My Best Self

I got in a fight with someone today. In the end, it was mainly more we are both under LOTs of stress and neither are communicating well with each other on things. I called my boyfriend up to discuss the situation and he did exactly what I knew he’d do- analyze it completely and not take sides. If anything, he took the other person’s side! haa haa!

I mentioned in my post about the perfect mate and how Jesus is my Picard that I need to mold to Him so that I can be my best self. With this man, I find he’s helping me be that.  He encourages me to be my most Christ-like self. He helped me use words for peace and bridging the gap when all I wanted to do was tell them off but the God side of me wanted reconciliation.

I’ve never had a man in my life that I trusted his counsel and wisdom to this level. Who’s perspective I not only want, but need. I am such a very emotional creature. I love with my whole heart and mere words can cut it deeply. He’s so logical and although he can feel emotions deeply, he doesn’t usually let them affect his actions.

To be honest, typically it would have taken a few days to get me to the point where he got me in a few hours. I was SO hurt and offended by the words from the other person that I could barely see straight in the situation. Part of me knew I should extend grace and forgiveness, but part of me was just offended and hurt. He helped me get past that mess to get to the healing.

All these weeks I just keep thinking: I’m so lucky. He’s truly the most handsome man I’ve ever dated. He tells me I’m beautiful almost every day. He and I started reading the bible together daily at his leading. He makes sure I know he thinks I’m worth every effort he puts forth for me and more.

To have a man in my life who loves God, cares for me so deeply, and pushes me to be my best self… I feel so beyond blessed.

Jesus, 

Thank You for this new man. Thank You for someone who’s as kind, gentle, patient, and sweet to me as he is. Thank You that he tries to put You first and pushes me to be my best self. 

Thank You Jesus,

Rebekah M.

 

related link: https://beingrebekah.com/2015/02/24/the-perfect-mate-jesus-is-my-picard/

Advertisements

Better is One Day

My last post in September was actually the beginning of a very painful, hard time in my life. After experiencing the loss of my college choir director suddenly and unexpectedly, our church here on the West coast lost our piano player in the middle of service and my sister in law’s father passed away two weeks after that. With a series of funerals to go to and the middle one being very traumatic (I’ll get into that below), God sent me a man to help carry me through. He’s been the most wonderful surprise in my life and I cannot thank God enough for him. I don’t know if he’s a “forever” or a “right now” but I hope God has him as my “forever.” Regardless, that’s a post for another day.

Better is one day in Your courts. Better is one day in Your house.

Better is one day in Your courts than thousands elsewhere.

Sunday night, our beloved piano player- young, incredibly talented, good husband and father to a 2 year old- finished playing that song with all his heart as he always did and then dropped to the ground essentially dead. We did not know it at the time but a brain aneurysm had burst. As the doctor in the congregation I ran up there and had to take over. There was so much confusion and my heart literally broke when I started CPR, trying in desperation to save my friend as his wife cried on the side, scared for her love. I cannot explain the depth of how that broke me.

It took much time and many good people (including the new guy) to let God work in me… But I’ve begun to breathe again. I’ve begun to live again. That girl who had never had to face death in the light of her friends lost two so quickly and one in such proximity.

We felt his pulse go. The nurse who lept to help.

We felt his pulse slip away.

It took so long to get over that. It took so many days of prayer, tears, brokenness, and loss…. But God. In His infinite wisdom He set up my parents to come to town anyhow right when I needed them most. He sent me what I needed, when I needed and now I can see the truth: better is one day in His courts, for He provides, He watches over, He heals, He delivers.

Imagine!!! To be worshipping God here on Earth, serving in His earthy kingdom, and then to open your eyes and you’re in THE throne room???

Better is one day my God. Better is one day Jesus!

He had been planning to start a business soon so he and his family had just moved into a mobile home and set it up. The mortgage was very very reasonable and they were already planning on living off her income for a while. What provision God provides!

I don’t fully understand His ways, but I know this: better is one day in His courts, serving Him, than thousands elsewhere.

