Archive by Author | Rebekah A

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

 

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Breaking Out of the Box

Hi everyone! Rebekah A here. I took a long break from blog posting, most notably to focus on planning my wedding and doing all the fun wedding-planning crafts that it entailed, but something happened to me the other day that I just have to share with you all – however many of you are still reading this. 

I was riding the subway home from work the other day, much like any other day, standing because let’s be real: it’s NYC during rush hour and my stop is in the middle of the line. No seats to be found. Ever. Anyway, a homeless woman boarded the train, much like any other homeless woman. She sat in a seat facing me, and then moved to a seat behind me. Then she moved again, to the other side of the train. She glared at me as she passed. 

I WANTED her to know how valuable she is. I WANTED her to know that I saw her. I WANTED her to know that she matters. And so…..I smiled at her. She glared, and continued to the other side of the train. I heard her yell out “hey b***h in the blue dress, I ain’t your f***ing daughter.”. Well….I was the only one on the train in a blue dress, and it’s true: she was indeed not my daughter. 

I’ve talked to a bunch of people about this incident, and everyone has a reason why it happened and why it’s to be expected. She was mentally ill, it’s New York City, sometimes when people are so beaten down by the world and in the grip of the enemy they’re uncomfortable being seen and noticed. 

I get that. But in the moment it felt very spiritually profound. This encounter mattered. And I pondered it for awhile – if there were less of me and more of Jesus, would it have showed in my smile? Would it have mattered to this woman? Would she have felt love rather than discomfort? I realized that it doesn’t matter what I want to tell her, it doesn’t matter what I want her to feel. What matters is what JESUS wants her to know. 

And the more I thought about it the more I realized something else. The point to this entire encounter, the REASON why it felt so profound, is this: Jesus does not want to be bound by the constraints of the world. Yes, she was mentally ill, it’s expected and even commonplace for her to cry out; Jesus wants to transcend that. Yes, I only had a split second of eye contact with her and it’s hardly time for a deep conversation or prayer; Jesus wants to transcend time. Yes she’s in the grip of the enemy and beaten down by life; Jesus wants to transcend that. Mental illness? He’s the great physician! A split second, a quick glance? Jesus is the author of time! In the grip of the enemy? Jesus already overcame the enemy!

In the moment, and after the fact, all I could hear was the cry of my heart, a still small voice telling me that Jesus wants to move beyond the extraneous stuff. The world is going to be its normal broken self, cloaked in logical reasons why. And Jesus wants to push past it. He wants to take that normalcy – the so-called “human condition” – and replace it with freedom. And He wants to do this in step with His bride. That’s me. This is why Adam and Eve were created – made in God’s image, to work with Him and steward His creations. We may have had original sin and thousands of years, but God’s desire for us hasn’t waned. And this is why encounters like this matter.

And I, for one, don’t want to get in His way. So I’m learning, slowly, through experiences like this one, to go lower. And in so doing to lift Him higher. For all the world to see. For my gaze to be His. For my steps to be His. With no constraints and no boundaries. He is so far beyond them, you guys, and the only times He needs to follow is when we put Him in that box.

So let’s shed the fear together. Let’s stand for revival. Let’s stand for restoration. Let’s stand for healing. Let’s stand for Jesus.

As for me, I’m sure I’ll plenty of more chances to practice.  

 God bless!

~Rebekah A

 

In A Golden Vial

And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.” ~ (Rev 5:8 KJV)

Growing up in the Catholic Church, I used to believe that the term “saints” encompassed a specific group of people that met certain criteria of godliness, miracles, and being dead, and were subsequently canonized by the pope. I have since come to realize that God’s miracles are not bound by the lives of a chosen few. As His children, we are given an inheritance, an authority to call on His power during our stewardship in this world. Believers, as God’s people, are saints. There are other translations of this verse that even use the phrase “God’s people” instead. We are saints. I am a saint.

And when I pray, God holds the words precious. Precious. He holds my communion precious. Now, when I first read this, I thought “vial of odours” meant perfume. Vials hold liquid, right? I thought my prayers were like a sweet-smelling perfume to the Lord. It’s a lovely thought.

As it turns out, it’s even better than that. I read a few other translations which instead of “odours” say “incense”. Perfume in the bible was valuable and could even comprise an inheritance. But sweet incense was in another league altogether. It was used in the tabernacle on the altar of incense and was for sacred use only. It was so precious that God didn’t allow any personal use of it at all.

That is what our prayers comprise. That is what adorns the throne room in golden vials. Too precious to use on earth, too valuable to be used for anything other than God Himself, this is what our prayers to Him become – so highly does He value them.

