6/30/14 Morning Musing: Anger is Armor

During the aftermath of the poisoning, I was really really angry…so angry that I would now probably describe myself as having been “seething.” I had a name and a face for the person responsible for altering my life and the life of my family so dramatically and so terribly. I had a name and a face for the person who was to blame and I was filled with rage. There is no other term for it…it was rage and it was ugly and it was all-consuming. Bitterness was growing in me and, as I’ve shared with y’all before, my damaged brain was looking for a way out of this hell that I was in. I was watching our bank accounts dwindle from all of the medical expenses that I was incurring and I was seeing my body begin to just fade away. I was watching my relationship with my loving husband get more and more strained as I kept warping into different people (he kept trying…bless him…he was so accepting of every new version of Bekah that popped up over those years.) I was watching my relationships with the babies change too. They became much more fond of Stan and I became much more fond of being alone.

Every bit of my surroundings was a reminder of what had happened to me. Every meal (or lack of) was a reminder of the poisoning. Every ache and pain, every time I would forget where I was, every time I would be unable to control my body, every time I had to give myself a shot in my stomach (9 every 4 days!)…I would remember what happened to our family and I would seethe. It was extremely unhealthy and I can tell you that bitterness and anger is no place you want to live…but it is mighty good armor. See, it is easier, in my humble opinion, to be angry than it is to be hurt. I think that is why I was angry for so long. It is much harder to hurt because hurting means vulnerability whereas anger gives the illusion of strength. Hurt allows people to see your wounds…it allows people to see your “weakest” areas. Anger, on the other hand, tells them to back off or else they will be the next person to get their butts kicked and then handed to them whether they deserve it or not. Anger is armor. It keeps people at arm’s length and doesn’t allow them close enough to injure you further. The problem is, it doesn’t allow people in to help you heal either. And make no mistake about it, without letting people in close…you won’t heal.

So, what is my point? Well, I know a lot of people who are living in anger. People who are, in fact, dangerous to be around because of the anger that is dripping off of them. My personal experience is that you can not pull them out of it…you can not reason them out of it. The angry person has to realize that their anger is alienating everyone around them and landing them in isolation. Then, the angry person has to decide whether they prefer to remain isolated in their anger or if it is preferable to remove one of the pieces of armor in order to gain some community. What you can do is this: be available when they begin to take off the armor, pray for them even though they are pushing you away, and please don’t hold a grudge. I lost 90% of my people when I was angry and bitter…I didn’t get those people back into my life and I have regrets about that…but if I am honest, I simply was not strong enough to fight the illness and the anger and still think outside of myself at the time because I was just surviving…it’s all I could do to breathe in and out every day. But the people who stuck with me…those people I would give my last breath for…those people are my Team…those people are my heroes…and those people I will continue to lift to God because they have found a way beneath the armor and they have allowed healing in me and have breathed life into me. I can not express the love I have for them.

The challenge for today is this: if you are an angry person, please consider who might be trying to breathe life into you and try to remove some of the armor where that person is concerned…even if you only take off one piece of armor, it’s progress. If you have angry people in your life, please first determine if you are in danger. Angry people lash out and damage those around them…it makes our damage seem less obvious when others are damaged too. Please don’t put yourself into situations where you can be deeply harmed but don’t run away either. Step away, and pray but remain loving if you can. Don’t write the angry person off forever…check in every now and then to let them know that you are still praying for them and loving them…just do it from a safe distance so that you don’t get injured in the process because once you are injured too…you have less rational to pull from…you have less tenderness to give them. But keep at it. I really believe that the only way to overcome hate and anger is to continue to love…sometimes that love is from a distance…sometimes that love means praying for hard things to happen to the person that you love…but love them however you safely can do so.

Today I am praying for healing in all of you because we all have damage. I am praying that God would breathe life into you and that you, in turn, would breathe life into others. Much love friends,

Beks

Picture taken from: http://kelsisprogressionobsession.blogspot.com/2013/11/anger-management.html

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6/25/14 Morning Musing: When Faith and Death Collide…

I went to sleep last night with tears drying on my face as I wrestled with God again. A beautiful and amazing woman went home to be with Jesus last night…no, we weren’t very close…I didn’t know her that well…but I know people who deeply loved her and who were “her people.” I am desperately hurting for them and have no avenue by which to help them other than pray (I know…I know…prayer is huge but it sometimes feels like it’s not enough…bordering on blasphemy again I suppose…but it’s true.) I was struggling with God over this because we’ve all heard the trite statements before of “she’s in a better place” and “she’s feeling no pain now.” While those statements are true, and while I know the speaker means for them to be encouragement…well, they sometimes fall a little flat. So, I thought that along with the wrestling I’m doing, I would try dissect this topic a little bit this morning.

