It’s More than Just a Finger

On Wednesday nights I work with the student ministry at my church. My husband and I have had to create a work around to balance this with our daughters and with his work schedule. It’s can be a tad complicated some weeks, but all-in-all, it seems to have worked—if I get my timing correct.

You see, I have to make sure I don’t lose track of time because there is that precarious balance of prepping and cooking dinner, ensuring naps occur but not too long, then gauging the travel time as to not get caught in rush hour madness that would guarantee that I was late.

Once particular afternoon, I thought I was doing well. The girls were starting to get up and I was getting dinner together so it would be finished cooking well before we had to leave—making one less thing for my husband to have to deal with when he got home. Then…yeah then…I don’t even know what actually happened. Somehow or another, I sliced my finger—badly.

Initially I thought it was nothing major, but I couldn’t get it to stop bleeding. I tried calling my husband, but he didn’t answer. I tried calling my sister-in-law (who is a nurse), but she didn’t answer. I tried calling my mother-in-law (who is also a nurse), but she didn’t answer. I was starting to freak out, but I didn’t want to show that to my daughters so I over exaggerated my perceived calmness resulting in deep breaths and my voice octave raising slightly to ensure my tone stayed gentle and my volume remained normal-ish. I didn’t know what to do. Should I go to the ER? I didn’t want to deal with the ER (and everything that goes with that i.e. the bill). It was just a stupid finger for crying out loud!

I end up getting calls back from everyone, drove myself (with my girls) to a walk-in clinic where my husband had already arrived and is getting the paperwork filled out. My finger was still bleeding.

Because of how it was cut, stitches were out of the question, so they cauterize it (sorry if this story is grossing you out. It has a really good point, I swear.)

I had this massive, bright blue bandage on my left pointer finger and once the numbing drug wore off, it hurt—a lot.

I felt like such a baby because it was just a finger! My husband had survived 4 knee surgeries; my mom had gone through more than that. I gave birth to two, good-sized babies but I’m fussing over a stupid finger?!

So. Annoying.

1 Corinthians 12 says:

“For as the body is one and has many members, but all members of that one body, being many are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were baptized into one body…for in fact the body is not one member but many….if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not part of the body, is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 16-20, NKJV)

It’s all too easy to dismiss one measly finger. However, I didn’t realize how the tendons in that finger help the hand and thus, when the finger hurts, the hand is also greatly handicapped.

We do the same with our position—whether in the church or in life. We say things like, “I’m just a mom,” but the impact that a mom can have is eternal. If we don’t fill the position that God has called us to, it will either not be filled or will be filled by someone less adequate.

We are uniquely gifted to do amazing things for God’s kingdom. It is vital that we don’t begin to compare. Just because someone is called to pastor over a congregation, they are not any more important than the person who is called to teach a classroom full of students. The person called to travel overseas to evangelize to nations that have never heard of Jesus is no more important than the person called to serve meals at an inner-city soup kitchen.

We all have our roles, and just like my finger being out of commission became a big deal, just imagine how big of a deal it would be if you chose not to fulfill your calling.

Stop minimizing the role that you play! Stop being jealous of the roles that others play! You have been created to great and mighty things for the Kingdom of God, whether or not you see those results in your lifetime. The impact that you have today could be cataclysmicly significant in twenty, forty, or one-hundred years from now–WHO KNOWS!

My role may only seem to have the eternal significance of a pointer finger on my non-dominant hand. But that finger could type the words that change someone’s mind about their relationship with God. That finger could point to someone in a crowd and remind them of their worth and identity. That finger could be part of the hand that holds the hands of two precious little girls that rock my world. That finger, while little, is vitally important.

So are you.

Input Needed: Who is God?

Hey y’all.

I’m already LOVING my new book! Seriously. I can see growth in my writing, thought process, and just the overall content is absolutely amazing!

Because I love all of you devoted blog readers/followers, I want to have your input. Nothing too crazy, just a “simple” question:

Who is God to you?

I know– weighted question, right? But truly, if someone asked you, “who is God?” how would you answer?

I can’t wait to see what you have to say 🙂 Please just leave a comment below and, as always, please be respectful.

If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for my email list. You’ll get insider information, as well as a special chance to win a copy of Getting Past the Start! <–the more people who sign up, the more copies I am giving away! So, make sure you are a part of that awesomeness. (I’ll even make it easier, you can sign up by clicking here!)

As always, thank you guys! 🙂

love, Becca

It Only Takes a Single Word

Aliyah, my two-year-old daughter, has already proven herself to own a tenacious streak that rears its head from time to time. Recognizing that characteristic to have come from me, I (kind of) know what to expect when it displays itself in a negative light– a battle of the wills.

We had one such battle this morning. Both girls are recovering from a nasty sickness that overtook our home for the past week, leaving us all a little grumpy and anxious to get back to our routines. In response to me telling Aliyah not to touch all of the electronics on my night stand (all being a total of two: my cell phone and my Kindle Fire), she decided to tap (hit) me in the face. It wasn’t hard and it is along the lines of a game the she and her daddy play from time to time, however, there was a need for consequence. In all, she ended up in time out and was required to apologize to me.

