Discipleship

“To all who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave power to become children of God.” – John 1:12

A few weeks ago our pastor contacted my husband and me regarding a young woman who has just moved into the area and is looking for a church. She doesn’t drive so my husband and I were asked if we would be willing to pick her up for the following service. Of course we said yes without hesitating. She has attended nearly every service with us since.

She is only about four years older than our teen so to us she seems a lot like a kid, though legally, she is an adult. From what we’ve gathered, she’s experienced far more in her young life than she should have had to. That said, she knows what she needs is the Lord and she is hungry to get to know Him better. I’ve been praying that she will experience true healing as only the Lord can give.

There is something about this girl that reminds me of a lost neglected puppy. She seems almost desperate for someone to care for her. She doesn’t appear to have learned the basic characteristics of responsibility, communication, or being accountable for one’s own actions.

She comes across as very unsure of herself. In one moment she has the capability of carrying on intelligent conversation; in the next, she struggles to answer even the most basic questions about herself. When asked where in Connecticut she moved from, she could tell us the town, but not anything about the town or even what other cities are located near it for reference. She eventually said that she wasn’t from there; she is originally from Boston. So trying to make conversation, I asked her what part of Boston she is from. Everyone I have ever known from Boston will quickly tell you they are from Beacon Hill, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, Southie, Hyde Park etc. and usually with such pride that when you ask where they are from, they may not even say Boston at all, but will jump right to the neighborhood they hail from. When I asked her this question she looked really confused and told me, “Massachusetts”, as if Massachusetts were a part of Boston instead of the other way around.

In another instance, she seemed really unsure of where we are in comparison to other places. She referred to places south of us as being north etc. She also hasn’t given us the slightest idea of how long she has lived at any of the three places she has mentioned or whether she’s lived anywhere else. She only mustered a feeble, “not very long” in reference to her current residence and gave the same response to the residence just prior to this one. I get the feeling she may have moved around a lot.  I am not sure if she really knows so little about where she is and where she comes from or if she is just evading the questions because she doesn’t want us to know too much about her. She is a sweet girl, but something appears to be lacking in her basic comprehension abilities. My husband and I have decided not to push her, but to let her open up to us as she feels able and comfortable.

Her first service at our church she went right to the altar and cried at His feet. She experienced the amazing infilling of His Spirit. Unfortunately, shortly after that, she experienced a panic attack in our fellowship hall. Thankfully, another sister and I were able to pray with her until she regained a sense of calm.

She readily agreed to come again the following service. It was after that service that she began to expound on some of her health issues both physical and mental. She struggles with anxiety and depression as well as a sense of being invisible to the world around her. She also confided that she has had long time stomach and digestive issues that cause her great discomfort and a fear of food.

During her third service at our church, she asked me to pray for her mother and revealed that her mother is a drug addict. The next service she disclosed that she is living with her sister and that she just met her sister for the first time a couple of months ago. She recently disclosed that she also has a brother that she has just met.

We are unsure exactly why she had to move in with a sister she barely knows, but we suspect her mother’s drug addiction may have something to do with that. It might also be the debilitating anxiety she is constantly under. She sometimes texts me dozens of times in a day asking the same questions over and over and practically begging for some reassurance that she’s doing okay, that she hasn’t lost her salvation, and that God won’t leave her.

My husband and I will be starting a Bible Study with her this week in the hopes of discipling her in her walk with the Lord. The Bible Study is a twelve week course that is designed to give a basic overview of the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Please pray for my husband and me as we embark on this journey with her. It is our prayer that the Lord will anoint us for the task, help us to be sensitive to her needs, and give us the spirit of discernment to best be able to serve her. Most importantly, we are praying for her spiritual development and salvation.

Though we don’t yet know all the details of her situation, we know that “all things work together for good to them that love Him” (Romans 8:28) and we believe that God “makes all things new” (Revelation 21:5). She has begun a beautiful journey in the Lord and we feel blessed to be given an opportunity to witness it.

In His Love,
Rebekah L.

Restoration

As time as gone on with the new guy, things keep happening to rewrite various times that in the past held memories of pain. Thanksgiving 2011 ended with me meeting my then boyfriend for dinner where he called for a break. That Christmas when he originally had planned on proposing I was single, having been broken up with via his changing his status on facebook.

