8/17/18 Morning Musing – Working Through the Wounds

I remember feeling like I had been slapped across the face when she cut me off in front of a group of people and sternly said “Be quiet! Quit stirring up trouble. It doesn’t help them to see Jesus!” Whoa…wait a minute…I was actually offering insight and a solution that would be easy for everyone, not stirring up trouble at all. And then I felt it…unseen…unknown…such a familiar feeling for me…it forms a pit in my stomach and I start to feel nauseous…and it always hits me out of left field. This is the area where I struggle the most in life…it’s probably why I learned early to clown around and be funny…because people are attracted to feeling good and happy…and I performed in order to attract the people so I could feel known. This is where my soul struggles and feels attacked.

With my close friends, I’ve always asked that they just give me the benefit of the doubt. Know me and my character well enough to stop and think about things if something that I said seems off or offensive…and then…ask me about it. I know! Shocking idea isn’t it? It really surprises me how many people are willing to throw a relationship away by simply taking something out of context and contorting it until it resembles an offense. Are they looking to be offended? If so, what a miserable way to live. It must drive people away in droves. Picking something apart until it no longer resembles the intended message is not a virtue…and it hurts most coming from a close friend because it leaves me questioning if they ever even really knew me.

Why am I writing about this? Glad you asked! I’ve been thinking for a few years now that God has a funny way of using our weaknesses to speak to people. It’s in the struggles and wounds where a story happens. (If everything is just dandy all the time, there’s no story!) And interestingly enough, I’ve noticed that my wounds and weaknesses are what draw me to certain characteristics or names of God. My favorite name of God is “God who sees me.” (El Roi) Is it coincidental that feeling unseen or unknown is my biggest pitfall? Probably not. I think it just reinforces the verse about his strength being made perfect in weakness. But the thing about that is that I have to be willing to see myself clearly and identify where I am weak. I don’t know about you…but for me…I don’t enjoy dwelling on that. (“Hmmmm…let me count all the ways that I suck!” does not sound like a fun party game.) I much prefer the happy feel-good stuff, or even numbness, over mulling over the hurts and finding the root issue…and today’s way of living certainly is busy enough to keep me numb for a long time if I am not careful.

The thing is though, seeing people is my one of my biggest strengths. I mean really seeing them…seeing into them. Seeing their value, their fears, their insecurities, ways that they feel loved…and frequently I am able to speak truth into some of what they are telling themselves. But seriously, why is that the thing I’m good at? After all, I frequently feel unseen…unknown. My thinking is that our wounds leave scars which catch our eyes a lot and so it is front of mind. It’s tender and easily triggered to hurt. We don’t want others to feel what we have felt before and we don’t want to keep re-living it so we begin to minister to others in this area…we are drawn to it.

So, how are you doing with this? Is there an area where you feel particularly weak? Do you struggle with one type of hurt over others? Does it seem repetitive and exhausting? Or are you even able to slow down enough to think about this? What is it about God that you love the most? What name of God speaks to you above others? Are the two things connected in some way? What type of ministry are you drawn to? Is it connected to your strengths or weaknesses? Are you showing others your strength or are you showing them God’s strength?

My prayer today is that we would slow down and ask God about our wounds. I’m praying that we would be still long enough to really hear him speak about those wounds and that we would look for his characteristics that are counter to whatever has harmed us. I’m praying that we would find ways to minister through our hurts so that others can be spared and so that we can heal…so that we can worship our God more fully…so that we don’t waste the pain.

Much love friends,

Beks

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1/12/18 Morning Musing: We Damage His Name…

After reading another story about another woman being sexually assaulted by a man and it not coming to public knowledge for decades and hearing her disparaged and minimized because she “waited too long” or because it was “decades ago”…I just can’t be quiet any longer. (This time, it was Andy Savage of Highpoint Church in Tennessee.) It’s late and my heart hurts so be patient with me as I try to make coherent points.

I can not understand how “waiting so long” is supposed to negate the victim’s reliability or the truth. People in power have gotten away with abuse of the ones without that power forever…and unfortunately, it is also true in churches. But unlike outside of the church, we Christians should be held to a different standard…not because we are better than anyone else…not by a long shot. We should be held to a higher standard because we have intimate understanding of Jesus’ example of giving a voice to the voiceless…of bringing justice to the marginalized…and giving dignity to the broken or hurting. This intimate knowledge of our God and his heart means that we can not continue to ignore injustice and abuse of power while representing our Lord accurately because each time we do, we aren’t just lying…we aren’t just hurting the individuals being denied justice…we are also damaging the name of our God.