That is beautiful. That is amazing and humbling. And it’s also convicting. How many times have I prayed in a hurry, prayed while multitasking, prayed for mundane or worthless things? How often have I prayed for selfish things? How often has my prayer life been focused on myself and not the Kingdom? All I could think about after reading this verse was a back room full of my selfish and rushed prayers that were not sweet-smelling at all, but instead were stinking up the place.

Granted, a large part of my prayer life, especially lately, has been focused on Jesus Himself – more intimacy with Him, more of His heart and less of mine, just more of Him. After reading this verse I was pretty glad of that! But the major cry of my heart today is still this:

I want a prayer life that reflects the value God places on it.

Then the more I meditated on this verse, the more I realized something. It doesn’t talk about a back room of hidden-away, less-than-perfect prayers. There’s no hidden shelf labelled “Rebekah A’s stank pile”. There’s a golden vial of incense, held safe in the hands of the elders.

That’s what mercy is. That’s what grace is. That’s who God is.

He deserves every second of time that I have. He deserves every ounce of my energy. He’s GOD – He deserves every bit of passion in my heart. Sometimes I give it to Him, and He counts it precious. Sometimes I give Him the dregs, the tired leftovers after the world has had first dibs. He counts it precious. His love is steadfast no matter what, and to me that’s miraculous and mind-blowing.

So I encourage you to bask in that mercy today. Don’t be judged by it, be encouraged. Encouraged that no matter what your prayer life is looking like these days, it’s never too late to reconnect. God has been cherishing it all along. So let’s tune our hearts to His and place a golden vial in our own hearts – one that cannot be filled but for Him. Let’s count it precious. Let’s have prayer lives that SHOW how much we value His presence.

Ever awed by His tender grace, I pray deeper communion over you today. I pray your heart beat just a little bit closer in time with His. May He fill your mouth with prayers that move mountains. And may His golden vials be ever filled with your sweet-smelling words.

~Rebekah A

Popping the Bubble

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for everything under the heavens.” ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1

“For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendents.” ~ Isaiah 44:3

This week the news of Bob Simon’s (a new anchor and correspondent at CBS) tragic death hit hard in my circle, many of whom work or have worked in television.  He has been imprisoned in Iran during the Gulf War, reported from countless war zones, and won 25 Emmy awards. After all that his life was cut short by, of all things, a car crash in Manhattan.

It didn’t take long for the details to come out – the driver clipped a car on the West Side Highway and crashed into the median. In short order, details began coming out about the driver: he was a driver whose license was suspended 9 times and has several driving-related convictions. One of his arms was stiff making it hard to turn the wheel – it had been permanently damaged during a previous suicide attempt which involved jumping out of a building. The home address that he has on his license turned out to be the state department of homeless services. All in all, it would seem that the man wasn’t necessarily stable enough to be entrusted with the lives of passengers, and perhaps not stable enough to be behind the wheel of a car.

As I ponder this, I can’t help but relate it back to Christianity. So many Christians think we’re in our little safe bubble. The world is the world – it’s ‘out there’, it’s ‘them’.  And stay firmly in our bubble of ‘us’, and we keep separate. My message to you all today is this: we are not in the world to erect a bubble around ourselves. We aren’t here to keep separate from ‘them’. We’re here to be vessels for them – to deliver the Living Water that the thirsty may drink.

The idea of a bubble is so false anyway. We don’t get to choose whether our waiter, helper, driver, etc, is a “fellow” Christian or not. We don’t get to choose whether they’re ‘good’. But in that moment, however brief, we are still dependent on them. We depend on these strangers without thinking twice about it, and that’s fine. We assume the risk. We have to. That’s how the world works.

But if we don’t seize the chance to pour out on these strangers, even if we’re only with them for a moment, the next person to depend on them assumes the same risk. If we leave them thirsty, who brings them Water? If not us, who?

If someone had poured out love onto that driver, would he still have lost control of the car – would he have jumped from that building and rendered his arm nearly unusable? Would he still have been speeding? We don’t know the paths of the strangers we encounter. We don’t know their pain or their joy. We don’t know their stories. But we know they’re loved, every bit as much as we are. We don’t always see the resulting fruit, but our encounters matter. Our words, our deeds, our attitudes, our mannerisms – they matter.

So I invite you to be intentional this week with me, just a little bit more than usual. See if you can love on everyone you encounter, be it with word or deed, even if it’s in just a small way. That impatient person behind you in line? Jesus loves them, a breathtaking all-encompassing love that would flat-out bring you to tears if He showed it to you. And it costs you nothing to let them know it. Even for just a second. So do it! Step out of your bubble and pour out the love! And then tell me about it at being.rebekah.a@gmail.com.

