Silence is NOT an Option

Not Nationalism. 

 Not “Alt-right.” 

 Not White-Supremicist. 

 Let’s call this exactly what it is: 

 it is HATRED. 

 It is Bigotry. 

 It is divisive. 

 It is ignorance. 

 It is intimidation. 

 It is fear-mongering. 

 It is terrorism. 

 It is EVIL. 

 And it is murder.  
Giving Evil other names to make it more palatable only makes us complicit in it…and I want to be no part of this garbage.

8/3/17 Morning Musing: Finding My Voice…Unity is not the same as Uniformity

I remember the exact moment that I lost faith in him. He was someone I had looked up to for many years and then…it was gone. He was a leader for many of us and the topic for this group that was gathering was actually leadership. He had missed the previous meeting and his co-leader had asked the group why we thought the conversation the previous week had so much more depth. A couple of “safe” answers were tossed out and then I answered. “Last week, the lesson was presented in a more conversational way instead of one person dispensing information. There was give and take and it led to a natural and healthy challenge for everyone to think. Not only were we getting to know you better…but we were becoming known ourselves.” That was when it happened. The leader that had missed the previous week abruptly took over the lesson and let us (me) know, in no uncertain terms, that he was in charge and that he knew the only good way to lead the class. He repeated multiple times during his rant “I have things to say!” I can still see the red tension in his face as he held back the anger and tried to control his very strong emotions about what I had said.

This may not sound very big to you but it stunned me. As someone who was still learning that I had a voice…still learning that my voice had value…still learning that I had value…and still learning that there was room for me in this world, I was shocked to hear this Godly man shut down open and honest conversation and basically demand that this class about leadership be just another platform for him to share his ideas and use his voice but not be willing to hear the ideas and voices of others…he was unwilling to learn from the other people in the room and it became clear that his idea of leadership meant that the people he led had to be sheep…not leaders.  

As usual, this got me thinking and looking for patterns. This leader had a team of people he worked with…all of them had similar abilities to him…all of them had similar leanings and perspectives to him…all of them were the same gender as him…all of them were the same race as him…all of them even looked a bit like him. He surrounded himself with people whose voices were echoing his own.

Surrounding ourselves only with people who are like us and will agree with us isn’t leadership because it doesn’t allow us to learn anything new and if we aren’t learning we aren’t growing. If we only allow ourselves to hear our own voices, it is very easy to become proud because there is no challenge present…no give and take…our own voices are the only ones we hear and the only ones that matters to us…and that isn’t leadership…it’s idolatry. In order to have a full understanding of something, it is imperative that we listen to the voices of others and then decide what we think. We have to get uncomfortable and look for diversity if we want to see the whole picture and then we have to look for diversity if we want to carry out a resulting project well. We are referred to as parts of the body in scripture…not a pile of hands…and if we don’t respect what is different from us…if we don’t allow ourselves to see things from another person’s perspective…we will condemn ourselves into becoming nothing but a pile of hands…and there isn’t much value in that.

So how are you doing with this? Have you found your voice? Do you tend to surround yourself with others who sound just like you or have you found a place where your voice can contribute to a choir of other voices…creating something that is greater than the sum of the individual voices? Do you question others in a healthy and respectful way or do you just follow along like sheep? Are you still learning or do you think of that as part of your past? Are you able to hear a differing point of view without it raising your hackles? Are you able to humble yourself? If you find these questions difficult, you aren’t alone. I felt my heart rate increase as I was writing them. While I think that I do look for diversity in a lot of ways, I still think that there is a lot of room for improvement for me.

My prayer today is that we would each take our next step in valuing the voices we have but not at the expense of shutting out the voices of others…that we would take the time to hear…really hear others who are different from ourselves…that we would also learn to be still and hear our own voices…that we would become part of a choir of voices and that we would embrace our opportunities to sing solos and also thoroughly enjoy when we get to sing with others. I’m praying that we would seek to become leaders who value other leaders and who make lifting each other up a priority. Friends, I’m praying for unity that does not require uniformity.

