hannahbrencher hannahbrencher

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Hannah Brencher Sheats  Lover of @laneybell86. Author of #comematterhere. I write + speak about mental health, faith & daily discipline. I created @moreloveletters 🌻

I’m hosting a Gospel-reading challenge in the month of September. It’s free + it’s a great way to gather in community and push one another.
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I created this challenge for myself originally in September 2015. I spent the whole month traveling to different coffee shops in Atlanta and sitting in the words of Jesus every spare moment I got. I still don’t have enough words to explain how this changed my heart + rocked my whole. Now it’s my September tradition and I’m ready to invite you into it!
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If you’ve been wanting to know the Bible more or you’re looking to forge better reading habits— this challenge is for you. We will be reading these 4 books of the Bible as many times as possible. A week in Mark. A week in Matthew. A week in Luke. A week in John. This month is about spending as many moments as possible following Jesus through the power of his Word.
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Seem intimidating? This is a month about reading, not studying. Go at your own pace and E-N-J-O-Y the scriptures. We won’t be dissecting or camping out in particular passages. This month, you’re invited to read the stories of Jesus the same way you’d read a novel— for pleasure. We will gather in a Facebook group to cheer one another on. There’s no competition. There’s no 30-day challenge. It’s about learning more about Jesus as we journey together through these 4 pivotal books about his life.
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Link in bio to sign up. Details will be emailed starting next week! Gather friends and make this happen together. OH, and tag someone who needs this transformative September.

They said in the Beatitudes that some of us could see God. If you let people in and then keep letting people in, you will see God. If you stay on watch for God—shift your eyes off the problem for five minutes—you will start to see him move around the board like a skilled chess player. You will see him move in a way you didn’t think was possible.
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During my time of depression, I saw God every time my mom curled into bed with me at night and held me to stop the violent shaking that ensued throughout the night, every time she made me a cup of tea and stayed up with me when I was too afraid to go to sleep. I saw God when my friends held my hand for long stretches of time and only let go when I said I was okay. When they woke up at four in the morning to talk on the phone with me and read verses out loud. I saw him in the days when the person beside me knew I didn’t feel like talking and that was perfectly okay. They sat with me anyway. Their presence was God in the flesh. In the darkness—in the stuff you don’t think you can survive—God sends angels in the form of human beings. Yes, God is still recruiting angels for his mission, but if we never had the heartbreak, we may have never known they were here.
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Even though the depression broke my heart, I began to make peace with it. I began to realize that maybe I’d never be healed and maybe that wasn’t the point. I got to the point that I was able to say, “God, even if you don’t heal me, I will still tell people you are good.” For the first time in my life, I knew it. I felt it deeper than anything I’d ever felt before. I was seeing God at work, and it was remarkable. .
#comematterhere // pg. 91

Prayer doesn’t need to be eloquent. It doesn’t need to be fancy. No need to put white gloves on to get on your knees and pray. You don’t even have to get on your knees. God likes you casual and God doesn’t preference a posture. I love how Anne Lamott says it, “My belief is that when you’re telling the truth, you’re close to God. If you say to God, “I am exhausted and depressed beyond words, and I don’t like You at all right now, and I recoil from most people who believe in You,” that might be the most honest thing you’ve ever said. If you told me you had said to God, “It is all hopeless, and I don’t have a clue if You exist, but I could use a hand,” it would almost bring tears to my eyes, tears of pride in you, for the courage it takes to get real-really real. It would make me want to sit next to you at the dinner table.”
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Your prayers are allowed to be imperfect, short, sporadic, violent, and jumbled. That’s the beauty of prayer. He hears all the mess.
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I love getting the honor every month to write for @propelwomen. These words come from a post I wrote for them on getting over a breakup. If you’re in that space, know this: God sees you. You’re not alone. This pain won’t last forever (even though it is tempting to think it might…) Keep going, babes.