Rebekah M

For the Girls

Today is the International Day of the Girl. The girl, who in so many places is denied education; is denied a voice as her future and even sometimes her spouse is decided for her; is denied a childhood as she is married off at barely double digits; is aborted or given up because she is the less desirable gender to bring into this world; is denied. Here in the United States where she’s far more fortunate, her struggles will be confined to unequal salary, to being objectified and occasionally harassed by those around her, and to avoiding being that one out of every six females over age 12 who will have a rape attempt made against her. The girl, who will grow into a woman – at once nurturing to those around her with a backbone of steel. The girl, formed of the rib of Adam, perfectly designed and destined for her partner – the only reason why life continues to cycle. The girl. Behind the innocent smiles and laughter, she will have so much to navigate in her life. And so today I’ve spent a lot of time praying for girls everywhere. I’m sharing my biggest prayers here, in the hopes that you’ll stand with me in agreement. It’s time they all know that we stand with them:

-I pray that you know you are here for a reason and nobody else can fulfill it for you. You were made on purpose, with specific gifts and callings. The world is a more beautiful place because you’re in it. So that voice in your head that says you’re not enough, that you can’t, and that you’re worthless and alone….I rebuke all that right now and call it out for the lie that it is. I pray you be who you are, boldly and freely.
-I pray that even in the deepest darkest parts of your heart you KNOW you were fearfully and wonderfullly made. That you would know you are valuable beyond words or price. That you would know there is nothing on this earth that can diminish you. No words, no abuse is stronger than what was inherently woven into your creation. Whatever you face in your life, I pray you know it doesn’t define you. Your identity comes from somewhere so much higher. You and your truth are seen, known and loved and IN THE NAME OF JESUS, may you know it.
-I pray you know your strength – and its source. You were made with authority and IN HIM you can overcome anything.
-I pray that you have freedom to access the education and resources that you need to cultivate the gifts you carry, and I pray your voice is never silenced. I pray right now against any chains or oppression that would come your way because girl, you were created to be Royalty. I pray you be infused with a faith stronger than hardship, that you would know you have a Provider and Protector even when all seems lost and it seems you’re out of options.
-I pray you honor your body. It’s the only one you get and it was created with just as much value as the rest of you. I pray you never resort to thinking it defines you, and that you never feel the need to craft your self-worth around it. Treat it like it belongs to someone you love. I know there’s a vast number of girls who live in areas where their bodies are their only means of survival and provision for their families. If you’re in one of them I pray you see that for the lie that it is. You were created by a God of abundance, who hears and answers your cries, who can fill your every need. You are never alone, you’re never forsaken and you don’t have to live as if you are.
-I pray you don’t cast your pearls before swine.There’s a time to cut your losses and move on. Know it and do it. You’re worth more than that.
-I pray you know, and I mean KNOW, that wherever you find yourself, whatever choices you’ve made or dark paths you’ve walked, you’re never too far gone. There’s always hope. Shame be off you in the name of Jesus. There’s no condemnation, not here, not in Him.
-And finally I pray you know that you are celebrated not just today but every day, and that the delight of the Father is on you always as His daughter. Let that knowledge nourish your spirit and fuel your soul.
From the newborn girl to the young-at-heart, from the girl down the street, to the teenage prostitute on another continent, I’m for you. The prayers of my heart are for you. Because you’re a girl. And today, the world stands with you.

The Waiting Room

I’m in the waiting room of my Gynecologist’s office. The almost eerie silence is pierced every couple of minutes by the sound of a door swinging open and a soft woman with a wide smile calling a name. I’m hyper-focused on the slight creek the door makes with every swing. I wonder how the receptionists can stand to listen to it all day, every day.

I make my way to the restroom and I’m greeted by a sign that reminds me to check with the front desk before urinating in case the doctor will want a sample. But I know the doctor won’t want a sample because I’m not here for a UTI and there’s no chance that I’m pregnant.

The sign seems to mock me.

How many times have peed on a stick in the hopes of seeing a second line? How many times has my husband said, “I really think this time is it!” when my gut already tells me it isn’t? How long has it been since he stopped saying that because the disappointment hurts too much?

Back in the waiting room there are three other women sitting in chairs, all of whom are obviously pregnant. There is another woman standing at the reception desk who doesn’t look pregnant so for a moment I assume, like me, she’s just here for a routine exam. But she’s speaking loudly so she is easily overheard. At least it seems loud in such a quiet space. She’s complaining because she’s pregnant and getting married in a few weeks. She can’t believe her terrible luck that she will have to spend her honeymoon pregnant. “Can you believe this happened?” she groans to the receptionist. I ponder whether she understands how these things come about and I wonder if she grasps just how blessed she is that it came so easily to her. Then she gripes that this is her second pregnancy in just a few months, and that she took a bunch of Morning After pills the last time so she would miscarry. “I miscarried that baby and it just figures that now I’m pregnant again!” she exclaims.

