Category Archives: c. Wednesday’s Wisdom from the Word

Wednesday’s Wisdom from the Word: Taste and see

Somewhere along the line, we seem to have developed a nightly dinner tradition.  When the boys come to the table, they either give a little cheer for what they see, or they voice their disapproval.  Sometimes they are very politically correct about it.  “Oh, thanks for making the chicken, but do you mind though if I have some carrots instead of the green beans.”  Other times it’s downright rude and disrespectful, “Aww man, green beans.  I hate green beans.”  “Yuck, I’m not eating them.”

Although I love it when they voice their approval, it drives me crazy when they voice a dislike.  Why?  Because in addition to the rudeness and lack of respect, they haven’t even tried it.  All they did was look at it and decide they weren’t going to like it.  I’m not usually one of those sit at the table until you clear your plate moms.  (Although, my youngest did fall asleep at the table one night that I decided to fight the green bean battle.)  But, I do expect everyone to taste everything.  I’ve often said, “Tonight might be the night you realize you like it.”  I’ve also given many speeches about how eating is not always about the flavor.  We eat because our bodies need nutrition.  As I go on and on, I’m sure they hear, “Blah, blah, blah.”

Anyway, last night they cheered for the Biggest Loser Crispy Baked Chicken and corn on the cob.  But Monday night, they weren’t too thrilled about the vegetarian chili.  My oldest, though, did a good job of actually tasting it without complaint.  (He’s usually the worst offender.)  He didn’t necessarily like it, but he did eat some.  Tonight I’m expecting some complaints about the green beans I’m serving with chicken and quinoa.

So why the talk about dinner on a post labeled “Wednesday’s Wisdom from the Word”?  Well, I started in January with a plan to read the Bible chronologically in a year.  It required a couple of chapters a day.  I was doing really well.  But early in the Bible, there’s some tough books to read, and I’ve read them before, and I really didn’t enjoy reading them, so I started skipping my reading.  Recently it dawned on me that I was doing what my boys do at dinner.  “Aww man, Leviticus, I don’t like Leviticus.”  “I hate Numbers, I’m not reading that!”

But recently, I felt the stirring in my heart to get back to it.  So I’ve been reading again. But since I’m so far behind, I’m using my “Read the Bible in 90 days” reading plan until I get back on track.  That plan requires reading 10-20 chapters a day.  Since I’m on March 8th on the chronological plan, I should be back on track in about 2 weeks.

So the other day I read the dreaded Leviticus.  And you know what?  I actually enjoyed it. Some verses stuck out to me that never did before, and I found myself journaling about them.  The same thing is happening in Numbers.  I feel like God might be wearing the same satisfied smirk that I wear when my boys actually taste dinner and realize that they like it.

Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the Lord is Good.”  Well, God, I tasted Leviticus and Numbers again, and I’ve seen, once again, that you are Good.

The actual verse is not necessarily about reading Leviticus, but I’ve learned that one of the ways I can “taste” God is through His word.  And usually the more that I read it, the more that I want to read it.  And soon I find myself “Hunger(ing) and thirst(ing) after righteousness.” (Matthew 5:6)  I begin to desire to do what is right, to spend more time talking to God, to praise God, to trust God in more areas, to be comforted by God in my circumstances.  I find myself falling more and more in love with Him as I’m enveloped in His love and grace.

 Psalm 34:1 I will extol the LORD at all times; 
   his praise will always be on my lips. 
2 I will glory in the LORD; 
   let the afflicted hear and rejoice. 
3 Glorify the LORD with me; 
   let us exalt his name together.

 4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me; 
   he delivered me from all my fears. 
5 Those who look to him are radiant; 
   their faces are never covered with shame. 
6 This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; 
   he saved him out of all his troubles. 
7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, 
   and he delivers them.