“We ought to be lost in wonder, love and praise over what God has done for us.”
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I’m obsessed with this idea and admittedly, I need more practice than anyone in the room. I read this line in a commentary I am currently reading by William Barclay on the letters of Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. That hit my heart good. Immediately I asked myself, “Where is my wonder? Where is the love and praise?” I can so easily get caught up in my own thoughts. And when I say “my own thoughts,” I am not referring to these sweet, holy thought bubbles. My own thoughts are often fearful, anxious, or overwhelmed. I keep thinking to myself after reading those words: I want to be lost in wonder. Lost in praise and thankfulness.
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This picture is proof of it. It’s from a conference I spoke at this past week. I look pretty natural and not nervous. I remind myself it is purely God and nothing else that 60% percent of my job plays out on a stage. To know my story is to know I quit competitive dancing at the age of 16 because of some pretty crazy anxiety. I vowed to never get on a stage again. I gave my life to Jesus at the age of 22. I got back on stage that year but it took me years to stop having a Moses moment, begging God to find someone else for the job. I was scared and not trusting God. I was a wonder-sucking viper. I spent the first 3 years hating every stage I stepped on until I realized, “I can either be grateful and say ‘yes’ or spend this whole time dreading my job.” Saying yes doesn’t mean you get less scared… it just means you’re saying yes and asking God to take over the rest. You’re making room for wonder. You still prepare. You still show up. You still get sweaty palms. But you say yes… and that’s where the wonder comes in. Here’s to more wonder. I hope your Tuesday has been all sorts of good 🖤😘

When I adopted the motto “be where your feet are” before moving to Atlanta,I was at a point where nothing could satisfy me. I could have picked up and moved to the beach for a year and still, I would have likely missed the present moment. I don’t think there is anything wrong with packing your bags and traveling if you can (I actually would highly encourage you going out and seeing the world) but I think you have to be willing to ask the question: Am I running from something? Am I going somewhere because I am ready for a great adventure or am I leaving because I think it would be easier than staying?
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You’re either running from something or you’re running towards something. There’s a difference.
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If you are running from something then I would encourage you to dig in before you decide to go anywhere. I would ask you to dig deep. I would tell you to deal with the baggage before you go somewhere new because that baggage will surely follow you. It will show up in your beach bungalow. It will wave to you from the back of the packed car. We all have a bag that comes with us, wherever we go. Some of us are traveling light. Some of us are secret hoarders who’ve never parted with a memory in our lives. I think we are all called to figure out how to carry our bag to the best of our ability, how to unpack it, and how to face the mess. I think part of growing up is learning how to sit down the floor with all your things and figuring out what to take with you and what to leave behind. It’s learning to do the hard work that comes with dealing with the messy. It’s being wise enough to take that inventory and ask yourself: am I being held back? Am I really free? Is there something I’m still refusing to let go of?
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I believe in me and I believe in you. Happy Monday, loves 🖤

In need of a heart check this week? Your week can so easily be hijacked by envy, jealousy, and competition without even realizing it. Clear out the heart junk and be serious this week.
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In January I wrote a bible study for anyone who wanted to follow Jesus more closely in a follower-crazed world. It’s free & in my profile link. God rocked my world with the lessons & fresh teachings and all I want to do is share it with as many people as possible. And then write a million more studies because that was so fun 😂😂😂
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Dig in. Get refreshed. Go back to God if you’ve been avoiding him 🖤 free study in profile. Happy Monday!

Just because it feels empty right now does not mean the story is over for you.
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Gosh, I know the emptiness. I’ve felt it in the deep of me. I need you to know you’re not crazy. You’re not crazy for feeling like you’re missing pieces. You’re not crazy for wanting more. You’re not crazy for wondering why, when life is actually good, you can’t seem to savor it or say thank you enough to God. You’re not crazy for wondering if you’ll ever feel like there’s a point to all of this… if the darkness will cease… if you will ever feel whole.
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Just because it feels empty does not mean it’s over. I heard these words today as I was praying in church. God said them over me and while I don’t need them for this moment, I have to believe someone else does. I have to believe these words were meant for someone who wants to give up the fight. Your emptiness is not a symbol of defeat. Whether you believe it or not, your emptiness might be an open door. It might be the chance to start praying for something new. It might be the beginning to a new chapter. Don’t discount the emptiness.
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You might feel empty but the story isn’t over. There’s more for you. There’s good for you. There’s an end to the restlessness, the seeking and the searching. God is with you in the dark. Even when you don’t feel him, he is there. He’s not distant. He’s not scared of you. He’s not tricking you or hiding from you. Keep pressing into the darkness. Even if your hope is the smallest flicker, let it be bright. Someone is praying fiercely for you tonight. We need you here.

