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Guest Spot: Tami from Lessons by Heart- “Is Your Skirt Flapping in the Breeze?”

Editor’s Note: Our weekly guest spot is our effort to help our reading community connect with each other. Thanks Tami of Lessons by Heart for this great post that helps us get a new perspective on our armor of God! 🙂 

beat up

photo credit: Robert Johnson aka lasoda on stock.xchng

The battle was fierce, and I was losing ground.

Correction, I had no “ground” anymore, and was getting my butt royally kicked by the enemy!

The fight, to the outsider, seems to be a silly one. I hesitate to reveal it for that reason. However, it’s not over and I’ve discovered that the best way to fight is in the light of confession, not the darkness of my mind, so here goes!

Since infancy, I have loved music. It’s what inspires, encourages, and comforts me. I am never more alive than when singing with our worship team as we exalt our Lord on Sundays.

As a young child, play often involved music. My bed became a jeep, the records being played on my phonograph the score for the “musical” in which I was the star. Elvis and The Monkeys were often co-stars in my mini-productions!

My mom had an apparatus for hanging freshly-ironed clothes. It became my microphone stand. I would push one handle of my jump rope onto its top, and use the other handle as my microphone. We had one of the big console TVs that also had a radio in the top on one side, and a phonograph on the other. The record player became my “band” and I would sing along with Chubby Checkers, the Beatles, and a host of others.

In fifth grade, I joined the school choir. The songs I recall from that year were “Both Sides Now” and “Obla Dee Obla Dah.” We learned parts, and I loved it!

In sixth grade, my mom bought me a clarinet so I could join the school band. I quickly removed it from the case, assembled it, and in no time was playing songs on it (before my first lesson!).

By eighth grade I was “first chair first clarinet.” I had conquered the instrument and eager to learn something new.

My brother received a guitar for Christmas, but really had no interest in learning to play. My teacher played guitar for a weekly sing-along, so I asked if he would teach me. He kindly gave me one of the lyric packets we sang from, along with chord diagrams. Within six months I could play them all.

On and on it went. By the end of High School, I was playing clarinet, guitar, piano, saxophone, French horn, trumpet, baritone, drums, glockenspiel, and flute. I took private singing lessons as well, and sang with the school choir and the small choral group called “Der Menga Singers.” I’d also written several songs.

Did I mention that I love music? I “knew” it was what God created me to do.

However, very few saw this in me.

My parents were tolerant of my musical pursuits. They had purchased my clarinet, and we later acquired a piano (free). Any of the other instruments I learned to play I got myself, and paid for my voice lessons too.

Mostly they would tell me to quit playing around and do something useful with my life. To follow my dreams was a colossal waste of time and effort, and I was sure to end up living in a cardboard box, they assured me. I had to produce something that people actually needed if I was going to have value to society.

My dad was especially critical of my musical talent. (This is a long story, and one I’ll save for another day.) Suffice it to say that at every opportunity, he tore me down, and ripped my musical heart to shreds in the process.

By the time I was twenty, I began to see the “truth” of their counsel. Add to that one preacher’s well-meant, but theologically inaccurate message about killing the thing we loved the most to prove our love to God. (You can read the story here: I Offered the Wrong Sacrifice) I quit playing instruments, quit singing, and quit writing songs.

Thirty plus years later, I was recording a CD for my nurse friends in Nicaragua. Between takes, I would break down and cry, sure that something “bad” was going to happen if I continued. This went on for three weeks.

During the recording of my last song, I began crying out to the Lord, asking Him for help. What came next took me by surprise.

attentionIn a stern voice I heard Him say, “Get up!” 

“What?” I asked, stunned.

“I said, ‘Get up!’ I have given you Armor to wear. Do you have it on?”

“Yes, Sir.” I rattled off the various pieces so He’d know that I had them.

“Okay, you have all the components. Then what are you doing hunkered down on the ground?”

“Lord, despite your armor, I’m getting my butt kicked by the enemy. I don’t understand.”

At that moment, a mental picture showed on the screen of my mind. There I was in all my armor, on my knees with my face to the ground…

…my skirt flapping in the breeze…

…with the enemy behind me, kicking for all he was worth!

“I didn’t give you armor for that part of your anatomy. Stand up!”

A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words. When I saw this one, the problem became instantly clear.

Standing to my feet, my shield before me, I raised the Sword of the Spirit…the Word of God…and fought this enemy in the power of God’s might.

He fled. What else could he do?

Like me, are you engaged in a battle? Have you put on the armor God provided for our protection? Having done so, are you standing firm…

…or is your skirt flapping in the breeze?

Want more on the importance of our armor? Don’t miss Lions Eat Christians? What?

