If you grew up in a two parent home you are likely familiar with the following scenario: A child is wailing loudly in protest to whichever parent happens to be administering discipline.
"I want my daaaaaaddyyyyyyyy!"
You would often find me so, curled into the back of my closet, sitting on piles of stuffed animals and discarded prom dresses. I would cry for whichever parent had not crossed me - hoping they would hear from the living room on the other side of the wall.
Then there was a day that I opened my mouth to cry for my mother or father and found that I could not call for either. I knew that neither would offer the comfort I sought. My tears became suddenly silent and I whispered,
"I want my Jesus."
I sought comfort from the only constant in my life. I didn't need to make a sound in order to be heard.
Today I can recapture my tiny closet sanctuary with perfect clarity. The pattern of my best Sunday dresses, walling me in, are burned into memory. The uneven plaster carelessly applied to walls never meant to be examined so closely. And the words, written in green crayon, "I want my Jesus."
That closet became my refuge. It was there my heart broke for the first time over friendships broken and lost. In that place I felt fully the first effects of loneliness and rejection. Pressed against three walls, I cried, confident each tear was captured by a Savior who loves me. I never cried for anyone else after that first prayer was whispered. My soul found its' resting place.
The place I used to hide taught me to hide myself in Him.
I have been hiding ever since. Not in a closet. These days my soul finds more refuge in the open air, admiring the handiwork of my Heavenly Father. I have sought Him from dried-up drainage canals, and in pine-carpeted woods, in clearings of wildflower fields, graveyards, and winding country roads.
I'm tempted to wrap this up with a nice little bow. I could do a concordance search on the word "hide" and find the deeper meaning, paired with a few quotes from the Psalms to solidify my position. But that wouldn't be real. The fact is that right now my soul is seeking sanctuary again. I wish so much to return to my closet. I have very little that is familiar to me right now. I am vulnerable. I am broken. I am being humbled. And all I know to do is cry, "I want my Jesus."
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Friday, October 12, 2012
Note to self.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
I'm not sure that anyone would describe me as a particularly ambitious person. I have a death-fear of disappointment so I tend to keep my goals and expectations low. I am exceptionally good at meeting the status-quo. Sure, I have a few broad life goals - fall in love, get married, have a few babies - but those are things I don't have much control over. I can't necessarily make them happen in a set time frame.
Last week after she rattled off a short-list of things she wants to do in the next couple of years, Jordan asked me, "Bekah, is there anything that you want to do?" I had to answer honestly. I've never thought about it. So I started to. And once I put some things on paper I realized that the things I want to do are not far out of my reach. The only thing standing in my way is me.
This song by Bronze Radio Return came on while I was doing my dreaming. I love these lyrics.
...The crowd stands still
No one's moving they'd just rather stand and wait until
Someone starts to move
Someone starts to move
Shake, Shake, Shake
It's all what you make of it, take what you will
You know, know, know your only mistake
Is if you stand still
So Shake, Shake, Shake,
It's all what you make of it, break it until
You know, know, know your only mistake
Is if you stand still
It's only up to you
It's only up to you
Am I the only one who relates to that? It feels like I've been waiting for someone else to make the first move with my life! I'm a capable leader. But I prefer to follow. Forging my way ahead, alone scares the bejeezies out of me. I want to be brave. I want to change. So I will not stand still.
I wrote out a list of 30 things I want to do before I'm 30 years old. Some of them are things I've always wanted to do, and some of them made the list simply because I'm scared to do them. I know that following those conquered fears will be dozens of mini-epiphanies. But I want to share my list here so I'll have some accountable - if only to myself - for actually doing it.
- Sing in public
- Own a pair of Tevas
- Live debt-free
- Take a photography or Photoshop class
- Visit Washington DC and see the Presidential Monuments and Holocaust Museum
- Go sledding (in SNOW!)
