we use it to justify not voting, why should we pay taxes either?

 If you don’t think Christians should be involved in government, you should probably stop praying for him to raise up godly leaders. He just might take you up on that. If God could work with DICTATERS throughout the Old Testament (which is only a shadow of God’s purposes) to advance his kingdom, how much MORE can he work with democracy? It took 2,000 years for someone to finally catch on, and I can just imagine God jumping up and shouting, “Finally!”

For some reason, its easier to have our heads in the sand and serve Jesus in our little corner without getting our hands dirty with the affairs of the world around us. We are most comfortable following our compassion to love and serve the poor and desperate, (so important!) but our understanding of how to reach and influence the high places, where culture is shaped and systems are enforced, however, is limited. If we do not learn to occupy strategic places of influence, not only in spiritual realms, but physical ones, nothing will change. God’s heart is for NATIONS to love him. We are a part of another kingdom, that is eternal, but we take this eternal kingdom and influence the systems of the world.

Evangelism is not shouting at people from a distance; it’s occupying a realm- infiltrating and causing the whole city to rise, as yeast does in bread. It’s called discipleship, and guess what? If the church is not bringing the kingdom to the democracy of our government, the government will disciple the nation away from God. If the kingdom is not influencing the world’s system, men will be corrupted, and with the rise of evil, democracy will fall.

I truly believe that the only reason democracy has been sustainable thus far stems directly from the God inspired principles our nation was founded on. Democracy is a God born idea, and the Kingdom of God is truly the original democracy. I believe he has a certain grace to honor his principles even if people can use their freedom to violate his nature within that principle for a time, until it destroys them or they turn back to him.


I do not think we realize the implications of American democracy collapsing in a financial or moral crisis. America’s health and success is a key in kingdom advancement because is has been a trailblazer for democracy (God’s idea) and is the great door holding open those same freedoms for the other nations of the world. If we collapse, our allies fall and those who rely on us as an example will have no defender against the onslaught of a communist, socialist world government.

Yes, it’s true, the underground church is proof that the Kingdom can survive and thrive in the worst possible conditions and persecution. So what does it matter if America joins other godless nations? We’ll just be faithful in our quiet life, and God will rapture us before He judges everyone else. This powerless, escapist mentality is affording America its influence to shine a light in the nations.

We, the people, are the activation- the hands and feet of God’s Kingdom. We have a promise that God’s government will always be increasing. but the chances of the democratic government remaining so without a sharp shift towards godly principles are slim. This is one of the biggest reasons I believe this election is so crucial, and one of the biggest reasons Christians need to come out of the closet with their voice.

Lifetime supreme court justices will be appointed.This will determine the moral laws and justice system our children will have to navigate. That is why I do not think voting third party is wise. I fully understand the logic of casting a vote for a candidate one feels is the best choice, (even if they don’t stand a chance in the race) for the purpose of boosting third party for future races. That seems reasonable to me, but I do not believe the time and urgent season we are in is compatible with that choice.

Donald Trump has the greatest platform and shot at keeping our nation safe from terrorism and securing our borders, boosting the moral and strength of our police departments and military who protect us, cutting government spending, waste, and pay-to-play corruption, and protecting religious freedom and the sanctity of life. A vote for any other candidate at this point is an indirect vote for Hillary, who will only farther the moral and economic downward spiral of her predecessor.

We are currently a nation without borders (spiritually and physically) and the lack of boundaries and self control has allowed us to be manipulated and taken advantage of by other nations in trade, for an example. Stringent regulations on our own workers and companies, driving US companies abroad and killing our economy is another. We are currently sitting right on the edge of the debt ceiling triggering a collapse. The progressive agenda has redefined marriage taken away the right of children in the womb.

There’s no need to fear, but there is a need for action. If a drastic shift does not take place this election, it will be a much longer, harder dark age until we come through a collective full circle. This election is not one to let side, “but we’ll get it next time.” This is not just another election to lose, with another chance in four years. The progressive agenda has successfully occupied the key “gates” of influence in culture, and their advances have gained momentum where we have not occupied. For example, to my knowledge, the LGBT community is approximately 1% of the population, but they have changed the culture of the entire nation. How is is that Christians can be such a large majority, but they are losing the culture battle? I believe it’s because we haven’t occupied the gates. We go to church and love Jesus in our realm, but we don’t bring the kingdom to key pillars of influence in society. (media, arts, entertainment, education, family, religion, and yes, government.)

We are a strong nation that has survived and overcome incredible challenges and attacks from abroad. Abraham Lincoln said it well, and I paraphrase: If America falls, it will be from the inside out. 

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ― Edmund Burke.

If we can overcome this, it will be a new day for America and the American church, who is waking from her sleep as I write. This new day for America will be a new day for other nations of the world. We need someone with not just heart towards God and good intentions. We need the man anointed to lead in this critical hour and turn this ship around right now and fast. Will be recognize our moment and take this opportunity?

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

©Brenda Kanagy
Note: I do not own the photos in this post.

15 Month Alexandra

My baby has changed so much in the 3 months since her first birthday.