Much love friends,
Beks

7/28/17 Morning Musing: Little Drops of Life

Yesterday morning I was filling out yet another set of medical forms before going under anesthesia…for the 21st time…in only two and half years. It was my fifth doctor’s appointment of the week…yet I grinned at the question in front of me: “What do you want to achieve with your treatment?” I chuckled to myself as I began to write my answer that seemed to stump every doctor who has taken the time to read it: “I want to squeeze every little drop of living out of this life that I possibly can.” Apparently they don’t get that answer very often because it has made several of my doctors look at me a little differently…maybe, just maybe, I’m not just trying to get a script for pain meds out of them? Maybe there is more to this girl than meets the eye? And is it possible that this woman’s pain has allowed her to see something that I have missed?

I was diagnosed about a year and a half ago with occipital neuralgia. What this means is that the occipital nerve that comes out between vertebrae at the top of the neck and branches out and over the whole head is somehow impinged and angry. The result is daily headaches that mimic migraines but do not respond at all to migraine medications. If I let the headaches progress, the pain moves into my eye area and if I don’t catch it with medication early enough, the day is blown…I end up in fetal position in a dark room rocking back and forth and fighting against the oh-so-lovely ice-pick-through-my-eyes sensation that results and persists.  

Through the nearly 22 months of headaches, I have become extremely light-sensitive…not just to the brightness of lighting but to the quality of lighting as well (for example, fluorescent lights are the devil!) and since I am a person who thinks in terms of analogies, I can’t help but think that this is an analogy for a spiritual application here too. I didn’t think much about the light that was present around me until I became very sensitive to it. I didn’t think much about the source of light around me until not being aware started causing me physical pain. Becoming acutely aware of lighting has caused me to also look at sources of light in my heart-space…where do I find joy?…what are the life-breathing things?…and how does this connect to “squeezing every drop of living out of this life that I possibly can?”

The answers to these questions have surprised me as I have found light or blessings in some of the most unexpected places (along with the places that I would have expected): a morning without pain, watching my kids get along, a hug and kiss from my husband when he gets home from work, being able to have patience with my kids despite being in pain, my son’s God-given compassion, watching our dogs wrestle and play, my daughter’s passion for creating and exploring, a chance to have a really good belly-laugh, a thoughtful and kind word from a friend, good medical insurance, the sound of birds chirping, playing games with my family, a good medical test result for someone I love, my husband’s seemingly endless supply of patience with my ongoing medical issues, moments of pain-free clarity where I can think and create, and even the pain itself…because if I approach it well, I can sometimes derive strength from it.  

This is more than just a “Find the blessings from God” pep talk for myself…more than a “Things could certainly be worse” cliche. What I am getting at is that each moment requires some analysis and effort to be present. What does squeezing every bit of living out of life look like right now? What could I be doing right now that would be life-breathing for myself or those I love? Where am I not living a full life and how can that change? And every time I ask myself those questions, I find more opportunities…opportunities to love well, to learn something new, to pour into someone else, or just observe the sources of light around me right now. 

So how are you doing with this? While you probably don’t suffer from O.N., you likely have pain in your life. What could your pain be helping you to see? Where are you going through the motions instead of being intentional with your time here? Could you be squeezing more living out of your life?  

My prayer today is that we would all glean as much as we can from our time here…that we would be intentional with, not only our time, but all of our resources (including our pain)…and that we would see where God has placed light in our lives. I am praying that we would live fully and love well.

Much love friends,
Beks

7/26/17 Morning Musing: Whack-A-Doodle

So, some of you may have noticed that I haven’t been writing and sharing my “Morning Musings” in quite some time…and some of you have no idea what I’m talking about…either way, I have some stuff to confess: I stopped a while back when I realized that I was getting discouraged by lack of response from people.
 
The truth is, I became unsure as to whether or not it made a difference…it was like thinking I was speaking to a room full of people and then realizing that the room was actually empty. The problem with that statement is that you all are not the audience that I was supposed to be writing for…the musings were always meant to simply be a conversation between me and God…I just happened to be having the conversations in public…which might classify me as a whack-a-doodle…I don’t know.
 