Death sucks. I don’t believe that God ever intended for us to know death. We are eternal beings but we are currently saddled with breakable, fragile bodies. We were never intended to know broken-ness, pain, death, separation from God, and separation from each other…but that is our reality right now. If you are like me, you feel torn in two different directions when faced with the death of a loved-one that you know is going to spend eternity with Jesus. You are happy for them because they are going to be with Jesus. They are going to feel no more pain. They are going to cry no more tears. They are going to spend every moment from here out with their Creator and Savior. But, you don’t have a way to interact with them anymore. You can’t call them, hug them, or hear their voice again. You can’t sit down with them and have conversations. So, now, an eternal being doesn’t feel eternal anymore. There is rupture in this. There is broken-ness in this. Our souls are robbed of a piece of eternity because we don’t get to be with them anymore on this side of heaven and reconciling this is difficult.

So, here is what I’m thinking: We are eternal beings but we currently exist in temporal vessels. The only way we have to interact with each other and the world is through these breakable bodies that we are in. So, when we lose a loved-one, our sadness is not a lack of faith in their eternity…it is mourning over not being able to interact with them in the same way anymore. We are at a loss because we don’t know how to still connect with them and that is painful and confusing.

I also think that we don’t allow ourselves to mourn properly. I’m not saying that there is a right way…just the opposite, in fact. Me? Well, I have chided myself in the past for not getting on with things, for feeling sad or depressed over loss, for “wallowing” in it. But, God gave us an entire range of emotions so that we would FEEL. Not so that we would numb it and get over it. I’m not saying that we should live in the negative emotions…but…well, we shouldn’t feel guilt over feeling them. It’s ok to experience them. It’s ok to grieve. It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to be angry. It’s also ok to remember the good times and laugh too. God created all of these emotions for us and he can handle whatever we are throwing at him…so go ahead, take it to him…take all of it to him and know that whatever you are feeling is ok.

I usually have some sort of challenge at the end of these musings but today, I just want to say this:
1. If you have people in your life that you love, let them know in whatever way you can. Love them well…it points them to Jesus and is one of the few eternal things in this life.
2. Give your body a break. It is what you use to interact with everyone and everything around you. It is a blessing regardless of whether it hurts, looks the way you think it should, or even betrays you at times. Without it, you would have nothing that resembles your life. So, let it rest. Feed it well. Take care of it. Even pamper it. And try to remember that you’re not the only one who suffers when your body begins to fail…the people who love you are facing losing you one day as well. And they aren’t concerned with your looks or whether you have a few extra pounds…they love you…your essence.

Praying for you to all love well today and give yourselves a much-needed break. Much love friends!

Beks

6/24/14 Morning Musing: A Tale of Two Mommies

Even though my eyes are closed, I know that they sky is a soft grey color as I listen to the musical rhythm of the rain outside my bedroom window. I have a faint memory of Stan sweetly and gently kissing my face before he left for work this morning…how long ago was that? I slowly open my eyes to see that it is now 8am so he is at work already. As soon as my eyes open, the puppies are waiting and ready to pounce. They can’t wait for me to put my hands on them as they wiggle around and whimper a little bit trying to get closer and closer to me. I shuffle to the kitchen to two wonderful surprises: coffee in the coffee maker already brewed and ready for me to devour and my digital photo frame that Stan updated last night. He put in so many pictures of wonderful family experiences and even some less-than-pleasant experiences (like from when we were first enduring the after-math of the poisoning.) Both the good and the bad pictures bring a sweet feeling in me because each picture represents fun time spent together with my love, my wee-Masseys, and friends, or a time when Jesus brought us through something. And wow! He has really brought us through some big things. I shuffle to the shower and listen to Pandora as I luxuriate in the beautiful bathroom that Stan and I built together (granted, he did more than me…but it was a project that we were both able to bring some of our greatest skills and team work together on and accomplish in beautiful unison.) When I emerge from the bathroom, squeaky clean and invigorated (still with my cup of coffee in my hand) I notice that they puppies are eagerly waiting at the bottom of the stairs for me to let them up. (They would rather go wake up the kids in their rooms by licking their little faces and listening to them giggle than have me feed them right away.) What sweet puppies and children I have!

