Bekah's Heart

A Good Samaritan – Jesus Interruptions

This is kind of back-tracking a bit, but blogging about this week’s “Jesus Interruption” story made me think back to last week’s: The Good Samaritan. Each time I hear that story I am challenged to think of the ways I can be that person who allows the interruption in my schedule to help someone in need. But this week as I think of it, my mind goes a slightly different direction–I am suddenly reminded and overwhelmed at the countless times I’VE been the (wo)man on the side of the road and someone took the time in their day to pause and help me out.

I’m reminded of a camp counselor years ago, who took time with one of her middle school campers to encourage a soul that was hurting and confused and to call out in that girl who God had made her to be.

I’m reminded of friends who not only celebrate the great things in life but walk near in the times when life leaves me battered and bleeding on the side of the road. They’ve been there to clean me up and get me back in the race.

I’m reminded of professors and mentors in college who took time to help me figure out who I even was and think of DCEs who have and continue to encourage and walk with me in the ups and downs of ministry.

I’m reminded of all the little things that people have done as Good Samaritans in my life that may not seem upon the same level as “saving a life” but trust me, oh they are! … Inviting me to share a meal with their family on a day when I feel alone… helping me shovel snow or checking in to make sure I got home safe when out in bad weather… Showing up with flowers for no specific reason at all… teammates helping me set up for an event… And the list could go on.

So yes, I hope and truly pray that God would keep my eyes open for the ways I can be one who stops and really sees people and helps meet their needs. However, I also want to make sure to stop and praise Him for those who do that for ME.

Thank you! Really, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you! And thank You God for people who love me so much.

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God-Sighting Saturday

Reminders {God-Sighting Saturday}

This week I saw God every day in a friend who constantly points me to a HIM, the One who is bigger than anything I could face this week… Even if that means leaving a reminder on my microwave….

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“The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy. He will be quiet in His love. He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” Zephaniah 3:17

Bekah's Heart

Sometimes… (Reflections on the last month or so of life)

Sometimes it takes some pressure…

to know when you need to push back
to know when to give in
to see how strong you really are

 

Sometimes it takes spending time around kids…

to know how to say “Oh, WOW!” at the little things around us.
to remember your laugh
to sit awe-filled with childlike faith.

 

Sometimes it takes a week of serving others…

to restore your sense of gratitude for what you have
to remember your need to be served
to step outside of your comfort zone and shake things up a bit.

 

Sometimes it takes time with friends…

to dance, to cry, to laugh, to vent, to process
to remember who you really are
to remember WHOSE you really are.

 

Sometimes it takes some time away …

to step out of the “everyday”
to gain perspective
to refresh and renew
to commit again.

 

Sometimes….

Uncategorized

Prayers for Friends

A beautiful prayer for our friends and family members. I have some friends for whom I’m praying this today. I bet you have some friends who could use some prayer too.

Father, when we hear how much You love us, that You’ll always be there, how constant and consistent You are, it’s hard for us to believe. Others have let us down, and we know how flaky we are when we make promises. But when You say,’I’ll keep my promises,’ it’s true.

I pray for my friends now. Some of them are praying simple prayers. They need your strength to get through this day, this night, this, challenge. Others are praying difficult prayers–prayers that are so big and so confusing they don’t see how in the world anybody, even You, can work it out. I ask, Father, that now, as they pray, they begin to trust.

I pray that Your Spirit will tell them:
* You’ve heard their prayers.
* You’re already working on it.
* What You’re working on is the absolute best they could ever have.

For my friends who are wounded, I pray for their healing. For my friends who are angry, I pray for release and forgiveness. For my friends that are lost, I pray this will be the moment You find them. For all of us, may this be the moment that You remind us who You are and what we are in You. I pray this in Your name. Amen.

Taken from the book “In Real Time” by Mike Glenn

God-Sighting Saturday

God-Sighting Saturday

At some point during the last week of 2012, I got thinking about the concept that many bloggers use where certain days of the week are dedicated to a specific blog post type.

We have:
5-minute Friday – five minutes (and only five minutes) of unedited writing based on a weekly prompt
Weird Verse Wednesday – Looking at a uncommon, not often quoted, or just plain weird Bible Verse each Wednesday
Saturday Prayer – a quoted prayer posted each Saturday

… Among many others.

In hopes to blog more consistently this coming year, I decided I would start a God-sighting Saturday post.
God-Sightings are basically places we see God at work each day in our lives.

Each Saturday I will post one or more God-Sightings from the past week. Sometimes it will be a story of something that happened that week. Some stories may be related to my own personal life while others will be related to ministry at First Trinity. And some weeks, like this one, it may simply include a list of big or small ways I saw God show up in the week. My prayer is that as I do this, it will help me to keep my eyes open for what God is doing in my life and the lives around me!

Here are SOME of this week’s God-sightings:

– So many of the FT youth serving in worship… Especially after staying up half the night at the New Year’s Lock-in.
– Awesome adult leaders that were willing to stay up half the night with the high schoolers at the lock-in as well as those who helped prepare and decorate for the event.
– Pastor offering to help me carry stuff out to my car after church.
– a long Sunday afternoon nap!
– a day to do whatever I needed to do… Including rest
– friends to do life with
– the joy in greeting a friend home from vacation
– some fun goals for 2012
– lunchtime laughter
– watching the Haiti missionaries busy preparing to leave and while I’d of course love to go, being 100% content with not going … With knowing that when God said “not this year, Bekah” (and I actually listened) that it is TOTALLY a good thing for many reasons
– a day of unexpected motivation from start to finish (possibly divine motivation)
– people helping paint and fix up the house next to church that I’ll be moving into later this month.
– 20 people, 40 suitcases, TONS of donations filling the basement at church as our two missions teams prepare to go to Haiti
– recalling God’s goodness in my life as I glance through old journals as I pack up my apartment.