- Complete every page of at least one journal
- Read the Bible cover to cover
- Explore a cave
- Be thoroughly kissed on the stroke of a New Year
Order an actual drink at an actual bar
- Put my feet into the Pacific Ocean
- Go backpacking up a real mountain
- Join (and go to) a gym
Learn to keep plants alive
- Save $3,000 (we're working on a "3" theme here, so why not?)
- Have short hair
- Visit Europe (I couldn't possibly pinpoint one place. This'll hafta do.)
- Run a 5k
- Run a 10k
- Have my writing published
- Photograph a wedding
- Learn how to use fondant
- Teach a bible study
- See a counselor
- Define my sense of style (Rock it.)
- Make a swing in the middle of the woods
- Learn to dance (lessons, anyone?)
- Buy an original piece of art that I adore
P.S. I will be coming back to this post periodically to cross off the items I've completed!
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Tears pricked my eyes. They were speaking our language. After several minutes exchanging testimonies and stories I was overcome by the providence of being stranded in this town with these people. It was apparent with every passing moment that God planted us there for a purpose.
|French Camp, MS at Sunrise|
Monday, June 11, 2012
I've recently encountered circumstances that have made me come face to face with things that I don't like in myself. Perhaps it's being in a new house church surrounded by new friends that has made me strikingly aware of the impressions I am making. I've seen these things in myself before. And I always assumed that if I am displeased with myself, how much more is my Heavenly Father displeased?
I think I would probably prefer that the Lord just make me into a little clone of Jesus. It's hard to imagine the Creator of the universe formed and fashioned me - uniquely - to worship Him. I find myself wanting to love Him like others do. I have the privilege of walking with some amazing women of God and I often think to myself, "If only I could be like her. I want the sweet, encouraging spirit of Hollie. I want the hospitality of Deb. I want the steadfastness of Lauren." There are so many beautiful traits in the women around me that I wish I had. I'm constantly comparing myself to others and seeing ways that I just don't measure up.
I was recently praying about this part of who I am that I don't particularly like. It's a part of my personality where it seems most of my problems, struggles and temptations stem from. Once again, I found myself pleading with the Lord, "Please, take this away! I don't want to be this way anymore. I don't want to be this person! I don't like who I am." In that moment, God spoke to my heart saying,
"Who are you to say to me, 'Why have you made me like this?' I made you this way for a reason. I am not going to take it away. I am going to redeem you."For years my friends and family have reminded me that this part of who I am is both a weakness and a strength. However, it is only a strength when submitted to the Lord. Those reminders have consistently gone in one ear and out the other. That's not what I wanted to hear. I wanted someone to help me pray it away. Because all I could see were the glaring weaknesses this brought to my life. All I saw was imperfection and I just wanted Him to cut it out. That's the easy way, right? Just start over? For years now I have wrestled with God over this; never understanding why it wouldn't just go away and wondering how I was failing in my pleading prayers. I was unyielding in my desire to see it gone.
|The pressure of the Potters hand|
"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits and in His word I do hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord, for with the Lord there is mercy and with Him is abundant redemption."
|What does He see?|
This concept is particularly powerful to me because my earthly father is a Potter. I've grown up alongside the potters wheel and I know that the transformation from a hard, stubborn lump of clay to a beautiful and useful vessel is not an easy one. Stubborn clay is beaten, thrown, drenched in water, sliced and sometimes re-worked several times before it becomes something useful. I know this transformation process won't be easy. But I know I can trust the Potter. Ultimately He will get more glory when I allow Him to redeem beauty from these ashes.
So I choose to hope in the Lord. With Him is abundant redemption.
Are there things you don't like about yourself? Do you believe they can be redeemed?
