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“Don’t You Want Him to Walk?”

My roommate and I were in the city this weekend. He was about to begin his 12th straight day of working. The past few days had been long, usually between 15-18 hours, he was fighting off a virus (unsuccessfully, and the next morning would see me at the pharmacy to fill his antibiotic prescription), and the weather was frigid. This last part I suppose can be expected in March in New York, but if you are or know someone who is in a wheelchair, you know the cold can wreak some havoc. So it was that on this morning, between the exhaustion, the illness, and the cold, he found himself flat-out unable to drive his wheelchair.

This had happened in brief spurts (ie to get in and out of elevators) a few times already this week, resulting in two things: 1) a very frustrated roommate; and 2) a new hobby for me. Heck yes. Occasionally this also resulted in a third thing – a near-death experience for the poor guy. I wasn’t that bad – it was mostly preemptive nervousness on his part. Still, it’s safe to say that fill-in wheelchair driving is not my calling. But it’s definitely very fun!

This particular morning we were headed in to his job and he realized that he couldn’t drive his chair at all. Not even a little bit.  Much as I love maneuvering the joystick (it’s a science. And an art form. And did I mention fun?), I didn’t quite trust myself to do so on the NYC sidewalk in the middle of the morning commute. You shouldn’t trust me to do that either. SO, what we ended up doing was disengaging the motor so I could push the chair from behind. In short, we made the motor chair into a manual one. A very heavy (something like 250 lbs), cumbersome manual one. That now needed to be pushed a whole block. Uphill. Gyms are overrated, people. Wheelchair pushing’s where it’s at.

Anyway, we were halfway there and I was already out of breath (probably because gyms are not in fact overrated, I just don’t go to them very often). Somebody passed us and stopped us. Thinking he needed directions, I stopped, supporting the wheelchair with my body (gravity likes to take things that were rolling uphill and push them back down) while trying to give this guy my attention. And free my hands. I’m Italian and directions aren’t directions unless you’re gesturing.

Instead of asking for directions, the guy started pulling out a CD case with the twin towers on it (not sure why), and asking if he could tell us about something. This marvelous person called Jesus. Right. Well….I commend him for that. I’m all for talking about Jesus to random passersby. But as it happened, I have heard of this Jesus guy before. 🙂 I was out of body strength, my roommate was late for work, and I’m pretty sure the guy just wanted to sell a CD.  I didn’t feel much emanating from him spiritually. So I made my apologies and we continued on our way.

And sure enough, the guy got desperate. “Wait! Don’t you want your husband to walk?”

As it happens, I don’t have a husband. If I did, I suppose I’d love it if he could walk. I’d also love it if he couldn’t. As long as it’s the path God has for us, either scenario is just fine with me.  As for my roommate, I’d love for him to walk too. It’s even been prophesied to me that this will happen someday. I’ve witnessed enough healing miracles to know that it’s certainly possible.

What I don’t love, can’t stand in fact, is promising miracles in order to get people to shell out their money for things they may not understand. I also don’t love using evidence of people’s problems as a means to guilt trip them. If this is what you’re doing for Jesus, somebody is leading you in the wrong direction. Jesus is about love first. How does either of those things help you love on somebody? It may be you’re supposed to pray for someone for a healing or a miracle. But in those cases, you pray first. You don’t make a pitch.

The whole thing left my roommate more frustrated than ever, keenly aware of his physical shortcomings, and annoyed with “Jesus freaks” everywhere (not his real words; I’m embellishing). Pretty sure it undid a few months worth of godly influence too – he hasn’t asked to pray much since then.

The moral of the story is God doesn’t need a sales pitch. He just needs our obedience to His plan and His timing. I’m not saying to be timid in approaching people. Not at all. But be discerning. Ask God for the words. Ask God for wisdom and guidance in your actions, and ask for His heart and His love for the person you’re about to talk to.  Once we’re all doing that, let’s see some genuine God-given miracles! ….and not some guilt trips or sales pitches.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

Rooted and Grounded in Love

Love Letter

“Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to fully understand. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” –Ephesians 3:17-19

This verse is one of many in the Bible that speaks of God’s incomprehensible love for us. I don’t think we can ever truly grasp that love. It is the love of one who laid down His life on the cross for the sins of all people. He laid down His life for me. Unworthy, undeserving me. And He laid down His life for you.

I have struggled all my life to believe that someone could actually love me. Me of all people, but this verse clearly says that God loves me and that I should strive to understand just how wide and deep that love is. It also says that as I trust in Him, my roots should grow down into that love. Being rooted and grounded in love should give us such a confidence in God that nothing can penetrate it. The Bible says that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). As we allow these roots to grow in His love, it keeps us strong!

A few years ago sitting in a meeting with my former pastor and his wife, a finger was pointed at me and I was told matter-of-factly, “No one will ever love you.” I have mentioned this incident once before on this blog and to a few select people in my life. I’ve yet to completely free myself from these words because they were the vocalization of something I already believed about myself.