This past Thanksgiving weekend, 5 years later I had a wonderful time with the new guy. It was the first time we hung out just the two of us for an extended amount of time and then joined friends afterwards for an almost 7hr hang out in total. I left that night wishing I had more time with him and we talked every day since.

Soon after, we started praying together every day for our respective jobs. He works night shift so often we have prayed together twice a day. This is a man who knows prayer. This is a man who has touched the throne of God in the past and it shows in his confidence in going to the King.

On Christmas Day, after having asked our pastor if he could date me the Wednesday before, he asked my brother (standing in for my dad who’s on the other coast of the US) if he could date me and was given his blessing as well. Almost like a kid, he shyly came up to me and said “so… your brother gave his blessing so… here in the middle of the church, would you like to become official?” It was so sweet and sincere my heart smiled as I said yes.

I don’t know for sure that this guy is my Isaac, but I do know this:

– I very much enjoy our joint prayer time, he’s a great prayer partner and I’m thankful for him and his ability to join me in seeking the One who can make all things better and new

– So far, even when it wasn’t planned specifically to be that way, milestones in our relationship have coincided with painful ones of my past- even his birthday, December 21st was a marked day of my past- I had fasted 21 days for that first boyfriend… the end of which was done living out the scripture of “love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, pray for them that use you and persecute you too” since he had dumped me partway through my fast for him so on December 21, 2011 I declared it my victory day having successfully fasted for such a person and 5 years later I celebrated with my now boyfriend his birthday 🙂

– I appreciate how he treats me so much because of how poorly I have been treated in the past. I’ve been a klutz around him lately, spilling starbucks and water on him this past week. Instead of yelling at me and bursting out in anger like other guys of the past, he kept saying it was fine and not to worry about it. His patience with me, his care and concern, his prayers for me all melt my heart a little for him each time. He in turn is so thankful for me because his ex-wife was very emotionally/mentally abusive to him. My hard working, sweet, Godly, kind man was called so many things that he is not. It breaks my heart he had to endure that, but his commitment to his marriage vows (he never wanted to divorce, but she pushed for it and filed despite his trying to do anything to stop it for 3 years) tells me that he is a man who knows how to fight for a marriage and would for us if we ever got married.

– we both have had prayer journeys in our past – mine after my first break up, praying 4-6hrs daily for 3 months while his was 2hr prayer hikes daily for a year. Those intense times of prayer helped shape our respective walks with Christ and I think that’s part of what draws us to each other

All this is to say that I feel like God has called us to this time of dating to help restore each other through His guiding. I do not believe that two broken people should go into marriage, but I honestly feel like God brought us together now at a crucial time in which our prayers for and with each other are most effective in His journey of healing us both. His from the damage his ex-wife made in him and mine from the trauma of residency/past romances/long standing insecurities. I was sooo broken from so much. Earlier in 2016 I had daily suicidal thought; often the smallest pressure might send me into a panic attack. But God!

I’m surprised but thankful that God is using us to help HIM restore us respectively and I know He can do the same for you readers who need restoration. Likely it won’t be a new boyfriend/girlfriend – but God can and will restore each of you in His unique way if you’ll just let Him!

Jesus,

Bless those reading right now if they need restoration to find it in You. I pray that You restore what the locusts have eaten in Your perfect timing. Thank You for this new man in my life. Thank you for a man who would show me that he thinks i’m worth his putting his pride on the line to ask both my brother and my pastor for permission to date me. Thank you for my new daily prayer partner who tells me I’m beautiful, who’s grateful for me being in his life, who likes me just as I am- no need to change, no pressure to be anything but me. Help them seek Your Kingdom first as I have been doing and find all the other things added unto them.

In Him,

Rebekah M

This Is My Rebekah

When I first heard of this blog, “Being Rebekah”, many images and recollections flooded my head. Who was Rebekah? Is this is metaphor for these women who wish to emulate the qualities of my second matriarch? I remembered what the rabbis taught me regarding descriptions and anecdotes from Torah, Talmud, and Midrash.

Torah tells us, in B’resheit 24, Abraham sent one of his servants back to his people to find a wife for his son, Yitzhak. An angel went ahead of the servant. He prayed for an outward sign which was given by Rebekah bat Bethuel, and the rest as they say is history. Midrash tells us Abraham prayed while the servant was traveling that the woman God would provide would have the qualities God directed him by which to live his life. Talmud tells us exactly what these are: “to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to speak kindly to the unfortunate, to act justly towards all mankind, and to be ever grateful to the Eternal”. Separately there are references to modesty but none as clearly described until given by a rabbi generations after Abraham yahrzeit. Luke 14:8-11 tells of one person who honors himself in front of others leading to humiliation and another person who humbles himself in front of everyone leading to being honored publicly.