Anyway, I have felt him prodding me lately and I can think of specific instances where I waved him off and said “Why? It doesn’t matter to anyone.” And I felt God saying “But it matters to you and me…to our relationship.” So, despite my hesitation and fear, I plan to begin working on this again and making it a priority. I don’t know if it will be the same as before or not…I don’t know if any of you will read it or not…I don’t even know at what frequency it will occur…but I do know this: God wouldn’t impress on me to do it unless it mattered…and that’s enough for me. So, here we go again!

Much love,
Beks

Masseyisms of 2016

2016 has been a great year for Team Massey!  Just for fun, here are some of the Masseyisms from the past year.  I’m not listing names so that you can try to guess which Massey said which quotes.  Have fun and Happy New Year from Team Massey (Bekah, Stan, Michaela, Caleb (and Shiner & Bock))
1. Saturday and Sunday don’t count because we get to annoy you on those days already.
2. I don’t need a shirt to sleep at night because my giant muscles keep me warm.
3. If Jesus is number 1, there is no number 2. ✝☝🏼🚫💩
4. Use some problem-solving skills…a monkey could totally figure that out!
5. No more laughing and having fun…only getting ready for bed.
6. The boys aren’t here…let’s eat all the chocolate!
7. I’ve got to do acid every night with duct tape.
8. I’m eating my potato because I like ice cream.
9. Y’all, I don’t know why but when that guy said “y’all” it just sounded weird.
10. Well, I have a strong sense of smell and Shiner has a strong sense of stink.
11. You got it…you just need more spit.
12. Ok, I get take and taken…but when do you use tooken?
13. I’d like cake Alamo please. 
14. What you need is to be less grumpy…and more humpy.
15. You just put the donut in my elbow pit.
16. I do have a cup holder for the water bottle but it’s full of Michaela’s pine cones.
17. Yo, I’m a rapper and I’m here to say that I wrap all the toys for Christmas Day!
18. You’re going to need a bra if you want to get donuts.
19. I’m going to go outside…because that’s where my shorts are.
20. The second you started praying, Dad started pulling down his pants!
21. I love special bathrooms!
22. You’re the one whose goofy…you go somewhere else.
23. No pants time!
24. That’s it! No more Mr. Nice Brother.
25. I’m just going to leave my nuts on the counter.
26. God wove me in my mother’s loom. It’s from the Bible!
27. Michaela’s uterus thingy, that hangs in the back of your throat, is really tiny!
28. When I do it, it’s always hot yoga!
29. I always sweat from my butt!
30. It’s a hard nut life!
31. Are you just going to eat jelly beans for dinner?…cuz that is kinda awesome.
32. My platform for student council? Balls. I want to have balls.
33. Yuck! Are they gonna suck it face?!
34. Why is it that when people start kissin’ they get all crazy? 
35. Yes, poop grows very well in our garden!
36. You’re making me hot…and not in a sensual way. 
37. Mmmmmmmm…comfort food…I can’t wait to get naked and eat it!
38. “I smell something burning.” **another Massey immediately says “You’re having a stroke.” without missing a beat**
39. Yes! I got the golden poo! Now, to see what it does…
40. I would fart all the time if they smelled like donuts and cake.
41. I think everyone farts at least once a day.
42. That would be a great super power! Sleep-toots!
43. There is something about shotgun and bun warmers that makes it feel like Christmas is here.
44. What?! This fancy new car doesn’t have foot warmers…that work in my living room?!

Morning Musing 12/13/16 – The Ache of Being “Handled”

“Well, I feel encouraged and hope you do too.” he said while beginning to stand up…clearly indicating that the conversation was over and it was time for me to leave. Encouraged? Really? Nothing has been corrected. No changes are being put into place. No questions or sharing of ideas…just a bunch of catch phrases that make him sound like he was invested. I’m not even really sure that this two-person conversation required my presence because I certainly was not heard…we weren’t having a dialogue…I was just being…handled…like a problem to be dealt with…like a dreaded chore on a list that you have to muscle through in order to get to the more important things.