And a few more in pictures from the week:

Words to describe 2011 along with our hopes for 2012 from the lock-in

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Reminders to SHINE!

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Pictures of my beautiful niece sent from my beautiful sister

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Bekah's Heart, Random

A New Advent Tradition

As Advent began a little over a month ago, I was trying to figure out a new tradition I could start to celebrate.  I talked with friends, read blogs, searched the internet, and brainstormed, yet so many of the ideas I found all centered around doing things with your family each day… with the people that live in the same space as you.  I was thankful for some ideas of things I could do long distance with family as well as the many opportunities I had this last month to join in with other families here to celebrate, but I wanted something special to celebrate and mark the journey of Advent. I wanted something that would keep me focused on what this season is really all about.

 

Somehow as I read about seed planting, Jesse Trees, shepherds bags, advent activity calendars, family devotions and more I realized that even if I was living alone, whatever my advent celebration ended up being, it was meant to be shared.  So here’s what I ended up with as my new personal advent tradition:

 

On the Saturday before Advent I sat down with my address book and made a list of friends that are now spread out all over the country … people I talk to often, people I never see, and people everywhere in between.  After I had a list of 29 names, I addressed a greeting card to each of them and placed them in one of my Christmas decorations designed to actually hold received greeting cards.

 

Each night before bed, I would pick out one card from the pile.  Sometimes the picking was random and other times something about that day reminded me of someone and so I would choose that person’s card for that day.  Then I would sit down and share.  Each card had at least two things described in it… a general update of how life is and a summary of where God took me on my Advent journey that day.

 

Some days were filled with exciting moments to share with my friend, while other days God took me through some difficult stuff on the journey toward the birth of his Son.

 

While I missed a few days here and there and it wasn’t always easy to make the time, I must say that this tradition is defintiely sticking around (and possibly making an appearance at Lent too)!  Here are a some of the reasons why:

  • It forced me to ask myself the question everyday: God what did you want me to learn in this day and did I learn it?  Where did you want me to go and did I go there?  What did you want me to do… did I do it?
  • I knew that each night I would have to share something about where God took me on my Advent Journey so I learned to keep my eyes open to him at work otherwise I knew it would be hard to have anything worth sharing if I didn’t keep my eyes open.
  • I got to connect with some friends that I haven’t talked to in a long time.
  • Everyone loves snail mail! 🙂
  • I love writing letters/cards and haven’t taken enough time to do it lately.
  • I would have never sent out 20+ Christmas cards this year if I just sat down and did it all at one time (at least not ones that had anything beyond my signature and a brief Christmas greeting).
  • I heard back from about half of the people and it gave me a chance to hear what’s going on in their worlds too.
  • I got to share the typical “catch up” details that everyone wants to know but the second part of each card forced me to go deeper than that and share about how life REALLY is… in that day.
  • My advent celebrations weren’t limited to myself and/or the people I see around here in NY… I got to invite people all over the country into at least one day of my advent celebrations.  Often, I was able to share what I was doing with people here in NY with the people I was mailing cards to outside of NY.  This means that the to the living nativity with Tracy, Jaime, and Addie; decorating sugar cookies with friends; and spending Christmas with the Whiteds all meant so much more as I relived them that night and shared them with friends in CO, IA, FL and beyond. 🙂
  • It helped keep my focus on what this season is all about and why Jesus came… which is what really matters anyway. 🙂

 

I would love to hear about any advent or Christmas traditions you all have!  Please share them in the comments.

Bekah's Heart, Internship Highlights

‘Tis Good, Lord, To Be Here

Today was a beautiful day.  I’m currently back at school in Nebraska for a Mid-Year Conference with all of the DCE interns from all over the world. These few days back on campus are hard to describe.  Most of us interns have used the word “weird” in that description more times than we probably can count.  It’s this interesting dynamic of loving this place but not really fitting in… at least not in the way we have in the past.  Our roles have shifted, and that’s okay.  In the midst of this awkward, indescribable, mid-way check point, it has been such a blessing to just see God presence everywhere I turn.  Here are just a few examples of where that was found today alone:

  •  A conversation with a beautiful woman with whom I’ve literally had one prior face to face conversation with before, yet somehow our hearts just know each other.  I don’t get it, but was so thankful for our time together this morning and God’s presence there.
  • Chapel.  I miss chapel.  What a wonderful REST was found in the very SIMPLE yet profound proclamation of the Gospel today as it was describe as a song, a melody that can, in a way, be the “background” music to our life.
  • Lunch (at Dragon Palace) with fellow interns, talking about anything and everything and nothing.
  • A chance to share with other DCE students our experiences and where we’ve seen God at work through our internships.
  • Being able to “pick up” friendships where they left off and just get straight to what really matters… to know and be known.  

As corny as it may sound, I really felt like the last verse of a hymn we sang in chapel today encapsulates this trip back to Concordia for me.

’Tis good, Lord, to be here.
Yet we may not remain;
But since Thou bidst us leave the mount,
Come with us to the plain.

It is so wonderful to be able to reflect and see all the many ways God has blessed my life through Concordia… to be able to come back and be overwhelmed in a good way… to realize the number of people through whom God has blessed me and made me who I am.  But now, as good as it is to be here, it’s obvious that this is not where I belong right now… and God comes with me to what’s next.

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Lord, ’tis truly good to be here… to behold Your beauty… to see You at work in my life and the lives of others… to hear and remember your gospel melody that accompanies my life.  And now, as I prepare to wrap this time here up, may You remind me of your promise to go with me and continue to open my heart and ears to that beautiful melody of Your love.  ‘Tis good Lord, to be Your child.  Thank You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.