Bekah's Heart, Devotional, Family, Joy

A Lovely Day! {A letter to my niece… and myself… and every one of us}

2017-11-22 14.25.42Dear Maddie,

I loved spending this Thanksgiving week with you. At two and a half years old your joy and passion for life bring me so much joy and teach me so much. Just this morning I heard you waking up in your room, calling for your mom who was still asleep. When I walked in, I expected a somewhat groggy toddler, sad that it was not actually “Mommy” who responded to your cries. Instead I suddenly saw this beautiful, smiley face (with some typical Maddie bed-head) pop up above the railing and declare boldly:

“Aunt Bekah! Look! The sun came up today! It’s a lovely day!”

You have astounded me with your joy this week. You remind me to be thankful for the little things, like a friend coming over, the sun outside, a bowl of mac-n-cheese, or a Mickey Mouse Christmas tree ornament. You feel so deeply every little thing.

I see also in you that these honest feelings aren’t always fun. Your pure joy at the simple fact that the sun is shining took a drastic turn one evening when it took us an extra 20 minutes to get out the door to go somewhere because you were sobbing (real, giant tears) because “the sun went away”! I love this about you, too. You’re not ashamed to feel what you feel.  While I pray you never lose the ability to feel things deeply and honestly, unfortunately I fear as you grow up that will change. Whether literally or metaphorically, I think some day the fear that “the sun may go down” may keep you from rejoicing in its rising in the morning.

As we grow into adults we fear risking loving the people around us because we have been hurt when we’ve loved in the past. We don’t let ourselves hope in anything because “what if we’re let down again?!?” We don’t trust anyone or even God because our trust has been broken. We don’t let joy in because we also know that feeling anything allows for the potential to feel hurt.

People will disappoint you, Maddie, and you may not always get what you want. At some point in your life it will feel safer to shut out difficult people or situations, refusing to trust and never getting your hopes up. But Maddie, I pray you have strength to fight against the fear and keep feeling deeply.  While it seems safer, it also keeps us from feeling the joy that I see you experience so fully right now.

Here’s how an author, Katie David Majors put it in an a book I read recently called “Daring to Hope”:

“…the world would teach us that pain is what ruins us. We are trained and conditioned to run from pain at all costs. … Only the supernatural working of the Holy Spirit can override this fear of pain with a love that is greater. The world would teach us that once we are broken, we cannot be used, we cannot be strong, we cannot be happy. But this is not true. In the greatest miracle of all time, our Father resurrects His son Jesus out of the dark tomb and conquers death. After the brutal beating and scourging and mocking that is a direct result of the ugliness of my sin, Jesus whispers, “Father, forgive them.” And He does. Out of the black of the tomb, new Life emerges and new Light shines forth.” (pg 61)

Maddie, our God is in the business of making beautiful things come out of brokenness. He longs for us to experience true love and with that comes risk. He risked that in giving us free will to be able to love Him and others. We messed that up and now live in the pain and consequences of our rebellion. But our God doesn’t change! He remains good! In Zephaniah we read that: “Each new day He does not fail” (Zeph 3:5). He sent Jesus to take all the brokenness, hurt, distrust, hopelessness and restore our hope again. He came. He died. He rose from the dead. He will come again.

Whenever you feel sad that the sun has gone down, or something hurts you, or you lose someone, go ahead and feel that sadness. Grieve. Hurt. Feel. But never lose hope, because the sun WILL rise again. Jesus will come again and He promises us this about that day:

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:3-5)

“And there will be no night there–no need for lamps or sun–for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 22:5)

2017-11-22 20.16.36Oh what a lovely day that will be, Maddie! So go ahead and get your hopes up, girl! Feel deeply. Celebrate life. And when the dark nights come, because they unfortunately will, remember, a day even more lovely than you can imagine will come and when that day does come, the light will never fade again!

Look Maddie! The sun is up! It’s a lovely day!

Love always,
Aunt Bekah


Family, First Trinity

The Family of God – This Is Us

Last weekend at our church we started a series called “This is Us”. Awesome TV show aside, I’m thankful for a chance to step back and look at our family and what defines us as a church community.