God bless!

Rebekah A

Becoming a Tree

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.

Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction. ~ Psalm 1

This Psalm is on my heart this week, thanks largely to a podcast I was listening to by Patricia King (listen here if you so desire), about becoming a tree. If we root ourselves in Him, and drink of the Living Water that is Him, we will always bear fruit. Always. And our leaves will never wither. What an amazing life that looks like!

Sometimes, of course, this seems like a tall order. I don’t know about you but I tend to have a “hindsight is 20/20” viewpoint sometimes. I get caught up in my daily existence in NY. I get bogged down in dodging bikers, double and triple parked vans, errant pedestrians, and don’t even get me started on the taxis. I want to pour out on all of these people. At least, here at home while sitting at my computer, of course I want to pour out on all these people. In the moment though, when you’re speeding past me, my main thought is jumping out of the way of the puddle you’re splashing all over me. Some days I’m more successful at keeping a Christ-like perspective. But not every day, not all the time.

This is why this Psalm ministers to my heart so much. Patricia King touches on it too in that podcast – not every tree is huge and strong with these big rigid trunks.  Some trees are small.  They’re tender. Their trunks are flexible and their leaves flutter.  Some trees bend a bit in the breeze.  Does this mean they can’t be feeding from the living water? Of course not. They are still beautiful, still rooted – and still fruitful. Some days I’m the kind of tree that every kid wants to hang a tire swing from or build a treehouse on.  I’m so full of Jesus that I have no problem praying for that person on the subway. I have no problem stopping to love on a homeless person (and no that does not mean dropping some spare change into their palm and walking off!). Other days….I’m more like a ficus. One stiff breeze and I feel like I’m blowing over. Forget standing with Him for miracles – on these days I barely get prayer time in and dishes cleaned! On these less productive days, I sometimes feel like a waste of Christianity (ok I’m being dramatic. I probably don’t feel THAT badly about myself, but I certainly don’t feel fruitful either). But I can take heart in this fact: if I’m in Him, I am still bearing fruit.   It doesn’t always look the same every day, and it’s nice to know it doesn’t have to. I’m still ‘rooted’. 

Also, being rooted in Him means your leaves never wither. Do you know what that means? It means you can go through a transition period. You can have changes in your life – times of trial don’t affect your God-given destiny or keep you from blossoming. How cool is that?

The flip side, of course, is to be like the chaff. The Psalm basically say that if you’re not a tree, you’re the chaff. Chaff, for you non-farmer types, is basically a husk. It’s a dry scaly casing that goes around grains. It’s largely useless, it’s indigestible to humans (I think they do chop it up in certain animal feed though), and it has to be removed before the grains can be used. This is done by ‘threshing’ (read: milling, or pounding, the grain to loosen the chaff). Once you do this, the loose chaff can be removed by ‘winnowing’ – this means repeatedly tossing grains into a light wind so the loose chaff can blow away. Now you know the exact analogy the Psalm is making when they talk about the chaff blowing away. And here you thought you wouldn’t learn anything today!

Why is this important? Well, because it shows just how stubborn the chaff is – how stubborn wickedness can be. It can encase itself around us pretty quickly. And once it’s there, getting rid of it isn’t always easy. I mean the chaff has to literally get beaten off the nutritious grain. Now, I can think of several things I’d like to do today – going through a spiritual beating isn’t one of them. Best to just find a way to be in Him every day, be it pouring out onto others or taking care of my home. It’s also encouraging though – because we are sometimes called to shed things within us that aren’t of God, and it’s usually done by bringing us through a time of trial (sometimes a spiritual “threshing” is unavoidable!). In the end, when we’ve cried our tears and submitted our burdens and allowed God in to heal, the bad stuff He threshed off of us? It doesn’t cling to us anymore. It’s not part of us. It’s so loose that a light wind can carry it away. If that’s not encouraging I don’t know what is!

I leave you all with an encouragement to be in Him today. Find a way to drink of the Living Water, today and every day. Some days you might be a mighty oak. Some days you might be a shrub. But find a way to be rooted in Him, to drink of Him anyway. Even if it’s just to repent how UN-Christlike you’ve been that day! Allow Him in and He will ensure your endeavors bear fruit.

God bless! And, a BIG thanks to Rebekah L who helped me with a few technical issues regarding the format of this post – if you think it’s a long one now you should’ve seen the original version!