But recently in prayer God gave me a revelation: the Bible says in the mouth of two or three witnesses let every word be established (2 Corinthians 13:1). This word that no one will ever love me has never been corroborated. There has never been another witness to tell me this. In fact, of the few people that know about this incident, the reaction has almost universally been horror that someone would say this to me and everyone I’ve told has disagreed with it. More importantly, the Word of God establishes over and over again that I am loved. He loves me. If no one else on this earth ever has affection for me it does not matter because the God who created the universe, the Savior of the world, the Redeemer of my soul loves me!

Why then do I struggle to accept this love? I believe the Word of God. I know His Word is true. I know that it was the love of God that saved me. He loved me enough to pluck me out of the miry clay. He has blessed me beyond anything I deserve or could ask for. But part of me still believes I am fundamentally unlovable. This mind-set is keeping me from experiencing the love of God as it truly is and it is hindering my walk with Him. I think the solution to this problem lies in the verse I posted above from Ephesians 3. Lord help me to trust completely in You! I need to be rooted and grounded in the love of Christ! I need a revelation of how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.

If I cannot accept the love of Jesus, how can I ever hope to accept the love of a fallible human being? There are people in my life who tell me they love me, but I have trouble believing them. I know they mean it when they say it, but I don’t know if their love is real so I test it over and over again. Often the result of this testing is to push them further away from me. I do this with God too. His love can withstand the testing, but can it withstand my lack of trust? God’s love is perfect and I need to be perfected in it. I’m not there yet. But I know that God is working on me. He is helping me. This revelation about getting two or three witness is huge. Now whenever that nasty memory comes to mind, I can counteract it with the truth of the Word. My strength lies in Him! When the enemy tries to tell me I cannot be loved, I will say “It is written”.grounded in love

Have you ever struggled to believe something in the Word?

In His Love,

Rebekah L.

Prayer Monday: PRAISE!!!!!

Jesus,

I’m SO excited to share this news with the readers: YOU GAVE ME MY FIRST CHOICE RESIDENCY PROGRAM!!!!! Thank You Jesus!!! Thank You that You truly do reward us when we just hold on to You!!! Thank You that You have given me favor!!! Thank You that You have ordered my steps!!! Thank You that there is none like You!!! Thank You Jesus… I cannot sing or yell your praises enough!!! Thank You Jesus!!! Thank You Thank You Thank You THANK YOU JESUS!!!!!!!! I AM SO HAPPY RIGHT NOW!!!!!!! all the hours of tears, fears, and doubt… You carried me when I couldn’t handle things any longer!!! You are SUCH a wonderful, loving, good God!!!!! Thank You doesn’t cover it all… my heart is overflowing with gratitude!!! I love You Jesus SO MUCH! Thank You for this life!!! Thank You for everything You have given me! Help me remember that if you can bring THIS to pass, you can take care of everything else! Help me drop the rest of my doubts and just trust You!

Oh Jesus, Thank You!!! I just can’t stop it!! I PRAISE YOU LORD! I WORSHIP YOU JESUS!!! THANK YOU!!!!!

With all of my grateful, adoring heart,

Rebekah M.

God is Faithful

My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with him: and in My name shall his horn be exalted (Psalm 89:24).

I-am-faithful-to-keep-My-covenant

I came to God in my mid-twenties feeling broken, alone, and hopeless. God did what only He can do and transformed my life. It is through Him that we become whole. In walking with Him we realize we are never alone. And it is in Him that we have hope.

Those early months were such a struggle. I wanted so much to live for God, but I didn’t know how, and I didn’t really think it was possible. I didn’t have faith that I could do it because I had failed so many times before. Then one Sunday the pastor was preaching and he stood at the pulpit and said, “We are not faithful, but God is faithful!” Suddenly the light bulb came on. I had never in my life heard that God is faithful. I had heard many times about faithful people, but never once do I recall ever being told that God is faithful. It seems so obvious to me now, but at the time it was revolutionary; the thought had just never occurred to me. The pastor talked about how we have little faith, faltering faith, inconsistent faith, but that God is constant. That His love for us never fails. That He will never give up on us. That it is through Him that we are transformed. We don’t have to rely on our own abilities because He is faithful. It was an earth-shattering thought. In that very moment I was freed from the burden of having to do it on my own. I was released from the cycle of trying and failing. I didn’t have to do it on my own; I could give it to God. I could let God take care of it because He is faithful!

The Lord is faithful;Great is thy faithfulness He will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one (2 Thessalonians 3:3).

Now years later I marvel at how such a simple concept was so foreign to me. It seems implausible that I didn’t know that the Lord is faithful, but I truly didn’t know. Thank God for the Word of God and for His anointed messengers!

It’s interesting though because we can know something and believe something and yet sometimes we still need reminding of that thing. Occasionally, I need to be reminded of the faithfulness of God. I shouldn’t need this, for God has proved his faithfulness to me over and over again. Even still, I need to regularly open my Bible and let His Words wash over me, reassuring me that everything in it is true.

His promises are true.His faithfulness continues

His salvation is true.

His mercy is true.

His faithfulness has not wavered!

For the Word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love (Psalm 33:4-5).

Thank you, Lord for the reminder. Thank you for your never-ending patience with me. Thank you for the measure of faith that you have given me to be confident in your faithfulness. I love you, Jesus.