Version 2:
Ugh, the alarm clock already?! C’mon! And rain…great…my hair is going to look ridiculous no matter how much work I put into it (no amount of product can over-come Texas humidity.) Stan’s already at work so I’m going to have to get myself ready and wrangle the children alone so I can get to work this morning. “Bock! Quit scratching me! Yowch! Yes, Shiner, I see you too. Could you give me a minute please?!” Oh crap! Another nose-bleed…that dry air in Colorado and all my allergies to those trees there really did a number on me. Ok, going to jump in the shower really quick and try to get that out of the way before I wake up the kids. First…coffee! I really wish it was starbucks with all the stuff and fluff but, I’ve got to a save a few bucks where I can I guess. I take a deep breath and open the gate at the bottom of the stairs as I head up to start my day of work with the kiddos. Oh I hope they aren’t grumpy when I wake them up…I can’t wait to drop them off at VBS this afternoon…yikes feeling a little guilty that I can’t wait to hand them to someone else when I have not yet even seen their faces today…

I just relayed my morning thus far to you in two very different ways: both completely true but it was all one morning. The difference? I can tell you what it’s not…it’s not my attitude, my circumstances, or positive self-talk. The difference is not about ignoring trouble or “focusing on the good in life.” Here is the difference: Contentment. True contentment. My dictionary app on my phone defines content this way: “satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.” What I love about this word is that there is no caveat. It doesn’t say “satisfied once you get to this point in life.” It doesn’t say “only wanting a new…” It doesn’t say “satisfied once my husband gets his act together and my kids start behaving the way I want them to.” And it certainly doesn’t say satisfied with my life once my figure looks the way I want it to.” This is the point where some of you are still going to take what I am saying the wrong way so I want to be clear…I don’t believe in “fake it until you make it.” I don’t believe in being false at all. I don’t think we can “muster up” long-term contentment or create it in any way. But I do think we can pursue it.

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5 NKJV)

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. (I Timothy 6:6 NKJV)

What I am getting from these verses is that contentment and moving in close to God go together. Being close to God may look like snuggling up with him in some cases and it may look like a white-knuckled grip just trying to stay focused on him in other cases…but I think that in pursuing God, a natural out-pouring is contentment. I really do think that contentment is one of the greatest gifts that God offers us. I also think that many of us…well, let’s be honest, most of us…are trading in contentment for cheap substitutes. So, how are you doing with this? Would you describe yourself as content? Would your spouse describe you as content? Your children? Your friends? Is joy and living being put off until you achieve something or your circumstances change? If you are not content right now, how can you be pursuing God with more of yourself? Can you come up with just the first baby step?

Praying for joyful and content lives. Much love friends,

Beks

6/17/14 Abstract Vacation Morning Musing: “Anybody Can Stand Atop a Mountain but Few Will Climb One” – Pepper Blair

Vacationing in Colorado has left me in awe of the beautiful earth we enjoy. There are drastically different views here than there are back home in Dallas. Hills, mountains, trees, animals, and stars…oh the stars…just to name a few. As we took on the drive from Texas to Colorado, I began to see some small mountains in the distance. As we got closer, those mountains began to look massive…until I could eventually see past them…the ones behind them were so much bigger and impressive…and the ones behind those were even bigger and even more impressive. This got me thinking about life and the obstacles and joys that I encounter.

See, I think that in theory, I’m ok with the thought of troubles and challenges in life…as long as it is far off, it doesn’t look that intimidating or difficult. But eventually, as I continue my journey, I get closer to the first challenge (mountain)…and the closer I get, the more immense it gets…the more it becomes all that I can see. I get so close to it, that I can’t see around it, I can’t see over it, I can’t see through it and I feel overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of it. The only way to get past the obstacle is for me to have faith in the one who led me here…so I climb…and I climb…and my muscles hurt…and my lungs are screaming for me to stop…and I climb…and my thinking begins to swirl…but I have two thoughts that aren’t swirling: “He is good.” and “I can trust him.” So I continue to climb…eventually the pain subsides a bit and there is a thrill to doing something that I’ve never done before and there is joy in being obedient. And eventually, through the pain and the confusion, past the hurt and the discouragement, there is the summit…and it is amazing. As I look at where I have come from, I can’t believe I was ever down that low. I can’t believe that I am standing here and have come so far.

