Saturday, June 1, 2013

Awake!


"Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature." ~ Genesis 2:7 ~

"The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of Almighty gives me life." 
~ Job 33:4 ~

I am free. I write because I am ME.  I choose not to compare. Good things come from choosing joy. I am learning to be myself. I breathe. In and out. I pause to breathe in, and the air feels cool. As I exhale, the breath feels warm. Calm washes over me. I am God's child, and He is pleased with me. Not because of what I do. But because of I AM. God IS here. Now. With me. In this present moment, I am enough, because He is enough IN me.

My joy well! My choice!
If I never get the chance to see my writing published, never get the thrill of having my words become bound and set for all time and ages, I am still ME. I am free. I am awake and alive. My soul has been set free. When you look at me, I want the joy to reach my smile. To light up my eyes and become the very real connection that says to you, "I care. I see you. I understand."

I can share joy because I have KNOWN the depth of pain. I have felt the choking misery of fear and defeat as anxiety and panic have torn at me, from the inside out. Those things are ugly. They threaten to steal joy. God has taken hold of me and redeemed me. I have a story to share. A footprint in the sand that is unique. I choose to open my hands, fling wide the door to my heart, and say,

"God, whatever You will, have Your way."

We took our oldest to a Chris Tomlin concert last month.  It was a triple birthday celebration between Hannah, Matthew, and me. We made a trip of it, spending the afternoon and evening together in Seattle. I felt reflective that day.It has been 5 years since her birth.



I have felt the weight of that time with both joy and pain. Just looking at her sweet little face, her smile, her heart for Jesus, and I melt like butter on warm toast....the joy of motherhood. There are thoughts that also come at me, threaten to overtake me. Why her? Why that first pregnancy and not the others? What was the purpose of that panic, God? A pattern of pain starts with one single snare. If there is but one small rip in the rug, when you tug on it, even just a little, the whole is weakened and the fabric starts to unravel. Bit. By. Fragile. Bit.  God says to me,

"I am at work! Have faith! This is for My glory!"

I have known the joy that is born from pain. I gave birth to 3 beautiful children, grew them in my own body, had 3 different experiences but known God all the same. He was there for every ripping panic attack that threatened to tear the very life from me and my little girl inside of me in that first pregnancy. He saw. He breathed. We are because He is I AM.

I watched my girl DANCE that night. There is NOTHING like seeing the sweet, innocent purity of your almost 5 year old big/little girl raise her "on the verge of losing their little dimpled" hands in unashamed praise to her Father in Heaven.  We knew all the songs.  We belted them out and I was challenged to raise my own hands in praise. There is no shame in worshiping your Creator, no matter how old or young you are.

I am learning that to know and experience true joy, you sometimes have to experience deep sorrow and sadness. At that concert, a truth came to me so clearly. I closed my eyes, and in that moment, I felt free. I sensed God speaking to my soul,

"Daughter, I am healing you. You can trust me."

Have you read that passage of Scripture where Jesus spits on the ground, makes some mud with the saliva, and places it on the blind man's eyes? You can read the whole story in John 9. As I stood there that night, arms open, palms up to my Father, I felt like He was placing mud over my spiritual eyes and allowing me to "see" things new again. He tells me that I can walk in faith and freedom. I can trust Him with my life, my family, my future. I can trust Him now.

I AM is here with me. He has been here all along. I feel awakened.....renewed.

God is here, in our midst. Has your life taken a turn that you never thought possible? Are you at your own impasse? Do you also need to rediscover joy? May He whisper to your heart,

 "I am healing you. You can trust Me."

Believe with me and let your childlike faith soar. Cry out: 

Arms open, my soul! Awake!!


Friday, March 15, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Rest

I admit it. I have started anticipating Friday for another reason now. Not just because this day signals the beginning of the weekend, but because I am excited to see the topic for Five Minute Friday! I'm going to give it a try again this week! As soon as I saw the topic, I thought of this verse:

"Then Jesus said, 'Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, 
and I will give you rest.'"
Matthew 11:28

In the midst of the crazy sting of life, this is where I come to Him...