Here’s what I need you to know tonight: you’re not her.
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You’re not her and you’re never going to be her. And that’s okay. You don’t have to compare yourself. You don’t have to measure yourself. You don’t have to think the person you see on Instagram is your benchmark or you’re measuring stick or your standard.
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Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is admit to yourself, “Okay, self… I’ve been unfair to you lately. I’ve been holding you to an unfair standard. I’ve been kicking you down because you’re not somebody else. I haven’t given you a fair shot or a real chance.”
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Let me guarantee you that you’re crazy awesome, even if you don’t know it yet. You’ve got things that make you… well… you. You have secret weapons, hidden talents, and spiritual gifts. Dig in. Quit watching someone live their “best life” and commit to your own life. Go out on the limb. Make the scary plans. Quit the negative self-talk for at least the next ten minutes. Be devoted to knowing yourself and loving all the pretty and ugly parts of that knowing.
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You’re not her. Maybe you don’t have 500,000 followers. Maybe you’re not famous. Maybe that’s not the point. You can cheer someone on from a distance without hating them for what they have to steward. You can learn to cheer for yourself, too, and realize this world needs you. The real you. We all need that. We need you so badly to play your part and kill it in your own calling.

In honor of the end of summer fast-approaching, all art prints in the shop are on sale for $10 for the next week (link in profile)! PLUS we just added some signed books to the shop too! Clearing out some inventory and making room for new things! HALLELUJAH for Fall coming soon. I know there are some people who love these summer months but I’m a fan of cold weather, flannels + all things pumpkin. I may live in Atlanta but I’m a New-Englander at heart, forever and always. Enjoy the Summer sale + have the best Wednesday! Link in profile to shop!

“What should I do with the rest of my life?”
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I get that question in my inbox three or so times a week. I laugh to myself when I see it because I know that question haunted me. I remember nights spent awake wondering what I was supposed to do with my life.
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I think social media can give us the perception that other people know what they are doing. That they are on track. That they are on the cusp of perfection and you’re the one lagging behind. You’re behind on projects. You’re knee-deep in a pile of laundry. You haven’t done your hair in three dang days. “We know everything that happens on social media isn’t real,” I tell my mother. “But we still somehow believe that it is.” Some of us accept a little lie every single time we scroll, the lie that tells us, “You’re not doing enough. You’re a failure. You’re behind. Catch up.”
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I don’t know what to do with the rest of my life so I likely can’t answer that question for someone else. My mother, who is in her mid-60s, would say she doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life either. I think you could plan and plan and still, life would take you by surprise. Age 30 and I’m realizing: you don’t get nearly as much control as you thought you had when you were 20.
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What should I do with the rest of my life? I’ll start by trying to make the most of quiet mornings. I’ll try to be kinder. I’ll work harder to send letters to people who I know need them. I’ll pray more. I’ll try to be braver. I’ll be bold in my faith and real with my people. I’ll rest more. I’ll hustle more purposefully. I’ll scroll less. I’ll stop saying “sorry” so much and start saying “thank you” more. I’ll loosen the grip I have on this false idol known as control. I’ll kiss more babies. I’ll put my shoes on, walk out the door, and trust my God with the rest.
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That’s a start, babe. That’s a good start.

You are never too young to start planting your roots & reminding people how much they matter 🖤. #comematterhere

I’ve been on a prayer journey for the last few years now— reading everything I can about the practice of prayer. I think it is the lung to the faith— the essential part we need every single day.
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I’ve read a ton of the greats— Foster, Spurgeon, Lewis, Keller, Bounds, etc. But I have to say, this is the most beautiful and thoughtful paragraph I’ve read about prayer recently. Love how God uses different mediums to touch us deeply. I’ve been reading it out loud to anyone who will listen to it since I found it a few days ago. .
If you’re in need of a summer book, I recommend “The Mothers.” It’s good, rich, real and essential. Happy Monday, friends!

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