Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I wish...

 Have you ever thought you wanted something so badly, wished for it with your whole heart, and then been sorely disappointed after you got it? I have. I am a dreamer, and with that comes a lot of wishing. I wish I had a bigger house. I wish I had a maid to clean that house. ;) I wish my hair was awesomer. I wish that sweats and house shoes were the most fashionable thing to wear. I wish my life was more like that girl over there, cause she's got it all together. I wish, I wish, I wish. The dictionary defines a wish as a want or desire, seems harmless enough. The trouble with wishing and wanting is that they don't play nice with contentment. Wishing says, 'If I can just have a little more, then I'll stop wishing.' But just like every genie in a bottle story ever, we always end up wishing for more wishes. Wishing is never satisfied, and our wishes never play out the way we plan for them to.

Hope, hope is a different story. We confuse the two, use them interchangeably even- wishing and hoping. 

They are not the same. 

Hope: the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.

Did you catch it? Hope goes beyond wishing and wanting. Hope is tangled up with faith and trust. Hope believes. Hope doesn't come and go, nor is it controlled by circumstance. Hope stands the test of time, and it grows. Then, when you see that hope fulfilled, because you know you will, instead of disappointing you to the core, it breathes life into parts of you that you thought were dead. It is water to dry bones, strength to the weary heart, courage to the fearful one. 

Why then, do we cheapen the deep hopes of our hearts by letting them turn into vain wishes, or worse, by letting them take second stage to those longings? 

Father started stirring something in me through a simple moment with my Jere. At four years old, he is certainly full of wishes, but he is also so full of hope and wonder. Like his momma, he is most at home knee deep in ocean waves. He has asked me no less than twice a week for the last four months if we were going to the beach. Not, "can we go to the beach today?" but "are we going to the beach?" Between baby newness, homeschooling, a never-ending to do list, and several rainy attempts- we were long overdue. I knew he needed it and I told him we would go. We had a stir crazy toddler on our hands and I felt like I was watching him crater under the weight of all of the recent change. Today, a week into October, was such a gorgeous day and we high-tailed it to the beach after school. Finally. The look on Jere's face as he ran out into the waves is etched onto my momma heart. He threw his hands up and squealed until he was laughing uncontrollably. I watched as the cares of the last few months washed away. A hope fulfilled.

Kids are great teachers when it comes to issues of faith, because they are able to blindly trust in spite of what their surroundings may do to discourage them. We accuse them of blurring the lines of make believe and reality, but it's really just that we are all hard-wired by God to hold on to hope in the face of adversity. Somewhere along the way we get distracted, wounded, jaded, and it changes us. Today, I am asking Jesus to take me back to a place of innocence, to wash away cynicism and distrust and replace it with love that drives out fear and doubt. I am asking him to help me clear out the desire for instant gratification and make room for patient hope again. I am asking Him to remind me of my buried hopes so that I can see them refreshed and fulfilled. 

I pray this finds you doing the same. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The trouble.

It's no secret to those that know us well that we are fresh in the middle of wild heartache.

Just 2 weeks ago tomorrow we received a call that my husband's younger brother, Trevor was tragically killed in an accident. We spent a week and a half with our family and friends a few states away. And now the return to life as we knew it before is proving to be harder than we had imagined. As I toss the details around in my brain I am overwhelmed with sadness. These are the moments when our faith is made tangible. These are the moments when our hope is real. Just days before we were saying "Trevor is" and in the last weeks we shifted those same conversations and endearing remarks to "Trevor was."

There aren't really words to describe how that hurts, the reality shift. There aren't really words for all of the emotions that you go through when you are grieving the sudden empty spot. It is an emptiness that we grieve. We do not grieve Trevor's new found freedom. We don't mourn his new skin or new song. We rejoice in that part. That is our hope and the most redemptive thing in all of this. Jesus redeems. But every single one of us that loved him would be lying if we even attempted to pretend that we were not broken to the core over missing him.

I am writing this simply to record an account of where my heart is today. I know that tomorrow will be different. What my weary heart wants to do is curl up and weep. I want to give in to the ache and just be left alone. I told a friend that today. I told her that I didn't feel like creating, that I didn't feel like sewing or painting or writing. I didn't feel like doing anything. And her response was two fold.

First she said this.
"I think your sadness encourages you to keep away from one form of worship that sets you free. Kill that."
Whoa. The words sort of crushed my heart and lifted my spirit at the same time- painful truth.

And then she sent me Psalm 42.
Psalm 42:5-8 MSG
"Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God— soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God. When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you, From Jordan depths to Hermon heights, including Mount Mizar. Chaos calls to chaos, to the tune of whitewater rapids. Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers crash and crush me. Then God promises to love me all day, sing songs all through the night! My life is God’s prayer."

