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Working as for the Lord

Today at work I had a lot to do. I also had the ability, if I wanted, to be lazy and put off doing most of it. That’s because while I had a lot of things on my list, I didn’t have any pressing deadlines hanging over my head today. Also, both my boss and my supervisor were not in the building so there was no one looking over my shoulder or creating more work for me to do. In my flesh, I wanted to take it easy. I reasoned that opportunities to just relax are few and far between and that I deserved the break. I didn’t want to work hard today for the simple reason that I could get away with it.

It got me thinking about spiritual things. There are times when we could pray and we know we should pray, but we don’t because we don’t feel like it. We justify to ourselves that we can do it later, the deadlines just don’t seem that pressing. Likewise, we know that we should spend more time reading the Word, but we tell ourselves that we work hard for the Kingdom of God and we deserve a break. We often don’t give our best to the Lord for the simple reason that we can get away with it. We know we’re covered by grace and whether we consciously acknowledge it or not, we use the truth of grace to take short-cuts.

Thankfully, this train of thought convicted me and motivated me to work as if the boss were over my shoulder and I did have pressing deadlines. After all, Jesus sees all we do and tomorrow is not promised to any of us. Whether it is working for the Kingdom or working in a secular capacity we are to do all as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23). And do you know what happened? When I determined to work as if Jesus were in the office with me, I didn’t just work hard, but I was incredibly efficient and productive. I’m not saying that to pat myself on the back, quite the opposite really. What happened is that the Lord multiplied my work! There is no way I could have accomplished all that I did today on my own. I managed to get far more done than I would on a typical day. It was really awesome and I found myself praising Him between tasks and singing worship songs while I worked. The more I did this, the more I got done!

You know there are so many times when we don’t feel like doing things. We don’t want to work hard, we don’t want to exercise, or read the Word or pray. It just feels like too much effort. The amazing thing is that when we do these things for the Lord (rather than for men), He rewards us for it. Think about that: we’re doing it for Him, and yet we reap the benefits! He is so incredibly good to us! He deserves all our praise and we should strive to give Him our very best.

Lord, forgive me for all of the times I took the easy way out. Help me to honor you with diligence and purpose to serve You. Thank you for helping me today. Thank You for showing me patience and for continuously guiding me closer to You. The flow of Your love is overwhelming; Your mercy and blessings innumerable. In Jesus’ precious name I give You thanks today. Thank You, thank You, thank You.

In His Love,
Rebekah L.
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Caring for Mother

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My mother had surgery last week. She lives in another state, but it’s less than a two hour drive away so I packed up a suitcase and drove up to spend several days caring for her after she was released from the hospital. It was physically and emotionally exhausting.

Helping her out of bed in the morning and to the reclining chair is a monumental task. Getting her out of the chair for any reason is as well. I’ve learned how to bend down, tip the chair forward, get the brunt of her weight under my arm, shift her weight onto my thighs while still keeping the chair tilted and use my hands to steady her, all the while holding her JP drain, catheter bag and tubing out of the way.

Caring for her has included wound care and dressings, emptying blood and fluids from the JP drain, emptying the catheter bag, dressing and undressing for the day, assistance showering, making sure she gets all of her medications (and there are a lot!) on schedule, cooking and cleaning for her, as well as feeding and walking the dogs etc… Most of this isn’t particularly difficult, but it is time consuming. Most of the difficulty lies, not in the tasks, but in my mother having to lay aside her pride and be very vulnerable and dependent. I know it’s humiliating to her to have to have her daughter help her with such personal and intimate parts of her life.

Honestly, prior to this week, the thought of having to help my mother shower or assist her with a bowel movement was horrifying to me. It is one thing to assist a patient, an acquaintance, or even a friend with these things, but having to help a parent brings a different level of emotional involvement. Our parents are the ones who cared for us when we were younger and to see them become vulnerable is a reminder that they are aging, that they aren’t invincible, and that life is fleeting.

But you know, sometimes such a reminder isn’t so bad. We need to be reminded that we are human and that our lives are short. We need to remind ourselves that our experiences here on earth are temporary and what matters is eternity. Additionally, caring for an ill or aging person is an opportunity to practice the love of God.

I’ve learned that I have much more to give than I realized. My mother and I have never been particularly close and I’ve often felt I am a failure in her eyes, but none of that mattered when she needed me. I’ve learned that when you love someone you don’t think about how awful it is to have to bathe them, you just do it. And you do it because you love them. I think of all the things she did for me when I was young, not because she wanted to, but because it was the right thing for me at the time. And I think of all the things the Lord has done for me. Not because He had to, but because He loved me.

