What I do…

Tim was away last week.  Just a few days.  And in the past I would always tell him how I’d miss him.  But not this time.  This time I noticed how happy I was those days alone.  This time I noticed how great it felt to have the bed to myself.  This time I didn’t miss the hugs at night.  It was a nice alone time.  And it reminded me of my single years.  Deciding about schedule and when to eat was so easy.  I just had me to think about.  And it felt like a little break.
But I was also worried.  Tim was worried.  Because I have been pulling back little by little.  No more nakedness in bed.  No hugs.  Not my hand on his leg while in the car.  Not me reaching out to touch him, not even after Tim being away for a few days.  It was all different.
And I wake up to what is happening.  The intimacy between Tim and me, as husband and wife, goes very deep and my system is going off.  There are too many memories of hurt.  I want to protect myself.  And the way to do that is to get away, physically and now also emotionally.
But this is good.  This is very good!  My systems are reaching the surface and I am aware.  This is not a danger to our marriage… it is a red flag about my wounds.
MaddyChristine Hope Photography-2-2And in this new season of healing through Living Waters I reach out to my Heavenly Father.  I experience myself to be little in this.  I am aware that I cannot heal myself and I stick to my Heavenly Father.  I press in, and I wait for healing.  I wait for Him to do His work.  In what way?  I don’t know.  When?  I don’t know.  All I am asked is to keep walking and keep showing up.
These days aren’t easy.  We are dealing with trauma.  But I celebrate that we are well.  We both are very committed, we communicate honestly about how this season affects us.  We stay connected and we are one.  Tim loves me so well by being so very patient.  I can tell his commitment.  It may be rough now… but we will write this chapter.  And we will close this chapter.  And write another one…
I love that you are here, and I would certainly love to hear from you.  To leave a comment go HERE !
This was also shared at Holley’s Coffee For Your Heart.  To read more personal stories or get encouraged, go HERE !

5 Minute Friday… Change

I have seen it every where, read about it a lot but never participated.  Writing under pressure… for some reason I think it’s time.
It is very simple, on Thursday evening a word prompt is shared by Kate and on Friday we give ourselves 5 minutes to write.
5 minutes!!  And without a grammar check or editing we post whatever came to our creative minds…
This week’s word is CHANGE…
MaddyChristine Hope Brokopp-0787This morning Tim reminded me that in the past, when change was at hand, life would always shut down for me.  Change equals healing here. And he is right, my healing has always been so intense that it would be what I focused on.  I would give it my all and yes, often I was not able to do life because I went so deep.  
I always expected my past to come up once I would be married, in ways that I wasn’t triggered before.  Marriage comes with commitment, with marriage comes intimacy, and not just sexual intimacy, and I was sure it would stir up certain memories, aches and fears.  And that is exactly what has been happening.  And I am glad, glad that it doesn’t stop there. God has more wholeness for me, more healing and He is bringing me to a beautiful place.  A place where I will want to shout out more for His glory, because of His healing work in me.
Healing is something I still seek after.  It is why I have another season of healing ahead of me.  I am going to do a 4 month ‘program’ called Living Waters.  But Tim said something very important now… change does not have to shut down life.  If anything change means moving towards something.  And I find relief… the coming months I can do life, I can be married, I can have intimacy, I can be joy as I heal.  I embrace this change.  And maybe, maybe change won’t hurt as much this time. Maybe even the way I change has changed!
I love that you are here and I certainly would love to hear from you.  To leave a comment go HERE !