When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of You. These words snapped me back into reality. The trouble with grief is the way it blinds, the way it sneaks up and pulls the wool over our eyes. Without warning my line of sight got a little foggy (or a lot.) Not only was I squinting to appreciate today, but I started having to search for the goodness of God in yesterday too. How does that even happen?? Because I stopped rehearsing the things I know about my DAD.
We have an enemy that comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He seeks to steal my joy, kill my creativity, and destroy my testimony. He wants me to stay swallowed up in sadness and nudges me away from the very things that bring freedom- my worship. Worship is more than songs. It is every part of me that glorifies Jesus. I will be found worshipping with all of me, and not reserving any of it. In doing that, God is so faithful to give me a new song.

The trouble with grief is that when left unchecked it sucks the life right out of us. I want to live, and I want to live loudly. So, i am dusting off the ol' sewing machine today and diving back into writing. There is healing in it.
Happy Tuesday, friends.

Monday, September 30, 2013

In case you missed it...

I am contributing over at Joyful Home and Life on Mondays now!!

You can view today's post here. Hop on over and show them some love :)

That moment when I ask God to scoot over so I can squeeze in next to Him....

I hesitated sharing this, for no other reason except that I was scared. Having spent so many years running from being super spiritual and unapproachable, I am coming to terms with the very special ways God speaks to my heart. Sometimes I feel the nudge to share and when I don't, I steal from God the opportunity to speak and be heard in my life, my relevant stories. So here it goes.
The following exchange happened one morning a couple of weeks ago, while I was making oatmeal for my boys. Fresh out of time in the Word it looked a lot more like Father singing over me and me singing back to Him but for this, I will just tell it as a story. I think the weight of what He shared with me will echo in your hearts too. At least I hope so.
I hear a whisper. Its my name and it blows through the trees. I start to run, because I know who it is that calls me. I run in and out of trees around corners until I catch a glimpse of Him. Just after the trees open up, into a field sitting on a horizon, I see Him sitting there, on the edge of something. I am immediately nervous and quiet and my heart starts pounding as I walk slower and slower toward the silhouette. He is casually parked in the grass, with broad shoulders His arms drape over His knees in front of His chest. I sit next to Him, dwarfed by His shadow. I don't feel insignificant, just small. He smiles but his eyes are steady as He looks straight out into a vast horizon in front of us. Without looking away He says "I want you to close your eyes. And dream." I am quick to do it, because dreaming is my favorite, and I imagine that sitting here, in closeness with Him that I will see things I have never seen. I giggle like a kid on Christmas and squeeze my eyes shut. My joy quickly turns to grief. I am distraught.  When I close my eyes, my mind races past all of the good things, straight to a far corner of my heart and a closed door. I know what's in there. It is full of lies and insecurity and all of the reasons I am not cut out for greatness. The door swings open with no warning and the words hit me in the face as they are loosed. I can't describe the feeling except that I can only imagine that getting caught in a swarm of bats making a hasty escape would feel exactly this awful. My eyes are still closed and I feel a tear break through and roll down my cheek. I cannot see the dreams for all of the terrible words. 
It is in this moment that I feel the weight of His hand on my back and a whisper.
"No. Think of Me."
It is impossible to think about God without thinking about the way He thinks of me. I walk through the door and find a room muraled in dreams. Beautiful. Colorful. Truthful. There are no lies here.
Hope is believing. It is knowing where our help comes from. Hope for me is a position of the heart. But hope for my Dad is simpler. I wish and dream and believe. He does. When God hopes over me, He speaks it into being. When He does, all of the lies take flight.
[Jeremiah 29:11] For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. ♥

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Always on the defense

Have you ever been blindly sucked in by your kids? I'm talking about those moments when all sweetness and selfless getting along with siblings takes over. I zone out for a second, like a sheep to the slaughter house, or worse- like deepwater prey drawn into the gorgeousness of a tiny light in a dark place and then BOOM. Gnarly teeth and "Good feeling gone."

It is in these moments that I despise parenting the most. It's true. Sure, the constant arguing and lack of personal space get uncomfortable, but nothing stings as much as a seemingly magical moment gone awry. I think every parent EVER understands this. Each of us has a rolodex of memories that leave a little to be desired- the special dinner turned toddler freak out, the quality time vacation turned family bonding cotastrophe, quick errands turned three-hour whine fest. It is one of the threads that binds us together.

These moments, all lined up without any of the awesomeness in between can seem like a recipe for crazy, and maybe they are. But these moments also make us. More importantly these moments make our kids. More accurately, our reactions to these moments make our kids. Have you ever stopped to wonder why we find such tiny mishaps so troubling? I know exactly why they get under my skin. It always always always has to do with me. When my idea of how things were supposed to go down gets all messed up, I get all bent out of shape. It goes against what I deeply believe about my life, that it's all about me. Ugh. There, I said it. This is one of those times where Paul's confusing dialogue about doing things that he doesn't want to do and not doing what he does want to do comes into play in my own life. Every single time my kids bust up my dream world with their nonsense I am reminded that the very thing that I am trying to steer them from is what is alive and thriving in my own heart. "Stop fighting. Share. Don't be selfish. Speak kindly. Be pleasant with one another."

