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A Vision and a Prayer

So, as I have walked through New York City, following a fairly steady route throughout the winter, spring, and summer (between February and August, and less frequently starting in September), there have a few people who have become staple parts to my daily commute. One in particular is a homeless man named Bradley. Sometimes he’s more awake than others, and sometimes his words are more slurred than others, but no matter what kind of day he’s having he is easily one of the most personable people in New York. He might be filthy, but he is always smiling and always cheerful. He talks about his past with fond remembrance rather than bitterness, though he is from another part of the country and it’s been a long time since he’s had contact with any loved ones.

I don’t know exactly what happened in his life and what issues he’s faced that caused his decline from then, when he had a wife and a stepdaughter he still refers to as his princess, until now. We have a game we play, where he gives me a name, I look up its meaning on my phone, and he relates the meaning of the name back to the person they were. I don’t know most of the names he gives me or who these people were in his life, just a few snippets he’s given me.

I do know that the first day I met him I was hoping to pray for him, but before I could even ask he was expounding on how the government was a big conspiracy and how Jesus wasn’t real, His miracles were impossible and the whole Christianity thing was just a made-up story that people get fed today because the governmental powers that be think we’re dumb enough to follow it.

That was the one and only time I’ve seen him agitated. Suffice to say he was not receptive to the idea of prayer. But, That said, he has been heavy on my heart lately. I have been vaguely praying for him as God has led me, and praying into God’s plan for him, but the past few days God has gotten much more specific in how I’m to minister to him. Basically, He told me He wants me to do a bible study with Bradley, and gave me a specific place in the city where he wants this to happen. It’s near where I always see him, and it happens to be on some ground that I claimed for Jesus a few months back (possibly a story for another day, but long story short: God is pretty cool). He also told me in no uncertain terms that Bradley won’t willingly go there with me, and certainly won’t willingly read the bible with me (had God consulted me first, I easily could have told Him this part and spared Him the trouble of sending me the vision, but I digress). That being the case, my next direction was simple: if he won’t come with me, I am to go to him. Sit on the subway floor, by his side. If he won’t do a Bible study with me, I am to read my bible by myself, as I sit next to him. I am to simply talk to him. To seek God for wisdom and discernment on every word that comes out of his mouth. To seek wisdom and discernment over his heart. To let God fill my mouth with the words to minister to those places, and to supply the bible verses as needed. Eventually, there will be more direct bible interaction. God promised this, if I follow His guidance. In short, I am to go low and slow here.

I have never done anything quite like this before. But I’m game if Jesus is. Interestingly, I haven’t actually seen Bradley since this has been revealed to me. Either way, I thank Him for what He’s shown me, and I stand expectant and believing for Him to do a work here. And so today I just ask that you pray into God’s will over this man and my role in his life. That I would hear God clearly throughout and fully lean on Him to guide my steps. That most of all, He would move in this man’s life and do a work in him until he is walking in the fullness of the identity God has for him. Umm…..and also that if I am meant to move on this, I would cross paths with the guy. Or at least be told where he is so I can go find him. The city is huge, and there are lots of places where a homeless man might go when the weather cools – sometimes it would be so nice if directives from on high came with a GPS. Or a major clearing of the NYC smog so I could use the north star like the wise men, but honestly at this point I think dropping a supernatural Bradley-tracking device in my lap is the easier option.  Umm…..and since wherever Bradley is, it’s probably somewhere like the subway floor (where I normally see him – he even makes himself comfy and goes shirtless and shoeless down there) or an alley, prayers for my protection would also be appreciated. Though I have to say, there’s nowhere safer than in God’s arms!

I will keep you posted if, after all this subway-sitting and alley searching, I also need prayers to supernaturally boost the strength of my washing machine.

Meanwhile, thank you all very much, and God bless!