Until they meet again

Joy comes in the morningIt may be clear to you now… God is doing a deep thing in me.  Yes there is hurt but only for the soul purpose of coming out on the better side.  Yesterday a portion of hurt was added to my life.  It is interesting how one can hurt so badly, yet be very aware of God’s work and His grace.  
Yesterday I knew I needed to hurt and feel every emotion that rose to the occasion.  There was anger, disappointment, sadness, grief.  But I also knew I would wake up in the morning and Hope would join me. Throughout the day yesterday there was never just one emotion.  There wasn’t just the pain.  No, I could clearly see my blessings and celebrate them.  That is such a neat experience.  And that is God’s grace!  
There is something very beautiful to letting yourself go ‘there’.  To not be afraid of pain.  At times, it really is good to just be there.  Period.  I have had people tell me to not dwell on the past.  When I have hurt, I have had people step in and tell me all the good things that lay ahead.  Apart from the pain, I just don’t understand why people are so afraid of it.  Why is there such a need to get away from it as soon as possible?  Do people not know there is beauty in pain?  That there is beauty in ashes?
MaddyChristine Hope Photography-0730Because it is in that pain that God can do amazing things.  It is in that pain that God can show that He truly is God and good. It is in pain that God has a way of showing Himself.  It is in pain we can show God we truly believe and follow.  In pain there is true worship.
And so today I am reminded to let His love seep into the inner recesses of my being.  To not close off any part of myself from Him.  He knows me inside and out, so I will not try to present a ‘cleaned-up’ version of myself to Him.  Wounds that I shut away from the Light of His love will fester and become wormy.  So I open myself fully to His transforming Presence.
~ Sarah Young’s Devotional ‘Jesus Calling’ ~
And as I hurt God tells me: ” Come to me continually.  I am meant to be the Center of your consciousness, the Anchor of your soul.  Your mind will wander from Me, but the question is how far you allow it to wonder.”  ~ Sarah Young’s Devotional ‘Jesus Calling’ ~  This tells me it is okay to hurt… it is okay to go there.  But as I do this, I should not shut out God’s truth.  There is never just pain.
Isaiah 55:8-9 
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts


I love that you are here, and I certainly would love to hear from you.  To leave a comment go HERE !
This was also shared at Holley’s Coffee For Your Heart.  To read more personal stories or get encouraged, go HERE 

A season with a reason

MaddyChristine Hope Photograpphy-1048.L

Do you have that sometimes, that you know God is doing something, you just don’t know what exactly? Well, I am currently in such a time. I am in a season for a reason. I just don’t know the outcome of this season, I don’t know where I am headed.

I have been struggling with some heart’s desires going unanswered. The one thing I desire most is to have peace. But coming to a place of peace when heart’s desires are involved is not easy. I want to be in a place that it doesn’t matter what happens. I want to be in a place where I trust God and I am okay with whatever happens, knowing that whatever the circumstances, God is present, real and faithful.

Praying for my heart’s desire


Getting my heart in such a state that it has no will of it’s own

God is constantly pointing me to Scriptures that invite me to pray and ask. He is showing me that He will listen when I ask Him for anything in line with His will. And if I know He is listening I can also be sure that He will give me what I ask for (1 John 5:14-15). He tells me to keep on asking and I will be given what I ask for. That I need to keep on looking and I will find. I need to keep on knocking and the door will be opened (Matthew 7:7). He reminds me that if sinful people know how to give good gifts, how much more will He, my Heavenly Father, know to give good gifts to me who asks (Matthew 7:11).

So I am praying… but what I desire most is peace. I want to be okay with where I am now, regardless of my heart’s desire. When I pray for my heart’s desire it seems I run the risk of merely focusing on the things I want, getting restless in the process and getting frustrated and hurt. I don’t want to merely focus on what I want.

I have been doing this Bible study called “Experiencing God”. The study is challenging me to have my heart be in a place where it has no will. That is what I want! That is what I am talking about. I want to be in that place where I trust my Father and just be at peace with my circumstances. But… that balance is not an easy one to find and thus the season.

This is a time of waiting. Thanks to my Spiritual Direction Counselor I learned something that was very new to me. The advent. The advent is a time of waiting, expectant waiting, hopeful waiting. I learned that waiting is not something passive, it is very active. And God uses a time of waiting to draw us close. Desire is something very powerful and beautiful. A lack of fulfillment is an invitation. An invitation to open up to what God has for us. A lack of fulfillment is not just pain, it tells me I am alive for I long. This is where spiritual life comes to life. I can celebrate desiring. I can celebrate waiting, and hoping, and expecting.