My boys will always follow my example before they hear my advice. Until I begin to examine my own motivation, take captive my own thoughts, release my mind to God's transformation, and mirror my heart to the heart of my Jesus, I will continue walking away from these encounters with an ache in my spirit.

Inventory your reactions and learn something about yourself today.

These little people are the leaders of the tomorrow. The way we lead them is shaping the way they will lead others. Youch.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Keep the change... no wait.

Have you ever made a change, a huge God-said-it-beyond-a-shadow-of doubt change and then freaked out? Yeah... that.

Homeschooling. It is the most misunderstood thing on the planet, by those that scoff and love alike. I have a handful of friends that still believe that homeschoolers are nerdy and unsocialized and wear strange clothes. I have another set of friends that think "your husband must makes loads of money if you can afford to stay home and do that." Then there's the friends that smile and nod on the outside but on the inside they think I am overprotective and only homeschool because I am worried about peer pressure or sex education. And then there's a whole group of folks that think they totally get "why" I homeschool. Truth is, probably none of them do.

If I am completely honest, I have to admit that I am simply doing what I was told. Obedience. It goes a long way these days. My heart does break for the moral decline of our society and in turn our schools. I do hate watching our kids slip through the cracks barely making it through their school years, jaded and not thriving. But my position is not mine to defend. I heard the Lord loud and clear on this issue. I have to be the one to pour my heart and soul into my kids 24/7. I have to do it because He asked me to. There are lessons to be learned here for me and for them. I am learning to trust God's heart, His character, even when I can't make sense of it in my own mind. That's my heart on the good days.

What about the hard days? What about the days when I think I will go crazy if I have to do one more retrace of my steps just to remember where I put down the last locate-able eraser in the house? What about the days when I want to walk down two blocks to the elementary school and tearfully beg them to accept my children back? What about the days when one of the kids finds me in the kitchen scooping Nutella from the jar with my finger because all available spoons are in the sink and washing one would just be too much? What about the days when I just want to quit?

I don't resent the hard days. I can't. I do not like them, but they are vital. Why?? Because it is on these days that I press in hard to Jesus and lean on Him completely. It is on these days that I know for certain that I am blazing a trail that is God-inspired and not Bekah-inspired. If it were my own convictions, my own plan, that put me here it would be easy to quit. But the faithful nudging of my Dad keeps me focused.

Nothing amazing comes easy. Nothing. So, yes, maybe once a week I fill the shoes of awesome homeschool mom that has it all together, if I'm lucky. The rest of the time I am just a tool. And I am ok with that. I need to be used. In fact, I was made for it. And so were you.

Hope this finds you embracing usefulness and everyday graces. Happy Wednesday.

Color me happy.

I have been overhearing conversations lately about the way I dress. I am not joking. I have literally walked up on or turned around and found folks talking about my color choices atleast 4 times in the last two weeks. That would be enough to make some women retreat to hiding. It has been in response to yellow shorts and coral stripes and teal pop Toms and coral skinnies, turquoise tank tops, plaid button ups, and big rose stud earings... a few of my favorite things. This isn't a post about insecurity or gossip or comparison. This is not a post about what-not-to-wear. In actuality not a single person has said anything ugly. It has been more "How are you wearing that and pulling it off??  It doesn't match at all." Either way I am actually compelled to share the madness behind the shift in my own heart. I pray it is liberating for someone.

If you have been around for some time and know the me of even 5 years ago, then the process may have been so gradual that you didn't notice. But if I were to show you a comparison in photos, I think people would be surprised.
I used to be neutral obsessed. My closet looked like a brown paint sample strip. I even sorted my clothes by color and they basically ranged from white/khaki to dark espresso/ black. All of the walls in our house were coffee shades. And our furniture was khaki and dark espresso. Brown made me comfortable. I lived by the rule "stick with neutrals and accent with color." It is a great rule, but I often limited my color accents to barely shades of green and blue.

[Insert disclaimer: if you love neutrals, this isnt an attack against you, just an observation of myself.]

I was playing it safe. There is a crazy comfort in what you've always known, what comes natural. But then there's those things that call to us from deep inside- wishes, hopes, dreams, fresh perspective. Those things are color for me. Freedom is color. Jesus is color. God's presence is color. For me, as I started really chasing God, loving Him in the quiet and stillness and also the hurried craziness of life, I started seeing the colorful reality of the everyday.

I am a quilter, a lazy self-taught one, but I love it. I love it for the colors. I had a friend tell me "I don't get quilts. I don't get the patterns and the mixed matched colors." Gasp. I realized that all the things she disliked were all the things that I loved.

It was in that moment that I saw the weight and reality of what God was working in my heart. As I pray for more creativity and more vision and more Holy Spirit goodness, I get louder and crazier and more colorful. And it's ok. Because I am not afraid of color anymore. Today I wear lots of color, and our home is full of all the colors that make us happy. There's hardly a brown thing in sight, and we love it.

I am free. I refuse to play it safe. After all, the only safe I need is Jesus.

Hope this finds you changing and embracing. Happy Tuesday.