~Rebekah A

His Incredible Timing, His Unrelenting Love

I have a friend who is pretty much a full-time missionary, dividing her time between Haiti and Brazil. In Brazil she goes to places so poor that children are routinely fed warm water with salt as a meal. In Haiti she works in orphanages and teaches English. And so much more. I recently got permission to share with you readers her various testimonies, stories, and updates. This particular testimony made me cry when I watched it – so all you weepers out there might want to make a grab for the tissues now. It’s of a woman in a brothel and is one of many. God moves in dark places. He is there. When the bottom is falling out of our worlds, He has a place for us to land. To be held. To be loved. He is unrelenting in His love, it never lets up, and His desire to hold us close and abide with us is unending.

Be encouraged by this today, and God bless!

~Rebekah A

A Day of Thanksgiving

“For great is Your love, higher than the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.” ~Psalm 108-4

If you are a regular reader of this blog you have probably heard of my ongoing saga to find a personal care aide for my roommate Jimmy, confined to a wheelchair due to SMA (spinal muscular atrophy). We used to have an aide – a great one in fact. This past February, he was hit by a New York City bus and has been engrossed in a slow, painful (and currently stalled) recovery.

This man, as a side note, was raised by a Muslim mother and a Hindu father. As he put it, “I was raised with so many religions, I figured I may as well celebrate the Christian holidays too.”. While this sounded promising, it didn’t exactly speak to a heart transformation. And so, after the accident, I prayed for him profusely. For a physical healing, yes, but mostly for a life-changing revelation of who Jesus is, for Jesus to rock his heart and his life and that he would experience the pure love and peace that comes from His arms. That he would know who he was celebrating.

I prayed…..and Jesus answered.

Today I went to what I thought was the Guyanese equivalent of Thanksgiving. I had no idea what was going on or what to expect. It turned out to be his and his wife’s personal day of Thanksgiving, of opening up their home to their entire church (via many, many chairs set up in the backyard) and giving thanks to the Lord for all they have.

Today I witnessed our former aide speak to his church. His face was contorted into a grimace of pain and he struggled to stand, leaning so hard on a cane that his arms were shaking. I knew he was using all his muscles to balance himself because he has yet to regain full feeling in one of his legs. But not a bit of that came into his testimony. Instead, the words out of his mouth were of such passionate gratitude that he started to tear up.

And so I have my turn to give thanks. I am so, so thankful that I serve a God who is so present in our lives that he can perform miracles – not just in the physical world around us, but inside of us. That we can know Him, walk with Him, live with Him, open ourselves up to His unceasing love and attention. Our God is not at an altar; we don’t have to go anywhere special to find Him. He’s not in incense, He’s not in fire, He’s not in flowers. He’s in us, with us and surrounding us, active in both the biggest moments of our lives and the minutia. He listens to the cries of our hearts – and He answers.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

 

The Land of His Presence

babieI have a coworker who has a four-month old baby at home. She has never been shy about sharing the fact that she did not want this baby. She did not expect to get pregnant so quickly (within days of her birth control running out) and loudly resented the fact that she was too new of an employee at the time to qualify for short-term disability so she had to take her maternity leave unpaid. After she gave birth she struggled with post-partum depression and has had difficulty adjusting to life with a newborn.

Incredibly, she is already eight weeks into a second pregnancy! She did not want to be pregnant the first time and REALLY does not want to be pregnant this time. She has cried to me multiple times already about how she is too overwhelmed with her newborn to deal with another baby. To compound matters, she has had debilitating morning (all day) sickness to the point where she can hardly eat anything and has missed quite a bit of work because she never feels well. She has complained that she has the worst luck and it’s so unfair for this to be happening to her. And guess what? She just had her first ultrasound and surprise, it turns out she’s having twins! TWINS! Considering that twins are often born prematurely, she will very likely end up with three babies under one year of age at the same time.

It is very understandable why she would be stressed out about this. Having three babies that were unplanned so close together is enough to overwhelm anyone. I have expressed compassion and sympathy towards her. I have tried to convey hope, offered to pray for her, and have given her a shoulder to cry on. But inwardly, I am struggling a bit with her reaction to all of this. Everything (and I do mean everything) out of her mouth regarding her baby and her pregnancy is filled with negativity. She has so openly expressed the fact that she doesn’t and didn’t want any of them that I have trouble not feeling a little angry about it. A child is a blessing from God. How can you resent such a beautiful gift?