You didn’t miscarry that baby, you aborted it, I think to myself. A miscarriage happens to something you love. Something you wanted more than anything else in the world. I’ve miscarried and I can assure you it is nothing like you’ve described.

A chemical abortion is still an abortion.

For a moment I have an overwhelming urge to kick her. I’m not proud of that. I probably wouldn’t admit that to someone in person, but we’ve always strived to be real on our anonymous little blog. The feeling was almost tangible. I actually pictured myself doing it. Then in shame, I sent up a silent repentant prayer. It was judgment, jealousy, and violence all rolled into one sinful thought.

Infertility is hard. Really hard.

When my name is called, I follow the soft smiling woman beyond the creaky door toward the examination rooms. The walls are lined with pictures. Picture after picture after picture of adorable, chubby little babies. The offspring of the women who have received their care here.

The pictures taunt me.

“You’re not a real woman” they say.

Women were made to make babies.
You have no purpose.
You’re broken.
You waited too long.
You’ll never be a mother.
You don’t deserve it.
 
Sometimes I think that Gynecology offices should be separate from Obstetrics offices to spare us infertile women the emotional trauma of a visit to the lady bits doctor. Because let’s be honest, going to the Gynecologist is already traumatizing enough without adding in those jeering beautiful infant photos lining the hallways.
 
My doctor tells me even if I didn’t have a chromosomal disorder and even if I didn’t have PCOS and even if I weren’t overweight, I’d still have almost zero chance of conceiving because at my age all my eggs are dead. He also informs me that at his age, my husband’s sperm is dead too. He didn’t use those exact words, but he may as well have.

I feel silenced from talking about this pain because everyone around me seems to think I shouldn’t even want children, what with my age and the fact that I already have step-children. But there is a biological drive to reproduce. There is something deeply ingrained in a woman to be a mother. God created us this way. My step-children are wonderful and amazing and a huge blessing in my life, but I will never be their mother. I can love them, nurture them, and guide them, but I can never be theirs. They already have a mother, and I cannot (and should not) take her place.

They will never call me mom.

Every children’s birthday party, every pregnancy announcement, every baby shower, and every gender reveal is like another stab in an already shattered heart. You avoid the babies in your life. You desperately want to hold them, and yet you don’t, because you know if you do, you will absolutely fall apart. Your façade will slip, your truth revealed. In these situations, it is reality to be authentically happy for others, but almost inconsolably sad for yourself.

And then comes the guilt. Guilt for feeling that way. Guilt for being too-self-focused. Guilt for failing your husband yet again. Guilt for not taking it better. Guilt for not always praising God through the storm. Every month the grieving process starts all over again. You try not to get your hopes up, but you can’t help hoping this is the month for your miracle. Followed by the inevitable let-down, indescribable grief, and the return of the guilt. Did you know that more than half of women experiencing infertility say that it is the most upsetting experience of their lives? Another study showed that women with infertility feel as anxious or depressed as those diagnosed with cancer.

I have no idea how people do it without God.

Because I know God, it’s not all consuming for me. The Lord has blessed me tremendously and I am very thankful. I have an amazing husband and an incredible family. I am truly happier in my life now than I have ever been. I have a God whose love IS all consuming.

In my pain and sorrow, He is there. Always there. I can’t say why my prayers haven’t been answered or if they ever will be, but I can say without any doubt that I know He’s heard me. He knows my tears. He sees my struggles. Even when my attitude hasn’t always been right, He has continued loving me through it all. I am forever grateful for that.

He is a God of the impossible. It was but a few short years ago that I was on this blog moaning that I was still single in a sea of unhitched Christian women with nary a single Christian man in sight. I saw all the impossibilities: the high ratio of single women to men, my below average looks, being beyond the average age for a first marriage, and being too busy, too shy, and too anxious to date, among other things. By my human reasoning, there was no way I’d ever find a mate so there were times that I doubted whether God would send me a one. Still, I was never quite able to give up my hope and when the time was right, God answered my prayers for a spouse in a way that went far beyond my expectations. My husband is so incredibly good to me. He makes me feel loved and valued every single day. He has a tremendous faith in God. He is everything I ever wanted in a partner.

If God can answer that prayer, I know that He can make me a mother. If He doesn’t, then I know He had His perfect reasons for not doing so.