Then, I turn and look in front of me, and I shudder. God…No…please no. When I was at the bottom of the first mountain, I couldn’t see the one behind it…it is easily twice as big. The top looks rougher. I can see that there is a lot more rock and a lot fewer trees. It’s foreboding. I start to think “I don’t even want to see the view from there.” But, I feel him tugging at me…”C’mon Bekah…you know the point of building muscle is so that you can use it…not just so you can coast and let it atrophy…dwindle away.” So, I start slowly…reluctantly. I keep coming up with reasons to stay in the valley between the mountains but I can’t ignore the tug that he has on me…so I go. I climb. All I can see is the rocky ground in front of me. It’s ugly. It’s hard. I don’t want to be here. I climb. Every once in a while along the way, I see a deer or a flower, and it makes me smile…God is sprinkling in some beauty in the midst of the struggle…in the midst of the pain…some encouragement which shows me that he is here…even in the midst of this ugliness…this struggle…he is here and his presence brings beauty. And eventually, I make it to the top. I can’t say the experience was fun…but I can say that it was worthwhile…because along the way, I experienced God. I heard him calling me forward. I felt his hand at my back easing me along when my strength was gone. I heard the footsteps of the deer that he sent across my path so that I wouldn’t only stare at the ground in front of me…so that I would raise my eyes to where he was calling me and see the beauty that is available to those who would allow themselves to see it. I saw the flower blossoming despite being surrounded by hard rock and smelled its sweetness. How was that flower blooming here? It appears to be growing right up out of the stone! Again, I look at how far I’ve come…I can’t even see the starting point anymore…it’s so far away and there are literally mountains in the way. I turn and look in front of me…more mountains.

So, what is the point of all of this mountain climbing? Well, I think that there are lots of points:
1. What I want and what God wants doesn’t always line up…when it doesn’t, I’m the one who is off.
2. Living a human existence in a broken world sounds fine and good until I encounter a little resistance…a little pain…then all of my big talk and toughness withers.
3. When my strength is gone…that is when miracles happen…that is when his strength gets to be shown to me. (Why do I keep trying to do things in my own strength again? My strength sucks! Why can’t I seem to remember this one?)
4. Beauty, there is so much beauty around if I am only willing to take my eyes off the struggle and look around. For some reason, it feels like I can control the struggle more if I stare at it…the hard, rocky ground…but control is an illusion that I have created…I have no control…and as I try to control it, I miss out on the gorgeous evidence of God’s presence. So, I’m learning to look around…to really see the beauty in the simple things…but this requires practice and discipline…it doesn’t just happen on it’s own.
5. It is easy to put off happiness until I am at another mountain top…but I think that would have me missing out on a lot. There are times when I think am supposed to concede that God wants me to hang out on the side of the mountain for a bit…take a look around…see who might be around me needing some help getting adjusted to the mountain life.

So, how are you doing with this? Have you had miserable climbing experiences in the past? Are you climbing now? If you have never struggled through the climb, it’s coming…what can you do to prepare yourself now to keep your focus where it belongs? What mistakes have you made in past climbs that you would like to do differently going forward? Do you still see the beauty regardless of where you are in the process? Can you recognize the muscle that has been built in you in past climbs? How can you make sure to retain that muscle you have built? Do you ever consider what the point of the struggle and the pain is or do you just try to numb it and push it aside?

I’m praying that each of you recognize the true source of your strength in struggles and that you are able to catch some glimpses of the elusive beauty in the midst of your struggles and know that God did that for you. Much love friends.

Beks

This one was a bit stream of consciousness…I hope it makes sense.

6/13/14 Morning Musing: Taking Off the Mask

I remember thinking “Uh Oh, I just stepped on a land mine.” I knew the other person was mad at me and working himself up into being even more mad at me. The thing was, if he knew how purely my heart loved him, he wouldn’t be looking to find fault with me. But despite my words and actions toward this person, he had his mind made up and was choosing to be offended when there was no offense being offered by me. I can not express how frustrating and disappointing it is to have someone who knows me…really knows me…and knows my character and how I am wired…and still chooses to purposely interpret me wrongly. It made me mad and managed to hurt my feelings at the same time which made me want to lash out…but as I stood there crying, I withdrew instead. See, by this point, I’d learned to withdraw for a bit before talking about it…get my head wrapped around it and crunch on it for a while. (This was a drastic improvement over the way I used to respond: lash out, hurt them more than they hurt me, use what I know about them to strike harder and faster and leave them dazed. It wasn’t a healthy way to react to situations but it’s how I used to do it none the less…I was a toxic and dangerous person for a long time…but I had grown since then…and this person knew it…so for him to not give me the benefit of the doubt…well it was painful.)