Every blessing we receive is because our heavenly Father loves us. He was willing to do the dirty work in order to rescue us in our time of need. He came down to this degraded, unholy place as a helpless child because He loved us enough to overlook the sacrifice it would take. He didn’t just sacrifice His time and resources, He sacrificed His very life. He looked down and saw that we were sick and injured and put in motion a plan to bring us back to health. He saw that we were lost and dying and He picked us up and gave us life! He is the ultimate caregiver. He is the One I want to emulate and the One I want to praise all of the days of my short life on this earth and for all of eternity.

In His love,

Rebekah L.

Sunshine Over Manhattan

So, my roommate and I got back safely from Florida. I tried to post this several days ago (via phone because my antiquated computer was having an antisocial day), but then my phone decided the antisocial game looked like fun too and just like that my post was thwarted. Well played, technology, well played. If you were following along, God was doing big things in my friend Scott’s life. He has been hospitalized for the better part of 7 months now, and is finally home but has a long road back. God has been telling me for awhile that someone needed to lay hands on him and pray for a healing – both physical and spiritual. I had a hard time facilitating this from New York, with him living in Orlando, but when I was there in person for 10 whole nights, it was game on. If you were one of the many praying for us, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Anyway, the prayer for Scott happened. The results didn’t. I could feel God moving in those moments, I could feel things getting shaken up, but nothing actually physically happened. It was sort of anticlimactic really. I am trying to shed this part of myself that looks for results when I obey and serve, but part of me still totally does it. If I’m told to lay hands on someone and pray, told repeatedly for months, I want to lay hands on that person and have them be healed. I want the disabled to get up and walk. I want my friend Scott, who has been ventilator-dependent since 1989 or so, to suddenly breathe on his own. Or at least stop feeling like he isn’t getting enough air even though he is. I want results. I want miracles. I know God is able to do these things. So I want Him to go ahead and do them. And I want to see it happen. Maybe it’s an area of unbelief in my heart. Maybe it’s a pride thing, wanting to be the one to ‘usher in’ the miracle when I know full well I have nothing to do with it. Probably it’s both.

Either way, I am working on shedding this desire, to serve for serving’s sake.  After all, I’m just delighted to be His, to love Him and be loved by Him and to let that love pour out onto the world. It doesn’t really matter what I accomplish in the meantime. Right? Right.

Since I have yet to convince my heart of this, and still have a desire to see that pesky proof, doing the work without the results is frustrating. Coming home from Orlando, with Scott still heavy on my heart, I drove my roommate in to work. Several weeks ago I’d had the chance to chat with and pray for two homeless men. Wouldn’t you know, God sent both men back into my path on this day. One was a bit disillusioned that his circumstances hadn’t really changed despite our prayer and my delivering a word from God to him. The other man was asleep but by the looks of him, his circumstances hadn’t changed much either. I know, I know, these things take time. But it still sort of tied in with my ‘results’ theme of late.

So it was that a few days later (this brings us to yesterday), I was riding home from the nursing home after visiting my roommate’s mother (she had a tough day – something was wrong and she was clearly uncomfortable but we couldn’t get to the bottom of it no matter what I did). The weather was nasty, that need for visible results was pecking away at my heart and brain, I felt bad that I couldn’t help Jimmy’s mother, and I admit it: I had a bit of a moment. A sort of “why am I here if everything I do is useless?” moment. I mean, yes I obey. But surely God would be better served with someone who actually has success when they obey?

Yes, I know better. Like I said, it was a moment. Lord forgive my unbelief.

In that moment of despondency, however, I happened to look out the window, back towards the city. And in the midst of the storm clouds, still surrounded by storm on all sides in fact, a window of clear skies opened up over the skyline. With storm clouds to the horizon in all directions, there was in that one spot, the one place I’d been told to come to and where I hear God’s voice the most clearly, the sun came out and shone over Manhattan. Sunlight in the storm. Just what I needed to see.

Yes, logically, I know that weather patterns are not formed specifically to brighten my moods. But in that moment, I could totally hear God saying “See? I’m still here. I’ve still got this. Nothing to worry about.”

That, my friends, is the mercy and attention of the God we serve. Even when I’m learning the lesson of not relying on physical results to gauge my success in Him, He still sends me little signs of encouragement. Who else can give sunshine in the storm? Every day His love continues to amaze me.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

 

Guest Spot: MJ of The Peace Filled Life “Plan B”

Editor’s Note: Our weekly guest spot is our effort to help our reading community connect with each other. MJ’s post on contentment in our moments reminds us of the truth that “…godliness with contentment is great gain” (I Tim 6:6). Thank you for sharing MJ! 

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I spent too long believing I was living Plan B. I thought that if I had just done X, Y and Z, I would be living Plan A. For now I was waiting, doing my “penance” – until Plan A would magically appear, and my “real” life would start and I would live happily ever after.

I could not have been any more wrong.