In His Love,
Rebekah L.

 

Hurting heart

I keep thinking I’ll post about what I learned from my exes but work, church, and life consume me.

This past week I found out a friend from my college days passed away. She was my youth choir director and I lived with her and her family for a summer after college.

So full of vibrant life, she overcame weight issues to inspire others to be healthier today and live for God every day.

The weight of the loss. The weight of the guilt of not visiting sooner. The weight of knowing that as a doctor, I know better… It hurts.

I’ve been praying in Mandarin with my parents. They’re trying to help me learn it better for my church and my professional life. I asked them recently how to say “heals the broken hearted” in Mandarin and it literally translates to heals the broken to pieces heart/soul.

God,

Heal all of our broken to pieces hearts. Mine aches at times, knowing how much so many must be hurting. I still can’t believe she’s gone. I still can’t believe I didn’t take time sooner to go visit. As a doctor, I know better. I know tomorrow isn’t promised.

Help us live every day for You.

Help us shine brightly for you as she did.

Help us bring many along with us to heaven so they can meet those like her.

Jesus, heal the broken to pieces hearts/souls.

Broken in Him,

Rebekah M

Learned Helplessness

I mentioned in my last post that my husband and I were starting a Bible Study with a young lady who is new to our church. We have been able to do a couple of lessons with her and through the Lord, I believe that we are off to a good start. It is a blessing to be able to teach with my husband. In the past when I have taught Bible Studies I have done so on my own so I am keenly aware of some of the subtle differences. We are able to play off each other’s strengths in Bible knowledge to give a more well-rounded approach to the Scriptures. Where I might forget or overlook an important detail, he is able to jump in and offer additional insight. I appreciate his love for the Word and for this opportunity to be able to partner together in ministry.

The young woman we are working with is tormented by fears and anxiety. Her need for constant reassurance is heartbreaking. She wants to call and text at all hours of the day and night. The amount of free time I have in my schedule is very limited so these constant interruptions can be taxing. I have had to set boundaries with her as far as when and how often I can talk to her. She has a deep-seated fear of abandonment so I want her to know that we aren’t going anywhere, but also establish appropriate parameters so that I am not too drained to be a benefit to her spiritual walk.

What we’ve learned about her story is disheartening. The state removed her from her mother’s custody as a toddler due to abuse and drug addiction in the home. She then bounced around in the foster care system for the next six years. These were not always the best environments for a young child. Finally, an aunt took her in. Her aunt did her best to love her and help her, but because of her past she was not always the easiest child to raise. At sixteen years old she got involved with the wrong crowd and ran away from home. She moved from couch to couch living with friends and boyfriends, suffering abusive relationships, and experiencing many things that she harbors deep shame over. After a few years of this, she eventually returned to her aunt’s house.

She has a number of learning disabilities and mental health issues so the aunt was quite overprotective of her at times. Over the years she essentially learned from her aunt that she isn’t capable of doing anything on her own. The aunt constantly reinforced her learning disabilities and did everything for her to the point that she genuinely believes she isn’t capable of living on her own. She now lives with a sister that she only met a few months ago and readily admits that her sister has to take care of her almost as if she is one of her children.

It won’t happen overnight, but I truly believe this girl is capable of living on her own. It’s going to take some work, a little faith, and a lot of Jesus, but this is not beyond her. With God, all things are possible! She will need some help to learn some basic skills such as applying for a job, how to cook, and how to do laundry on her own, but it’s not as if these things are beyond her intellectual capacity. Yes, she may have some learning challenges that will have to be taken into consideration, but there are people with significantly more severe disabilities that live independently. Her main obstacle is not her ability to master these skills, it’s with her ingrained belief that she can’t.

The God we serve is a God of transformation. He is well able to take an anxious insecure girl and turn her into confident and capable woman. As she grows spiritually, I expect to see that she will also grow toward independence in the natural. It is my prayer that her learned helplessness and dependence on others will shift to an unequivocal and faithful dependence on the Lord. I am excited to see where God will bring her on this journey. I am not sure where my husband and I fit into her spiritual walk, but I am humbled to have an opportunity to witness even a tiny part of it.

Dear Readers, if you have read this far, I would like to ask you to take just a moment of your time to say a prayer for this young lady. Pray peace over her life. Pray for spiritual discernment and a deep abiding love of the Almighty. Pray the Lord would send her helpers that don’t hinder her by doing everything for her, but rather help to do it on her own. If you’re feeling particularly generous, say a prayer for my husband and I that when we feel drained that God would supernaturally fill us up. Pray that we generously give of ourselves in love and service to our wonderful Savior, Jesus the Christ.