 8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; 
   blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. 
9 Fear the LORD, you his holy people, 
   for those who fear him lack nothing. 
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry, 
   but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. 
11 Come, my children, listen to me; 
   I will teach you the fear of the LORD. 
12 Whoever of you loves life 
   and desires to see many good days, 
13 keep your tongue from evil 
   and your lips from telling lies. 
14 Turn from evil and do good; 
   seek peace and pursue it.

 15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, 
   and his ears are attentive to their cry; 
16 but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil, 
   to blot out their name from the earth.

 17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; 
   he delivers them from all their troubles. 
18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted 
   and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

 19 The righteous person may have many troubles, 
   but the LORD delivers him from them all; 
20 he protects all his bones, 
   not one of them will be broken.

 21 Evil will slay the wicked; 
   the foes of the righteous will be condemned. 
22 The LORD will rescue his servants; 
   no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned. 

Have you tasted and seen that the Lord is good?  Or are you like my boys, who have decided without tasting that you won’t like Him?  Maybe today should be the day that you Taste…

And perhaps tonight will be the night that my boys realize they  like green beans…  (A mom can hope, right?)


Wednesday’s Wisdom from the Word (and a five-year-old)

This morning my 5-year-old said something so biblically correct and so very challenging that it hit me to the core.  All day long, I’ve been thinking about it.   God, is this you speaking through my baby?

(That’s me and my baby when he was almost 2 and when he just turned 5… isn’t he the cutest thing ever???)

It all started with a very normal, “I love you” spoken from me to my son.  Normally he’d respond back “I love you” or “I love you more” or “I love you infinity,” and then perhaps we’d go back and forth insisting that we love the other more than they love us.  But that didn’t happen this morning.

Instead, he replied, “I know, but you need to love God more than you love me.”

Wow… We’ve talked to the boys about how much God loves us, and how we need to love God above everything.  We’ve talked to the boys about God being “#1” and then of course since they are boys and everything’s a competition, they usually go on rating everyone else, “Mommy’s #2” sometimes “Daddy’s #2” brothers are usually #3 and #4.  They don’t leave out the cat, “Shmoopy’s #5” – although sometimes she rates above a sibling.  Anyway, we’ve had conversations about this, so really my youngest’s reply shouldn’t have surprised me so much.  But it did…

Because even though I know he is correct, I wonder do I love God more than I love my sons?  Is that really possible?  What exactly does that mean?  As I was dwelling on this today, 2 verses kept coming to mind:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)

“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37)

Now, I know God isn’t saying in Matthew 10:37, “Don’t love your father, mother, son and daughter.”  I think the key words are “more” and “all”.  If we are giving God all of our heart, through prayer, through Bible reading, through obedience, then the love for our children will naturally flow.  But if our first priority is our children, then we may not have time for God.  How often have I said, “I’m too tired to read the Bible” or “I’m too tired to pray” and then don’t?  You know the funny thing is sometimes I’m too tired to get my boys dinner or to tuck them into bed or to wake up and get them off to school.  But I do, everyday… they might have cereal for dinner, but everyday they get it, regardless of how tired I am.  Why?  Because I love them and I know they need to eat.  

So why don’t I read the Bible everyday and pray, no matter how tired I am?  If I truly loved God, wouldn’t I?  Oh God, thank you for loving me, even when I haven’t loved you.  Help me to love you more and more!

Have you ever been on a plane where those oxygen masks have had to come down?  I haven’t.  But I’ve heard the instructions on what to do if it happens.  Parents are instructed to put their own mask on first before putting their child’s mask on.  Why?  Wouldn’t every parent’s instinct be to put their child’s mask on first?  But if the parent is not breathing in the oxygen, he or she may black out before getting the mask securely on their child.  After the parent gets his or her mask on, then he can take care of his child.

If Jesus is the “air we breathe” then it is important for us to put our oxygen masks on first and breathe in the word everyday, and love Jesus fully.  In doing so, we will be able to love our children and take care of them.  (This illustration is not mine, but one I heard somewhere before.)  

In loving God first, we will ultimately be loving our children better.