We damage his name when we continue to turn a blind eye to abuse.

We damage his name when we refuse to see other people…other image-bearers…as valuable.

We damage his name when we give racism or sexism (or any other ism) a pass by remaining quiet when we know we should be speaking up.

We damage his name when we refuse to enter into honest and respectful dialogue about topics that matter. (This contributes to the trend of people seeing the church as obsolete.)

We damage his name when we defend abusers and judge victims based on whether or not we align with them politically, denominationally, etc. (Yes, I just went there.)

We damage his name when we push for male leaders in church to receive funds for their ministry, appropriate pay and title, and continuing education while denying it for their female counter-parts.

We damage his name when we beat people up with our religion instead of listening to them and loving them.

We damage his name when we applaud what is wicked and criticize what is good.

We damage his name when we deny others the freedom that we simultaneously demand for ourselves.

We damage his name when we judge others instead of remembering how we have been forgiven.

We damage his name when we mistreat each other in the name of “witnessing.”

We damage his name when we abandon the needy, weak, marginalized, aged, or hurting.

We damage his name when we refuse to own our sins and, instead, justify our ugly behaviors or minimize them by using more palatable wording so that we can feel better about ourselves.

I could go on and on forever with this. At some point, we must quit tolerating the abuse of power. If we are the ones with power, God’s blessings are not limited…there is no need to try to hoard it. If we are the abusers, yes there is forgiveness…the gospel is not too small for any sin…but that doesn’t mean that accountability is void. If we are the survivors…and hear me on this…please hear me…our pain is not to be wasted! It can become a beautiful place that will allow us to minister to others and understand the hurts of others if we allow it. If we are the ones without power, our God is the God Who Sees us (El Roi) so he clearly sees the power-mongers and they will be held accountable.

How are you doing with this? Did any of these points make you wince a little or bring a specific incident to mind? Is there some way that you can pursue a more truthful and authentic way of living this out? Is there someone that you feel you should apologize to? Is there forgiveness that you can extend to someone regardless of whether or not they have asked for it?

My prayer for us tonight is that we would simply love each other better. I am praying that instead of constantly grappling for power or position or status or whatever, that we would see the truth of what is important and life-giving and pursue it with abandon. I am praying that we would try to squeeze every bit of living out of this life while we have it instead of pursuing the things that lead to our physical, emotional, and spiritual death. I am praying that we would also learn how to receive love when offered by others.

Much love friends,

Beks

9/7/17 Morning Musing: How I Practically Found My True Identity

Since my last musing, I have had people reach out to me and ask some questions. The most common one was: “Ok, I get that I need to find out who I am…learn about my individual identity…but what does that actually look like practically? It’s easy to do it in theory…but how does one go about actually discovering their God-given identity?” So, I’m no expert (when has that ever stopped me from talking?) but I will happily share how this process went for me so maybe it will be easier for you.

I have been on a journey of learning who I really am for over 6 years now and I would say that the most meaningful thing I did was put aside an entire day last year for just spending time with God asking him who HE says I am instead of telling him who I say I am. No distractions. No plans. No screens. An entire day of just listening. And I’ll be honest with you…it was hard and frustrating for at least 2/3 of that day. I don’t know about you, but being completely still and quiet so that I can hear is really hard for me. I have trouble doing this for 15 minutes let alone an entire day. I had to be comfortable enough to not be distracted by my discomfort. I had to be uncomfortable enough to keep from falling asleep. There were a lot of little things I had to eliminate through the course of my day to keep distractions at bay.