At one point during the sermon we read together this paragraph from our core values:

We are an authentic community that celebrates the hurts and joys of life together. First Trinity is a vibrant community of people with varied backgrounds and experiences who are sharing life together. We are joyful people who laugh and rejoice in the highs of life and hold each other up through the lows. We are a family who supports and encourages each other on a lifelong journey of faith.

For some organizations, a core value sheet is more of “hoped for dreams of what we wish we were.” However, when Pastor continued his sermon after we read that paragraph by saying: “This is us.” I got goosebumps. It’s true. This IS us.

Our church does know how to celebrate well! (If you need proof, look back over our Facebook page of all the fun/funny celebrations we’ve had the past couple weeks as we’ve thanked God for the 15 years Pastor Chuck has been here.) Perhaps what I love more is that we live the “lows” part of life together just as well as the “highs”.

This weekend we also celebrated All Saints Day in the Church. One part of the service each year is a slideshow with pictures of church members and loved ones who have died in the past two years. As they scrolled past in each of the services this year, here are some of the things I caught out of the corner of my eye:

  • A young boy, seeing his cousin’s picture on the screen, bursting into tears, and being wrapped in the arms of his mom who didn’t try to quiet him, but just let him cry.
  • A woman say to her husband “Wow, she’s lost a lot of people lately” as if making note to check in later.
  • The realization of many that life is precious and has no guarantees as a middle school student’s picture also appeared on the screen.
  • A high school student shocked when she saw an older member on screen that she didn’t realize had died more than six months ago. A dad scooting closer to comfort.
  • Hands held.
  • Tears shed with zero shame.
  • Friends and family embraced.

This is us. What a gift! We laugh and play and worship (this week’s theme) and enjoy life together. But we also weep and cry and comfort as we walk through life. We help each other remember we’re not alone!

I love that when we talk about holidays, even ones that can be somber like this one, we use the word “celebrate”. We celebrate All Saints Day because these members of our church family are living ultimate paradise in heaven. We celebrate because we will see them again because of the hope in heaven. We celebrate together, yes even the lows, because that’s what families do.

This is us.

Bekah's Heart, Blessing, Family, Joy

24 Years to Celebrate

Dear Doctor,
Do you remember 24 years ago when you told a young couple that their brand new baby girl wouldn’t live more than a couple of hours? Do you remember saying that if she did live that her lungs probably wouldn’t work properly and she’d likely have disabilities and challenges with learning?

Just thought you might want to know that the same girl just used her perfectly healthy lungs to run five miles this morning after using them to sing for about an hour all to celebrate the 24 years of LIFE God has given her before heading off to the awesome job that she got after graduating college with honors last year.

Thanks for not giving up on her when “science” said she had no chance. You see, her God created science … and He created her! He created her for a purpose, part of which she’s still figuring out as she stumbles through each day. But she knows there is one–there must be–because even you were baffled that she made it through ONE night on earth, let alone 8,766. So, thanks again! Thanks for letting God use you to work miracles in that little girl so He can use her to prayerfully do the same for others.

That Girl 🙂

Bekah's Heart, Blessing, Family, Joy, Random

The August In Between

We often find ourselves talking about our lives in seasons, or stages, or as chapters in a book.

A few weeks ago one phase of life (student) came to an end. This weekend new phase will officially begin (professional).

And here you have… the august in between …

  • A celebration of 31 years of marriage for my amazing parents.
  • Church with the whole family.
  • A night to catch up with a camp friend.
  • A morning at a coffee shop hearing about a friend’s recent trip to Africa.
  • A visit with my might-as-well-be-a-sister (former roommate) and her husband playing games, eating well, and exploring small-town Iowa.
  • Long hours on the road … just me and my Jesus.
  • An afternoon at camp and the kind of friend with whom you could talk for hours even if you haven’ t talked in years. Sharing hearts… the truest parts… sharing laughter … sharing hikes … sharing macaroni and popsicles… sharing life.
  • Another beautiful woman opening her beautiful home … and heart, not for the first time. Catching up. Celebrating together, thanking God for the places to which He has called us to and the people with whom we share life with.
  • Driving into that town… the one that greeted you so warmly for 4 years … and knowing… while it’s good to be back… home is now about 1000 miles east.
  • People… souls… so many… touching my life as they’ve often done in the past… hugs exchanged… meals shared… the sudden, joyful, realization as I speak from my heart, that I really love my job, my home, my life in Buffalo.
  • A beautiful woman I barely knew(yet knew so well), and her daughter, welcoming me with open arms, an open home, and open hearts… inviting me into their world
    of beautiful NE sunsets…

    and reminders of Jesus, the vine… me, the branches….