♥Becki, imperfect Christ Follower

Wednesday’s Wisdom from the Word: Pressing On

I’m overweight, my house is messy, I yell at my kids, I watch too much TV, spend too much time on the computer and too little time in the Bible.  I don’t exercise enough, I let folded laundry sit in the basket for days, my kids play  a lot of video games, I don’t stick to budgets, I pay bills late.  I’ve lied, gossiped, cheated.

I’m imperfect!

I’m learning to embrace my imperfection but not settle for it.  I know this side of Heaven, I will never be perfect.  However I refuse to remain complacent in my imperfection and choose to press on to be the mom, wife, friend, woman, Christ follower God created me to be.

Those are the words that I first typed when I decided to write a blog.  You can always find them on the link labeled “Press On?” at the top of the page.  I’ve been dwelling on them a lot lately.  I want to make sure that as I share my imperfections here with you, that I am clear about 2 things.

1. It is perfectly healthy to understand our imperfections, to confess our sins.  But it is not OK to let them define us.  It is not OK to just write things off as who we are.  We can’t just say, “When I get angry I yell at my kids.”  Instead we can admit that sometimes we yell at our kids, but then we need to press on to change our behavior.  For me, it means coming before Christ and admitting that without Him, I’m a mess.  That I need to live in His power to be patient and kind and gentle with my children.  That I need to live in His power to have self-control with my eating and how I spend my time.  That I need to live in His power to love that person who is being a real jerk to me.  That I need to live in His power to trust Him and be full of peace instead of worry and anxiety.


2.  On this side of eternity, I will remain imperfect… no matter how much I press on.  But the beautiful,  fantastic, wonderful, amazing truth is that I live as a forgiven daughter of God.  When I confess my sins (yes, most of my imperfections are sins) to God, “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)  I don’t need to dwell on my sin.  I don’t need to beat myself up for my sin.  I need to confess them, accept God’s forgiveness.  Forgive myself.  And press on, just as the Apostle Paul did.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4: 12-14)

I invite you to press on together with me.  I’ve been, and I’ll continue to share thoughts and stories from my journey and look forward to hearing about yours.

♥Becki (imperfect wife of an imperfect man, imperfect mom of 3 imperfect boys, forgiven daughter of a perfect God.)

“Not that I already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” (Philippians 3:12)

Wednesday’s Wisdom from the Word: Loving when it’s hard

“What on earth was that?”  I thought to myself as I hung up the phone.  I had just gotten an earful about how I’ve wronged the caller.  As she went on and on, I tried to remain calm and to not say anything I would regret.  I tried to look at the situation critically and see what I needed to apologize for.  But, here’s the thing… I don’t think I was wrong, and she obviously does.  So how do I bring the situation to reconciliation?

So here’s what I did… I told her I was sorry that it upset her so much.  I told her that my intention was never for her to get hurt.  I told her that to be honest, I don’t know how I would have handled the situation differently, but if I was wrong, I am truly sorry.  But I don’t think it was good enough for her.  And to be honest, I’m not sure if completely agreeing with her, accepting full responsiblity, and apologizing would have been enough.  She was angry and wanted me to know the full extent of her anger.

So now I replay over and over the conversation and the initial situation that caused her anger.  And I pray, “God, show me how to handle this.  Show me where I’m wrong.  Show me if I need to accept responsiblity and apologize more.”  To be honest when I first started praying, it was out of a prideful heart that really didn’t think there was anything for God to show me.  But the more I prayed, the more I was open to the possibility that I may have been in the wrong.  Yet, as I pray and replay the scenario, I still don’t see my guilt.

So now I’m praying that God would soften her heart.  That her anger would subside, and she would be able to look at the situation critically and rationally.  And more importantly I’m praying for my heart…

That I would not become angry and bitter and spiteful towards her.  That I would not gossip about her.  That I would not think more highly of myself than I ought.  That I would rest in God’s love and assurance and be confident that even though people will fail me, God will not.  That I would still be able to love this woman and show her God’s love.