I recognize myself to be both an interpersonal learner and a kinesthetic learner meaning I learn best with my hands on something or my body moving and through dialog with other people…but I was trying to have a dialog with someone who doesn’t audibly answer me back and if I’m too active, it becomes a workout as opposed to a conversation. So, what I came up with was that I would art journal with God. I didn’t know what I was creating along the way…I just knew that I would create something with him…and that my hands would be busy so that my mind could be thinking. (For those with ADD/ADHD, like myself, this is a very helpful tool that is not always true for the general population.) So, I just started gathering stuff…anything really…that I could use in the project and I started laying it out on the paper and a characteristic of mine…not necessarily my identity…but a strong characteristic none the less…began to emerge. I had managed to pull two different fabrics together that both apply to me on a daily basis: denim and lace. I love jeans! They are strong and durable and go with everything…when I want to be tough, I wear jeans. I am not a fancy gal and I don’t do formalities (it makes me feel inauthentic)…I like comfort and depth and jeans seem approachable to me. On the flip side, lace is delicate and light and gentle and beautiful…it’s not as durable as denim…it has vulnerability to it and, at times, I like that too. I loved the contrast of the two fabrics when I saw them together and it made me think of how I hate being pigeon-holed. I am a multi-faceted person and I hate being forced into a mold…and when I recognize it happening, I respond rather violently to it…I feel the need to not just break the mold but shatter it…tell me I can’t do something and I will absolutely spend every ounce of energy I have proving you wrong. (I had a male teacher tell me once that girls were not as good at math and science as boys were. When I had completed both my BS in biomedical science and MS in integrative physiology, I went back and told him how wrong he was…a full 10 years later I was still trying to ravage a mold that I didn’t want to be pressed in to!) All that to say that I had my background for my individuality…among all of my likes and dislikes, I had found a thread connecting many of them…freedom! I needed the freedom to be and do what I wanted…not what others wanted for/of me.

And that is where the progress came to a screeching halt (or so it seemed) for several hours. I slowly started arranging and attaching the fabric background to my art journal pages and talking (sometimes out loud) with God. For most of the day, I would throw out some of the characteristics that I saw in myself (fierce, independent, deep, intelligent, etc) and got angrier and angrier at him as each one would not sit quite right. “No…that isn’t your identity” I would hear in my head over and over…and it pissed me off…I even resorted to arguing with him because I was these things. “But that isn’t WHO you are” I would hear. Aaarrrgghhhh! 

By early evening, I finally heard the first word: Created. “Are you serious God? Really? Everyone is created! That freaking rock on the ground is created. That is so boring! Even cockroaches are created! Ugh! This sucks!” As I wrestled with this word, an adverb was added: purposefully. Ok, so purposefully created…what do I do with that? I started thinking about how I like to create things (I was literally doing it right then!) and realized that I was purposefully created so that I could create with a purpose. Hmmm…ok, so that’s better than the cockroach thing. That is something to ponder for a while. What else have you got for me God? Loved. Ugh again! Everyone is loved by God, aren’t they? But…I have really experienced God’s love in some of my most broken places…deep inside where I have protected my damage from others and even from myself. And then I realized, maybe for the first time, that I love my people with a huge love…it’s not like other people I know…there is definitely something distinctive about it. Ok, more to ponder. Then, came the third and final word that day: Forgiven. That one immediately put me in tears as I relived how I have injured others during my life and I grieved deeply having hurt them. I started to think of some of the injuries I had received from others as well and realized that I am a forgiver. I am forgiven and it allows me to be a forgiver.

That was it that day. I spent about 15 hours and literally got 3 words from God: Created, Loved, and Forgiven. Those were not the words I had wanted…I wanted something with badass as a description…but apparently that isn’t WHO I am (It’s just what I am! Haha!!! Couldn’t resist.) I saw a pattern emerge: God gives from who he is…so who I really am will reflect him. This helped me see a couple of more words later as I reflected on my favorite name of God: El Roi (God who sees me.) I love that name because I often struggle with feeling invisible…and out of that struggle, I have come to a place where I see people…really see them where they are…and can love them and value them right there. That is where I got two more words: Known and Wanted. 

Since then, I have become more comfortable with my true identity. I have been able to see how I had previously come to different conclusions about my identity…I discovered that a lot of my characteristics were really a response to situations that I have experienced as opposed to characteristics given to me by God. (For example, I was tough because I had been injured in the past and never wanted to feel like a victim again…so I became a 2nd degree black belt. I wanted intelligent as my identity because I felt dumb for most of my life because I learn differently than is valued by our educational system. I wanted to be defined as independent because I know I can count on myself…it’s others that have let me down in the past.) I may or may not be those things…but they aren’t my identity…they aren’t WHO I am…because if they were, I would actually be defined by the hurts that caused me to respond in those ways. No, I am not defined by my damage…I am defined by the meaningful ways that God has poured into me…and that is why I am able to pour out those characteristics…and I feel whole and amazing when I get to do them.

That is how I arrived in this new place of freedom…and if you have read this far, then you not only have a lot of endurance in this long musing, but you may also want to ask yourself some questions: Do you know who God says you are? Are you able to differentiate between who he says you are and who you tell yourself you are? What might you do in order to position yourself to hear from God instead of all the noise around you? What characteristics do you have that are a response to pain in your life? Are you letting those characteristics (and pain) define you? What is the thing you give to the world and despite continuing to pour out, you end up filled up?  

