Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Uncomfortable Zone

Let me preface this post with a background remark.
I have a fear of public speaking and or singing. It started when I was a freshman in high school. My bother had a band called Vintage Walk and they asked me to sing a song to take up some time. They were putting on a concert for the community to raise money for something or just for the heck of it... Don't really remember which one it was. I sang a song by The Cars. Every time I hear this song to date, I get sick to my stomach. I got up on stage and started to sing, but the voice that was coming out of my head was not my own... It was some strange, out of tune, chalkboard on nails type vibrations that I will never forget. after the train wreck occurred, I ran up to the stadium bathroom and lost my $1.50 hot dog... Needless to say, I never sang in public again. Just the thought of being on a stage, having everyone look at me causes self inflicted pits stains and nausea.
Enter God...
Two Sundays ago I was sitting in church, minding my own business, when God had the nerve to start speaking to me! I didn't ask Him to that Sunday, swear! Just because my life is changing doesn't mean I need him to start messing with my head yet! He knows about The Cars; He was there, I'm sure, and yet there was this voice or instinct (I can't really describe the phenomena of God speaking directly to you.) I knew that I had something to say. I knew I had a story to share that went along with the "You" series we were having at Vision, our church. I knew I had to speak at church and I was really quite ticked that God would ask me to do that! I ignored Him. I had to because the thought of people listening to what I had to say didn't make any sense in my head or stomach! It was inevitable though. God was going to have His way with me, because that is the lifestyle that I've consciously chosen to live. I told our speaker I had a message for Sunday and he was really excited to let me speak... Obviously.
After a week of preparation, fasting and people constantly praying over me, Sunday arrived. Surprisingly I was so calm right before the service started!
Enter Satan...
Everything that could've gone wrong right before I went up to speak did. Songs were played out of order, there were distractions in the audience, and the ice machine, our lead guitarist, being the accident prone person he is, didn't fail to make a scene as he found his seat... It was terrible... Until I let go.
I realized Sunday that When God asks you to do something, He doesn't make the request and then peace out! He was there the entire time! I can't really tell you the exact words that come out of my mouth (my self blacked out), but I know that God said what He needed to through me. God takes us out of out comfort zone and places us in an uncomfortable zone so we can focus on Him and not our fears. It sucks at first (I still sweated through my jacket Sunday, but kept down my Krispy Kreme) but the rewards are great! Unlike my vocal incident, I got a ton of positive feed back! God will never put you in a situation you can't handle! I hope it's the last time I have to speak in public, but I seriously doubt that's the last of it... (sigh... :/ )

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. -1 Corithians 10:13

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 2-Fighting Is For Losers

So, I got into a fight with my mom... Typical. I told her she was being used by the devil... Now, just as a pointer to secure your life expectancy and not cause a shorter life span, DON'T EVER TELL YOUR MOTHER SHE IS BEING USED BY THE DEVIL... It never turns out well... Honor your father and your mother, so that you MAY LIVE LONG in the land the Lord your God is giving you (Ex. 20:12). :) It's in the bible... God lays out that there is a possibility my mother might kill me if i keep it up! ;)
I'm kind of kidding.
We fight all the time; more than any of my other brothers and sisters. We are so much alike that it's really difficult to have conversations that don't end up in a rumble. Even though she is the woman that I most admire, it's hard to take her point of view into consideration. When she's right, she's right. When I'm right... she thinks she's right and vice versa. It's a vicious circle and throughout my life it has been a constant struggle.
When I was in middle school I hated my mother. Try not to think less of me. I was confused as a child. Remember? She embarrassed me in front of my friends... I mean, is there any worse sin than that as a tweenager? (Um... No.) Looking back on it, I have no idea why I didn't like her. As I grew, I got some perspective about life in general and the importance of having a parent as an ally.
When my parents decided to get a divorce after 23 years of marriage, Mom and I decided to be on the same side and I let the indiscretions of Mom being a mom go. I didn't mean to choose a side and I shouldn't have, but I did. Divorce is an ugly beast and it puts a damper on relationships between children and their parents. It's hard to recover from for everyone involved in the turmoil. He said, she said is real! Parents don't want their children to be in the middle of it, but it's a family issue and the entire family is drug through the mud. Mom did admirable in her fight to the finish of that marriage. She was always there for me when I felt betrayed and abandoned, with constant reminders that she loved me and I was her "favorite Bekah..." (Yes, I know that's cheating, but it was comforting.) She always had my best interest, as well as the best interest of her other "favorites" in her heart. I say it all the time: my mother is a saint among men.
Because of our bond, our fights now are not life threatening. They suck, don't get me wrong, but at the end of it my world isn't shattered. Recently, I have been using prayer to help me through them. "Please God, hold my tongue and don't let me say that thing that I know will hurt her the most (aka the devil comment)."
Crap... I'm still a work in progress OBVIOUSLY...
Mom, I'm sorry. I love you. Let's not fight anymore... Fighting is for losers... :)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.-1 Corinthians 13:4-5.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Day 1- My Tree/My Mission

