Rhiannon of Brooklyn Boy Mom
Tell us about you! Your name, where you're from, about your family, etc.?
I’m Rhianon (ree-ANN-in) and I’m a freelance writer and blogger. My husband and I are in our third year of leading a church plant in Brooklyn NY and we’ve been married for over 10 years. We’ve spent most of our lives in New England (Portsmouth, New Hampshire to be exact) but have always held a special love for New York City in our hearts. We weren’t always sure why, but now we do ;) We also have four young sons - Hudson, Wyatt, Amos and Brooks (7, 5, 4 and 2 respectively).
I’m an extroverted introvert (INFP), enthusiastic visionary (according to the enneagram), self-care advocate and a big believer in the active pursuit of dreams and seeing them come to fruition.
How has God uniquely made you/gifted you?
When we first moved to Brooklyn, we knew no one. We had no friends, no family and no way to get into the community unless we actually GOT INTO the community. I never considered myself to be an evangelist or to be particularly gifted in terms of hospitality, but this is something that I feel that God has gifted me in specifically for this season. Introducing myself at the park, at a coffee shop or restaurant, making friends and having people over for dinner.
I also really love people (surprising, considering I’m an introvert). I love spending time with people one on one and hearing about their stories, struggles, and victories. I enjoy finding out what makes people excited and love encouraging them to breathe life into their heart desires and bring them into actual existence.
Tell us about your ministry, page, business, etc
Christ Central, Brooklyn is a dream that we are slowly but surely building in reality. We’re doing our best to love on everyone that we come into contact with and show them the grace and love of Jesus through our actions. The hope is to start a church that is grounded in biblical truth and functions in the gifts of the spirit; highly relational and reproducing (eventually).
Brooklyn BoyMom is a place where I am encouraging moms to pursue their [God-given] passions because I believe that there is a purpose behind every single passion that lies within us - why else would they be there? I don’t believe that the things that bring us joy are just there to fluff up our life, they’re there to pursue and ultimately point us to (and give glory to) God.
What inspired you to start? What keeps you going?
Brooklyn BoyMom was birthed out of a dark season in my life and motherhood. We moved to Brooklyn with our three boys (ages 5 and under), I gave birth to our fourth son, my oldest started kindergarten and my husband sold his business all in the course of about a year. It was a crazy season of transition and I was literally treading water for the better part of 18 months. There was always a tantrum to deal with, a baby to feed, homework to help with or a snack to be served. I think back on that time in our lives and wonder how we survived. Surely only by the sustenance and grace of God.
Essentially I was pouring out constantly and not taking care of myself at all. I lost a bunch of weight, was drinking too much and barely had a minute to escape the crazy. It got to the point where my body said “I quit” and I couldn’t deal with the stress anymore. My husband stepped in and took on many of the household responsibilities and things that I had been doing because I had to cut back significantly. And it was then that I realized that I needed to start doing things for myself again. But where to start? Before I had kids I used to love shopping, hanging out with friends and going to movies but those things no longer topped my list. What topped my list now? What did I love doing? It had been so long since I had prioritized myself that I had no idea. So I just started doing stuff. Painting, exercising, getting manicures, going on walks, but the thing that I loved the most was WRITING, and that’s how Brooklyn BoyMom was born.
The more I talk and write about my own passions, the more I’m helping people to uncover and realize their own and that is what keeps me going. That and the belief that God has called me to do this exact thing at this exact time in my life. If he hadn’t, I don’t believe it would be unfolding as it is. It’s just been open door after open door, so I’m just going to keep walking through these doors until they stop opening!
What are your greatest struggles in what you do?
Being an introverted church planter is definitely one of my biggest struggles. I love people very much but need to pace myself and allow myself time to be alone, in a quiet environment. I often think that I can be around people a lot, but find that when I do I end up exhausted and unable to care for my own family by the end of the day. I’m learning that I sometimes I have to say no to things that I love for my own benefit so that I can, therefore, be a better mom, wife, and friend.
I also need to constantly remind myself that the number of views that I have on my website or the number of followers that I have on Instagram isn’t what define me. I’m writing because I love it and because I’m trying to help people realize that they have something incredibly special within them. Each and every one of us has a dream, a passion, a desire within us and I want to help people to cultivate that. If I can somehow help people to do just that, then I’m accomplishing what I feel like God has called me to do.