In reality, I have many blessings in my life – a wonderful husband, three beautiful children, a house in the suburbs, reliable transportation, and a good job.  My family has food, water, clothing, indoor plumbing, electricity, heat, air conditioning, and modern appliances.  I have an awesome extended family, many good friends, a great church and community.

And yet what did I find myself concentrating on? The ONE thing that I did not have. Is that not the most ungrateful thing you ever heard of?

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). John 10:10

The evil one has one goal for your life – to steal your joy, kill your spirit and destroy your life. God wants you to have life! Not just in the life to come, but in this very life that you are living now. Not just merely an existence, but to the full, till it overflows!

Living my life as if it were Plan B was not what God intended. God made life for enjoying!

If I concentrate on the what ifs, and the if onlys – I will live my life disappointed, angry and bitter. But if I concentrate on accepting the many gifts that Christ has given me, I will have joy and peace.

In May of 2011, I had enough.  I made a decision:

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I chose joy and peace.

I chose to enjoy where I am.

I chose to accept the path that God designed for ME.

To be honest, 2011 was one of the most painful years of my life.  Yet after I made that decision –

I had never felt more joy and peace in my life.

I had never heard God’s voice so clearly nor felt His presence so abundantly.

I had never been more secure in the fact that I AM living the Plan that God intended for ME.

His Plan is good. I choose this.  Do you choose this?

*     *     *

“Seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14b)

MJ is a mom, wife, career woman, and follower of God.  She is passionate in her quest to “seek peace and pursue it”.  Her blog can be found at http://thepeacefilledlife.wordpress.com

See the original post at: http://thepeacefilledlife.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/plan-b/

Published by permission of the author. Submit your own post at beingrebekah@outlook.com. 

Guest Post: Rebekah M’s Mom “Entering the Restricted Zone”

Editor’s Note: Our weekly guest spot is our effort to help our reading community connect with each other. I am excited that my mom, who is currently in a Bible College program, has allowed us to post one of her previous papers she wrote for a class. Based on the book Entering the Restricted Zone by Steve Willoughby, she writes on events that I witnessed while growing up that show God’s amazing ways and how His hand has been on her and my family all our lives. ~Rebekah M.

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Sometimes when the storms of life come, if we are not prepared, it can be devastating. Many years ago, some unfortunate misunderstandings caused someone in the church to mistrust our family. The more we tried to prove ourselves, the more the situation got worse, and eventually we really did not know how to get out of it. We were all praying and seeking God’s direction. Soon everyone got the answer except for me. I felt I was left out and I cried out to the Lord. Three days later, a lady in the church said that she needed to talk to me. She said she had been praying for me the whole week and that God has a word for me. God wanted her to say this to me: ‘There are three moments. “Moment before moment, I will give you peace”, “Moment before moment, I will give you peace”, “Moment before moment, I will give you peace”’. When she was speaking, the Holy Ghost told me that I was in the second moment. I felt the love of God because He sent someone to pray for me and gave His word to comfort me. I realized that this was a spiritual battle and God had allowed it to happen so we would learn an important life lesson. God has promised, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb 13:5). Yes, my husband and I, because we are confident in His love, were able to overcome the situation.

cross1I know my calling and passion is to love and care for the people who have needs and I enjoy doing that as well because I am eager to share with others the love I have received from God. Then a few years ago, while I was happy and busy helping some people who have needs, something was secretly going on behind my back. Someone had spread rumors and false accusations about my motivation for helping others. I was accused with untrue matters from the distorted information. I was even betrayed by a very good friend whom I trusted and highly respected. When this thing happened, it was so hard to accept and way beyond my understanding. I was confused and scared. I thought “If God really, really, loved me; He would not let me go through this.” I was so hurt. I wrapped myself in pains and agony and I cried myself to sleep for several days. This time the storm had struck me really hard. Then at my lowest point, God reminded me of my third moment. Suddenly I realized that this is my third critical spiritual battle and I was not fighting the battle on my own; I have God and the support of my family. He then taught us how to fight this battle and the key was humility and submission. We were determined to hold on to His Love, stick with our faith and endure to the end. Praise the Lord; once again, through the help of the Lord, we overcame the situation.

I know when God allow trials and tests to happen in my life, it is for my own good. He used those situations to make me strong. Through the difficult times, I have learned how to trust Him and do things His way. Because of the confidence I have in His love, I have joy. And this joy that I have, the devil did not give it to me and devil cannot take it away!

Rebekah M’s mom is a loving housewife who lives the Bible and seeks to be His light where ever she is.  

Published by permission of the author. Submit your own post at beingrebekah@outlook.com. 