Pottery photographs are of my Poppie and were taken by me March 2011.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Those who know me only through my blog or other social media outlets know me as a singular person. Rebekah Hope. But to those who run in the circles of friends and family I am one part of a duet known as "Bekah and Jordan" or more commonly "The Ward Girls". One part is rarely without the other. My sister and I share something special. Actually, we share most everything - an apartment, a car, clothing, and countless other things. We're rarely apart. We don't think twice about it. It's our "normal". Neither realizes how abnormal or unique this relationship is until we get the funny looks and the exclamations of "It's so great you and your sister can do that! My siblings and I could never..."
People have told us that we bicker like an old married couple. We laugh, because we know it's true. But it's taught us how to resolve conflicts quickly. There is so much we have learned from each other and continue to learn. After so many years doing everything together it took a bit to adjust to the fact that we have completely separate interests. She can spend hours doing crafts of all kinds (knitting, quilting, sewing, etc. I swear the girl is a 70 year old woman in a 21 year olds body) leaving me completely bored. While I spend hours writing and she's probably read only about a half dozen of my blog posts.
One of the things that I'm most grateful for is that Jordan has taught me how to laugh at myself. I take things way too seriously and make a dramatic big deal out of just about everything. She makes me see things through her eyes and realize how ridiculous I'm being. Jordan reminds me of this verse from Proverbs 31, "She is clothed with strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future." So often she sees the bigger picture, therefore finding it easier to laugh in the present. There are few things I enjoy more than laughing with my sister.
Jordan, I am so proud of the woman you are growing into. Each talent amazes me with your handmade dresses, beautiful quilts, woven jewelry and perfect pie crusts. Every day I see your heart transformed to look more and more like Jesus. You have the heart of a servant in every way. Thank you for working so tirelessly to serve me. You never complain, though you have every right to. I am so grateful for the example you set for me. I thank God for you, my precious sister. I love you.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
This is an illustration that I wrote several years ago after reading Luke 18:35-43. I pictured the scene vividly, looking something like this.
In the distance I heard voices, coming towards me slowly. Before long, multitudes of people were passing me by on every side, pressing me to stand and pushing me further off the road. Confused, I asked where all these people were coming from and someone told me, "The Great Rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth, is passing by Jericho!" The Rabbi? Jesus? Could this be the great teacher I'd heard so much about? My cousin told me of how He'd recently healed ten lepers in a village of Galilee. There was rumor that He was the Messiah, the one we'd waited for, our Redeemer. I heard that He healed the blind before. Surely He could heal me. But how would He even see me? There were many people here. I heard voices all around me. How could I get His attention? How do I even know where He is?
Before I could stop myself I lifted my voice and began to cry out, "Jesus! Son of David! Have mercy on me!" I knew I looked like a madman. "Jesus! Have mercy on me!" I felt heat rush up my face in embarrassment as I struggled to make myself heard over the crowd of voices. The people closest to me grew quiet and I could feel the judgmental stares. I pushed aside my shame and continued to cry, "Have mercy on me, Jesus! Jesus!" Someone shoved against me roughly and said, "Be quiet man! Don't disturb the master with your yelling!" Even still, as the crowd continued to move past me I lifted my voice louder, straining to make myself heard. My mouth and throat were coated with dust stirred by the crowd. I couldn't stop now! I had hope. Hope that I would see the Son of God. Desperation grew in me and I cried out with urgency, "Son of David, have mercy on me! Jesus! Have mercy on me!"
I soon realized that the constant shove toward the city ceased. I paused to listen, trying to understand why they stopped. In the distance a voice gave a command that I couldn't quite hear. People around me started murmuring and whispering. I heard a woman ask, "What is the Master going to say to him?" Him? Who did she mean? Someone nearby muttered in frustration, "The whole crowd is stopping because that blind fool couldn't keep his mouth shut!" I don't think he cared that I heard him. I felt the stillness grow before I heard it. Suddenly, a man took hold of my arm and spoke, "The Master would like to see you. I will lead you to Him." One of His followers began to lead to me through the crowd to the place where Jesus stood. I stumbled behind him, sure that my beating heart could be heard by all those standing in silence around me.
