Poetry/Songs

Perspective

5:01am

Sitting at the gate at the Wichita airport.

 

 

10 feet away

A uniformed man holds back tears

As his parents say “goodbye”

Hopefully not for the last time

They leave

Embraced in each others’ arms

He fidgets .

Alone

Adjusting his uniform

Glancing around nervously

Trying to be strong

 

 

Seconds later

One more comes around the corner

This one with a wife

Her shoulders already shaking with grief

57 minutes till our flight departs

57 minutes of agony

Followed by months, maybe more

Of separation

 

 

And my biggest concern on this snowy day is whether or not I’ll make it to Buffalo or will have to work from Wichita, around my family, in a safe, warm house, for an extra day or so.

 

 

Perspective.

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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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.

Bekah's Heart

Content to Linger

As I opened my Facebook page this afternoon, the first day of 2011, my eyes fell upon these words in the status of a friend:

We’re in no hurry, God. We’re content to linger in the path sign-posted with your decisions. Who you are and what you’ve done are all we’ll ever want. – Isaiah 26

I was struck by these words and began to wonder how many of us could actually say this is true about our lives… that we’re not in a hurry?… that God is all we’ll ever want?  Yet… this is the beautiful life God desires for us.

 

I assumed this was from the Message paraphrase of the Bible and searched quick on the internet to find out for sure.  When I did, I stumbled upon a blog post by a man named David Norman in which he said the following about this verse:

 

Isaiah spoke of a time when the people of God would find complete rest and peace and hope in God. He longed for the day when God would be enough for them. …  I wonder, sometimes, if I am obedient to the extent that I am "content to linger" where God places me. I often find myself pushing and stretching in order to accomplish these big dreams God has placed within me. Very rarely do I ever find myself in an area of rest where I am not moving toward something.

 

I’m guessing many of us (and definitely myself) can associate with David Norman in the fact that we’re always focused on the next thing.  Lately I’ve been learning a lot about the beauty of just letting something be.  Instead of just trying to plan and fix and change everything around me… I’m beginning to see what God means when he says that he want to change ME.

 

So, as I start a new year, I resolve to not have a list of resolutions to try to keep, goals to attempt to meet, or plans to fix what I might perceive as broken in my life.  Instead, God, this is what I want to be…

 

content to linger.

okay with standing still… with standing in pain… with standing in joy… with standing where you take me.

comfortable with simply being and refraining from trying and striving and pushing forward.

at ease with the path before me.

satisfied with letting You be more than enough for me.

resting in who You are and have made me to be. 

 

And in the process, this coming year will be blessed in greater ways than I could ever imagine with my own resolutions, goals, and plans.  This year… this day… this moment, Lord, teach me a way of life in which I’m truly able to say:

“I’m in no hurry, God.  I’m content to linger in the path You have for me.  Who You are and what You’ve done is all I ever want.”

Devotional

One Thing

You probably know the story pretty well.  Jesus shows up to his friends’ house for a visit.  Martha runs off and begins preparing the meal in the kitchen.  Mary goes and listens to Jesus.  Martha gets mad, and starts complaining to Jesus.  Instead of agreeing, Jesus says, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better…” 

 

 

I think I’ve probably heard this story over a hundred times.  That’s not to mention times it’s come up in conversations such as, “Well, there goes ‘Martha’ again.”  Or, “I sure do wish I could be like Mary more and just sit at Jesus’ feet.”

 

 

So when I began to read this story this morning I almost just skimmed right though it thinking, “Been there, read that, keep on going.”  But something caught my attention.  A four word phrase:

one thing is needed”

 

 

“What is that one thing?” I wondered.

Well, Jesus of course. 

 

 

And I, again, went back to thinking about the many lessons/sermons I’ve heard, and books I’ve read talking about how we just need to sit at Jesus’ feet.

 

 

But today, I had a different train of thought with this story.  Go with me here for a minute.  So, it’s kind of obvious that the “one thing” is Jesus right.  So he’s saying, “I am the only thing you need.” 

 

 

I thought about it maybe as an invitation to Mary almost of saying, “Okay Mary, I’m all that’s needed to get everything done.  So, right come sit with me in the living room for a while so we can attend to what needs to happen here.  Then, when we’re done here, I’ll still the be the “One Thing” needed to help get everything done in the kitchen.  And then, when we finish there, the beds need to be made up, right.  Yes, even in making the beds, I’ll be the “One Thing” needed there as well.  Just follow me.  I’m all that’s needed and I’ll show you how you can help me accomplish the tasks before us.”

 

 

Yes, it seems that there are definitely good lessons to be learned about simply sitting at Jesus’ feet instead of being “worried” and “upset” about the many things to be done.  But maybe, just maybe, if we just realized that in the midst of those “many things,”  Jesus was more than enough, we wouldn’t be so worried and upset anyway. 

 

 

So as we head towards Christmas next week and the “many things” start to become “TOO many things” remember to pause and turn to the “One” who is more than enough for all our “things.”  Ask him what the next step is in today… and then the next… and then the next … and then the next.  And soon, we realize that the many things have been accomplished as we just focused on the One Thing most needed.

 

 

Only One thing is needed. 

Choose what is better. 

It will not be taken from you.

 

 

(I sure hope you were able to follow my thought process there.)

Bekah's Heart, Devotional

Questions

Questions.  They surround us everyday. Some arise over trivial things that really don’t matter much.  Others pound at the door of our hearts begging for answers. 

 

Questions like “What now?” when one loses his job. 

Questions like “How long?” when a loved one hears that dreaded “C” word, “Cancer”. 