A single word, that’s all it would take for her to be released from her spot in the corner. After a couple minutes I would direct her to say, “I’m sorry Mommy,” or even just, “sorry.” Tears would come, kisses would be offered, giggles would tried, but no ounce of “sorry” was uttered. So she would be put back into timeout. Again. And again.

I’m humbled when I consider how often I react this way to God. I’ll act out, find myself dealing with the consequences, and all that needs to happen to change my circumstance is to acknowledge my mistake and cry out to God. In a single word, I could find forgiveness. But instead, I defiantly stand in my corner, complaining but never doing the one simple thing that would release me– crying out to God.

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
    he delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:17-18, NIV)

When we cry out to God, He hears and answers us. When Aliyah finally said sorry, I held her tightly in my arms assuring her that I forgave her and that I loved her. God responds the same way, if only we resolve to throw away out pride and cry out to Him.

Children don’t disqualify you from service

As the mom to a four-year-old and a two-year-old, there are times when life feels limited. Whether deciding against hiking a particular trail because it would be too far for the kids to walk, or not going to an event because there isn’t childcare provided, or simply selecting kid-friendly restaurants because there are times when they simply won’t sit politely at the table and eat all of their veggies. Life becomes messy and while children are a tremendous blessing, there are times when it feels like you are giving up opportunities.

As an analytical person, I tend to evaluate situations prior to stepping into them. That means that prior to saying, “yes,” I determine whether or not I have to have my girls with me or if there will be childcare, if they are with me, will they be a distraction? Is it safe for my kids to be around this particular environment? I find myself using my children as excuses as to why I can’t serve.

Of course, there are always exceptions, but how often have I turned down an opportunity to serve because I didn’t think they were old enough or there was a potential danger of some sort? How many times have I missed an opportunity to share Jesus, not only to the individual I would be serving, but to my children as they experienced what it looks like to love like Jesus loved?

It is all to easy to see my children as an excuse of why I can’t. Please understand that I adore my girls. I want to spend time with them and to raise them with wisdom and discernment. I chose to stay home with them and know that I will never regret making that decision.

But I have seen someone on the side of the road, wondered their story, but chose to not get out of the car and start a conversation because I had my girls with me and I wasn’t sure if it would be “safe.” I have seen opportunities to go on a mission trip but didn’t because I thought that if I had my girls with me, they would be a distraction for the other people and it would end up being pointless.

I want my girls to grow up thinking that occasionally paying for the car behind them in a drive-thru is a normal thing to do. I want them to be bold enough to not just offer a homeless woman lunch, but offer to sit and have lunch with her so that they can hear her story and tell her about Jesus. I want my girls to see how Kyle and I serve others so that it will become a natural and instinctive way for them to live their own lives.

I will continue to use discernment in when to say yes and how to serve, but I will not make that decision solely based on the fact that I have young children. I want to have adventures by serving and I want to have those adventures with my entire family–no matter what their age.

Aud Lang Syne

A year ago, my family and I were still living in Orlando. Florida– not in Texas.

A year ago, I never dreamed that I would actually have a physical copy of my book not only completed, but published by a highly reputable Christian publisher.

A year ago, I never imagined all of the spiritual growth I would experience in only a year’s time.

A year seems like so long ago–distant memories dancing through my mind more like a dream than a reality already lived. But in that time my dreams began to materialize into reality. Those ideas which seemed impossible are starting to form into a career that I only ever dreamed of.

As we close 2014 and usher in 2015, it is easy to default to the old resolutions that never make it past noon on January 1st.

  • Lose x amount of pounds and have the body I had when I was 18
  • exercise daily and eat only healthy foods–no exceptions
  • never speak out of anger–especially when I’m tired, sick, exhausted…
  • memorize the entire Bible–every last word

I’ve never taken to the idea of New Year’s resolutions. That’s not to say that I don’t see the advantage of setting goals and the new year is as good a time as any to do just that. I just don’t see the point of making goals that I know the second I make them I am going to break them. That’s not to say I don’t set God-sized goals and dreams–I just trust God for them rather than myself.

Would I like to lose another 5 pounds or so, work out daily to improve my health, and have enough will-power to not love Chick-fil-a and peppermint ice cream as much as I do? Of course, but I also believe that everything should be done in moderation–including the good stuff. Focusing on my weight versus my health clouds my self-image and causes me to be more judgmental of my post-baby body than I should ever be. Forcing myself to work out every day for an hour would actually cause more stress than it would release. A better option would be to set practical goals that don’t just add one more thing onto my list. And Chick-fil-a is just a gift from God so…you know, moderation.

But my goals and dreams are more than that. They are an expression of my soul. They are those things that I admit only to myself, for fear that I will get laughed at if I were to tell them to anyone else. Things like getting my book published. Things like my longing to become a speaker that empowers women in their identity in Christ. Those are dreams that I think about at times like New Years Eve. Those are the dreams that I can not achieve through any power of my own, but only by God’s grace and will for my life. Those are the dreams that I must continually give back to God, knowing that whatever His will is for my dreams, that will be the very best thing for me.