Because my imperfect, human heart wants to get all angry and yell back and tell everyone I come in contact with about the situation and wish horrible things on her…

But to what end?  It serves no purpose.  And Christ has called me to more.  Here’s what God said through the Apostle John in 1 John 4: 7-21:

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first.

If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.

So I will battle my imperfect human desires and pray for Jesus to fill me with love and show me how to love.  Hopefully I’ll learn quickly and this “lesson” will be finished soon!

Do you struggle loving someone?  How do you love those “unloveables” that God has put in your life?

Pressing on with you…



Wednesday’s Wisdom from the Word: Swim suits & church

My husband and my 11-year-old will both be wearing swim suits to church on Sunday.  No, we aren’t going swimming at the Y after church.  They actually need the suits for church.  No, they aren’t in some cool skit.  But, they will be getting in a pool, right there in the middle of church.  I’m sure some of you reading this know exactly where I’m going with this.  But I’m sure others are totally confused.

My husband, Jeff will be baptizing our oldest son, J on Sunday.  Someone said to me, “I don’t understand what that means.  Is it a confirmation?  It it a communion? Wasn’t he baptized as a baby?”  So I thought I’d use today’s post to explain why our son is choosing to be baptized.

My husband and I, and our church practice what is called a believer’s baptism instead of infant baptism.  What that means is that the individual is responding to their decision to follow Christ instead of the parents making that decision for them.  When all of our sons were born, we presented them to the church in what is called a baby dedication.  In this ceremony we, as their parents, vowed before the church and God that we would raise our children in the church and teach them about God.  We were recognizing that our children belonged to God and He had entrusted them into our care.  But ultimately the decision whether our children decide to accept Jesus as their savior and to make Him Lord of their life by loving, honoring, obeying, trusting, and following Jesus lies with them, not us.

We are extremely excited that J has made that decision.   J wants “to be closer to God” and knows that by being baptized he is demonstrating this desire.

So what will happen on Sunday?  Jeff and J will get into the pool at church.  J will confess that Jesus is God, died for him, and that he desires to follow Jesus.  Jeff will physically support J as he goes backwards fully immersed into the water.  Then, Jeff will bring him back to a standing position.  Everyone will probably clap and of course I’ll probably be crying.

Why do we do it this way instead of just sprinkling water on his head?  Because that’s how they did it in the Bible times.  Several places in the Bible, baptisms are described and they are all full body immersion, usually in a river.

One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove. (Mark 1: 9-10, emphasis mine)

The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.   As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?”  And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.  (Acts 8:34-39, emphasis mine)

We believe that entering the water is representative of Jesus dying for our sins and being buried in the tomb and that rising out of the water is representative of Jesus rising from death.

J is 11 and has decided to be baptized, not because that is the age you get baptized, but because he wants to follow Jesus.  There is not a specific age for a believer’s baptism, because there is not a specific age that people make the decision to follow Jesus.  Jeff was baptized at 14, I was 25ish.  I’m sure on Sunday there will be men, women, and children of all ages being baptized and I can’t wait!  I’ll probably right more about it next week and post pictures!

 ♥Becki, proud mama!

Wednesday’s Wisdom from the Word: Because I said so

“Because I’m the mom (or dad), that’s why.”   “Because I said so.”

If you are a parent, chances are you’ve said this, or wanted to say this.  But it seems lately in our society, that is frowned upon.  I’ve heard the reasons:  it doesn’t allow your kids to think for themselves, how will they learn to make good choices when you aren’t there, it doesn’t value your kids’ thoughts and opinions, it’s not respectful towards your kids, your kids will likely rebel when they get older.

I am not going to dispute the validity of those reasons.  But, I’ll admit that I am a “Because I’m the mom” or “Because I said so” mom.  When I give my kids directions, I expect them to follow without me having to explain why.  I teach them that they are to obey immediately and then they can approach me out of curiosity, not defiance, and ask why they had to do so and so or couldn’t do so and so.  And I will explain.  Sometimes they come to a point of understanding, and sometimes they do not.  Sometimes, our conversation will make me realize I was a little too rigid and I will admit to that.  Sometimes it will make me change my mind for next time.