This is my Rebekah. Everyday she performs her role at work in virtual anonymity with professionalism and to the best of her abilities. Her behind the scenes efforts on behalf of all the other employees, for whom she has genuine concern, can only be described as a ministry.

This is my Rebekah. Everyday she provides strength and encouragement to those who are lacking in one area or the other, or both. She is a living example of God’s love, understanding, and forgiveness. There are Christians, as the world uses it as a label, but she is a Christian, as the honored title given to those in Antioch.

This is my Rebekah. She puts God first, above all things, living as closely to the Gospel of Emanuel bar Yosef in obedience and submission as being human allows. Her focus is on others, in many cases to the point of self sacrifice. She puts herself last so much this effort has become a habit which has become her lifestyle. It is to the point that when anyone does something for her she has a feeling of being unworthy, has a sense of embarrassment, and is disproportionately thankful.

My Rebekah is very much the way I imagine Isaac’s wife to have been: a tremendous blessing and gift of God, a help-mate, a strength, a compliment to my weaknesses and failings, and (most of all) my encouragement to continue building a relationship with the Eternal I Am.

Yitzhak (Isaac) N.

Praying into His Will

I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. ~Revelations 3:8

The day I got back from China I lost ALL my IDs. It was scary, it was freaky… but by the end of the day God assured me I was safe with Him. I still haven’t recovered them yet, but I know God’s got me because I know this is His Will to be here.

While I was in China, a guy from my church who is divorced with a daughter was one of the few who had a non-censored messaging app and we got to know each other a bit better. When I came back, he was the perfect companion for my insomnia/cold since he works nights and could text me while I was up coughing up a storm and jet lagged. Eventually he revealed he had feelings for me and wants to date.

The next day, we met up as part of a group and I mentioned that maybe I could hang out with him after a bible study and he replied maybe. 9PM rolls around and I’m at my brother’s house post-bible study where it was hosted and the guy texted me saying he was outside the church (where it is normally held) and could hang out if I wanted. He eventually revealed with prompting that his daughter was with him- I freaked out. I asked for us to take a step back and pray if this was God’s Will because to involve his daughter this early into things was more than I could handle. The weight of how things would affect her if it wasn’t God’s Will was more than I want to bear.

In all our time talking, I just couldn’t get why this guy was divorced. I asked him about his dating process with his ex-wife- decent timeline. I asked him if he prayed about her, he said yes repeatedly. I asked him if there were any warning signs and he said nothing major. I have continued to ask him about it including today… but today I think we might have found the big thing: praying into God’s Will.

He has repeatedly expressed that he has been praying to God that “I have to believe You know what You’re doing in my and [my daughter’s] life, Lord”… almost a plea to do better than before since he truly believed that God had brought his ex-wife into his life. But today I asked him one simple, but powerful question: did you pray if she was His Will?

The more we talked about her and his whole situation, the more I had the nagging suspicion that he had given God a list and asked it be fulfilled – he even had told God what name he wanted his future wife to be! To him, when this woman with his list came into his life and she even had the name he had asked for- BAM! God’s Will! But as I told him about how important it has been throughout my whole life to make sure my prayers were submitted into His Will and then ended with that question, he had to pause and could not say that he remembers actively submitting his list and his ex-wife into God’s Will, He assumed it must be because there was his list in living flesh, with even the right label!

My life has been His- step by step – even when it HURT to even THINK of things not being His Will- I have MADE myself pray that- the act of praying it into life (‘God, if this is not Your Will, please stop this, please don’t let it come to pass”)  being my way of lifting the knife to various “Isaacs” (jobs, location, schools, men; Genesis chapter 22). Each time knowing that the release of knowing that it IS His Will when things come to pass being completely freeing.

There IS a door that no one can shut but it opens only in His Will. When you are walking in the center of God’s Will, having actively submitted yourself and those things in your life into His Will, NO ONE can stop it!

Readers, 
Submit yourselves to God and His perfect Will and find yourself unstoppable. This does not mean that nothing will go wrong, but it does mean that nothing is unfixable in your life and trying times all ultimately give Him glory and work together for our good (Romans 8:28). 