New developments:

She took her her first consecutive steps at 14 months and is now a pro, toddling all over the place, up and down the stairs without supervision and with only one minor tumble. If I let her, she would walk the sidewalk in front of our house endlessly. (But only the downhill side. I can’t seem to help her understand that she can turn around and walk the other way too. She must be one track minded like me.) It’s a full time job supervising a fast toddler in town, but fresh air and a good walk are always worth it for both of us.

Imitation is a new development. She does so many things we have never intentionally taught her, from talking with a phone to her ear, wiping the floor and other surfaces with a rag, and more. Her little brain is so open to information right now. I can show her something new only a few times, and she’ll remember. Things like where her nose, ears, mouth are and how old she is. She says “ONE” emphatically, holding up her little pointer finger. 

Speaking of teeth: she managed to turn one year old without any, but in the next six weeks, she popped a whopping SEVEN through swollen gums. She’s a trooper. And so am I as a matter of fact, but the fact that her entire life has been intense and full of challenges, teething has actually seemed like another ordinary step in the road. I guess that’s a good thing! 😀

For her rocky record, she has been sleeping much better at night. I can rarely get her to bed early, possibly from habit of being synced with her parents’ later bedtime, but after that, she’s been doing 4-5 hour stretches, which feels glorious. At one year old, she had only slept an 8 hour stretch once that I can remember, but she did it twice in the last seven days! I’ll never regret attachment parenting, but seeing my baby mature and change naturally, outgrow restless sleep, and choose independence… it is good for my soul and so worth it. 


I’ll never stop being perplexed at the intense growth and changes kids go through. Sometimes it takes 15 minutes to feed and put her to sleep. Other times it takes 3 hours like the other night. No joke. I only wish she had the words to tell me what’s wrong. She was deliriously tired, but could not go to sleep. Bouncing, playing in the crib, lying next to me, getting her legs rubbed, being fed again. Eventually she just screamed and acted in pain. At nearly 1 am, she finally slept for a five hour stretch only to repeat the screaming episode. I’m suspicious she had acid reflux, but it’s a mystery. Parenting is intense, but such an honor.

My girl is completely weaned from breast milk, but thriving on goat milk. Now that she has some teeth, I’m hoping she’ll become more interested in food. She eats some of my eggs some mornings, but often shakes her head no when offered food and mostly plays with it when I let her take the reins. (utensils)

Things I’m learning:

There are so many things I love about our daughter. Toddlerhood (and really all stages I guess) is so much about perspective. If I judge my daughter by the moments when she’s having an emotional meltdown or smacks me in the face, I would think I have such a “bad” child. But if I look at the many valuable things that are growing and she is taking on with gentle direction, I am amazed at the beautiful things that spontaneously come out of her sweet spirit. Identity over behavior. It sounds so simple, but I’m not sure why humans tend to complicate things. We like to have control and have predictable plans and outcomes, but the Kingdom, much less parenting, does not work that way. If we try to make it work that way, “good” results are not sustainable. 

Kids are just mini adults and truly struggle with the same things we do. I’m not interested in creating an obedient robot; I’m interested in teaching the art of good choices like self control and kindness, through example and joint problem solving. That’s the kind of eternal things that will make a smooth(er) transition into adulthood, when faced with the same challenges, simply on a larger scale. I am learning with her, to be honest.

Favorite Alexandra things: 

Hands down, her kisses. Ever since she learned to blow kisses, I was mesmerized. That little palm and kissing sound…it’s too much. She figured out how to kiss us on the face within a day, and we can never get enough. A lot of babies do the open mouth slobber thing, but she has the actual kiss down, sound effect and all. We never force physical affection so she learns about personal space and the option to reject touch she’s not comfortable with, but we do adore the spontaneous hugs and kisses and always make a big deal out of it. She praises herself and claps with the biggest smile on her face. She has kissed her teddy and even her reflection in the mirror. It’s the sweetest.


Her words. We always try to listen and agree and respond in some way when she goes off on a jabbering spree. It’s interesting to watch how validated and understood she feels when we do it, even if we technically don’t know what she is saying. My husband always says, “Talk to Daddy. Use your words,” when she’s randomly screaming or throwing a fit. It might seem silly if she can’t form words we understand in the English language, but when he looks her in the eyes, she does usually switch her tune and begin to talk dramatically and seriously about her feelings. Connection is a universal language. He listens and agrees. “That’s so much better! Good job.” She feels better and is pleased. I love watching my husband be a loving father.

Her silky hair. I’ve trimmed it out of her eyes twice, so I don’t have to rely on bows that get pulled out at some point anyways. 

Hearing her call for me after a nap. It’s a progression from random squawks and talking to herself to all out yells. That final (loud!) shriek lets me know my quiet time is officially over. I always smile to myself, walking up the stairs, anticipating the smile and tousled hair of my snuggly toddler. “Did you have a good nap?” (She usually shakes her head no, but that’s her general response to every question.) I reach for the outstretched wiggling fingers, and it’s a requirement to retrieve Teddy too. It’s the best moment.

I was sure I wanted a boy, but I clearly wasn’t aware of the gift I would get. 

©Brenda Kanagy