What are your impossible dreams? You know, those things you only admit to yourself and God? I want to challenge you to take some time and pray about those dreams. The biggest challenge I face is to truly submit them back to God, knowing that He may choose to change my path. But I know that if God doesn’t want that for me, I shouldn’t want it for myself either.

I pray that you all have a blessed 2015.

If you’d like prayer and accountability in your dreams, please feel free to share them in the comments! I’d love to pray for my readers as we enter the new year!

Leading by Example

samara and aliyah hug 10-2014Over the past couple of weeks, Aliyah (my two-year-old) has multiplied her words exponentially and transitioned fully into sentences. It is with both joy and exhaustion that I find myself smiling at these developments (I’m positive my ears are going to be dog-tired by the end of each day with how much this kid talks, coupled with the conversations I already have with my four-year-old). But what brings me even greater joy is standing back and listening to the conversations that occur between my two daughters.

Tonight, as Samara went to the bathroom and proceeded to wash her hands, I heard her explaining the process to her sister.

“You go poop in the potty…then you wash your hands like this. Get some soap…”

Her step-by-step guidance all accompanied by a flurry of words by Aliyah-none particularly understandable but all abundantly audible.

The big-sister-little-sister relationship fully engaged and developing. Samara nurtures Aliyah (usually), lets me know when I need to check on her (tattling but letting me know when she is getting in to something-especially when they are supposed to be sleeping-is still somewhat helpful in the long run), and interprets Aliyah’s slurry of words (of course, most of time she interprets the words I understand and simply mimics the ones that are still unclear which isn’t particularly helpful but it’s the thought).

IMG_20140327_092951

me and my sister about 25 years ago

I can’t help but think back to the fun I had with my own sister growing up, knowing that while she also tattled on me, more often than not, she looked out for me. She loved me. She was an example for me in faith and in righteousness.

Did I always follow? Haha…no. I have always been independent; wanting to forge my own way and often times neglecting the advantage that came with following someone who had gone ahead of me. But even today, I know that my sister is one of my strongest advocates and fiercest defenders. I pray the same will be true for my girls.

Just as my sister was an example for me to follow, and as Samara steps into the same role for Aliyah, I am brought back to those verses in the Bible where Paul urges us to be imitators of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

Just as Paul sought to imitate Christ, God has readily placed people in our lives to serve as examples. I have been blessed to have many people throughout my life who have been (and who continue to be) Godly examples for me to strive toward and learn from. I, likewise, strive to live a life that can serve as an example to those who will look to me for guidance– including my daughters.

As we come to a rapidly approaching close to 2014, I want to encourage you to thank the Godly examples in your life. Who has God specially placed in your path to serve as a guiding light to bring your closer to Jesus?

And to those of you who have had such a tremendous impact on my own life (Kristi, my momma and daddy, Megan, Kyle, Laura, Stacey, Judy–just to name a few)–thank you. Thank you for your love and patience, especially in my stubbornness. Thank you for your encouragement and belief in me for so much more. Thank you for pushing me toward Jesus. May God richly bless you all.

And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. (1 Thessalonians 5:14-15, NIV)

The Peace of Christmas

Peace.

The response of every beauty pageant. The hope of every generation. The promise that came from a baby born in Bethlehem.

Harmony…freedom from fear…no war.

We understand peace and yet we don’t. We understand what it is like when we experience harmony among family and friends, but we don’t understand harmony of every tribe, tongue, and culture without judgement or condemnation or hate. We understand freedom from fear of certain circumstances like growing out of the fear of the dark or of spiders–or not–but we don’t understand freedom from all fears including death and loss and insecurities. We understand what it means to not be at war but we don’t understand what it means to be free from war within ourselves.

The peace of Christmas is a peace which surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). The peace of Christmas is the closest we can ever come to truly understanding those aspects of peace that are so foreign. We hope, we pray, and we long to understand.

Peace came to earth in the form of a baby, born to a teenage, single mom, wrapped in burial cloths, and laid in a feed trough.

As a mom of two little girls, I don’t instinctively see peace at the sight of a baby. I see sleepless nights and exhausting days. I see the struggle to understand those things that are supposed to be so natural and yet never really are. I see the fear that comes at every waking moment, knowing that something terrible could happen to your child–your baby.

But I can equally reflect on the sight of my babies, especially as newborns in those first couple of hours. The gentle breaths as they quietly snore. The way that their eyelashes lay on their cheeks in perfection. The look of utter innocence, trusting that they can sleep soundly because they just know that they will be cared for. There is no fear–there is peace. That beautiful picture of unadulterated peace.

While the initial picture of peace through a baby seems like an intense juxtaposition, there is that beautiful moment between the tiredness and strain of new motherhood where your heart swells in such intense love and peace in that moment that it all becomes clear.

The peace of Christmas is a promise of the hope that is to come for all the world. But until that day it is the peace that can come from a personal relationship with Jesus. That peace which surpasses all understanding.

As we close out this advent season I pray that you will find peace. I pray that peace will fill your hearts and your homes. I pray that you will relish both the hope of perfect peace in the future and the promise of peace available through Jesus today.