My prayer today is that we would be able to still ourselves enough to hear from God. I’m praying that we would achieve our purpose in life by fully coming to terms with our true identity. I’m praying that we would become positioned so that we can continuously receive from God and consequently keep pouring out from him as well.

Much love friends,
Beks

6/6/16 Morning Musing: Life-Breathing 

A few weeks ago, I was at a doctor’s office and found myself speechless (and anyone who knows me know that never happens! As Stan says about me: “There are just so many words!”) Let me back up a bit. I was trying out a new location for getting my testosterone pellet implant and was talking with the doctor about normal stuff when she noticed how I had noted something in my file. I had written something in a manner that indicated that I had some understanding of medicine and so she inquired about my educational background. I proceeded to tell her that I had learned what she was asking about when I had worked for a veterinarian but that I had an undergraduate degree in biomedical science and a master’s degree in integrative physiology. She asked me what I do now and I told her that I was a stay-at-home mom. It was her following question that left me momentarily speechless: “But why would you waste your education?” Do you hear it? Because to me it was loud and clear: “You aren’t enough! What you do isn’t valuable. Investment is wasted on you.” After a few seconds, I recovered and told her that I never thought that education was a waste because regardless of the field of study, learning to think is valuable. Now the truth is that I really learned to think after all of my education but I wanted her to understand that investing in people is never a waste.

As usual, this got me thinking…a lot…in fact, I haven’t been able to let it go for the last 5 weeks…and I think I have finally figured out why it has stuck with me so much. I think that, for my entire life, my biggest struggle has been in understanding and accepting my identity. Now before I lose you, hang in there with me for a minute while I explain with a few examples. When I was young, something happened to me that made me question and doubt my value as a female…as an integral part of God’s family. With the poisoning a few years ago, I came to question if I was worth the expense that I was costing my family. That also led to spiritual upheaval and doubt as to whether anything that I had spent my life believing was true. Recently, I left my job at our old church and that led to me questioning whether or not I could do ministry the way that I am designed to (I mean, if I can’t do ministry at a church, is it likely that I will be able to do it on my own outside of church?) There are tons of other examples but what I am getting at is that I have experienced attack, for the duration of my entire life, on my value as a female and as an image-bearer of God.  

So, going back to the story at my doctor’s office, that is why her seemingly innocent question did not feel so innocent to me. I don’t think that she meant to offend me at all…but I do believe that her words betrayed her thoughts…and those thoughts were clearly that I am not living up to my potential. I, however, disagree with her. See, my constant question over the last couple of years has been “What does obedience look like right now?” I’m not making a five-year plan. I’m not climbing the ladder anywhere. I’m not trying to make a pay check. What I have been doing is trying to be present and obedient to God in the now. Some days, that doesn’t look like much to most people. But some days, it looks like everything. My availability to be obedient to God now has helped a friend with an eating disorder in recent months. It has allowed me to have life-breathing conversations with women who are experiencing marital problems. It has allowed me to be present with my kids and talk with them about who they are and how they are designed. It has allowed me to grow closer with my husband during this time of questioning what God would have him do as he searches for a job. I may not have a title or job-description that impresses anyone, but I am fully present with the people in my life when they need it…and that is what obedience looks like for me right now.

So how are you doing with this? Do you know who you are? Really know? Do you know what you were designed for? If you don’t, think about the things that really get you fired up and energized. Think about what it is that you can do for hours and then look up and wonder where all that time went. What I’m getting at is this: Do you know what your calling is and are you doing it? I firmly believe that what we choose to do with our short time here is either life-breathing or life-consuming. Can you identify the things in your life that fall into each category? If you are unsure, ask yourself how you serve others…because if you are only serving yourself, it falls under the life-consuming category. You have gifts…and by definition, gifts are meant to be given away…don’t deprive the world of what you have to offer.

My prayer today is that we would be life-breathing people. That we would not be content to just consume and discard things and people…but that we would invest in others. I am praying that we would start by learning more about Jesus so that we can learn more about who we are as image-bearers. I am praying that we would discard the conversations or events that we play on repeat in our minds that rob us of life and an understanding of our callings. And I am praying that we would be here now and that we would be still enough to ask God “What does obedience look like right now?”