The point? Well, there are several. The first point is that when we listen to someone, it’s not ok to only listen to their words…it is important to hear the motives of the person…it is essential to understand how their heart views you…it is necessary to understand what it is that they are trying to say…whether it be through actions or words. If we don’t make this effort, we are encouraging them to wear a mask and conceal who they are…and once people put on a mask, it is extremely difficult to remove it and once the mask is on, there is no legitimate relationship so your interactions become a wast of time and energy.

The second point is that there are precious few people who are willing to be real and sincere in life…so when you come across them, value them, let them know how much you appreciate their authenticity, encourage them in their raw-ness…even if it is only in glimpses that you get to see it…they are more than likely testing to find out if it is safe to be real with you…if you strike at them when they are authentic, it is unlikely that you will be given many more opportunities to see their truth…their essence…because it hurts too much when who we are is rejected.

The third point is that both being authentic with people and being a person that others can be authentic with takes effort…a lot of effort…and a lot time spent. But this is one of the best investments you can make in life…there is nothing that can take the place of knowledge of others and others having knowledge of you. This known-ness is rare and precious and worth every bit of the effort that it costs. It is worth it because this is how we show God to others. One way that Jesus describes himself is as “The Truth.” How can we be reflections of “The Truth” when we wear a mask and reflect something else? And how would we learn more truth from others if we require that they wear a mask around us?

So how are you doing with this? Are you a person that is authentic with others? Are you a person who others can be authentic with? What habits do you have that may prevent others from being able to be real with you and how might you change them? Do you get that the only way to reflect a God of truth is to be true yourself? Do you get that when you require others to perform for you, that you are robbing them of their right to be truthful image-bearers of God? There are pretty serious repercussions to that!

Praying for all of you that you are able to get a glimpse of truth today…that you recognize that truth, and that you are able to revel in it. Also, praying that you realize that the parts you are trying so desperately to conceal…those are your best bits. Much love friends.

Beks

6/12/14 Morning Musing: “If You Were Thinking, You Wouldn’t Have Thought That!”

Growing up in Fort Worth, I had fairly normal experiences as far as education goes: I went to school, was given lists of factoids to memorize, was basically told not to think (not by every teacher mind you…but the message was there), and given my “A.” In middle school, I became aware that I was not good at memorizing and that I was a painfully slow reader…that is when test-taking got stressful for me and the vommitting began (it was performance anxiety…I felt like I had to perform to keep up.) When I got to A&M, it became clear to me that the really super-successful students had something that I didn’t have and it frustrated me (the vommitting got even more intense and even more frequent.) My roommate, Becky, was able to hear something once and then remember it whereas I would have to slave over the material to get a mediocre grade…I didn’t get it. (That is when I really started to believe that I was not very bright.) In grad school, it became even more apparent that I was not like other students and the idea was coming to me that I was a fraud…that I was a dumb person who was pretending to be a smart person and that I just was a really good actress. When people would tell me I was smart, I couldn’t believe them because I knew that other students were able to connect with the material on a deeper level than I was…that I was skimming along the surface and a good test taker who put out a lot of effort. Why am I telling you all of this? Well, I have several reasons.

The first reason is that if you struggled with school, or even if you were successful in school but didn’t feel like you learned, that doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you. I discovered after grad school that I am a kinesthetic learner and an interpersonal learner. What this means is that I learn by touching things, moving things around to wrap my brain around them, and I learn best among other people. (Do you see why I gravitated toward science? Experiments!) That is not how most schools are set up to teach…most schools are really good for visual or auditory learners because it takes less effort…you simply say it or tell them to read it and do workbook pages. The students who don’t learn this way, cope by studying harder or giving up. So, if you felt like an under-achiever in school, chances are pretty good that you were simply being spoken to in a foreign language to how you are wired to learn.