START:

I would LOVE to rest on a warm beach right now. To hear the water lapping against the shore, to see that Atlantic Ocean meet the skyline, stretching out endlessly in front of me.  To close my eyes and push my toes deeper into the heat of the Florida sand, to breathe in that salty sea air, feeling that mixture of hot sun and cool breeze spread across me....radiating from the inside out.  I grew up there.  For 18 years of my life. The ebb and flow of time and reality weighs heavy on my heart and soul, but when I close my eyes, I seek rest by the tropical sea. That place is as much a part of me as where I now live.  

In contrast, I can also close my eyes and picture myself at the base of Mount Rainier, sky filled with the vast beauty of that majestic mountain. I am there with my journal, in the middle of a field of flowers, writing poems and prayers, and I am captivated by the beauty and stillness.  I can almost hear the faint sound of a waterfall in the distance. Please don't interrupt me when I go to that place.

I go there to seek God. I cannot physically go to either of those places as often as I would like.  The clatter of dishes or the banging of little feet, the honking of a car horn or the stinging words spoken out of anger in this world around me interrupt the rest...life is spinning and swirling so fast that at times I can hardly catch my breath....yet when I close my eyes, my friends, I can GO there.  I can choose to close my eyes and create a mental image of the rest I so desperately seek, to breathe in the presence of God like the oxygen my body so desperately needs for life. 

I need You, God. You are my everything.  When the pressures of life come raging against me, when that water seems stormy or the mountains threaten to fall, You are there. I lift my hands, I close my eyes, and I SEEK You.  I fall hard into Your arms. As I open my eyes, the needs remain.  They press in, almost mocking, taunting me to crumble, yet my eyes are on You.  Help me, God!  THANK You for the rest You bring!

STOP

Do you want to link up and try this Five Minute Friday thing with me?  Here's where you can get started:

Friday, March 8, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Home

Here I am again! I loved writing the 5 minute Friday from last week so much that I am giving it a try again.  Here it is...honest and unscripted.  I am enjoying the people I encounter along the way.  We are all seeking and searching in this crazy life.  Thanks for stopping by my site! Give it a try for yourself soon!  Head over to Lisa Jo Baker's blog and connect with others on this journey of writing and authentic living. I am so glad I did! 5 minute Friday..the "How To"

START

Home is where I hang my heart.

When I came to Washington 9 years ago for the first time, as soon as that plane landed, I felt like I had come "home".  I saw those evergreen trees, and I was completely taken. I have been building my life here these 8 years since I packed up my childhood and moved across the country.

Home is my resting place, where I can let down my guard, wear pajamas and no make up, hear my husband chasing my girls around the house, listening to their squeals of delight.

Home can also be a place where I hide. I push aside my piles of laundry. I take them upstairs to my bedroom and throw them in a pile on the floor so that when you come over, you will not "see" that and judge the messes as I imagine you would.  That is pretty superficial, isn't it?  To assume that when you come to see me, that you would judge my "home" by its outward beauty instead of the love and warmth inside.

I beat myself up over the mess. I want it to go away, but I am too tired from running around and stepping over the toys of little ones, drained from a full day of work and learning to live this crazy life to consider really organizing my home.  Instead I stuff and stow away, hoping that when you come over you will not ask or need to visit those places where I hide my mess.  This was not as happy of a post as I would like, but it is the honest truth of where I am.

I want to hang my heart on this home of mine, to allow peace free reign, where I can learn to organize my chaos for myself, to learn to be myself again in this home of mine. To smile and allow it to reach my eyes once again. If you stop by, I can't hide the mess anymore.  This is simply me. Not where I want to be but striving for more.

STOP

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Five minute Friday: Ordinary

Okay....I know it is not Friday. It is Sunday afternoon. consider this my first attempt, my dry run if you will at this concept of "Five minute Friday". I have been following Lisa Jo Baker's blog this past year. Check it out when you have a chance!  You will be blessed!  Lisa Jo Baker - The Gypsy Mama  I had started feeling like my ordinary moments were just that...plain old ordinary living. I love connecting with my far away friends through words and photos.  I love finding real and authentic people willing to step out on a limb and share the truth of who they really are...flaws and all.  This author admits to having cheerios on her floor, to losing her cool with her kids at times, and for loving her life and Lord with a passion that is so very inspiring.  Some of my friends from college have linked up with Lisa Jo's 5 minute Friday blog. I have been wanting to give it a try. They are also busy mamas and are my source of inspiration for trying this out. There are a few rules. I decided to try it this afternoon. I set a timer for 5 minutes and just wrote. Here's what came from my 5 minutes "on the clock". Enjoy! :)

Start:

Is it so ordinary...this life of mine?