We serve an amazing God!

In His Love,
Rebekah L.

First Sermon

By show of hands, and I know we are not afraid to raise our hands, how many remember having to write an essay in elementary school entitled “What Christmas Means to Me?” My best friend, Robert, went on ad nauseum about socks: black socks, athletic socks, argyle socks. Robert has retired from the Marine Corp as a Colonel and lives in Iowa now as an attorney so it is safe to say Christmas means something other than socks for him today.

When Charlie Brown asked for the meaning of Christmas, Linus van Pelt got up on stage, stood in a spotlight, and masterfully delivered an excerpt of Luke 2. In all the history of the Peanuts comic strips, films, and televised specials, the one and only time Linus willingly lets go of his security blanket is when he comes to Luke 2:10 and tells how the angel calms the shepherds with the words, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” but that will be a point for another day.

We must be mindful of the miracles without losing sight of the reason why. We have to remember the socks when we get dressed or the outfit will be incomplete. We have to remember His birth or the meaning of why He was here in the first place is lost.

Skip ahead with me to Luke chapter 20 where we will find the parable of the tenants. The landlord repeatedly sends servants to the tenants who are brutalized and rejected. As a last effort he sends his only son. He hopes the tenants will respect and accept his son but they murder him. Over the course of Old Testament history God has been sending Prophets to bring His people back unto Himself but the people reject these messengers time and again. After a four hundred year hiatus what happened? John 6:38 tells us. Jesus came down from Heaven to do the will of the Father. There is the who, the where, and most importantly the why.

What has God wanted since The Fall in Eden? He has been working tirelessly, because you cannot exhaust the omnipotent God, to bring each of us back to Himself. Adam and Eve knew they sinned so they hid and covered themselves in leaves. God went one further. He made a blood sacrifice and better coverings than they had made for themselves. People were blind over the centuries to the efforts made. By show of hands, and I know we are not afraid to raise our hands, how many remember Michelangelo’s painting on the ceiling at the Vatican? God and man are reaching out to each other. Think more closely. God’s arm and finger are fully extended, forcefully, commandingly, as if to say “you are the one lost soul that matters to Me”. The man’s arm and finger are limp like celery that has been in the fridge past its prime, leftover salad which should have been discarded days ago, as if to say “yeah, I know you’re there but it’s in my nature to take You for granted”.

Jesus came to reconcile all the world to the Father. He spent time with the sinful, the lost, the ones who needed Him most before becoming our blood sacrifice. A person with 20/20 vision does not need an ophthalmologist. It is the guy with the foreign body in his eye or the detached retina who needs the specialist. The church is not a place for the righteous. If it were, I would not be allowed in. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. The church is a hospital for the broken.

What is the purpose of the church? We are, through the foolishness of preaching, as Paul puts it, to communicate the Gospel. The Gospel is the message of reconciliation. This is why He came in the first place. This is Christmas.

The Epistles give instruction to churches and individuals on how to live, worship, and conduct our lives. According to II Corinthians 5, the ministry of reconciliation is committed to each of us. The greatest of all the spiritual gifts, according to I Corinthians 13, is love. What greater gift can there be than hugging that person who was lost and is now found, giving them a shoulder to cry on, and being a support for them?

The happiest people are those who have invested time in others. The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated. Reach out to someone. According to Matthew 5:22-24, we are to reconcile with a brother before coming to God. The true attitude of the Kingdom, according to Matthew 18:15, is to communicate one on one to gain a brother through reconciliation.

During this process two things will be discovered. The hard part is defeating human nature in that I is the least important word in human relations. The liberating part is finding the joy forgiveness brings in freeing us to interact positively with people.

Do not lose sight of the meaning behind the miracle. The meaning of Christmas does not come once a year. It happens whenever and wherever there is a need to reconcile one to another. We were first called Christians in Antioch because it was there people first acted like Christ. Today the term Christian has become diluted to mean any Gentile. Put the meaning back in Christian. Put the meaning back in Christmas. Live His example. Let your light so shine. Bring someone back to yourself as an example of God bringing people back to Himself. Let the Holy Ghost work through you to bring someone back to Him. If we believe the Gospel, we do must obey it.

Yitzhak (Isaac) N.