The second reason I am telling you this is that I have a heart for your children and their educations. I am frustrated at how little progress has been made in education since I was in school. Michaela had a teacher a few years ago that depleted her joy for learning. She muted my excited and enthusiastic child and made her feel like she was dumb and unsuccessful…my child…my unique and talented little leader…the one who doesn’t have an “above average IQ”…she has a “superior” ranged IQ…the one that inspires me to learn every single day. She cried and didn’t want to go to school anymore because how she learned was about who she is…and who she is was being rejected by an authority figure. The next year, Michaela was placed with an enthusiastic teacher that really got her. This teacher invested in her and the other students and made an effort to teach in a variety of ways so that the students could all connect with the material: Michaela would come home singing songs that taught her the material or spelling things with her body so that she could physically connect with the spelling words. There was a lot of growth that year. But like most adults, she finds it easier to believe the bad things than the good things about herself and she still struggles with thinking that she isn’t very bright…just like her mama.

The third reason that I am telling you this is that I think, as a society, we have become addicted to not learning. We would rather do anything than actually think. We are consuming other people’s thoughts but not having any of our own. (Think about how dangerous that is!!!!) I discovered this in myself a few years ago when I went through a bit of a spiritual crisis…it occurred to me that everything I “believed” had been taught to me by someone else…that I had not necessarily experienced my beliefs or developed my beliefs…I was still regurgitating what I had been taught…just like in school. And I simply don’t learn that way…for me, it isn’t internalized and real with depth by just hearing it. I have to wrestle with it and dance through the material in order to learn it and come to a decision on it. I met someone a few years ago who really challenged me to think…to quit repeating what I’ve heard and really think and dissect thoughts…to turn them around and explore them from different angles. Now, I’m addicted to thinking…I’m addicted to learning…I’m addicted to discovering new things. And I’m telling you this because you can be too.

If you or your child does not get to think through things, it is not to late…you can learn (I was in my 30s when I learned) but you may have to quiet the noise so that you can have the space in which to wrestle with your thoughts. The noise can come in the form of busyness, tv, surrounding yourself with people who never shut up, stress, disputes, emotions, lies you tell yourself, etc and all of these things will tend to crowd out genuine and deep thinking. So how are you doing with this? Do you ever take a few quiet minutes and just think? Do your children? What does your lifestyle teach your children about thinking? If you have constant noise and action, you are teaching your child (and yourself) to simply consume other people’s ideas instead of creating your own. How can you create an environment at home for you and your family to spend time thinking?

Praying for depth and thought for you all today. Much love friends,

Beks

6/11/14 Morning Musing: Nock-a-ners and Other Joy-Makers

“Nock-a-ners.” That is what my kiddos used to call binoculars and I took such joy in it every time I heard it. It never got old! I know they are growing up but sometimes, I wish they still said nock-a-ners. Oh! And “Bell-bows.” That is what Caleb used to call boobs. He confused elbows and boobs. If you asked him to show you his elbow, he would raise his shirt and smile! One more! “Specks.” Caleb learned the word boobs and started referring to his chest as his boobs. I explained that boys don’t have boobs…they have pecs. He was very proud of his “specks” after that.

I think it is good to find joy and contentment in the simple things in life: the opportunity to enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning while it is still quiet, the feel of a fan lightly blowing on your face while you lay in bed with your eyes closed, the sound of little kids doing deep belly-laughs in the next room, the sweetness of a puppy that just wants to lay next to you and snooze while you feel it’s soft fur under your hand, the blissfully relaxed feeling after a massage, a deep kiss that makes you see sparkly confetti behind your closed eyelids, the smell of eucalyptus and spearmint together, the feel and smell of freshly-laundered sheets or towels, a view that makes it impossible to deny the handiwork of God, the look on a kids face when they see their first rainbow, and hearing your baby mispronounce words in the cutest way imaginable like nock-a-ners…This! This is where we should find joy and contentment in life.

So, why don’t we? Instead we look in all the wrong places: the newest electronic device that will draw our attention away from people we love, the fastest or most expensive car (why? to impress people we don’t even like or respect?), the new large house so that we don’t have to interact with each other (never mind that we can’t have the lifestyle we desire because we will be slaves to the mortgage payment instead!), the flirtation we receive from the wrong people, the allure of the fountain of youth, money, etc. Why do these things make bigger impressions on us when they are so very temporary and unfulfilling? I can’t tell you off the top of my head what brand of tv is hanging on my wall in the living room…but I can tell you exactly how I felt the first time Michaela called me “mommy.” (Possibly that is because she called me “daddy” for a long time first! ha!) I can’t remember how much money is in our 401K but I can remember the first time Stan kissed me (after dating for 2 months!!!!!!) I can not tell you what kind of car you drive but I can conjure up the smell of puppy breath in my mind instantly.

