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Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord. –Psalm 27:14

When we first started this blog, I was a single woman still grieving a breakup that had happened a couple years prior. I struggled to move on from that relationship even though I knew it wasn’t God’s will for me. Every year that went by became more distressing as I saw my chances at motherhood waning.

There were times during this period that I was blissfully aware of God’s presence and provision. I was content to wait for His best for me. I recognized that my singlehood brought unique opportunities to serve Him. Yet, there were painful stretches of time where I failed to see Him through my loneliness and despair. There were many difficult days. The years of being alone weighed on me. I constantly felt guilty because I knew that He was everything that I needed, and yet I still desired human companionship.

Today I am a married woman with three beautiful step-children. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for these precious gifts in my life! My husband is so loving and caring. He is very attentive to my needs and treats me far better than I deserve. He treats me so well that I have trouble accepting it. I never quite believed that anyone could care about me enough to treat me the way he does.

My step-children are sweet and respectful. They accepted me into the family almost immediately. Growing closer to them has probably been the most fulfilling aspect of my life to date. It was the day I met them that I knew my relationship with their father could work. I would not allow myself to fall for him until I knew I could love his children too. Really love them. It would not have been fair to the children or their dad if I could not.

I wish I could go back and tell my single self that she will be okay. I would tell her that the years of singlehood will be worth the wait. That God is setting everything up and not to lament the period of preparation. I would tell her that I couldn’t have met my husband sooner because neither of us were in the place we needed to be yet, but that it would make our meeting that much sweeter when the time came. People tried to tell me this, but I struggled to believe them.

That’s not to say that marriage and step-parenting is all sunshine and rainbows. It’s hard work. It’s draining. But it’s so rewarding. It is so beautiful. It is everything I hoped it would be.

God has been by my side through all of it. Through the lonely days that came before and the sometimes all-consuming days I experience now. God truly has our best in mind. He sincerely takes care of our every need. He loves us more than anyone else ever has or ever can. He is all in all. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him.

If you are single (or in some other period of waiting), please believe me, God is working things out for your good. He sees your struggle. He knows your tears. He’s allowing this trial in your life because He knows you are growing through it. Lean into Him and give Him all your cares. Put your trust in Him. His timing is impeccable.

In His Love,
Rebekah L.

 

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Single and Seeking

CoupleI have previously mentioned on this blog that there is a lack of single Christian men in my church. To be precise, there are zero single Christian men in my local congregation. The truth is that there is a serious lack of single Christian men in the American church at large. A 2011 PEW Research study showed that there are eight single women for every one single man in the average congregation. Being a long time single with few talents and little beauty, that’s a pretty disconcerting statistic. How I could ever attract a man over the barrage of other single women available is beyond me. It is beyond me, but it is not beyond God. Yet the harsh reality is that unless things drastically change in the makeup of the church, there is a large number of women in churches today that may never marry.

For a long time I assumed that if I loved God and waited patiently, that He would just send the right man to me. My husband would just show up. The Bible says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing” (Proverbs 18:22), which implies to me that the husband does the finding. He should pursue after his bride. Therefore, I’ve never looked for a husband. I’ve longed for one, but not actively looked for one. But recently, a member of my church opened my eyes to the fact that my future husband cannot find me if I don’t position myself in a place to be found. The Bible doesn’t just say to ask, it also tells us to seek and knock (Matthew 7:7). I had asked for a spouse, but I hadn’t really sought for one. While I take all of Matthew 7:7 to be a reference to prayer, there is a difference between asking and seeking. Seeking implies some kind of action. The sister in my church asked me what I had done, what actions had I taken in finding a spouse. Not many. I have prayed. I have been faithful. I have waited patiently in the pew for almost eleven years for my husband to walk through those doors.

If we were to compare this search to looking for a needle in haystack (which is what it feels like), I have mostly just circled repeatedly around the same haystack expecting the needle to suddenly reveal itself to me. I have not dug down into the haystack pulling out individual straws in my search. I felt that actually looking through the straws meant I was not trusting God to reveal the needle to me. If it’s His will for me to be married, He will send a man to me, right? Well, yes, and no. He will send me a partner when the time is right, but it’s not likely to happen without any participation on my part. In the Bible, Rebekah had to participate by watering the servant’s camels. Ruth’s participation was even bolder. Ruth purposely went to Boaz (at Naomi’s suggestion) and uncovered his feet while he was sleeping, and lay upon his feet. I won’t take the time to go into the historical significance of what she was actually doing, but it was very forward. She was clearly making her intentions known to Boaz. She wasn’t passively waiting for him, she actively went to him.