~Rebekah A

Battleground

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” ~ Ephesians 6:12 (KJV)

As Christians, we stand with Jesus to usher in His plan of love for the world. We stand with Him as His very name inspires a bend in our knees and awe in our hearts. We stand with Him as vessels to be used to heal, to love, to spread peace. We stand with Him simply to rejoice in His presence. We do all this and so much more. And sometimes, we stand with Him in battle.

As Christians, we do have a constant enemy. We don’t need to fear him necessarily (though he’d like us to!) because in the end Jesus is stronger. But we do need to fight him. His name is Satan and his sole aim is to kill, steal and destroy God’s plan. As stewards of this plan, we are automatically at odds with him. And he will use deception, distraction, literally any means he can come up with to keep us from fully doing our Father’s work.

Now, there are 7 main principalities that we fight, with a powerful demon at the head of each one (keep in mind though, they are not as powerful as Jesus and you can defeat them). These principalities are:

1) Spirit of Witchcraft

2) Spirit of Antichrist

3) Spirit of Infirmity

4) Spirit of Death

5) Spirit of Lying

6) Spirit of Mammon (wealth, provisions, socio-economic status, etc)

7) Spirit of Perversion

Right. Well, now that we have identified these principalities of the enemy, fighting them can seem like a daunting task. But luckily, God gives us examples throughout the Bible and a blueprint of what we need to do do defeat Satan and his minions.

Once such example, and it’s a fabulous one, is the book of Esther (which you can read here). Esther’s story at first seems nice enough, with a brave Jewish girl defeating the odds to save her people. But the more you delve into the book, the more you realize: Esther was a spiritual warrior, tried and true, who defeated the enemy and walked in victory to save her people. Here’s the thing: of those 7 principalities I mentioned above, Esther had to battle 6 of them. Six! All at once, too! Here’s the breakdown of what she was up against:

1) Spirit of Witchcraft: witchcraft was a common part of Persian culture in Esther’s time – spells, healers, divination, the works. King Xerxes himself is widely thought to have been a zoroastrian, a religion that used fire and water in its worship. To be fair, zoroastrianism forbade demon worship and consequently witchcraft, but given the use of the elements in its practice, it was a pretty short jump to make and a lot of sects practiced witchcraft anyway. One of King Xerxes’ advisers, Ostanes, was a magi and considered powerful in occult practice.

2) Spirit of Antichrist: In the book of Esther, Haman (favored by the king) makes all bow down to him to show respect. We bow as a form of worship, making this requirement full-blown idolatry. This, we can surmise, is why Mordecai refused to do so.

3) Spirit of Death: In retaliation against Mordecai, Haman’s wife and then Haman himself wanted to impale him. This escalated until Haman convinced the king to issue a decree to wipe out the entire Jewish population of Persia.

4) Spirit of Lying: This one is subtle. Still, we see a general attitude of mistrust and deception occurring in Persia: for starters, Esther did have to hide her identity, for her safety. We see false loyalties among the palace guards and a plot to overthrow King Xerxes. We see Xerxes’ notorious and borderline paranoid rage, and we see Haman overreacting to Mordecai’s slight.

5) Spirit of Mammon: Hamon wanted to not just kill the Jews, but plunder them. Take all their wealth so that no Jew anywhere would be able to recover it and recirculate it within their faith. Conversely, when the Jews retaliated they (for various reasons) refused to plunder.

6) Spirit of Perversion: This one was all over the place in the book of Esther. Queen Vashti was initially deposed due to not wanting to parade herself unveiled in front of a bunch of drunk men – 7 days drunk, to be exact. At a time when men and women were dining separately at separate banquets, the king’s request that she do this was nothing short of degrading. I applaud her for refusing, but ultimately it cost her the throne. Esther was chosen to be the new queen because of her beauty and virginity – a sort of ‘virgin pageant’. During her preparation for this she lived in a harem with the other maidens. After a night with the king they would then return but live in a different part of the harem – a part for concubines. Read between the lines here: the king of Persia, Esther’s eventual husband, had a different virgin every night. Once Esther was chosen, the king was unfaithful as a husband and even held a second ‘virgin pageant.’ So yes, I think it’s safe to say the spirit of perversion was alive and well in Persia during Esther’s time.

Knowing what she was up against, with 6 major principalities swirling around her, let’s look at what happened for her to fight them:

-First of all, Esther’s title of queen gave her no true power. Remember how easily Queen Vashti was deposed in the beginning. Esther was only chosen for the position because of her beauty – which is a superficial trait, but it’s also one that’s god-given – she was created for such a time as this, and if that meant she needed to be made pretty, well, that’s how God made her.