So, why do these other things have such a strong hold on us? I know people who are voluntarily trading out the life of their dreams for the house of their dreams, their soul mates for someone with a bigger paycheck or someone just newer to them, and their time with their families for a promotion at work. I know it’s not all cut and dried like that…but every time we say yes to something, we say no to something else. Why are we so tempted to say yes to the stuff that doesn’t matter? I don’t get it (Mind you, I am guilty too! This is not an accusation…it’s a pondering…or musing…)

What I am wondering today is how to make the less-noticeable joys in life stand out in more noticeable ways above the noise in life…because that is all these distractions are…noise. They aren’t valuable in any way to your soul or your being. But the little things…the simple pleasures…those are forever. Is it simply a matter of slowing down? Is it re-prioritizing over and over again? Is it mental exercise? I don’t have the answer yet but I think slowing down and remembering who God is and who I am in relation to him is key. I’m going to keep crunching on this one. Please let me know if you have any insights!

Praying for you all to find the simple joys in life today. Much love friends.

Beks

6/10/14 Morning Musing: YouTwitFace

From the moment I woke up yesterday, I felt rushed and out of sorts. I ran up to CVS and bought Epsom salts and a bunch of tubes of Vagisil for the kids’ chigger bites before I woke them up. (Looking back on it, the manager that checked me out probably thought I had some sort of raging STD…that’s just great…) Kids were itchy and unhappy to each be starting their day off with a bath and I felt like a failure as a parent because I couldn’t get any relief for them…and I guess it was shining through on Facebook…I’m not surprised…I’m rather transparent that way. (If you ever want to make a quick buck, play cards with this girl…I have no poker-face at all!) So, anyway, starting the day off rushed and anxious colored my entire day.

The thing is, people came through for me…some of the most unexpected people. Throughout the day yesterday, I received FB messages, texts, and phone calls offering help, dinner, distractions, ideas, prayer, sympathy, essential oils, medicines, and just checking in on me and the mini-Masseys. It was incredible and it changed how I was feeling even though it didn’t change our circumstances. I can not express how grateful I am for this and just want to shout to all of you that it matters! It matters to me and it matters to others and you changed the course of our day yesterday! Thank you so much!!!!

Say what you will about social media, I am deeply grateful for it. I’m not deluding myself into thinking that it is a substitute for authentic community…not at all…and, well…have you met me? I can not go a day without people present with me! (I could see myself having to be institutionalized for that!) But it can be utilized for good. Yesterday, I was encouraged in beautiful ways, I was prayed for, I began new friendships, and was able to keep in contact with people who are so far away from me that I would probably miss out on relationship with them completely were it not for Facebook.

So, the point? Glad you asked. I’m not trying to sell any of you on social media…although, if you are reading this, you are on it now…just sayin’. I am trying to express that we have a lot of things in our lives that can be used for good or for harm and it is up to us to monitor how we are using them. If you have negative people on FB bringing you down, hide them from your news feed (I’ve done this with a lot of people who post things that are overly-aggressive or rude.) Gravitate to the people who are speaking truth into your life because truth is life-giving and rejuvenating and we can only pour out what we are taking in…so if you are taking in lies, hate, and garbage…well…you get the idea.

So how are you doing with this? Are you letting people speak truth into your life? Are you speaking truth into the lives of others? I only started musing a few months ago and have gotten a tremendous amount of feedback from it (which has really helped when I needed it. It is hard for me to come up with encouraging musings when I am not being encouraged myself.) How can you begin to encourage others through truth (not empty platitudes or pretending life is better than it is…after all, I get the most feedback from people on my musings where I admit that I am flawed, human, and quirky.

My prayer for you all today is that you will be able to encourage someone by speaking truth to them because it matters. Much love friends!

Beks

6/9/14 Morning Musing: Chiggers and Itching and Tears…Oh My!

I am beside myself right now because my sweet littles are covered in chigger bites…not just a few…Michaela has got to have over 100 of them. I was telling her not to scratch them and she just looked at me with her brave face on but the tears were welling up in her eyes. She is obeying me on the scratching the best that she can but…she is miserable! This. This right here…this is the part of parenting that I hate…well, this and the diapers and spit up stage…and the screaming toddler stage…and I bet I won’t be too fond of the snarky teenager stage…but I absolutely hate this feeling of powerlessness.