This brings me to where I am now. Along with the sister who helped me to see that beyond asking, I should also seek and knock, several other well-meaning Christians have recently asked me what I have actively done to find a spouse. In another post I will expand on some of the things I have done and am doing to try to place myself in a better position to be found. I have sought to form a closer relationship with God, worked out a hidden root of bitterness over the way my last relationship ended, and went through a very intense spiritual battle to fortify myself against a particular weakness I have.

Reluctantly, I have also made myself a little more visible on social media. None of the other things I’ve done do me much practical good when there aren’t any prospects in my church (or even in my district), so I decided I needed to do something to widen the circle. This is fraught with a lot of uncertainty and not a few painful rejections. I’ve seriously been considering going back into hiding, but then I think of Rebekah M and her new found interest who she met through social media and I think perhaps it’s worth trying to stick it out awhile longer. I haven’t quite figured out where the line is between not doing enough and pushing too hard. In the end, it’s up to God. I still believe when I am ready and the timing is right, He will send me a companion. Until then, may God grant me the grace to keep waiting.

In His Love,
Rebekah L.

No Place For That Here

Recently, I was talking to a friend who said she needed prayer – the “spirit of discouragement” was trying to latch onto her. I went into prayer for her, ready to do battle against this “spirit”, to cast it away from her, whatever I needed to do. She is at a really intense time in her life and certainly didn’t need  a spirit of discouragement standing in her way!

As I began getting into the heart of my prayer time though, God gave me the revelation that in this case there was no such spirit of discouragement. There was simply a girl, a child of God, doing her best to walk out the calling on her life but currently falling short. She wasn’t out of His will, she was following His call, she was just falling short of the fullness of what her life was meant to be at this time.

Why was this happening? It was because she knew what God had called her to do. She had heard His voice…..but then she used her earthly ideas to fill it in. For example, say somebody really likes flowers. And so, really liking flowers, was expecting them from a loved one for their birthday. All day at work waiting for that bouquet to arrive, expecting it at home. Instead, the loved one didn’t send a bouquet at all but took them to a picnic in a field of wildflowers. The wish was fulfilled but not in the way our flower-loving person expected. The present didn’t meet expectations per se, but does that mean it was bad?

In the case of my friend, it is Jesus’ will that she is doing. She is just walking with a certain (earthly) expectation of what that should look like. A certain expectation of how people will respond to her along the way, because it is God’s will. And as it happens, it isn’t turning out like she expected. The breakthroughs are happening between her and Jesus, not between her and those around her. And so she is finding herself discouraged.

But as I prayed for her, God revealed that this is an issue of our own hearts, not some outward spirit attacking us. And it’s an issue we face a bit too frequently. So often we walk in expectation of what God can and should do. And yes, of course we should be expectant. But sometimes we end up seeking the things we expect of Him, rather than seeking God Himself. And that’s a problem.

Readers, our first and really only desire should be Jesus. To serve Him. To seek Him, To be with Him. There are numerous – numerous – Bible verses about how we should seek God with our whole heart. That doesn’t mean “seek Him with half our heart and keep the other half of our heart waiting to witness His miracle”. That doesn’t mean “seek with most of our heart and keep a teeny bit waiting to rejoice at a breakthrough”. It means our whole heart longs for Him and Him alone. If He is healing the masses as we walk among them, great. Awesome. Amazing. I had a friend in Africa recently who was feeding a village and God literally repeated the miracle of the loaves and fish. I was crying at His glory and power with this miracle. BUT. If He happens to just be merely standing before us, that is fine. Amazing in fact. Why? Because He’s Jesus. And He’s enough. And if our whole heart is truly desiring Him and Him alone, if we keep all our own thoughts and expectations out of it and instead seek only His face and heart, His mere presence is enough. If we desire Jesus, our desires are fulfilled. Because we have Jesus.

There’s no place for discouragement when our heart’s desire is being fulfilled. At the end of the day, maybe we didn’t see a miracle we expected. Maybe we didn’t see what we thought we would. But it’s not our plan. It’s His. It’s not our expectation that matters. It’s His. We’re merely the vessels for it. If our hearts are truly in the right place, and God is our true desire, we’ve got Him. Our desire has been fulfilled. It’s being fulfilled constantly, as an inherent part of our relationship with Him. Us + Jesus = perfect satisfaction for our hearts and spirits. The Bible makes this equation clear, and there is simply no room for discouragement in it. Where would it even go?

Where does that leave us? Well. We all feel discouraged at times. It’s normal. It’s natural. For every verse in the Bible that says to desire and seek God above all else, there are probably just as many examples of someone discouraged. It happens. But it’s still a problem.