I hated that realization…that I was a problem to be handled as opposed to a member of a team…that unity meant “shut up and fall in line” instead of different people bringing different ideas and gifts to the table to accomplish something greater than the sum of our talents. To this man, unity meant uniformity. There was a lack of investment in the present and a lack of value in the people on the team. And that insight into his heart space as the team leader was the beginning of me leaving the team altogether…I just wouldn’t know it for almost a year.

Why am I talking about this weird conversation? Well, I guess it’s because it hurt so much despite the other person involved in the conversation thinking it went fabulously well. I used to think that someone being intentionally mean was the worst thing they could do…but I have since learned that being dismissed as unimportant or as a problem is worse (at least to me.) If someone is intentionally mean, I can chalk it up to their character or lashing out because of circumstances. But when I find that I am just invisible…or worse…someone that must be handled…that plants seeds of doubt into me about my value…about my contribution…about why I am here…or maybe it’s just me that struggles in this way?  

I know in my head that my value is determined by my Creator and not by anything that I can do or accomplish…but sometimes my heart doesn’t listen to my head…especially in this area. My head and heart jive in a lot of ways…but my worth…it’s been a constant struggle for me for a long, long time. A few weeks ago, though, I tried a new tact for getting my head space and heart space in agreement. Instead of coming up with all the ways that I define myself like I usually would do to bolster my confidence, I spent an entire day (from breakfast until bedtime) asking God who he says I am. Instead of yelling at the Creator the things the creation wants to be…I shut my mouth and let the Creator tell me what aspects of himself he lovingly graced me with. And it was the best day ever. Instead of telling him that I’m tough, that I easily adapt, that I’m outgoing, etcetera…I listened to him tell me how I reflect him. I found out that day that I love with a pure and BIG love because I have been loved deeply…even in my most broken places. I found out that I am a forgiver because I have been forgiven of hurts that I have caused. I found out that I was purposely created, and because of that, I can create with a purpose. These things are the essence of who I am regardless of my circumstances. This is how I am an image-bearer of the Almighty…he put some of his essence…some of who he is…into the mix when he created me…and that takes investment…effort. He didn’t just handle me.

How are you doing with this? Do you sometimes feel like you are invisible or that your value is lacking? If so, have you talked to God about it? Have you let him do some of the talking in your conversation or have you been super busy talking at him about who you say you are? Are there people in your sphere of influence who struggle with their self-worth? Could you improve how you interact with them in order to make sure that they know that you value them? Are there vulnerable areas in yourself that you could reveal to them in order to help open their hearts up to a deeper and more healing conversation? In what ways could you be approaching yourself and/or others with tenderness and truth about who God would say you/they are?

My prayer today is that we would not be afraid to ask God for the truth and that we would be quiet in his presence so that we can actually hear his whisper. I am praying that we would value each other and be present with each other instead of handling each other. And finally, I am praying that we would love well and, in doing so, would reflect God’s love to the hurting people around us.  

Much love friends, 
Beks

10/18/16 Morning Musing: Knowing What To Own

**I started writing this morning thinking that I was writing about a completely different topic but this was where God took it so I hope somebody finds it helpful.**

What. The. Hell?!?! Are you serious right now? This was the questioning in my head as my friend relayed the scathing conversation that took place about me behind my back between some “friends” a few years back. My skin flushed and prickled as I clawed at the neckline of my sweater, scratching my red, itchy skin as I did so. “Why is the heat turned up so high in here? I’m sweating!” was all I could say in response to this heart-breaking news. I felt betrayed and I was angry…and my response to anger is usually tears and I didn’t want that so I was going to distract myself in any way that I could for the time being. I would unpack this and deal with it later. For now, pizza…lots of pizza…and chocolate…because I could always count on eating my emotion…my delicious emotions.

I did work through it all later. God and I did some difficult work together on this one and came to a conclusion that I really didn’t like: While I am responsible for how I make people feel, I am not responsible to own their opinions and feelings…even their opinions or feelings toward me. Ugh! The people-pleaser side of me really, REALLY did not like that. I recall talking with God and trying to negotiate with him: “Now, come on…if the opinion is about me, I should have some say in it shouldn’t I? I mean, when people have me pegged completely wrong, there’s got to be a smooth, non-messy kind of way to make them see that I really mean well but that I am just a bumbler who screws up a lot…right?” The answer I got from God was “How often do I force the truth of who I am on those I love?” *Unhh!* (In case you don’t know that sound, it’s what it sounds like when air leaves your mouth really fast because you got hit in the gut unexpectedly.) 