So my only comfort is to go to the most powerful one. “Lord, how do you handle it? How do you watch people suffer…and I mean REALLY suffer? Especially when you aren’t powerless to stop it? How does that not hurt you inside?” Then it hits me…it does. It does hurt him too. He didn’t make us for this. We weren’t created for pain, death, sin, hurts, distance from him, loneliness, and grief. We were created for eternity and constant relationship with him. Living in a broken world creates distance between us and him and that is where pain and grief live.

Now, I know that I am only talking about chiggers and not about death, broken relationships, or fatal illness…but…well, when you love someone so deeply, watching them hurt and cry is hard to stomach. My natural instinct is to fix it or kill whoever made my baby cry…and I can’t seem to do either in this instance. So, I figure I am supposed to be learning something through this (just as the kids are to be learning something through this…like wear bug spray before going into the woods to build a fort out of brush!)

So this is what I have so far:
1. I love my kids deeply because God loves deeply and I am an image-bearer of him…the original parent.
2. Loving others well is painful…and while that sounds scary, I think that risking the pain is the only way to have real and worthwhile love.
3. Be present! Nobody else will love mine as well as I will…I shouldn’t let my love and care for my people be cheaply substituted. (God has personally loved me and sets the example for me.)
4. I need to remember that as much as I love my kiddos, God loves them even more and NOTHING can happen to them without his knowledge…and his knowledge includes eternity. So even when things seem terrible, pointless or hopeless, and painful…I do not see eternity, but God does.
5. Regardless of what I experience in this life, there are two truths that I can hold on to: God is Good. I can trust him. That is really all I need to know.

So, I know that many of you are rolling your eyes at my musing over chigger bites…but, I really did have to turn to God with this because I hate seeing them so unhappy. So, what about you? Do you have things that you have trouble handing over to God? Or, do you find yourself having to go through the process I did above repeatedly so that you don’t hand something/someone over to him and then immediately snatch them right back up into your own white-knuckled grasp? What can you do to be better about not trying to own that which is God’s?

I hope your summer is off to a better start than ours. Much love friends.

Beks

6/6/14 Morning Musing: Don’t Forget to Pack the Straight-Jacket for Summer Vacation!

I can not tell you the number of times that Stan has been working on a project and I’ve offered to get him a drink or a snack or something and then…Squirrel! Something catches my attention and I’m off! Things that catch my attention the best are shiny things (Stan calls me a trout…a spinner will send me all over the place!) or something out of place or messy. He has learned that I don’t do this on purpose and will actually beat myself up about it, so he is slow to ask me about whatever it was that I had offered to get for him…he will wait until he is just dying to say “Is it going to hurt your feelings if I just get that tea for myself?”

So, because I’m so easily distracted, one of my biggest sources of angst is that I’m going to be “that mom”…you know…the one that forgets to pick her kids up from school or something…thus scarring them for life…and landing them in life-long counseling because they suffer with abandonment issues. So, it’s a pretty big deal this morning that I am turning off all the alarms that are set on my phone…and there are so many: Two alarms to get up in the morning…one that is a warning and one that says “But for real though.” An alarm to pick up the kids in the afternoon from school. Alarms to take the kids to tae kwon do. Alarms to pick the kids up from tae kwon do. Alarms to give Michaela her ADHD meds in the morning. Alarms for anything that I might possibly forget. But this morning, I am turning them all off.

As of 12:30 today, we will be on summer vacation…which tends to make me a bit twitchy because I love a routine and a schedule. I love not having to think too hard about what my day will look like. (Being creative is hard work!) But, summer vacation is going to force me to get outside of my comfort zone and just…live. I was talking with a friend earlier this week about the difference between surviving this life and truly living this life in a way that is thriving. I’m not sure why my auto-pilot tends to move toward survival, but my goal is joyfully living. So, that means that I am going to work on being in the moment with my friends and family this summer. Of course, my type-A-ness (haha…that gets me every time) wants to stringently schedule this spontaneity…but I understand how backward that is…so I am going to resist it.

God gives us rhythms to help us (wake-sleep rhythms, Sabbath, etc) and I think summer is part of the rhythm that forces me to release the white-knuckled grip I have on our schedule. This is an opportunity to slow myself down and really invest in the now. And while I’m scared of this, I am also excited about the experiences that Team Massey will have this summer.

If you struggle with hyper-scheduling or being the task-master, maybe you should consider breaking your schedule down the next couple of months. If you don’t struggle with this, you can help me figure it out! And if you see me rocking back and forth and twitching with a glazed-over look in my eyes, don’t worry too much…I am probably just trying to learn how to live.

Much love friends!
Beks