I strive for so many things.  I want to be a good wife, mommy, teacher, and friend.

Is it so ordinary, that I traveled across the country to marry the love of my life 8 years ago?

That I would leave home and family of origin to start a life of my own?

Ordinary life becomes extraordinary when held out as a blessing. An offering.  A miracle in the making.

A life so bold and beautiful may feel ordinary in the mundane activities of the day, but when the layers are peeled back, it is the ordinary moments that transform a lifetime into something great.

Many ordinary moments all strung together form a beautiful necklace of faith, hope, and purpose.  I think about the "ordinary" beads of life I am stringing right now.  That race against time in the mornings to get myself up, dressed, baby fed, girls up, dressed, fed, and out the door with all the right materials to be successful in their day at Grandma's house.  The way I care for my second graders in more ways than just their academic needs.  Someone needs a shoe tied, a listening ear.  Their grandmother has passed away.  They miss their mom.  I teach life lessons as well as book learning.  These are my ordinary moments.  I love them.  I am starting to see them as blessings and not dread the future with worry.  The next ordinary moments will be strung on my life's necklace too.  I wonder how many more miracles are in store for me in the disguise of ordinary living.......

Stop.  

Five Minute Friday: Ordinary

My Dear Single Sisters

My Dear Single Sisters,

This post is tender and heartfelt. I see you. I have great sensitivity toward your struggle. I know that your heart is good. I know how you ache to have the life and family you have always dreamed of, how it often feels beyond your grasp.  You gaze around at your friends and family members who are dating or are already married.  You feel happy for them, but there is a part of your heart that feels slighted.  You wonder when it will be your turn.  You work so hard at being patient, staying busy, becoming the woman of purpose that you know God is calling you to be. You spend time serving, working, taking care of yourself, and praying for that unknown love that you hope and pray God will send to you.  But...in the back of your mind you wonder. You feel a sense of urgency and panic. You shake your fist and call out, "God, is there really someone out there for me?  Am I taking the right steps in the meantime? Is this preparation some kind of cruel joke?  Every time I open my heart to the possibility of someone, the hope gets snatched away."  Has this ever applied to you?

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, 
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life."
~Proverbs 13:12~

I looked up the meaning of the word "deferred" and I found these definitions:
  • Postponed or delayed
  • Withheld until a future date
Does your heart feel sick with wonder and worry about the future of your hopes and dreams? Those ones you guard close to your heart? I honor your commitment to Christ. I want to encourage you that He sees each freshly fallen tear that falls to your pillow on those lonely nights when you ache to hold or be held by another, to grow old with someone and share your love through your children, when your arms long to hold your own babies in your arms.  When sometimes it feels like your own biological clock is ticking so loudly, you have to cover your ears or bury yourself in busyness to get away from it.  This letter is for you, my sisters. These are words that I felt deep in my soul during my single years. I share them now with you:

"My love,
I long to hold you.  Will you come to Me? I will hear and heal your heart. I catch each fallen tear.


I know you don't understand what I am doing.  You feel like life has dealt you such an unfair blow. You wonder if you have done something wrong along the way, as though the blessing of marriage and a family has been withheld from you.  Is this why you feel that your hope has been delayed?  When your heart feels sick, you feel prone to become discouraged and depressed.  I know that prolonged waiting takes its toll on you.  Your eyes are constantly on the future, toward that unseen goal.  The unknown stretches out before you.  You cry out to Me and wonder if I hear you.  Take heart. I am with you always.  Let your longing be for Me.  Let Me be your First Love. Look to Me always.  Let the pain of wondering cause you to consider the everyday joys I have placed before you.  If you begin to doubt, remember this truth:


You are my child. I am pleased with you. I see the way you love those around you.  I notice the way you are turning your heart toward Me.  I am preparing you for the next moments.  Trust Me for the future.  I hold your hope, and I will not disappoint you.  Look up to Me.  When your heart grows faint, let Me hold you so that you can become strong again.  Hide your heart in the truth of My word and My thoughts of you. Your joy is in Me.  Hold your head high, My daughter.  Let Me be your healer."  