-Second, Esther was a non-practicing Jew. Think about that. She was hiding her identity from her husband – hiding in her own home. So she wasn’t partaking in the festivals, prayers, and was probably not following any of the dietary restrictions that the Jewish people normally follow. In short, she was doing nothing special to earn God’s favor – that just shows how merciful and faithful He is to those who petition in and stand for His will!

-What she did do, when she heard about Haman’s plot to wipe out her entire population, was to pray and fast for 3 days. She called for all the Jews in Persia to do the same thing. Now at first glance, she was fasting to prepare herself for the task at hand. And she was doing that. But if it was a matter of getting her heart right, maybe after a time of being distant from Him due to hiding who she really was, if that was all it was her time of prayer would have been between her and God. But it wasn’t. She called every Jew in Persia to fast and pray. We know that she had 6 principalities to fight. We know that the fate of her people was at stake. And we know that in Mark 9, Jesus heals someone possessed by demons. When His disciples ask why they couldn’t heal him in that, Jesus answered “that kind only comes out by prayer and fasting”. One more time: prayer and fasting casts out demons. It’s a big, big weapon we use. What was Esther doing? Praying and fasting. What were all the Jews in Persia doing? Praying and fasting. This wasn’t just a time of getting Esther’s focus together – this was a battleground. She was clearing the way, casting out these demons and making a way for God’s will to be done. She may have been in hiding up to this point, but He created her for such a time as this, and when push came to shove, she stood with Him strongly to bring His plan – the saving of the Jewish people – to fruition.

-Ultimately, God prevailed – He is stronger than these principalities and always will be! And we see His victory in the way that Xerxes extended favor to her both times that she approached him – even though her entrance to the throne room could have easily meant her death. We see His victory in how Xerxes not only agreed to listen to her but to dine with her, twice. Finally, we see His victory in Xerxes’ issuing a second decree which allowed the Jews to defend themselves and ultimately saved them. Everything Esther did after her time of prayer and fasting was met with favor – there was no more hiding, no more enemies in the way of God’s will. What a powerful God we serve!

My apologies for the super-long post. But it’s an important topic. And an important message: we were created for such a time as this. As this. You might be feeling on top of the world today – God has a destiny, a plan, and a task for you. You might be feeling like you’re under attack at this very moment – God has a destiny, a plan and a task for you. Stand with Him and you will prevail – “for if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

I invite you today to be intentional in seeking out Jesus’ plan for you. Join Him in intercession and ushering in His plan. Step onto the battleground with Him. Victory awaits – so claim it!

God bless!

Rebekah A

Unrelenting

“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 Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Hi everyone! It has been a long time since I’ve last posted. The reasons are varied, but not too profound, so I’ll spare you the details.

Basically I just took some time to seek Him and grow in Him. I’ve increased my study of His word. I’ve increased my worship in both my heart and my home. I’ve started stepping out of my comfort zone in prayer – with intercession, with strangers and friends alike. I’ve been playing piano as a form of worship, rather than just playing. I’ve been getting more discernment on my visions and words for people. I’ve been working on going deeper – the depths of His heart call to mine and I have been trying to respond. This has involved Him revealing things in the depths of my heart that are so ingrained I just chalked them up to personality traits. But they’re not. They’re learned behaviors that get in the way of true intimacy with Him. Most recently, I (along with Rebekah L) have been involved in a book study with a group of Marshallese ladies – it is amazing to see God’s heart for this tiny island nation unfold.

Suffice to say it’s been a process – a beautiful exercise of being stretched in love and faith. Much has happened – about a squillion blog posts worth. And I’ve learned some things. I’ve learned it’s ok to be lost – He’ll always, always find me. I’ve learned that faith isn’t always pretty, but He’s captivated by the sight of it anyway. I’ve learned His grace is beautiful and will wash over me even when I least deserve it. But the bottom line is, what I’ve learned the most, is that Jesus loves me as I am just as much as He would love me if I were perfect. But even though His love for me is at this moment fiercer and stronger than anything I have ever felt, He will not give up on the girl He initially created – on the one He created me to be. The fullness of the identity He has for me. His mercy is literally unending, but He will never give up shaping me and refining the shape of my heart until I am fully, wholly His. Until no part of me belongs to the past I left behind.

The same is true for us all. No matter where we’ve been lately. No matter how far we fall, no matter where our starting point is. No matter if we’re at the peak of success or at rock bottom. His love is unrelenting, and He will love us right to the person He created in the first place.

To that end, I give you a song of the day. There is beauty in His love, just as there is beauty in your heart. Where your hangups and imperfections start, so does His grace. His yoke is easy, His peace is abundant and I pray you are washed in it today.

God bless!

Rebekah A