Much love friends,
Beks

Breathing Life

2/23/16 Morning Musing: Beautifully Broken

I went to my art class today…a class that I will admit has given me some trouble this year…not the lessons really…more the personalities. I am an outsider…each of the women there signed up with a buddy and have their own little pockets of friends in class…so I feel that sense of not fitting in each week when I attend. The instructor is amazingly talented…but was sharing a lot of negativity on and off for the first few weeks. (Things came to a head a few weeks ago when my tendency to ask questions was turned into an assumed character flaw…I stayed after class and…well, we have an understanding now…she will not assign character traits to me based on incorrect assumptions and I will continue to ask questions because that is how I learn.) I am sure that the weird tension between the instructor and I didn’t help loosen the friendship pockets any.  

Anyway, a few weeks have passed and today, one gal who has been really closed off and tightly wound the whole semester, shared a very small tidbit of information about her son. I immediately felt compassion for the people in the situation that she described and shared with her some ways that I empathize with her situation and her son’s as well. See, I can identify with some of what the son has experienced and shared some things with her that might help her level of understanding where her child is concerned…ways that I have struggled and ways that I have failed along with the fears that accompany those failures…fears that I would be pigeon-holed or stereo-typed…fears that the way that people look at me will change…fears that relationships would be reduced to me living in a microscope to be studied…lots of fears.

And that is when it happened. The feel of the entire class changed. People started mingling more…walking around and looking at each other’s work and asking questions about how to achieve certain effects…sharing more about their real lives…encouraging each other through various struggles and sharing experiences that might help. This small group of predominantly uncomfortable strangers began to be known just a touch…let down their guard a tad…even giggle or tear up a little bit. Walls started to come down as posturing ceased and a journey toward depth began. I don’t know why I am telling you this except that it really struck me. I thrive on depth and authenticity and am really stifled (and somewhat sickened) by falseness and insincerity so this change…this new real-ness…this willingness to be a little vulnerable…well, it’s what I value most and it’s a glimpse of what I imagine Heaven will be like…what Eden was like before…

So, how are you doing in this area? Are you known? Really known? Do people have access to the person that you really are? Warts and all? What prevents you from being authentic? Do you allow others to be real? How can you encourage this more?  

My prayer today is that we would be brave. That we would allow who we really are…the actual creatures that God designed us to be…to be. That we would get comfortable being uncomfortable and just sit in it…not try to wiggle out of it…not side-step it and steer things away from our faults…because I think that our scars and broken parts might just be our most beautiful parts…because unlike the parts of us that get it all “right”…our tender bits are, after all, the parts that make us need the God that created us.

Much love friends,
Beks

1/20/15 Morning Musing: “And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” – J.K. Rowling

It was a morning that had started out like every other morning during that life stage: kids waking me up at precisely oh-dark-thirty (because that is what 1-year-olds and 3-year-olds do), me changing a bunch of diapers and thinking sarcastically to myself “Yep, that master’s degree in physiology sure is coming in handy now!”, me getting a load of laundry going and unloading the dishwasher, and me trying to figure out what I will be allowed to eat that day…this was the aftermath of the poisoning (an extremely difficult and bitter time for me not only physically but also emotionally and spiritually.) See, during this time, my immune system was (for lack of a better word) wonky…I couldn’t fight off what I should so I stayed sick all the time (kept getting pneumonia) and I was fighting off what I shouldn’t (I became allergic to everything…including about 90% of my diet: soy, sugar, every single oil that I tested for, apples, cherries, peanuts, all tree nuts, yeast, wheat, oat, milk, cheese, broccoli, green beans, and pretty much everything else you can think of) so my doctor had me doing a rotational diet (really complicated but basically, if I ate an ingredient of something that I was not allergic to, I had 1 hour to eat it in and then I could not return to that ingredient for four full days (or anything related to that ingredient for two days…see picture) in order to not over-expose myself to this “safe” ingredient and turn it into another item that I was allergic to. Meanwhile, to try to regain the items that I was forbidden from, I was giving myself 9 antigen injections in my stomach every 4 days as well as having to occasionally test allergy ingredients to see if I was gaining any headway.) Glamorous, I know…try not to be jealous.

As I continued on this diet, I lost a lot of weight (as you would expect when it is that difficult to find food that you can eat.) The problem with the weight loss is that the toxins in my body were fat-soluble toxins (they lived in my body fat) which had to go somewhere as I was quickly losing that body fat. Science geek-out alert: I don’t know if you know this or not, but your brain is actually made primarily of fat (about 60%!) As I was losing body fat, the toxins that I was not able to expel from my body were going to my brain and causing me lots of issues.