Questions like “WHY?!?” when a loved one is taken from this earth “too soon.”

 

Though, as much as we desperately want answers, maybe we’re not supposed to get them…at least not now.  In a conversation today, Sue she shared with me this quote by Rainer Maria Rilke:

"Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer"

 

I think maybe Jesus was trying to tell us something similar when he spoke these words:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life…  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  … So do not worry… but seek first His kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of it’s own.”

 

Each day will have it’s trouble.

Each day will have its questions.

Maybe instead of pounding at heaven’s door

demanding answers,

we can simply

come,

rest in our Savior’s embrace,

and let him quiet us with His love.

 

 

My dear child, I know you have questions… questions that your heart longs to have answered.  In my time and in my way, I will reveal those things.  But for now, just live.  Don’t beat yourself to death trying to find all the answers … just live in me.  Live in my love.  Live in my GRACE.  And I will keep giving you more grace…. and more grace… and more grace. …  and one day, you will have lived yourself into the answers and will forever live in a place with no more questions.  I love you, My child.  Come.  Let Me quiet you with My love.

31 Days of Hope

Hope {Day 26} – Hope When You Just Don’t Understand

Why him?
Why her?
Why me? 
Why now?
I just don’t get it, God!
I don’t understand

 

I’m sure we’ve all had moments where we just desperately LONG to understand God’s reasoning behind a situation.  I know I have.  Like when a kid in my youth group back home was killed in a car accident 3 years ago this month. Or when my little buddy, Nicholas died of cancer at only 9 years old.  I ask for understanding when I see a friend struggling with more burdens than anyone should ever have to bear or watch as another friend gets the news that yet another surgery is in the future.

 

We long for understanding.  This makes me think of a story I once read.  The author had just adopted two boys from Africa and was trying to adopt a little boy named Sergei, an orphan from Belarus (below Russia). The little boy got to come for a five-week visit but then had to go back to the orphanage to wait for paperwork to go through.

Here’s the story from there:

"At the writing of this book, the process had already taken more than a year, and we still don’t have him home. It has been a hard year of wanting and waiting, feeling hopeful and at the same time quite helpless. We’ve only been able to get a couple of packages to him, a few e-mails and one phone call.

 

When we were working on arranging the phone call with Sergei, I asked some of the officials to please provide an interpreter… I wanted Sergei to know that the adoption was being delayed not by us but by the red tape of two very different governments. When no interpreter was available, my heart sank. So much time had passed since Sergei had communicated in English with us, I doubted he would remember enough to make the conversation meaningful.

The lady helping to arrange the call, one of the few Christians involved on their end, knew I was disappointed with the news. So the day before the call was to take place, she sent me an e-mail to encourage me: "There will be no interpreter as nobody knows English as Ryasno. But you will tell him that you love him, and that he will understand."

 

The Belarussian lady’s comment reminds me so much of what God continues to teach me about trusting Him. When I grieve over the bummer things in life and cry out to God, I can imagine God instructing the Holy Spirit to say something similar to me. … "There is no way to interpret this event in a way she can comprehend, but tell her that I love her, and THAT she will understand.

Isn’t God amazing? Yes indeed, God is good. Even when I can’t understand His timing and His ways, I do understand his love, and that IS enough!"

 

It is my prayer that in those times that you "just can’t understand" that you will find hope as God says to your heart:

"There is no way to explain to you what is going on, why it is happening, or when you will see any change, but know this…
I LOVE YOU."

31 Days of Hope

Hope {Day 20} – Long Term Hope

This morning, as I read in Luke, I came upon this story:

On a Sabbath, Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years.  She was bent over and could not straighten up at all.  When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.”  Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

 

The story goes on, as typical for these kinds of stories, with the synagogue rulers indignant and ticked off that Jesus would heal on the Sabbath.  And then, of course, Jesus rebukes them basically saying, “you care more for your animals than you do for the needs of a person.”

Two main things caught my attention with this passage.  First of all, it was a Sabbath and Jesus always seemed to be doing things that the Pharisees didn’t like on the Sabbath.  But more, so this phrase caught my eye… and my heart:

 

EIGHTEEN YEARS.

This woman, had probably lost all hope of being healed.  Seriously, eighteen years… that’s a long time.  And going back to the other thing that caught my attention… this was a Sabbath… even if this woman knew who Jesus was and had any hope that maybe healing could be provided, she probably would have never thought that healing would come today of all days… it was a Sabbath.  I imagine, any hope that was there, was very small.  Yet, I do believe there was hope.

If there was no hope, then why was this woman who had suffered from an evil spirit for so long even AT the synagogue that day?  In my opinion, she had long-term hope.  Maybe, JUST MAYBE, SOMEDAY I will be healed. 

As I think about this story, I think about people I know and love and care about who have been suffering for a long time.  Whether the struggle is physical, spiritual, or emotional, as each day passes without relief, hope slowly fades.  “It’s already been so long,”  their minds protest.  “How could healing EVER come now?” 

Yet, God doesn’t call us to understand.. he calls us to trust him.  Our healing may not come today.  Our healing may not come tomorrow or next year, or even in this life time.  But even if it doesn’t, we continue to ask God to give us what we need to remain faithful and trust.  We ask God to help us to come into his presence, like this woman did, time and time again, knowing that in your time and in your way, you will call us forward and say, “My son… My daughter… you are set free from your infirmity.” 

God, please give us hope for today… and tomorrow…. and the next day… and the next day… and the next day… until THAT day:

 

“Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat upon them,
nor any scorching head.
For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;
he will lead them to springs of living water.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. (Rev. 7:16-17)