I am at the place where I realize the outcome is not important, it is the journey. God is doing important things on this journey… in my heart! I can say that I rejoice in this season. Although it is hard at times, really hard even, today is a day where I find my rest in knowing God has reason for this season and I have the opportunity to draw close to Him. In the end, I believe that’s what this is all about: drawing close to Him, getting to know Him better, being in relationship with Him that changes me, heals me and grows me.

I love that you are here and I certainly love to hear from you.  To leave a comment go HERE!


Not what I had in mind…

The season after our wedding that I couldn’t work was interesting for me. I had always worked so hard and here I was put to a halt. While I was going through the immigration process I wasn’t allowed to work just yet. Something that was very challenging. I believe God was doing a good thing. I think He needed for me to take a deep breath, get a break and learn to have a change of pace. I learned a lot in the not doing.
When it looked like immigration was coming to it’s close I slowly started to ponder with Tim on the next. What would I want to do once I am allowed to work? I had little time to really think about this because work presented itself, from a somewhat unexpected angle.
When I left Holland I wasn’t sure what would happen to my business. I was ready to leave behind the deadlines, the work overload, the crazy hours. I was thinking I wanted to merely focus on photography and Tim’s ministry. But then in June came the call from the Dutch broadcasting company… could I come on board again? They were in a bind… and before I knew it I was doing research on a documentary in Oklahoma and not much later I found myself in Myanmar for a reality TV series that I worked on the previous seasons. And one thing led to the next. Since August I have been working on a  new reality TV series for Holland but here in the States, in the end leading to the same crazy hours and deadlines. I will say it was great to be back! Despite the crazy hours and deadlines.

For the first time I am a married working woman and that is quite different from a single working woman. It was another opportunity to learn, grow and adjust. For one, I still wanted our home to be spick and span. I still wanted to cook for Tim (uhhh, us). I still didn’t want him to have to worry about anything concerning these matters. And it was Tim who sat me down and said: “If you and I are both going to be working… you need to let me take care of some of the chores around the house.” Are you kidding me? That is not what I had in mind. But I had learned in my ‘not doing’ season that it is certainly not about the doing. I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to do everything myself. I don’t and will never be wonder woman. And so my amazing husband has stepped up to the plate and been sharing in some of the chores.
For the first time I am a working woman with husband and that turned out to be a great something. When Tim started his new non-profit, he, his team and I thought I would come on board. It was that plain and simple. But as I got busy myself, we didn’t see it happen. And I had to realize that right now, my role in Tim’s ministry is providing some needed income. I do have a part, it just looks different from what we had in mind. I am grateful for this realization, I just want to have a part… whatever part that is and right now that is giving Tim more time to get the non-profit up and running. But I do take part where ever I can during meetings, brain storming and such. I always love going on a road trip with Tim because he is speaking some where or we are visiting his partners and supporters. But as it turns out, it works the other way around also. As I dove deep into research for this new reality series I found myself in very beautiful conservative circles. I found that it was more about relationship and trust building then it could be about work. And there were times where the people would look to Tim as the man and not me when it came to talking about this TV project. And so more than once Tim ended up on the road with me, for my project. And what a blessing this has been. For the first time I have a husband supporting me, my dreams and work. Tim has been amazing.
I felt such trust from Tim as I traveled around. There was so much freedom and support. And as the months passed Tim stepped in many many times and we turned out to be quite the team when it comes to working together. I experienced much much joy, besides it being pretty amazing that Tim would give me so much of his time and so much devotion to my work. One thing we know… we are best together. I am looking forward to many more projects together.
Hopefully I will be able to post some Myanmar photos on my photography Facebook page soon:
I love that you are here and I certainly love your comment! To leave a comment go HERE!