I have taught my kids the verse, “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”  I have explained to them that I will have to stand before God and be held accountable for how I have raised them.  Therefore they can trust me.  I have apologized to them when I was wrong – so they do know that I’m not perfect.  But still, I expect them to obey me.  I have taught them to obey teachers and other adults in authority.  (The one exception being if they are ever asked to go against God – to lie, cheat, steal, hurt someone…)

Society may tell me I’m wrong for having this attitude, but reading through the Bible encourages me to continue.  My pastor has encourage our church to commit to reading through the Bible in a year.  For those of us who have been faithful, we are in Leviticus (I’m still in Exodus… but am trying to catch up!)  One of our youth pastors posted this on his Facebook page:

“I am the Lord your God.” In the book of Leviticus God says this statement 19x for the reason why the Israelites should listen and obey Him. Is that enough said for us to listen, follow, obey, trust, and love Him?”

So I jumped ahead to Leviticus – a very hard book to read filled with laws upon laws upon laws.  God didn’t give reasons for the laws.  (Interestingly enough, when scholars have studied the laws, they found that they make a tremendous amount of sense in terms of keeping a society healthy and just.  But God didn’t go into those explanations.)  His reason for the Israelites to obey was, “I am the Lord your God.”  Sounds a lot like “Because I said so.”

I’ll be honest, there is a lot in the Bible that I don’t understand why it’s that way, or I think I would have chosen to do differently if I was God, but I’m not God.  And I need to listen, follow, obey, trust and love Him through it despite my lack of understanding.  Because I believe God is who He says He is, and I believe that God loves me and I love God.

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”  (John 14:15)  One of the ways we can demonstrate our love to God is by obeying Him.  A friend pointed out that she started looking at the 10 commandments not as a list of rules, but as a list of how we behave because of our love to God.  If I love God, I will not have any other God before him.  If I love God, I will not misuse the name of God.  If I love God, I will not commit adultery.  If I love God, I will not steal.  If I love God, I will not lie.  If I love God, I will not covet my neighbor’s ____.  If I love God, I will honor my father and mother.

Just as I display my love to God by obeying him, I believe that my children demonstrate their love to me when they obey me.  So I will continue with my “Because I’m the mom” or “Because I said so” parenting.  And I will continue to expect them to listen, follow, trust, obey and love me.

♥Becki, the mom

By the way, I have taught my kids that they are not to blindly obey peers, that their peers are not in authority over them.  They should always question what peers ask them to do.

Wednesday’s Wisdom from the Word: What I really want

“I often trade what I really want for what I want right now.”  A friend commented recently and I find myself thinking about it often.

What I want right now is a double chocolate donut… but what I really want is to lose weight.

What I want right now is to read my current fiction book of choice… but what I really want is to read through the Bible in a year.

What I want right now is spend time on Facebook and Pinterest instead of cleaning… but what I really want is a clean home.

What I want right now is to go out to dinner instead of planning and cooking a meal… but what I really want is to feed my family healthy meals that cost less than $10 – so we can be healthy and stick to a budget.

What I want right now is to put on jammies and stay home instead of going out with friends… but what I really want is to strengthen friendships.

What I want right now is to go walk around target instead of going for a run… but what I really want is a healthy, strong body.

I could go on and on.  Did anything come to your mind?  I think occasionally it’s OK to choose what we want right now over what we really want.  But, if occasionally becomes often, then we will never get what we really want.  I fear I can relate to my friend’s comment more than I’d like to.  “I often trade what I really want for what I want right now.”