So, despite my desire to “fix” things (and maybe also the desire to call people out on their shi-…uh…on being intentionally unkind to me) and after talking it through with some friends, I decided to release it. That doesn’t mean that it didn’t hurt me and it doesn’t mean that it didn’t matter, but it does mean that I was willing to let God be in control of it…and by doing that, my anger and resentment over it didn’t control me anymore. **Post note: one of the two ladies involved in the conversation very humbly approached me on her own a couple of years later and cleared things up (at least her side of things) and we have become quite good friends now…she has actually become a consistent source of Godly counsel, wisdom, and encouragement…I’m pretty glad I didn’t just go in guns blazing like I felt justified in doing.**

What is my point? Glad you asked! I guess there are several: First, I think that how we make people feel matters (I know, I’ve said that before…I’m a broken record here…I can’t tell you a single thing I learned in middle school but I can tell you in excruciating detail how I felt…feelings last…how we make people feel does matter.) Also, while how we make them feel is important, we can not own their opinions and feelings for them…even if the opinions are about us. Finally, I would say that if the weight of all of this gets too heavy for you like it does for me at times, just remember that all God is asking you to do right now is to be obedient right now. He’s not asking you to change the whole world and everything in it at this moment. What does obedience look like right now? For me, sometimes it means speaking up…sometimes it means holding my tongue.

So how are you doing with this? Do you think at all about how your words or actions affect other people? If you do think about this, are you able to keep it in balance or do you take it to far and try to own their feelings and opinions? How can you create healthy boundaries for yourself so that you are invested in those you love but not so deeply invested that you find yourself wresting ownership away from them. Finally, what does obedience look like for you right here right now? Not your five year plan…not your huge long-term ministry goals…today! What would obedience to God look like for you today?

My prayer today is that we would be so consumed with serving God and serving others that our reputations would take care of themselves. I’m praying that we invest deeply and love well. Much love friends,

Beks

10/11/16 Morning Musing: More Than This

My husband played baseball his whole life. He went to college on a baseball scholarship. Over the years, I have asked him a few times about locker-room talk…it was nothing like what I heard come out of a presidential candidate’s filthy mouth this weekend.  

Caleb and I had a talk about that recording this weekend…he’s 9 years old…he doesn’t understand those words that were used…he shouldn’t have to…but he knew that me hearing it…well, it injured me. He saw me shaking and saw the tears in my eyes. I talked to him about how damaging it is to someone to be objectified but also about how damaging it is to someone’s soul when they do the objectifying…how they become a little less human…a little less flesh and bone…and become a little more stone. I told him that the reason we objectify people is the simple fact that we are made in God’s image…if we can reduce people to objects, we don’t feel as directly confronted by the affront we are committing to God…we feel less guilty about it because we no longer see them as people…we no longer see God looking back at us as we damage them…we just see the objects we have turned them into. 

What’s my point? Well, I guess it’s that I am embarrassed by Trump’s behavior. I am embarrassed that out of the billions of people available, this is what we have to offer the oval office. I’m heart-broken that a possible leader of our country might teach my son and yours “to move on a woman like a bitch” or to “grab a woman by the pussy.” I’m terrified that my daughter could one day soon be the woman that he was talking about. I’m angry! I’m straight up pissed off on behalf of the woman he objectified in that recording, on behalf of myself for having been objectified in the past, and on behalf of the millions of women and girls who don’t even know their worth because they are around this kind of thinking.  

I’ve seen a lot of discussion about this online and I want to make one point very clear: This has nothing to do with what anyone else has done. I’ve heard people…Christians…say “It’s terrible but…”. No but. Don’t try to justify this for him. This is not “locker room” talk. This is dehumanizing talk that shows exactly what is in that man’s heart. (“But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart. Those are the things that make you ‘unclean.’” Matthew‬ ‭15:18‬ ‭NIRV‬‬.) Please, please be more loyal to your God than to your political party. I don’t care which party that is or who you vote for…just know that your vote is your voice affirming the beliefs and actions of these people.  