Tami, wife, mother, and grandmother, first fell in love with Jesus as a child. For 40 years she tried desperately – and failed miserably – to be a “religious” person. In His time, God showed her that what He really wanted was an intimate relationship with her; that grace was His gift to her, and could not be earned. She longs to invite others into this same relationship through her stories of lessons learned at the feet of Jesus – and shared with you.   http://lessonsbyheart.wordpress.com/

See the original post at http://lessonsbyheart.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/is-your-skirt-flapping-in-the-breeze/

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

Humbled by His Mercy

“The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works” (Psalm 145: 8-9).

work troubleOur regular readers know that I have been struggling a bit lately. My fight is not over, but I’m happy to report that through the help and mercy of the Lord, I am doing much better. I’ve been reminding myself that faith is not a feeling and the devil is a liar. I’ve been praising my way through the storm. And it’s working! God has not given up on me, and I am not about to give up on Him.

I found myself in a heap of trouble at work this week. One of the consequences of the struggle I’ve been going through is that my performance at work has suffered quite a lot. This has been especially difficult for me because work has always been the one place where I excel. In other areas of my life I’ve always been pretty mediocre, never one to shine, always in the background; but at work I have always done extremely well. I have prided myself on an excellent work ethic and top quality work. I have been recognized for my efforts time and time again. Perhaps, all of this is a way for me to better recognize that anything I accomplish at work is only through the goodness of the Lord. Pride comes before a fall. Anyway, I’ve found myself struggling at work just as much as I am in other areas of life. In the past when I went through troubling times, I threw myself into my work as a way of distraction and while my struggle might have been apparent in other areas of life, no one was ever the wiser at my company. Not so this time.

Which brings me to today. I had to have a meeting today with two of my superiors. A very uncomfortable meeting where I had no choice but to humble myself and admit that my work has not been up to par. As uncomfortable as this meeting was, it was a moment that God used to teach me that He is with me always. He is teaching me through the difficult things, He continues to show me mercy and He will never give up on me. The meeting, although not a good thing actually went far better than expected. My job was on the line, but God softened my boss’ heart to show me mercy. By the end of the meeting we were all joking and my boss was sharing her own struggles with me. God was tender with me today. I praise Him.

He is bringing me out of this storm. The sun is beginning to shine again. I know that struggles will come, but He has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

It’s amazing. This love He has shown us, it’s amazing.

In His Love,

Rebekah L.

Faith is not a Feeling

Our Mission StatemenSONY DSCt here at Being Rebekah declares that we are “real girls living real lives.” It also says that we hope that our readers will be inspired to passionately follow Christ. Lately, I feel that my “real life” could only inspire in the sense of giving the readers a guide on exactly what not to do in their walk with Christ. That being said, our blog truly does strive to show both the mountain peaks and the valleys.

I’ve been so up and down lately. I feel beaten down by Satan one minute and the incredible exhilaration of the Lord’s rescue the next. God keeps showing up in amazing ways. Unfortunately so does the enemy. Knowing the Lord is there should be enough to keep the enemy’s tactics from bothering me, but I’ve been on the edge of despair more times than I care to admit in the last few weeks.

I have wonderful people praying for me and I’m wearing them out. What’s the point of having them pray for me if I never seem to improve – or if improvement is only temporary? I’m holding the key. No amount of prayer on their part will make up for a lack of will on mine.

So what if I’m down, does that make the Lord any less powerful? Does it make His Word any less true? Does it make the devil’s future any less sure? No. No. No. I refuse to give in to my feelings. I refuse to listen to the voice of the enemy.

The following two things are true:

  1. Faith is not dependent on feelings.
  2. The devil is a liar.

Satan likes to manipulate our emotions to our spiritual detriment. Elijah felt like giving up right after a huge spiritual victory. Saul felt very spiritual right after he disobeyed God. Feelings are not a good thermometer for our spiritual condition. Being a Christian is a walk of humble faith, love, and obedience; it is not based on emotions.

I need to continue to do what I know to do regardless of what I’m feeling. Faith is action. Faith is obedience to the Word of God. Faith is not a feeling! Period.