Recently as I was reading in Exodus, I thought how the Israelites had this attitude too.  They were in bondage to Egypt.  They were slaves forced into hard labor.  They were forced to kill their first born sons.   They were not allowed to worship God properly.  But God rescued them.  You know the story… He sent his plagues on Egypt and eventually Pharaoh let the Israelites leave.  Pharaoh then changed his mind and chased after them.  God parted the Red Sea and allowed the Israelites to go through, but when the Egyptians tried to follow, God had the water cover over them.  God rescued the Israelites and promised to deliver them to a land flowing with milk and honey.

But first God took the Israelites into the desert.  There, one month after God’s miraculous display of power and deliverance of the Israelites, they began to complain and longed for Egypt, “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted.  But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve to death.” (Exodus 16:3)  They were ready to trade what they really wanted – freedom from Egyptians, freedom to worship God, living in the promised land for what they wanted right now – food.  God heard their grumbling and fed them manna and quail everyday.

Not long later, God was confirming his covenant with the Israelites.  God said, “If you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the earth: for all the earth belongs to me.  And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.”  (Exodus 19:5)  The Israelites responded that they will do everything the Lord commanded including “You must not have any other Gods but me.  You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.  You must no bow down to them or worship them.” (The first and second commandments found in Exodus 20:3-5).  They agreed.  They want to be His special people.  But then God brought Moses up to a mountain for 40 days.  “When the people saw how long it was taking Moses to come back down the mountain, they gathered around Aaron. ‘Come on,’ they said, ‘make us some gods who can lead us.  We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt,’  … Then Aaron took the gold, melted it down and molded it into the shape of a calf.  When the people saw it, they exclaimed, ‘O Israel, these are the gods who brought you out of the land of Egypt.'” (Exodus 32: 1, 3-4)  The Israelites really wanted to be God’s chosen people, but their impatience to wait 40 days for Moses to return with God’s word caused them to trade what they really wanted for what they wanted right now – a god, any god.  And so they made their own.

I don’t want to be like the Israelites… but I’m afraid I have been.

Christ was not.  When he was hungry in the desert (“For 40 days and 40 nights he fasted and became very hungry” Matthew 4:2), he did not give into Satan’s temptation for food.  Christ did not choose what he may have wanted – to feed his hunger over what He really wanted  – to come to earth to live a perfect life honoring God, to suffer and die and rise again to save his people.  So I press on to be more like Christ… not trading what I really want for what I want right now.

Therefore, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.  And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

I have not achieved it (perfection), but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus is calling us. (Philippians 3:13)


Wednesday’s Wisdom from the Word: No words needed

Twelve years ago, I was pregnant with my first child.  From the beginning, the pregnancy was not a normal one.  I thought I was having my menstrual cycle.  But it seemed to go on too long.  I mentioned it and the fact that I was extremely tired to my mom, and she suggested that I might be pregnant.  I doubted it, but took one of those tests, and as usual Mom was right.  I wanted to be excited, but I didn’t think the bleeding was normal, so I called a doctor.  The doctor had me come in for an exam and an ultrasound.  He suggested that I go on bed rest because of the bleeding but then gave me all the normal “first visit” papers that included pamphlets for the hospital, prenatal classes, etc.  In my mind, after the ultrasound and the fact that the doctor gave me all the information about preparing for the delivery and the delivery, I assumed that everything would be fine.  I allowed myself to get excited and start dreaming about life as a mom.

But it wasn’t fine.  At my next appointment, the ultrasound showed that the baby had stopped developing and that I would miscarry.  Not thinking about the fact that she was talking in front of the patient, the tech said, “I knew from the last ultrasound that something wasn’t right.”  Well, gee thanks, no one mentioned that to us.  We were angry.  We were sad.  Not only were we mourning the loss of an actual human life, no matter how short that life was, but we were questioning what this meant for our dreams.  Were we going to be able to have children?

Then it was time to tell everyone who knew we were pregnant.  Looking back, the love and support was definitely overflowing.  But at the time, it felt insincere and hurtful:

You can always have another baby.  (Thanks, but I really wanted this baby.  God created a life through my husband and I.  No matter how short that life was, we loved it, but it died. )

The timing just wasn’t right.  (Thanks, but how was the timing right to go through this?)