Having talked with Rebekah A on this, we decided to joint blog about it so look for her Part 2 on this coming soon!

In Jesus,

Rebekah M

 

Just a Shred of Hope

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. ~ Romans 15:13

I am about to embark on a trip to China tomorrow to help an international adoption agency as one of their volunteer physicians helping to convert mandarin medical files into ones prospective American families might understand in hopes of getting these children to the right, loving families. I leave knowing it is 100% His Will that I do so. When I come back, I start a new job that is so full of so much promise.

When I think back on this year, I think of how so much of my year was marked by such darkness. Such deep pain and fear that everything would fall apart because… the only way I can explain it is my soul was feeling ripped to shreds. I myself was not ever physically hurt but something in me broke. Deep within me, at the center of my being, I was shredded by continued feelings of worthlessness, fear of the future, and a strong sense that nothing good would/could happen to me. Not because God couldn’t do it, but because I wasn’t worth God’s doing good things for me. I hadn’t committed huge sins- no drugs/sex/etc but somehow it got in my head that I was hopeless and that even God did not want to help me.

I cannot tell you how everything turned around other than “because my God is good” for how I am now living the life I lead. Everything FELL into place. I am about to leave for China tomorrow and when I return, I start a new job with incredibly supportive staff and colleagues. This is a dream job for me- incredible pay, incredible location (I am living with a 5 mile radius of work, church, and my brother and his family), and the hours are supposed to be something where I can participate in life/church.

This past summer God gave me the ability to take time off and spend it with my parents. I was able to hear my dad laugh, watch my mom cook, feel their hugs that reached all the way down. Then I moved and have spent a nice month just settling in.

Every day this month I have woken  up feeling like I was living a dream. I kept wondering when I was going to wake up and find out I was still back where I had been… but that is not reality and I’m now accepting it more and more.

I was suicidal. I wanted to die. I did not make plans but I wished for death EVERY DAY for a while… yet something in me reached out to God. I procrastinated because I feared the future and yet God STILL brought it to pass. In my darkest hours, God sent that same prophet that I have spoken of in past posts to remind me that good things were about to happen. It felt so much as times that I was beyond hope and yet what tiny sliver of hope I did have in me, I used to reach out to this God of Hope. He has proven that He is over the last few months. When I could not keep going, God helped me by doing it all. I felt I was moving a snails pace in things but they still came together. God is so good. I cannot say it enough, He is SO good.

Dear readers,

The ONLY thing that can stop us from the future God has for us is ourselves- in allowing fear to stop us from doing the things we know He wants for us to do that day. I am living proof that God provides everything we need (Matt 6:25-34); that He gives us the desires of our heart (Ps 37:4) – I didn’t say God give me x,y,z- I asked that He help give me His desires for my heart. I implore you today, if you are in a desperate situation, use what ever sliver of hope you have in you to reach out to Jesus, our God of Hope, and find Him more than able to give us above and beyond all that we could ask or think- for I am living proof of it.

So thankful for this abundant life in Him,

Rebekah M

You’re Seen. You’re Heard. You’re known (and you matter).

soul-searching

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” ~Romans 8:38-39

“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you “Do not fear; I will help you.” ~ Isaiah 41:13

I don’t have much for you guys today, just a quick story. The other day I was riding the subway home, as usual. I’ve been listening to preaching lately on the commute, because I find that when I’m home I get distracted and so the subway allows me some focused time with God. But not necessarily time to pray out loud, so preaching is a good alternative. 

This particular day was similar, and I started a sermon. It didn’t resonate with me (this is unusual. I have been known to actually CRY on the subway because of sermons moving me. No I’m not kidding.). I switched to another one, trying to find the one that God had for me that day. In the end, I felt a pull to not listen to preaching, but to listen to worship instead. 

I had to download some worship apps on my phone first, but I did and I started listening. Immediately I felt the quickening in my heart. This was right where God wanted me today. Standing with my eyes closed, not drawing in intellectually or learning anything, not even actively consciously listening (I don’t think I could recall a single lyric line now)….not DOING anything. Just being with Him and letting my soul soar to the sounds of praise.

Letting my soul soar. 

And it was perfect. I felt that quickening of the spirit, and I let the music wash over me, and though my eyes were closed I saw before me a lion. The Prince of Peace Himself. It was as if the cry of my heart beckoned to Him and He came to receive and join in the song. It was the most “right” I’d felt in awhile. 