A little bit about myself...
Some days I wake up and I feel so great about life. I know that I have a God that loves me, I have great friends, an AMAZING family, and an awesome support system. Other days, I wake up and need to be reminded of the previously mentioned things. I'm not perfect and no one should really listen to my "words of wisdom," but I do have a story. And in this story of mine are words of humiliation, words of embarrassment, but hopefully words of encouragement. Beth Fox said it best, "God doesn't waste any pain." So here is my pain.
When I was young I had this tree that I would "run away" to; it wasn't far from my home, obviously... I was 11. It had these ginormous arms that that came to a perfect valley near the trunk where I could sit, sleep, read, laugh, think, and cry. I had two sisters and four brothers... I cried A LOT. "Booshwa Bekah" (I'm not even sure if that is how you spell it, but phonetically that should work) or "Big Nose Bekah." These names haunt me to this day. I'll always be a little self conscious about my looks because of the teasing and the ridicule that ensued when I was a child. When the teasing got to be too much I would run. No one missed me. Our house was so huge it didn't really matter if anyone had left or not. I remember screaming at God. I would ask him every day why no one loved me, why I wasn't pretty life my sisters, or athletic and smart like my brothers. I couldn't understand why I was the only child out of 7 that got picked on or teased. I was in my own little world. Can anyone say, 'middle child syndrome?!'
My family loved me. They would bend over backwards to help me. It has taken 23 very difficult years of life to learn that. When I was focused on me, so were they. Brothers tease sisters. It's a part of life. Sister's steal each other's clothes and ruin them and lie about it. (Ask my oldest about her favorite khaki skirt. I'll bet my life savings she remembers it magically disappearing.) It's what we do. It doesn't make the love of family go away, it makes us strong and it gives us really great stories to laugh about when we are older.
In my tree, I would cry until it got dark and I would make pacts with God. "God if you make me pretty, I'll do whatever you want." "God if you change this or that part of my life, I promise I'll be your servant." God is so much smarter than I am. He knew I wanted to change my life to fit a lifestyle I could be comfortable with. When I look back (hind sight is 20/20) all I see is me begging and God quietly standing by while I threw a temper tantrum/pity party. He was ever present in my time time of trouble but I was too focused on myself to see him. This would be something that followed me in to my adulthood. When I needed something from God (and I was needy let me tell you) I would bargain for it.
It never worked.
Instead of making me pretty or smart or athletic, God gave me a heart for people. Not my idea of a great time, but it's His gift and I'm taking it whole heartedly. I feel like God is directing me to the Mission Field. I'm not 100% sure where that is going to take me, but I do know that I will be heading back to Honduras for the month of June to see if that is the direction I'm supposed to be traveling. For the record, I'm leaving my childhood insecurities behind me.
I still have a tree today, metaphorically speaking. When I get down or depressed or self conscious, I crawl into those ginormous arms that wrap around me and remind me that He is in control, He made me the way I am, He has a purpose for my life, and He will always be there in my ever present trouble. These are reminders that I will take with me to the field.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.-Ephesians 4-29-32