Sincerely, the Keeper of your Hopes and Dreams <3

I am now on the "other side". Yet I distinctly remember that delicate and vulnerable time of life as if it were yesterday. I have been married for almost 8 years now. If you ask my husband, he will tell you the story of how I fought God's plan for us even in those early years before marriage. Don't get me wrong. I longed for a husband, a home, and a family of my own, but I often held very tightly to my own hopes and dreams for how I thought love would come to be.  I tried to limit God. I ignorantly determined that I could control how and when He would choose to bring my husband to me.  My hope was often deferred, but I am so thankful that God reminds me time and again, even now, to turn my gaze toward His, learn from Him, and become the woman He is calling me to be in my moments. My hope still becomes "deferred" or "delayed" in different ways. God is saying to me, even as I am married and have 3 young children of my own, to be patient, relax, and enjoy this stage.  Life goes by in the blink of an eye.  Compared to eternity, what is this life really but a vapor?

"Yet you do know know what your life will be like tomorrow.
You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away."
~James 4:14~

Whether married or single, let's learn together to make our moments count.  There is joy in the journey!!

Love, Rebecca

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I Will Lift My Eyes

Sometimes I look down. I forget God's promises to me.  I allow the Enemy to tell me that I cannot do something or accomplish a task.  I grow weary.  My children need my attention, even when I am not feeling well. I want to rest.  God sends just the right help when we need it most, doesn't He?  When my mother-in-law came over today, she brought a pan of lasagna, her listening ear, and eyes that chose to look up even as I told her to step on the pile of dirty laundry that was on the floor, waiting to be sorted and washed.  She saw the needs.  She saw, loved, and accepted ME. As she sat and folded my clean clothes and watched my kids so that I could take an uninterrupted bath, I remembered that life is so much more than the worries and wondering.  It is about trusting Him for each moment. Realizing that it is not a coincidence that the verses I have been thinking about "show up" in a message at church on Sunday, that maybe getting sick and being at home unexpectedly to recover is really a chance to slow down, rest,  and reflect. I was even blessed by 2 high school girls that came over this evening, played with my kids, and gave me a few moments of peace.  I may not have been receptive to that blessing had I not been willing to remember this truth:


I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
~Psalm 121:1-2~

~ Looking Up ~

He often brings help in the most unexpected ways.  Today was such a great example of that! I wrote in a previous post about laying my palms open, expecting joy, forgetting that holding my fist tight is such a normal response, that I will have to train my mind to ask God to renew me, to change me from within. That when we seek God, the Enemy of our souls presses back hard against us. Do you ever feel like giving up the fight? In lifting up my eyes, I am reminded tonight that God is my Healer.  Have you considered that in your situation?  That He is more than enough for you?  That as you lift up your eyes, He hears you and cares deeply about what you are going through!  I was reading the parable of the Sower tonight, found in Matthew 13.  Verses 14-15 caught my eye.

“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;

    you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
 
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
    they hardly hear with their ears,
    and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.

If I see with my eyes, hear with my ears, and understand with my heart, and TURN toward my Savior, He will Heal me.  What a profound truth. My heart sometimes becomes calloused. How about yours? I considered that this evening, even as my 2 year old came over to me.  In a rare moment of stillness, she sat with me and turned the board book pages of her children's Bible as I felt like a child myself at the feet of Jesus, reading this story. I think it can become easy to fall into a mode where our hearts do become hardened to the truth.  Life circumstances cause us not to "hear" truth as readily and softly accept it as we did before.  I pray for ready soil, an open heart, and a life ready to learn what God has for me in my moments.  Join me? <3

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Be Renewed

Just for today, choose to renew your mind. Clear away the negative thoughts and focus on who you are in Me. Reflect on this verse:

"but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint."
~Isaiah 40:31~