So, if you are in that place of discouragement, as we’ve all been, I invite you to seek Him a bit further today. Really, really press in to Him and let Him show you if maybe something else has entered your equation. Let Him reassure you and give you peace to know that these other variables don’t really matter because He is bigger than them and He is able. Give your heart over to Him to be reshaped. Give Him your very thoughts to be brought into obedience under Him.

And then rest assured. He’s got this.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

The Word 6/21/13

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. ~ Matthew 6:19-21

Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. ~ I Timothy 4:14-16

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. ~ Romans 8:1-2

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 8:38-39

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. ~ John 3:16

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.

Prayer Monday: Purge Me

I haven’t been doing so well lately.  Something in me is restless. I found myself easily angered by stupid things. I found myself frustrated beyond belief unnecessarily. I found myself recently failing a trial. Today while driving home, I just poured my heart out. Sobbing to the One who can comfort me, I told Him just how much I was sorry for failing once again. I told Him how much I just wanted to be free of the things that seem to trip me up.  I was torn up and broken before Him. In that time though, of truly allowing my heart to be open before Him, I found Him just going in and dumping out all the muck. He dug in, taking out the things that I have no power to take out on my own. As He did His work, I felt His incredible sorrow that I wrote about ME feeling for a friend of mine (in the post God’s Sorrow)… but His sorrow was just as deep and directed AT ME.  Then… as I poured more of myself out, I felt Him opening up my heart and letting His light shine. To bring back life and hope. So that I could feel His forgiveness. To see His divine purpose.  To realize that He had more things to burn away from my soul, but that everything is allowed in an effort so that I can be His light. So that I will be ready for the ministry He has in store for me.

So reader, if you feel led to, join me in this prayer:

Jesus, 

I’m desperate for You. I’m longing for You. Come like a flood, purge me of myself, and saturate me now with You. You’re all I want. Clean out everything within me, burn out the bad in me, and make me whole and new in You. As my dad once prayed for me, give me a new bottle… all the different kinds of bottles that hold all the different kinds of promises- of family, of jobs, of friends, of ministry… give us all new bottles- ones filled with hope and YOUR blessings. Things that seem dead and stale in our lives and hearts, purge them, and replace them with YOU.  Be everything in our lives. Fill every last crevice that was cleaned out as You purged us. Fill it with Your love, Your purpose, Your plan.  Use us to share Your good news! You are alive! You want to give us good lives! Praise You Jesus! Praise You God! 

Rebekah M. 

P.S. Below I’ve put a video up of a song I recently put on facebook. This song is still resonating in my heart today, even stronger actually.

Ode to Mothers

Being that today is Mother’s day, Rebekah A and I felt we’d like to make a joint post sharing a story each of our mothers 🙂

mother

Rebekah M- When I think about my mom, I can’t help but think of how much she rejoices and weeps with me through the times in my life.  I received news that I failed one part (of two) of the medical boards in early December. It became a test of faith. Without passing, certain residency programs would no longer rank me for their program. More over, I only had a small window in which to re-take the test and it was crucial to graduating on time. It wasn’t until January until a new spot opened up for me to re-take the test.  As I went through my second round of testing, I was nervous and part of me wished that I had had greater faith in the midst of that time, but I survived and at the worst of the stress, my prayers to Him who could calm my heart from breaking down in tears worked.  When I received an email in early March saying that the results were posted online, I quickly called my mom.  As I opened up to the results I was able to say to her that I passed.  She immediately started breaking out in praise to God. I could hear her tears through the phone as she wept and gave God praise.  What an amazing mother! Not only am I certain of her MANY prayers on my behalf that I would pass, she continued to encourage me to hold to His steadfast mercy and grace. To know that if this was God’s road for me, all would be well. Even if she had doubts swimming within her mind, she still pushed me to trust Him and clearly, it was well founded.  Praise God for such a mother!!

Rebekah A – “Pal Time”. That’s what my mom and I used to call our morning routine when I was younger. I’d wake up at 5 every morning. Mom would get up too, make tea (tea for me – coffee for her and lots of it!), and join me. In a house full of people, every morning it was just the two of us. She called me her pal, and we talked about everything. As the years have gone by, there have been many ups and downs in my family. My mom is the one who kept us together throughout it all, and has supported me through so much. Success or failure, good times or bad, she met every situation with her unconditional love. No matter what was going on, she was my confidant. To this day she is my best friend. I don’t get to see her as often, but when I do, we still enjoy having the early morning to ourselves, we still have tea (and coffee) together, and we still talk about everything. I thank God every day for my mother – and my first and very favorite pal.

We wish you all a very happy Mother’s Day.

God bless!

~Rebekah M & Rebekah A