Anyway, back to this typical day that began like every other: Caleb was in his crib and Michaela was in her room. I was trying to get some baby oatmeal out of the pantry when it happened. I lost my balance when I reached in, and fell into the pantry striking the side of my head on the shelf as I fell. I didn’t lose consciousness…but I couldn’t get out. What I mean is that I was aware of where I was and what position I was in but I couldn’t control my limbs. I would try to put my hand against the wall that I was folded up against, but my arm would flail around instead of doing what I was telling it to do. My legs were almost useless in that cramped space and I was feeling a lot of pain (the recycle bin was shoved into my back on the right side and my head throbbed from hitting the shelf and wall.) That is when panic set in. I couldn’t get out! I couldn’t get out!!!! The flailing increased as I struggled to get up…to move…to control anything about my body. My vision blurred but that was just because hot, wet tears were streaming down my face. I felt hot and my heart was racing as I sucked in ragged breaths…this was heading toward a full-on panic attack…and then I heard him…Caleb was crying and expecting his mama to come get him from his nap…and I couldn’t get to him. I listened to him cry while I cried and flailed in the pantry. Some time later, Michaela started banging on her door and yelling for mommy as well…and I couldn’t get up. Those poor babies were probably so very confused and feeling abandoned. “Oh God! Where the hell are you?!?!”

That’s when he showed up…God…by bringing some calm to this chaos. Instead of continuing to struggle, I yelled at God in that pantry…I told him about everything that I had lost because of this poison and how angry I was about it. In that pantry, I grieved the life that I had lost and finally came to terms that life was going to look different from now on. It was time to accept it instead of just being bitter about it. I was a different person than I had been: with this brain damage, my skills had changed…my thinking had changed…I was still analytical but less so than before…I started becoming more artistic and less rigid…I had a hard time with my memory (it was really embarrassing because I would be talking to someone and just stop in the middle and stare at them…it was like my brain had re-set and I lost the last 10-15 seconds…so I thought they were talking instead of me.) So much had changed and I had lost most of my relationships because people just didn’t know how to comfortably be around me…it wasn’t their fault really…they couldn’t understand…but it was so isolating…and now, I was isolated in the pantry with just Jesus…but He showed up…and that is something…I guess it’s not isolation if Jesus is still with me. With that understanding came peace despite my circumstances and a little while later, I noticed that my hand was on my head where the big knot had formed. How had I gotten my hand there? I tested it and was able to move it…I was shaky…but the connections were there…I was able to move my body around and control it some. I crawled out of the pantry and used the kitchen countertop to help myself to a standing position. A short time later, I opened Michaela’s door and told her to follow me to Caleb’s room where I sat on the floor with both of them and just enjoyed the ability to put my arms around them. We sat there and nuzzled each other for a long while.

Why am I telling you this? Well, for one thing, I think that we all have a deep desire to be known. This is part of me and part of my story. It is when this control-freak, type-A, uptight gal hit rock-bottom and learned, without a doubt, that control is only an illusion. I have fought writing about this for some time now and it kept coming to mind because, for some reason, I needed you all to know about it…so here it is…here is my mess…take it all in…know me.

I also learned that we are dependent on God for everything…EVERYTHING…right down to each breath, the ability to move, and each hug. He was with me and calmed me and that is no small thing. (I was in that pantry for 2 hours and I kept it a secret for several weeks (even from Stan) because I was processing what I had been through. I didn’t want anyone else’s take on it until I knew what my take was.) God knew me well enough to know how to calm me, distract me, and encourage me and the reason he could do that is because he is actively present and invested in my life.

Finally, I learned contentment…true contentment. I still have days where I am in a lot of pain or periods of time where my brain isn’t functioning quite the way it should, but those days are the exception now…and that is something to be grateful for…now, the bad days just show me how far he has brought me! Do you know that I had quit praying for healing when God decided to end my suffering with food allergies? I had come to a point of acceptance that this was my lot in life and then he gave me more. It felt lavish!

So, your story, in all likelihood, is quite different from mine…but how are you doing with it? Are you suffering under (or perhaps relishing in) the illusion that you are in control? Why do we tell ourselves this lie? Do you realize how loved you are by a God who wants an intimate relationship with you? Do you have any concept of what he could accomplish through you if you would only let him? What is holding you back? What keeps you holding him at arm’s distance? Is it pride? Anger? Bitterness? Doubt? Fear? (For me, it was all of these!)

My prayer today is that we would all allow God to point out tender parts of ourselves that we are with-holding from him and that we would offer those precious and vulnerable parts to God as an act of worship. Much love friends,

Beks