Rebekah L.

Praise Report!!! Hope Where there Seemed No Hope!

Dear readers who have been following my journey- God may have provided a way of escape for me! Having just posted my post last night about Freedom and praising Him despite my fears and doubts and letting them fall away, I received an email this morning from one of my top choices today saying that they would still rank me despite my current situation!!! I have hope!!! Even better- it came AFTER my praise and worship!!! WOW! Wonderful God that He gave me the chance to show true trust and faith in Him! This journey isn’t over yet, but I have hope of truly becoming a doctor and working at a place that I enjoy!!! Wonderful, wonderful Savior, thank You for hope!!!

Rebekah M.

Rolling With the Punches

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; ~ II Corinthians 4:8-9 KJV

Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. ~ II Corinthians 4:10 NIV

Tonight I got a flat tire. Right as I was pulling up to church my tire went flat. I essentially missed EVERYTHING- caroling, the dinner– but God is still good! I praise Him that it happened RIGHT as I was getting to the church.  I praise Him that it was an opportunity to invite the guy who changed my tire to the church.  I praise Him that He is good in ALL things!! I know my God can turn ANY situation into good (Romans 8:28).

Tonight my mom called me up to encourage me.  I thank God for her.  She was like “I’ve been praying for you honey and I felt God say this was just a Job moment.” That is exactly how I’ve been feeling lately.  God wants to SHINE through my situations.  He wants to shine by showing a reversal of the situation with me potentially never becoming a doctor.  He wants to shine by showing that I can get a flat but He can use it for good.  He wants to shine by having told Satan “have you considered my handmaiden [Rebekah M.]?” He wants to shine.

Jesus,

Shine through me.  Let everything be done in Your timing.  I praise You. I thank You that You count me worthy.  I thank You Lord! I praise You Jesus!!! There is NONE like you!!! I thank You Jesus that You are good even in the midst of the storm!! I thank You Jesus that You are full of grace and truth.  I love You Jesus.  I WILL praise You in this storm. Bless these readers. Bless those who are going through a storm to see Your hands.  Bless those who are in a season of favor to recognize it and claim their blessings! Bless my dear, wonderful Lord.  I love You with all my heart.

Rebekah M.

Unexpected Blessings: Concerts and Policemen

Concerts: 

Tonight, I got to go to the concert of a conductor friend of mine.  He has worked so hard to get to where he is today.  It was amazing to me that I was there for his very first performance back in high school and today, I was able to see him conduct a powerful group of singers in a prestigious music program. My how far we can go! I was unsure if I should take time away from church (my last service here in this city) to go, but then on my way I felt God tell me it was okay. Low and behold, the last song was about putting our hands to the plow, holding on, and moving forward. The vocals were phenomenal- it reminded me that God’s creation is so amazing and perfect. That JUST voices could create such a beautiful, powerful sound struck me with awe for His great ways. To top it off with lyrics that hold such meaning….  what a blessing where I was least expecting it!!!

Policemen:

All my life I struggled with self esteem issues until Ex #1 broke up with me, I went on an over 2 month fast, and God transformed me so completely from the inside out that I realized it was GOD esteem that mattered.  It doesn’t matter what I look like on the outside, and yet I realized that God made me beautiful.  I saw who GOD saw me as and so it mattered more that I was praying than grooming time did.  I cared more for thinking of what things pleased Him than I did about how I could do things to please guys in how they saw me.  When I looked in the mirror all I saw was that God created me beautiful. Lately, I’ve felt fat.  I’d look in the mirror and for some reason, even though I haven’t gone up a size in clothes yet, all I see is the fatness.

Tonight, as I was walking back to my room at the hospital (I’m living in the hospital this month), one of the policemen that guard the ER asked me out.  He was tall, good looking, and straight up stopped me to ask me out- my kind of guy! It was just so assuring because it felt like to me that Jesus was saying “see? You are still beautiful, even when you don’t see it. I will bring you a husband… in MY timing.” For along with the feelings of physical ugliness, I just starting wishing I had a husband.  My brain would ruminate over the fact that Ex #1 is married (while I am not), so many other people are married, and so many others are also having kids and sending them to pre-school etc. etc. etc.

I want a family that lives for Jesus.  I want a husband who will lead us all on this journey towards Christ with a passion for the God of creation.  I want a man who will be a father to our children, a prayer partner that connects with my spirit, and a friend who gets my soul.  I also realized I’m pretty superficial and hope he’s CUTE! haa! Is my definition of cute the same as everyone else’s? Not always. haa haa! And this policeman was certainly good looking in my book! So I think Jesus was just saying- wait some more on ME, my child. Wait.

Jesus, 

Thank You for these unexpected blessings.  Thank You for things to make me smile and soothe my weary soul.  Thank You for Your goodness and mercy.  Thank You for reminding me You find me beautiful.  Give me strength to just WAIT. I love You Jesus with all my heart. 

Rebekah M. 

BTW- for those wondering, I told him I was moving tomorrow (because I am) so I wouldn’t be able to go on a date with him… it was still a nice way to end my day though 🙂