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/

Honor Thy Father

Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. ~Ex 20:12

fatherSo I have a confession to make: in everything that has happened in my life I’m pretty successful on paper, but I have had one HUGE, MAJOR flaw. Don’t get me wrong, I love my dad, but I’ve treated him pretty horrible in the past.  I just have this pre-set tendency to be angry and to yell at him.  Do I have reasons for this- yes. I honestly feel like he doesn’t hear me. I’m not even talking physically, I mean I feel like he shuts me out when I’m speaking.  So earlier this morning, my mom sat me down and we had a discussion about it. With tears in her eyes, she was pleading with me to treat my dad right.  For anyone who knows me, they know that I love my parents SO much. I praise them often and, in my mind, I think respect them. God has used my mom (and kind of my brother) to open my eyes to the fact that I haven’t been. Of every one in my life, my mom is THE person to get through to me and for God to have her essentially crying before me… it ripped up my heart a little.

angryIt is never right for a child to yell at her father. Even if she’s saying “Mashed potatoes. Hey dad, I want mashed potatoes. Just tell mom I want mashed potatoes! DAD, TWO WORDS- MASHED POTATOES YOU CAN SAY THAT TO HER! WHY WON’T YOU JUST LISTEN AND TELL HER THOSE TWO WORDS?! MASHED. POTATOES.”  lol At the end of the day if I had just opened the car door and said it to my mom versus yelling at my dad (who was getting out of the car) to relay those words when all he kept saying in response was “tell your mother,” what’s the difference?

I realized the difference and why I didn’t just go the more peaceful route is because I just feel unheard. And in thinking about it, I realized that I HATE feeling like I’m not heard. For so long, a huge part of my life, I felt SO ignored and looked down upon. Not necessary by my parents, but I have had moments where I felt I had no voice and the memory of that feeling has never left me.

So as time has gone on and more and more incidents have occurred that left me feeling like I’m not heard (not always by my dad), it caused me to become quick to anger and yell at my dad. Was it right? NO. A big “N.” “O.” Am I justifying my actions? No because I have truly broken one of the 10 commandments.  I have endeavored from this day forward to honor my father even when I feel like he doesn’t hear my words.  However, I am saying that the biggest key in everything that happened today was to recognize within myself the “WHY” behind my actions.

I sat down with both my parents earlier today to talk things through and my dad actually literally did EXACTLY what I said was the reasoning behind why I acted the way I did- he shut me out. He literally would not hear my words. I was saying “I’m sorry for how I acted, it was unacceptable behavior and I’m sorry. I reflected and realized it was because for so long now, I have felt as if you don’t hear me and I’m sorry that my frustration about that has come out as yelling.” His response? To say that I’m moving in a few short days so it doesn’t really matter and all I was saying to him was that yet once again, it’s his fault- always his fault- none of mine.  Miracle of miracles though- even though he was literally proving my point- I didn’t yell. I actually prayed. “God, give me wisdom to know how to reach my dad. Help me mend this bridge that I have broken with my anger and yelling. Forgive me and help me honor him.”

Sometimes we’re called to swallow our pride and just keep apologizing until the other person accepts it. If that never happens though- I know that today, I honored my father like I never have before and I know that God is smiling. So dear readers, pray for my dad? I know he loves me, but I also know that he has SUCH a weight on him from everything else going on and this only added to it. I allowed myself to be an instrument of further burden to my dad. My brother’s job has been in the balance lately, my “sister” has been in a spiritual battle, I’m moving away officially… there’s a lot weighing on his heart. He needs God’s peace. He needs God’s love to shine on him more than ever.  So in advance, I thank you for your prayers for peace over my dad and I pray you all do a better job at honor your parents than I have done in my past 🙂

In Him and to a new future of truly honoring my parents,

Rebekah M.

Peace in the Land

“For they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” -2 Kings 6:16.

 
Bible

 

 

If you read my last post, This Too Shall Pass, you know that I’ve been struggling a bit recently. I have a ways to go, but God is fighting a mighty battle for me. Truly, the Lord is doing a wonderful work to restore peace in my life and give me new hope.

Last night I had a dream. In this dream a man began quoting Scripture to me. I did not immediately recognize it as something out of the Bible because the man was speaking in another language that I have pretty limited knowledge of. When I awoke, I used Google Translate to plug in the sounds I heard to try to get a frame of reference around the words I already knew. Working to put this puzzle together, it suddenly occurred to me that it sounded a bit like Scripture. So I pulled up biblegateway.com and began plugging in the words there. And I found it! I found what the man spoke to me in the dream!!

It was these verses from Leviticus 26:6-8:

“I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. and five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.”

It’s amazing. I can’t even wrap my mind around the goodness of the Lord!! He gave me Scripture in a dream that speaks directly to my situation! I am personalizing and holding on to the promises in these verses:

  • I will have peace in the land.
  • I will lie down to sleep without fear.
  • God will rid the beasts out of my life.
  • I will chase the enemies (not the other way around).
  • The enemy will fall before me.
  • Five of us (my prayer & support team) will put a hundred to flight!

When I struggle this week I am going to remind myself of these Scriptures. I am going to remind the devil of them too. Rejoice with me. We serve a wonderful God!

In His Love,

Rebekah L.

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.