Your body was doing what it’s supposed to.  (Thanks, but then I’d rather have a different body.)

There would have probably been something wrong with the baby, this is better.  (Thanks, but I don’t think this is better.)

You can always try again.  (Thanks, and yes we will try.  But that doesn’t make me feel better right now.)

I could go on and on.  The sentiments were full of love and compassion.  But they weren’t helpful.  There was one, however, that was helpful.  It was from my stepmom, calling from 2 1/2 hours away, “I wish I could be there to just sit with you and hug you and cry with you.”  That was what I needed, someone to just support me in my grief without trying to offer words to make it better.  Someone to realize that words were not going to make it better.

I always think of that when I read through the book of Job.  Job was a successful, happy, righteous man.  But then, all of his livestock and servants (his livelihood) died or were stolen, all of his children died, and his body was covered in horrible, painful sores.  Then, Job’s friends come on the scene:

When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him.  When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads.  Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was. (Job 2:11-13)

I want to be that kind of friend.  The one who knows that words aren’t going to help, but all that is needed is my presence.  When friends come to me, I am very quick to offer my thoughts.  I try to make sure my thoughts are biblical, but they might not be timely.  I definitely need to say less and just be there more.  (Unfortunately, after 7 days of saying nothing, Jobs friends decided it was time to talk.  What they said sounds really biblical, but it did not apply to Job’s situation.  So they should have stuck with being the silent, supportive friends!)

♥Becki, imperfect woman

12 years later, we have 3 healthy boys, and 2 heavenly babies who never took an earthly breath.  I am thankful for the 3 boys and am at peace and content with life, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that in the stillness of my heart, I still mourn the loss of those 2 babies.  

Wednesday’s Wisdom from the Word: Servant hearts

This morning my 3 boys woke me up by coming into my room with a cup of hot coffee for me.  They greeted me with “Happy Birthday!” in their sing-song voices and big smiles on their faces.  Jeff had already gone to work, so the coffee greeting was all on their own – best thing I ever did was teach my 7-year-old how to use the Keurig!

I then drank my coffee while sitting up in bed listening to the activity in the kitchen.  “Go snuggle with Mommy so she doesn’t come out of her room,” my oldest directed my 5-year-old.  So as I sat drinking my coffee and snuggling with my youngest, I listened to my other 2 trying to decide what to make me for breakfast.  “Do we have any waffles?”  “What about cereal?”  “I don’t think she likes that cereal.”  “How about toast?”  “She likes toast.”  So they settled on the toast.  I hear the chair sliding over to the toaster.  “Mommy likes butter on her toast.”  “Where’s the butter?”  They must have found it, because the 2 of them paraded into my room proudly presenting a plate with 2 pieces of toast covered in what must have been a half a stick of butter.

I can’t think of a better start to my 39th birthday!  My boys’ acts this morning were ones of love and devotion filled with the desire to make me happy.  And they did make me very happy.  I’m still smiling thinking about it.

But here’s the thing, their “gift” to me was full of flaws:  1.  They first came in 10 minutes before my alarm was set to go off (which was even earlier than normal today because I had a MOPS meeting) – if you know me well, you know I am NOT a morning person and sleep as long as I possibly can.  2.  My MOPS meeting has a delicious breakfast buffet filled with fruit, breads, muffins, quiches, hot casseroles, so I NEVER eat breakfast before a MOPS meeting.  3.  If I was going to eat breakfast, I definitely wouldn’t have put a half a stick of butter on the toast.  4.  Ideally, the boys would have put the chair that they used to stand on back, put the bread away, and put the knife in the sink or dishwasher.

But none of that matters… I saw their heart and I am delighted.  To me, it was perfection just the way it was.