High Standards – I don’t want the honeymoon phase to be over… ever

So I hear people say that all that I am feeling and doing is normal. Sometimes Tim and I differ in the area of ‘normal’. He realizes our love will be steady while we may not always feel close. I am still working on always feeling close. Tim explains to me that life will ‘get in the way’ and our focus will be outside of our home too. I still like to think my first and foremost responsibility lies at home.  Tim’s love is steady. In the midst of a not so nice moment he will say: “I love you” and: “We are okay.” There is truth in what he is saying but sometimes it is hard for me to say those words.

I want to continue to have high standards for our marriage and for who I am in this marriage and how I contribute. Okay, so my reactions you read about in that post may be normal… in the human sense. But I know God is calling me to a higher calling. He laid out what love is and what it looks like. That is not near what we humans make of it. Yes, we will fail, I will fail and I will need to extend grace to myself just like Tim is extending me grace. But I will not let go of the standard God gave me regarding the true meaning of love.
People talk about the honeymoon phase, the phase where everything not only seems easy, it is easy! It is easy to think about the other person. It is easy to sacrifice. It is easy to hug and hold hands. It is easy to spoil the other person with little gestures. Everything seems to go without effort. And ‘all of a sudden’ all those things that were simple to do and happened quite automatically, do not seem so automatic anymore. And we forget about the other person. We now think that what we want is what needs to happen, even if the significant other has other plans or ideas. Sacrificing moves to the background and we focus more and more on ourself. (I realize I am writing very black and white. For those of you who do not know me very well (yet), I am a black or white person. Often I do not know grey. Tim is trying to be my balance in that 😉  )
The honeymoon phase is dear to my heart. I like to believe that the honeymoon phase is not a phase, but maybe every newlywed feels that way. I am just not ready to accept that our honeymoon phase is over.  I am not ready for marriage to become more of a routine. I am not ready to let go of feeling close most of the time. I think Tim and I are a nice balance in that area. He brings in reality. I bring in ‘keeping it up’. The things that used to happen on it’s own… I don’t want to lose those things and I realize as time passes, they become work. In my opinion we need to remind ourselves of the honeymoon phase and work hard on keep doing what we were doing back in that season. I would like to work hard so that our marriage will not become a routine. I believe that now that Tim and I are without children… this IS the time for us to keep up the endearing things that put that smile on our face, that gave us that warm fuzzy feeling for one another. We still have a schedule that allows this, there are no distractions. If we are blessed with children at some point… I can imagine we get distracted by lots of things.
And what I wrote in this post was very real. I am surprised how we go from really good days to days where connecting is a bit of work. And I am not like Tim: I have a hard time saying ‘I love you’ when we are not that close and when I am not feeling great. Classic, right? Something that is very normal, married people tell me. And this brings me back to high standards. At no time is it okay for me not to say ‘I love you’ just because it is hard for me. Love stays, love is my choice. And when Tim isn’t feeling great and it comes out in our relationship, it is not okay for me to be short with him just because he is. No matter how hard, I want to get good at this. I don’t want to withdraw when he is withdrawn. I don’t want to forget to extend grace when he most needs it.
And to get the worries out of the way: Tim and I are well. We just celebrated our 6 month anniversary this weekend!  We are in a good place. I am just writing all this to be real. Marriage is hard work. Marriage is good work. I love marriage. And Tim and I have a good balance. We have plenty of fun. We relax. We exercise together. We nap on a Sunday. We hang out with really cool friends. We love our family and spending time with them.
A favorite and weekly event… hanging out with the Kolmans
Dear friends, and always sure of good content with them

Never enough family time… (feeding them a Dutch meal)


I don’t like to miss Tim’s soccer games
Going out on walks in the neighborhood in our dorky protection overcoats
We drive out to NYC to meet my old colleagues

We see an opportunity to take a photo at odd times
Working in the home office, always a joy
Sunday morning… we’d like to see some Dutch soccer before heading out to church

We hang out with family at the doctor’s office
Lots of time is spend at the gym
Coffee shop visit… also a favorite
We love a family visit
Or a visit from overseas
Celebrating 6 months this past weekend!! It’s been a wonderful 6 months. I regret nothing and am VERY grateful for this amazing gift of joy and love in my life.