You did not need to tell me the moment I stood before the Son of David. His very presence was one of authority - yet not authority that induced fear. Rather, my heart became still in perfect peace. The multitude collectively held their breath, awaiting His words. Would He rebuke me? Touch me? Send me away? He simply asked me a question, "What do you want me to do for you?" Relief flooded my mind, I felt as though I were a child being offered a wish for my greatest desire. But this was no wish - the man before me was the very Son of God who could bring the impossible to pass. Overcome with emotion, my request came through a sob, "Lord, that I may receive my sight!" Oh! I will never forget His words to me! "Receive your sight; your faith has made you well." Immediately my eyes were opened and I saw! Oh, the light! The Light! The Light of the World flooded my darkness. And from that moment forward I knew I would follow Him.
I plan on following this with a post about the desperate cries of our hearts. But in the meantime...
Have you ever cried out in desperation? What was the response?
Monday, February 20, 2012
I am a people-pleaser. I always have been. I want to make sure that everyone is happy, but more importantly I want to be sure they are happy with me. Nothing makes me more uneasy than the thought that someone might, possibly be upset with me. This has caused an endless amount of anxiety in my life, because like all of us, I am full of faults. I put my foot in my mouth. Often. I have been known to step on more than a few toes. But this is so desperately not who I want to be. As a result, I learned from a very young age to apologize well, and apologize often. I've since been told that I have an "I'm sorry" problem. I apologize senselessly for the most ridiculous things that are completely out of my control. All because I desperately want those around me to be pleased. Most importantly, I want the Lord to be pleased, but all too often I forget this in my search for human approval.
For example: I didn't graduate from high school in the conventional way. I didn't complete four years and walk across the stage. The way I saw it I "dropped out" and got my GED. Which is true. But I decided to drop out having obtained all necessary credits apart from 1 in English. I went on to earn nearly perfect scores in the English portions of the GED test, and I began working an entire year earlier than most of my peers. But I couldn't get excited about that. I was sure when I received that "General Equivalency Diploma" it might as well have stamped "loser" across my forehead (despite the fact that many of my home-schooled friends had the same document). I was so ashamed by what I imagined people to be thinking of me, since I certainly didn't think much of myself. So when my parents threw me a surprise graduation party, I was mortified. They revealed that dozens of people were gathered to honor my accomplishments and I secretly wanted to crawl into a hole and cry. I was surprised to find that these people were genuinely proud of me, even if I wasn't proud of myself. It was then I began to see that perhaps my perceptions of how people saw me were not as true as I believed.
Worrying about what others may think of me and the decisions that I make has caused no small amount of anxiety for me, especially in the last year. This fear has unfortunately made me hesitate in the directions God has clearly given to me. So it came as no surprise that the words He spoke to me for this year began with, "Please me." Please Him. Not "Please your family." or "Please your friends." or "Please your church." or even "Please yourself." His word is to please Him. I spent the last year learning to hear his voice. Now I must learn to obey Him, no matter the cost. His is the only opinion that matters in the end. He alone is the one I will give account to. I would say that I have lost sight of this goal, but the truth is I'm not sure I've ever had sight of it.
If I'm being completely honest the thought of publishing this blog scares me silly. My mind is racing over all the ways that it could be misunderstood or taken out of context. I worry, "Will they think that I'm trying to dismiss godly counsel in favor of my own opinion?" When this couldn't be further from the truth.
The Lord spoke to me saying, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you." If I make it my singular goal to seek His kingdom rather than the approval of man, He promises to sustain me. I must let go of the obsession I have with pleasing everyone all the time and turn my attention to pleasing Him alone. This fight to change the way I think has only just begun, but I have no doubt that He will transform what is broken. Instead of being bound to please men, I am bound to please my Heavenly Father. There is no greater delight. He will set me free.
Do you ever struggle with pleasing man vs. pleasing God? How do you overcome this?