Rough Day

An upright man gives thought to his ways (Proverbs 21:29)

So today was rough. I started the day with finding out I missed something on a patient that, although not fatal, was a BIG thing to miss. Nothing bad happened, but I shouldn’t have missed it. Later on, I had a huge blow when a test showed another one of my patients had a silent but potentially deadly condition. One where a person can go from looking fine to dead in just a few minutes.

It really got to me. I had instantly bonded with this patient and his wife and, although he was fine at the moment, knowing that he was so seriously ill (although it was not evident looking at him) got me to the core. Being emotionally invested in my people means that when they are hurting, I hurt. When they aren’t doing well, it makes me feel a bit like I’m not doing well. It makes me a good doctor, but it also makes me vulnerable to burnout.

Recently, another student joined my team. We start the day at the same time, work in the same office space, and typically have most of our meals together.  He’s even made it his mission to have me watch the entire series of Scrubs (all 8, not counting the fake 9th season). We essentially spend most of our day together until I pray with my family at night or go to church.

Knowing that I was so emotionally compromised today, I had a moment where I thought, “I must be careful. I am missing [the guy I just let go], I am spending LOTS of time with this guy every day, my heart is hurting for my patient, and my pride is hurt from my missing that thing yesterday. I need to be careful.”

So what did I do? I talked to a friend that I knew would lay it to me straight. Luckily, since I was preemptively seeking help, she mainly confirmed that yes, I was right to be concerned and it was good I was being mindful and careful.  Are there times where he’s flirty with me? She confirmed that yes, when he does things like taking my stethoscope from around my neck even though he had his in his pocket and taunted me about it in front of the nurses, that was flirting. But she also confirmed that that’s why it was good I was reaching out NOW, BEFORE anything was happening. The best part was that she even prayed with me and prayed over me about this.

I think I’m growing. This time with a guy who seems attracted to me but not someone I can date (since he does not believe like I do), I am seeking God in prayer. This time I am saying “Lord, I’m weak, I know that I’m vulnerable to being attracted to this guy. Help me God, help me be good. Help me not do anything wrong. Help me Jesus.”  Like the above verse in Proverbs, I feel like I am reflecting on my past and knowing that just because he’s not in church, it doesn’t mean I’m immune to his charms.  It just means that Jesus is my strength. That even on rough days, I can find comfort in Him, not in a guy’s hug (mental or physical). That even on days when I’m worried for my patients and was just reprimanded, God is good and holds me through it.  I don’t need a guy to cheer me up, just Jesus.

Thank You Lord for helping me through this rough day.  Thank You God that I didn’t turn to man (or a man in this case) but I turned to You. Thank You God that I am safe in Your arms.  Thank You Jesus for giving me strength to be good and not offer anything more than just friendship.  I praise You. I worship You. I love and adore You Jesus more than anything else and I love that I can say it and mean it!!! 

Rebekah M. 

A True Servant

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” ~ Galations 6:2

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Lately, life has been crazy. Between helping my roommate’s aide daily (who is still in agony, can sometimes put on his own shoes, but not his own jacket, can only eat soft foods and can’t walk unassisted), having him spend nights at our house so his wife can go back to work, helping cover his old duties while we train a new aid, it’s busy. Plus, the house is falling apart (I swear every piece of furniture we own is in cahoots). So it’s been busy.

And through the busy, God has been showing me something. When we’re left to our own devices and we see a need, we may try to fill it. We’ll do ‘what we can’. But very often, ‘what we can’ isn’t exactly what we can do, but what we want to do. In a lot of ways, even under the guise of doing a good deed, we ration our help. We determine what is convenient for us to give.

And while those good deeds are indeed helpful, we really only get the true heart of a servant when we push past our self-imposed boundary. When we lay aside what is convenient for us to give and truly give according to God’s calling to fulfill the need before us, that is when we become servants. Servants don’t do their lord’s bidding when they have a spare second. They put themselves aside. They see their lord as more important than they are, and they do his bidding when he tells them to.

So too are we called to see every person we pass as more important than ourselves. I’m sure it wasn’t convenient for Rebekah to stop and water an elderly servant’s camels, but she put the servant above herself and did it anyway. I’m sure dying on the cross wasn’t convenient for Jesus. But He did it anyway, because while here on earth He acted as a servant. He put the rest of humanity above Himself.

I’m not saying we all have to go to that extreme – God will guide us as to how much of ourselves to actually give. But whatever He asks of us, the fact remains that to be a servant means to go beyond ourselves and place ourselves below the person we’re serving. In that moment, they are more important than we are. Imagine how our regular interactions would look if we all truly embraced that concept in our hearts.

So I invite you today to have God examine your hearts. Make sure your calling as a servant isn’t hindered by a limit you placed on it, but that you are giving according to His calling for you. You can trust Him – He won’t lead you beyond what You can truly bear and He won’t forsake you. He’s our provider, after all – He’s all we need!

God bless!

~Rebekah A