    and God’s abundance and grace…

    and smiles and swings and pickles and kittens and catapults …

    and homemade icecream with fresh blackberries

    and smiley pancakes….

    and so much more!
  • More meals with beautiful women.
  • 3 days of sister-sister-niece time.
  • A visit with a cousin, her husband, and beautiful baby recently moved back to The Sunflower State
  • a new hobby (sewing on the sewing machine my parents got me for my birthday)
  • 5 wonderful days with my parents… cleaning, garage sale-ing, packing, moving, loving, laughing, sharing, creating, being.
  • fun fortunes the day before leaving KS
    “Travelling to the east will bring you great rewards.”
    “You will always be surrounded by true friends.”
  • Supernatural packing space in the car
  • Seeing a beautiful friend on our way through St. Louis and her making us dinner too!
  • Fun conversations and experiences with dad on the way out.
  • Making it to NY in 2 days and many people ready to help me move in once I got there.
  • The feeling of truly being home… in my apartment… sleeping in my own bed… driving my own car… going to my own job… home. 🙂

There you have it… a small peek into… the August in between.

(more in a previous post here )

Bekah's Heart, Family, Random

In the Mean Time

The journey to move to NY (again) begins tomorrow (Sunday)!  A picture/summary post of my entire August vacation is in the works.   In the mean time, I’ll even give you a sneak peak with these images of us in the early stages of loading the car:

We managed to fit my roll-top desk, chest, my new sewing machine (and case) and piano keyboard all in the car in addition to the general boxes of books and other various items that were anticipating their turn to come to NY with me.

And I’ll leave you with this awesome quote I read today:

 “Ask the God who made you to keep remaking you.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

Family, First Trinity

Thank You God for Family

Today I am thankful for family…

… yes, for my wonderful parents, sister, brother (in-law), niece, grandmas, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.


But also for some other family…

… for some “brothers” and “sisters” just checking in to see what’s up and lifting me in prayer

… for a family of co-workers laughing and praying and sharing life and ministry together

… for all my FT “moms” and “dads” and “grandmas” and “grandpas” and “aunts” and “uncles” all watching out for me

… for an invitation to share a meal and a game with a family

… for a group of sisters gathered around snacks and God’s Word

… for a sister to walk with right now even if our physical steps are hundreds of miles away from each other.


Thank you God for family.

Bekah's Heart, Family

5-minute Friday – On Distance

This morning through a blog I regularly read, I discovered something another blogger does called Five Minute Friday.  She dares readers and fellow writers to “just write and not worry if it’s just right or not.”  Today, I took up the challenge… to write for five minutes, without really thinking about whether it was “right” and today the topic was ‘on distance.’




On Distance.

First thoughts of distance land somewhere between this place called Buffalo and "that place like home," Kansas.  I think about my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, my grandmother, my other relatives all joining this weekend to celebrate… my niece. 


Oh pictures are great to make the distance seem shorter but I joyfully anticipate that day, a few weeks from now, time-distance, when I will step off a plane in "that place like home" and see that beautiful creation for the first time. 


What long distances she’s already traveled, no not far in the sense of miles, but rather, heart-distance…  the distance from God’s heart to her mothers womb, and now from womb to world.  God’s heart crafted her, unique, beautiful, special, just for the purpose to love her and to place other people around her to love on her and for her to love back. 


And when I think about this holy week approaching, so near. I think about the distance of another of God’s children, his biological son.  Unlike the adopted daughter I just spoke of, this Son when the ULTIMATE-distance… giving up the highest of highest to be born in lowest of lows.  To travel the amazing distance from stable to cross, from Bethlehem to Calvary… a distance most of us can’t imagine going, but the one that defined his sole purpose in existance.   He went the distance so we could be near to that one that created and loved and redeems. 



That was fun. This may become a regular Friday occurrence for me.  We’ll see. 🙂


Blessings on whatever distance you may travel today.