Today, my prayer is that we would use our voices to speak truth. I’m praying that we would spend time with God so that we would know truth and that we would refuse to perpetuate lies that destroy souls. I’m praying that we would be a voice for the voiceless and that we would refuse to be quieted. I’m praying for work to be done in our heart spaces.

Much love friends, 
Beks

Image taken from: https://womenwithworth.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/you-are-more/

10/4/16 Morning Musing: I Didn’t Break

This massive dude was barreling toward me. The ball was thrown. He was between me and the ball. I couldn’t move if I had any chance of getting him out…because if the ball missed him, I would have to catch it and tag him without any hesitation. I wasn’t blocking the base…but I had my foot on the bag and was standing inside the diamond…ready. It was going to be close…too close…so close that I think I might have bitten his pecs when he plowed through me and knocked me flat on my back. That’s embarrassing…I hope my panties aren’t showing. Ugh! I opened my eyes to see him and the ump standing over me looking concerned. “Are you ok?” “I’m so sorry! Are you ok?” They each said. I looked at him and said “You’re out.” Then looked at the ump and said “The ball tagged his back before he touched the bag…he’s out.” The ump said “Yes, he’s out…but are you ok.” I had to think about it…”Yeah, I think I’m ok…I’m fine.”

This happened last night at kickball. I’m really sore today…I guess I should expect that…I’m almost 40 with a lot of health issues and I got plowed by a huge dude who probably weighed 2.5 times as much as I do. But here’s the thing that has me almost invigorated this morning: I didn’t break. I hurt. I fell…really hard as it turns out. But I didn’t break. I got back up, dusted as much of the dirt off as I could, fought for my team’s point, tried to piece my pride back together, and got back to work.

Why am I telling you this story? I think that having a mission can change your life…whether it’s your life’s mission or a team’s mission for the night. When you’re focused on your mission, any pain that you are enduring doesn’t seem to hurt as much. For some reason, having a mission in view also seems to give a reason for the pain which somehow makes it more palatable. Also, not related to the story (but totally related to mission) knowing your mission intimately allows you to know quickly…almost like a reflex…the things that are not in alignment with the mission…the things that you can say no to. (That is for those of us who have trouble saying “no” to things and get overwhelmed.)

So how are you doing with this? Has anything knocked you down recently? Were you able to get back up? Were you able to keep your eye on your mission? Does your pain control you or does it fuel you? If it controls you, where is your focus? Do you find yourself staring at the pain or at the mission? 

My prayer today is that we will turn our hurts into praise. I’m praying that when we get knocked down, that we would get back up stronger and more fierce than we were before…not hardened…but fierce and strong and focused on our mission. Lord, I ask that you would help us to help each other keep our faces pointed toward you. Amen.

Much love friends,
Beks

9/23/16 Feelings

Emotional chameleon that I am, I am feeling so many things: My boy was elected to student council so I’m thrilled (and honestly, impressed…he is so much braver than I am!) Meanwhile, my friend’s daughter did not get elected and my heart broke as I drove her home while she cried. My husband is sick and feeling like crap and there is nothing I can do for him but make him comfortable (so I have a yummy, hearty chicken soup goin’.) I’ve been watching Michaela handle the transition to middle school with the absolute grace and poise of a child who feels utterly secure in who she is. I have gotten great news health-wise about a loved one and I am feeling thankful and relief and just so joyful. I have been dealing with daily migraines for a year now and have felt the emotional blows (once again) that accompany the physical blows of chronic pain…but I’ve been healed of greater things than this in the past and feel really hopeful each day that I wake up that this may be the day that God chooses to end the headaches or, if not, another day to learn something from the pain. On top of that, I feel like I have finally found my people…the crazy ones that are cut from the same cloth as me despite being completely different from me…and that leaves me feeling full. So many feels…glad I got the chance to feel them all.