What is one thing you have learned from what you do?
Doing the hard thing, having the hard conversation, taking the road less traveled is usually what ends up being more fulfilling. Like in marriage; It’s not always easy to invest in your marriage. Babysitters are expensive, parents are exhausted, schedules are already full. Yet making the choice to go on that date night, carve out a kid-free weekend away or even just having a night in and choosing conversation over Netflix will exponentially benefit the relationship in the long run. It’s the same with investing in our relationship with God, our friends, and our kids. It might take more time to do it well, but in the end, it will be good and right because of the time invested.
What is your greatest passion for the Kingdom of God?
For women (myself included) to see that the passions and dreams that are within us are there for a greater purpose than we realize. We didn’t put these things on ourselves, God did. They were His idea first. So If we pursue these things that have a heart for, the things that we love and enjoy - dance, missions work, art, worship, hiking, teaching, baking, justice issues, traveling, humanitarian work - we will be fulfilling our God-given purpose.
What could you talk for hours about?
Passion. Can you tell? ;) And Personality tests. And self-care.
What has God been teaching you lately?
Last year was a big one for me in many ways, but the main lesson from which all other lessons stemmed was, “Let your actions reflect your heart”. I wanted to be a good wife, mom, lover of Jesus and writer, but there were a few things standing in the way. The main one was alcohol. I don’t think alcohol is bad - I think that everyone’s convictions are different - but I think that it’s not good for me in this particular season of life where stress is at an all-time high. By cutting out drinking I’m able to focus more on the things that are important to me.
For me alcohol was a band-aid - it took away the stress of the 5 o’clock witching hour, my social awkwardness when I was out with friends and just made me a little more laid back in general...in the short term. But in the long term, for ME it actually made things worse (again, this isn’t necessarily true for everyone). It made me tired so I wouldn’t get any writing done after the kids were asleep, but it also made my sleep restless, so l would be grouchy with the kids in the morning. I felt like God was beckoning me to put down my chardonnay and instead focus on Him because He is better. After months arguing with God about it, I finally decided to listen and stop drinking. Forever? Probably not, but at least for a season. It’s not like everything is easy now (far from it actually), but I know that I’m now depending on God now more than ever before. That was just one way that I’ve let my actions reflect my heart recently.
What do you think is the greatest struggle facing Christian women today?
I think that there is an illusion of ”The Perfect Christian” and we are all failing to try to live up to this impossible standard. What does this look like? I think its different for everyone, but for me “The Perfect Christian Mom” gets up an hour before the kids, reads her bible and journals while listening to worship music. She prays in every circumstance. She trusts in God’s good and perfect will even when her life seems to be falling apart around her. She talks about how good He is to everyone she meets. She doesn’t swear. She’s a thoughtful, patient, calm, hospitable. I know many women who seem to fit this mold, and if I just described your life, YOU are an amazing woman of God (and I’m slightly jealous. haha!)
Newsflash: That is FAR from reality here for me in Brooklyn. Yes, I love the Lord and yes, I trust him and believe that He has good things from me. I am so thankful for Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit in my life, but I’ll gladly admit that I’m more than a little rough around the edges. I’m not one of the women who can’t put her Bible down (I prefer listening to sermons and podcasts). I can be super impatient with the kids (even more so now that I’m not drinking). I swear on the regular (I blame New York). Prayer can sometimes be a last resort (although I wish it were my first response). Sometimes I get up before the kids but instead of opening up my bible, I take a shower (because, self-care). Often I have the best intentions of spending time with God during naptime, but find myself taking a nap or working on a project. I’m certainly not perfect, but I’m a big believer in GRACE. I know that God is slowly but surely transforming me more and more into His likeness, and I also know that he sees me as holy, righteous, forgiven and perfect because of the amazing act of reckless love that Jesus completed on the cross. If I accidentally oversleep and miss out on spending time with God, I don’t need to beat myself up about it because I know that God’s grace is sufficient for me in all circumstances.
There are many times when I wonder, “why the heck would God use someone as flawed as me to plant a church or to have a blog or to have a sphere of influence?”, and I find the answer to that question in 2 Corinthians 2:9 where it says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So here I am, trying to be like Paul; boasting in my weakness so that the power of God can be made known through my insufficiencies.
You can find more from Rhiannon here....
And the blog is www.brooklynboymom.com