Granted, much of my reaction is clouded by my own disappointment. I have a chromosomal disorder that makes it extremely unlikely that I will ever get pregnant. Being the oldest of the Rebekahs on this blog, even if everything were working as perfectly as it should, the chance of my getting pregnant is rapidly decreasing because of age. And there’s still no husband in sight even if those first two things weren’t true.

I had a guy a couple of years ago who promised me the world. And one of the things he promised me was a baby. He went on and on about the storybook life we’d have once we got married. He said there was no price he wasn’t willing to pay in terms of fertility treatments, supplements, adoption options, etc. to make this dream a reality for us. He assured me that we had a secret weapon – the power of prayer, and that He would make me a mother. He took my hurting heart in his hands and promised me the thing it most desired. But things don’t always go the way we plan and sometimes promises are broken. Rather than give me a baby, he got another girl pregnant instead – while we were still together.  For some reason the end of that relationship represented a dying of my hope of ever becoming a mother.

Listening to my co-worker complain incessantly about a gift she’s been given that I will likely never experience has been difficult. I wonder why God blesses people who don’t want children with them, and withholds them from people who do. In the end, I remind myself that God knows what is best and it is not for me to judge. He knows what is best for me; He knows what is best for my co-worker and what is best for her children. I work to remain compassionate to my co-worker who truly does have a lot on her plate. I am quite sure that if I were in her position, I would also be very overwhelmed. I would likely also express some fear and negativity, but I would never feel that I didn’t want them.

I know that my feelings border on covetousness, occasionally even camping right in the midst of the Land of Covetousness. Sometimes I even get stuck in Selfishness and Despair. During times of repentance, praise, and gratefulness, I’m able to wander far from that land, but I’ve yet to leave it completely behind. The truth is that I spend far too much time there, living right on the border. And it’s dangerously close to another border – the border of Bitterness.

Bitterness is a very dangerous place. The Bible says that a root of bitterness can trouble you and defile many (Hebrews 12:15). That means that it doesn’t just wound the person who is bitter, it also wounds the people around them. Bitterness can take on a power all its own. It can act as a poison, gradually choking many aspects of our lives without us realizing it. We are supposed to love one another. Bitterness smothers love.

Bitterness is a cancer.

It spreads. It damages and tears down. It destroys. It is not of God. It creates a rift between us and God and we cannot have a right relationship with Him if we don’t deal with it.

So it is clear that the lands of Covetousness and Bitterness should be avoided at all cost. Thankfully, there is a simple (though not always easy) solution for the problems of covetousness and bitterness.  For both, repentance is in order. It takes admitting to God that our feelings are wrong and that we need some direction to get out of those ungodly lands.

victory-and-praise1

When I start feeling bitterness, I know the cure is forgiveness. There is hurt in my past that still needs to be dealt with. When I start feeling covetousness, I know the solution is to start counting my blessings. I need to praise the Lord for His goodness. I need to focus on all the wonderful things I have, rather than the few things I lack.

Sometimes we make things more complicated than they need to be, but God has laid out a clear plan to live in the land of Contentment, Peace, and Praise – The land of His presence! I am praying that my co-worker will find her way to the Land of His Presence and that it will change her. I am praying that He will grant her peace in this situation and give her a deep, unconditional love for her children. Let’s all commit to spending more and more time in His presence.

In His Love,
Rebekah L.

First Day

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. ~Matthew 6:26-34

roadToday was my first day of orientation as one of the new doctors and it was a bit overwhelming.  With all my feelings and thoughts swirling around I realized one thing: Jesus is my rock.  Everything could fade away, but I have a feeling God gave me a great group to work with the next three years.  Praise Him for His goodness. I am going to hold on to hope instead of fear of the possible problems.  Jesus is good. His mercy endures forever.

For any of you also going through a “first day” of sorts in your life where the unknown is just all you can see, remind yourself to lock out the negative thoughts- submit them to Jesus- and allow God to fill your heart with hope of good things for your future 🙂  Let Him be your rock and your strength.

Seeking His Kingdom first,
Rebekah M.