How often do we let ourselves do that? To just be free in His presence? Free from the burden of needing something or giving something or doing something. Free from asking and appealing. Free from praying the “right” way. Free to be ourselves and let our souls express what’s truly inside.

Because what’s truly inside, my friends, is beautiful. I don’t care where you are in your walk. Maybe you’ve known Jesus for years. Maybe you’re just meeting Him today. Maybe you’ve been on a righteous path for a long time; maybe you’ve fallen away from one. Maybe you’ve yet to start one. Maybe you’re broken. Maybe you’re hurting. Maybe, just maybe, you aren’t even sure if it’s worth being here in this world anymore. 

I’m here to tell you that it’s ok. It’s ok if you’ve known Him and want to sing with Him in harmony – He’ll join the refrain. It’s ok if your song is a cry of anguish – He’ll show you His peace. Behind every broken heart is a soul waiting to be restored to take flight. The point is, you’re heard. You’re known. You’re seen (even the ugly bits. He sees them. He always has. He sees the very depths of you, just like He saw it 2000 years ago and STILL – even with all the ugly – counted it worthy to die for). And you matter. Oh do you matter.

I guess my point here is, don’t hold back anymore. Draw in to Him today. Let your soul soar (or limp or even crawl, if that’s where you find yourself these days). Just don’t shut it down anymore. Don’t hide from Him. Let go of the stuff around you, shut your eyes, and let your YOU come out. Give it to Him. He is waiting to receive it. He’s waiting to hold you up. He’s waiting to walk with you, to run with you and to fly with you. There is no deed too dark for Him to see, no place where He can’t reach you.

You’re seen. You’re heard. You’re known.

And you, beloved….you matter. 

God bless and know that I am praying for you.

~Rebekah A

 

In His Timing

I’ve been asked to speak at church tomorrow and was going to put some thoughts down here about it (the topic being the above title) but had asked the guy I’m interested in the most if he’d be willing to be my soundboard and now I’m just… In our discussion about seeking to do things in God’s timing, he brought up that he actually had just bought a house. When I heard that it changed how often I would likely see him, my heart just… hurt. I had felt like finally, finally I might know for sure if something could happen between us and now… I wish I could just get over him but I just can’t seem to shake my attraction. He sent me a link and there are things about his house that looked VERY much like things I had posted to pintrest years ago for my dream house… I even looked at those posts again for this blog and it is painfully similar.

I want to just forget him.

I wish I could just finally have my heart free of this man who has me so far in the back of his mind he doesn’t even tell me he got a house.

I wish that seeing pictures of his new house didn’t make me simultaneously hope he’s actually my Isaac while also wanting to run, as fast and as far away from a guy who hasn’t spoken to me in 2 weeks and the silence only broke when I texted him to see if he’d be my soundboard.

I wish that part of me didn’t feel so let down that he no longer will be attending my brother’s church on a weekly basis and therefore I have no clue how often I’ll see him. When I asked “so does that mean I’ll never see you?” (mainly because I have a hard time thinking when I speak to him so the filter is just… gone haa!) he only said things about how he might visit the church from time to time since his brother still does as well to keep up the fellowship (they don’t have sunday night services and his brother is his pastor).

I hate how it has made me realize what level of hope I had that maybe something would finally, finally change between us is broken.

I have not posted in SO long- I have been plagued by SEVERE depression- I was passively suicidal, barely getting out of bed, almost quit multiple times. Through God’s grace I finished residency, ended up with a job that pays amazingly well and it starts in a few months.

I finally have time to put myself back together. To search through what broke me so badly. To finally deal with how the shock of my father’s cancer diagnosis was so devastating to me that, even though by God’s miracle a cancer known to kill within mere months was found early enough to be completely taken out by surgery, my heart and mind have been in a state of fear and only tonight at lady’s prayer did I start to finally feel God wash over me like He had in the past.

I told God today that I was leaving my future husband in His hands. 

The irony as I remember that hits me.

Lord,
I place this back into Your hands. I want to run. I want to erase his number from my phone and walk away. Run away more like it. But I feel you tell me to be still. Lead me in focusing on me and what You have for me to do- in reaching out to others and finding Your daily appointment with me. That moment I believe we all have in our day to be Yours hands and feet. Help me live in Your timing. 

Rebekah M.