I then left to go to my MOPS meeting.  (What a great way to spend a birthday morning, with 63 other women!)  The topic of our meeting was service.  We made blankets for Project Linus – an organization that gives home-made blankets to hospitals, food pantries, homeless and domestic violence shelters to give to children.  We then had group discussions about ways to serve.  I started thinking about what keeps me from serving more.  Beyond the obvious of time and money, I realized that I sometimes get tripped up on wondering what I should do.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

This verse reminds me that we are created to do good works.  But I sometimes think the part about “God prepared in advance for us to do” almost immobilizes me.  I over analyze trying to figure out what God wants me to do.  And in spending so much time wondering what I’m supposed to do or how I’m supposed to do what I finally realize I’m supposed to do, I end up doing nothing.

But then I think of my boys this morning.  Their desire was to serve me and make me happy and they did what they knew how to do.  If they would have asked me what I wanted them to do, I probably would have given a different idea.  But I absolutely loved what they did, flaws and all.  Because of their hearts.  Perhaps, then God, being a more perfect parent than I am, is delighted whenever my actions are a result of my desire to please him, no matter how flawed my actions may be.

I’m not saying that I shouldn’t be prayerful about how I serve, I’m just saying that perhaps I need to stop worrying about what I’m supposed to do and focus on doing things that I know how to do, full of love and devotion for my God, filled with the desire to make Him happy.

♥Becki, imperfect servant

Wednesday’s Wisdom from the Word: Crown of thorns

Have you ever pricked your finger on the thorn of a rose?  Perhaps you were admiring the rose’s  beauty, perhaps you were enjoying its fragrance, perhaps someone special gave you roses and you were arranging them in a vase.  For  me, no matter what I am doing when it happens, it usually catches me by surprise, and it always hurts more than I think it should.

So why on this cold winter day am I talking about roses and thorns?  No, my husband didn’t surprise me with any… although it’s something he does fairly often.  The other day as I was doing my bible reading from my chronological plan to read through the bible in a year, (Click here for Bible Reading Plan) I read the part where Adam and Eve ate the apple and God was describing the consequences of the sin.

And to the man he said,  ‘Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree  whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you.  All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.  It will grow thorns and thistles for you though you will eat of its grains.  By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground…”  (Genesis 3:17-19, emphasis mine) 

As I was reading it I was reminded of something I once heard Beth Moore say.  (If you don’t know who she is, she is my all time favorite Bible teacher.  She has such a strong understanding of God’s work and she teaches it from a women’s heart)  In one of her studies and to be honest I’ve done so many that I don’t remember which one it is, she was talking about Jesus’ crucifixion.  I’m sure no matter how familiar you are with the bible, you have some type of picture in your head of the crucifixion.  Jesus being whipped, Jesus being nailed to a cross.  A crown of thorns being placed on Jesus’ head…

Did you catch where I’m going with this yet?  Let me say it again and give you another chance… Jesus being whipped, Jesus being nailed to a cross.  A crown of THORNS being placed on Jesus’ head. 

In the study, Beth Moore pointed out a connection that I had never noticed.  When talking about the crucifixion, she brought us back to Genesis after Adam and Eve ate that apple.  One of the results of sin was having to labor for food because of the newly added thorns and thistles.  The thorns were the result of sin.  When Jesus hung on the cross, he wore a crown of thorns on his head.  He symbolically was wearing sin on his head.  How cool is that? 

This connection is just a little detail of how perfectly the whole “story” fits together.  I love details like that… so minor that most of us miss them.  Yet I’m sure God was very purposeful when he composed it that way.  It really isn’t something that theologically matters much, but I love that it’s there.  Kind of like when you’re at a party that the host went above and beyond with all their little theme decorations and such… it would have been a good party without – but knowing that someone went to all that trouble makes it feel more special.  

So as I was reading yesterday, and I came to that part about the thorns, once again, I was delighted, smiled at the knowledge of God’s completeness and thanked Jesus for dying on that cross for my sin.  Because even though Eve and Adam were the first to sin, I’ve done more than my share!  So thank you, Jesus.


P.S. Have you ever been delighted or surprised by something in God’s word?  I’d love to hear about it.