Prayer Monday- Prayer of Peace

So our loyal readers, you may have noticed that we have been dropping the ball here at Being Rebekah.  We have a goal of posting daily and it’s pretty clear that last week, that didn’t happen. We usually try to fill in for each other when that happens but everyone has been a bit in over their head. In it all though, God has been SO amazing.

sadnessIn follow up to my last post- Honor Thy Father:  after his stone cold reception of my weeping apology, I tried to hold strong, believing that God saw and loved me and was proud of me.  The next day, I see-sawed between despair and faith.  I wanted to believe my dad would eventually come around, but it was breaking my heart that although EVERYONE was so proud of me, I felt as if my own father was disowning me and saying I was beyond hope.  I remember sobbing in front of my computer, broken-hearted, and telling my friend it just hurt SO much.

The amazing part- God spoke to my dad.  God was the one who truly heard all of our prayers (including you readers who prayed for him!!!) and brought peace to his heart.  I was so proud and happy when he was asked to lead church prayer on Sunday and he was praising God for His peace.  He confessed that he recently went through a time of just not wanting to talk to anyone; in a complete pit of despair that nothing would get better or change. But GOD. God came down and brought him peace and he was proclaiming to the congregation that God could do the same for them all.  What a wonderful God we serve!!!

Readers- THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS!!!  I know our hope here at BeingRebekah is to be a blessing to you all- but you all truly blessed my life by praying for my father.

One thing I will say that I learned in all this- when things were bad and even my mom was still pushing my past bad actions to the forefront despite my sincere repentance and promise to try to be better- I begged her to just stop everything with me and pray.  GOD took over. He brought peace.  He brought life and re-built bridges.  He truly is the redeemer. He truly is our hope and savior.

surrenderSO much was dug up in my time of praying.  So many things all the way back from my childhood were brought up, things I blamed my dad for (but didn’t realize until I prayed through it). Once I acknowledged them, forgave him for it, and let go- THEN that’s how I just haven’t yelled. The anger is gone. The quick temper with only my dad is gone.  He has a personality where he wants peace so he’ll sometimes just not say anything, not even in defense of his children who are being put down by his own family.  I had to forgive him and when that was let out and let go, I gained even more strength to live a life that honors God and my parents.

Readers, know that this God of peace, He can help you figure out what is the root behind your actions.  Is there only one person in your life that you have an irrational anger with? Someone who has the lowest thresh-hold when it comes to getting you angry? Know that God can help you with that!! Just as I had things in my heart that I had to dig out and finally let go of, you may find that is the same for you. LET IT GO.  I am free now.  Free. These last few days have been more peaceful in my relationship with my dad than… I’m not even sure when.  Praise God! I’m glad I can finally have a real relationship with my dad.

Thank You Jesus for truly being the Prince of Peace!

Rebekah M.

Related Post:

https://beingrebekah.com/2013/06/06/honor-thy-father/

Surrounded by Love

The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them. ~Numbers 6:24-27

sun

My time as a medical student is closing up. I am graduating this Sunday and the church out where I’m at this month is one that I was blessed enough to be at for 6 of the last 24 months.  They have allowed me to sing a solo, a duet, and play the drums. I have been used to give messages, to increase faith, and see Him move in ways I never imagined. Last night at the end of service they gave me a graduation gift and had me speak.  As I have reflected on it and my last few years, I can clearly see just how much God has loved me and seen me through SUCH painful times of my life.  He has uplifted me when a guy who had promised a “forever” future with me shortly thereafter withdrew from me and broke my heart. He has picked the pieces up when friends have forsaken me.  He has given me new hopes, new dreams, and new people to love me.  I added the above scripture because I truly feel that from those who love me- they want God to shine upon my life.  They want good things to happen to me. They want the road to meet me.

Thank You Jesus!

Thank You that my life is surrounded by love.  As this chapter of my life closes up soon, let it be that YOU are all I need. May Your love continue to surround me as You allow others to come into my life to love me as well.  Such blessings- amazing Godly parents, friends who would never leave me, and soon, on Sunday, I will be called doctor. WOW! Thank You Jesus!

I praise You God!

I thank YOU!

Thank You Jesus for surrounding my life in YOUR love!!!

With a grateful heart,

Rebekah M.